Wow. Only three entries in June. I've been snowed under with life and the inability to communicate with others (or perhaps the inability to want to communicate with others - a different thing entirely - or perhaps a bit of both) and thus, this span of empty days.
I've been alive, though. And not everything has been shit. Very probably not even a lot has been shit.
On the job front, we're still fighting the firing of our 28 photographers (which, I should point out, include those photographers from the company's non-union papers; we're fighting for everyone.)
We leafleted the last of the Blackhawks' home games in the Stanley Cup, because team owner Rocky Wirtz is also an investor in Wrapports/Sun-Times Media. That was a trip, for the simple reason that the hundreds and hundreds of people going to the game at the United Center were walking by us at speeds I eventually estimated at about 15 mph. Think that sounds slow? Imagine standing in front of a crowd of Beijing bicyclists all trying to get to work on time; that's what we were facing. Time to talk and explain why we were handing them a leaflet was not only at a premium, it was non-existent.
Luckily, our leaflet had the roster of the team on the front, and a message on the back asking people to call Wirtz and ask him to tell his fellow investors to be as good to the photographers and union as he is to his team (and he's a pretty good owner for the Blackhawks.) So we started shouting out "free roster!" to the humans hurtling by us at bicycle speeds, eager to get to their seats. There was no time to explain what was going on, but we figured that if we got out several hundred of these, at lease a couple of dozen people would read them, and if only five or six people called, that would actually make an impression on Wirtz's office.
I quickly learned all the ways you hand out a leaflet in that kind of hurricane condition, and by virtue of placing myself in front of people and not removing my hand, by virtue of thanking everyone and never stopping smiling (god, my face hurt!), by virtue of making jokes and never once stopping the patter of "free roster free roster free roster have a free roster" - because you can't stop talking - I got rid of two loads of leaflets.
We ended up handing out 2,000 leaflets, far better than I'd initially expected. And, as BB (who leafleted with me, oxygen tank in toe, bless him) pointed out, even the ones that just got dropped on the arena floor would probably be noticed by cleanup crews, and the word would trickle up.
And then we hit Chicago's Pride Parade last Sunday with a different leaflet. I passed out all my leaflets again, but this time I was able to talk to everyone I handed a leaflet to. I developed some patter, a couple of jokes I'd bring out depending on how I judged the person I was handing it to, and always ended by showing the names of the people they could call or email, and I emphasized how easy it was to send a one-sentence email to our owners saying "Please give the photographers their jobs back."
I handed nearly all of them out before the actual parade started, because I knew that no one would pay attention to me once the floats and marchers came by, and I was right. The last ones I handed out largely were handed out without the patter. I told people they didn't have to read it then, but to stick it in their pocket and read it later. And then I was able to watch the parade, something I haven't done in years. It was wonderful, and in places it brought tears to my eyes (the gay veterans, including one proud old African American gentleman in his army cap, carrying the American flag in front of the veterans' group. He was 75 if he was a day, and his smile could have lit up a room. There was a lot of joy on the streets, immediately post-DOMA crippling via SCOTUS.
(As to that last? People are saying that DOMA is dead, which it actually isn't. It still needs to be repealed. All the court said was that the sections of DOMA that refuse federal benefits to same sex couples legally married in a state that allows same sex marriage are illegal. And that throws the whole thing back into the damned "states' rights" battlefield. And that, my friends, is disgusting, because marriage should be, as far as I'm concerned, a federal matter, but SCOTUS did what it could, given the court's makeup. In the Prop 8 case, it chose discretion as the better part of valor and simply refused to hear the case, which is fantastic for California humans and could be indirectly great for other humans, but again? SCOTUS deferred to states' rights. States' rights, y'all. It makes me crazy. You may have 50 states, but you stopped being a confederation of independent quasi-countries after the damned civil war. And ... whups. Let me just step off it, and put this soap box over there in the corner.)
Last thing; I've become a Game of Thrones fan, or more precisely. A Song of Ice and Fire fan; my friend Dr. Bob (husband to Dr. Gonzo, our famed attorney and bass player of yore) handed me the books one day. One day I shall repay him. A kaffyr always repays her deb--oh, wait. Anyhow, yes, I'm halfway through A Dance With Dragons and I'm realizing that, unless George R.R. Martin speeds it up, both of us will be dead before the next two books become a reality.
And so it was with a certain joy that I read this, which lead me to this, and then to this, which I've read with even more joy. And perhaps some of the joy is a tad mean, given that GRRM thinks very little of fanfiction, and I think that this person has done more in little more than a year, than he's done in a decade. The interesting thing is, as the Rolling Stone writer says, Silverblood's story is incredibly possible. The writer does, I believe, actually write for a living. She's created a realistic sequel to GRRM's latest book. It could do with some editing to take out some language that clashes with the world in which she's writing, and some of the ongoing narrative could be tightened up. But that's it. She draws the characters very accurately and largely captures the tone of the story, even if her touch isn't 100 percent sure.
But the shining point in her story is its plotting. The writer picks up the multitudinous strings of plot GRRM has already spun and woven with, and continues the job herself, continuing to create a tapestry of her own. The story proceeds perfectly within the ASoIaF universe, honors its past and takes off in wildly inventive ways that are completely compliant with that universe but still unexpected. GRRM might not like this story, true, but in this case not all of his displeasure would be philosophical. Some of it might be jealousy.
And now I have to get back to work, my friends. But at least you know.
I aten't dead.
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