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I have made progress on a difficult work issue. I am being purposely vague, because the effects this will have on work are not entirely clear yet, but I believe the change will be very positive for me. Very excited!
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I try not to go on about my exercise, because really, no one but me cares. But man, today! 75 minute aerials class. Followed by a 75 minute walk (from aerials, past my house to the pharmacy and then back home) because the bus would have taken even longer. Followed by roughly 30 minutes of yoga and stretching, because I haven't done a good stretch in a few days and need better flexibility. I die now?
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I have in the past realized that when I'm crazy busy, things start falling out of my brain. Things that I need to remember and act upon, specifically. So I now put absolutely everything in my calendar immediately. Which helps a lot, except when something doesn't go in my calendar (usually an SCA event) or when I don't check my calendar because I'm certain I'm free at x time, only I'm not.

But I'm now having a problem my calendar does not seem able to fix. I cannot hold any details in my brain. Example: I looked up the address I was going to. I repeated it 3x. Then I immediately programmed it into my GPS and put Malden instead of Medford, and didn't realize it until I arrived. Or, yesterday I checked the meat share pickup day. Today I was convinced that it was meat share pickup day, so much that I drove out to Waltham to pick up meat. Only, like the email said, tomorrow is meat share pick up, and it moves to Sat *next* month.

I know that there are other people who have this issue. What the hell do they do to avoid wasting hours every week going to the wrong places, or double booking themselves, or whatever damn fool thing I'll do next? There have got to be some tools or procedures that will help. BTW, I attempted to put the address directly from the email into the GPS because I have fucked it up before, but that operation crashed it, twice, thus creating the chance for my operator error on the town.
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Soooo... today I went to my office (includes a mile walk), gave two massages (yay! I love giving massages), went home (another mile walk, and did I mention the freezing wind?), went to my aerials studio for an hour of pretty focused practice time, came home, and did not entirely die. It was a hell of an act of will to make dinner, but I did.  I think I overdid.  But it was all stuff I wanted to do (except the walking in freezing wind, that made for a LOT of swearing).
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Look, I think some restrictions on gun ownership is a good idea. I don't think the second amendment gives everyone in the US blanket rights to own whatever gun they want, to purchase it instantly and without background checks, or to freely trade and stockpile guns and ammo.  I don't have a perfectly worked out solution to balancing rights and restrictions to maximize utility, but who does?

Anyway, my point here is that when anyone in a gun control discussion starts throwing around the cliche that mentally ill people shouldn't have guns, I go a bit rabid. All mentally ill people everywhere are not the same! Someone who has depression, someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, people with phobias, in general these are not the people you need to worry about having guns! Oh, what you *meant* was "dangerous sociopaths," not "everyone with a mental illness ever?" THEN SAY THAT! It has ONE more syllable than "mentally ill people" and is a lot more precise.
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Prompted by several folks being WRONG on Facebook (I know, you're dying of shock.) This is directed toward said wrong, racist assholes, not you, my lovely friends.

So apparently the Volkswagon ad that I actually saw (on mute) during a break from roller skating through the Superbowl featured a miserable, uptight white office worker getting a Volkswagen and becoming happy and acquiring a Jamaican accent.  The Jamaican accent evidently is meant to inform us that he is now happy, laid back, and has a good outlook on life.  This is literally all I know, because while I saw the ad, obviously I missed the salient points because the TV was muted.  I was informed of this via someone's FB post complaining that there are more important issues to get upset about than using an accent to indicate a changed outlook, so people should just get over it. In comments the points were made that Volkswagen clearly didn’t MEAN to offend anyone, and people should stop being so angry and instead calmly explain the problems, as that’s a better way to educate and make change. THEN some latecoming fucker chimes in with, “the Jamaicans think it’s funny we’re making a big deal about this, they don’t really care” (paraphrased).

ITEM THE FIRST, this damned "more important problems" fallacy.  Are we all to focus on finding the very biggest problem in the world and fixing that, and only that? Before we point out, much less work on, any other problem?  I submit that a, problems are inter-related, such as the AIDS crisis in Africa being tied up with poverty, lack of education and health care.  We literally cannot pick the one biggest problem and work on it, because 5 smaller problems are contributing, and they each have a half dozen contributing factors, and so on.  And b, who decides which problem is biggest? 

Item the second, the fallacy of intent.  This one is trivially easy. Say I’m standing on the bus, it lurches, and I accidentally step hard on someone’s foot.  I think everyone involved knew I didn’t mean to hurt the person.  Does that mean I shouldn’t say “I’m sorry?”  Does it mean they were not hurt, because I didn’t mean to do it? Obviously not.  Obviously the vast majority of people who do racist things don’t MEAN to be racist or harm others.  No one said they did it knowingly.  That doesn’t excuse the effect, especially when the response to “what you just did was racist” is not to listen to the person trying to educate you, but to start shouting about your good intentions. And extra especially when the blunder could have been avoided by proactively educating oneself about anti-racism work using any of a number of excellent existing resources.  Ignorance is a stupid defense.

Fucking third, the “stop being so angry” silencing tactic.  This one is incredibly effective.  Because it’s fucking infuriating, and thus our shouty response “proves” that anti-racist advocates are overly emotional and over-reacting.  Look, yes, I’m fucking angry. And I bet people of color are way fucking angrier, because they deal with this goddamned bullshit every damn fucking day and they’re fucking tired of it and here you come with a bunch of already disproven fallacies and your level-headed arguments and your ignorance and ask to be educated from first principles if your mind is ever to be changed

Item the fourth, and dammit I’m sick of this list already, that it’s the duty of the oppressed and offended party to educate the oppressor in a friendly and non-threatening way if they ever expect change.  First of all, plenty of people of color and white anti-racists have already provided a mountain of books, workshops, and speeches that you can use to educate your damn self.  Expecting whatever person you first encounter to educate you starting with “I think, therefore I am” and building up from there is incredibly lazy and self centered.  So you haven’t bothered to do the slightest bit of work, say learning what the words ”privilege” and “structural racism” mean, and you expect that any random person has the time, patience, and vocabulary to educate you? No, fucker.  Sometimes people of color need to just say, “that’s racist,” and continue with their lives, not taking time to educate you because you’re too goddamn lazy to do it yourself.  Plus, you’ll probably argue with everything they say, using more disproved fallacies, and that’s fucking infuriating.  Thus the cycle begins anew!

Item the fucking fifth, so some of the oppressed group don’t mind that what you said was racist.  Big fucking deal, I bet there are also some of the oppressed group that DO mind that you’re a fucking racist.  Did you take a representative poll?  Also, consider the source.  What do these people who say they don’t mind have to lose if they do complain? Their job? Your friendship? An hour of their day arguing with your stupid fallacy-ridden arguments?  Or, in the case of Jamaica, your rich white people tourist dollars if they get a bad reputation as angry black people.  Think, assholes!

In conclusion, fuck this noise, and educate your damn selves.

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Hudebnik has created what I think is an eminently reasonable petition to the White House to prioritize economic recovery over deficit reduction this year. I would like to think this isn't even something Obama needs to be told, but I'm just a hopeless optimist.  Go on over and sign


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There was a story in the Boston Globe about how everyone's converting to cheap natural gas, and heating oil companies are merging or going out of business.  I have considered converting to natural gas, but here's my issue: the reason it's currently so cheap is fracking.  Fracking is a process that may well be poisoning groundwater and destabilizing bedrock, as well as releasing god knows what into the environment.  I don't know the science well enough to know what's proven, what's suspected but not yet investigated, what's disproven, and what we won't know for years.  But it seems like there's enough problems there that I don't feel right spending my money on natural gas that could be from fracking.  Not that oil's exactly fabulous either, but solar isn't feasable with our roof alignment, and electric seems suboptimal. Perhaps I should investigate the effectiveness and cost of electric heat, though.  That way the energy comes from an (ideally) efficient central plant, or even better, solar or wind.  Hm.
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It's always the same when I arrive on the scene after the squeaking has stopped.  Two weasels, usually slightly tousled, stare at me demanding that I Fix It.  The difficulty is, I cannot tell the difference between weasel for "he's sleeping in my bed and when I tried to make him move he screamed rude things at me!" and "I was just sleeping and then suddenly he was biting my head!"
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The radio in the kitchen is on NPR. I put it on while washing dishes.  On came Tom Ashbrook interviewing two college newspaper editors about their choice for president, a woman from Virginia for Romney and a man from Ohio for Obama.  The Romney supporter was super on-message, saying that four year degrees may not be a realistic choice for some poor students who don't qualify for merit-based aid, that the federal college loan program should be targeted to having students get degrees that will help them be employable, and, though she danced around this exact wording, that liberal arts degrees are harming today's college students. And that college tuition is rising due to federal loans.  Oh, and she's working 30 hours a week and putting herself through college, so it can be done.

I was *screaming* at the radio.  In case you don't see why every single goddamn point this woman made is utter crap, let me break it down.

"Four year degrees are unrealistic choice for poor students." Translation: poor kids should just get an associate's degree and become a permanent underclass.  The belief that poor students should just get practical, fast, less intensive degrees sounds to me exactly like saying they shouldn't rise above their station.  Poor people, no getting uppity and studying sociology with those entitled rich kids!  Know your place: electrical engineering. 

"Merit-based aid" and "rising tuition due to federal money." You know what pays for part of that merit-based aid? The rising tuition you're screaming about.  I agree there are more complex factors feeding in to rising tuition, and admit that part of it may indeed be the increase in demand due to federal loans.  But merit-based aid can only cherry pick a very small percentage of deserving students, and is often given without regard for need, so then it reaches fewer poor students who otherwise would have to go to community college. 

"Target federal loans to degrees that make students employable." Someone please explain to me how in holy hell an advocate of small government rationalizes having government dictate what degrees a person should pursue?  How is that not on the slippery slope to manufacturing quotas and Communism?  Because it sounds to me like Central Planning.  And I haven't even gotten into the main problem with central planning, which is, who does the planning and how good is their metric?  How does whatever government bureau that gives out loans know what degrees will make people employable 2, 4, or 8 years out?  And what kind of employable are we talking? Are we talking "lab tech with no prospects of advancement ever," or are we talking "mailroom start with the skills and abilities to move up the ladder?"  An associates degree in chem may well mean you have excellent odds of getting a job right out of college, but is it a job that you will then never advance out of? I have totally made up this example, so the details may be off, but I think the general idea is at least worth worrying about.

"Liberal Arts degrees are not worth the money." I know others before me have written on the value of a degree that teaches you how to think critically rather than being skill-based, if you haven't read any of them, go google.

"I'm working 30 hours a week and putting myself through college, so it can be done."  The ability to juggle 30 hours of work and a full courseload is not exactly common, I'd venture to say it's quite rare, and not having it is no character flaw that people should be punished for.  And how'd you get that job? Connections? The ability to present yourself in a way consistent with what your employer likes, say by being born white and middle class?  I bet you think it was all your hard work, but I call bullshit.  The ability to get a decent paying job while still in college is absolutely subject to the privileges that you received growing up.  This insane idea that if people just "want it enough" they'll find a way to work a billion hours a week and still have brain left for college is crap.  People have mental and physical limitations, not all of us can get by on 4 hours of sleep a night.

In summary, Romney wants to create a permanent underclass and I hate the angry-making box.
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