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Posts Tagged ‘Washington (state)’

Diary #555

I’m glad I was out at Sunset for this snowstorm (the deepest Seattle has seen since 1969, though not as severe out here on the coast), because as I’ve observed before, “when [Seattle gets snow] everything basically stops and absurdist-theater levels of hysteria ensue, complete with ridiculous terms like ‘Snowmageddon’ for a few inches of accumulation“.  By the time I drove back into town yesterday, the snow was all melted and with it all the extra-stupid driving (leaving only the ordinarily-stupid driving), but I can only imagine what it was like on Saturday, given that this is what it looked like out back at Sunset that morning (as you can see, the animals were active out there before I dragged myself outside).  The extra accumulation we had that night resulted in the shitty awning over the hot tub sagging badly, but as we’re planning to tear it down as soon as that part of the roof is in place, I hardly think it matters.  Since I have a proper rural pantry rather than something designed by authoritarian sociopaths, there was no need to go any farther than the barn and henhouse to take care of the animals.  And when one doesn’t have to go out in it, a moderate snowfall is actually kinda pretty. 

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Margo might be the single most important sexual liberationist and feminist revolutionary who ever slapped society upside its head.
–  Susie Bright

R.I.P. Margo St. James

The founder of the US sex worker rights movement, Margo St.James, died Tuesday at the age of 83; she had been in an assisted living facility in Bellingham, WA (her home town) for several years now due to dementia, but from the ’70s to the ’90s she was involved to one degree or another in practically every major national and international push for sex worker rights.  It’s impossible to overstate her importance to sex workers all over the world; you may get some idea of why by reading this essay I published on her almost eight years ago, and more in the linked obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle.  But so many 20th-century activists knew and loved her, there will no doubt be many articles and memories; I’m going to link every single one that comes to my attention over the next several weeks.  Farewell, Margo; not a one of us could have done it without your amazing example.

Dysphemisms Galore 

“The pimps who sell sex” may be one of the most clueless headlines ever:

Two…Southend [politicians bloviated about]…street prostitution…[with a plethora of ridiculous terms and phrases] in[cluding]…notorious hotspot…emotional effects of prostitution…“sexual harm”…urgent action to finally get street prostitution under control…“The psychological impacts of [consensual adult] sex are immense”…[they also bloviated about “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”]…high levels of anti-social behaviour…pimping…drug-dealing, hazardous litter and noise nuisance….end the harms caused by…sex…sexual exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls…trauma-informed support…and holding organisations [who actually assist sex workers] to account

I can’t help imagining these politicians wanking furiously while vomiting out these sexual fantasies.

Traffic Jam (#443)

This isn’t a “documentary”; the only thing it “documents” is Jones’ creepy fantasies about other women’s lives:

Sarah Jones is about to [present her ugly fantasies about] the sex industry…[in what she claims is a] documentary [even though it’s merely an expanded adaptation of her one-prohibitionist propaganda vehicle] Sell/Buy/Date…[s]he [dazzled a Deadline reporter with meaningless wokespeak about “]how the sex industry sits at the intersection of race, feminism, power and economics in our current cultural climate[” and dropped three big Hollywood names as executive producers:] Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep and Laverne Cox…[other idiotic belching included] “Is sex work exploitative or empowering?” [and “]The sex industry is hiding everywhere in plain sight during the pandemic[“]…

To her credit, Cox listened to sex workers’ complaints about this revolting propaganda (click on the subtitle link for a description) and has already withdrawn her support. The same cannot be said for the clueless Streep, and Rashida Jones is prohibitionist trash with a long history of endangering marginalized women with her videotaped hatespew.

The Prudish Giant (#897) 

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

When [Facebook-owned] Instagram introduced [censorship] guidelines aimed at stopping “sexual solicitation” in December, sex workers were the first to raise the alarm…But [of course they] aren’t the only ones with cause for anxiety.  A whole swathe of sex-related accounts, including those of certified sex educators and sexual wellness brands, are now being [censored]…sex educators [who couldn’t be bothered to stand with sex worksers now realize] censorship on Instagram has gone too far, with some calling it an all-out ban on sex

Pyrrhic Victory (#1030)

Useful idiots destroying any possibility that the facial recognition djinni can ever be rebottled:

After the Capitol riot, Clearview AI…has seen a spike in use…The F.B.I. has posted the faces of dozens of [rioters] and has requested assistance identifying them…Clearview, which is used by over 2,400 [cop shops to violate citizens’ privacy]…relies…on a database of more than 3 billion photos [stolen] from social media networks and other public websites…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m sure you feel safer now:

…a…woman [was brutalized and abducted] by four [costumed thugs for] sitting on a bench.  [Video shows] the woman…protesting…”I was sitting on a bench” as she is surrounded by [pigs]…in Bournemouth, Dorset…A furious woman filming the…disgrace…shout[ed] at [pigs]: “What side are you on?”…

Between the Ears (#1081)

“Smart” devices are not, part umpteen:

A hacker took control of people’s internet-connected chastity cages and demanded a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin to unlock it…a security researcher [who] goes by the name Smelly…obtained screenshots of conversations between the hacker and several victims…he…demand[ed] a payment of 0.02 Bitcoin (around $750 today) to unlock the device…These hacks show once again that just because you can connect something to the internet, it doesn’t mean you have to…It’s incidents like these that make some people think the Internet of Things is just a marketing term for the Internet of Hackable Things, as we call it, or even the Internet of Shit, as others call it.  Qiui, the Chin[ese] manufacturer of the device…did not respond to a request for comment…

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Diary #550

A few weeks ago, we were still seeing a few sunny days, as in this picture from mid-December.  But around the solstice the monsoons arrive, and we generally get very few breaks from the rain until late winter.  The animals spend most of their time in the barn, and we even feed them there because it’s too marshy to do anything else.  Last year, it was this heavy seasonal rain which made me realize the guest cottages should be part of the house complex, so nobody would have to go out in it unless absolutely necessary.  Well, this year I was glad for that decision, because it was especially heavy, and the main drainage ditch through the paddock looked like a small creek.  But at the end of last week we got a three-day break, conveniently falling just when I had to drive to Seattle to spend some time with Dr. Quest.  I’m not afraid of driving in the rain; after all, I grew up in south Louisiana.  But I don’t like driving in it; there are far too many bad drivers who are afraid, and behave foolishly as a result.  No, I prefer looking at my rain from a stationary vantage point inside of solid walls and a roof, preferably with a mug of tea in my hand.  And once we get the roof of the bathhouse complex in place, we won’t even need to get wet to go to the cottages or the shop.  Because if it’s too wet for pigs, ponies and llamas to be outside, it’s certainly too wet for me.

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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Bathhouse 26

At long last, we’ve finally got the last of our roofing materials.  The process has been far more difficult than it should have been; in Oklahoma, we had a choice of several local vendors and were able to quickly find and purchase what we wanted.  But here in Washington, the process was slow, confusing, and far more expensive than it had to be, and we eventually had to deal with three different vendors.  For this particular product (PBR panels, for those who understand the subject) we had to contract with a company in Tennessee to pick up the product in the Seattle area; my card was charged on October 29th, and when I had heard nothing about where or when to pick up our materials by November 30th, I called to inquire.  An email the next day told me that our order was ready and provided a tracking number, but still no address or phone number of the facility.  Yet another phone call was required to obtain those, but when I called the place they wanted a PO number rather than the tracking number I was given, and the clerk couldn’t find my order in the computer by name because the salesman misspelled it (despite my spelling it for him phonetically, more than once).  Finally they managed to locate it, and Chekhov took the trailer to pick it up.  And once we finally had it in hand, I could start the process of tracking down my promised refund of the shipping charge, which somehow mysteriously vanished between the order and my credit card.  As of this writing, I still don’t know what’s up with that, but even after I find it there’s no way I’m going to recommend this particular company to anyone else, even if I do think it’s due to the salesman being the owner’s son-in-law, ne’er-do-well nephew, or some other person unlikely to be fired merely because he’s startlingly incompetent.

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The blast blasted blubber beyond all reasonable bounds.  –  Paul Linnman

Since last week was the 50th anniversary of the infamous Exploding Whale of Oregon, Mike Siegel felt this video should be posted to commemorate it.  He also provided “restoration” below, and the other links are from Walter Olson, Cop Crisis, Scott Greenfield, Amy Alkon, and Boatfloating, in that order.

From the Archives

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 [A Biden victory] is not a victory for sex workers.  –  Penelope Saunders

A False Dichotomy 

Cathy Reisenwitz on the dogma that sex without “enthusiastic consent” is rape:

…most of our choices in life…[a]re not straightforwardly coercive or cooperative, but somewhere in-between…This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that consent versus coercion isn’t a binary.  It’s a spectrum…On one end of the spectrum you have slavery and rape.  On the opposite end you have enthusiastic consent.  But most choices fall somewhere in the middle…When we say we are “forced” to make a choice, we mean that there’s no acceptable alternative.  We say we’ve been forced to do something if the alternative is death or jail.  When we say we’re “pressured” to make a choice, what we mean is there’s no appealing alternative.  We say we’ve been pressured to do something if the alternative is unpleasant or inconvenient.  The difference then between force and pressure is a difference of scope, not kind.  They’re both coercion, but are different levels of coercion…

Don’t Take My Word For It (#873)

While it’s not surprising to see male sex work increase during the pandemic, I’m extremely skeptical of claims, such as those in this story, that the clients are predominantly female.  Anti-queer stigma is much higher in India than in the US, so naturally male sex workers there are going to claim – as some did for decades in the US – that most of their clients are female in order to save face.  But as usual, the claims in this story don’t ring true, and the quotes from the interviewees only serve to underscore that.

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

…a…Seattle Police…detective…signed up for and used facial recognition app Clearview AI, which…i[s a] violation of the City of Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance…Nick Kartes…signed up for Clearview in September 2019 using his “@seattle.gov” work email address…he logged into the service over 30 times, as recently as April 22…the devices used to log into Detective Kartes’ account were connected to the City of Seattle network…This follows an established pattern, highlighted this summer, where Seattle police regularly flaunt the law…

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

Panopticon (#993)

Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops just keeps getting worse:

…While people buy Ring cameras and put them on their front door to keep their packages safe, police use them to build comprehensive CCTV camera networks blanketing whole neighborhoods.  This…allows police departments to [shift] the cost of buying surveillance equipment…onto consumers by convincing them they need cameras to keep their property safe…[and] evades the natural reaction of fear and distrust that many people would have if they learned police were putting up dozens of cameras on their block…Now…police in Jackson, Mississippi, have started a pilot program t[o convince]…Ring owners to patch the camera streams from their front doors directly to…police…footage [of] your…coming and going…your neighbors taking out the trash, and the dog walkers and delivery people who do their jobs in your street…can now be live streamed directly onto a dozen monitors scrutinized by police around the clock.  Even if you refuse to allow your footage to be used that way, your neighbor’s camera pointed at your house may still be transmitting directly to the police[, plus all cops need do is ask and Amazon will grant warrantless access to your camera without your consent]…


The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1033) 

Censors’ fixation on Pornhub spreads to Thailand:

Thailand’s government said…it had banned Pornhub and 190 other websites showing pornography, prompting social media anger over censorship…many Thai users trended the #SavePornhub hashtag on Twitter and criticised the shutting of a site in a country…which has a globally-known sex industry…A few dozen activists protested the block outside the digital ministry, holding banners saying “free Pornhub” and “reclaim Pornhub”…Internet research firm Top10VPN said it saw a spike in searches from Thailand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which help circumvent censorship, by 640%…after Pornhub was [censored]…

And India:

The Cyber Police agency of the Indian state of Maharashtra — the region that includes populous Mumbai — has formally accused several platforms of “transmitting sexually explicit and obscene content online”…[the sites include] Xvideos and Pornhub.  Inspector General of Police Yashasvi Yadav [made furtive movements in his pants while sharing his fantasy that]…”the actresses in these videos have been exploited, lured or compelled to perform the obscene acts. We will be treating the actresses as ‘victims’ and not ‘accused persons’”…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

Since costumed rapists are essentially immune to criminal law, civil law has to do:

A new lawsuit [has been] filed against [typical and representative] Louisville [cop] Brett Hankison…a…sexual predator…who…[has] willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently…[raped at least 10 women over the years and achieved recent notoriety for the murder] of…Breonna Taylor…LMPD has…fired Hankison for his role in the [murder, but ignored all the rape complaints]…nine o[f the] women who…Hankison [raped have made statements in the lawsuit, filed by Margo Borders, a lawyer he raped in 2018]…

(State) Violence Against Women

Two hardline prohibitionists at the top do not bode well for sex workers:

…Phoenix Calida…[of] SWOP-USA…says of a Biden win, “I see things getting worse for sex workers, actually.”  Calida’s assessment is due in part to Biden’s sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill…“‘Tough on crime,’ which Biden has really promoted his entire career, is really not helpful at all to sex workers…Biden is like, ‘Let’s not defund the police, let’s give them more money!’”  Advocates’ concerns around…Kamala Harris, are both more numerous and concrete.  “You couldn’t get a candidate with a worse record on sex work,” says [Penelope] Saunders of [Best Practices Policy Project].  In 2008, Harris called San Francisco’s Proposition K—an attempt at halting the enforcement of laws against prostitution—“completely ridiculous.”  Harris also infamously pursued the shutdown of Backpage and the prosecution of the site’s owners despite warnings that shuttering the site would put sex workers in greater danger and make it harder to investigate sex trafficking cases. (It did.)  She also helped develop the devastating SESTA/FOSTA, specifically as a means of targeting Backpage…[and supports]…the EARN IT Act, a bill…which threatens sex workers’ ability to use encrypted messaging services…as well as free speech online…opponents of the bill…are calling it “SESTA/FOSTA 2.0.”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

Compare the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Democrats in this article to attack someone closely associated with Trump, to the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Republicans just a month earlier to attack someone closely associated with Biden, and then tell me again how they’re so different and why sex workers should trust either pack of fanatics:  “President Trump’s top campaign strategist, Jason Miller…admitted to hiring prostitutes and receiving sexual favors at multiple ‘Asian themed’ massage parlors, an industry known to have connections to sex trafficking rings…”  “Progressives” want sex workers to believe they’re on our side, but they go straight for the anti-whore slurs the second they think it will win them cheap points on the “other team”.

Social Distancing (#1084)

Prohibitionists don’t care who has to suffer to advance their twisted agenda:

India’s sex workers suffered a setback…following a U-turn by the country’s human rights body, which said [sex workers] should not be registered as workers or guaranteed financial aid from the government amid the fallout of COVID-19.  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last month asked state governments to recognise sex workers as informal workers, which would have entitled them to benefits and aid from a $23 billion fund for India’s poor during the coronavirus pandemic…the watchdog’s non-binding advisory was hailed by [human rights experts]… as a boon for the rights of an estimated 800,000 sex workers across India, [but prohibitionists, led by the evil and deeply-derangd Sunitha Krishnan, worked to intimidate the commission by issuing veiled threats of expensive and troublesome legal complaints based in bad “]sex trafficking[” laws.  In response to these threats]…The NHRC…issued a new statement that said sex workers could not be registered officially or categorised as informal workers….[but] should instead be given help on “humanitarian grounds” during the pandemic…

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Bathhouse 23

I got word a week or so ago that our cee purlins are on the way from Phoenix, but it’s a route truck so it’ll probably be another week or two before they actually arrive.  The roof panel order took longer than I anticipated to process, but they finally charged my credit card last Friday; I then got an email telling me they weren’t able to deliver here, but we could pick the panels up ourselves from the plant…which is in Kent (suburban Seattle).  Now, I have no idea why we couln’t find this place when we were searching for local suppliers; the office we dealt with is in Tennessee.  But at least I’ll get a refund on my shipping fee, and it’s no big deal to send Chekhov to Seattle with the trailer.  A couple of days ago we shifted the steel tubing into Grace’s shop, so she’ll be starting on the trusses next week; since the shop is enclosed she’ll be able to work regardless of rain (which we’ve had quite a lot of lately), and we’ll only need to work around the weather to actually get them in place.

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James Randi, AKA, “The Amazing Randi”, died last week at the age of 92.  If you don’t know who he was, watch this short video for an introduction; there’s also a full-length documentary on his life’s work, An Honest Liar.  The links above the video were provided by Mistress Matisse, Nun Ya, Franklin Harris, Radley Balko, Cop Crisis, Walter Olson, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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Bathhouse 22

It took us six weeks, but we’ve finally got all the materials for our roof on the way!  I was hoping to have the roof up before the rain came again, but Trump’s silly trade war made that impossible; metal building components are hard to find here already (I reckon they’re just not as popular in Washington as in drier climes), and the tariffs made the ones that were available insultingly expensive.  But we found some leads a few weeks ago, and with the help of a generous gent I was able to shove money around to clear enough space on my credit cards to buy what I needed (if anyone else wants to volunteer to help me pay that, please do).  We got the structural steel a month ago, then this week I ordered the cee purlins (crossmembers which support the roof panels) from a place in Phoenix and the roof panels themselves from a place near Knoxville, Tennessee; today Chekhov is picking up the heavy-walled pipe we’re using for the support posts.  Since the stuff from other states is coming via freight, it’ll probably be late November before it arrives; that’s OK because it won’t be needed until the roof structure is in place, and Grace will be welding the trusses together in her shop.  Since we’ll have to work around the rain, phase four will probably go slowly; we figure it may take until the beginning of spring.  But then we’ll have shelter from the rain, so the walls should go relatively quickly afterward.  For the time being, expect about two updates a month; let’s hope the progress speeds up again in March!

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