erynn: Gaelic merman image (OBEY THE FIST!)
Before I headed out to the VA today, I typed up a quick letter to deliver to the Patient Advocates office about the "educational" poster mentioned a couple of days ago. I didn't have much time, so I just dropped it off rather than staying to talk to them. I had to get up to my appointment, and the office would be closed by the time I was done. I did include my phone number and email address, so with any luck they will get back to me.

When I got up to the WTRC, though, the poster was gone! Denise had talked to Wendy. She didn't even get through the whole discussion -- she just described the poster (Wendy is blind so would never have seen it) and Wendy said she totally understood the objections, et voila, the poster she is removed. Now, with any luck, if there are further copies in other clinics, the advocate's office will be able to take care of that.

Several of the other women in the group today had heard me talking to the chaplain intern last week and they said they'd not felt comfortable with the poster either, so I got a lot of props for taking on the system and getting the thing removed.

KAPLAH!

Photos from Venice. Yep, I took them. They are pretty awesome. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (d'oh!)
I'm still feeling like absolute crap. [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor came up so that I could actually run the errand I needed to for tomorrow's craft day, but I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to get down there. She can take the stuff with her if need be, so that's not a crisis, it's just hideously annoying. I'm hoping I'll be okay by Sunday, because I want to go to the Shinto shrine for Setsubun (soybean tossing) and our Imbolc is Sunday evening.

My computer (a 2008-ish MacBook) seems to be starting with the erratic behavior one expects of a computer soon to go splah. The bluetooth trackpad I'm using sometimes responds to a right click but not a left click, and refuses to activate anything on the dock, which it should do on a rollover. It's doing everything it's supposed to when connected to [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor's beast, so I'm thinking this is a computer issue, not a trackpad issue. I did a PRAM reset and that didn't do jack as far as the trackpad was concerned. I'm probably going to leave my computer running now, to make sure that everything works like it's supposed to, until I get back from PCon, because I can't afford $1,200 for a new computer right now. (Yes, I do actually want to get another Mac, thanks.)

As to the military fucking up, Madigan Army Hospital is in the news yet again. A couple of docs have been suspended for interfering with PTSD diagnoses. Story below the cut. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Insane Membrane!)
Here's a link that describes what police and military pepper spray is capable of doing to human beings. According to wikipedia (yes, I know, lazywebs research R us), "Pepper spray is banned for use in war by Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of all riot control agents in warfare whether lethal or less-than-lethal." In other words, this stuff is illegal in a war zone. Why is it being used on peaceful protesters?

Last week, a young pregnant woman and an 84-ish year old grandmother (who happened to also be a veteran and a member of VFP) were among those pepper sprayed by police in Seattle. Yesterday, that young woman had a miscarriage. Was the police use of pepper spray causative? I don't know, but I can't imagine it was good for her. If your first instinct is to say "well, she shouldn't have been out there protesting," you can fuck off right now. Walk away and don't come back. You don't blame the victim of a violent assault by the police here. If you make a comment here to that effect, I'll delete your ass and ban you. Just saying.

This, of course, is the kind of bullshit that some police officers have been using against people of color and poor people for years. I know that. It doesn't make it any less egregious now in use against protesters. It is unconscionable under any circumstances where an officer's life isn't in danger.

I wish I could do more than be furious and doing what I'm already doing.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Liberty & Justice OTP)
New York police are destroying the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park. A city councilmember has been injured in the raid, everything is being destroyed including a 5,000+ volume library collected by the occupiers, and the camp is being razed to the ground. The American media is not covering this at the moment, but the BBC is. NYC news helicopters vacated the airspace before the raid began, just as they had in Oakland.

They claim they are raiding the park over health and safety issues. I am still wondering how it is healthier and safer for the NYPD to be gassing and beating people than to let the protesters stay where they are and exercise their first amendment rights to free assembly and free speech. And, of course, all these raids on various Occupy encampments always seem to happen in the middle of the night, when all just and lawful things happen.

The more the authorities oppress the movement, the more people will join it. We will change things. This cannot last.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Liberty & Justice OTP)
Do you remember the WTO and the Battle in Seattle back in 1999? Do you remember the Seattle police over-reaction? Tear gas in the streets? Rubber bullets everywhere?

Norm Stamper was the police chief here when all that shit hit the fan. Now he's written for The Nation on paramilitary police and Occupy Wall Street. Maybe he learned his lesson? Who knows. Here's what he has to say:

Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

They came from all over, tens of thousands of demonstrators from around the world, protesting the economic and moral pitfalls of globalization. Our mission as members of the Seattle Police Department? To safeguard people and property—in that order. Things went well the first day. We were praised for our friendliness and restraint—though some politicians were apoplectic at our refusal to make mass arrests for the actions of a few.

Then came day two. Early in the morning, large contingents of demonstrators began to converge at a key downtown intersection. They sat down and refused to budge. Their numbers grew. A labor march would soon add additional thousands to the mix.

“We have to clear the intersection,” said the field commander. “We have to clear the intersection,” the operations commander agreed, from his bunker in the Public Safety Building. Standing alone on the edge of the crowd, I, the chief of police, said to myself, “We have to clear the intersection.”

Why?

Because of all the what-ifs. What if a fire breaks out in the Sheraton across the street? What if a woman goes into labor on the seventeenth floor of the hotel? What if a heart patient goes into cardiac arrest in the high-rise on the corner? What if there’s a stabbing, a shooting, a serious-injury traffic accident? How would an aid car, fire engine or police cruiser get through that sea of people? The cop in me supported the decision to clear the intersection. But the chief in me should have vetoed it. And he certainly should have forbidden the indiscriminate use of tear gas to accomplish it, no matter how many warnings we barked through the bullhorn.

My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose. Rocks, bottles and newspaper racks went flying. Windows were smashed, stores were looted, fires lighted; and more gas filled the streets, with some cops clearly overreacting, escalating and prolonging the conflict. The “Battle in Seattle,” as the WTO protests and their aftermath came to be known, was a huge setback—for the protesters, my cops, the community.

More than a decade later, the police response to the Occupy movement, most disturbingly visible in Oakland—where scenes resembled a war zone and where a marine remains in serious condition from a police projectile—brings into sharp relief the acute and chronic problems of American law enforcement. Seattle might have served as a cautionary tale, but instead, US police forces have become increasingly militarized, and it’s showing in cities everywhere: the NYPD “white shirt” coating innocent people with pepper spray, the arrests of two student journalists at Occupy Atlanta, the declaration of public property as off-limits and the arrests of protesters for “trespassing.”

The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country.

Much of the problem is rooted in a rigid command-and-control hierarchy based on the military model. American police forces are beholden to archaic internal systems of authority whose rules emphasize bureaucratic regulations over conduct on the streets. An officer’s hair length, the shine on his shoes and the condition of his car are more important than whether he treats a burglary victim or a sex worker with dignity and respect. In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided.

External political factors are also to blame, such as the continuing madness of the drug war. Last year police arrested 1.6 million nonviolent drug offenders. In New York City alone almost 50,000 people (overwhelmingly black, Latino or poor) were busted for possession of small amounts of marijuana—some of it, we have recently learned, planted by narcotics officers. The counterproductive response to 9/11, in which the federal government began providing military equipment and training even to some of the smallest rural departments, has fueled the militarization of police forces. Everyday policing is characterized by a SWAT mentality, every other 911 call a military mission. What emerges is a picture of a vital public-safety institution perpetually at war with its own people. The tragic results—raids gone bad, wrong houses hit, innocent people and family pets shot and killed by police—are chronicled in Radley Balko’s excellent 2006 report Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.

It is ironic that those police officers who are busting up the Occupy protesters are themselves victims of the same social ills the demonstrators are combating: corporate greed; the slackening of essential regulatory systems; and the abject failure of all three branches of government to safeguard civil liberties and to protect, if not provide, basic human needs like health, housing, education and more. With cities and states struggling to balance the budget while continuing to deliver public safety, many cops are finding themselves out of work. And, as many Occupy protesters have pointed out, even as police officers help to safeguard the power and profits of the 1 percent, police officers are part of the 99 percent.

There will always be situations—an armed and barricaded suspect, a man with a knife to his wife’s throat, a school-shooting rampage—that require disciplined, military-like operations. But most of what police are called upon to do, day in and day out, requires patience, diplomacy and interpersonal skills. I’m convinced it is possible to create a smart organizational alternative to the paramilitary bureaucracy that is American policing. But that will not happen unless, even as we cull “bad apples” from our police forces, we recognize that the barrel itself is rotten.

Assuming the necessity of radical structural reform, how do we proceed? By building a progressive police organization, created by rank-and-file officers, “civilian” employees and community representatives. Such an effort would include plans to flatten hierarchies; create a true citizen review board with investigative and subpoena powers; and ensure community participation in all operations, including policy-making, program development, priority-setting and crisis management. In short, cops and citizens would forge an authentic partnership in policing the city. And because partners do not act unilaterally, they would be compelled to keep each other informed, and to build trust and mutual respect—qualities sorely missing from the current equation.

It will not be easy. In fact, failure is assured if we lack the political will to win the support of police chiefs and their elected bosses, if we are unable to influence or neutralize police unions, if we don’t have the courage to move beyond the endless justifications for maintaining the status quo. But imagine the community and its cops united in the effort to responsibly “police” the Occupy movement. Picture thousands of people gathered to press grievances against their government and the corporations, under the watchful, sympathetic protection of their partners in blue.
Norm Stamper
November 9, 2011
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
Scott Olsen, a young Iraq war vet, and a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, was shot in the head at close range by police with a tear gas canister. He is currently in the hospital with a skull fracture and swelling in his brain. This young man came through two tours in Iraq and was violently assaulted by police while peacefully protesting.

There are stories and video at the following links:

The Bay Citizen

Huffington Post

The New Civil Rights Movement

The Guardian (UK)

In other, unsurprising news, Google reports that from January to June this year, they received at least one request from US law enforcement agencies to remove videos of police brutality. Given the protests that began a month ago, I expect we will see more of these requests happening.

We are having our rights to free assembly removed from us. We are being subjected to unlawful search and seizure at airports when we fly -- an Air Force veteran reports that she was harassed and injured by TSA agents for reading the constitution while being subjected to a search. The rights and protections that our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents fought and sometimes died for in the unions in the 30s and the civil rights movements of the 60s -- a 40 hour work week, health and safety regulations, overtime pay, the right to organize, minimum wage, privacy, safe and legal abortions, birth control -- are being stolen from us. The infrastructure of roads, bridges, schools, parks, and other public works are crumbling and not being repaired or maintained. Environmental protections set up in the 60s and 70s are being dismantled.

Is this really the government we want?

It's not the one I want.

This is what the end of an empire looks like, folks. This is the world we are giving to our kids and their kids. Think about that. Then think about what you can do to change it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Brighid's cross)
My essay for Mandragora, "Burying the Poet: Brigid, Poetry and the Visionary in Gaelic Poetic Traditions," is finished at 3156 words and has been sent off to [livejournal.com profile] finnchuill and [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht for their comments and suggestions. Finally! I think I've done pretty well with it, and now I can turn my attentions to finishing up details for the Samhain ritual that I have to deal with. Tomorrow is the CR schmooze business meeting, my VA yoga group, and picking up [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor before we deal with Steamcon this weekend.

I was just glad to get the writing for this one out of the way. I still have an article to do for Phosphorus, but I may not get that finished before the end of the month (I'm thinking probably not, in fact). I have no idea if I'm going to be able to get that one together in that short a time. I've hardly got more than a paragraph or two in it at the moment. It's such a huge and messy topic that it can be hard to tackle, even if I do have one particular example I'm working from.

I went over to the AFK tonight to have dinner with Herb and one of his spawn. We had a pretty good time, and some yummy foods. I won't be there tomorrow for the weekly steampunk social, obviously.

Politics make me crazy. Topeka, Kansas has repealed its domestic violence laws to try to save money. Screw saving people's lives.

Mississipi has proposed a measure that will make fertilized ova "persons" under the law and may well criminalize miscarriage.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people? Get the hell out of my fucking uterus, damn it! For a bunch of people who claim they want government out of their lives, they sure love to jam it up women's vaginas.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (can't believe we still have to protest)
Despite an incipient migraine, I got out and down to Seattle today to join the anti-war march and Occupy Seattle at Westlake Center. About 250 people showed up for the action. When we gathered at Seattle Central Community College there were probably 30 of us, but about 70-100 of the Occupy Seattle folks came up from downtown to join us for the march back down the hill. The Seattle times estimated there were 450 people at the action.

I met three or four folks from Veterans for Peace at the march. Several groups had organized the event. There was a fair bit of local coverage and KING 5 has a video and a photo gallery of the event up on its website.

[livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor and I walked down to Westlake Center with the march and hung out for a few hours before we walked back up the hill and got some dinner at the B&O. Eventually we wandered back to her place and I headed home. I have no idea if I'll be able to walk tomorrow. I feel frustrated by my physical limitations, by the hardships my friends are going through, by the misery people are in because of the way our society and our social systems are collapsing in on themselves. Too many people I know have no job, no medical care, often not enough food or are facing eviction and homelessness. It's a hell of a time to be in the world. I know that I'm one of the lucky ones, having my own place, having a car that's paid for, being able to afford to eat. I do my best to help out my friends when I can while still trying to take care of myself and make sure I don't land myself back in the PTSD ward.

If you're able, be a part of this. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Boys will be rapists)
My presentation today went very well. Both [livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab and [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht were there with me, as was [livejournal.com profile] danicia's mom, who was the programming director for this year's con. She actually introduced me and was extremely interested in the presentation as she, like [livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab, retired from the Navy as a chief. There were two other women in attendance, one of whom was an attorney who took cases like this against the system. There were about a dozen or fifteen people who showed up, and one guy from the Coast Guard had a lot of good stuff to say and was really wonderful as a participant. It was very much an open discussion session, more than just me lecturing, and that felt really good. We did have the obligatory clueless guy asking stuff like "what about people who file false reports" (yes, it happens, but considering what happens to people who report at all, anyone reporting falsely on stuff like this has to be insane to pursue it) and "what can we tell women when they're going in the military so they can avoid being assaulted?" (oh, hey, let's teach women how not to be raped -- yeah, let's teach men to keep it in their pants, fuck you very much).

One guy was a sex educator and he was extremely interested in this whole topic. He suggested that I talk to the various organizations for sexologists and sex educators/therapists about the topic, as he said he's been going to conferences for those organizations for something like 15 years, and he's never heard anyone speak on the topic before at all. Apparently, getting some education out there to the educators would be a good idea. It might be something I could do from time to time. He gave me his card, and info on the two organizations that he's a member of, so we'll see what happens with that. If I'm able to handle the idea, it could be very helpful to folks who are in the business of helping people recover from sexual traumas.

After my session, we went to [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht's session on Celtic werewolves, which I think went over quite well. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab's sister, and then the three of us went out for lunch. It was the Mooncrab's birthday today, so we celebrated that as well, then sister took off and the two of us returned to the con. We had some good conversations, one of which was with the national Mensa treasurer. He was handing out free scotch and doing glasses adjustments (I believe he's an optometrist in his daily life). We ended up having a long conversation with a table full of people about my talk, warrior issues, and other related stuff until the treasurer had to go to the national board meeting, but the conversation continued without him. One of the women at the table was a recently-divorced officer's wife who had been teaching stuff like The Art of War to officer candidates. Another woman had been talking with [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht for a couple of hours after his presentation, and whose son is interested in working with people with PTSD, and is also very interested in Celtic topics, so the work we've been doing with the schmooze related to the warrior rituals really fascinated her.

Overall, it was an excellent day. I'll be going back again tomorrow by myself, and will then haul [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht back over to his cousin's place at the end of the day. I'll be able to get the con parking rate for my car, since he's a registered guest of the hotel for the night.

Sunday will be my day to visit with the Portland folks I've been wanting to see. I need to make a couple of brief phone calls, but [livejournal.com profile] siro_gravity, please get in touch with me and let me know when on Sunday you'd like to get together. Definitely shoot for afternoon if possible. Morning is going to be a bit much for me. [livejournal.com profile] lupabitch, if you're no longer feeling the ick and not contagious, please let me know, as I'd love to see you as well. I also want to take some time to get together with Raevyn, whom I met at Eight Winds last weekend, and who is also in the area. Maybe we can coordinate something group-ish. I'm sure it would be a fascinating afternoon of talk and art, if that's the case!

My thanks to everyone who was so supportive today, both at the con and long distance. Your thoughts and good wishes were greatly appreciated.

And now, laundry.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
Today saw the last editing run on the statement just previously posted. I talked with [livejournal.com profile] activegnome about it at AFK this evening and got another stamp of approval with a request for permission to pass it to all and sundry, which I happily granted. I hope people will spread it far and wide, and that it makes at least some difference in the community and the dialogue that arose regarding the gender fu incident. It's so much broader than just what happened at PantheaCon this year. I'm conscious of the fact that I have at least some small influence in the broader Pagan communities, even if it's only by virtue of having been around since 1984 and knowing a lot of people. I try to use my powers for good when I can.

My brother was refused unemployment today because he doesn't have his most recent DD-214. He's feeling angry and frustrated and I wish I could help in some way. He's going down to McChord tomorrow to talk to people about access to a particular Air Force computer system (I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I'm under the impression it has something to do with a jobs database), and will talk to personnel about getting the DD-214. I'm hoping they'll be able to get him a copy without having to wait for weeks for it. It would probably ease his frustration some to be able to at least have a little income until he manages to find work.

Tomorrow I'll be seeing [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht, who's coming down from Anacortes. He's spending some time tomorrow afternoon in Seattle with [livejournal.com profile] sebastian_lvx and then coming up here to crash on the couch and hang with us until my birthday party on Sunday. It's looking like 20ish people or so will probably be coming over the course of the evening (party starts at 6), but one can never really be sure with these things. Thankfully, Sunday evening should be quiet at the AFK, and we shouldn't have trouble finding seats for everyone, even though I've only told them I had a dozen or so people coming. I explained that I had no way of knowing until people actually showed up.

And now, tired Erynn is tired. I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight, as yesterday I didn't get to bed until after 5am, and the DoDC+3 woke me up at 12:30, bouncing on me wanting to go out. He's already hauled off to bed, the little blighter. He never has problems sleeping for some reason.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
I'm doing somewhat better today than yesterday, in that I spent most of the day upright. I am currently perched in a mound of pillows, lying on my bed, plotting to take over the world. Cats do that ruling the world from a pile of pillows thing so well, after all, and I have opposable thumbs! Who then can stop me?

BWAAAHAHAHAhahahaha..

ahem

I think I need another dose of cold meds.

I finally heard back from the construction company today about the broken statue. I ended up having to tell the supervisor here at the building that I would take it to small claims court if I didn't hear from them by Friday. I got a call a couple of hours later. It took a bit to get the gal on the phone to understand that what was broken was a piece of sculpture. I asked for $100. She said she would talk to the people in the office and get back to me tomorrow or Monday. I said okay. I shall hope that they will settle with me rather than wanting to go the small claims court route. It would be much more convent for all of us, really.

My brother also called today. He's in Colorado Springs, but Aviano hasn't bothered to send the drug test to them so he can start on Monday. If the test doesn't arrive tomorrow, he would not be able to start the job until March 28th, leaving him employed for only a month, and at loose ends in Colorado with no job until that time. He said if the test results don't arrive tomorrow, he wants to come out here for a bit. I told him if that happened, he could stay with me for as long as he needed to. So if anyone local has any lines on construction work or driving trucks or something similar, please let me know and I'll pass the info along to my brother. He's done paving, heavy machinery and crane operation, and has driven semis. I can get more details if he is coming out.

He is supposed to call me tomorrow at some point to let me know what's happening. He says he may want to go back up to South Dakota before he comes out here, to renew his drivers license, as he's a legal resident there when he's not in Italy.

And now that I have updated, I am going to collapse and get some sleep. I can make my brain work later.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Failure TRex)
So I called the VA and left a message for Nina. I got a call back this evening (went to voicemail) from the Women's Clinic telling me that Nina had sent in a consult and that Neurology hasn't yet acted on it. Joy.

I'll call Neurology (the secretary left a number and extension) and get on their ass, and call the patient advocate again. Speaking of the patient advocate, he left a call before I got up this afternoon returning my call; he sounded downright sniffly that I'd thanked him for his assistance. I think I'd made his day. I'll be calling him back and asking him to get on Neurology again. I'm kind of thinking that after I'd talked to him the other day, that was when Nina finally sent in the request for the consult. I suspect there is a clusterfuck in the making, especially since I'm leaving town for 10-ish days next Wednesday.

My migraine is less today, but still there. I didn't take the bc pill today, figuring that it was probably what had knocked me down with a bad enough migraine to need to go to the ER. I literally haven't had to do that in about a decade.

This evening I went over to Kalia's in Lynnwood, where I met [livejournal.com profile] ravenlaughing for dinner. She picked up the tab, and brought me some lovely lavender infused honey from Purple Haze Farms from last year's lavender festival. She also gave me a discount pass for the Seattle Repertory Theatre. It's only good for this season, so I went online and grabbed a ticket for the play that's currently on -- last day is the Sunday after I get back from California. The play after that is Steinbeck, and I really really hate how depressing Steinbeck is. The final play of the season is some thingie about Steve Jobs, and I'm really not nearly enough of an Apple fanatic to give a shit. The one I'll be going to see is The Brothers Size, which looked pretty interesting. It apparently has a good dose of Yoruban mythology inhabiting it and several of the Orisha are characters. We'll see how it goes.

When I got home, the remains of the duck carcass I'd had in the slow cooker finally got dealt with and the broth and remaining bits of meat were put into the freezer. It will be Very Very Tasty when I make soup with it later.

Last thing tonight, if you're on FetLife, I recently joined up there. PM me and let me know who you are and I might add you.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (lynx at first glance)
I woke to a phone call from Bj saying that gaming was canceled today because he wasn't feeling well and SJ still wasn't recovered from his surgery yesterday. I told him okay and hoped they both were feeling better very soon, then went back to sleep until 4:30 this afternoon. I really needed the sleep.

That said, I woke to the news that DADT had been repealed, and that Obama will probably sign the bill into law next week sometime. This certainly isn't the end of the whole mess. It could be months before it actually goes into effect, and it's only one part of the struggle for our equality in American society. We still can't marry same-sex partners in most states, and rights for trans people are pretty much non-existent, but it's long past time this idiotic law was trashed for good. On the whole, this is a win.

Given that I wasn't gaming today, I dropped back into SL and did another poetry reading this afternoon. I read three of mine, I think, and one W.S. Merwin poem about John Berryman and poetry (Berryman). After that I went and hung out with some Pagans for a bit, then dropped offline and messed around with the other VR grid, finally able to get to the place I'd been trying to the other day. Nobody was around, but they're having a solstice party tomorrow and I was invited, so I wanted to be sure I could actually get there. I also messed with the basic avatar so that it was at least vaguely more appropriate. Gorilla arms just don't appeal to me. I have no idea why the avatar arms are so damned long on default. Anyway, stuff was done.

I also did a sink full of dishes and made banana bread. Tomorrow I really should do some laundry. I want to write but my brain is just not cooperating in the least right now. It needs a good whack, I think.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
I spent a good chunk of today over at Bj and SJ's place with [livejournal.com profile] herbmcsidhe finishing up the insane-making details of my DQ character for our upcoming game. I'm used to the GURPS buy things with these points type system. DQ does have a points based system as well, but it's put together very differently and Bj likes to use a spreadsheet system that leaves me thoroughly confused. Between the spreadsheet issues and Erynn's number-phobia, I was having a rather stressful time with the whole thing. I struggled through it all and the character will be fun to play, but it's a lot to go through when I've been stressing pretty hard to begin with lately. Rain all day for the trip out and back didn't help much either.

I finally got the issue with the HOA resolved. Yes, they put the check in the wrong account. I do still owe the money, but it wasn't actually the money for the special assessment, it was the money from the increase in the regular HOA dues. Complicated handwaving, but now things are set right and I'll just come up with it in two or three installments after the beginning of the year. I don't mind admitting when I've messed up (regular HOA messup), but I hate people blaming me for something I didn't actually do (nonpayment of special assessment). The amount is the same, but the actual cause being determined settled my mind about the whole thing. I'm not thrilled but I'm on board with it.

I discovered today why it is that the pocket watch isn't working properly. The tiny second hand at the bottom of the watchface sticks up just a little over the divot it's supposed to fit in and the hour hand gets caught on it, which stops everything. I need to take it in and have the ends bent down just enough that the hour hand will pass over them without catching, and that should fix everything just fine, rather than needing to have its innards messed about with again. Since I know exactly what's wrong and all it will take is unscrewing the crystal and having somebody with steady hands bend a teensy piece of metal, it shouldn't cost much. I doubt it will even take very much time, and there's a watch repair place just up the street across from the Fred Meyer, so I can maybe head over there tomorrow afternoon and see if they can do it for me then.

I'm angry that the Republicans (all but one of them) voted against the bill with the end of DADT in it. I'm not surprised. Bastards.

Thankfully, I don't have anything at all planned for tomorrow or Saturday. Sunday is my Brigid shift and the Shinto ceremony. Between the weather, the stress, and my body chemistry I've been feeling really down lately, but I'm hoping a couple of down days and maybe getting the watch fixed will help me feel a bit better.

Cut for odd dream. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy medievalist)
This afternoon I met [livejournal.com profile] lakmiseiru at Travelers, where we did some mutual writing support. It was lovely to catch up with her again, after missing her presence at Samhain. She thanked me for posting about the new TSA scanners, as some of those medical cautions apply to her personally. I have a few new links today about the situation.

In one case, a traveler on the way to Canada got a bunch of folks to opt out of the whole thing, so the TSA started just sending people through the usual metal detector.

On the other hand, a journalist filmed a TSA agent groping his three-year-old daughter while the poor kid is screaming and frantic. The link leads to a youtube news report with some footage of the situation that might be triggery for some. Americans have spent years trying to teach their kids to not let strangers touch them to help avoid sexual abuse of children. Do we now have to tell kids that, really, it's okay to let strangers in uniform touch them even if nobody else can? TSA isn't even refusing to hire individuals convicted of sexual assault/harassment unless it was rape, according to [livejournal.com profile] lysana's Gather article. Just what we need, convicted sexual offenders doing "enhanced patdowns." Do you really want somebody convicted of sexually assaulting someone to stick their hand in your crotch? But oh, it wasn't rape, so that's okay.

One thing I've seen advocated frequently lately is the "Israelification" of security at American airports. On the one hand, a lot of this makes some good sense -- deal with a bomb threat by reducing the potential of any bomb to actually harm anyone, not by evacuating the entire damned airport. On the other hand, it's not like Israel doesn't assume every Arab or Muslim is a terrorist, and we don't need that at all. Their human rights abuses are a matter of public record. On a third appendage, behavioral profiling means that people who act nervous or "weird" are going to be the ones singled out for strip searches, body cavity searches, and other intrusive procedures. As someone with PTSD who experiences something approaching full-blown anxiety attacks every time I have to cross the border into Canada these days, I can practically guarantee that I and most other folks with anxiety disorders or PTSD are likely to be swept into that net on a regular basis because we're "nervous." I can't say as I'm thrilled with that idea in the least.

Combine all this with people advocating a National Opt-Out Day on Wednesday, November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving, on one of the heaviest travel days of the year, and we could be looking at a complete collapse of air travel over the period of a couple of days. At the very least, travel that day is likely to be even more time-consuming and annoying than usual. With any luck, this sort of thing will start to hurt airline pocketbooks when people refuse to fly or cause immense delays of flights due to TSA's practices. If you do travel by air and you do feel you've been mistreated, the ACLU is taking a survey, and you can report your experience there, and the TSA's own website has this to say about reporting civil rights abuses, for all that's worth:

How can you report a civil rights or civil liberties complaint? There are a number of ways in which you can report a concern. You can pursue any of the following steps.

During travel: While you are still at the checkpoint, you can ask to speak with a supervisor about the incident. You can also ask to speak with the Customer Service Manager for the airport. Depending on the time of day during which you are traveling or the size of the airport, the Customer Service Manager may not be readily accessible to you at the airport.

After traveling: You may contact the External Compliance Division of TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties to file a complaint.

Our mailing address is:
Transportation Security Administration
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA-6)
External Compliance Division
601 S. 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598
Our email address is:
TSA.OCR-ExternalCompliance@dhs.gov

You may also contact the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to file a complaint. The Department's procedures for filing and handling complaints can be found at: http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0373.shtm.


At any rate, things don't look like they're going to be calming down anytime soon, so if you have any other choices for travel, I'd strongly suggest you exercise them.

I spent a couple of hours with [livejournal.com profile] lakmiseiru aside from our TSA discussion. Not only did we chat and have chai together, we both got a little writing done. I started out today at about 250-ish words and ended at just over 2,000, so I feel like I've been productive. We started out at Travelers, then moved over to Kaladi when Travelers closed. I ended up driving all over looking for parking and ended up on 11th near the John St. end of Cal Anderson park, so I had rather a walk to get down to Kaladi. When they closed at 8:30, I said goodnight to her and dropped in at Elliott Bay Books to hang out a little longer and see if I could crank out just a bit more writing. It felt pretty good to sit in the cafe there; it's a pleasant atmosphere, and being in a bookshop is always a happymaking thing for me.

I'm not terribly pleased with what I have so far for the essay, but at least it's getting some of this set down. I put in placeholder footnotes and I need to look up the references and to plug in quotes. I got a request from [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde asking if she could see the article when I'm done, and I said I'd send it to her before I did the final editing stuff to see what she thought. That'll be a week or two yet, though, I suspect. The way I'm feeling about it right now, I'll be sending it off to [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht and asking him for advice before I'm satisfied with how it's working, but that will be when it's closer to finished as well.

I'm feeling way too busy and overwhelmed this week. I'll probably be spending the next two evening poking at my writing too, hoping to get something more together before SteamCon.

Birds

Aug. 23rd, 2007 07:09 pm
erynn: Gaelic merman image (shimmertwist crane)
Today on the way out to the hot spring I saw a roadrunner. I did not, however, see Wile E. Coyote or anything marked Acme, thankfully. At the spring I got quite the surprise -- there was a heron! One of the Great Blues from what I could tell. Today I had the camera with me so I need to download the photos to the computer and see if it was blurry or if I caught him as he was flying away.

After shift today we had the Third Annual Thursday 5pm Perimeter meeting. This involved Guinness, root beer, and vanilla ice cream. Yum. T-shirts were passed out to those of us working 5 or more shifts.

Much fun is being had by all. Less dust today and more sunshine. I'm working my way through Dark Speech: The Performance of Law in Early Ireland while I'm on shift, as there so far hasn't been much to do, though as the festival draws closer and early arrivals grow more common swinging into full scale arrival madness, we'll have more than ample opportunity to spot people attempting to sneak in across the empty alkalai lakebed that is the playa.

Wireless is up and down. I'm currently on an ethernet connect. Yay ethernet in the desert! Got some closer pics of the Man today after shift. Tomorrow [livejournal.com profile] garzan and I will be working 2pm-8pm instead of 8am-2pm, so I'll get to sleep in a bit. That'll be very nice. I might feel like actually staying up a bit later tonight. You wouldn't think that just riding around in the desert would be that tiring, but the heat does really take it out of you. I just make sure I drink a lot every day.

I'll probably be doing the photo download tonight so with luck sometime tomorrow I'll be uploading some pics to my LJ behind a cut for your viewing pleasure. I hope they've come out okay!

I'm missing my friends at home and online, but I'm having a good time here. It's gonna get wild in a couple of days.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (linen_tartaruga's tree of life)
According to [livejournal.com profile] caitriona_nnc, the CR FAQ publication is live and for sale for $19.95 from Lulu.com. This is the second book this month that's been published with my name on it -- yay me! And yay to everyone else who worked so hard on this project.

In other news, the Man went up today. I have a photo of the Man going up, and now it's standing and the head's been put on. I'll grab some photos later this evening. The Center Camp Cafe has its flags flying and more people are arriving every day. It's nowhere near crowded yet, but it's definitely getting more people in.

Went out to the hot spring again today and soaked until a busload of folks came in from the site then headed back in to catch the email and all.

And regarding the ogam book, apparently I have relatives who are into the whole thing, as my mom learned from one of her cousins in Boston earlier this week:

Hi Bette!

I have been looking at Erynn's book on Ogam and it is fascinating. I bought an extra copy to give to Gary's daughter Tracy who has an interest in that subject area. I think her sister Kathy will also find it interesting since she visited Scotland a couple of years ago on her honeymoon and also has a fascination with the old myths and magic.

You must be sooooo proud of your published daughter! Please tell Erynn how proud Mary and I are of her accomplishments too!

P.S. I especially liked the dedication she wrote in that book :-)


Love, Bobby


He followed it up the next day with this note:

If you haven't been able to see it yet, the dedication in the Ogam book is really very nice. I am sure most of it is totally over my head but I am going to try and get the most out of it that I can. Even from just reading the forward I like Erynn's style :-)

Must dash -- love and insanity to you all!

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