Day 669: better stuff than I thought

Day 669:

So far my mapping and road expedition has revealed that I have a lot more resources in my local area than I realized. The river that’s nearby is full of sand and clay that I can mine out for more glass and bricks. There’s another large forest to my east, toward the town that I swear I’m going to get to someday, but not close enough for me to drop in for a visit. And for some reason the oak-like trees drop apples if you cut enough of them down.

I was worried for a while that I was deforesting this planetesimal faster than its   environment would be able to react to, but so far all I’m seeing are forests and more forests. At this rate it doesn’t seem like I can do much damage, though I do worry that my mining might be destabilizing the core.

And then I remember that I’m one human with a pick axe she made from hand, not an entire mining corp with laser mining tools, and I go back to chopping wood and carrying water.

Day 668: Roads of wood

Day 668:

After getting caught in the mud one too many times for my liking I’ve decided to build a road out of all these logs I’m cutting down to ensure that I’m harder to shoot. (Yes I know technically I’m harder to shoot with a tree in the way, but the tree makes it harder to see who’s shooting me and shoot back. This isn’t some ancient Robin Hood movie and I’m no tree climber.)

At least to start, I’m running the roads north/south (or what I think is north/south based on the position of the sun) and probably east/west as well, but at the edges of my maps so I can find my way around more comfortably. It’ll also help me keep track of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

The dark wood here seems to be very very solid and to be honest there’s not a lot of traffic anyway, so I think the wood will hold up until I need to go to something heavier like stone. I hope that’ll be a while. I mean, I have plenty of cobblestone, but wood is generally lighter to haul around.

This would, once again, be a nice time for one of those horses and maybe a wagon. My skill at wheels is still pretty horrible though.

Day 667: Raiders of the dork arts

Day 667:

Raiders came around again and tried to jump me. From downhill. The higher ground definitely gave me an advantage especially where shooting them was concerned.

The weird llamas came around too, I assume with their disappearing traveling salesman, but I don’t have any emeralds to barter so they just blocked my front door.

I was out shearing my sheep when an exploding giraffe-corgi blew a crater in my sheep fence. Nobody got out because I plugged the hole with wool.

Yes, it was that much wool.

It’s quite a lot of wool actually. I could probably build a house out of wool. On the other hand, I’ve read The Three Little Pigs, so the idea doesn’t seem that appealing. Especially since the pigs were dealing with a boring wolf with halitosis, and I’m dealing with exploding xenomorphs.

Anyway, I’m definitely ready for a good night’s sleep. I don’t know if today was Monday but it felt like a Monday and if that’s the case I could sleep until Wednesday.

Day 666: Dinner plans

Day 666:

Back’s starting to loosen up and I’m feeling better, so I’m working outside instead of deep in the mines. Don’t want to push myself too hard.

And it gives me a chance to work on my food supply.

Now, objectively, I probably have enough food for a long time. I have one larder filled with more smoked fish than I could ever imagine. I have pork, beef, and chicken dried and preserved. I have (I wish I was kidding) trunks and trunks of carrots and pumpkin and wheat and things.

I’ve probably got a year’s worth of supplies. Well, standard year, anyway.

But what if it isn’t enough, I keep asking myself? What if there’s a six month blizzard tomorrow and I can’t get out for months and months? Is it enough?

Nevermind the fact that I think the planet’s locked into position around the sun and there is no sign this place gets seasons.

I wonder if I’ll be like this from now on, paranoid about food and shelter, or if it’s something I can grow back out of.

Unrig: How to fix our broken democracy by Daniel G. Newman

Having been raised in a mostly-white mostly-middle-class part of a purple state, I understood that the United States is a government for, by, and of the people. But for the last ten years or so that hasn’t felt like it was particularly true anymore… and it wasn’t just because of the presidential election or the current unrest. Nobody seemed to be able to tell me why, though, and the few that tried fell into traps of Democrat and Republican stereotype talking points and attacks on the other party.

Which didn’t make sense, really, because I know Democrats and Republicans and while everyone has points they differ on, we’re really not as far apart (on the whole) at the grass roots level as we believe. Heck, I was raised Republican, and the Republican party of today is definitely not espousing the same values as the one that existed when I was in high school.

So what the heck’s been happening? Why can’t we get along? Who the hell are the Koch Brothers and why do I care? How is Betsy DeVos in charge of education and why does it look like she’s purposely destroying public schools? Why are the elections swinging directions that we don’t expect, or don’t want?

When Scott McCloud mentioned Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy on Twitter I decided to give it a shot, and it’s done a very good job of describing the forces that are pressuring both our elected officials and the elections themselves.

Daniel Newman puts forth a case (with a sizable bibliography) that the ultra-rich in the US banded together and started playing a long game years ago with the intent to take control of the democracy out of the hands of common citizens like you and me. Dark money influences both elections and the elected. It changes how our electoral maps are drawn. It prevents fair elections. It increases the financial effects of corporate lobbyists to get what they want.

It’s a freaking mess.

But this book isn’t just an explainer for what’s happened over the last 20-50 years. It’s also an explanation for what we, the people, can actually do about it. It explains ranked choice voting, clean elections, the Voting Rights Act, gerrymandering, and many other political tools that we can use to make our democracy more or less fair, and then what we can do to wield those tools.

And look, if you’ve fully bought into the narrative that the government should be small and helpless and distrusted, or that people shouldn’t help each other or work together for better lives because it’s a dog-eat-dog world, you’re probably not going to be a big fan. This book assumes that neighbors help neighbors, we all want better lives, and we can work together to get them. It doesn’t ascribe to any specific ideology although it does make it clear that most of the dark money from the ultra-rich is going into the Republican party with the specific intent to undermine democracy.

This book is for disillusioned Republicans, frustrated Independents, confused Democrats, and everyone else who’s looking for an explanation of our current political and democratic situation in clear terms, with a compelling and precise visual and textual story. It’s for everyone that needs a graphic novel (graphic textbook?) refresher in that civics class you might not have had in five, ten, twenty, or thirty years. It’s for people thinking of getting into politics now, people thinking of getting into politics later, and people who are just sick of attack ads on television and always having the worst choices at the election box.

The book has an accompanying website for bringing people who want to unrig our democracy together. And it’s time.