Three years ago

I was at Potlatch in Seattle, a literary con, and I had a good time.

I bought a t shirt at Potlatch that I love and wear a lot. Tom Whitmore told me about this. Hearing that out of his own mouth was the high point ….

I just deleted the middle part of this post, about three hundred words, because there’s no point being honest.  It’s just me flailing about with words to no good end….

Back to Potlatch…That was the last time I saw Ulrika.  I talk to her online but I haven’t seen her IRL since then.

Everybody around me was crying or otherwise sad and visibly upset because Octavia Butler died abruptly and they all knew her and loved her and loved her work and they were very conscious of what a loss it was to the world.

So to honor a moment I had in my life, before everything changed and broke and turned to shit – because frankly, that’s how I feel and I’m tired of pretending I feel great, even if how lousy I feel is temporary, and to honor Octavia Butler I will link to the journal entry of another writer of color, link to something about SF, cultural appropriation, and how the culture we are raised in is a pernicious lie NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE. Minor quibble – spelling.

Good times, ow, solar science

Went dancing last night to the melodious strains of the Blue Meenies, a fabulous cover band of these parts, and they had Winter Ale on tap at the John B! Home by 12:30 thanks to one of my fellow revellers. Daughter Katie jammed, mentioning something about self-care. We had a small and lively crew there and it was lovely to see Mike and Heather.

This morning, of course, the piper has arrived with his hand out; I am interesting varieties of sore. Daughter Katie is showing up this afternoon, possibly maybe, for a meal and a visit, and then I’m off to the Luddite’s for dinner. I really wish I could crosspost his last email to me – it is a masterpiece of British humour. Reference to this video was made. NOTE: it is nothing you won’t see on TV these days, but that doesn’t mean you want your boss walking up behind you while you are thoughtfully educating yourself with its four and a half minutes of hardhitting content.

So after all this gimping about with climate change, and everything supposedly getting warmer, some bunch of solar science geeks are saying we’re heading into solar minimum and it’s going to get ass freezing cold around here. Well, why not!? It’s a planet, it’s a complex system, and I wish I hadn’t given away my ski pants. Here’s the consensus view of the timing of the event.

Here’s the International MSM take on the science.

Not so fast, said RealClimate in 2005.

Please note there’s a big difference between the solar minimum of the 11 year (actually 9 – 14 year) solar sunspot cycle and a Maunder Minimum, when there are virtually no sunspots for many decades. The last Maunder Minimum put Europe in the fridge for about 40 years. Or so some people believe…. the deep freeze can also be attributed to the stalling of the thermohaline current, which might or might not have something to do with the sun.  I am seeing the ‘problem with climate change’ as not being so much a problem with the planet as a problem with interpreting what’s going on around us.
The scientific problem (how do prove that we know what is happening by developing successful predictive models) is  aggravated by bumps in the research road.  Human beings a) live for about 80 years and we’re trying to see patterns that are godlike in duration and grandeur, b) see patterns where none may be, c) fail to see patterns because they’re too close to a problem and d) hold opinions and field arguments for reasons which may line up with their breeding rights and status rather than the facts in the case.

So is the earth getting warmer?  Well, yeah. Ice doesn’t melt without getting warmer, and 2007 was a f*cking catastrophe for glaciers and polar ice.  But in ten years of bad weather we could get every cubic inch of that ice back and then some; this winter was an interesting study for me in how very minor changes in weather patterns and temperatures can make immense differences in snowfall.  East Van got rain!  I got 1 foot of snow – twice!  (And had to clean it off the f*cking CAN car, both times, but I’m from Ontario and I am used to cleaning a foot of wet snow off cars.)

The debate goes on, but I have one plea for the boffins – please continue to work on food crop seeds which can deal with temperature and moisture extremes, because I suspect that will do more good for humanity than arguing about what kinds of spots the sun finds fashionable this year.

I am toasting almonds for biscotti.

The landpeer will be showing the apartment starting Monday, so I gotta tidy up.

Tetris made of people

Quite literally, what it says.

It’s snowing again. 

Daughter Katie’s coming over this afternoon and We Will, We Will Deadwood.  Hopefully the transit system is up to the task of getting her here.

I found a hilarious critique of Libertarianism on line.

Last night I dreamed I was back in the High Park area of Toronto.  I guess I’m sick of looking at stucco houses.  I miss many things about Toronto; I miss seeing the CN Tower and I miss a lot of the friends I have there (Tammy, Catherine, Dave, Jan and others).  I miss Kensington Market the way it was, I miss the colour of Lake Ontario on a windy fall day, I miss being able to ice skate outside in the wintertime.

Sometimes I wish I could live in three places at once, because there are things I miss about Montreal too.  I miss the Dorval circle and the absolutely craziness of the town when the festivals like the Jazz festival and Just For Laughs were on; I miss how people dress with more style and drive with more verve (and frankly, consistently better than the unwashed hordes of incompetents who adorn the roads in Vancouver); I miss being able to hear Inuktitut spoken in the street; I miss skating in La Centre de la Nature in Laval, the best outdoor skating venue in Canada; I miss the wild variety of the weather, even.

Why would somebody ask for ‘more ranting’?

Tonight I would like to rant about the lack of menstruation rituals in our culture. Tonight I’m going to take the man’s view, as the woman’s view about it isn’t nearly transgressive enough for me ce soir la. Jeez, where’s an accent grave when I need one…
If I was a man, I would want rituals and predictive patterns in young women’s lives that preserved their fertility for their true purpose, namely, making babies with me and not with other men. Having some kind of ceremony where it was drilled into the girl’s head that she had one shot at the childbearing game and if she slept with the wrong guy it was game the fuck over would be useful if my strategy for access to childbearing women meant I was employed and civil. Mind you, if my strategy is to just rape the shit out of her and hope for a lucky plug, it’s still better than if she was really trying to save it for the right guy. Her body may betray her and pop an egg for me. I’d be the ‘wrong guy’ – but I’d still be first. Now, the sperm competition theory of fucking, which holds that guys enjoy sharing girls because if you’re second (or later) you come way harder (your sperm will ‘wash away’ that of your, uh, competitor/buddy), so if you let your buddy go first, because you don’t really care if you get her pregnant, and you’d prefer to come harder because of your wiring, you’ve more or less dropped out of the discussion about breeding. You’ve actually given some consideration to the notion, which is why you’re wearing a condom while all of these shenanigans are going on. I mean, it’s still rape, but there’s a different angle. You get it now? All different styles of thinking about ‘the breeding thing’ lead to different results in terms of how it affects the woman’s life. Oh, sorry, I’ve gone back into the women’s way of thinking about this, ‘scuse me all to hell.

So mOm, did I make you laugh really hard on the phone tonight, or what?

Back to the subject at hand. Women should have menstruation rites so that they actually have two whole chunks of time to think about fertility without having to do any work. That is, in part, what rituals are all about. It’s about the whole “stop working and start thinking” thing that has made humanity what it is. Having enough excess capacity in your life to be able to stop and think is what makes for civil life. Having the spare time to develop morality makes morality. Leisure, in short, makes ethical life possible. But don’t worry, in the end it’s all about sex. Yeehaw. Hurry hurry love.
Did I ever say why it was I refer to my mother as mOm? It’s because when I spell her title that way, it is the “Kilroy was here” or “Clem” sign. See his hands, on either side of his head? Te he. But I also do it because of where I got the idea of it, pOp – which is a clown face with a big nose in the middle. Squint and you’ll see.