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Tomorrow, tomorrow...
So today I will go clean the last of my stuff out of the storage area. Then I have to get rid of it all out of the driveway, and the "neighborhood garage sale" is being a total bust, which I think I could have predicted if I'd spent any time thinking about it. (Zero publicity, zero organization; result, a few people cruising through playing "looky-loo", and nobody really shopping.)

Which means tomorrow a flurry of calling people and organizations to come get stuff. It's more important to me to be rid of it than to monitor where it goes. Better planning on my part, and this purge would have happened two years ago.

After I get done with this week's chaos, I focus on the Arcology and the Ficton. *Two* foci I'm pretty sure I can handle right now.

Good progress, but still not done.
I have done good work. Despite this, my body is reminding me that it is 61 years old, and has not been in the general habit of loading and unloading trucks. Nothing horrible, but I ache a lot. It'll pass.

I have *not* gotten the entertainment center out of the storage area. I can hire some muscle and get it done tomorrow morning. I will still be achey, even though tomorrow I will not be the one doing most of the heavy lifting. I have this luxury.

As usual, I have a lot more and a lot more *interesting* thoughts going on, but holding my arms up to type displeases me at the moment. More later.

Enough hands?
I'm a bit worried about today.

Yesterday, I got a load out of the storage area all by myself. Good work, completed.Collapse )

Progress is good.
"warriorsavant" pointed out that garage sales are depressing; he's right. But even if I make no money at all and just send all the stuff to Goodwill on Tuesday, I will no longer have the $150/mo. storage area fee any more. I'm good with that. (I would *also* like to make some money. But that's extra.)

Today I got the first of three van-loads out of the unit and into my driveway. Tomorrow morning early I go get the second load; the third is the two big center section pieces of the entertainment center, which should happen at 1pm if I can get at least two people to help. Or one very cooperative gorilla, which is unfortunately unlikely.

I've got 4 conflicting events for Saturday, but since I moved all *his* stuff for him, I'm counting on Liam to do the "sit in driveway and take money" part of things. I might even be able to get the use of the van to shuttle back and forth between all my meetings; haven't talked with him about that yet.

Having gotten some hard physical work done feels good.

A moving experience.
Shortly after I'm done writing this, I'm going to go clean out my storage area and bring the contents here for a garage sale.Collapse )

Getting derailed.
I went to a presentation on "Navigating the Oregon Labor Movement" last night, given by the AFL/CIO.

The many Union people I've been dealing with for the last half-dozen years mostly strike me as good, well-intentioned people who are trying to do all the right things for mostly-inaccurate reasons.

I am hesitant to try to point this out to them; when I've tried such things previously I got fired a couple of times for it. People do *not* like having their fundamental premises questioned, on the whole. (Even research scientists.)

Note that I say "mostly inaccurate", rather than "wrong." If I can concentrate long enough, I'll get back to that. I'm having a Trump-overload morning, and it's not 7am yet. This may get tedious...Collapse )

Finding a necktie
When I was working on Wall Street in the '90's, I had a friend working nearby named Carson Gaspar, who is to date the most flamingly gay person I've met. Even being in IT, he was still on the Street, and his bosses finally came down on him for his "unbusinesslike" dress. He came in the next day in a white button-down shirt, immaculate 3-piece navy pinstripe suit, and a beautiful blue-and-gold regimental tie.

It wasn't until you looked closely at the tie that you could discover that the fine gold embrodered regimental stripes were actually the word "Faggot", embroidered in script over and over and over and over...

Does anyone know where I could find such a tie now? I've got a friend who would be very amused by one.

For that matter, does anyone know where Carson is now? I suspect those two would get along well, even if the local neighborhood has a bit of trouble surviving the experience.

I'm *sure* I left a bellybutton around here *someplace*...
My first two sources of information are my email...Collapse )

Proportion and Responsibility
If I bash in your head with a club, the fact that somebody else has an atom bomb does not make me any less a murderer.Collapse )

I’ve been working hard, if not very productively, at things that are difficult for me. So instead of dwelling on those, I’ll go back to something I'm good at.Collapse )

So, after waiting on hold for an hour twenty, I got a woman who may not have been able to enunciate clearly but was at least determined to be helpful. The "I can't get to my messages" problem is a known problem and "they're working on it", which I'm not going to waste finger-tapping arguing about. That's out of "Identifying fuck-offs 101".

The insurance issue may be serious; apparently the bureaucracy made a mistake when they enrolled me in the first place years ago, and I've been getting my health care from the wrong agency all along. And other than the annual enrollment error, they've been doing a pretty good job of it; they just send me to Kaiser, Kaiser does their stuff, and I get consistent and reliable grade-B health care.

Now, by the end of the month I'll be getting care from some as-yet-unknown-and-new-to-me agency, and I have no idea how they'll do it or how well.

I've been on hold for 30 minutes so far...Collapse )

Solarpunk, Arcologies, and Assholes
Since I've had...Collapse )

Coaxing Stephan out of his hole
I'd really like to ask Stephan Leger for help, but it's a bad idea. I am frustrated by this.

Stephan is head of the Oregon Justice Democrats, which could be really helpful in a number of regards, lead among them investigating the Oregon Democratic Party, which much like the national Democratic Party is completely corrupt at the highest levels and staffed lower-down with well-meaning idealists who aren't willing to admit they're being suckered.

The National Justice Democrats share the same problem; their prime cause is to elect progressives to the House of Representatives. But I've read their charter, and it isn't limited to that. Pretty much any progressive political activity is covered and encouraged -- while stressing taking over the House of Representatives, yes, but Party-cleaning and "lower" races are also explicitly encouraged. And while it *isn't* explicitly mentioned, I don't think they'd mind turning out a right-wing Democratic Senator in a primary either.

However, the top of the National JD's is made up of the kids of the Establishment, who want to continue the Democratic Party as it is and to them always has been. ("Always" is pretty short when you're twenty.) They want local action for the purpose of improving their national-level power-base.

So every time Stephan talks with them, they talk about electing progressive Democratic Congressmen, and want to know what he's doing to help them. And Stephan's only 24 himself, and *doesn't* have a family background in politics, and is neither aware of nor willing to admit that he's being bullied. The last meeting I attended, he recited the party line and threw the floor open, and I voiced my opinion that the two best things the organization could be doing were in order 1.) Clean out the State Party, and 2.) Elect State-level officials. *Every person in the room except Stephan* agreed with me emphatically. And that's the last I heard from the Justice Democrats, aside from beg-letters from National.

So I've got a great State-level candidate (Maxwell, SD-16) I want his support on. Well, more accurately, his group's, whether he's waving the stick or not. And he's a timid young man, with a National-level organization yelling at him to do things *their* way. And I need to write a letter to him that doesn't start "Hey, Stephan -- are you willing to stop being a coward yet?"

It's gonna be tough. Any suggestions?

Tanakh distraction
So I went to torah study this morning, primarily because I wanted to talk with the rabbi about what would be the appropriate venue at shul to circulate the Portland Just Energy Initiative. Rabbi wasn’t there, no one else knew. And the day’s torah portion was one of those dedicated to the proposition of proving that parts of this ancient book are superstitious horseshit.

If a man is jealous of his wife, and has no evidence of actual fooling-around on her part, he is to go to the rabbi with his wife and complain, and the rabbi is to cast a spell on the wife that will make her sick if she is indeed fooling around. Casting spells, guys? Come on. And who can be responsible for an emotion other than the person feeling it? The main point of the setup is that she and her hypothetical lover are the only ones who know if she *is* fooling around. So maybe the jealous guy’s right and maybe he’s wrong, but not only doesn’t *he* know, pretty much nobody else does either. His ignorance is *also* his job to deal with – either learn more, or come to grips with not knowing.

Me, when my now-ex-wife found a lover, he was a nice guy, so I married him too. Different times, different values. (Hi, Jer, if you’re reading.)

There was some interesting hypothesizing going on about the displacement of Goddess-based worship with male-centered culture. The group were entirely amateur scholars, however, so evidence and citations were lacking, but the viewpoint of trying to determine the sociological background and the acknowledgement that the document was written by committee over centuries were both part of my personal Jewish identity, so that bit was fulfilling. The group was about ¾ female, which fits my own experience of Jewish culture; the men try to exert some influence through the worship and custom because that’s about all the input they get. Don’ mess with the balabusteh.

None of which gets my nine follow-ups written. Back to work.

Judging from the smells, I may have just done something special in the kitchen, so I wanted to try to get it down, if possible, while I still can.

Leek and potato soup.
Two large and one medium-smallish leeks, chopped medium
Two medium Yukon Gold and three small white potatoes, peeled and chopped in about quarter-inch cubes
Six somewhat skinny stalks of celery, chopped a bit smaller than the potatoes
A dozen medium-large Crimini mushrooms, sliced in half and then in about 1/8” slices
One bunch parsley, chopped medium-fine
Half a dozen scallions, sliced in about 1/8” slices

Melt a stick of butter in a gallon or larger pot. Dump in everything, add:
Salt (didn’t measure, guessing a rounded teaspoon’s worth)
Szechuan peppercorns, ground fine, another rounded teaspoon
3.5 oz. Chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (half a can)
A generous pouring of dill, maybe another one of those teaspoons
A jigger of single-malt scotch
A teaspoon full of finely-chopped garlic
A vigorous shake each of black and white pepper

Stir every few minutes for about 20 minutes; the recipe I improvised said “until all the butter is absorbed”, but I didn’t know what that looked like so I just guessed at “well, that looks cooked.” Then add a liter of chicken stock and about half that of beef stock, on the "it's here, throw it in the pot" theory. Let simmer for half an hour, add a pint of heavy cream, stir again, and serve.

Cranky body, successful interview
This is my own virtual living room, so I can do whatever I want, here. At the same time, y'all are sitting on the couch reading, eating the snacks, and sometimes answering back, so some rules of civilized behavior do apply.

My body's being cranky, and I want to try to work through it anyway. If it doesn't get less cranky by lunchtime, I may head over to the urgent-care unit; they don't open 'til 1pm anyway, and I'd feel silly going to the ER for "I need to pee and I can't and it hurts when I try." I have some meds for that, and I can take an extra dose.

Interview with Sierra Club was successful -- they like me, and also like me for the treasurer job -- and they also have another person to interview, and liking me isn't enough, they have to like me better than everybody else. OTOH, they also told me that it's an unpaid position, which makes it considerably less interesting. (There was no mention of payment in their solicitation or job description, and the duties are certainly professional and at *least* full-time, so I'd assumed paid.) OTOH, I will be working closely with the Funding Director, and if I can raise the money to pay me a salary with they'd be pretty short on arguments to not pay me one.

I'm behind on follow-ups; my goal is to get all 9 outstanding finished today, and then apply for the known-to-be-paid position at CAT. And I've got a potluck to get to after that, and two bits of cooking to get done concurrently with writing -- but that's an excellent meshing of activities; when I've had too much keyboard I can go chop veggies for a few minutes. (Sweet and sour red cabbage and leek-and-potato soup, if you're into such things.)

Just proved the point; the celery is now chopped for the soup.

I've got two "mortality" issues I'm dealing with. Easier is Dad, who is 86 and has enough money to last him in his current life-style to 90. I think he's good for at least five years after that, and might well make his century; *his* life-plan ended sixteen years ago. So I have to make plans for how to care for him after his money runs out. I do have siblings, but while I can count on them to contribute as little cash as they can get away with, that's the best I can count on them for.

The other is the Big Task I've had staring me in the face for decades, and haven't made material progress on yet. And it's breakfast time, so I'll get back to that tomorrow.

Another "ooops...!"
I'm behind on my follow-ups (4 down, 9 to go), but other than that things are going OK. I have a meeting at 9 with a Metro candidate (Portland's Regional government), and an interview with the Sierra Club at noon. And I got up to a friend's page full of Trumpeting, which I need like -- and resembles -- a faceful of sewage.

Trump has been a malevolent non-entity since I was in high school; no news there. And I've already voiced my disgust at the Rethugs whose treason maintains him in office. What I need to focus on is how to keep *myself* centered and functional. Much like taking swimming-lessons in a whirlpool. But as the old NY cliche has it, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!"

Joe Buck is a nice, liberal guy. So is his opponent Christine Lewis, taking the term 'guy' as gender-neutral, which seems obvious. I haven't met with Christine yet, and my objective is to get 'em both on the radical side of liberal.

...and boom, there goes the schedule. Just got an email from Joe; he owns and runs 3 restaurants, and had a break-in last night, and needs to re-schedule while he handles the cops and the insurance paperwork. Okay, I understand the need and can accommodate that. (Why would someone break into a restaurant, other than being really hungry? It's not like we leave the cash in the till or something.) Does really throw off my morning, tho'.


Drilling BITs
Okay, it’s 5am and I’ve been up since Zack pinged me at 3:48. Not rude on his part; he’d asked me to ping *him* at 3:30am my time, and I’d agreed, but my phone’s alarm clock works only erratically, and hadn’t gone off this morning. (Properly set; I checked. Want new phone.)

I need to write the Big Important Thing – but I’ve had that need for years, and haven’t been able to effectively act on it yet. Siderea had written (https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/1409042.html#cutid1) on why her style of writing is difficult, and I echo some of her difficulties; since I’m trying to do grand synthesis, a blown attempt usually produces gibberish, not editable rough material. Another pair of tactics I can try are: 1.) writing about why the writing is hard (which you may notice is what I’m doing at the moment), and 2.) doing both simultaneously; using my gibberish-production as a tool to help me write about why it’s not working, or 2b.) use the gibberish-production as a tool to write about new and different tools or approaches I might use to address either writing problem or the subject itself.

Providing background for #1, the BIT is why and how to build a human metaculture, and how one tells one has finished successfully doing so and how it works when it’s done. Since a metaculture is a growing organism, it’ll keep growing on its own after one is done creating it; that’s a design feature, not a bug.

Metacultures are squishy; not only do they come in a lot of different shapes and configurations, an individual metaculture can change shape and configuration without losing cohesiveness, and will often do so if it notices one studying it. (Think of the famous old joke of the primate scientist hurrying out of his subject’s room and then turning to peer through the keyhole, and finding a brown eye staring back at him.) This doesn’t make the descriptive job *impossible*, but it does impose an additional difficulty.

My political work over the last few months is in pursuit of an implementation attempt. Having a readable map of what I’m trying to accomplish could be helpful in doing so. It’s a tricky tool, tho’; most of the politicians and would-be politicians I’ve been talking with are very short-term focused. There’s good utility to that, but we-as-metaculture *also* have to look to our long-term issues. I sympathize with the politicos in their being irritated at someone who seems determined to make their jobs bigger and more difficult.

Some, like John Maxwell (running for Oregon State Representative for District #19), will get it just fine. Others, like Jo Ann Hardesty (running for Portland City Council position #3) are likely to be annoyed at me for trying to distract them from meeting those immediate needs. (“Black people are being shot by police for being black, and you’re bothering me with *this*?”)

It’s part of the nature of a complex organism that it *has* to do more than one thing at a time, so Jo Ann’s not incorrect. It is probably still useful for me to keep her informed about what I’m doing, even tho’ she disagrees with my prioritization. Keeping open communications is good, but it’s also important for *me* to remember that that’s not the core of *my* job. I’m trying to implement a metaculture.

That’s enough to be one complete thought. I’ve got lots more, but at least I can do you the courtesy of trying to keep it in manageable chunks.
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Kid got canned again
Zack got fired yesterday. He'd been there a bit over a year, much like his last job. He's getting a little bit more clued in about how to tell when things aren't going right, but still not fast enough to placate his employers. They're giving him a month's severance, which is nice as far as it goes.

From what I can tell from what little he shares with me, the main problem again was his social skills -- not knowing when to ask for help, for the most part. He *did* have a real tough employer, so his having the Aspie Talk with his boss may have been seen as making excuses.

Right now *I'm* in the middle of reorganizing my head, and feeling his pain is a pain in my own metaphorical butt I could have done without. I know this kind of "feeling" is an illusion, but being an illusion doesn't make it any the less real -- I have a pain in my Zack, and it hurts, and pain is distracting. And he only likes help if he explicitly asks for it, so I've got both a fair amount of shutting up to do and some very delicate questioning to plan out for when he *does* finally get around to asking for it, because he also only wants as *much* as he asks for, even when (almost always) he's not asking for enough or on the right subjects. ("What was wrong with the way I was arranging the deck chairs that caused the ship to sink?")

I've signed up for a political-protest bus trip leaving Saturday for LA; about time I visited Dad down there anyway, I like the cause (justice in the Philippines), and it's about a hundred bucks cheaper than flying there and back. I can write more about that both in a bit and from the road; right now I need to email them about scheduling so I can tell Dad when I'll be visiting.

Big, no?
So, An Arcology in PortlandCollapse )

Dealing with idiots
One of the activist groups I'm associated with had invited a speaker from Honduras (named Jerome, IIRC). Homeland Security intercepted him at SFO, interrogated him for 24 hours, and then deported him. As a part of this, they seated him naked on a metal folding chair and aimed an industrial fan at him for 8 hours, towards the goal of dehydrating him.

My idea for how to respond is to have him send the Homeland Security Administration a bill for his services as a gay porn actor. (If we take the HSA personnel's word for it that they are merely patriotic citizens trying to do their jobs, they obviously couldn't have been torturing activists, so what *else* could they have been doing?)

A real American gay porn actor can then publicly complain about this foreigner stealing his job. I imagine him as wearing an elegant business suit and tie -- with the seat cut out of the pants.

Jerome can then theatrically taunt the actor, about how the actor's own government is forcing the outsourcing of his own job. And go back to Honduras and wave his own ass at the Honduran audience, thus making the shaming of the HSA goons international. We could even provide him with a fox-tail butt-plug. Or alternatively, have him offer to help the American porn actor form a Gay Porn Performer's Union.

All of this then puts the HSA in the position of trying to defend their actions by saying "No! We weren't making gay porn, we were torturing dissidents!" I think they would find this a hard sell, but I love to think of what John Oliver would do with their response.

In addition to the HSA, I'm dealing with an idiot on a local-to-me sharing board, who asked for help moving and then got very coy about providing an address. It took me five tries to get a street name out of her, and then another 3 to get a street *number*. I don't know, maybe she expected me to start at one end of the street and bang on doors 'til I found her. She explained this off as an attempt at humor, which I accepted to be sociable, but if I can't find the place she's the one who doesn't get any free help.

On the positive side, I got a good start on writing a paper about how to build an arcology. Maybe I'll post that separately.

Sorting out my writing
Using journaling as a way of kick-starting the morning:

I started trying to write the 'Intersectionality' paper, and too many ideas all started trying to come out at once. The number of papers has increased to six; Environment, Housing, Transit, Fiscal, Jobs, and this one. Fiscal has to be last, because we can't make realistic budget plans without having a reasonable understanding of what it is we're trying to pay for.

The audience for the papers are candidates running for office: Two potential congresscritters, two hopeful City Councilors, a possible State Senator, and a candidate for County Commissioner. I'm formally on staff at one campaign and volunteering at the rest; I hope to become staff on the others as a result of submitting these papers. Of course, writing them first would be helpful in that.

The reason why I'm trying to do the Intersectionality paper first is because it's real easy to come up with lists of projects that would be worthwhile to pursue, but the underlying question to all of them is "Why?" Sure, creating a new MAX rail line along Powell and Barbur Boulevards would serve a lot of people who need it. Sad to say, the idea that government exists to serve people has fallen out of common assumptions, and one of the prime purposes of the intersectionality paper is to bring that idea back and put it front and center.

One of the points of discussion is that old libertarian saw about the government is best that governs least -- it's wrong. Running a bit on the lean side is an excellent idea; starvation is not. This also ties into the idea that trying to run government by aphorism is also a bad idea -- a government is a living entity, and has to act like one. It has certain functions that take resources to perform, and robbing it of those resources doesn't make it more efficient, it makes it sick.

Of, by, and for the people is another fundamental premise -- by modern standards, the American founding fathers were a lot more socialist than their conservative descendants would care to admit. So I've been doing a lot of fundamental thinking on what it takes "the people" to actually govern. This is why I've shifted away from working on Positive Proxy -- as a representational system it's better than anything I've seen discussed, but if the populace isn't ready and willing to do the work of governing themselves, having a system that would help them do so is like gifting a CDC router to a toddler -- they can't make any effective use of it, and can easily hurt themselves upon it.

We've been *pretending* to self-governance for five decades I can testify to, and ten more that I can find historical precedent and documentation for. I regard this as a societal equivialent of "fake it 'til you make it"; we've been practicing dreaming about where we want to go, and building a vision of what it would be like to be there. Great, we've got the vision, time to actually implement it. What does it take for "the people" to actually govern?

Of the six candidates I'm working for, four are "local" and two "federal". Both levels of governance are independent living entities. And I'll save that thought for later; time to go get busy.

Good idea, sleep.
And would be nice if I did some; it is, after all, 3:50am. I've tried lying down a couple of times; my brain responds with some version or other of "But Someone Is Wrong On The Internet", and I'm up and about again. When I'm fully awake, it's very easy to see this is all ridiculous and I should just go sleep; it's when I start to shut down that the filters turn off before consciousness does.

At least I've gotten some useful stuff done. I've got five position papers I'm working on for six political campaigns, and I've written myself a very good outline. (Races: Koller, OR C3; Gasque, WA C-3; Fagan, OR SS-24, Hardesty, Portland CC-2, DeGraw, Portland CC-3; Garcia, Multnomah CC 1.) The papers are on Environment, Housing, Transit, Budget, and Intersectionality. Jobs may split off as a sixth.

Most immediate annoyance is a long-standing troll on the BikeLoud email list. I'd posted there for suggestions for the Transit paper, and he responded by declaring that any candidate asking for help must be "bikewashing" his campaign. I suppose that if you declare everyone in the world your enemy, you don't have to worry about identifying your friends.

I responded *almost* civilly, which won't impress the troll at all but hopefully will point out to the list readers who's acting like a reasonable adult and who isn't. Having done so, I plan on ignoring any further messages from him, but I'm a bit concerned that the one response was enough attention that I'm going to have trouble getting rid of him.

And I can't do anything else about that, so ignoring it and going to bed is the obvious course of action. This'll be try #3; let's see if it works.

A good start
I spent pretty much all of last week playing host to a cold, which had a wonderful time but has finally decided to depart. I got well-organized for this coming week, with full to-do lists for Monday through Wednesday and research projects for Thursday and Friday. And I got all of Monday's items done, even with spending a couple of hours in the morning barfing. I suspect a sensitivity to a food additive I put in my breakfast French toast (orange extract).

Tomorrow is similarly full, including getting a dental crown installed in the afternoon. I've never had that done before; don't know what to expect in terms of pain, anesthesia, etc. But whatever it is, I'll get over it and my lower left molar will stop splitting.

I hope your own week is just as good.