drwex: (Default)
(slightly modified from a post by Cory Doctorow)

Dear Liberals, Independents, and principled Conservatives
In 2020 there will be a candidate competing against Donald Trump for President. It is very likely this candidate:
  1. Isn't your first choice

  2. Isn't 100% ideologically pure

  3. Has made mistakes

  4. Might not really excite you all that much

  5. Has ideas you are uncomfortable with

Please start the process of getting over that shit now instead of waiting until 2020.

Dear Democratic Establishment
In 2020 we will need to choose a candidate to fight Trump, an actual threat to the survival of the human race. So you might be tempted (again) to ask America to vote for a warmongering, banker-friendly, more-of-the-same candidate, on the theory that we'll vote for the candidate who makes people like you rich as fuck rather than enduring four more years of Trump, even if that candidate is terrible in every way except for not being Trump.

That is a hell of a gamble, and it could literally cost us the only planet we have. Knock that shit off.

Democrats have no future as the "at least we're not Trump" party. Get used to it. You have two whole years; use them wisely.

No love,
Me
drwex: (VNV)
https://soundcloud.com/defunk-165975487/sets/valentine-mix

For those who just want the tunes, here's an hour and a half "Valentine Mix" from Defunk. Like a lot of long mixes it has good bits and bad bits and I don't think all of it will appeal to any listener more particularly. It has funky bits and country bits and electronica bits and some lovely moments. I link to it because it's a Valentine's Day mix without a lot of sappy 'romantic' pop stuff. If you know me at all, you know that's not my speed. I don't even much like V-D.

What I do like is music. If you know me at all, you know that music and sharing music is an important part of my love language. Not in that "oh, here's our song and let's stare soulfully into each other's eyes while it plays" (non)sense. But rather, music is love. Sharing music is showing you care. Music, and sharing of music, has been an important part of every meaningful relationship I can remember in my life.

If we haven't shared music, then we haven't shared something important to me and it's a way in which we aren't close, yet. We can share music by passing tunes back and forth, by going to shows together that we both enjoy, by proclaiming our favored music's superiority, by arguing about which of our musics is good, bad, or just plain trash. You can love terrible music - music I can't even listen to. You can think my music is terrible and unlistenable. When you choose to share that, you are saying "love" to me. This is something I've known about myself for a long time but haven't really been able to articulate until recently.

These music blogs are acts of me sharing my love with you, my readers. I hope you recognize yourself reflected in these sharings, as I mark and blog music sometimes with people in mind. I hope you hear this language and will speak it with me. And I hope you have a good Valentine's Day, whatever your love language is.
drwex: (VNV)
We're going to get sent home early today (it's Feb 12th as I type this; no promises on when it posts) and so meetings are being shuffled around. A couple things I need to do in-person will get postponed and that all means I have a little space to write about music. Buckle up and stay warm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5F-aj171QM
Bob Mould brings us the latest installment of his personal post-punk music odyssey. This has the expected Mould vocals and guitars and it's definitely punk-influenced. It's also somewhat autobiographical, as Mould has moved to Berlin and the song comes from his personal experiences of having trouble fitting in. It's also more gentle and pop-influenced than traditional punk. There are melodies and nobody screams or thrashes but at its core it's a song about social oppression and (not) being part of the larger culture. If that's not punk, I don't know what is.

https://soundcloud.com/dirtwire/the-whip-an-ten-nae-remix
Dirtwire just posted this "swamp crunk" remix of their track "The Whip". I love that concept, and this tune. It's got a good beat and the spare claps and whistled melodies are drawn out with echoes that invoke outdoor spaces without being creepy or too much like country-western for my tastes.

https://soundcloud.com/dirtwire/the-whip-an-ten-nae-remix
I usually post Sander van Doorn mixes, as I listen to his weekly podcast and posted setlists whenever they appear. I'm pretty sure I got this track from one of them but it's been a while so I've lost track. This "One Love" is a great mix of high-energy/high-BPM brackets around a really lovely guitar-led romantic track.

To close this out let's have some serious funky stuff from Stickybuds...

https://soundcloud.com/stickybuds/doyourthing
First up, a James Brown tribute mash with "a ton of samples" from The Godfather of Soul and elsewhere. Definite chair-dancing music and I particularly like how they use other musical styles (particularly reggae) to vary the mix.

https://soundcloud.com/stickybuds/ff18
And to take you home here's the Stickybuds Fractal Forest mix from the past year's Shambhala festival. In my fantasy universe where I have the money and time (and physical/mental resources) to do music festivals this one is always top of my list. I love the setlists that come from it; like this one they're deeply funk-infused and dance-encouraging.
drwex: (Default)
I can't believe Arisia was more than a week ago. In the interim I've done some household maintenance, done a lot of transition things (about which I'll write more soon, I promise) been sick AF for about two days, and wow, it's been a week.

Past me wrote "eight inches of snow followed by rain followed by a hard freeze won't be AAAANY problem, right?" Past me is mostly an idiot but boy was Past Me right about that. Monday I came home before the rest of the family to find 6" of fine light powder covered by a 2" thick sheet of frozen snow that had no problem holding my weight. Getting up the driveway to get to the shovels wasn't amusing, nor was the 90 minutes of hacking it took to clear enough space that I could get my car into the driveway. I would've done more but I did something nasty to my left forearm and I declared myself done before I caused a serious tendinitis flare.

The temp and wind walking from the BPP to retrieve the car from under the Commons was so bad I literally cried from the pain of it hitting my face and then had to clear tears from my glasses so I could see to drive. So _that_ was fun. I have no idea how any of the Arisia Logistics on Ice crew managed it; they are tougher humans than I.

Arisia was about 25% smaller in attendance this year, but mostly didn't feel like it. It had all the things I've come to expect from the convention and we managed to fit many things more or less well into the new hotel space. That can be improved with experience. I'm also discovering I missed seeing a large number of people even though the Con never felt overcrowded to me or like I was missing out.

blow by blow, chronological )
drwex: (WWFD)
I discovered accidentally today that I had no problem writing "my master's thesis" like normal people do. That was not true for a long time.

While working on the thing I changed all instances of "thesis" to "Grendel" as in "the monster that must be slain". At one point my only way of making forward progress on the actual text was to use the word processor to replace all instances of "the" with "the fucking". It's remarkably more relaxing to read or write about "the fucking experiment" and "the fucking results". Of course I changed it back before sending it to readers, but it got me through one four-day-weekend push.

(Preemptively, I categorized everything to do with my PhD writing as "Mordred" as in "that bastard". I still don't like the 'd' word but it's not as trauma-laden as it used to be.)
drwex: (WWFD)
Each year I try to mark the anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

This year we have a preview for an unsubtly named movie - https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/the-challenger-disaster/ - that appears to center on the Thiokol engineers and NASA personnel who made the decision to launch the fatal flight. There's a clear line about "testifying before a Presidential Commission" and a lot of noise about "coverup". I'm not sure that's the right word, but I'll most likely see the movie.
drwex: (VNV)
Arisia coming up, also snowstorm. But we're staying 'till Monday anyway so eight inches of snow followed by rain followed by a hard freeze won't be AAAANY problem, right? Dear gods. Anyway, I'm not likely to post (or even read) between Friday and Tuesday so if I don't do this now it ain't gonna happen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyNwWTnCaEA
Caro Emerald's "Tangled Up" showed up on my Pandora modern swing station and I was like, "Oh!" In this clever Lokee remix you can hear the signature tenor line from "We No Speak Americano" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E9Ed9DUQoQ) which was my introduction to the entire genre of modern swing lo these many years ago. It's neat to hear it again, even if it has taken me five years to find this particular track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhNirmwCTfQ
This one came out of a Sander Van Doorn set that I'll probably blog at some point because the whole set is pretty good. I particularly liked this Marco V track "Muraco's Godd", which I first blogged about almost exactly two years ago. The original is from like 2005 but this extended mix appears to be from just last year. It's still pretty hardcore and it gets me dancing.

https://soundcloud.com/guyhaliva/set-techno-afro-house-by-guy-haliva-2019
"Afro" sound tends to mean different things in different parts of the world. In America it often refers to various styles of African-American music, from hip-hop to reggae, and we call sounds from Africa "world" music. Elsewhere - like in Guy Haliva's native Israel - Afro music means music made with sounds and influences from the continent of Africa. Sometimes with native instruments or vocals and sometimes (as here) with electronica and samples built from those continental sounds. I like both, but "Afro" music in this sense has become more rare lately. So this set pleased me greatly.

https://soundcloud.com/thefunkhunters/sets/westwood-radio-006-by-the-funk
The question wasn't whether I would close out this entry with some funk. The question was which one to select. I've got four or five sets in open tabs. This hour-long entry from The Funk Hunters wins in part because it opens with Chali 2na and it's hard to go wrong with him. And it name-checks Satoishi Nakamoto so that's a thing. I'm really sad that the Funk Hunters' current tour won't bring them anywhere near where I live; I'll have to console myself with dancing at my desk.
drwex: (Troll)
Yesterday I went in for an ultrasound that checked for new stones and also to see if my ureter had healed properly.

No stones, yes healed. Whew.

I will need another ultrasound in 6 months as a final check to see that stones are not forming but if that one is clear and I'm symptom-free (by then it will have been a year) we'll call this a one-time thing and be done with it. Yay! I'm likely to try keeping my diet modifications though the doc would like me to be even more low-protein than I've been.
drwex: (VNV)
I realized starting New Year's Eve that I was out of the December funk and on an upswing. Even going back to work today wasn't bad. Give it a week.

Meanwhile, let's listen to some music.

https://soundcloud.com/westwoodrecordings/sets/the-best-of-westwood-2018
Westwood Recordings' selection of the 20 best tracks they produced in the past year. It's fun and funky and it has Chali 2na ("Change the World") with some incredible flow. There's a bit more wub and electronica nonsense in it than I'd like but that's the way of things the past year. I keep hoping it'll get better, and honestly any collection that's 80% excellent is good enough for at least a blog mention.

https://soundcloud.com/westwoodrecordings/hands-up-raise-your-fist
I thought for sure I'd blogged this but I can't find it and it's good enough you should listen to it again anyway. Funk Hunters doing "Hands Up (Raise Your Fist)" is so very apropos of our social/political moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OnN8zGsJCg
I think the Leo Napier who guests on the previous track is this Leo Napier. "Can't Change Crazy" - ain't that the truth. The lyrics are... something else.

https://woxow.bandcamp.com/track/woxow-chaos-k-lab-remix-feat-ken-boothe-akil-from-j5-blurum13
Look, I promise I do listen to things other than funk. I just don't think most of it is that good or worth listening to more than once. I did sign up for Spotify so maybe I'll figure out how to find new music on there but for now this is what Soundcloud is giving me and so it's what I have for you.
drwex: (Default)
(If you missed the antecedent to all this, it's at https://drwex.dreamwidth.org/1009674.html - Reading it isn't strictly necessary to understanding this entry, but it'll help with context.)

The original questioner clarified that one of their concerns was:
"it didn't seem fair for somebody to be held accountable by Arisia for ideas communicated on a non-Arisia forum."


I want to write about this, because I think this is a very hard problem, to which we don't have a good answer. So we (and I mean all of us, not just Arisia) are going on a case-by-case basis, and I think that's the right thing to do, even though I like systems that are predictable and not warty.
This is going to get long; you've been warned )
I wish there was a neat answer, an ending or moral I could put here to wrap all this up nicely. There isn't one. This is a big hard problem and Arisia's instance of it is only a microcosm of the serious challenges our society is wrestling with. But it's my microcosm and a thing I continue to care about, deeply. For myself, I have a lot more reading and thinking to do. In about three weeks we're going to have a convention and after that convention there will be a stack of IRs that get handed to the Eboard and we're going to have to figure out how to apply our principles ... on a case by case basis.

Wish me luck.
drwex: (Default)
tl;dr This is going to be a long (at least) two-parter of me talking about Arisia things. I will cut tag for those who don't care about Arisia stuff.
Background Overview )
Today on Dreamwidth )
What did I say? )
So that's a lot of background. Next up, a question for which I don't have a good answer, and I think nobody else does, either.
drwex: (Troll)
Arisia Programming just sent out the notification that schedules are updated. (Nothing is final until it happens because humans are human.) I told them they are rock stars because they are. Pulling off the complete reorganization of the panels (and workshops, etc.) schedule in this short an amount of time with all the changes is its own kind of miracle.

Friday, 7 PM - Adults, Couples, and Coworkers on the Spectrum

Saturday, 1PM - Polyamory Meet-up

Saturday, 5:30 PM - Gaming and Consent

Sunday, 10 AM - Arisia Corporate meeting

Sunday, 2:30 PM - Geeky Parenting

Sunday, 7 PM - Open Policy Workshop

Monday, 11:30 - State of Arisia Community

The "Spectrum" panel is a reality I live every day. I'm looking forward to hearing others' experiences and hoping we'll have some success strategies to share.

"Gaming and Consent" looks like a good group - the moderator has already started discussion - and has a mix of LARP and tabletop people. Working out content warnings for this will be an extra challenge. We'll be talking about deliberate consent-violating or -challenging scenarios and we'd like not to freak out unsuspecting audience members.

The Corp meeting is going to be much more lively than the usual, I expect. We should have a great turn-out and I'm hoping to get a vote on my own minor Bylaws amendment. I've become much more of a policy wonk than ever I expected (see below) and if we're ever going to make things better these are the levers we can pull to accomplish that.

"Geeky Parenting" is another reality I live and love. My kids are wonderful geeks and it's been ever-more interesting these last couple years exploring the more-adult overlaps of their fandoms and mine. I spend a fair bit of time reflecting on how different their geek upbringing has been than my own was.

The Open Policy Workshop is my pet and I hope it draws well. We have a new Open Policy Committee at Arisia, Inc (Chaired by yours truly) that is intended to help people get their desired changes enacted. It's one thing to give feedback and ask for change - a needed and valuable thing - and another level to say "I want to make this change happen". The workshop is designed to show people how it's possible to get to that next level.

The "State of Arisia" is designed to be a chance for people to vent and speak to those of us who are supposed to be in charge(*). Earlier in the Con there will be things like a town hall, a safety discussion and other events that I'm not part of but that are designed to engage people in these processes. Monday should be when we learn how well this has all worked.

I hope to see many of you there. Sadly, due to multiple conflicts there will not be the usual Saturday night at 8 drinks. I do plan to check out the hotel bar, probably later Saturday night, but I can't organize a time. Maybe 10 PM? If anyone would like to meet up and test out the cocktail selection I'd like that. Leave a comment or ping me in email.

-----

(*) I keep wanting people to remember that the Eboard serves the Corporation, not the other way around. Anything we do can be overturned by the membership.
drwex: (Default)
I will defend this as the best Spider-man movie ever, and a contender for a place in any list of top 10 superhero films of the modern era. Some people think that animation is a different category to live action and you can't compare the two; I happen not to agree but I'll recognize that as a valid point of view. In that vein I will say that Spider-Verse is the best animated comic-book movie ever. It is made by people who have a deep love and understanding of many comic styles and it uses lots of them to good effect. (5/5 stars, possibly the most underrated under-promoted movie of the past year)

The plot, such as it is, is really simple: in the world where Miles Morales lives, he gets bitten by the radioactive spider and becomes (a) Spider-Man. However, that reality is collided with others in which other Spider people exist and they get pulled into Morales' version of reality in order to stop this madness and set things right.

What things? Well, like the whole of existence but also some things in peoples' lives. This is part of what makes the movie shine - its ability to delve into the details of Morales's and a couple other characters' lives and work those into the over-plot. The character voicing and rendering support this extremely well, another of the film's strengths.

All of the voice actors are good, and I particularly liked the way the film re-imagined Aunt May. That's been one of my major beefs with the MCU version of Spider-Man and I was happy this film went in a totally different direction.

The film uses a wide variety of animation styles and the first time I saw a sound effect rendered on screen in text I nearly whooped for joy. I very much want to get this film on disk so I can frame-by-frame through it to pick up what I expect to be dozens of clues, homages, and references most of which go by much too fast at movie-projection speeds to catch. For example, each time another Spider-Verse character appears, they do so by popping into Times Square. Each time there are subtle (or overt) changes in the artwork, billboards, and animations going on behind the character.

There's also a couple of numerological themes happening - it's teensy spoiler so I won't say more, but do watch the numbers when you see this film.

The film does behave as though you have seen at least a couple of the other Spider-Man films and are at least somewhat familiar with the character's story and milieu. That said, the references and shout-outs are just fun things to know, not essential to enjoying this film. The only drawback of seeing Spider-Verse as your first Spider-Man movie is that everything else is going to be a letdown compared to this.
drwex: (WWFD)
Shamelessly stolen from Coraline:

Comment with the list of five things you'd use to invoke me and if you so desire I'll reply with the five I'd use to invoke you.
drwex: (VNV)
Let's pretend that my life didn't blow up (ok, that I didn't blow up my own life) and I could post about my usual things, like music. Nothing really revelatory here, but let's ease back into the pool, shall we?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCgCu9zCOIQ
This thing goes back to 1993 and it is a now-corrected deficiency in my life that I have never heard it before. "La Femme Fetal" is a jazz-heavy rap track that is deeply political. It's jazz-rap about birth control and abortion rights, not to put too fine a point on it. All art is political and some of it (especially hip-hop) takes politics head-on. Good music is timeless, but it's kind of sad how American politics have kept this relevant for 25 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&reload=9&v=0e0txlm7KUo
I noted A-WA in my review of the 200 songs by women+ list and have been wanting to follow up since. As with the previous track this is political music, with A-WA using Acid Arab's music to make a vocal/video statement against the male-dominated cultures of the Middle East.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&reload=9&v=GINpKSkZawk
I found this because it's adjacent to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It's a similar sort of breathy, intimate, yet biting music. "I bled words onto a page for you, and you never knew my name" - ooh, ouch.

https://soundcloud.com/djmayajakobson/netta-toy-mashup-israel-song-eurovision-contest-2018-vs-backstreet-boys-maya-jakobson-mashup
I've been finding Maya Jakobson tracks in my stream now and then, and this is a fun mashup from her. I'm not a big fan of the source material, but Eurovision is kind of all over the top trashy show anyway so it fits.

https://soundcloud.com/sanholobeats/right-here-right-now-feat
San Holo is a name I've been seeing off and on for a while in my new music letters. This is a light, happy track with a slow beat. Nothing too exceptional, but worth watching
drwex: (Default)
This is very long. I will cut the whole thing so as to not blow up your reading page. It was hard to write. Despite its length I have more to say on this topic. I've had this checked by an insider who confirmed that I am not revealing any confidential information, a thing I worry about a lot these days.

Background, for those who are not actually submerged in All Things Arisia: past leaders of the organization mishandled some serious incident reports. People got really hurt. I still believe that no one acted with malice, but impact matters a lot more than intent and when you've hurt someone you need to apologize.

We did issue an apology. You can read it here: https://corp.arisia.org/Apology-2018-11-23
This entry recounts part of what happened between November 11th, when the new Executive Board was elected, and November 23, when the apology appeared. During that time there were a lot of insistent voices saying "why don't you just apologize already?" as if that was a simple matter. As if it was like you'd stepped on someone's foot. They say "ow" and you say "sorry." It's not like that at all, and some of the loudest voices were from people who I think should know better. This post is public in part so they might read it and so that you can refer people to it. I hope it helps; I intend to continue blogging my adventures as Arisia VP whenever I can.

wall of history crits you )
drwex: (pogo)
Bohemian Rhapsody is actually a Freddy Mercury movie. Despite noises from the other band members, and whatever 20th Century Fox put in the official storyline about it being a Queen movie, it's not. It's about Freddy from his first moment with the band to Live Aid. 3/5 stars if you are or were a Queen fan or like rock fantasies, 2/5 otherwise.

There are really three kinds of things you can say about this movie and I'll say a bit in each category.

1. It's a much more affecting movie than I expected. It's also better than I had feared it would be. A good argument can be made that Rami Malek should get a Best Actor nod for this work. Malek is in virtually every scene, and brings to life a complex, difficult, incredibly charismatic character full of flaws and contradictions. By contrast, the other band members are flat cut-outs, lacking anything like even a backstory.

Whether Malek's character resembles the real Mercury, is faithful to the deceased rock star, or is a terrible distortion is a matter of much debate. Regardless of which thing you believe, Malek sells it. I cried a lot at this movie, much more than I expected to. I'm told that Malek's staged Live Aid performance is shot-for-shot what Mercury did then; my memory is hazy after all this time, but some bits seem very familiar.

2. This movie is a PG-13 telling of a real-life X-rated story. It's impossible to tell a true-to-life version of Mercury's story and retain a PG-13 rating. His drug use is mentioned maybe twice, and seen a couple times but otherwise avoided. The entire gay sex scene of the time is curtained off behind lurid red veils. Most of his relationships are simply elided, leaving him with only two significant relationships in the film. Having multiple overlapping lovers of multiple genders is not a PG-13 story, so there's that.

Much of the criticism I've read of this film falls into the "but they should have made this other movie instead" camp. That's not an unfair thing to say, particularly if you believe that there's no way to be honest and not horribly distort Mercury's life and legacy by making it PG-13. On the other hand, you have to critique the movie that's in front of you and if you accept that it's going to be PG-13, they did a number of things well. You get a rock legend film with some of the greatest rock music of its generation and that is not a thing to take lightly.

3. This movie really does play HORRIBLY fast-and-loose with the characters and events it portrays. There are plenty of public biographies out there and even a cursory reading of a Wikipedia page will tell you that no, that character didn't come into his life there, and no he didn't actually do that thing and to a significant degree this sort of ahistoricity is the film's most damning characteristic. More behind the cut because it's all spoilers from here.

spoiler bits here )
So, yes, Bohemian Rhapsody plays extremely fast and very loose with historical truth. And yes, a true-er biopic could be made, if you were willing to sacrifice the music because the surviving straight men of Queen won't have it. I'm not sure a Freddy Mercury film would be at all meaningful without the music. So this is the film we got, and it has its truths mixed among its fantasies and like its subject it is complicated and hard to talk about in simple terms.
drwex: (VNV)
We saw VNV again, this time at the Royale in Boston. It's a good venue for such a show - last time they overfilled the Sinclair in HSQ. This venue held a good crowd but always with room to dance.

Opening acts were forgettable. A DJ with a couple of cute tricks and not much repertoire and a quartet that reminded me of very early Sisters of Mercy. Not a bad comparison, just "hey, it's been done, what new are you bringing?"

VNV this time was a quartet with a different drummer. A good show, about two hours of music with about half from the new album (Noire) and half older favorites. Ronan was obviously in a good mood and energetic, but there was less of the idiosyncratic banter that usually highlights a VNV show. There was one moment where - in the middle of an elaborate interactive left-of-house versus right-of-house thing - some system died. I think it was the synth because Ronan made some comment about Ableton Live, but it was hard to tell from the audience what went wrong. They decided to abort that track and Ronan ad-libbed a bit while the techs rebooted things about imagining we'd just gone through this and that and now were back to seeing VNV, as the band started on the next song.

We got several favorites, but they did not do the end-encore Perpetual I'd been hoping for. Still, I managed to move and sweat and get out some of the emotional slush that had accumulated over the past couple weeks. Ronan remarked on the concert space being a kind of "temple" and a place where outside cares could be set down for a while. Yeah, I needed that.

As usual we bought the CD at the show (artists make a much higher percentage per disc when you buy direct from them) and I've been enjoying listening to it in the car. Also notable, we brought Thing 2 to the show. They knew more words to the songs than we did, I think.
drwex: (Troll)
I have a gihugic Arisia-related post that I've been working on for a while but I also have some light things to say so let's try doing both, bwahahaha. Did I mention that the amount of typing and editing I'm doing has been hurting my wrist? Yeah, that's not troubling at all.

So OK, Thanksgiving. We went for the actual day with the relatives we have been going out with these past few years. Unfortunately, my aunt's condition has deteriorated to the point where going out to an elaborate meal would be more ordeal than pleasure so we planned to have Turkey Day with aunt/uncle at the facility she's living in. Found out that it's actually a lunchtime meal and knowing what the quality of food was likely to be I had a bright idea.

Y'see most turkey is white meat, which I find to be bland, uninteresting and often (despite gravy and cranberry sauce) too dry. I, and the family, prefer dark meat to the point where we'll pay silly amounts to get roasted turkey legs at places like King Richard's Faire. So I suggested to Pygment that she get a couple turkey legs and we could roast them in the evening when we got hungry again. She... um, yeah. Went to the butcher near her and got four entire legs.

That's FOURTEEN POUNDS of turkey leg. Yes, they're that big. She brined them and I put them up with some herbs (mostly dill and parsley thanks to MizA's garden) to marinate overnight. Throw that in the oven with some chopped up sweet potatoes, scallions, and a few more herbs. A-MAY-ZING, if I do say so myself. We've had three meals for three of us and we're not quite done with them yet, nor tired of leftovers as I usually get.

It doesn't entirely make up for how depressed I got seeing my aunt in such difficult shape - next month will be their 50th wedding anniversary - but it's rare that I like my own cooking this much.
drwex: (Default)
A long time ago I learned that not making a choice is itself a choice. I do not think I properly taught this to my elder child and I hope she finds it out in some non-destructive way. I live in the city of Decision Fatigue these days, because there are so many things I must decide on. Even if I don't participate in the arguments, I often have to have an opinion at the end. Sometimes we even vote.

I am generally treating corp@ like That List, from which I unsubscribed when I had to focus on getting my dissertation done, and have never looked back. I can't actually unsubscribe from corp@, but I am skimming and trying to gather the gist instead of going down into the weeds as often as I did a couple weeks ago. And I rarely respond.

Part of this is that I no longer have a private voice on matters concerning Arisia. No matter how much I disclaim that something is my personal opinion (turns out I still have a lot of those) words I utter turn out to have been uttered by the Vice President of Arisia, Inc. and at a minimum they raise the question of what Arisia's official opinion might be on something about which I have a personal opinion. Often, I can't speak that, either.

We have spent an incredible amount of time the last ten days writing things. Statements that appear in public as just a few paragraphs go from multi-page drafts through intense workshopping processes. The Board itself works on most of them, often with one or two people taking lead, and we have external input both from connected resources (e.g. senior staff of the Arisia Convention) and from connected people. Several of us are lucky to have partners whose knowledge, expertise, and input can be brought to bear on these things. We use Google Docs a lot; I can't imaging how much harder this was back in the days before shared co-editable documents.

As a result, most of my words are captured. I have some words for work (I have to) and for family but I am remarkably talked out. To some degree I hoard my words for things I am passionate about. I'm hoping tonight will turn out a certain way (we have a call with a full agenda) and I plan to use a lot of my words there.

I thought about all the above partly in response to the last 10 days, partly because of comments in other journals, and partly because the usual pre-Thanksgiving advice is drifting around about not needing to argue with every loud, ill-informed relative. In more ordinary times I would be very much about "f**k that" - I do not (as a dear friend reminded me) suffer fools gladly. And particularly in 2018 I feel it's important not to let racist, privileged, and hateful remarks go unchallenged.

Holidays are always fraught, and for some people they're downright toxic. It makes sense (as Pygment wrote in her own journal not long ago) to confine one's responses, particularly confrontational or intervention, to situations in which one feels safe. How terrible to admit that a family gathering would be unsafe, but that's reality for a lot of people, particularly people from marginalized groups.

This, too, touches back on Arisia because so much of what has happened has revolved around safety, or the lack thereof. Pygment reminded me the other night that she's never regarded Arisia as "safe space" and tried to teach that to the kids. It's wise, if regrettable. No gathering that large is ever going to be "safe" and using that language only serves to mislead. We should not speak of "safe", but instead speak of "safer" and "prioritizing safety".

I am, I admit, influenced by in-the-past days of working on what became known as safer sex education - largely promoting condom use. "Safe" is an absolute word I prefer not to speak. But I can speak about priorities and what I see as part of the mandate of the new Board: to prioritize safety over other concerns that people (right or wrong, see there's that bit where I can't speak) perceive as having been de-prioritized in favor of other things. We used to say 'safe sex" and found that misled people. Now we say "safer sex" and by analogy when I choose to speak about this, I say "safer" Arisia.

That's quite a lot of words from someone who claims to have fewer of them, isn't it?
drwex: (Default)
Look, I get it. This is red meat for both bases. Also, there's a lot not to like about Nancy Pelosi and I do want to see new leadership for the Democratic party. But on this she is absolutely right: without Republican support, impeachment is a non-starter.

Let's imagine for a second you could somehow draw up articles of impeachment and get them passed. What, exactly, do you think the Senate would do? Did any of you watch even a sampler of the just-concluded Kavanaugh hearings? If that debacle did not convince you that the Rs absolutely will line up and support a criminal in the face of everything else then I don't know what to say to you.

What would happen is there'd be a quick "trial", Trump would get to make a lot of speeches and angry denunciations, and he'd be acquitted. He'd have a major triumph and we would look petty and stupid. Which, frankly, we would be. Maybe people are hoping the prospect would enrage this particular man-baby so much he'd have a coronary on the spot. So then you get President Pence, a man who thinks torturing people simply for being gay is OK, so long as you do it in some god's name.

Running against Trump is not the same things as being the "anything but Trump" or "at least we're not Trump" party. The former put a lot of wind in sails this November or we wouldn't even be having this discussion. I can't see any strategy right now that's better than forcing Trump to run on his record. Just produce some candidates he can't destroy, for the luvvapete.

The Democrats will be moving into a position to do more oversight and inquiries and they should do so. I hear Zinke is sweating bullets, as well he should. Lots of pressure can be put on, lots of light shone into corners this administration would rather keep dark. That's a way better use of time and resources than a doomed push for impeachment.

Like it or not, we're going to have to do this all over again in two years. By then we better have something worth running on.

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