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Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

I’ve received some criticism from people who seem incensed by the fact that I’m not freaking out about the pandemic, and even criticizing the actions of politicians who are far more motivated by winning votes and casting themselves in contrast to the “Disease? What disease?” Orange-utan than by any sincere concern for human life.  Some of that is simply because I’m battle-hardened enough not to freak out even when I’m being violently assaulted, and part of it is due to decades of study of mass psychology.  See, specimens of homo sapiens are always afraid of things they can’t see (“sex trafficking is hidden in plain sight!” “Fifth column!” “They look just like us!” “Zombies!”) and it doesn’t get much more invisible than viruses.  It triggers a very deep and irrational response in the amygdala, which manifests in panic buying, overreaction, innumeracy, etc.  So while I don’t judge anyone for being scared (because it’s natural and understandable), I also discount things that are clearly panic in preparing my own mental model of what’s going on.  And I’m very frustrated with those who fly up in my face for responding calmly & pragmatically to a situation instead of blindly panicking.  It reminds me very much of my 20s, when I used to get called “cold” or even “inhuman” for not being a fucking drama queen about everything.  So please do not approach me in that manner; I didn’t tolerate it three decades ago, and I’m a lot more ornery now than I was then.

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Diary #509

Jae finished staining my bookcases on Thursday, and said they’d be dry enough for books on Saturday.  So about 11:30 Saturday morning I started shifting my books from where they were stored in three cupboards, and by the time I stopped for dinner at 6:30 I had them all divided into 25 groups by author name (or title if there was no clear author).  The reason it took so long was that at the same time, I was also shifting Chekov’s books from the boxes in my hall into the now-vacant cupboards, where they’ll remain until we get his cottage built this summer (he ordered a kit Saturday).  Soon after dinner I started alphabetizing the shelves, and got done about 1:30 AM; then on Sunday morning I shifted them to basically even out the shelves, as you can see below (the bottom shelves, for oversize books, are not visible in this picture).  In the initial process it became pretty clear that I wouldn’t need the shorter shelves at the top of each case, so I left them empty and moved my CD collection to them on Sunday evening after spending the afternoon rearranging the utility room shelves to make better use of the space and thereby clear the rest of the boxes out the hall.  Then yesterday, we started building shelving for my TV series DVDs, and later in the week we’ll be doing another unit for movies.  That will free up the area where they now live to build a bar, which will get the liquor and glasses off of my kitchen counters.  Oh, and I’m also working on getting the clutter out of the garage.  It’s rather like one of those number puzzles where you need to slide the numbered tiles around to get them into numerical order, but I’m getting closer and closer to a solution.  I don’t particularly like everything being closed and everybody panicking, but at least I’m using the downtime constructively!

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On Wednesday of last week, an authoritarian psychopath from Australia tweeted that to prevent what violent collectivists call “food hoarding” during the pandemic, “All houses should be inspected. Anyone that has more than two weeks food should be fined, heavily.”  This is the kind of violent, coercive idiocy which has become fashionable among “wing” fetishists who think of themselves as “the Left”, and demonstrates their complete detachment from reality.  There has been no time in my life since I moved out on my own in 1983 that I did not have at least two weeks of food on hand; usually it’s more like one or two months’ worth.  That isn’t “hoarding”; it’s being an adult.  Let’s see what “two weeks of food” looks like, shall we?  I eat only two meals a day, a small breakfast and a moderate dinner.  A bag of cereal and a gallon of milk = breakfast for me for about ten days.  Add a second bag & we hit two weeks’ breakfast.  For dinner, an 18-carton of eggs + 1 loaf of bread + cheese = six omelettes or egg sandwiches.  A can of corned beef + bread + cheese = four meals.  I have two cans of corned beef in my cupboard, 4 packs of cheese in the fridge & 3 loaves of bread in the freezer; there’s your “two weeks of food”.   And as you can see, it’s maybe 20% of what I have just in my incall (fridge & freezer look similar, and at Sunset it’s at least triple that).  And yet this wannabe Wizard of Oz says my house should be torn apart by armed thugs and my personal economy wrecked because he’s too stupid to buy corned beef, cheese and bread before he absolutely needs it.  This is “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” behavior:  “Anyone who does things differently from me should be targeted by mob violence.”  And anyone with a functional moral compass who encounters this kind of thinking should not be afraid to condemn it, in no uncertain terms.

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Diary #508

Last Thursday I came out to Sunset, because there’s nothing going on in Seattle anyway and I might as well spend my time getting stuff done out at Sunset (because there’s a lot to do).  On top of that I don’t really want Grace to be alone more than necessary, and Chekov’s return has been delayed due to the virus panic.  In the past few days I finished rebuilding the chicken yard, cleaned out the henhouse in preparation for the new chicks, helped Grace do some electrical work, cleaned out the garage from the stuff that’s never been properly unpacked and stored since the move, and set Jae to finishing the bookcases.  As of this writing (Sunday night) the east bank of three cases is completely done, and by the time you read this the north bank will probably be mostly done; with any luck, by next week I’ll have my books properly shelved again.  And yes, I’ll share pictures!

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Since all of my travel and appointments collapsed due to the virus panic, I saw no particular reason to remain in Seattle over the weekend.  So I went out to Sunset for a few days to tend to my chickens, which included repairing and cleaning out the henhouse and expanding the chicken yard.  The henhouse is now entirely contained within the expanded yard, which should prevent any fences from being destroyed by a certain pony scratching herself on it, and keep a certain pig from pushing the door open and eating all the chicken feed.  We’re also in the process of staining the bookcases, and watched a couple of movies while stoned.  Our usual practice is to pick a movie with a light or very familiar plot, bright colors, and lots of music; this time our selections were The Wizard of Oz and Earth Girls Are Easy; I had completely forgotten just how Eighties the latter was (and despite owning the DVD, I’m not sure I’ve actually seen it since I did in the theater 32 years ago; I don’t usually like romantic comedies but I had kind of a thing for Julie Brown).  That’s about all I have to tell, except that the proof for The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume II has arrived, and I’ll be reading it this week before going out to Sunset again to wait for all the politicians to stop turning an epidemic into a pissing contest.

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Diary #506

It’s that time again!  Last Thursday, on the way out to Sunset, I stopped at the local Tractor Supply and bought myself seven chicks (plus one Ameraucana for Jae) and got them set up in the bathroom; I decided against raising them at my incall this time because I’m supposed to be traveling a lot this month (assuming everything doesn’t get cancelled due to the virus hysteria) and chicks need to be checked on several times a day.  That’s why I chose the bathroom; not only is it warm, it’s also a spot where people need to go several times a day and can therefore easily eyeball the tiny dinosaurs.  I also decided to redo the chicken yard so as to make it harder for them to get out or predators to get in (so we don’t lose these as we eventually lost all the last flock), and that work was already underway when I left to return to Seattle on Sunday.  And that isn’t the only work that’s underway; I’ve hired a young man to help with the floor, and he’s already got the concrete blocks in place down there.  The next step is to dig out slight hollows for them so there’s room for the jacks; it is very tight down there, which is part of why this has been such slow going.  Grace explained that once we start (in the next week or so), each stage will require a week or so of “resting” after jacking because the weight of the structure will probably cause some settling of the earth under the footings.  But the work is finally underway, and before much longer we’ll be able to get on to building the bathhouse.  Now if I can only find a place to sell me more than three fucking quarts of the same shade of stain for the bookcases…

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Diary #505

I spent most of last week in Orlando, Florida, brainstorming with Alex Andrews of SWOP Behind Bars about a big project we’re cooking up; I can’t give you any details yet, because we’re just in the planning stages.  But I just want to say that Alex is freaking brilliant and can put together stuff that I couldn’t even come up with, much less plan!  Next step: a meeting in a few weeks with someone who may be able to facilitate our scheme.  Of course, the week wasn’t all activism stuff; I planned my travel to stop off and spend the night with one of my favorite gentlemen (because THAT kind of planning I’m fairly good at), and I also had a lovely coffee date with a reader and the best couple session I’ve had in quite some time.  I also learned a valuable lesson:  do not under any circumstances try to fly out of Orlando on a Sunday, because it will not happen.  I watched my position in the standby queue drop from 6th to 22nd to 28th while I searched flights and came to the conclusion that I’d be better off switching to a stupidly-early Monday flight and heading off to a nearby hotel to get as much rest as possible.  But y’all will be glad to know that it barely even annoyed me; I didn’t have anything on the calendar for Monday anyhow, and I landed in Seattle just after 11 AM.  I’m definitely getting better at this “taking things in stride” stuff; I hope it’ll last.

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