- There was an earthquake in Los Angeles last night. It wasn't big (magnatitude 3.7, below the 4.0 threshold for most Angelenos to care about), but it was centered in a populated area (I was playing board games less than a mile from there only three hours earlier). It also managed to move through most of the LA Basin without losing much strength; it woke me up sixteen miles away, wondering if this was the beginning of a large quake, tensing to leap out of bed and prepare for coming chaos. Instead I fell right back to sleep, and when I woke up, I couldn't remember why I was looking at the clock at 3:18.
- The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban medical-marijuana dispensaries within city limits. This puts city law at odds with the state law which is at odds with federal law. (The LA law is also at odds with federal law since it affirms the right to "grow and share marijuana in groups of three people or fewer.") I love this quote:
"The best course of action is to ban dispensaries, allow patients to have access under state law," [Councilperson Jose Huizar, who proposed the bill,] said. "Let's wait to see what the state Supreme Court decides and then we will be in a much better position to draft an ordinance that makes sense."Because when the law is unclear, the best thing to do is take the most drastic action possible while waiting for a final result.
- I just recently learned about a wonderful blog series running on the KCET website: Laws that Shaped L.A. One was nominated by gaming buddy Mark Valliantos: "The Roots of Sprawl: Why We Don't Live Where We Work." It's about the 1908 zoning laws (the Residence District Ordinance and the Industrial District Ordinance) of Los Angeles, and how they were designed by the first Progressives who were trying to use the laws to create a more ordered and virtuous city.
"People had a sense that when it came to land use of the city, we could spread out, we could avoid some of the problems of the East Coast industrial cities," he says. "But in the end, it's a shame. We went too far in the other direction, too much toward cars, too much toward sprawl. We're still repairing that today."My other favorite so far is on the Laws of the Indies enacted by King Philip II of Spain in 1573, which explains why Los Angeles isn't centered near the port (where Long Beach is) and why downtown LA's grid clashes with the areas around it (a story continued in an article on Thomas Jefferson's 1785 Land Ordinance.)
- Occupy LA was an odd moment in our police history, when the LAPD (the L.A.P.D.!) was calmly letting Occupy do their thing. And yet, when folks take chalk to the streets, someone I know (don't know if I should reveal their identity) got caught in a MacArthur Park–like cleansing of the area, which resulted in getting beaten with a nightstick when trying to leave. It wasn't until after the police had begun firing rubber bullets into the crowd that a different officer let them through with the advice, "Run and hide."
- And now there's Anaheim where the police seem to be going on a killing spree aimed at driving toward a 1965-style riot. Local radio station KPCC compared the situation to the one described in a 1963 report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. The local nickname "Klanaheim" was earned in the '20s when the Ku Klux Klan briefly (and ultimately unsuccessfully) took over the city government. But resident OC Mexican Gustavo Arellano
Wonder why Orange County trembles whenever its Mexicans protest? Welcome to the Citrus War of 1936, the most important event in Orange County history you've never heard of.His article about the Citrus War of 1936 details an extended racialized labor struggle in which
Orange County Sheriff Logan Jackson deputized citrus orchard guards and provided them with steel helmets, shotguns and ax handles. The newly minted cops began arresting [mostly Mexican] strikers en masse, more than 250 by strike's end. When that didn't stop the strike, they reported workers to federal immigration authorities. When that didn't work, out came the guns and clubs. Tear gas blossomed in the groves. Mobs of citrus farmers and their supporters attacked under cover of darkness.
What actually happened is that instead of resolving the stress and anxiety of not being employed, it was transmuted into a laser-like focus on this new job (again, only a temp job) so that I wasn't paying attention to friends or anything else. It had a new commute long, which was new, but I still felt like at the end of the night I was tired and didn't have time to do or see much.
My friends have been waking me up out of that, and I'm talking with people again, but it’s a small circle of people on my chat, text, and social meetups. Going from talking to almost nobody to talking to a few people again is making me miss the nice broad sweep of broadcast information that a journal gives me. And though I keep reading DW and LJ and Tumblr, I don't interact even in comments, much.
But my schedule is really SNAFU, so I'm not going to make any promises about that. Last week, I only worked 2.8 days because of the U.S. holiday and an extra day I took to spend time with my family on the beach. This week, I'm getting prepared to go to Portland, Oregon for a week and a half for the National Puzzlers' League Convention, followed by a family wedding.
I mean, really; the Con is two days away. The pre-pre-con party is happening right now, I think. I am probably the least prepared for this con than I ever have been for any con ever. I am going to show up on Thursday and I probably still won't understand why all of these people I know happen to be at the hotel. The whole things just feels so weird.
More pressingly, I have no idea what I'm going to do for the three or four extra days that I'm in Portland. I may, in fact, spend them mostly in a hotel room reading actual books. Which will be okay too. But it's more vacation than I'm really used to ever taking in another city on my own.
What should I do with my free time in Portland, Oregon?
Rambly post is rambly. I defy editing.
Do you like zombies?
Um, it's not that we wouldn't like to take your survey; it's more like we'd rather have dental surgery.
Would you like to see George Wendt in a new musical?
Would you like to take a hike?
Would you like to see George Wendt as a zombie in a new musical?
Try using a better deodorant.
This has been a week for musicals. On Sunday, I saw Reanimator: The Musical. I missed this in its initial run last year, but I am so glad I saw it now as it prepares for a tour to the New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you have the opportunity to see it in any of those places, you absolutely should. The staging is uniformly excellent, with Grand Guignol effects as horrific and cheesy one would expect. But I was constantly surprised by the show. The music was better than I expected, in writing and performance. I also didn't realize that the show was created by the same creative team responsible for the Reanimator movie. But mostly, I never thought I would get to see George Wendt as a lobotomized zombie slave on a small stage. That was pretty awesome.
Though it's generally comedic, there are only a few cheap jokes, which makes them stand out all the more. When a large bunch of zombies make their entrance, they do the Thriller dance, of course. And while most songs are original, one is a knock-off version of "My Way." But on the whole, it's an excellent show.
Tonight, I went to the last show of the East West Players' season, A Little Night Music. Though the text remained the same, the production took its design cues from 1910 Shanghai. I've never seen this musical in its entirety, and I really enjoyed it. I also recommend it, though sadly, unlike Reanimator, it does not have a Splash Zone in the audience.
The 9:00 a.m. alarm continues to be a good schedule making me more productive in terms of job search and general doing of things. I've gotten in touch with a staffing agency, and tomorrow I'll be doing a phone interview with a company that is looking to hire a legal word processor for four or five months. If that goes through, it will be a surprise. I was just getting used to the idea of having lots of free time. (I've only learned to cook one new thing!) Still, it'll give me a chance to keep the cash flow going while looking for something more steady.
It's not a site that I would have really gone to on my own, but a friend has been raving about it, so I've been trying it out. It has a "real names" policy (not clearly defined, but presumably on par with Google Plus, from which I am still banned). However they do allow one to make certain actions anonymously, so I am making anonymous actions, to which I sign my name Tablesaw. All this to say that if you are on, or go to Quora, you won't find me as a user (and please don't look for my "real name" profile, if you happen to know my government-ID name).
My friend Kat posted this in response to the question, "What are the most civilized things about civilization?" It reads in part:
The worst thing about civilization, then is the blind drive to preserve the civilization regardless of the cost. We're currently facing the possibility of the collapse of the oceanic ecosystem, and meanwhile, time is wasted squabbling over profit and political gain. We argue about precepts set down during a long bygone age, and about insults in the manner of address and commerce and privilege between our subdivisions. I am as guilty of this as any other.It inspired this on chat:
- I think I just undermined myself: http://www.quora.com/Civilization/W
- I just declared that all Social Justice and discussion about food and anything else pales in importance compared to global ecological crisis.
- The way you framed it, yes. But actually considering your opinion, no.
- Your answer posits a thing that is most important for civilization, but your previous examples suggest pinnacles of civilization come from rigorously pursuing a single goal.
- Your concern also stems from the assumption that reaching your posited end goal is a straight line that will not require steps like reducing the influence of racialized social structures.
- ahhh, nice.
- Pity you can't comment anonymously. :P
- (You'll have to post a separate answer and cross-reference mine if you want to remain anon)
- I don't really care to for this, since I'm mostly responding to your private question about what you've said. Reframing for public consumption in Quora's framework is too tiresome.
- If you'd like, I can link to the Quora answer, then share our brief chat transcript on DW.
After an initial flurry of activity filing for unemployment insurance and sending a few e-mails to staffing agencies, I fell into a funk of avoidance, leading to a mini freak out on Thursday. I talked with friends and family who reminded me that it's ok to be freaked out about being unemployed for the first time in over a decade, and that a few days of not doing anything productive is fine.
I'm going to try to set myself onto a daily working schedule come Monday. While it's nice to sleep in until 11 or noon, I'm not actually productive when I stay up late. Once it nears sunset, I start feeling like my work day is over, and I stop doing other things. I think that forcing myself to at least be awake by nine every morning will add a few hours to my "working" day, at the very least. More measures will probably be forthcoming.
I did manage to do a lot of nonproductive things, though. I entered a local crossword puzzle tournament and participated in a sudoku contest at Logic Masters India. boardgaming night (played Roll Through the Ages), role-playing-game night (beta-testing a game by Josh Robern), a party to read and mock Fifty Shades of Grey as a group, and an NPL party. And in addition to that, I saw a bunch of friends at different times. I joined the site Quora despite its "real names" policy, by hacking together a form of pseudonymity out of its nascent system. And I sauteed chicked without freaking out.
Starting Monday, I'm going to add DW to my list of daily things to do. For reals.
The Egyptian had a double feature for these two films, and it was a lot of fun. As many people are already aware, Labyrinth continues to hold up well as a film. The Dark Crystal does not. It's very steeped in late '70s/early '80s fantasy, and the movie often pauses to watch the puppets do strange things. But while I'll always have a place in my heart for this movie, I'll never be able to watch it at home again. Once you've seen the swamps and the Skeksis and everything in big bright colors, the film just doesn't have a point on the small screen.
April 12: The Cabin in the Woods
I went with a long-time Whedon fan to see this in an advance showing at the Arclight on Thursday. The movie really was amazing, and you should go see it. I do think it's a film that benefits from watching without knowing much about it, so no spoilers from me, but it's a movie that I recommend to pretty much everyone.
I don't generally consider myself a horror fan, but I love listening to the podcast Psuedopod (though I'm eternally backlogged a year behind. But in listening, I get a sense of a wider scope of horror stories than one generally expects from what are classified as horror movies. The Cabin in the Woods fits more comfortably in that wider view than what's typically presented in movies.
Again, I recommend it to everyone, and I am especially hoping to see what yendi thnks of it.
April 13: That Dog Reunion Show
From my Tumblr:
Last night, I went to see the reunion show for That Dog. It's been 20 years since they released their first EP, which is about the same time (probably later in the year), that I listend to them do a live set on KCRW on Brave New World.It was really a great show. Either Anna Waronker's voice has gotten a bit lower and coarser over time or she just wasn't trying as hard to get the higher pop sound. Either way, a lot of the songs sounded even better than I remembered. I've loaded all the songs onto my iPod, which is kind of redundant, since they've been stuck in my head all day.
The show was billed as having songs that were rarely or never played live. I’m glad it was because That Dog has always been better in the deep cuts than the singles. Listening to them perform "Paid Programming" took me back to that time, lying on the floor of my bedroom listening to the radio, falling in love.
What incredibly geeky thing should I do on Saturday?
Attend OrcCon, a local gaming convention.
Attend a screening of all five original Planet of the Apes films.
Defend your position:
I'm working on the Monday holiday, so I'm going to take Saturday off, and there are two competing amazingly geeky things to do, and I'm having a hard time deciding, so I'm polling opinions.
Things to consider (ETA: These are all things that people have asked me to help make a decision):
- Links: Planet of the Apes | OrcCon
- Distance: The Egyptian Theatre is in walking distance from my house, while OrcCon is a bit of a drive to the LAX area.
- Cost: Between registration and parking, a day at OrcCon will cost about $40. A ticket to all of the Apes movies is $15.
- Friends: Although the Apes marathon will undoubtedly be packed with Apes enthusiasts, I will probably not be attending with any previously known friends. On the other hand, a number of friends and acquaintances will be attending OrcCon either for boardgaming or role-playing. In fact, several of my friends are organizing a Houses of the Blooded LARP.
- Uniqueness: Strategicon is held three times a year, while Planet of the Apes marathons are . . . somewhat more rare. On the other hand, I have all of the movies on DVD and could organize a showing in my house (with booze, even), while gaming is often ephemeral.
- PKD: In A Scanner Darkly, the characters plan to attend a marthon of all of the Planet of the Apes movies. They do not plan to attend a LARP.
I did okay. My best puzzle was the Loop the Loops, which is a combination of two of my best puzzle types. But I had some catastrophic failures on the Star Battle and the "Small Neighbors." Still, because of the way the way the puzzle was structured, I followed through and eventually got them entered correctly. In fact, because of thes coring system, I was able to take breaks to recompose myself. After trying to solve the Small Neighbors puzzle after work, I ended up getting on the Metro and finishing it on the ride home.
I knew that the worst for me would be the last two puzzles, a hard Samurai Sudoku and a hard Kakuro. The sudoku gave me a lot of trouble, but eventually I worked through it after a few hours (with a sleep break in between). At that point, I'd earned all the points I could from the test—the scoring discarded the worst score, and since I knew that I wouldn't be able to solve a large, hard sudoku in an hour that it was just going to be the base points, like several others. Still, there was a special notice appearing on the site for people who solved all ten, so I figured I'd push through, for completeness' sake.
That was one of the most grueling puzzling experiences in my life.
Kakuro is my least favorite puzzle type. I hate the number of combinations that have to be constantly checked and rechecked, especially at harder levels. And this puzzle inevitably magnified everything about Kakuro that I hate. And that's in addition to the portions I had to do over a few times because of fatigue errors. Total time for one Kakuro: 22 hours and 50 minutes of nothing but pain.
Okay, admittedly, a significant portion was food, sleep, talking on the phone, playing Batman: Arkham City and working. But still—PAIN.
I guess that's a point in favor of the normal contest type: I can ignore the Kakuro and know I'm not losing any points.
Strongly disagree. (So strongly that I don't have enough words to express my vitriol toward the concept, and rely on words of calm and reason.)I was thinking about a response, but then Trinker cornered me on IM, and I dumped out a lot of what I was thinking. With her permission:
Allowing expression in the name of "not being PC" defangs the entire structure of being able to confront the problem of -ism from its roots.
It puts the disprivileged in the position of swallowing the -ism "unless it's bad enough".
And "bad enough" tends to be a standard that becomes harder and harder to meet as one grasps for proof that it *is* -ism and not just some random ass being a random ass, such that the only thing one can complain about is if someone is dead and the body is marked in large clear letters with "I KILLED THIS PERSON BECAUSE THEY WERE $category".
I do not think this is what you intend.
- I was just thinking that one of the main functions of "political correctness" as invoked by social conservatives, is to nullify the evidence of social change.
- expand pls.
- It's very similar to the color-blind narrative of affirmitive action. When we start to see non-white, non-male people hired into positions of power, the narrative becomes that they were hired because of "affirmitive action."
Since people take cues from social situations, this narrative tells people to discount this evidence because it has been coerced.
None of those people are getting these positions because they deserve them, or (heaven forbid) because they were more qualified than other applicants. There is always a white man who deserved it more, who's been deprived of his due because people are scared.
The same with "political correctness" and language.
- ah. I am going to start a new counter-narrative, of the incompetent white guy who got in by nepotism...and suggest that people consider seeding those, to see if it helps the "PoC affirmative action" card.
- You don't need to change anything about what your or thinking. Because even though everyone around you is changing the way the act, they only do it because of political correctness. They're scared of the PC police. They're obviously not saying what they really feel.
Or they're pandering to those people so that they can get something.
Either way, it's dishonest.
- ..but a person in that headspace is little inclined to believe that racist thoughts are no longer in vogue...
- Well, I was mostly looking at the effect it had on other listeners.
But it's also a crucial step toward POC are the real racists, just like affirmative action is the real cause of inequality in the workplace.
- so...kind of left stuck at what's possible.
- In what sense?
- is the only answer to encourage blatancy? is preferring "PC" constructions harmful?
- There will never be true honesty in communications like this. I usually see "obvious racism" as a wish for the main ideology of racism to revert from color-blind racism back to Jim Crow racism. I don't think that's possible without a similar structural reversal. I think the nostalgia for that is either because of the increased privilege it held for white people, or because it is seen as a time, for POCs and allies, when threats were easier to identify and combat. But, of course, that's hindsight.
- I think that encouraging blatant speech bolsters more racialized terrorism, and that discouraging it is shaving the iceberg...
- I don't think that "blatancy" is much of a help either. Because most racism/microaggression comes out when people are not thinking, just following percevied sociological cues. These folks never actual think, in their heads, "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE." If there's a secret racism that is being masked, it's at a far deeper level, so encouraging honesty alone is not enough. One would have to encourage people to be more aware of how racist social structure bias their thought and opinions. And doing that doesn't really need any particular blatancy.
- YES. thank you, that's the bit I was scrabbling for.
- As for PC constructions, I think that, at best, they serve as an easily achievable benchmark. PC labels say, "I am grouping you based on racial and other societal structures because that is how our society still works, but I am going to use a somewhat negotiated neutral term to describe that label." I do think that this is a step forward, in general.
It's extremely important for, for example, politicians or reporters who have to talk to and about generalized groups.
- Ahh...pushback against PC is also the same as colorblindness valorization. Of course.
Peña Nieto, facing criticism and ridicule after several recent public fumbles, was asked in a separate interview to name the price of a kilo of tortillas, a standard food base in homes across Mexico, rich or poor. The PRI candidate replied, "I am not the lady of the house," or literally in Spanish, "No soy la señora de la casa."—Daniel Hernandez, "Woman candidate in Mexico says she comes home to check the fridge"
The phrase was interpreted to mean "housewife" among social-media users and commentators who criticized Peña Nieto for what some called an example of Mexican machismo.
On Tuesday, [one of the country's most prominent female journalists, Carmen Aristegui asked Vazquez Mota, a 50-year-old married mother of three daughters, "Are you a señora de la casa?"
"I am a woman, and as a woman I am a housewife, I am a government official, I've been twice a government secretary, I've been leader of a parliamentary group, I am an economist," Vazquez Mota said.
"And indeed, all of that along with being a housewife, a housewife who knows what happens every day at the dining table and in the kitchen," she went on. "And although we may not be there for many hours, as is my case—and I'm sure your case and many others of us—every night we return to that space of the kitchen, return to check the refrigerator and see if everything is ready or what needs to be bought the next day."
Vazquez Mota also suggested that she stops at markets between public events if anything is needed in her household. Directly addressing Peña Nieto's statements, she characterized them as "pejorative."
"Regarding a price of something, we are not obligated to know everything, but what does seem precarious for me is this disdain, this pejorative attitude toward being a housewife," she said. "We have millions, Carmen, millions, that go out to take care of their children all alone."
- Booze. My bar has grown strong and bountiful, and I always appreciate new and interesting contributions to mix with.
- Wardrobe. I'm owning up to the fact that my wardrobe contains the following things:
- Jeans worn casually
- Chinos worn casually or at work
- collared shirts worn at work or over
- Nice T-shirts
- and occasionally a casual sport jacket.
- Music. I still don't get enough of it on my own. Things I've lost from my high-school years (early alternative and trip hop) are what I usually look for when I hit Amoeba.
- Stuff to do. Movie passes, theatre tickets, nice restaurants. Things to go out and do.
- Miscellaneous T[hings]
- A juicer, to go with the new stuff I've been doing with the bar and cocktails.
- I would still like a tie clip
- One of these fancy teacup things
My stomach's still a little skittish, but I bounced back strong. I'd been feeling a little out of shape before the poisoning, and after spending a weekend too week to open a bottle of orange juice (yeah, really), I've been leaping to get back on the exercise routine.
It's been a great time to be out and about in Los Angeles too. Except for the rain yesterday, but also because of the rain yesterday. It's all cool and crisp again, and it feels like an LA winter should after the cold snap earlier in the month.