Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Recent Meetings

The Portland Peace Prize ceremony was at Mercy Corps this year.  Roz Babener, a founder of the Community Warehouse won the award.  Ibrahim was a nominee this year, another community leader.  I'm not that familiar with the prize or who has won it before.  Polo?

The film Authority & Expectations continues to make the rounds (Joanne's report).  Veterans for Peace was prominent in Christopher's report.

I'll mention about the "celebrating Mossadegh" event when it gets to be my turn.  John Munson, a guest here tonight, was also at that event at the Peace House.  He's involved in planning a fundraising event on September 14 at said Peace House.

This was just a short excerpt from our meeting.  The other meetings I'm thinking about include the Oversight Committee meetings and staff meetings.  Staff is spread around so we tend to use cyber-stuff and meet in Cyberia.

The role of email in supporting meetings is interesting, also discussion lists.  The ability to advance things in parallel is a focus of GST (general systems theory):
With my students I use theater as a good metaphor. You have actors or agents and scripts. You also have many stages, not just one, and characters that go between the stages. This is management theory or it's channeling electrons, depending on how tightly you want to tie it to actual microprocessor controlling.
David's main examples are macroscopic such as "making waffles". You need the waffle maker to be hot and empty before you pour batter in, and you need feedback that people still want more. Several waffle makers might run in parallel, just as many people eat simultaneously and so on.
The main line of the thread I'm copying from above is over on Math Forum, where math teachers and others are discussing a recent article in the New York Times.  However the branch I'm citing went to Synergeo.  That quoted passage is a reference to Dr. DiNucci's report a couple weeks ago.

Mom's report sounds like Linus Pauling's reminding us that humans have irrevocably changed the environment for all future life on Earth thanks to carelessness with radio-toxins.

That's is hardly news in 2013, but is a theme of this year's ceremonies (Disarmament Day, August 6), which are shaping up.  Mom was just at a planning meeting at PSR.

I'm not a huge fan of the If I Had a Trillion Dollars campaign, which is hardly a problem as it has lots of trackers and backers already.  It encourages the kind of contrary-to-fact thinking associated with Washington, DC.

However, I did enjoy Gavin's project to do "A Periodic Table of the Presidents" which he kick started on KickStart.

Apparently AFSC has already budgeted money for the QVS intern, application due in February.  Quaker Voluntary Service is only this summer opening a house in Portland, I don't know where yet.

I've modeled the Blue House as somewhat similar in design:  a platform for engagement in both planning and carrying out vital operations.  Several of us reported on The Door Project.  I left the check from Multnomah Meeting / Junior Friends program for our door.

I forgot to mention in my report about Lindsey continuing to run a Food Not Bombs serving, in support of the vigil at City Hall, and making use of the kitchen at Right to Dream Too.

Having some loose criteria about casting is a good idea, but a strong director often has a deeper knowledge of her or his actors / agents / objects than merely broad brush stroke ideas.  The devil is in the details, but in this context that "devil" is an angel (in terms of providing leverage).

Organizations with lots of actors but few directors or casting advisers (the job of HR) experience different kinds of failure.

Effective activists learn how to work in parallel and asynchronously.  The action does not necessarily stop or bottle-neck just because one's focus has shifted elsewhere.  This focus on concurrency is important, and hypertext is one of the ways to acclimatize to concurrent organizing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Self Profiling



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breaking the Waves (movie review)

On advice of a film school veteran, I queued this one up (no, not Netflix, Movie Madness).  Lars von Trier directs Emily Watson and others through a Midwinter Night's Nightmare one might say.

Emily is torn by religious convictions and her joyless parents have little of the "cheerfulness" of the Eagle Scouts.  They have a brain dead religion and there's not much available in the way of big city alternative lifestyles.  

The girl and her beau are well on the way to reinventing the entire sex industry, from phone sex to other kinkiness (A to Z) thanks to their powerful mutual attraction yet separation by circumstance (he's got an oil rig gig, no option to bring women friends -- pre-Internet you know).

The film bears rewatching though I admit to getting squirmy when the camera I'm in barges into somebody's bedroom or bathroom when I haven't been invited.  They likely wouldn't appreciate me standing there gawking.  Part of it is preferring Narnia creatures maybe, like that Ice Queen isn't bad.

Anyway, back to the soap:  she's ridiculously innocent and so the lamb to the slaughter theme seems inevitable.  I'm glad I saw this in close proximity to Mr. Lonely, with the Marilyn impersonator still resonant.  Yet she's selfish as well and punishes herself for that in true schizophrenic style.  The corny ending is just that:  how sailors have always dealt with tragedy; they weave a tall tale.

The hypocrisy of the audience position is pretty farcical if one shares the puritanical disgust for the fantasies of a paralyzed man.  The best way he knows to continue a sex life is in is head and how can we blame him in that sense.  It's just he has no idea how terribly unsexy are the scenes she's throwing herself into for his sake, i.e. his imagination is not up to remote viewing at this point or he'd use a long cane to pull her off stage (she claims a psychic bond, but it's hardly hifi -- not their fault as they were just getting started).

She's selfish with regard to the doctor, who does have feelings for people, but walks his talk as an ethical guy.  He's not about to be entrapped in some awkward (compromising) situation.  The story has to hold water (eventually).  But here she's done a full frontal assault on his person without much empathy for any relationship but hers and Jan's.  

He wants to talk and get to the bottom of things, be authentic, but she'll have none of it really, because her intent is to use him, not love him.  She stops hearing from God right around that point, but then the connection picks up again -- low bandwidth as usual (I know, I know, who am I to judge).

The scene I'll call "the medical inquisition" is important as the good doctor wants to express the basic goodness of this woman who has all the churchmen throwing stones (at least mentally) -- their younger selves personified by the boys who push bicycles, taunt her and throw physical stones.  

Those boys are the next churchmen, well along the way in their brain dead religion.  We see that as the "priest" role models his disdain and disgust for the hapless Lamb of God (he might have felt like kicking her and didn't, so lets give him points for self control).

As the audience, we know what the good doctor means, and we're not sitting in high judgement like the others.  We're voyeurs too.  The ship she got roughed up in is beyond the inquisition's jurisdiction.  There's no talk of arrest or seizing the vessel -- that's just not in the cards.  These landlubbers know their place as but peons.

The irony is how her prayers keep getting answered i.e. her narrative is upheld,.  Between herself and her sister's heartfelt wishes, there's Jan, a good fellow, staggering back to his feet, a knightly champion of his wife's memory.  However because it's not during some church event in response to "receiving Jesus", people just shrug it off.  Sometimes people get better, so what? Better to taunt the joyless churchmen with the Miracle of the Bells.

She's the saint in this picture, which doesn't mean should couldn't have benefited from more therapy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Eagle Scout Ceremony

:: some of bsa's newest eagles ::

We were privileged to attend this ceremony put on by BSA Troop 24 in Oregon.  I know one of the two new Eagles from both AFSC and Food Not Bombs work.

I've been mixing some of this experience into my writing at the Math Forum, thinking more about "virtual presidents" and "USA OS" etc.

The ceremony included a leader of the Elks, a fraternal organization, and of Veterans for Peace.  They both made speeches and presented gifts.

After the ceremony we adjourned downstairs.  Carol climbed at a couple flights, even though she carries oxygen tanks in her walker.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


"Transitions" might be a euphemism for "altercations" in some cases, some of which I'm party to, others of which I only observe, or contribute to more as a coach, someone else the boxer in the ring.

Under "smooth transition" might be Carol's annual migration, arriving last night, Inogen in tow (an oxygen maker).  Delta, then Alaska helped her get here.  Who didn't help was the Washington party who blocked egress from my driveway.  Fortunately my neighbor was observant enough to identify another car we could get moved and I didn't have to call the towers.  I left a trenchant note on the windshield.  A minor glitch in the grand scheme of things.

No, the CoC (Code of Conduct) was not conceived with reference to the EEOC (I had a front row seat watching its evolution) much as people trained in the latter's view of things might want to ape their cultural imperialist brethren and try to lecture us on what we "really mean" by terms like "harassment" and/or "discrimination" and/or "don't be mean" -- as if we needed schooling from Washington DC in diplomacy (as if anyone did -- OK, some could benefit).  That was my reaction to the working group proposal, but I'm not one to rain on a policy wonkers' parade, let them wonk.

Then I got testy with Hansen again and got into seriously tooting my own horn.  The censors decided to give him the last word in public, with Anna in on the CC'd reply.

For one thing, the EEOC stuff is all about employer-employee relationships, but when strangers aggregate in a business hotel or campus to update one another in their shared profession, that's not about supervisors and supervisees.  Attendees are guests, of the hotel, of the conference program.  They are not slaves of, they are not employes of.  The guests are also "respecters of" various rule books, some unwritten.  There's always new space to carve out, old space to reclaim, so all of this takes work and role playing.  I favor "rotation" as a management style, which is also effective against typecasting (though some embrace an image).

There're lots of CoCs out there, lets not forget, so we also should not over-indulge the illusion that only ours is in force, as if the board game were entirely ours to set the rules around.  Not entirely true is it?  So whatever your CoC, remember you live in a hybridized world, which is not a bad thing, it's what keeps you from being a dictator, and that's a good thing (for you included).  In science fiction, each school of thought gets to sketch its Utopia, like Quakers did in Pennsylvania.  In practice, no one agenda trumps the rest.  Most European immigrants preferred to invest in Indian Wars and/or Slavery, at least in some regions.  Philadelphia was less a capital for those institutions than say... you guessed it, Washington DC again.

However, as astute historians have picked up, it's not smart to completely discount other cities and their roles.  Chicago has made a huge difference in academics, right up there with Boston.  Las Vegas took some games that were cooking in Havana and recreated them close to LA, reaping a bonanza.  New York City is way more than a financial capital, but then so are London and Tokyo, not forgetting Paris and... this is sounding like a game called "capitalism" don't you think (what world capitals do you know?)?  What's the hog capital of the world?  Where is "Toon Town" really?  Cities vie for reputation, form alliances.  Portland (Oregon) and Austin (Texas):  keeping each other weird.

Such talk excites a rebellious peasantry, suspicious of being typecast as country bumpkins, like Scarecrow of Oz, presumably a metaphor for the farmers, who knew more than they could afford to let on (this is a theory in literary criticism, linking Oz to the gold versus silver debates, theories about money).

The University of Illinois, with its advanced computer science and Mathematica-based teaching, cannot be cast as second fiddle.

But "there there" I say in mollification, I'm making use of metonymy, synechoche to be precise, wherein "Chicago" really means "the whole of that bioregion" and its peoples -- many dating back for centuries, well before the recent waves, the self-styled "documented" and their gang lands (Mafiosi, Yakuzi, whatever WASPs (a real West Side Story and of course a source of endless graffiti (some of it quite alluring))).

I talked to David Koski tonight for 95 minutes, from my side a few updates, from his a circling of the "T & E Module express", a fast train into the ticking center of the synergetics concentric hierarchy.  The T and E are both the same shape but sizes come apart based on surface:volume ratio, much as triangles come apart in spherical trig, as never similar unless congruent.  The E is a little bigger, but is likewise a logical slice of the golden cuboid and 1/120th of a rhombic triacontahedron, our NCLB Polyhedron for those following the thread of Pentagon Math (and about a thread is all there is sometimes).

Blowing up the T-made Triaconta from 5 to 7.5 creates the meetup with the volume 6 rhombic dodecahedron.  Blowing up th E-made Triaconta, by phi, is what gives the phi rectangles PV edged Icosahedron of 18.51, husband to the smaller Pentagonal Dodeca, both in the Platonic Five if we wish, this "super RT" their marriage.  Volumes are in tetravolumes with unit tet as one (edge PV).  The T-modules have volume 1/24, just like the A and B, but their Triac is .9994+ the radius.  E and T come apart, as E's radius is one exactly (it's diamond-face to diamond-face diameter that of the IVM ball, again PV).

Altercations I'm in the sidelines on:

(A) Should AFSC plan on changing digs in Portland, Oregon any time soon?  Staff seems happy where it is and there's no room back at the Stark Street meetinghouse.  However, our committee seems unsettled about the issue.

(B) Should SE Chapter FNB declare itself an athletic event wherein car use is a foul, out of bounds?  Of course these rules only extend so far.  Lindsey and Satya have both set an example of what vegan powered bicyclists might contribute, were they given at least one chapter.  But it's not a matter of "being given" where anarchy reigns (no King to appeal to).  The leadership simply challenges people to not bring their car-based lifestyle onto this particular stage.  They get to everywhere else.  Where's the "no car use" town, or just part of town?  Europe seems way ahead on that one.