Jan. 31st, 2017

Polls

Jan. 31st, 2017 03:12 am
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Hit this poll. Active 10pm Eastern Monday 1/30, will probably go offline soon. 
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Went to a #StrongerTogether-organized letter-writing event. There were over 100 people there, almost all women, though there were three men at my table. My dude came along.

They had postcards and a stapled-up printout of the addresses of a number of people, representatives, organizations, and such that we could write to. The postcards were in two main stacks: One that had the Women’s March logo and said “Thank you” on it, and the other that had a fill-in form on the other side that said, basically, “to: [___] I am [_____] from [_____] and am writing to you about [_______] because [large white space]. I urge you to keep this in mind as we go forward in the first 100 days of the new administration. Sincerely, [______]”

And then there was a stack of postcards with, wait, i think I took a picture. 

Which is a Republican-held district that completely surrounds the City of Buffalo (which is Democratic). I work in the 27th district. But they didn’t have this rep’s address on their sheet! I looked it up and shared it with the table, and a bunch of us sent some nastygrams to Chris Collins, R, 27-NY.

I also wrote 1 to John Faso, R, 19-NY, which is where the farm is. 

I wrote a supportive postcard each to my senators, a pointed postcard of specific encouragement to my rep, who has been a spineless collaborator, two really nasty notes to Paul Ryan, a gentle nudge of encouragement to our city’s mayor (”I understand that we have a special relationship to refugees and support this with all my heart, but I wonder why, when [smaller Central NY City] is a sanctuary city, we can’t be?”), and meanwhile my dude wrote some really powerful little notes of obstreporous language to our senators. (He told Chuck Schumer that he needed to get “that odious bag of dicks onto a leash”, and told Gillibrand to stay strong against “whatever loathsome toad is inevitably nominated to the Supreme Court”.) 

Our table was cheerful, motivated, dedicated, and churned out a bunch of cards on a variety of topics. Mixed bag of positive and negative cards, but we all agreed that it was a good idea going forward to get in the habit of sending supportive ones!

I do intend to get some nice notecards to send to the local synagogue, and the local Muslim organizations, supportive notes, because they surely could use it. Several local organizations had sponsored refugee families that were to arrive imminently who now cannot come, and it’s heartbreaking for them; they’d already made space in their homes, their schools, their hearts, and now they cannot help. It’s awful to think about. So, sympathy cards, I suppose, if nothing else. I have some, around here somewhere, I know.
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mattfractionblog:

good work jd

I watched this unfold over on Twitter– John Darnielle had complained that they went with “The Last Jedi” when his idea for the title was so much better– and Rian was like, “write the song man”, and JD was like, “OK”, so: 
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So the thing about conservative pundits talking about how the protests are “just a few disaffected people”? 

I mean. I went to this thing tonight? It was just letter-writing. It was randos. It was not focused. It was not fired-up. It was just a bunch of people.

They had three locations. The one I was at, they’d budgeted for 70 to show up, and got so many RSVPs they moved to a bigger room and set up 100 chairs. And then every chair was full. People showed up ten minutes after start time and were setting up on the floor to write. We packed a big conference room. 

At the largest of three locations. The other locations– the one closest to my house was set to cap out around 30 people, and the third, actually pretty close to my house too (I went to the farthest and largest, since my friends were going to be there), could accommodate 75 people as well. The RSVPs looked pretty full-up for all the locations.

On a Monday night, in a city with a population of a quarter-million. That’s like. 250 people. Who showed up and mostly brought their own stamps, just to sit in a room and fill out heartfelt postcards.

And we weren’t given messages. We were given suggestions, but they were almost all “Write to Chuck Schumer because we’re hand-delivering those to his office tomorrow, and maybe send a sympathy note to the local Islamic center!” and then some organizational notes on future events. Literally, the rest of the two hours were spent passing the address book around the table and looking up reps for each other and giving suggestions on how to phrase things. 

The fact that they had postcards specifically for NY-27 indicated to me that we were expected to write to that Republican rep, but they didn’t have his address in the booklets they’d handed out, so I don’t know how many people really did. (I sure as hell did. I work in his district. I had to see his goddamn campaign signs. He’s a cockroach.)

Our table also collectively decided that we shouldn’t swear or threaten, because the postcards they’d provided had an official logo and we didn’t want to bring harm down onto the organization.

They had posters you could buy for a dollar, and a donation box if you wanted to chip in for stamps. I brought my own stamps, so I didn’t give them anything. 

The postcards were professionally printed. I assume they came from the national movement organizing the Women’s Marches, which I’ve seen fundraisers for. We weren’t asked to donate, sign up, sign in, or join anything. They just wanted us to come write some postcards and letters, about whatever we wanted to.
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jacquez45:

reserve:

fuck this I’m gonna buy myself a bottle of wine.

let’s be real the booze merchants are making out these days

Honestly? I’ve been too stressed-out and exhausted to drink! My liquor shelf is gathering dust while I bite my nails in the corner. It’s hell! I love booze! I am too overwhelmed to even remember to reach for it!

Which is probably healthier, but if we’re all going to die in a mushroom cloud, it’d be a damn shame if that really nice bottle of mezcal I have sitting on that shelf is still full when the shockwave hits. 
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fuckyeahneedlework:

embroid-away:

poster boy for the Resistance, Poe Dameron (for @idrils )

Lovely!
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on the one hand, the wells fargo saga is all my fault. i couldn’t understand their form, i missed check boxes, i refused to call them because i found their instructions so confusing over the phone and i wanted to do business in writing.

on the other hand, they’ve behaved abominably toward me, nobody’s particularly paid any attention to my problems, nobody cares if i get what i want, and they occasionally say ‘sorry’ in emails but don’t answer my questions. 

I think i’m justified in being really furious with them. 

anyway. i sent them the printout from my fax machine of the log of all the times i’ve sent them that fax because they keep saying they didn’t get it. we’ll see.
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I just found this text document that hadn’t been opened since 2007 in a forgotten folder on my hard drive while I was looking for something else. 

It’s a scrap of the novel I started in 2004. 

Talus pushed his way through the door of his father’s apartment, only pausing when he realized that the fire was burning very low in the central hearth. “Father?” he said.

“A moment,” Galjis said from the back room, and Talus occupied himself building the fire back up. It was too cold out to let the fire die down this low. He wondered where Ilona was, that the fire had been allowed to get this bad.  When Galjis appeared in the blanket-hung doorway, Talus looked up, and jerked his head at the fire. 

Galjis said nothing, but beckoned, and Talus left it and came in with him. Oh, he realized. Ilona was not here, so Galjis was alone. It was intentional. He was suddenly nervous. What could be so important that neither Ilona nor Aleite could be here? 

He cleared his throat, and took the seat Galjis gestured toward. Galjis sat with his hands on his knees, regarding him. When enough silence had elapsed that Talus drew breath to ask what was wrong, Galjis finally spoke.

“Tell me everything you know about Kadjis,” he said. 

Talus stared blankly. Kadjis. “Kadjis,” he said, trying to buy time. It was a name, surely.

“Come now,” Galjis said, “speak. I know you cannot be entirely ignorant.”
Talus nodded. “Kadjis,” he said. “Liv.” It was surely a Liv name. “Ah, the son of Kouris. That missing child. Why does no one speak of him?” He had puzzled over this before and had resolved to look more in depth into it, but his most obvious source had proven oddly reticent on the topic. “I asked Captain Mats about it. He would not speak of it. Mai seemed upset when I asked. I admit that is the sum of my knowledge.”

Galjis rubbed his hands along his thighs, letting them come to rest just above his knees again, and nodded very slowly. Talus swallowed uneasily: the man was displeased.

“Tell me what you have learned of Domiane,” Galjis said at last. 

Talus accepted the change of subject and nodded, composing his thoughts. “He is very powerful among the borderland Coronians,” he said. “I believe he has some kind of connection to the Etalans, somehow, and this is worrying. He is a staunch opponent of Saxeus. It seems to me that he would rather supplant the Saxean alliance with a fresh one with the Etalans, and perhaps even aid them against Saxeus. Which strikes me as a daring gambit at best; less charitably I would call it lunacy. But he is not strong enough to do it, I deem; he could certainly not afford to favor his Coronians over us. Still he spoke to me almost openly of breaking with Saxeus.”

“That is heavy,” Galjis said. 

“That’s what I thought,” Talus said, a little reassured. 

“He’s probably right,” Galjis went on. 

That stopped Talus cold, and he licked his lips, running his teeth over the lower one and trying to look thoughtful rather than shocked. “What makes you say that?” he asked in a moment.

“What is the latest you’ve heard out of Saxeus?” Galjis asked mildly.

Talus cast about, off-balance. “Ah, my last report was from Martins,” he said. “Yes. He was there just before the launch of his last patrol. He reported nothing of substance: they are well-supplied for winter, good trade news, relatively little unrest on their borders, decent terms in the last trade agreement with the Etalans. He seemed unaware of any great degree of unrest between Saxeus and Etala at present.”

“Martins,” Galjis said, and bowed his head as if gathering himself for an unpleasant thought. This was suspicious, and Talus regarded him keenly. He had never heard Galjis sound anything less than fond when discussing Martins, to the point of suspecting the man of inordinate favoritism. It was impossible to resent Martins, so honest and loving and open, but Talus had considered it a time or two. Galjis had spent their childhoods demanding extraordinary performances out of Martins, and receiving them with irritating perfection. Martins was a golden boy, tall and beautiful and inordinately lovable, and Talus was not, and that was all there was to it.

“I know he is not the best source of gossip,” Talus said, “but he is far from a simpleton. If Saxeus had any real issue with Etala at present he would certainly have heard of it. His connections within the army there in particular are very good. They would not leave him uninformed.”

“Yes,” Galjis said slowly. “He is very friendly with many of the army officers there.” But it did not sound like such a good thing coming from him. Which was inexplicable; Talus had long known to trust no-one, but of all the places in the world to cast suspicion, he had never found his twin brother to be a good place for it to stick.

“He has worked closely with them for a long time,” Talus said cautiously. But Galjis was deep in thought again, and seemed to be pondering another subject already.

“Tell me,” he said, and his head was bent until his chin nearly rested upon his chest. “Tell me what it would mean to you if Kadjis were discovered not to be dead.”

Talus struggled to wind his attention back to that topic. His father’s changes of subject were the more unnerving because they were not entirely changes of subject. Somehow, all of these questions were, in Galjis’s mind, all on the same topic. And Talus would be expected to figure out how they connected. He licked his lips again and considered it.

“It would mean that the Livs have a chieftain again,” Talus said, “but there are so few of them left now. Would it make a difference?”

“There are more of them than you would think,” Galjis said, “and they have more powerful friends than you would expect. Tell me, Talus, what it would mean to you, as my son, as my heir, if Kadjis were to surface now.”

Talus considered that. “The Livs are dispersed among our people,” he said, a little bewildered. “If they wanted to return their loyalty to their chieftain… why, I do not see how it could happen, unless they all wanted to pull up and relocate back down to their ancestral lands.”

“Son,” Galjis said, and it was never really a good sign when he called one of his sons that, “it means there are a large number of subjects within your homeland that would abandon their loyalty to you in favor of another, with little prompting. If you should prove to be a good and wise and infallible leader, this may never be an issue. But if you should ever be forced to make an unpopular decision– and you will, son, you will– it means that people have an alternative to you, without feeling that they are in open rebellion. It means that there is another who could easily win their hearts from  you. It means you are not safe.”

Talus considered that, and finally brought himself to ask: “What is it that you have heard about Kadjis, to lead you down this line of questioning?” He was still struggling, with a sinking sense of dread, to figure out how Domiane and Saxeus fit into this. 

“Whose side would Saxeus take, do you think?” Galjis asked, ignoring his question. “Should a successor to the Liv chieftaincy arise, and challenge you for the leadership of this by now inextricably combined people, who do you think the Saxeans would support?”

Talus opened his mouth, then closed it. “I don’t suppose it’s me, is it,” he said, a little crestfallen. He had never even thought to question it. 

“Think of your history,” Galjis said mildly. “Who was it who first allied themselves to the Saxeans? We were still rampaging, pillaging nomads, remember.”

“The Livs were the first to become allied to the Saxeans,” Talus said a little woodenly. “The alliance with the Letts came later, and they were the go-betweens who introduced us to the Saxeans.”

“Yes,” Galjis said. 

“Please,” Talus said, “please tell me what you have heard about this Kadjis.”

“I have heard nothing,” Galjis said, as if surprised by the question. “Nothing more than the usual rumblings which I have heard off and on for twenty years now.”

“Then why this conversation now?” Talus asked.

Galjis sighed heavily. “I had hoped you might have heard more,” he said. 

Talus shook his head. He was not yet fully informed of all Galjis’s spy networks; it was unlikely that he would ever hear anything so sensitive before Galjis did. So Galjis could not possibly be truly hoping for new information out of him.
“Where would the boy have been all this time?” Talus asked. “He would be– he would be grown now.”

“He would be your age,” Galjis said. “Within a couple of months.”

Talus licked his lips again, considering that. “Old enough, then,” he said.

“Old enough to claim an inheritance,” Galjis said. “Old enough even to claim vengeance.”

“He would want vengeance upon the Coronians,” Talus said cautiously. “Which would be a problem, as we have been doing so well in our relations with them of late.”

“Yes,” Galjis said, in a tone of voice that suggested that this was not the entirety of the case. Talus tried to puzzle out the rest. 

“Do you think this Kadjis would seek alliance with Saxeus against us? Would we have to choose between the Livs and the Coronians?” Talus knew he was flailing a little. He tried to sound calm and mildly curious. But Galjis would not bring this up as a simple exercise in wariness, would he?

“Some of the Livs blame us, you know,” Galjis said, as if he were commenting on the weather. “I know I have never spoken to you of this but surely you have managed to wring more of the details of the attack out of someone by now.”

It took a supreme effort of will not to grimace. “I did,” Talus said carefully, neutrally, “hear it said that there are those who feel that you, as the captain of the southern region, failed in your duties upon the Coronian border, and should have been able to prevent the slaughter entirely. I have heard such a rumor but could not give it a great deal of credit at face value.”

“It is true,” Galjis said. “Your mother was very pregnant with you and I had snuck home, despite reports of Coronian raiders massing on their border. I was remiss. I realized my mistake too late." 

Talus could think of no answer, and instead risked a look at Galjis. The older man had turned his head, and while his voice had not faded his face now looked like old granite, cold and weathered in deep lines. The shock of the realization that this was truth took away all of the words Talus had been groping for. In a moment the only thing Talus could seize upon was the singular form of "you”. “Pregnant with me,” he said. “Not us." 

Galjis did not blink, but in a moment he took a breath, and nodded. "Tell me you have had the perspicacity to puzzle that out,” he said.

“Martins is not my twin,” Talus said. He had suspected it a long time. The boy was too different. Those green eyes, the broad shoulders, the long legs, even the easy laugh, those had not come from the same dam that had produced Talus. Talus barely remembered the long-dead woman, but it was not hard to figure it out. “But he is your son. He looks like you. I thought him illegitimate.” He paused, shocked at his own daring in saying it aloud, but slightly pleased at how calm he had managed to sound. But Galjis said nothing, and Talus had to muster the courage now to meet his eyes.

Galjis’s eyes were in shadow, difficult to make out, but that did not make it easier to look him in the face. Talus tried desperately to look noncommittal. “He has your mouth,” he said. “He must be your son.” There was a blank space in his mind where a thought was about to make a connection and kept refusing to make it. He could not draw the conclusion.

After a long moment Galjis laughed. “He is my sister’s son,” he said. 

Talus’s mind went automatically back through the family tree. Galjis only had one sister. Vaering. Killed. Wife of… “Kouris’s wife,” Talus said, and he could no longer refuse to make the connection. He thought of his brother’s face, of Martins’s open honest laugh, so incongruous with Galjis’s mouth that had never been honest in its life, and his odd foreign green eyes. “Kadjis,” he tried to say, but his voice had died.

“Yes,” Galjis said. “Martins is Kadjis. I pulled him from under his mother’s dead body and gave him a new name and a new life.”

“He can’t possibly know,” Talus said. His lips were numb. His lips, his mouth that were his only resemblance with his supposed twin. Martins had not an ounce of guile in him. But Martins was Kadjis. And Kadjis was a dangerous threat.

“As far as I can tell, despite Mats’s influence, Martins has no idea,” Galjis said. 

“Mats knows,” Talus said.

“Of course he does. Mai is the boy’s aunt. They both know. I swore them to secrecy.” Galjis rubbed his hands along his thighs again, and then suddenly pushed himself to his feet. 

“Were you going to tell him?” Talus asked.

“I had not decided, then,” Galjis said. “I knew even then how dangerous he could be. But what choice did I have? My sister’s boy.”

“Are you going to tell him?” Talus persisted.

“No,” Galjis said, in a moment. “No,” he repeated. “You are.”
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Fax report. The crossouts are not to @wellsfargo, everything else is. They say they’re still looking, not sure if they got it. I’m really tired, y'all.
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And after today’s big stresses, I forgot my fucking laptop at work. Christ algoddamn mighty. I’m a goddamn mess.

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