Monday, November 16, 2020

Next things next: Georgia Senate Runoff

I totally get anyone who is concerned with Trump not conceding the election, despite being significantly outvoted popularly and electorally. The court packing he did is an issue, on multiple levels. However, at this point it seems most likely that there will be a successful transition of power, and then a huge mess to clean up.

There are many things to talk about for that cleanup, but there is something that can be done before January 20th to help improve cleanup operations, and that comes down to the Georgia Senate Runoff.

Many of the issues we have had - with conservative court packing and with holding up relief bills - are strongly rooted in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's devoted obstruction of all that is good. Rush through an unqualified hack in the place of Ruth Bader Ginsburg less than a month before an election after refusing to seat Merrick Garland because an election was a year away? Sure! Do it while holding up relief packages, minimum wage increases, and voting rights protections? Love it!

But what if McConnell did not lead a majority?

Republicans currently have fifty seats in the Senate. January 5th can determine whether that becomes a majority of 52, or a tie with 50 Democrats and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

It is important to understand the role that voter suppression has played in Georgia politics. Biden's electoral win in Georgia is largely a result of increased voter registrations, and voters' commitment to showing up early and staying in the lines no matter how long. Olivia Pearson, a volunteer who was giving people rides to polling locations, was arrested on trespassing charges for doing so.

No, it is not technically illegal to give people rides to the polls, but there are still people who will arrest you for it.

In fact, this runoff election is a product of laws that were designed to keep election winners white, but it is an opportunity now, and can be a great thing.

Next steps for this key election are getting out the votes. That includes registering voters whose eighteenth birthdays fall between the registration deadline for the November 3rd election, and the registration deadline for the January 5th election.

It includes phone banking, text banking, and sending postcards to voters to remind them that this election is happening, it is important, and their voice matters.

And all campaigns can use money.

Georgia voters needing absentee ballots can request them at

Here is a link with many donation options. Please focus on the candidates' own sites, or sites like Fair Fight Georgia. The Lincoln Project does not need your money:

This may be the easiest site for donation:

Here are two links with volunteering opportunities. You have choices:

I personally am thrilled that text banking is a thing, and that phone banking is not the only option. For older voters, phone calls or post cards are probably going to be preferred. That's okay; there are many people to reach, and many ways to reach out to them.

Which way works for you?

Related links:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


I meant to post yesterday. 

Actually, I meant to do a lot of things yesterday, some of which got done and some did not. Things came up that I needed to deal with, so I did.

I knew what I wanted to post, and I thought I could do that today. It turns out that after Thursday I will have more to say on that. It is probably better that my plans were disrupted.

For the blog, I am being pulled in two different directions.

The things that came up were related to my job hunt. It is important to respond to those, but also, once I am working that is going to take time. I am not sure what level of blogging frequency I will be able to maintain. I have worked full time and blogged daily before, but I was younger, and not as broken down.

Obviously, I could adjust my schedule, posting less frequently but still regularly. I don't know enough at this time to figure that out.

Also - completely counterintuitively - I feel a strong need to start doing interviews again. These would not necessarily be musician interviews, as I am not reviewing music again yet.

That idea comes more from how so many news sources - especially the New York Times, but not exclusively - keep wanting to hear from Trump voters over and over again, especially when that demographic is so persistently white. There are more people who voted for Biden, and more who voted for Clinton, and frankly, I find them a lot more interesting. They may not have all conquered the internalized structural racism, but there's a level of embracing required for Trump support that I find repugnant, and I do not believe consistently elevating them is the answer for any decent question.

The first problem with this is that it would be adding complication when I am having a hard time keeping up with what I am already doing. It does sound a lot like something I would do though.

The other issue is that I don't have that many readers. I had more when I was posting more regularly. So yes, sure, let's bring other people into it so that 27 people can see what they have to say!

I do believe it's important, but I question how much difference my efforts would make. Again, doing it anyway does sound a lot like me.

For the record, what I was going to post about yesterday was political, not job-related. 

Other than blogging, most of the things I had planned were outdoors and weather-related, trying to get them done before the rain started. I meant to do a lot more garden clean-up, but then found it was time to harvest the potatoes. Other tasks will have to wait.

Here is a picture of some super fresh potatoes.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Hang in there

As I write this at 5:05 PM, Pacific Standard Time, Biden has 253 electoral votes, and Trump has 213. Of the remaining states, Trump is likely to get Alaska and maybe North Carolina, but he does not appear to have a path to victory.

In addition, there are currently 48 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the Senate. I don't know what is happening with the other 5, but it is a nice thought to think of McConnell no longer being able to obstruct so easily.

Democrats currently retain control of the House.

Trump will continue to stew and try his best to cheat. That's who he is. The court stacking that has happened on all levels - not just Supreme - will matter, but this is still good. It is still a step forward, out of many needed steps. 

Well, it depends on your goals, but mine are based in equality; I have been very clear about that.

So, take a breath. Smile. Drink some water, eat something, nap... as there are many steps to be taken, you want to be in good walking condition. That requires taking care of your health and energy.

It also requires looking out for your safety. There are people threatening shootings - more in the places where counts are still going on - but wherever there are angry people with guns and alcohol, the risks are real. They are also bullies who are more likely to target marginalized people. Homeless people are really vulnerable, and people of color, and in some cases it may just be people with Biden or Black Lives Matter signs. Keep an eye out for them, listen to your instincts, but still, take that breath and enjoy the step forward.

There are a lot of naysayers, and I don't see most of them accomplishing a lot of good. I would rather do something good. 

(Though I can be scathing when I want. Ask around.)

Have a good weekend, one day at a time.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Black History Month 2019 - Black directors

 I guess I ought to do a summary, now that I have actually watched all of the films.

As is common, things took much longer than I anticipated. A lot of that was mission creep, but I don't regret it. It was a richer experience for watching more movies.

It also took longer because I went through periods when I was too busy with my mother to watch anything that would not hold her attention. I am not going to regret anything there either. I did what I could, with appropriate priorities. I tried.

My initial plan was to watch something every day until I was done. That didn't happen at all, but it is why I watched many of these documentaries toward the beginning, just so I could get something in. Those were good. I am glad I did it. However, since being a daily thing wasn't sustainable, I have removed the days where I was watching episodes of Queen Sugar and black~ish

I was able to catch up on black~ish, which I appreciated. I started watching during Season 3. I was able to watch Season 1 on DVD from the library, but I missed one episode (where Bo's night shifts coincide with Diane's difficulty sleeping without a light), and I saw the Season 3 episodes in re-runs, but somehow I missed "I'm A Survivor" (where Dre freaks out about mortality and disrupts his grandmother's life by moving her in and starts micromanaging his friends). I hadn't seen any of Season 2. 

I was able to catch everything on BET, which I discovered accidentally looking for movies by Black directors.

The timeline is below, but also, here are some notes. 

There are a few extra movies that I thought about, some of which did not have Black directors. They are listed because I still might have things to say about them that relate. There are also things that I watched during that time period that are not listed.

I don't know if horror films would have held Mom's attention, but I didn't want to risk putting any scary images in her head. That meant watching Jordan Peele's movies after everyone else was in bed, with lights and sounds down low. Exactly the best way to watch them.

I don't seem to have marked down when I watched Moonlight.  I have watching 2 Fast 2 Furious in a separate place from finishing it, because when I was almost done the DVD started to malfunction. I was able to record the movie off of television to catch the end. Paul Walker and Tyrese both have really nice smiles, though Paul does not sound smart when he talks.

I liked more than I didn't. I feel a lot of affection for most of the directors, and would watch other work by them. The greatest find was Talk To Me though, because I had at least heard of the other movies that I watched for this. Talk To Me was a complete surprise, and a revelation. 

The most disappointing was Hollywood Shuffle. I really expected it to be funny. Watching the comedians was generally more sad than funny.

I think Cuba Gooding Jr. was the weak link in Boyz N the Hood, but I see some similarities between Lawrence Fishburne as Furious and as Pops, so some sort of mash-up with parenting Trey and Dre could be fun.

But yeah, that was what I started last year and finally finished. All of my desire for knowledge is getting more ambitious while I get busier and more tired, so I am not sure that anything will ever fit neatly into a year again.

I may still try and do annual summaries. Sometimes.


6/22 13th - Ava DuVernay
6/26 The Rosa Parks Story - Julie Dash
6/28 The Clinton 12: The Clinton County Desegregation Crisis (1947 – 1958) - Keith Henry McDaniel
6/29 The Untold Story of Emmett Luis Till, 2005 - Keith Beauchamp
6/30 Brown V. Board - ? (Can't find which one I watched)
7/1 Daughters of the Dust - Julie Dash
7/2 Boyz N the Hood - John Singleton
7/5 Black Nativity - Kasi Lemmons
7/7 Creed - Ryan Coogler
7/8 Belle - Amma Assante
7/9 Desegregating Baltimore Schools - Not credited, but Chris Jolissaint probably comes closest.
7/12 Fences - Denzel Washington
7/15 Fruitvale Station - Ryan Coogler
7/18 and 7/19 Eve's Bayou - Kasi Lemmons
7/30 and 7/31 Rosewood - John Singleton
8/13 Get Out - Jordan Peele
8/15 Us - Jordan Peele
9/11 If Beale Street Could Talk - Barry Jenkins
9/20 Eddie Murphy: Raw - Robert Townsend
9/25 The Five Heartbeats - Robert Townsend
9/27 and 9/30 How Stella Got Her Groove Back
10/12 B.A.P.S. - Robert Townsend
10/14, 15, 16 Shaft - John Singleton
10/25 Little - Tina Gordon
10/29 The Original Kings of Comedy - Spike Lee
11/6 Richard Pryor Here & Now - Richard Pryor


2/4 and 2/5/2020 Talk to Me - Kasi Lemmons
2/6 Hollywood Shuffle - Robert Townsend
2/22 I Am Not Your Negro - Raoul Peck
2/23 Extras for I Am Not Your Negro - Raoul Peck
2/26 The Photograph - Stella Meghie
3/3 The Caveman's Valentine - Kasi Lemmons
3/6 The Great Debaters - Denzel Washington
3/12 Antwone Fisher - Denzel Washington
3/25 and 27 A Way of Life - Amma Assante
7/22 I Will Follow - Ava DuVernay
7/28 Middle of Nowhere - Ava DuVernay
7/30 Higher Learning - John Singleton
8/16 “Remember the Time” (re-watch) - John Singleton
8/17 30 for 30: Marion Jones: Press Pause (2010) - John Singleton
8/18 “My Mic Sounds Nice” (2010) - Ava DuVernay
8/18 Abduction (2011) - John Singleton
8/19 “Give Me One Reason - Julie Dash
8/19 Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground “Sax Cantor Riff” - Julie Dash
8/19 Illusions - Julie Dash
9/3 Queen of Katwe - Mira Nair
9/5 The Fits - Anna Rose Holmer
9/8 2 Fast 2 Furious - John Singleton
9/8 Good Hair - Jeff Stilson
9/10 Four Brothers - John Singleton
9/18 finished 2 Fast 2 Furious - John Singleton
10/2 Medicine for Melancholy - Barry Jenkins
10/5 American Crime Story: The Race Card - John Singleton
10/5 Baby Boy - John Singleton
10/9 & 10/13 Poetic Justice - John Singleton
10/14 Poetic Justice w/commentary - John Singleton
10/19 Love Song - Julie Dash
10/20 Incognito - Julie Dash
10/21 Funny Valentines - Julie Dash
10/22 When They See Us, pt 1 - Ava DuVernay
10/22 When They See Us, pt 2 - Ava DuVernay
10/23 The Door - Ava DuVernay
10/28 When They See Us, pts 3 and 4 - Ava DuVernay
10/28 Jay Z: Family Feud ft Beyoncé - Ava DuVernay

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Waiting to exhale

Well, things still aren't settled, but it is getting closer. If it is not everything that was hoped for, that is not really surprising.

I am not going to write about that right now, at least not exactly.

What I want to say is that it is no surprise Republicans are objecting to vote counts when they tried so hard to keep those votes from being cast. They're consistent, in a way that goes well with foolishness and little minds, but has a core that needs to be examined.

When they talk about the need for election day to become a federal holiday, it's important to think about all of those people who work holidays. It wouldn't really help them, would it? If you get the kids out of school (at least in a normal year), will that make it harder for some people to vote? 

Personally, I love voting by mail; that has worked great for Oregon. I don't have anything against early voting times or expanded voting hours if some states are strongly attached to in-person voting, but the places that try and cut that are the same places that tend to reduce polling locations. For a state the size of Texas to only have one ballot box per county? That is not pro-voting.

So what we need to think about is whom we want to vote. Early colonists often thought that there should be property-holding requirements. That not only required a certain amount of wealth but also a specific type of wealth, that could easily eliminate the merchant class and various tradesman and those military members that were not already property owners. Obviously, forget about women and any man who wasn't white.

This seemed very logical to them. Misogyny and racism were pretty accepted, and obviously you want the right kind of people with the right kind of education voting; superior people, you might say, who also just happened to be the same people making the decisions.

It didn't end up quite that bad, though if you looked at the voting percentages for ratification of the Constitution it can be shocking. Amendments have given us a better situation still. However, look at how hard some people will still work to keep some votes from being cast or counted.

If you are a constitutional originalist, and you truly believe that women have weaker minds (probably because of the presence of the uterus), you are stupid and gross. I don't even have the patience to be polite to you about it. Same deal if you believe in white supremacy, and double if you try and justify it based on cranium size. Seriously, fuck you. 

However, if there is a part of you that is okay with limiting who votes, because these stupid unwashed rabble make such bad decisions and don't even know what's good for them, yes, I am tempted to say the same to you, but I have a question: Would you have been able to vote in 1789? Would everyone have wanted you to? Remember, that means not just being white and male but also owning some property and investments.

I saw a meme about people making $30K per year and panicking at higher taxes on income over $400K per year; I know people for whom that is so true. Sure, they are not rich now, but they just know that someday they will be, and then the government is going to be taking it away from them. It is rather like the panic that the government will take your guns, which has never been true but it sure has been a cash cow for the people who make and sell guns.

I guess what I am asking is that if you can't vote based on wanting equality and good for everyone, can you at least vote to benefit your current situation instead of the fantasy you have been nurturing for so long where you are better than everyone else?

That would be great.

Otherwise, that fight for equality still has a lot of work left.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020


As you can see there are 11 orange pumpkins of various sizes (not counting the one that I carved), one that almost ripened that is a kind of nice mottled green and yellow, and a few shiny round green gourds.

Given how many issues there were with planting time and germination, it is kind of miraculous. 

The vines and the nightshade filled up the yard debris bin, so currently the sunflower stalks are still  standing, but all of the heads are down on the ground. Frankly, I had been hoping to see more small creatures eating the seeds, but there is still time. Come on, critters!

It was (for me) kind of a miraculous thing to pick a seed out of something I grew, and be like, "That's a sunflower seed, just like the one I planted a few months ago."

I don't really have any plans for eating them myself, but I did save a few, to see how planting them works. I saved some from a regular head, the big head on the mutant sunflower, and some little heads off of the mutant sunflower. I labeled them neatly in envelopes and meant to take a picture, but it appears that Lilly had some feelings about how long I had been outside.

Speaking of little critters and what they eat.


One reason I waited so long to pull up the nightshade was that - besides being pretty - I read that it composts well, and I kind of wanted to compost it here. I am not ready to sort out composting yet.

I still need to take down the sunflower stalks and the tomato plants in the back. The potatoes don't appear to be done yet. Being so deep underground, I guess the frost is less of an issue. 

Otherwise, everything is figuring out next year, and I am having a hard time looking ahead. 

I hope things are clearer tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Halloween 2020 recap

 Thursday I pulled up the vines and cut the pumpkin stems, freeing up the patch. 

I had about four that I thought were big enough to carve, but time was an issue. I was going to try stencils for the first time this year, which I should have known would be overly ambitious. 

The first issue is that they all had big mud patches with worms. I scraped some off, but it wasn't effective and I was worried about hurting the worms. If you want good soil, you need them. So Friday I started using the hose and a rag to clean them off. This worked fairly well, except I ended up with a huge amount of mud, on the ground and especially on my shoes. I wouldn't mind being taller, but not that way. I still need to finish getting those scraped off, so that was an issue every time I left the house, trying to find something else to put on my feet. 

Separately, Julie had ordered a Halloween ice cream cake, and we had that for dessert Friday and Saturday night.

It was very cute and the frosting was good. It did not stay looking like this, but massacres are appropriate for Halloween.

Saturday. The big day. Still no pumpkins carved. I was going to do it while my sisters ran errands, but then they had a cancellation and we were off to the store, which took longer than I thought it would, so I needed to start making dinner as soon as we got home. The sun was going down and we still had no jack o' lantern.

There was also a good chance of having no trick-or-treaters. We had candy, masks, and tongs to allow us to distribute candy from a distance, but would children come? I mean, with the briefness of the interactions and it happening mostly outdoors, I think trick-or-treating can be safe, but people are freaked out this year, and who can blame them? One friend had prearranged to bring the child she cares for - who needed to have some trick-or-treating - but that could easily be it.

We did get some, and it was largely due to my procrastination and fixation, but I could not deal with not having a jack o' lantern. 

At 7 I headed out there with a knife. I did not have newspapers to use for the guts, because we only get one on Sundays now, and that one had been taken away by recycling. I did not bring the stencils. I did the fastest, least-dedicated job ever, dumping guts directly into yard debris (full of vines and nightshade) and sometimes balancing the pumpkin on my knee.

However, while I was dumping guts, the neighbor kids started loading into the car.

I grabbed my mask, tongs, and candy bowl. "Want some candy?" And even from the scary old neighbor lady, that is a good offer.

Then, while I was finishing the carving, two people were taking a kid in a wagon up the street. I nearly lunged at them, worried they would not come back, but they did! I was waiting on the sidewalk, and as they were looking at the decorations next door they didn't see me until the last minute and I scared them a little, but still, they took candy! Then while I was tonging out their candy, one more group of kids came. They saw and came, but they were not going to all the doors. If you wanted trick-or-treaters this year, you needed to flag them down. So it was good I spent some time outside, and I did carve a pumpkin.

I know I can do better than this, and I am a little sad that I didn't, but this is the first time I have carved a pumpkin I grew from seed, and it got us twelve of our thirteen trick-or-treaters. (I think that was the number. Probably no significance.)

We also tried building one of those haunted house kits. It looked like it was working out but then it went all Fall of the House of Usher on me. 

That is so 2020.

PS: I know there are more important things I could write about, but I am struggling with not knowing whether I am going to be relieved or furious or suicidal Wednesday, so today is Halloween, tomorrow is the garden, and I don't know what happens after that.

We all do what we can.