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flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
Things that I have noticed:

* Conservatives do not call bullshit on other conservatives. Progressives will disagree openly on the wisdom of various plans and publicly debate the matter, which is why the Democrats present a less united front. Republicans present a solid face to the public because they don't like to fight in front of the children.

* What is it about people not perceiving the difference between how legislation is ideally supposed to work and how it actually performs in real world applications? Do they not see the gap?

* If we legalize marijuana and release the potheads, then the federal prison system can ship its minimum security inmates into state penitentiaries and close their country-club-esque estates. The states could use the prison subsidy, the Feds could use the states' better cost efficiency, and Wall Street could use the incentive of hard time to stop committing fraud.

* Today, November 10th, is the average date of the first frost in New York City. Protesters will soon start dying of exposure, tents or no tents. If the current regime are so set on defending tax loopholes and moral hazards that they will not start pushing through concessions now, they will have deaths on their conscience by Thanksgiving.

* If I had a list of short-term requests for OWS, it would be this:
  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall
  • Overturn Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission and judicial decisions based on this precedent
  • Instate legislative recusal for Congress which pulls the teeth of lobbying.
  • Basel III, Volcker Rule, extend the Dodd-Frank protections that supplement Glass-Steagall
    Those are the not-factually-controversial things our government can do right now to fix the underlying problems that created this mess and keep it from happening again. By the time we've got those done, we'll have workshopped most of the other stuff into viability.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (occupy sesame street)
    Since Tumblr now has it's own [occupy] tag, I think maybe we need an LJ comm. But I may be too busy to start one. If anyone else wants to help but can't protest in person, you are welcome to lend your internet-fu to the cause.
    On to the Newsmedia links roundup! )
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (AliceVader)

    I got up too late today to go to garage sales looking for old button boxes, so instead I'll just rant about something that our education system needs: a class in life skills. There are a lot of policy reasons why it will be hard to do this, and i understand that teachers mostly will not want to give students information that will undermine their own control of a class (and destroy politician's credibility). But reading, writing and arithmetic are not the only skills that young adults in the modern world need. There's too much information to sift through, and too much advertising that warps our culture's perceptions of what is needful that ensure that even people who can read don't and the ones who do don't know what to read that will help them.


    how to learn/how to teach
    how to apologize and be taken seriously when speaking about emotions
    how to systematize information
    the concept of due diligence and how to apply it to your life
    the concept of confirmation bias and how to look out for it
    how to deconstruct propaganda and spot exploitation
    how to spot logical fallacies
    how the economy works at an individual level
    game theory and how to create win/win situations
    how to navigate the power structures of organizations and understand their relative responsibilities
    how to troubleshoot a PC
    how to think through long-term consequences
    How to avoid normative thinking (this is going to be a whole other post)

    If there were books that snuck these concepts into the literature and could be taught at the high school level, that would solve a lot.

    Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.


    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Aeon sad)
    I have weather veins.
    They are especially sensitive
    to dust storms and hurricanes.
    When I am nervous my teeth chatter
    like a wheelbarrow collecting rain.
    I am rusty when I talk.
    It’s the storm in me.

    - - Andrea Gibson - -

    * I used to be so afraid to talk, so afraid that I would say the wrong thing, and try to fix it by saying another wrong thing, say all of the wrong things inside me, dams against the words I meant never to say all bursting across the silences that I cultivated between me and everyone who absolutely was not allowed to know how broken and horrible I was. Words breaking in and giving meaning to the silences I walled in around my ability to care about my inability to see myself. Eventually the humidity would get too high, and there was a slow condensation that dripped bits of my truth out to me safely, but I knew that disaster was never far from the first word. I feared the power of words, because its hard for me to lie, and because the act of speaking calls up the truth in me. Erica Jong says, "How can I know what I think until I see what I say?" I feel truthsome tonight; I'd better start talking and let my words out before they backlog. )
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Dr. Reid)
    Once you have learned to edit out behaviors that are actively threatening, controlling, or distancing, you can work toward building a sense of shared purpose. This union is the basis of therapeutic rapport. To better illustrate things to say and do, I'm going to translate common things therapists say into their component pieces.

    "Hello, _____; my name is _____, and I'll be your therapist today. Our restrooms and water cooler are this way. Is there anything else you need before our session?" = "I have identified you, myself, and our relationship for this interaction and intend to respect the implied boundaries. I am anticipating your needs to ensure your comfort." Speak at a moderate pace. Respecting that new clients need time to orient and adjust themselves in the new environment is crucial in earning reciprocal respect. Rushing through the beginning is not relaxing, and is a disservice to both parties.

    "I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Let's see what we can do to fix that." = "I care about your pain. Let us work together to bring you to your normally healthy state."

    The phrasing is important here. Saying that you're sorry to hear that someone has pain implies that you are not connected to the cause of it. You care; you do not feel obligation. WE are working on it because while they have come in for your help, your help is something you are accomplishing only with their permission and engagement, thus establishing the common goal. Never say "let me fix you." You are not fixing the person, only the pain. Implying that something is wrong with someone is diminishing and keeps them cut off from their sense of agency. Also it's insulting. Putting the pain in context of it being transitory establishes the premise for leaving it behind.

    Orient the relationship.
    Anticipate needs.
    Respond warmly.
    Express concern.
    Share agency.
    Denormalize pain.


    If you master those, you have the fondness of your clients. That's really all you need to garner repeat business in our touch-starved, care-hungry culture. But if you want to reach beyond those into the realm of rehabilitation and improving the lives of clients while they are out of arm's reach, there are a few more skills that I have discovered so far.

    Start with gentle pressure to relieve soreness, gradually increase to firm pressure to release muscle fibers. Working deeply into sore muscles before they're ready is painful and may cause clients to tense back up later. Work at the pace dictated by the body's responsiveness. Pick the arm up from a supine position until it is in the same pose that the client uses to type/use mouse/draft. "When you use your arms held out in front of you so much of the day, the muscles of the shoulder stiffen from overuse." Using words with motions provides a link between the posture and the idea that will keep coming back into their consciousness when they use that posture.

    Hold the arm in one hand while pushing into the deltoids with the other. "Small muscle groups like this are not designed for continuous use. If you don't stretch the muscles back out at the end of the day it will just stay tense." Slowly stretch the arm over the head and through its full range of motion. "If you have a desk with an ergonomic keyboard tray, then you can sit with posture that doesn't hold the arms so far forward, so you don't hurt at the end of the day." Point out logical consequences of muscle tension. Don't assume that intuition will inform people who are used to ignoring their physical selves of their tension or the causes of it. Mention things like less pain, ease of movement, better appearance, and decreased chances of injury and dysfunction in association with health. Health is a general concept that people don't relate to as an aspiration, but vanity and pain relief are great motivators.

    Anesthetize first, re-sensitize later.
    Verbally integrate somatosensory habits.
    Normalize consequences.
    Strategize and inform.
    Advocate ergonomics.
    Motivate health.


    I'm always looking for new ways to respect people and increase our enjoyment. It's why I find my job so fulfilling. Eventually this list will be added to, but it may be a while before I have enough new material to make a decent post.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    One of the most important lessons I have learned is that 'just being myself' sets people on edge. Left to my own devices, I stare, make eye contact too long, and use body postures that have more to do with what's going on in my head than what I am trying to communicate. Just being yourself sounds simple, and if your actions were occurring in a context vacuum where they were not open for misinterpretation that might even work. And with other people who have no social context, it does: Aspies feel comfortable with other Aspies. The muggles are not so enlightened.

    So, things that I've learned are creepifying:
  • making direct eye contact for longer than two seconds.
  • Watching the person doing something interesting instead of just watching their hands.
  • Using the muscles of the nose to snarl when expressing disgust, or for almost any reason. To most people that implies violence.
  • Standing bodily between someone and the only exit from a room. Its a dominance/control behavior that implies that you get to decide whether to let them leave and people who feel trapped are not comfortable people.
  • Speaking at a volume to be heard over noise without softening your tone is pretty much the definition of yelling. Only appropriate to be used in very noisy places.
  • Standing at a direct angle to someone who is angling themselves away from you. Mirroring posture is an advanced trick but it starts in the 'don't be creepy' sector.
  • Have a default expression. Your face being completely blank makes people truly uncomfortable, probably because they only wear no expression when they're hiding something. Also, there's a Hollywood trick of using expressionlessness to characterize madness. Thanks ever so, Hollywood. :/

    The specifics of how to be comforting will be the next post, but tell me if I missed something obvious, yeah?

    EDIT TO ADD:
  • Acknowledge the conversations that you are a part of. Use active listening and make noises of assent and interest where appropriate. Do not remain silent when a response is expected. Do not appear to not be listening only to chime in at the end with something that sets the conversation in a different context; people get really upset when what they thought was a private conversation turns out not to have been.
  • Fierce debate out of proportion to the person you talking with comes across as interrogation and intimidation. Respond to debate with the same level of emphasis as your opponent.
  • Stand in your own space and not too close to others whose personal space you have not been invited into.
  • Talking out of turn and interrupting consistently annoys people, and while it's not creepy, it quickly becomes a respect issue and is still socially inept.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    You all must hate charity, the way you're always talking about not wanting people's charity or to be a charity case. You hate asking for things, hate feeling like you owe gratitude to anybody.

    But you must love charity the way you donate to causes, enjoy making things and giving them away, enjoy donating blog time and personal anecdotes and effort to spreading the word when something is going on and people need help.

    That is a big old love-hate relationship y'all seem to have going on there. How's that working out for you?

    Now, I have a different relationship with the notion myself, and being me I maybe don't have a lot of feelings about it, but let's see how many thoughts I've got:

  • I enjoy making things, but I've got nowhere to keep them, so I might as well give them away.
  • We all tend toward accumulating stuff that we don't need and it's pragmatic to swap said stuff around sometimes.
  • There are a lot of spare moments I have with nothing better to do than signal-boost something, while simultaneously letting you know that I am still alive and that while I'm here I'm not doing anything interesting of my own.
  • I like asking people for the occasional thing (like candy deliveries) when their effort to accomplish it would be a fraction of my own. I'm proud, but not that proud.
  • I like validating people with the knowledge that they've given me something that has helped me, that they are useful and appreciated.
  • I like keeping you guys used to helping me, used to being given things: it keeps our philanthropy muscles toned and svelte and sexy. Like [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge says, " Charity is the new black."
  • I'm getting used to being more vulnerable where people can see it, and so far there's a noticeable lack of douchebags. Part of me keeps waiting for someone to try to get me to accept something I don't want in order to coerce me to give something I don't want, but since I'm giving things away with the expectation that the favor will be paid back into the system and may round-robin it's way to me only eventually, I think that's made it a lot less likely that someone will try to force direct reciprocity.

    Those seem to be pretty sensible.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Dr. Reid)
    I like the new autumn colors navigation bar. I love color, which is maybe odd for someone who intermittently wears black and gray for weeks. I'm not sure why that is - habit, I guess.

    I have some other odd habits that I've been noticing. When I watch a show or a movie, I always identify with the person with the crappiest social skills. Even when they're not my favorite character they're always the one I see the most of myself in, even though I have social skills now, even though I'm not that girl anymore. I over-identify with awkward and dorky because that's where I came from. Maybe it's time to take a look back at other things that have changed since I was 15 and update my self-image.

    So:
  • I have social skills now. People generally understand what I am trying to communicate.

  • I am not in unrequited love with anybody. All of the people I love love me back, even if we can't get our lives to match up in romantic ways. I am okay with all parts of that.

  • Not only do I have a circle of friends, I have multiple circles. I have more than one social role, and I manage to fulfill different emotional needs to different people. I have RANGE.

  • I am not the dorkiest person that I know, and in some circles I am ~the normal one~ and while that may never stop being strange I had better learn to accept and identify with it for accuracy.

  • My quirks are harmless and I have a right to them. I can stop justifying my necessary habits: writing on my hands, making lots of notes about context, and laughing at things that aren't funny to other people.


    Those are the things I've noticed since I started thinking about the recurrence of my identification with Sheldon Cooper, Parker, Dr. Reid, Rodney McKay, Samantha Carter, and Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood. Which admittedly I should not have been thinking about while giving a massage yesterday, but sometimes my brain is attacked by ideas and it's easiest to just give them space and then re-focus. I'm glad I seem to be pulling slowly out of depression. If the trend of more thoughts and interconnections continues, I may be past this in a month. Not being depressed for the housewarming? That would be awesome.

    You know what else would be awesome? Telling me if you spot anything else I say or do that doesn't fit with how I present myself. I realize there's going to be variation, and that I don't have consistency so much as texture but being aware of the variation would still be good for me.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    Shamelessly swiped from [livejournal.com profile] gryphynshadow, mostly because I gave up on trying to figure out what I was good at last time before I got to ten. Some of these are stolen from other people's lists, because I'm a pirate like that.

    1. remembering things that I read
    2. riding bikes
    3. dancing
    4. baking cookies
    5. writing poetry
    6. sing-alongs and harmonizing
    7. being enthusiastic
    8. preparation for contingencies
    9. pressing just enough to release a muscle without pain
    10. beading
    11. maintaining a comforting presence
    12. being forthright
    13. observing my own mental processes
    14. being flexible
    15. google-fu and internet stalking
    16. making lists
    17. critiquing
    18. remembering the lyrics to songs
    19. turning off my emotions
    20. recommending person-sensitive interesting things to read, see, and do.

    This was harder than it looked, so I made one of my co-workers do it with me. She's still in process. It is harder than it sounds. Our culture teaches us to be proud of our looks, our possessions, and things that we may or may not have done anything to accomplish. This is foolish. I scoff in it's general direction.

    Also, I'm glad I had this typed up and saved, because now I'm on a bunch of drugs because my knee just went out. Argh.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Dark and Wrong)
    The basics

    Don't listen.
    Deny reason.
    Misunderstand.
    Push an agenda.
    Take out of context.
    Undermine authority.
    Instill uncertainty.
    Question motives.
    Make incorrect assumptions.
    Mock fallacies and flawed logic.
    Refuse accountability.
    Point out errors in judgment or other failures.
    Criticize tone as well as content.
    Doubt wisdom, sensibility, or intelligence of a position.

    ETA: Bring unnecessary side issues into a discussion.
    Ignore valuable input.
    Exaggerate.
    Disbelieve facts.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
    [Many of you are new enough to have missed this, and it's about time I reposted it. This may be one of the most important things that I have to share., Also, ALWAYS PUT EXTRA AWESOMESAUCE ON YOUR COPYPASTA.]

    How To Depress Yourself And Get In Your Own Way, starting from the simple stuff and proceeding into the land of the padded walls:

    Be Lazy

    • Don't get to know yourself. Hinder yourself with ignorance.
    • Invest no effort into complying with your principles. Self-respect will work out issues that you will need later on.
    • Don't think about how you can improve your habits. Don't improve yourself. Don't take pride in your own growth.
    • Make no contingency plans. If one thing goes wrong it was meant to, to screw up the rest of your day. Don't recover smoothly.
    • Listen to your insecurities, instead of fighting them. Feel like a coward.
    • Brood. Dwell on things and make them important instead of getting on with what you're doing.
    • Don't pay attention.
    • Don't learn from your mistakes, lest you better yourself from them.

    Maintain Your Illusions

    • Listen to gossip. Believe what you're told without checking facts at the source.
    • Feel betrayed by the truth when your illusions break down and you are forced to deal with things as they are.
    • Ignore the differences between things. Treat them the same so that you get different results each time and confuse yourself. It will make your bad mood easier to maintain to have something to complain about to your friends.
    • Compare yourself to people you're not like. Comparing unlike things is guaranteed to separate you from what's real, and using an unrealistic standard to hold yourself to will keep you too busy to question the internal consistency of your context.
    • Ignore your weaknesses so that you get unexpectedly beaten at things you thought you were good at. Then berate yourself for your failure.
    • Don't listen to yourself to see if you're making sense. Find ways to justify your reasoning that don't apply to logic.
    • Submarine your self-image by not trusting in your abilities. Get used to the paralysis of uncertainty instead of ability to reach for what you want.

    Focus On The Negative

    • Expect it to be about you whenever something goes wrong.
    • Use high-contrast "weighted" adjectives when thinking about your life to increase drama.
    • "Qualify" your joys. Don't take the good with the bad. Think that if something were really good, it wouldn't have a downside.
    • Think of the good things that happen to you as deviations from the norm. Then take them off the bell curve of your expectations entirely. Skew your statistical universe.
    • Focus on what's missing rather than on the things you have.
    • Hold your friends to an unrealistic standard so that you can dwell on their shortcomings.
    • Accept that any backsliding you do negates all efforts you put into crawling out of the depression you've now made.

    Betray Yourself

    • Teach yourself not to want things. Have no goals. Give up hope.
    • Use your depression as an excuse to not help others. Convince yourself that you are not capable of doing good.
    • Make time to do things that are bad for you physically, and can lead to health problems. Pain and illness will help your rough patch stand firm in the face of overwhelming joys.
    • Use self-fulfilling negative prophecies to prove to yourself that your self-hatred is reasonable.
    • Push away people who care about you.
    • Ask people for good advice. Don't take the advice, then beat yourself up for not taking it.


    Advanced Rectal Haberdashery

    • Re-prioritize meeting the needs that you can get met now 'til after the needs that you can't get met until later.
    • Invest effort and frustration into impossible schemes trying to make those needs get met now.
    • Distract yourself from your need to fix your problems with drugs. Use people-related drama, religion, or illegal narcotics to keep your mind occupied and off-balance.
    • Deny responsibility or ability to fix your problems. Cripple yourself with despair.
    • Hurt other people so you can feel ashamed and horrible.
    • Be angry with your friends for interfering in your unhappiness. They're on your side, but you're not on your side, and that means they're against you.


    Some people have medical reasons for being depressed. I am SO aware of that, hello. Even so, I dare you to say you've never done any of this to yourself. Or comment me with ways I've missed, and we'll add them to the master list. Because this is just the ways that my friends, family and I have messed ourselves up, and I'm sure there are creative ways to self-destruct that we've missed.

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    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
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