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.
I'm rereading 'Swarmwise', as predecessor to writing a project plan for SolarCon, as predecessor to writing a project plan for Passion Impact for the website development and recruitment plan subprojects of that, for presentation Sunday evening.

So let's see how the day goes.
I'm being wobbly, and I need to stop doing that.

I just wrote out half a dozen character studies, which would lead to a story of a bunch of solarpunks meeting on punk.solar, forming a band, and performing at the 'con. Great story to tell, but telling that story is not what *I* should be doing *right now*.

Zack suggested I try "live-blogging" as a way to help me keep on track, and as best I understand it, this is that. It'd be better if I was doing it on the punk.solar site rather than here, and setting it up so I can do that is one of the First Things I should be doing.

Recruiting people to run the 'Con is another First Thing.

Finishing 'Dragonfly' is a third. And more than 3 is too many.

And it's taken me all day to write this, when five minutes would have been about right.
Had a client on the Tenant's hotline today that had me going out for sanity checks. I'll be assigning alphabet names as I go along, to protect the guilty.

Ann's friend Bill had been renting a basement apartment, and was moving elsewhere. She agreed to take his apartment; they then cleared this idea with Cathy, the landlord, who lives in the upstairs part of the house. Cathy says "Fine." Bill moves out, Ann calls Cathy to check that the apartment is ready. Cathy says yes, Ann goes to move in and finds out the apartment is far from ready. Discussion between Ann and Cathy ensues, at the end of which Ann's belief is that Cathy has agreed 1.) to provide her with a written lease, and 2.) to reimburse her for bringing the apartment up to standards.

Ann goes out and buys new carpeting and engages several repair services. She installs the carpet herself and pays for the other repairs. During this time, Ann's friend David asks her to take care of his dog for him for a while. Ann checks with Cathy, Cathy says OK. Cathy's friend Ernie will be along presently, so I'll name him now so we can stay in alphabetical order and call Dave's dog Fido.

For reasons Ann is not clear on, Cathy invites Ernie over and takes him into Ann's apartment. Ann has been neither consulted nor informed, and neither has Fido. (Note at this point that Cathy *does* know about Fido.) Behaving with canine appropriateness, Fido bites Ernie. Having neither competence at animal martial arts or common sense, Cathy attacks Fido. Fido takes about a half-pound of hamburger out of Cathy also. Cathy and Ernie retreat, and hie themselves to a nearby hospital, from which Cathy calls Ann, tells her to get out of the apartment within 30 days, and then calls the utility companies and has the utilies for the apartment, which according to Ann had been covered by the rental agreement, cut off. And then calls Animal Control to come euthanize Fido.

Ann is at this point eager to leave and wants nothing further to do with Cathy, Cathy's house, or Cathy's basement. But she'd like to spend the rest of the month with a kitchen to cook in and lights to see by, and she'd like her money back for the carpet, the repairs, and the security deposit, and she'd like Fido to live. Dave would like that too.

As near as I can tell, everybody but Bill and possibly Dave stand accused of Impersonating An Adult. Cathy has no business even *owning* property, much less renting it out, and Ann isn't competent to be a tenant. Despite which she *does* deserve to get her money back from Cathy. Fido is at least not pretending to be an adult human, and is behaving reasonably for a canine.

I've done what I can, in telling Ann how to create a written record of the dispute and bring it to small claims court. Now that I've told y'all about it, maybe I can purge it from my own active memory and go do something else useful.

"Ai, the stupid. It burns!"

Edited to add: More Stupid
Took the bus home from housemate Liam's church volunteer pizza dinner. Bus driver threw a hissy-fit because a woman with a baby wouldn't fold her stroller. It was a *non-folding stroller*, but it's His Bus And His Rules And They Will Be Followed, goddamit. I entered a complaint on the bus service's website, but there is no way to follow up on a complaint and discover if any action has been taken. I'm willing to bet the complaints never even get read. The advantage to an e-based system: They don't even have to throw it out.
I had a bad reaction to a medication, and look like the illegitimate offspring of a burn ward and a leper colony. The hospital dudes were impressed enough to take pictures, but tell me I should be reasonably back to normal in 3 weeks or so.

In the meantime, it's really pushing things even to type, and I can't concentrate worth shit because everything itches. Eyebrows, even. The rims of my ears. The middle of my back. My toes.

And I know what I want to do and how to go about doing it. Starts with reading four books back-to-back ("Swarmwise" by Falkvinge, "Habits" by DuHiggs, "The Art of Community" by Bacon, and "Scrum", whose author I momentarily forget) and then *right away* writing a long brainstorm about how these four idea-sets add up to the functional civilization I want to build. And then get started building it.


I meet with the Orycon con committee Saturday, and Jobs with Justice on Monday. On the negative side, I've had to punt Food Not Bombs and FreeGeek and CAT this week, because itch. And I was going to clean out all my clothes so I'm only keeping stuff in the room I actually *wear*, and that'll have to wait too.

*wriggling* (carefully) *with impatience*,

Back from Home Depot with ten 2x4's, a 10' hemlock closet pole, two 12' window moldings, and a box each of finishing nails and sheetrock screws. Just under a hundred and a quarter pounds. Trailer has a bad tire, or I'd have gotten the plywood, too.

Now to Put It All Together...
Got the daily Pod post done, got the difficult phone call done, and have attached the trailer hitch to the cargo bike and done various maintenance on it. Haven't installed the new shifter yet, though, or done anything on the Micro House Trailer, even though I do now have all the parts.

Still *feels* like I've been primarily goofing off all day.
I've been offline for nearly a couple of weeks now, due to my old machine finally breaking enough different ways at once that I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I now have a *new* old machine, which is much smaller but seems to be working reasonably well.

In trying to summarize what's going on and where to go next, the first part gets bogged down in frustrations with other people's foibles, so let's skip that bit, and merely summarize it as "Joel's desires for mature reciprocal behavior have not been met." I need to do a better job of people-picking; in order to do that, I need a larger pool of people to pick from.

There is also and separately the question of how I can do a better job of encouraging the people I *do* deal with to behave in ways that would better please me; I mention this more as an aside because I doubt that there are a lot of people actively looking for ways to adapt their behavior better to meet the needs of others such as myself. If I happen to run across one, I'll keep you posted.

I've got FreeCiv *on* this machine, but haven't figured out how to activate it yet, and am not sure I'm going to. It's lovely to have a concentration-breaker to get me out of hyperfocus when I need one, but maybe now I need *more* hyperfocus to get the life built I want to have here.

Portland is the most politically aware and radical city I've ever been in, and I want to build on that. I *also* need to assure myself of at least a minimal income to support myself in sufficient style as to be *able* to do that. Those wanting to accuse me of financial profligacy and self-indulgence may form a line to the left, so the rest of us may ridicule you; the only problem I have with my current $300/month rent-a-tiny-room is my doubts about my housemate's ability to sustain it; if he can keep himself and the household going, I'll probably be here for a few years, and I'm fine with that. I'd also like decent medical insurance, some food, and the occasional change of clothes. In about 5 years my need for a new bike will become dire, also.

The Alberta Guildhall is closing; I'm going to be starting the Belmont Pod as a CSE to expand on the tradition, and I'm trying to find out what Liam and Sam are going to do with the Park People community that had founded the Guildhall and the idea of the Hall itself. And it's hot, and the library's A/C is only set to about 80F, so I'm going to have to find a better place to type. More as I find one.
Zack had a bad day yesterday and got nothing done.

I had a B+ day yesterday; blew Greg off for a 1pm meeting by accident because my noon meeting was running so well we kept talking 'til 3pm and I'd goofed by not setting an alarm. John finished getting the roof off the cargo trailer so we can replace it, and I'd gotten 5 letters written and sent, including an interesting volley with CSE's landlady/director about my refusal to read her mind for her.

Today, Zack is going to try to finish Ch. 9 in his physics book, and read and copy out the problems to be done in Ch. 10. I've promised to call him semi-hourly to help keep him on track.

And today I'm going to make shabbos dinner and bring it to CSE, meet Greg at 1pm to cover for yesterday, and help Kristen with a CSE lab if she shows up. And write to Mike at Idealist.org and replace the shifter on my bike if there's time for those.
Okay, I got an email last night from one of the early CSE activists, who had been off "taking care of family business" for six weeks. and is incensed that we haven't Solved All The Problems in her absence. Her proposal: To stay the hell away from us until we succeed.

This is a community-based, grass-roots organization. If she stays away while the rest of us solve the problems, she is abdicating her role in the community. So I wrote her a very gentle letter back explaining this, which I have now shelved in my "Do Not Send" file, so I can write a *kind* letter back.

Gentle *doesn't* mean kind. HIV is so deadly *because* it is a gentle virus; it's so gentle it slides in right under a human immune system without being noticed at all. Then it kills you. My gentle, elegant one-page letter carried the meaning "Your staying away is an exemplar of the *cause* of our problems. Bad you!" Having reread it and treasured its elegance of expression, I now have to throw it away and instead write the letter that says "Good volunteer! You elegantly point out the problem we are in the middle of addressing! Will you now come join us in the joyous community endeavor of fixing it?"

I shall make every human effort not to barf on her shoes while so doing. Fortunately, I have a strong stomach.
Went to a League munch last night, spent too much on food that wasn't worth it, but had a nice time with pleasant people. Even while it was going on, was recognizing that I don't allow myself to get as much energy from this activity as I might, but that I have a useful underlying logic for so doing. I have a problem, though, in that I'm not completely implementing that logic. If I'm going to insist on tighter, more emotionally connected relations before I allow myself pleasure from them I need to go out and create those relations.

I'm building *something* with John. Neither of us know what, yet; we're both straight guys, and he's not kinky, so it's not going to relate to any of my historical energy sources. But that doesn't say what it *is* yet, and it might or might not be useful for me to figure that out and hang words on it. For the moment I think of it as growing a comrade.

It's amusing that it's not quite yet six AM and yet I feel like I've already taken a slow and easy morning. This is a good thing; now to shower and get dressed, make lunch, and get to work.
I attended Camp Cascadia last night, AKA the Occupation of Mt. Tabor. If I'm doing food next time I should bring a table, chairs, serving utensils and signs, both researched to provide more data on the underlying cause of the event and publicizing the Guildhall. According to some guy named Jesse I was referred to (though I still don't know how or why *he's* supposed to be an expert) the culprit is a guy named John Glick, who used to have a public service job in which he was responsible for the water-quality study that now as VP of engineering firm CH2MHill he's bidding for the reservoir reconstruction project on. If it weren't for the way he'd slanted the study in the first place, there would *be* no such project.

Big bucks for local politics, but I don't have a good enough handle on it yet and it's not central to what *I'm* trying to do. I want to make the Guildhall succeed, and I know the activity levels are far too low, but I haven't done the homwork yet to figure out what *should* be going on that isn't, or how to make it happen. I'd hoped to use Joseph as my close partner, but he's electing to focus on other things; John just showed up on my radar yesterday, and I don't know if he's suitable yet. So in theory I should just figure out how to work without one. Nice theory; I'll see if I can come up with an application.

I feel that I could be filling in a lot more detail here, but I feel a stronger need to go do something about it. So I'll do that, instead, but if anyone has a direct question, I'm happy to answer.
Four recent inputs on mortality, recently:

Jay Lake hosting his own wake in a couple of weeks, and dealing with his daughter's intimations of *his* mortality in his blog this morning;

Chatting with my son Gabe on IM this morning; he's discovering he's no longer a teenager, and as a dancer this means he's starting to age by *his* professional standards;

Booking my next trip down to visit my parents, who are 80 and have been practicing dying for a decade now;

And my own personal body protesting yesterday's 42 miles of bike riding. It insists that it's still 17, and that 42 miles of shallow undulations should be a good morning's warm-up. I have suggested to it that we are now 56, and that a reassessment is overdue. )
Okay, here's my draft for a vision for Community Supported Everything: )
I've been very involved with the Community Supported Everything folks for a couple of months now. I think it's time for me to change some of the ways *I've* been being, towards the end of adapting to make myself and CSE and the GuildHall more useful to each other. I'm committed to bringing over shabbos dinner this evening, and need to get that started cooking, but I'll try to post this all out later in the day as time permits.
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