March 20th, 2008

Me 2012

Political Hope

So I read this speech a few days ago, after prester_scott linked to it.

It's a beautiful speech; I thought it said a lot of things about racism in America that needed to be said.

I was talking to takhleet on the phone Tuesday night, and I told her, "I hope Senator Obama wins the Democratic nomination. Because then maybe -- just maybe -- it means that our next president, whether it's McCain or Obama, will be someone most people will respect. Not agree with, or believe is right. But someone that people will think is ethical, honest, sincere, intelligent, and trying to do his best. And I'm not saying we haven't had someone who is that way for the last sixteen years or more -- but most people haven't believed it."

There is something poisonous about the belief that everyone on the other side of the political aisle is malign or stupid or ignorant. That they couldn't possibly believe what they do as an honest, informed opinion based on their best judgement of the facts available to them.

What's even worse is the belief that all politicians are this way.

Because that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we say, "Holding political office is something only greedy, manipulative, self-serving egotists would do: no intelligent, honest person could do it" then we create a job that no honest, intelligent person will pursue. Why should he? We just told him he can't succeed.

There is a call in Senator Obama's speech to talk about substance and not spectacle. To make the election discussion one about how we are going to address the problems of education, healthcare, unemployment, and the war in Iraq. I admit now that I doubt I'll agree with any of his solutions to those problems. But I'd still rather talk about what will solve them than whose fault it is that we have problems in the first place.

Or about how bad our politicians are.

You get the government you deserve.

Discontent Strike

Discontent Strike

If I didn't post for a day, would anyone actually notice?

Nonetheless, I'm going to participate in the content strike on LJ tomorrow. I won't be reading or posting to LJ on March 21, 2008.

I'm aware that LiveJournal is run as a for-profit business. So far as I know, it's been one since I signed on six years ago. I don't object to companies making sound business decisions to promote their own best interests, even if those actions are at my personal expense. That's life. TANSTAAFL and all that.

What bothers me about SUP's decision to stop offering Basic accounts is that it's a stupid business decision. If this move were going to allow LJ to grow and develop as a community and a business, I'd be fine with it. But it's not. It's going to hurt their profitability and cause their user base -- basic, paid, and ad-supported -- to shrink. Because people like me who pay for our accounts want our writings to be read by our friends, and we really don't care whether our friends pay or not. We just want the service to be available and easy to use by anyone with Internet access. Eliminating Basic accounts makes it a little harder to use, and a little harder for people to decide they like it and they want to pay for it.

It's not the collosal stupidity that OpenDiary pulled off, where they ultimately drove off the service literally everyone I knew except Krud. Unpaid "Plus" accounts are still available -- they're ad-supported versions of Paid, essentially. LJ isn't forcing conversions of existing Basic accounts to Plus (yet). As stupid business decisions go, it's pretty minor.

But it's still a mistake.

I don't know if seeing a one-day dropoff in site traffic will help SUP realize that it was a stupid decision and fix it. Probably not. But it might help, so I'll go along with it.


In unrelated news, I started exercising again on Tuesday, after three weeks of enforced time off due to illness. I'm still a teeny bit sick -- Diet Coke still doesn't sound good, and I'm still dragging a little more than usual -- but I'm mostly healthy.

It was tempting not to start again. To give up exercising entirely and get back that hour or so of my life that exercise takes up. There's a symmetry in it: John inspired me to exercise in the first place, so it would make a certain amount of sense to quit now that we're not together any more.

But I didn't. I don't really know why. Even for the last two weeks while I was recuperating, I've been doing long walks of one to three miles, just to do something a little active. It's not that easy a habit to break, I guess.

So I jogged on Tuesday night. I only managed my neighborhood circuit of 1.2 miles, but I was happy to get that. Last night I did 20 minutes on the exercise bike and then walked the neighborhood circuit afterwards, because it was a nice evening.

And stretched.

I've been doing very little stretching lately and I notice my lessening flexibility more than anything else. How long and how hard I exercise is often a matter of willpower as much as physical difficulty, but not being able to hold a split for 30 seconds is purely a matter of how flexible I am.

I can still manage sidesplits, but they're harder than they had been. And sitting crosslegged is uncomfortable. What? What's up with that? Hopefully it'll improve again as I get back into the groove.

Hopefully I wil get back into it, and not use the long break as an excuse to give up. So far, so good.