How I’m doing: 2016 election edition

It’s been a hell of a week, I won’t kid you. I spent the entire election season being pretty confident in Hillary Clinton’s victory. I guess, I fell into the trap of believing my experience of the world was shared by everyone. Clearly, I was wrong. And intellectually, it seems stupid of me now.

But I believed she’d win, she’d be the first female President, and that much of the progress we’d made under Obama would continue. Because, you know, the alternative was too unbelievable to imagine. But on election day, with no real reason, I began to get nervous. By evening, as the polls were closing, I couldn’t stop thinking about election night in 2000, when we were at a bar watching the returns, and someone looked up at the TV and asked, “Hey, where did Florida go?”

It seems a small mercy now that Tuesday night’s returns were consistently disappointing, with a long slow slide into a Trump victory, no false hope moments to raise us up before dashing us back onto the rocks. (The Nevada win was too late in the evening, at least for me.) But I felt numb, and kind of… blank. I was up until 1 am, just after John Podesta announced that Hillary would not be speaking. I went to bed knowing the outcome, but when I woke up at 4:30 am, I checked anyway.

I work in politics, albeit at the state level, and I live in Kansas, so I’m predisposed to crappy political news. I have spent the last few days reading and reading and reading, and thinking, and talking and thinking some more. I think this immersion in the reactions of others, like a sort of shock therapy, has replaced my mourning period. I’m not much of a mourner anyway (I’ll call it “wallowing” when I’m pissy), and I just didn’t want to dwell on it.

Now I find myself itching to do something. I’m working on understanding, and understanding will reveal the things that need to be done, I know. But until I get there, I need something tangible, some action, some difference to make. I feel, energized.

It may all come crashing down, I suppose. Some day I’ll break down in the middle of walking the dog, or at the bus stop waiting for my kid. But there’s just so much to unpack, I think I’ve got some time.

Don’t get me wrong, if I sound blasé. This outcome is horrifying to me, in every way. If I stop to consider the real consequences, to people, to our country, and to the world, I can feel the gibbering panic creeping in at the edges of my vision. But these last couple of days, I feel great. Like I have purpose, like I’m coiled and ready to spring. It’s weird. It’s interesting. And I intend to take full advantage of it.

I’m unfriending you, Internet

My darling wife alerted me to a post on Facebook, by a Friend of a Friend (so I can’t comment there, since I’m not Friends with the Friend… ugh), a post that began with, “This just in: ADHD also diagnosed as ‘childhood'” and linked to a blog post at the Psychology Today website about how the French (of all people) don’t have any ADHD cases, because they (are enlightened?) diagnose the root causes: malnutrition, poor parenting, dumbness, etc.

The comments on this post (to which I cannot comment) cover the range, but are mostly following the lead of the original poster, funny quips presented as insight, opinion masquerading as fact, and assumptions presented as research.

I have a child with ADHD (inattentive, not hyperactive). He is bright, funny, creative and distracted. He is on medication, and it has done wonders for him. At one point before he was diagnosed, my brilliant little boy came to us, after watching a commercial on TV, and told us that he thought he needed to go to the Sylvan Learning Center. The look on his face, that defeated, but pathetically hopeful look, stomped on my heart.

If you know us, you know we do nothing without research. Our child was tested, diagnosed, seen by doctors, second opinioned, and finally medicated. He has gone from being a remedial concern to excelling in every aspect of his life, because he can pay attention to the things that are important to him.

But the ADHD diagnosis issue is just the trigger that got me going this morning. I now know a lot about ADHD, about the process of diagnosing, about how it affects my kid, about the ins and outs of medicating my child, about the “cocktail” needed to help him concentrate then help him sleep. I see how he feels when he lets himself down because his brain doesn’t work, and how he feels when he tops a test or a contest or finishes a project or a book. I know what ADHD looks like, to me. This Friend of a Friend does not know what it looks like to me, but that did not prevent him from lumping everyone in together, damn the shades of grey, in the service of his clever commentary.

Here’s what I wanted to add to this guy’s Facebook post, but couldn’t:

“Hi. This post is so insensitive, thoughtless, and knee-jerk that I am inclined to answer in kind. Without knowing you, your children, how you parent, or what you are like, I’d like to take this opportunity to be an asshole to a perfect stranger, because online, there are no repercussions. Ready? Here goes. ‘I bet, since you’re so into responsible parenting, you beat the fuck out of your children if they misbehave. You cretin.’ What’s that? I’m sorry, did I overstep? Did I say something without knowing shit about what I was saying? Why, yes, I did. You’re welcome.”

There’s been some discussion online about comments on articles, how they rarely add to a discussion, being either trolled or facetious or downright harmful. I agree, and would like to add to that the suggestion that all of Facebook (et al.) is one big comment thread full of meaningless pandering and hateful, irresponsible, selfish commentary.

This is what is wrong with Internet commenting.

There is no space for compassion, for empathy, for understanding.

I know I am also guilty here of oversimplifying the issue. The Internet is a tool, after all. There are places set aside for thoughtful discussion and grateful healing. There are nice people online, even on Facebook, and I like being connected to them in a way I never could in Real Life. I appreciate and love them.

But the rest of the Internet can seriously fuck off. I don’t have time for you anymore.

Just shut that down

Today we heard that President Obama called up the Speaker of the House John Boehner and told him, and I quote from Brendan Buck, Boehner’s spokesman, “The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won’t negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase.” Source: Roll Call

Hellz to the yes.

The pure unadulterated gall of the thirty or so Tea Party crazies who a) think their minority is in the majority, b) are directed and funded by a conservative oligarchy, and c) do not understand the most basic functions of government is only surpassed by the spineless wheeling contrivances of the moderate Republicans who refuse to stand up for their constituencies, their personal beliefs, and their intellectual understanding of what is actually happening in government today.

Afraid of the Koch Brothers money? Worried you’re going to get Tea Party Primaried? Well, it’ll happen anyway, so you’d best just grow a spine and stand up.

It appears that the Democratic leadership has found theirs.

Time to shut down the Tea Party. Time to shut down the narrative that whatever you believe is true because you believe it. Time to stand up to the bullies.

I am glad my President appears to be doing so.

Enjoying the hell out of iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is a revelation to me. Not that I didn’t know what it was going to be like, I mean, intellectually. I’ve used Pandora, after all. But Pandora was annoying, browser-based, finicky, and I never used it very long. When I first tried iTunes Radio yesterday, while trying to write, I picked some of their pre-programmed “stations” and was all, meh. Their “iTunes Top 100: Alternative” has too much Killers in it. Which is to say, any Killers is too much. My taste is definitely Alt, but I like my alt more eclectic than that. And that Fallout Boy song (Alone Together) sounds like Rihanna in drag.

But today I made my own “station” based on a song in heavy rotation in our house, Little Brass Bear by Rachel Goodrich.

And it turns out, basically, that iTunes Radio is like Genius, but with the entire iTunes catalog as your library. Which is freaking awesome.

Of course, it also turns out that iTunes Radio is just like Pandora, Rdio, etc., but without the hassle of using something added on to my ecosystem. I am, as stated elsewhere, fully entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, and in here I am as happy as a bug that is snug in a rug.

My playlist so far:

Jaymay (one of my favorite songs, Gray or Blue!)
Woody Guthrie
Matthew and the Atlas
Kimya Dawson
Langhorne Slim
Thao
Laura Veirs
Lindsey Ray
The Colorful Quiet
Malvina Reynolds
Lucy Wainwricht Roche (dang there are a lot of Wainwrights, no?)
Cast Spells
Rachel Goodrich

I’ve heard of… six of those artists. I own one of the songs I have heard so far. New music! Which is what makes this so awesome.

A near perfect tweet

I don’t do this often (enough?) but this tweet from Wonderella is so pitch perfect on the topic of the Oxford Dictionary and Miley Cyrus, that I can’t help myself:

The best elections links of the day (if you’re happy right now)

Here we go:

My thoughts on the election

So, the election is over. And I am pretty pleased with the results. I don’t have anything really grandiose to say about it, no proclamations or predictions, but throughout the night (I was up until 1 am local) and this morning I have had some random thoughts.

There may be profanity below. There will definitely be Liberal bias, so you have been warned.

  • During his concession speech, I realized that I have no animosity towards Mitt Romney. I think he is an ambitious man used to success, and he really, really, really wanted to be President. I think he really is a moderate, and I don’t think he believes half of what he “stood for” in this campaign. And while it disturbs me that he would be so glib with his values, I don’t hate him for it.
  • But Mitch McConnell can take a flying leap onto the nearest freeway. Here is what he said this morning, “Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office. To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way.” (Source). That is such bullshit, coming from a Republican Party that deliberately, explicitly, and ultimately unsuccessfully stonewalled the President on everything he tried to do, even when he moved to the right of the political center. I call bullshit, Senator.
  • I confess that listening to Obama last night, I felt a little of the hopey, changey thing from four years ago. And it felt good.
  • I may have gloated a bit on Twitter last night. But seriously, the GOP spent the last four years actively denying Obama, trying to cast him as a failed President, and last night they got their ass handed back to them by the People. Fuck yeah.
  • Where has Boehner been? Isn’t he from Ohio? Rob Portman was popping up everywhere like an eager gopher, but not John Boehner. Curious.
  • Last night, only one person I voted for was actually elected, even all the way down to the local school board. Not the worst ballot experience I have had (that was 2004 in Omaha, Nebraska, when nobody I voted for was elected). I may be living in the wrong place.
  • The next generation has arrived. Gay marriage passed in two states (after losing 33 times in previous elections). Pot is (or will be) legal in Colorado. (Source). And the youth vote carried Obama again, just like it did four years ago (Source). So fasten your seat belts, Boomers, your young tattooed Latina barista is about to take the wheel.
  • Fox News, et al., was not only wrong, but dishonest with their viewers, all season long. This article in the Atlantic is (liberal and) very interesting. And they call us sheeple. (The Atlantic)
  • And finally, this. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.” (Transcript source)
    See the video

Good TV tonight

I absolutely love it when my wife claps at the television. It expresses a kind of deep-felt passion that my… what, my personality, won’t let me deliver. I fall instead at the snarky end of the spectrum.

Tonight, she was in fine form as William Jefferson Clinton delivered (what might have been) the best speech of his career. He made all the arguments we have desperately wanted someone to make against the Republican plan, and in a very public forum. He crushed, as the kids put it these days.

Let me just say, I’m glad Bubba is on our side.

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Universal Solvent for the win

Yesterday was Fathers’ Day, and it was nice. I got toast in bed and a few presents.

I got a new umbrella to replace the one I bent when I slipped in the snow last Winter. I figured the period of mourning/humiliation was over, and I could stop using it. And I got a copy of the newly minted version of Wiz War, a game I played in college (twenty years ago, now) and have held on to ever since. You may know that I got my eight year-old son to play the original with me a few times this past year, and yesterday, we played the new one.

Old and busted, WizWar circa 1990

The new hotness, WizWar circa 2012

The new hotness, WizWar circa 2012

It was long (about two hours, what with learning the changed rules and popping out all the markers for the first time) but we had a lot of fun, which ended abruptly when I realized I could use the Universal Solvent to melt the wall between me and the winning square. At which point I did just that, and my son graciously accepted defeat. He had me on the run until that moment, and I am ever so proud of him for his very mature reaction.

Hopefully that made up for my victory dance around the table. (No, I did not actually do that.)

So, old Wiz War: awesome. New Wiz War: probably actually more awesome, though we should play it a few more times.

Also, Wiz War, both old and new: totally geeky and fiddly and long and intricate and full of magic and silliness and spell cards and things like a Universal Solvent card. So, ymmv.

How I [watched] WWDC 2012

Inside baseball here for people not interested in Apple, but if you are: WWDC starts in half an hour, and here is how I am going to start out “watching” the coverage. Reminder, Apple hasn’t offered a live video stream of this event for years, and will not do so this year, either.

(The liveblogging is over, and this list is less relevant now, but it included Engadget, C|Net, gdgt, The Verge, Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune, and Mac Rumors.)

And now it is over. You can catch the video(s) over at Apple’s website. Here’s a direct link to the keynote.

In the end, I was switching between three coverage sites, gdgt, C|Net, and The Verge, with an honorable mention for Mac Rumors. Engadget kept cramping up and forcing me to reload the page. Kudos to gdgt, for consistently providing the best feed, and to C|Net for surprising me with their solid, and dare I say, Mac-friendly coverage.