I'm trying to write an SF short, and need to compromise more between 'Aliens Are Weird' and the famed Star Trek error of making all aliens be humans with corrugated foreheads.

Context is a young human having relationship problems making some friends at an intergalactic dance club and sharing those problems with them. They are friendly and want to help, but the swarm intelligence grows by concatenation of more insect-like elements, and trying to explain the emotional consequences of sexual reproduction are a lost cause, there. And to the octopoid, sex is exciting, but fatal.

Hmm, writing to yez is helping generate ideas. I'm imagining a species with two sexes and two body forms, and relationships can occur between different-sexed or same-sexed members of either form, and they have different concepts for male-hard/female-soft, female-hard/male-soft, female-hard/female-soft, and male-hard/male-soft relationships. Whether you're male or female can change at each molt (you can *influence*, but not *control*, your possible gender change) but you're hard or soft for life. Parents can produce offspring of same or different hardness, and there are substantial cultural mythos about the problems of soft parents raising hard kids, and so on.

Ah, detail develops. They live near a galactic core, and hard people are much more radiation resistant, where softfolk are much better at negotiating the cave and tunnel networks they live in. The couple that our human meets are female-hard/male-soft, causing the first of several mild confusions as the hards are spiky and aggressive-looking, where softs look somewhat like lumpfish.

What are the effects re evolution with being civilized for a *long* time? We grew boobs as a way of differentiating females from males at spear-throwing ranges, and that's only in a few hundred thousand years.

More soon, I hope.
Okay, so the core of the idea is that we are not a civilization, we are a metaculture, )
Does anyone have a recommendation for a class for reforming abusers in the Washington D.C. area?
What I have to do is sell or give away everything Dad isn't taking with him, and clean the house. Dad moves on the 25th, and we have to be clear of the house by the 28th. I had been relying on family friends down here for help and resources, and have reluctantly concluded that they're all at this point either senile or hapless.

We've just finished the first day of the first garage sale, and while it was fairly decent from a money-generating point of view, no furniture was sold and the house doesn't look any emptier than it did when we started. This is only from the Daily Breeze ad, the LA Times ad doesn't start running until Saturday. While I have *hopes* that there will be a lot of people who worked Friday and also that the Times reaches more people than the Breeze, I am not optimistic about my hopes. As backups, I've made lists of consignment shops and 'man with a van' services locally available, and have phone numbers for the former.

The best thing I could really do right now is go to sleep so I'm reasonably fresh in the morning. The market at the corner opens at 7am, and I can be out the door at 6:45 so as to get milk and eggs so we can have breakfast. Sale starts at 9. I'm kinda keyed up and there aren't any people I know of I can talk to at 4am local.
Have been in Pedro for a week and a half now, and just spent four hours making 'SALE' signs for the garage sale starting tomorrow. (Block caps are easiest, also squared-off S's.)

Sale is closed, *escrow* closes the day after I leave on the 27th. Gotta get everything but the curtains out of the house and everything cleaned by then.

Right now trying to chill out enough to go back to bed, as it's 3:17am. (I'd slept from 9:30 'til 11:30) Mobs (hopefully) arrive at 9am tomorrow, but local custom suggests some opportunist will be dragging me out of bed at 7am even though the ads say "No earlybirds."

I''ll see if I can post in more detail when the sale's over.

ADDENDUM: Weather report for sale-day: Three to five inches of rain between noon and 4pm, 70mph winds. Might get some morning activity, but sounds like I can take an after-lunch nap.
I have four letters I want to get written today. They've been on hold for over two weeks while I try to regain focus, that's way too long. I have to get used to the fact that there's going to be a media tantrum going on about the Cheeto-In-Chief every day until his impeachment is over, get used to it, and get work done anyway.

There's also a phone interview with the disability people, where I need to point out to them that my dead cardiac tissue hasn't and won't spontaneously regenerate. And a Gearcon meeting tonight.

This hasn't been enough writing to get me focused. I'll try a shower and another cup of coffee and see if that works.
I'm continuing to heal, which is I suppose the best form of frustrating. What I need right now is a powerful, heavy-handed massage of my right thigh, and all the MST's I know in Portland are wonderful women with small, delicate hands. The job I need done on my thigh needs huge meaty mitts, and improvising with a knee not only won't work, but would probably re-do the injury.

Time spent healing has gotten me very much behind in a large number of things. It gets hard to schedule when the body keeps dictating "You are now going to sleep; you have two minutes to find a place to lie down if you'd rather sleep that way."

First thing I'm going to try for today is getting supplies over to James's place for tomorrow night's party. Next is writing my letter to Reb Stone by hand and delivering it, then comes writing to Dad by hand and mailing that. I've got four more on stack after that, but those-all can be done by email, and I'm considering them extra credit anyway, because I anticipate getting a couple of armloads of shopping to James's will wear me out.

New inspiration for anti-Trump activism: We need a cornpone comic, to play the role of the rube who got taken in by Donny's City Slicker. We need a *real* cornpone comic, not yet another New York Jew playing let's pretend. Know anybody?
I've found a self-labeled "progressive" synagogue on the upper SE side, and have written a letter to the rabbi. Unfortunately, the fancy little "send us an email" app on their website doesn't work. I may have to transcribe it by hand and carry it up there.

First today have to get out to the lab for a blood-test and to pick up a glucose meter. And I've got 5 other letters on stack.
My sister is visiting my Dad, for the nominal purpose of helping him close out the house. I called Dad this morning, and he was sounding more out of it than I'd ever heard him, and he suggested I talk it over with her. So I called back an hour later to do so, and she started in telling me what she wanted me to take and how she wanted me to be doing it. I asked not to be lectured at, so she hung up on me and sent me a snotty email telling me all about how it was all my fault and she was just going to do everything her way without my input.

My sister is a pain in the ass, but not an evil human being. Yet I still have this overwhelming temptation to wait for her next phone call, even though I anticipate that'll take a couple of years, and to simply respond to her hello with "Hi. I don't feel like being lectured at today. *click*"

I reasonably anticipate that if I do that, she'll never call again. I'm wondering whether it's worth it. She has acted as a back-street line of communication with my ex, letting me know things about my sons that I otherwise would never have discovered.

She should not be of any importance to me right now. Nor my brother. Dad I still have some respect for, and I'd like to hang onto that. I need to be building new connections that I *can* respect.

Maybe I'll find something at the new group on Monday.
Had the colonoscopy today, which is actually only a minor nuisance compounded into absurdity by a medical establishment run by old white male homophobes, who are absolutely terrified that somebody might shove something up *their* asses. One moment of moderate discomfort, when the officiating doctor overestimated the length of my large intestine and gave me a vigorous poke in the appendix. No damage, I have no polyps, gut is healthy and I've seen every inch of it, as they kept the viewscreen where I could see it.

Intestines are boring.

However, during the festivities, we discovered I have a blood sugar count of either 248 or 251, depending on which of two successive tests we believe. 100 is the upper edge of normal, so either I'm now diabetic or the test was off because of the fasting, gatorade, and so on. I call my GP in the morning to discuss.

They also told me I have a basketball-sized technicolor bruise at the top of my right thigh/underside of my ass, which would explain why I'm healing from the popped hamstring a lot more slowly than I thought would be appropriate. Also to discuss with GP, to find out if there have been any advances in the sciences of treating such since I was last current in the field in '88.

I have three sets of technical issues and four letters to write tomorrow, and also a Shabbos dinner to prepare and company coming over to share and engage in discussion. *Something's* gonna sluff.

The two issues under discussion are:
1.) The 'Convert Arkansas' project briefly noted in my last post.
2.) The problem of the Duties of the Citizen, which have grown vastly past the abilities of *any* citizen to fulfill.

Posting this fast before the browser-bunnies eat it.
My leg still hurts like a sonuvabitch, and I canceled on going to the Climate Jobs meeting tonight and the FnB prep this afternoon due to an inability to bend sufficiently to put my socks on. Barely-above-freezing weather ain't horrible, but I'm going to wear socks in it anyway.

But I'm *getting* better. Also arranged for a ride to the hospital for my colonoscopy on Thursday. I've had one before; they're no big deal.

New idea popped up today, and I sent it out to 3 or 4 people for feedback: Pick one red state, and start sending "secular missionaries" to it. Find the locals in need of services, and *start providing them*. Give them what a liberal civilization provides for its citizens, and do so as a freely given gift. The Old Culture *does* believe in shame, and strongly. Giving them something and asking for nothing at all in return will result in them seeking something they can give back. It will *also* cause a shift in whom/what they consider 'friends', and 'loyalty to friends' is another high value in that culture. And Barrett, whom I have had high hopes for, just moved back home to Arkansas, which is as good a candidate state as I could hope for. (He's one of the people I asked for feedback.)

That would make *seven* on my project list. I will either have to trim the list, or develop better resource-sharing algorithms. Self-test: The projects are CRH, Service Bureau, FFRN, HCAO, Fremling Friending, Secular Missionaries, and, as usual, I'm missing one. *checks notes* Ah. Asgardia. This is *why* I keep notes.

Gotta stop all this damn getting hurt nonsense, first. I wish I could tell *how* I pulled my hamstring, in hopes that it's something I could avoid repeating. Doubt it, tho'.
I have never hurt myself doing anything hazardous. Walking, now *that's* dangerous. This morning I pulled a hamstring while walking, and went over like a pine in a high wind. Not bothering with formal medical care, as I can figure out RICE without their assistance (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation for those who don't keep a collection of medical abbreviations).

I should really go do something dangerous, so I can be safe. Unfortnately, right now I wouldn't be able to get to it.
So, listy-type PM stuff first, then introspection:

DONE Refill prescriptions
DONE Exercise, shower
Read colonoscopy instructions
Nuke kitchen
Call and email NAYA re CRH, Solarpunk
Call and email PSUBSU, Deyalo re: same
DONE Go to Ross, shop for pan, buy serving dishes

I haven't done *much* exercise, but I'm trying to ease into it and make it enjoyable. So I'm starting with stepping-up-on-the-box, and will add floor abdominal exercises as I feel comfortable with them.

I can't seem to *do* introspection today. Not out loud, at least.
So, Projects:

Community Reinvigoration Homesteading
Fremling Friending
Service Bureau (sub-projects: Bike co-op, computer co-op, tool library, Food-not-Bombs-by-another-name)
FFRN Union Pacific Charter Challenge

Wait, wait, wait. That's the right way to approach the problem from a PM perspective. But self-care isn't part of that model, and that's what I need to be keeping track of, or I'll end up dropping days because I run out of emotional resources and go catatonic.

This is a simultaneous problem, because I *do* get energy out of my self-esteem at being a *good* PM. But that's insufficient, because I need to have enough other positive sources of energy for me to get a project started in the first place. I do need to keep in mind that 'insufficient' is by no means 'bad', it's just 'not enough'.

I can use food as a source of energy. Not only in the most literal sense; I enjoy good cooking and I am a very good cook, and enjoy *doing* good cooking -- a different thing than enjoying the eating of it. I do have to pay attention to not vest *too* much energy here, as I eat more than is optimal as it is.

Sex used to work. Subject not worthy of discussion.

I'm not going to be able to finish this thought now. Maybe in the morning.
My five projects are the program I'm managing. Before I even get to that, I have to manage *myself*. Self-management is taken as given in a professional setting, even though a lot of my popularity among the techs at Citi back in the '90's was because in addition to being boss I also acted as social worker for many of 'em. ("I need workers who can do X. If stresses in your private life are making it hard for you to do X, tell me what the stresses are and I'll see if I can help you resolve them.")

The new Fremling Friending project can be the introduction-to-metaculture element I've been looking for. This is at least 3 orders of abstraction out from "here's what's in it for Joel", though. It's being hard for me to care about me. Or, more accurately, I see my metaculture as myself more than I see *me* as myself. Since by identity I *am* me, there's an obvious problem here.

Since right now I'm not getting anything productive done, I'll head on out to FnB early, take the machine with me, and see if I can get any decent writing done offline. If I do, I'll edit this post to include it.
With all the hoo-ha about LJ's servers moving to Russia, I'm going to hope the cross-posting function here, which had been nonworking for some time, is back to functionality and do my posting here at DW instead.

I've just had an idea for how to proceed with the long-dormant metaculture project. Play to my strengths: Throw dinners for people. The Fremling Friending Dinners, as the central value is that of seeing others as welcome guests rather than as hostile strangers. Idea is to invite two disparate groups (don't want 'em to be so far apart that they can't find anything in common; *do* want 'em to be far enough apart to make 'em stretch a bit; need a decision matrix to measure this -- thoughts?) and introduce 'em to both me and each other; describe my metaculture project, identify each of them as cultures, and tell 'em I'm bringing 'em together to help them celebrate their differences, rather than explain, excuse, or exacerbate them. And also to aid my own project of helping others network.

I've already got four other projects going -- Community Reinvigoration Homesteading, Solarpunk, Asgardia, and the Service Bureau (subprojects: Tool Lending Library, Bike Co-Op, Computer Co-Op, Food-not-Bombs-equivalent) -- and will need to restructure my behavior so that I pay attention to *all* of them on a timely basis. I'm going to have to footnote that and get back to it, because I've got a lot of other things to do today. Starting with a shower, so y'all feel free to amuse yourselves here whilst I go soak my head.
I've got several friends who are trans activists, who are generally amused by my efforts at trying to understand this element of their identities. I also have an ex-boss who identifies as trans, whose existence would give most of said friends severe problems if they had to interact with it. And as they are *extremely* activist, this is likely to eventually occur. ("They" here refers to the ex-boss, not the friends, as they have expressed a profound preference for plural pronouns, and I place a high value on being polite even to people whose deservedness of such politeness is dubious.)

See, trans people are first and foremost *people*, and people come in an endless variety. And the reason said boss is an *ex*-boss is that their primary characteristic is amoral opportunism, which I object to sufficiently strenuously that I felt I had to quit that job. In fact, their "all for one and I'm the one" behavior leads me to believe that they opted to identify as trans for no reason *other* than political expediency -- to have another 'victim' card to play, so that any argument could be turned into "You're only disagreeing with me because I'm trans and you're a bigot!" instead of "I'm disagreeing with you because I think your opinion is incorrect."

I am endlessly and deeply fascinated with the workings of human identity. I observe me to be me, and I have a lot of data as to how I got to be that way, but I don't have nearly as good data on how *you* got to be *you*. Since some substantial parts of me came into existence as the result of conscious and deliberate decisions on my part, I see no reason why my ex-boss's trans identity should be considered 'un-genuine' or contrived simply because they came into being due to a conscious decision based on personal advantage. Or, to speak more accurately, if their identity *is* contrived, so what?

Gay folks have already had to deal with this enough times that we can generally and culturally accept that some gay people being jerks doesn't mean that other gay people are jerks because they're gay. Or black people, or non-theistic people, or what have you. But for newly-emerging identities, this is a real risk.
So we have any number of huge societal problems going on. The one I'm immediately addressing is the lack of a decent health-care system in the United States; the audience I'm talking to is one of the directors of Health Care for All Oregon, a statewide activist group. We've already talked about this informally and he emphatically agrees with me that HCAO needs to recruit a lot of grass-roots-level activists, and that we're currently having trouble doing so because our approach to getting things done isn't exciting to them. We need to build coalition with other groups dealing with other aspects of the same problem; as I put it to him in our recent conversation "It doesn't matter whether you're driven out of society by poor health care, employment issues, housing issues, or environmental degradation, any route to the poorhouse is a bad one." He agreed.

So *one* of the things I'm doing is preparing a list of the current issues -- already done, I find 16 so far -- and the activist groups that are doing something about each issue. I haven't prepared that latter list yet, but I've volunteered for the majority of those groups and know who they are. But the standard organizational approach of going to each of those groups and proposing coalition with them would have horrible results even if it succeeds.

HCAO is trying to get people to do some specific things -- call their legislators, ask candidates to take positions, things like that. The boots-on-the-ground activists they want to recruit are mostly just as motivated by all the other issues on the list, and are more likely to get excited about building relationships with their neighbors and co-workers if they are aware of an underlying central organizing principle for all this activity -- or, at least, such is *my* belief.

I'm running out of attention; this ain't done yet but I'm going to post anyway.
It's a standard SF time-travel trope; go back in time and kill Hitler, make the world better.

Spider Robinson, in the story "the Mick of Time," does it differently. His character goes back in time and hires a hooker for the evening, thus taking her out of the way of a police raid and saving her from serious injury.

What changes of history could we implement by being *nice* to somebody? Instead of shooting Hitler, get him into art school. 1933 rolls around, instead of being a political rabble-rouser he's a moderately successful artist.

I'm interested to hear y'all's thoughts. What other point in history could be deeply remade by being nice to somebody at exactly the right time?

Live #3

Aug. 28th, 2015 09:59 am
Yesterday was a C-. I can do better. Same agenda for today.
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