Okay, so I'm writing this story, and three of these kids have dug up the wreckage of a robot. )
A headline in my inbox proclaims "Online Pornography Age Checks To Be Mandatory in UK..."

I'm trying to come up with a reason why the United Kingdom should be interested in how old my pornography is.
So I'm back in Portland,and the robot isn't finished yet. And my phone is still in Ranier, which sucks. Brian's friend Rey *might* be bringing it down to me this afternoon. Or, maybe not. We'll find out.

The robot is only one of five pieces of this project that need to fit together. The other creative part is writing the stories of how the robot came to be and how it came to be at GearCon this summer. Part #3 is GearCon itself, which is the nominally easiest part, in that I've helped with three or four (or six?) GearCons before, and have a pretty good idea of what I need to be doing about it. Part #4 is building a relationship with the Iron Fireman Collective, which is nothing like anything either they or I have ever tried. And Part #5 is connecting this with the Cascadians, which is again completely novel.

So, Part #1 requires reattaching the robot-head to its base, finishing the arms, building the ankles and feet, making a harness for the torso piece, and putting everything together. This can only be done in Ranier, and I'm not there right now.

Part #2 requires writing and publishing at least one and preferably 3 or 4 stories, and is what I should be doing right now.

Part #3 does not require any current action.

Part #4 I will hopefully be meeting with Garrett Hour on Sunday afternoon to recruit him as pitchman for the meeting with the IFC, as I can't pitch and wear the suit at the same time.

And the best thing I can do for Part #5 right now is finish Part #2.

To work, then.
Another not-as-good-as-I-wanted-it-to-be day. I was hoping to have finished the robot; much like fusion power always seems to be twenty years in the future from any given date, finishing the robot always seems to be happening tomorrow. skittenwench helped me flesh out a character in the story, which was good.

Figured out how to cut the face, and did so; Brian mounted the lenses to a mounting-board that'll go inside the head, got a friend to scavenge gaskets for the lenses, and built some segmentata lorica shoulders. He still needs to extend the shoulders down to the wrists, I need to mount the lenses and speaker in the head and then attach the head to the neck, and we need to fabricate the ankles, cover the shoebox-feet with tinfoil, make a harness to support the torso on the wearer's shoulders and install it, and figure out the undergarments and wrists. The hands are just two pairs of channellock-type pliers; the wrists are probably just going to be shop-rags painted silver and wrapped around the pliers.

And that's it, and we're done. I may get some progress pictures from Brian's wife Crystal; if so, I'll see if I can figure out how to post 'em here.
At Brian's, working on robot. Not as much progress as I would have liked, but not bad. Top of head is attached to main cylinder of head, and bottom of head is cut and partially drilled. Riveting it into its final conical shape is not something I want to try while tired, so it's waiting for morning. Then the head-bottom gets mounted on the neck, and I figure out how to install the eyes and mouth and do so.
So yesterday I got my dental crown emplaced, visited Surplus Gizmos with Brian, and got to his house, where I got nothing done on the robot other than brainstorming with him about it. He now has an idea for making segmenta-lorica arms for it, sorta like the arms of Colossus in the second Deadpool movie. I think it's a neat *idea*, but probably a lot more work than he thinks it is -- since we want to go from shoulder to wrist that's almost three dozen segments per arm, each of which has to fit to its mates both above and below, with room to flex as appropriate, and then *attached* to those mates in a way that allows for that flex.

Soon I will go back to bed. When I get up, I'll get done with my morning routine, and start work bending the leg-plates. When *he* gets up, I will talk over with him me getting to work on the head while he fiddles with the arms. I need some data from him on how to cut the top and bottom of the head, and the sequence is going to be drum/top/attach top to drum/bottom/attach bottom to neck/install face on drum. The drum will be *fastened* to the bottom, but not permanently attached to it.

With the head complete and the leg-plates attached (above includes fabricating them, but not attaching them, which would come next. Relatively easy, as soon as I get the shapes right), the arms and legs are all that's left. Oops, forgot reinforcing the inside corners of the base of the torso. For that, cut two reinforcements out of the remains of the Home Depot bucket, drill torso, drill reinforcements using torso as a jig, and rivet in place. Since they're entirely internal, they don't need to get painted. This is as far as I hope to get done tomorrow, counting Brian making significant process on the arms.

Brian's approach to doing the arms should work; we'll have to use the existing shoulder mounts because the torso has been adapted to them, and that will probably mean using at least a few inches of the aluminum-foil-pipe we'd tried using first.

Then come the legs and the feet. Feet are easy; have shoe-boxes, have tinfoil, cut holes in shoeboxes to get feet into them and cover all of box with tinfoil. Legs are fabricated, but we'll need ankles to adapt between them and the feet. Legs are 12" dia. air hose, and ankles are about 5" diameter -- 4"x6" if we can do an oval. Designing these will require more CAD time, which is one of Brian's skills. Attaching legs to torso I intend to do with suspenders, and I brought an old pair I intend to use. Will want a scrap of fabric between the pipe material and the claws on the suspenders. Then paint the pants I'll be wearing underneath so that any inadvertent peeps see only more silver, fit it all together and try it on, and we should be done. Maybe in time to make Friday dinner, maybe not. And then down to Portland to meet with Steve.

Okay, that's a plan. Back to bed.
I will be going back to the gym in a day or two... )
I postponed going to the gym this morning on purpose, since yesterday was long and tough, my night's sleep was too short, and I had a 9am breakfast meeting to get to. Meeting successful, sent email to Steve of GEARCon as a result, and still owe a summary to Marco of Pueblo, which is who I'd been meeting with. After a couple of hours of frenetic stewing, *then* I went to the gym. I started with 5 min. on the treadmill at 10% slope and 2.7mph, and then did a lot of other things I didn't keep close track of.

I expect it to be harder tomorrow and Monday, also. And I need to do the homework on other gyms in the area, so I have real data on whether the deal they're offering at this one is in fact a deal. If everything works out, I expect things to start getting back to "normal" about Tuesday or Wednesday. My initial baseline is ten minutes cardio, five minutes abdominal, ten minutes of some other kind of cardio, and five minutes of Something Else. My objective is to double all those durations within the first month.

Dad hasn't answered his phone or called back for a couple of weeks. I'm not worried; a bit *annoyed*, but if there was something to worry about I'd have heard from Carole or her son Tom.

I've got to work on that letter to Marco; back at you tomorrow with more data on the Rest of Life, I hope.

Update Finished and sent letter to Marco, finished reading Ecotopia, it's quarter past eleven and I should go to bed.

Day Two

Mar. 8th, 2019 07:25 am
...and it's going far better than I expected. Today did two four-minute stints on the elliptical machine, twenty reps on abs, eight minutes on treadmill, another 20 on abs, and another 4 minutes on treadmill. Still very slow (3mph), but 9% slope.
Tomorrow's gonna be busy. This is good.

I finally got signed up for a gym, and tomorrow is my first day at it. I plan on doing two 20+ minute stints on an elliptical machine, and 15 minutes of abdominal work in between. Then shower and go home --

And call Robert at the Siletz Agency for help with the Siletz characters in the story I'm writing. And text and call Marco, whom I met on the train Tuesday and has similar help to offer. And Dad, 'coz he's Dad.

And then dentist at noon. And then finish reading Ecotopia, and make some more progress on Boik. (Boik's editor really should have cut the first three dozen pages of the book, but from context I think those pages were the editor's idea in the first place. Boik needs a new editor.)

Sleep, first.
It's 1:22am, I'm up, might as well try to do something useful.

Yesterday I went to the annual Pacific Green Party convention with Brian. Was a waste of time; these terribly well-intentioned people are as clueless as they are well-intentioned, and, like most humans, single-mindedly dedicated to preserving their delusions. I don't have the time or personal resources to play therapist to them.

After that, we went to the DSA Electoral special-interest group, which was better. The DSA has changed a lot since I checked 'em out for the second time about 4 years ago; they've stopped obsessing on defining 'socialism' and started focusing on working on the *practice* of it, which is something we-as-a-nation are deeply and seriously in need of.

There's a piece of serious work that wants me to do it, which is devising, defining, and publicizing a replacement for the concept 'socialism'. Too much of the concept has gotten tied up in the "sports-team" model of politics, where the entire focus of each major political party is on "The *other* party are Bad Guys, and we are not them, so we must be the Good Guys!", and the Socialists are defined as league expansionists, who agree with the underlying schema but want their own bit of turf in the battle. This is what turned Grandpa Fred off them in the 1920's; they didn't want to *eliminate* authoritarianism, they (Mensheviks) just wanted their own turn on the top of the pile. Still not good for those stuck further down in the pile.

By focusing on *practice*, the current, roughly 2-year-old iteration of the DSA is doing a much better job of focusing on having government work for the public good, which I appreciate. Minor irritation in that the 'big tent' policy still leaves room in that tent for the hard-core Marxists, who are the biggest proponents of keeping the Team Sports model as the core of political revolution/reform. They want their turn as autocrat, too!

I'm not doing that work today, even tho' it keeps chewing on my ankle. It's a subset of a larger work, which includes Brian's Presidential campaign, my Para and Schmoo ficton, and my theory work on Positive Proxy. What I'm trying to do is bring that down to the level of "What do I do *today*?" so I can resume focus and get something useful done.

I've run myself out of attention span for the moment; I'll see if I can chase down a few more Z's and get back to this.
Stuffed squash.

Filling tasted pretty good; now to see how the final product turns out.

About a pint of Barley
Maybe half a pound each of three kinds of mushrooms, chopped coarsely, mixed with a medium-coarse chopped onion and a heaping teaspoonful of chopped garlic and browned
Two different soup stocks
A can of chopped tomatoes
Grated ginger
Salt & pepper
Half a cup of rose
About a cup of chopped prunes
A cup of eggnog that didn't get out of the way fast enough

If I had 'em handy, after tasting I'd have loved to have added a cup or two of finely-chopped celery, a bell pepper or two, a couple of habaneros, and some fresh herbs. *shrug* Not bad anyway.

Just got done stuffing it all into two Delicata, one Butternut, and a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, and sprinkling some seasoned breadcrumbs over the top. Now for an hour at 350F and find out how it turns out.
I'm writing for my usual reasons; I have things I need to be doing and I can't focus on doing them. Maybe writing why might help.

During high school, I only had one part-time job. Not because I didn't want more money, but I was the one taking care of a lot of the "dying generation" -- great-aunts and uncles in their late 70s who were in the process of dying out.

Most of 'em had numbers tattooed on their arms. Tattoos are common now; this probably doesn't mean anything to you. What it means is that they had been concentration-camp inmates. Jews don't have ten commandments, we have 613, and one of 'em is "no body mods," so of course the Nazis hit on that as their way of identifying prisoners and humiliating them at the same time. And in the mid-1970s, laser tattoo removal either hadn't yet been devised or hadn't been well-publicized; I just know *I'd* never heard of it.

One of the things I learned from the older generation was that there are three responses to Nazis: Shoot. Run. Or shoot and *then* run. This was reinforced by reading a biography of Gandhi, in which he was quoted as saying that militant nonviolence worked with the British, because they had active consciences, but wouldn't've work with the Germans.

I've been dismissed from the Democratic Socialists Information Security committee, because the chair doesn't think I'm radical enough. But I'm still on the texting-list, and they'll be sending 3 "security people" (de-escalation training only) to an internal informational meeting that the Proud Boys, a neonazi group, has called for an action against.

Nazis in Portland. Who'da thunk? What do I do? Stay away, or "just happen" to be walking down the right street at the right time carrying a stick? The police have already been informed, and have commented that this doesn't seem to them like sufficient reason to become alarmed. That's the fascist pattern; when *we're* getting hit, there's no reason for alarm. If we hit *back*, suddenly it's a riot and the tear gas and batons come out. Same thing we did to the blacks in Mississippi in '64, for a value of "we" I'd prefer not to think too deeply about.

So for a week from Tuesday I can either take a walk with a stick or stay home and do nothing. Is it time for me to go take an extended visit to my brother in New Zealand? I don't think so, but it's starting to get close.

The other thing going on is I'm trying to do a paper on the Commerce Department. In one incarnation or another it's been around since 1785, so there's a truly massive amount of bureaucratic inertia going on there. Having the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under that umbrella made sense when sail was the major mode of transport, but you may have noticed we haven't been doing that for a while. But the NOAA is still there.

That's silly, but largely benign. OK, we've needed a Department of Science, Research and Technology (where NOAA belongs) since I was a kid, but continued bureaucratic inaction is just what bureaucracies *do*. But the Department of Commerce would be better named the Department of Business Welfare, as most of what they do is give away huge chunks of money to businessmen, with very little of that silly "prove you need it" shit that poor people have to go through.

So, yeah. We can't give inner-city school kids a lunch program, but we can give millions to billionaires because they claim they can make more millions with the seed-money.

I'm a "warrior" only when fascists are trying to shame people by calling them "social justice warriors", a label I accept with pride. In the real world, I'm a 62-year-old cardiac patient who had some martial arts training 40 years ago. I may have to go try to save the asses of some of my young friends who think they can talk Nazis out of beating on them, and I'm researching the government I once thought existed to help me and it's looking grimmer and grimmer the deeper I get into the details. Makes it kind of hard to get my homework done.

Maybe next I can use y'all as a sympathetic audience to do homework in front of. Would be a lot more constructive than what I've *been* doing.
I’ve heard a recently oft-quoted statistic that no nation can stand when 3.5% or more of its population is in active resistance to its government. I call bullshit. )
This is more a philosophy than a recipe at this point, but I do hope to get it there.

Brown a bunch of mushrooms and onion together; brown some ground beef separately. Drain each. Boil some grain at the same time; I used quinoa, but rice would have been better. Also boil some raisins and cashews in bourbon.

Combine all the above along with some tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stuff it all in the peppers, and bake 'em for half an hour.
So here’s my optimistic scenario for American politics over the next two years:

Next month, the Democrats win a resounding majority in the House of Representatives, and a skinny one in the Senate (51/49, 52-47-1, something like that). Impeachment is filed in December or January, but the Dumbocrats are unable to get a supermajority in the Senate to vote to convict. However, since they *do* have a *simple* majority, they are able to control the meeting rules and prevent the charges from being dropped. ‘19 and ‘20 are spent in a case of complete deadlock, no further damage being done while the Senate is engaged in the impeachment circus, and we don’t make much if any progress either. In the ‘20 election, there are more left-wing third-party radicals elected than ever before, the Dems gain a supermajority in both houses and Trump loses to whomever the Democrats choose to run, possibly Jeff Merkley.

Ideally, a wave of Rethug impeachments and indictments follow, including criminal charges against most of the departing Administration and a smattering of Senators, Representatives, and recently ex-same. In practice, probably not, the Dems are terrified of creating a precedent of jailing Congresscritters and we’re too busy trying to patch the damage to bill the perpetrators for restitution, so they go on to lead wealthy and contented retirements.

How badly wrong could I be, and where?

The Rethugs could succeed at blaming the Dumbos for the deadlock in 20, take back the Senate, and get another term for the Dumbnald. The American safety string (can’t call it a “net”) is completely dismantled, environmental regulation the same, a lot of poor people including myself die, and we go skating merrily on our way to a 4C global temperature rise, whereupon we get Hothouse Earth and everybody else follows us.

Same result if the Republicans retain control of both houses in 18, only quicker. I regard this one as highly unlikely.

The Dumbos fail to gain a majority in the Senate in ‘18. If the House votes to impeach, charges are dismissed handily, and whether charges are filed or not we get two more years of the Russian operative running the country. With Dem control of the House, we still get a couple of years of deadlock, but it becomes very difficult for the Rethugs to blame the Dumbos for it in 20. We get President Merkeley and a Dem majority in both houses in 20, tho’ still probably no supermajority in the Senate. There is limited repair of the damage, but not anything close to a complete recovery.

Abel could win the Green nomination and the Presidency in 20, with a solid Dem majority in the House and probably a skinny one in the Senate. I become White House chief of staff, there is a more substantial repair of the damage and the aforementioned but previously dismissed pursuit of the villains, and immediate and profound action to avoid the Hothouse, which may or may not be successful. Not bloody likely but fun to imagine.

Okay, play with it. What might follow from any of the above, and what scenarios *not* listed do you think possible?
It's 10:30am, and I'm sitting in my comfy-chair and so far the net total of my activity has been doing my morning blood test. Haven't even had breakfast yet. I know something's wrong, but I can't figure out what, and hence can't figure out what to do about it.

I've been getting up at night to pee for a long time; I'm told it's just part of getting old. The last few nights I've been getting up 4 or 5 times to pee, and having a lot of difficulty doing so. And there seems to be a direct causal link between this and really not wanting to get up in the morning. Previously, when I had to get up for the 3am pee, I just stayed up and got to work. That would have been seven and a half hours ago, and I would have gotten a day's worth of work done by now. Work is fun; I like work. This not-working is wrong.

This might be related to my need to get more explicit about my internal organization. I've got a number of interrelated projects going on, and the ability to shift from one to the next as opportunity suggests is inordinately valuable. It also carries with it the risk of getting lost, of losing a project because I didn't keep adequate track of it, or losing synergies for similar reasons. The Arcology, the various political campaigns -- Marc, Brian, Patrick, JoAnn -- the Para and Schmoo ficton, Positive Proxy, and the Iron Fireman all fit in with what I'm doing, but if I don't keep better track of 'em they might go the way of the Teddy Wins In '16 ficton.


Sep. 11th, 2018 12:07 pm
I don't know where to write. I need to re-set my head, and I *know* all my journals to be compromised (it's been that way for years; I've just never had cause to *care* before), so here will have to do and I'll sort out the inevitable fall-out as it occurs.

Just because you're a Good Guy doesn't mean you can't *also* be an asshole. I have some problems with some beliefs I hold that I know to be wrong, that are based on real-but-biased information from my personal experience, and I need to figure out how to work around those beliefs until I supplant them. I confided them in a friend, who basically responded "But you're a guy. *Guys* don't have emotional issues, only women do! Why are you blaming women for all your problems?"

Gee, thanks. That makes it *so* much easier to correct my emotions.

And then my morning meeting stood me up. Oh, well, I had breakfast by myself and didn't get to do any networking. I'll live. But cumulative disappointments have a cumulative effect, and today it's raining.

And I need to pull my head out of my ass and go visit 3 high schools and 3 colleges this week. Move it, body!

*body sits*

OK, food, a shower, and some clothes and we'll try that again.
Back from a week in LA helping my 86 year old Dad move in with his girlfriend. They have a nice two-bedroom condo in Redondo Beach, and while the rent was not mentioned this is probably saving them at least nine grand between them over what the "assisted living" facility was overcharging them. And Dad gets his ocean view back, which for reasons I will probably never understand is important to him. (He *hates* going in the water, or on it in anything smaller than a cruise ship.)

I got the public version of girlfriend Carole's history. Dead husband Tony was a "factor", which she described as a debt collector. The combination of that, her incessant praise of all things Italian and especially Sicilian, and her description of him as a large and immensely powerful man, who retired from the business immediately after a bad auto accident crippled him, suggests to me that he was a mob enforcer, which would make him the only mob guy I've heard of getting out on a medical. It would be difficult to be terrifying on crutches, I have to admit.

She has seven kids, Anthony and Tom living nearby in other parts of LA, Karen and Suzy living in Seattle, Michael and David living in Maryland, and Deborah being several years dead, nominally from diabetes but practically from simply not ever taking care of her body.

And there's a lot more detail I won't bother describing here. She fills the air with noise, more often happy than not, and I get the impression she's never actually had anyone *listen* before. Murray's *hearing* is terrible, but his *listening* has never been anything less than fantastic.

This morning I met with Brian and Patrick, the former running for President in 2020 and the latter for Governor in November. After Patrick loses in November (he's not even a potential "spoiler"; despite all his earnest running around he's unlikely to get more than a couple percent of the vote) I hope to persuade him to run in 2020 for a lesser office -- not sure which one, yet. State Senator and State Rep. both come to mind; he's more interested in State than Federal politics, regardless of how much we could use a new Congressman from that district.

And it is suddenly bedtime; more on that in the morning, I hope.
"Breaking the Scale". About what happens to human judgment when the scales upon which judgment occurs exceed human capacities. Case example: Mom's old "Save your tears until they're useful," when the standards *her* Mom provided were based on escaping the holocaust, meaning no discomfort is worth acknowledging unless more people than I'm ever going to meet are going to die as a result. Contrast: Hypochondria.
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