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Shannon A.
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9th-Aug-2016 09:56 pm - The House Chronicles
In writing about goings-on last night, I forgot to write about our newest handyman. K. found him on Yelp! and then stayed home on Saturday while he worked. We are now another $700 poorer (which seems to be the standard cost for getting anything done lately), but hopefully several problems lighter.

We now have two working bathrooms again. Hopefully. The handyman resealed the whole tub and the troublesome wall in our downstairs bathroom. This was to resolve leaking under the house, and we hope it did. I say hopefully because we'll need to monitor that area for more leakage, since we were never able to definitively spot the origin.

The ultimate culprit here was probably our old contractor T., who renovated that bathroom for us. Ironically, it's when we decided to stop working with him, after he electrocuted the bathtub and then told us we had bad electricity.

We now have a working front door. Hopefully. Our house constantly settles back and forth, but the front door has been particularly troublesome, with the dead bolt first going awry, then the whole door getting so it wouldn't shut unless you carefully popped it upward. I have no idea what the handyman did, but it now closes and latches again.

The ultimate culprit here was probably our old contractor T., who used cardboard to pad out the hinges on the door. And cardboard contracts, causing the door to settle much more than the house. And I say "hopefully" here, because that cardboard is still there, so I'm not convinced that the problem won't recur in 2-8 months.

We now have a patched foyer door. There's always been a big crack in our foyer door. Our handyman patched it up and sanded it down, but the whole thing needs to be painted (or at least the center panel does).

We now have shelves over our laundry. We used to have shelves over our laundry before we ripped them out to reinstall a window there (replacing a bigger window which had been knocked out and built over some decades ago). Since, we've been storing laundry detergent under our microwave. But now we can keep them right by our washing machine, and not have them get nuked.

So at this point I think we aren't needing anyone else to deal with any of our house problems — though I still need to resand parts of the deck and refinish the floor; paint some or all of that entryway door; and cut down acacias with our neighbor.
8th-Aug-2016 11:13 pm - In Which ...
In Which My Hair is Butchered. K. was kind enough to cut my hair on Sunday, which she had done once before with the newish electric razor we have. Because of the long hiatus between the two instances she got confused about what the proper setting was for the razor, which was amplified by her trying to cut with the cover on backwards. When she was done, I had no hair. Quite literally. Between my hairlessness and my Van Dyke, I just need a black porkpie to look like a sociopathic drug manufacturer.

In Which My Cat Escapes a Harness. I've wanted to harness train Callisto since we got her, so K. and I started in on that in the last couple of weeks. Except she totally freaks out when the harness is on, moving like her back is broken, scuttling like a crab, etc. She also tries to lick it off continuously. To try and show her the benefits, we took her out to the deck last week, and that seemed to work OK. But then K. took her out to the front yard and sat with her on the steps. She apparently got freaked out, because when I opened the front door to see how things were going, she bolted for the foyer so hard that she somehow slipped out of the harness. I think we're done harness training her.

In Which I Hike. I am once again on no-biking duty because it would upset a test my doctor has requested. So instead I hiked from Lake Anza, through Tilden, and down home on Saturday. It was a nice long hike. I also did my more typical 70 minute hike this evening, up the fire trails and back down Panoramic Hill. Lots of beautiful views on both those days (though Saturday was a bit hazy).

In Which I Also Walk. On Sunday, when K. wasn't busy butchering my hair, we went out for a long midday walk, traversing another half-a-walk from our Berkeley Walks book. This time we did the first half of the Southside walk, which took us from Telegraph & Bancroft, up toward College and back. (I figured it was the time to do it before the streets filled with returning students.) I knew a lot of what we saw and even predicted some of sites. However, I added dates and details to my knowledge base. Most surprising was that the Togo's was designed by Julia Morgan. That is, the storefront on Bancroft that had a Togo's twenty-five years ago (and the Double Rainbow Cafe on one side and something else on the other) was a Julia Morgan design. The only major change mentioned was that the interior courtyard used to be open. We still have half that walk to do, then another 16 in the book.

In Which the Health Problems Continue. Saw a Doc last Wednesday, to no great results. We agreed that all the drugs had done little good. So he's now got me scheduled for more annoying tests (c.f., no biking), which are to look for unlikely but scary things. If that doesn't turn anything up, then it's off to different specialists. The psychological weight of this (really, of constantly feeling uncomfortable) was really getting to me last week, but I managed to lighten it a bit by taking some music out with me on some of my walks and dancing and singing as I went, without caring who thought I was crazy. (I rarely care who thinks I'm crazy.)

In Which Our Anniversary is Coming. K. and I will be celebrating our 16th Anniversary on Friday at Millennium. Yay.
1st-Aug-2016 03:05 pm - Sigh. Fitbit.
Well, based on comments from other folks and that I've seen on forums, the Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Charge HR are awful products that I'd never recommend due to severe physical defects in their manufacture. (The rubber on the bands appears to pretty regularly begins to peel and come apart after just 3-6 months of use.)

But, Fitbit has agreed to send me a second replacement despite being two months out of warranty, after the previous replacement that they sent in February started to fall apart this July.

So, boo to them for continuing to sell a product with unacceptable physical problems (6 months for a $150 product, with a regularly recurring problem? I don't think so), but for the second time in a row their customer support has been painless and efficient. So yay for that.

At Ben Monroe's suggestion, I've also ordered a couple of "sleeves" for my Charge HR. We'll see if they extend the lifetime of the one already falling apart and/or its replacement.

And if you have a Fitbit Charge or Charge HR, be *very* aware of when it runs out of its 1 year warranty, and if there seem to be any physical defects, seek a replacement before your warranty ends.
Today K. and I saw The Little Mermaid at the Berkeley Playhouse. I was surprised to read that the stage adaptation was a relatively recent thing, dating back to just 2007 or 2008. Which I suppose explains what Aladdin was still showing in New York when I was there.

Anywho, as far as I can tell I've never actually seen the Disney movie. However I was familiar with several of the songs from my Broadway channels on Pandora (particularly "Part of Your World" and "Under the Sea").

Overall, the music was quite nice. My favorite two were Sebastian's songs, "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl" which are both obviously calypso. I think that unique style is what really makes them shine. (And I was unsurprised to discover that they were the two up for awards.) But I also loved the songs by the Daughters of Triton, particularly "Daughters of Triton" (which to me felt reminiscent of "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music) and "She's in Love" (which sounded like it came right out of Hairspray). I know some of the songs are purposefully references to older songs, but if any of those was intended, I don't see any discussions of that.

As for the story: it's good enough. A typical Disney princess. Ariel's 'I want' song, "Part of Your World" almost feels like it could be swapped with "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. But I appreciate the fact that the few times in which it looks like Ariel is going to entirely give up her agency, she draws back: she ultimately saves herself from Ursula and after Triton and Erek both try, then Triton says she can decide for herself ("speak for herself", K. points out) when Erek asks to marry her.

Overall, an enjoyable play. I'd like to see more other stuff, not more Disney, but they have a few more coming up next season.

PS: Gotta guess that the lesbian unrequited love subtext between Flounder and Ariel was totally not in the movie ... but obviously in the musical.
The Bathroom Blow-up. We finally have at least one fully functional bathroom, but it came at cost.

The problems with our upstairs bathroom started when I knocked our upstairs sink out of the wall. This knocked the piping out too. No problem, we decided to take this as an opportunity. We ordered a new faucet, with the goal of having a plumber come into the house, repipe the sink and install the new faucet. (Really, faucet installation is something we should be able to do ourselves, but this sink is very hard to work with, and I just bloodied my knuckles last time I tried.)

So the plumber comes in to do the work on Tuesday ... and the next thing I know, I hear sawing and hammering. It turns out that we've got corroded and rotten pipes leading out of the sink into the wall. And so he took care of all of that in order to get things back together.

Meanwhile, we've been showering upstairs because the downstairs shower currently has some sort of leak. (We had a handyman in today who seemed to have a much better handle on what was going on than the plumber we wasted money on last week; he should be sending us a quote soon.) Anyway, the upstairs shower doesn't work well. The diverter only gets about half the water up to the shower head, and after you shower, the faucet drips, sometimes extensively, sometimes for days. So, having a plumber out, we asked him to look into that too.

First up, it turns out that the tiles and pipes have been installed pretty much on top of each, which makes it very hard to get at the piping without breaking anything. This is typical of the DYI badness that occurred in this house before we bought it, and that we've slowly been undoing.

Second, more rotten pipes. In fact when the plumber pulls out one of the knobs, it literally comes apart. This one requires a trip to a nearby hardware store to get a replacement.

Total damage was a bit more than $700 (including the cost of the faucet, which we ordered from Amazon last week). I'm not particularly upset about it, because this was really 16 years of deferred maintenance, and if we're ever going to rent the house out, the shower in particular was one of those things that needed to be fixed. But, it would be nice if we didn't keep having big expenses.

Now mind you, we still have a somewhat unstable console sink, but we're looking into getting a second leg for it. Otherwise, that bathroom is looking pretty good at the moment. Other than the cat litter all over. The shower and sink now are both much better.



The Passport Progress. Last Friday I applied to renew my passport. This came up suddenly, but fortunately I've got all my identity papers together.

(Which will be really useful is Trump is elected president. Ba-Dum-CH!!)

So I ran downtown to go to CVS and get a new passport photo, which is where I hit snag #1. CVS doesn't have a photo department any more. I suppose that's not too unusual in a new world of digital photography, but it surprised me. They have crappy little photo computers and they say that you should call over an employee if you need a passport photo. But this CVS has also been doing its best to replace all of its employees with semi-functional autocheckout machines. So I waited a few minutes, but their only employee was busy checking out other customers who refused to use the machines, so I left.

Fortunately, Google Maps told me where I could get a passport photo, at an actual photo place in Shattuck Square, and it was quick and easy, other than discussions about whether I should wear my glasses. (Consensus is no, because the gov't now uses passport photos for biometric bullshit and they couldn't manage a picture of my super-glasses without glare.)

So next I went to the US Post Office to get all my papers checked and turned in. Except I wandered up and down the hallway where the passport office used to be, and there were just closed doors. I finally asked at the front counter and they said, "Oh, our person who does passports is out for a couple of months, so we're not doing them right now."

Really. Our main government office that does passports in Berkeley staffs it with just one employee and if she's out sick, that's it.

(My brain goes: "So you have to wait a few months until she's back if you want a passport." But I just say "thank you" to the postal clerk who seems really apologetic and clearly realizes how asinine this is too.)

Somewhere in city hall actually does passports too, but it's by appointment only. Fortunately I'd found one other passport office in central Berkeley: Cal's RSF. (That's the campus' Recreational Sports Facility.) I was a little trepidatious about going there while not being a student, but it was easy. You walk in, the customer service window is right there, and they run all the paperwork for you. Easy. (Also: much more efficient than the passport lady hiding in the bowels of the US Post Office, from my past experience.)

Now the question is if the US gov't actually issues me a new passport. You see, I changed my name when I got married to a combination of my and Kimberly's former last names. But at least in California that's not really recognized anywhere on the marriage certificate. I think it's just assumed that either the wife takes the husband's name or nothing happens, and that would be easy to see from the certificate. Back after our wedding I was able to get my social security card updated easily enough and my driver's license with some determined arguing (that ultimately paid out, as surprising as that is with a gov't bureaucracy). Given that, I'm a bit nervous about sending the passport application out into the void, but fingers crossed.



The Health Hijinx. So when I saw my specialist about my chronic problems (again!) last month he laid out a plan to try out some drugs and supplements over a period of 6-7 weeks. It's possible that increasing my alpha blocker helped a little, but the day I was scheduled to start up a totally new drug I was still having some symptoms, so I went ahead with it.

And this damned thing seemed to make my chronic symptoms worse. I gave it 10 days hoping that would fade, as I had great hopes for the drug, but no dice. So a week ago Saturday I discontinued it entirely, after 10 days of use.

My increased discomfort seemed to recede, but I'm still doing worse than I have in months.

Dammit.

I'm back to see the specialist next week to report in, but I'm beginning to lose hope they're going to do anything useful.
When I started working for Chaosium in 1996, either Lynn or Charlie threw the 1992 Cthulhu for President kit on my desk and said, "We need a new one for 1996, please produce it." You're always thrown into the deep end when you start a new job, and this was the deep end at Chaosium. I'd mean I'd expecting to be laying out books, but I hadn't expected to be managing a whole project that no one else had time for, and I hadn't expected that to include pricing buttons and yard signs, figuring out how to get them manufactured. I hadn't expected that I'd be putting together a whole package and seeing if we could afford to make it. It was all much more of the production side roleplaying than I expected to see, when I was instead counting on development and graphic design.

Which is a long way of saying that Chaosium Inc. has announced their newest Cthulhu for President kit, 20 years later. And this is certainly a year when they could do no wrong. However, I'm not convinced that Cthulhu is actually the Lesser Evil.
17th-Jul-2016 11:18 pm - Three Steps Forward ...
Problem #1: The light switch in our upstairs bathroom has been bouncing up whenever you try to turn it off. And there was fuzz under it. So today I unscrewed the light switch to clean that out.

Problem #2: The sink in our upstairs bathroom has always been precarious. It's mounted on the wall with a bracket, and it has precisely one leg supporting it, off to one side. It looks like there should be a leg on the other side, but there isn't, so the sink has always looked like it's doing a magical balancing act.

You may see where this is going ...

Problem #3: While cleaning out the light switch, I must have leaned on the sink just a little bit, because it suddenly came out of the wall. I managed to catch it, and Kimberly soon helped me get it back in the wall.

But the piping came apart.

Also, cleaning the light switch out did not fix it.



We could get a plumber out to replace the piping and I'm sure it would be 30 minutes or less. ("That'll be $140, please.") But given the precariousness of the whole setup and the fact that we're going to rent this house out someday, we're going to look into replacing the whole sink. So tomorrow it's off to Amazon or Home Depot or whatsoever.



Flashback three days, and we had a plumber out for our other problematic bathroom, downstairs. We had the shower running for a good 40 minutes beforehand, but our intermittent leaks did not leak. There was much crawling under the house, and he asked me, "Have you actually seen it leaking?" "Yes!" I said. "I've felt it!"

He was finally able to ascertain that if you dumped water right along the side of the tub, it does leak below the house, around where I was seeing it before. However it was not leaking in the volume I'd seen before, despite the dumping of a whole Dalek mug of water. So I'm dubious this is the only problem.

But, the plumber was very adamant that the pipes were not leaking. ("That'll be $140, please.") This I believe.

So, we've lit the popeye-signal for our local handymen. We're going to ask them to reseal everything. And we're going to hope that does the job.

Except they haven't actually responded yet.



Batman always responds to the Bat-signal much faster.



Yes, home ownership can be frustrating sometimes. And I'm annoyed that we're going to be spending money on upstairs bathroom repair when I'd been trying to recover our finances from taxes + stock market crashes early this year.

But, on the other hand, our home ownership over the last 16 years has created a nice nest egg through property valuation.

So.



If you're keeping count, we now have zero fully functional bathrooms. We have a sink and toilet in one bathroom, but no shower, and a shower and toilet in the other, but no sink.

SO.



Here's the good stuff:

I took a bus up to Tilden Park yesterday. After eating lunch pretty near Lake Anza, I then hiked up to Inspiration Point.

My goal was to take the Inspiration Trail, which is an EBMUD Trail on the other side of the hill, down. Which I did. It ran along the hillside for a while, then plunged downward to San Pablo Dam Road. It was a pretty typical hillside trail, which means that this time of year it's all brown. It was a nice walk. Very windy at times. I almost lost my very-expensive straw hat.

The only deficit of the trail was that it was covered in cow dung. Really, there was one point where it was so frequent that I had to veer back and forth to avoid it.

Curiously, the cows were all gathered along one little pond in the middle of the hills. There was a fence, but the gate was open, so they could have wandered where they wanted. And it was clear that some wildly pooping cows did sometimes wander far afield, but if so, they do it stealthily, at night or something.

Down on the other side of San Pablo Dam Road is the reservoir, and that has continued EBMUD trails. The connecting trail from Inspiration Trail to the Old San Pablo Trail was horribly, horribly maintained. Its as almost invisible at times. But once it linked up with the Old San Pablo Trail proper, it was absolutely beautiful. A nice woodland trail that was quiet and bucolic and pretty. I saw lizards and rabbits and squirrels and birds. I enjoyed the trees. The reservoir sadly isn't that visible, but it was still quite nice.

I was heading toward Orinda, and once I left the EBMUD lands behind, there were fortunately sidewalks or trails all the way there. (I'd been a bit worried about that, but I'd known there were at least some sidewalks from my bike rides in that area.)

I was pretty tired when I got to Orinda. From there I BARTed to Rockridge and headed home.

So, a nice Saturday.



And a nice enough today despite a hill of plumbing problems.
9th-Jul-2016 12:07 am - Two Steps Forward ...
K. and I have decided for once not to wait a year to see the new season of Game of Thrones (when it hits DVD).

So I looked into HBO Now, the streaming, on-demand service that you can buy ala carte. Except Tivo doesn't support HBO Now, and that's our main entertainment center.

No problem, I figured, I'll just order HBO for a month through Comcast, then watch it through HBO Go on the Tivo. That's their connected-to-your-account HBO streaming service. I mean, I hate to give Comcast any more money because they're one of the scummiest corporations in the country. But it'd be convenient to watch on our Tivo in our living room. Except (1) Comcast makes me waste 10 minutes talking to a chat operator to sign up for HBO; (2) then they can't even get it to work, and with my experience with Comcast and Tivos and Cable Cards in the past, I'm not sure they ever will; and (3) While wasting my time chatting, I discover that Comcast is the only major cable provider in the US that isn't supporting HBO Go through the Tivo. (Discussions imply it's because they tried to get a bribe from Tivo, and Tivo refused; I don't know if that's true, but it sounds right to me from what I know of Comcast.)

So that order got canceled before it ever worked. It's like Comcast is begging you to cut your cable.

Next up I guess I dig up the Roku we could never get to work reliably and see if it supports HBO Go. (The internet says yes, unless we have too old of a box or something.)

And I hope I don't have to fight with Comcast in a month; they claim that canceled the HBO service at no cost, but I have no faith because Comcast's customer support is full of liars, in my past experience.



Meanwhile, the bathroom. After the leak last week, we didn't use our downstairs (nicer) shower for a few days, then I tested it out on Tuesday night and running the water didn't make it leak.

So we started taking showers. Wednesday, no leak. Thursday, no leak.

I come to the conclusion that the problem is actually in the way our tile is sealed, particularly some broken caulk next to the tub. And I'm being really careful to make sure no water is getting out of the tub. The plan is to get a handyman out to recaulk and seal.

Then Friday morning there's water running down under the house again. Despite the total lack of water outside of the tub. In fact, I look carefully under the house and in the bathroom and I really have no idea where it's coming from, though it seems roughly in line with the outer edge of the tub.

Dammit.

(My guess is that I ran the shower hotter today and that's unsealing something. But I have no idea what. So I think we're going to have to call out a plumber to do expensive investigation before expensive ripping out of walls or something to get to whatever's leaking. I'm really sick of this year costing extra money, while the jacked-up stock market keeps our emergency funds in the doldrums.)



Our deck refinishing of the weekend seems to have gone pretty well, but there are a few spots where apparently the finish got put on too heavily, resulting in tacky wet spots. I tried to fix it quickly during the week by reapplying, letting that eat up the old finish, them wiping it off. (Multiple sites on the web told me this was what to do.) And that slightly improved things, but didn't fix them.

So Sunday I may have to do something more drastic like sand and reapply.

But I'm not sure that we actually have enough finish; I think there might be too much pigment and not enough oil left.



While bitching, I suppose I should bitch about health.

My plan with my doc for my chronic problems was to try some increased meds for a few weeks, then try a new one this Wednesday if things weren't good yet. And they weren't, so I did.

And the first couple of days it seemed to crank up my symptoms and give me a pretty horrible dry mouth. I was on the verge of calling it quits, but today seemed better. So we'll see how it goes.



Two steps forward implies one step back, and therefore progress, but I'm not convinced it hasn't been two steps forward, two steps back.

Except for the deck. That's clearly almost all done.
3rd-Jul-2016 11:49 pm - All Hands on Deck
I blame Eric L.

A month and a half ago, I hosted the first board gaming barbecue of the year. It works like this: Eric asks, I agree, folks bring food, he cooks, everyone is very happy.

But I'm standing outside while he barbecues, and I notice that our upstairs deck is starting to really show the weathering.

When our contractor T. built it, he said we should finish it. That was obvious, though we had no idea why he didn't do it himself. This was a general problem, with him not quite finishing things. So it's sat like that for years, and now it's starting to show the wear and tear.

So, I reluctantly realize I really need to do it. I look at the calendar and finally settle on July 3rd, under the theory that I can have a relaxing and fun Saturday (I did!), then work hard on Sunday, then get my mojo back on Monday.

Earlier this week, I picked up finish and brushes and a roller.

So today we were ready.



The day starts like this: Kimberly begins to bring her Adirondack chairs into the house, and I start telling her to bring them back out, immediately.

She asks why, but does, and after she sets them down I point out the wasp hive attached to the bottom of one of the chairs.

Yeah.

It's pretty small, and I just see a couple of wasps, so after she hands me a ruler, I bravely knock it into the yard below.



For the morning, I've got sanding and cleaning scheduled. The sanding goes quite well, in part thanks to a power sander than helps to make all the long, wide surfaces go very quickly.

It's really the railing that causes us the most problems all day, because it's got so many surfaces, and some of them are facing away from the deck and quite hard to get to.

And the deck has cracks in it here and there which I'm not that pleased with, but there's only one board that looks really bad to me, and it's in the middle of the deck, so if it gets flaky, no big.

I had this prep work penciled in for two hours, and indeed we're done by about noon after starting around 10.

I'm quite happy how everything is looking good, and feel like this is going great.



Except we're filthy. That wasn't in my schedule. My pants are caked in dirt and mud and sawdust.

So there's about 15 minutes of cleanup that I didn't see coming, but no big deal.

We go out for lunch at La Bateau Ivre, and we're back by 1.30, which was also what I'd originally planned.



I'd originally thought the actual finishing would take 2-3 hours, but I've revised it to 2-2.5 after seeing how well things went this morning.

Not so much.

All those surfaces we were messing with in the morning: the fronts, backs, and sides of all the slats and posts, are just that much more difficult when going at them with paint brushes and a roller.

But it's really the backs (and other external surfaces) that are the most painful. I spend infinite amounts of time painting stuff I can't see, then looking out and seeing I still don't have complete coverage. Rinse, lather, repeat.



Our Acacia neighbors see us working and take pity on us in the afternoon. They ask if we'd like to borrow a ladder. I agree, and I use it for the side of the deck facing our teeny yard (as opposed to the side facing their yard, which we'd already done, and where there was no room for a ladder.)

It keeps feeling like it's going to vibrate apart when I climb, but otherwise it's quite sturdy, and I'm able to get to the outside of that final (and biggest) edge of the deck much easier. I even finish some of the lower surfaces and the main post, which I thought I'd have to do another day.

(Yay!)



When I return to the deck (after returning the ladder) everything goes much more quickly. We've got surfaces that can be rolled and are visible, which makes it much easier.

But by 4.30 or so we've still got the biggest chunk of wood to go: the surface of the deck itself. It looks super daunting, but the roller goes really quickly on it. And we have just barely enough finish. (At the end I'm worried about running out, but we have enough left afterward for some minor touchup.)

By 5 or so we're done.

Whew!

So, 3.5 hours of finish application.



It's an exhausting day overall. I'm not used to 5.5 hours of physical labor, and this isn't even walking or biking or something else that I've built up muscles for.

But other than a few aches and pains, I'm feeling good by evening.

And we got the deck finished!



Here's the unhappy coda: When I planned this out, I thought I was fixing the last major problem that T. left us.

But T. also redid our downstairs bathroom. He famously electrified the bathtub. And yesterday when I'm showering, I discover that our downstairs bathtub is leaking through the floor. Not good!

So, we've got another T.-related problem to fix. And my guess is that it's actually some of the shower piping that's leaking, which would mean it's going to be a major repair.

I need to do some better investigation tomorrow, to try and diagnose the problem before getting a plumber out.



And here's the other unhappy coda: I really wanted to shower after all that hard work, but before I could I had to clean our (usually unused) upstairs shower and hang a curtain.

Ugh.

Now done.



The day ends like this: A wasp flutters around the upstairs bathroom while I'm showering. I'm too tired to care. But afterward I hunt down the poor thing and kill it because I don't want it hurting our cats.

It was probably very confused about where its hive went.
24th-Jun-2016 10:52 am - Brexit & Democracy
politics
Why am I sorry for my friends in the UK? SERIOUSLY?

Because every single one of the folks that I actually know in the UK was stridently against Brexit and was shocked by the results. Because a whole generation of UK people just lost their right to live and work in 27 countries. Because they just lost many of the privileges of the EU, but they'll still be beholden to most of its rules and regulations if they want to remain in the common market. Because they woke up this morning to find the already beleaguered pound had lost another 10% of its value, that they'd lost that much more spending power. Because some of them run small businesses that will be endangered by the currency fluctuations. Because the EU is already signaling that they might harshly punish the UK to ward off further defections, while Scotland is again talking about independence. Because they're likely to be going it alone in an even smaller union, while the world simultaneously grows more vast. Because it looks like they're in for a bad few years at the least and a bad decade at the worst and they'll never regain some of the advantages they had yesterday.

In short, I'm sorry for my friends in the UK because they just got burned, and most of them know it.

Democracy is a tool, not a golden ideal. At its best it's a tool that allows us to come together cooperatively and to bring our best emotions into our governance. It can be a tool of hope, of unity, and of love. At its worst it's a tool that can be corrupted, that can enforce the tyranny of the majority, that can embed our worst emotions in our society. Demagogues are its greatest enemy, for too often they bring out the worst in people. Fear, hatred, and desperation can be paired with willful ignorance by a skillful demagogue, creating results that too often benefit only the few, not the many, and not the all.
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