Follow That Post!

Having the attention span of a squirrel, I sometimes leave a lot of things unfinished. There were a number of blog postings that I’d been meaning to follow up on, so I decided to throw all of these follow-ups into a single post. This one.

THE KRAKHAUS

The former Krakhaus was purchased (for an unknown amount) by the guy down the street, who has been working like a madman fixing it up. In fact, the last couple of days they’ve been putting in a driveway over there. I don’t know yet if he’s planning on living there (his current house is up for sale) or just fixing it up for resale, but either way he’s making damn good progress. Not sure what he’s gonna do about “Scrapper Loves Christy” carved in the tree, though.

NEW SHOES

My No Sweat shoes came in and are great. They’re functionally and for the most part visually identical to Chuck Taylors. They’re brown instead of the usual black, though. Interestingly, they came with a card that outlines all the wages and benefits received by the factory workers who produce the shoes.

I wore them over to Dan’s the other night and Jiansong was there. He’s from China, and he and I got in a discussion over the ethicality of “ethical purchasing”. His argument, and it’s not a bad one, is that by boycotting Chinese goods, you harm the workers. They may be underpaid, but at least they are paid, and putting them out of a job doesn’t help them. After all, if China raises its wages, then American companies will just build their sweatshops elsewhere.

At the time I didn’t have a well-formed argument against this, but of course given some time to think about it, now I believe I do. Essentially, I’m not naive enough to think that anyone’s terrified of me (or even others) buying their shoes from No Sweat instead of Nike. If those sweatshop jobs are in fact good enough and better than nothing, then they’ve got nothing to worry about — they’re gonna keep those jobs for a while. China and Nike aren’t afraid of losing business here.

And if that is how it works — that China can’t improve wages or else all the business will flee — then what do we benefit workers by essentially telling countries to bid for business with the lowest wages? how does this solve anything?

But it’s not even about punishing companies who have poor practices. It’s just about the fact that I have a resource — money — that I’m going to use in a way that makes me feel best. I’ll use it not as a stick against companies doing things I don’t like, but as a carrot towards companies who are doing right in my opinion. It’s about choice, and in this case, I choose to put my money towards where I think it should go.

(It’s a choice I wish I could make more often, and which I am trying now to look into more.)

STICKERS

I’ve been putting up my stickers and also giving them out. Friends got some, and when I see a parked car with a bunch of anti-Bush material on it I tuck a few under the windshield wiper.

The quality of the stickers is excellent. They came out great, and they’re quite sturdy. I heartily recommend Contagious Graphics for your bulk vinyl stickers needs.

Speaking of stickers, I know some folks bought Traditional Marriage stickers. I don’t know if you’ve received them yet, but if so, send me a photo of the sticker in use!

ASK THE ATHEIST

There was a question that came into the comments last on my The Atheist Replies post. Chris Shaffer asks, I think you misunderstood Jonathan Bartlett’s question, which is the problem of free will vs. determinism. It can be restated as follows: “If the universe is purely mechanical, with a full causation chain in which each event has deterministic causes, how can humans make choices or have free will?”

My response to that is simple. I don’t know that we do have free will. But I think that the sheer number of variables involved in our behavior makes it about as close to free will as possible. Over on The Price is Right the Plinko disk is not making any sentient choices about where to go, and we know, given 100 Plinko disks, the pattern they’d generally make in falling, but that doesn’t mean that any individual Plinko disk has a predictable path.

THE TEA QUIZ

I finally hauled out my tea quiz and nearly everyone got what I believe is the “right” answer. You have not accomplished anything. Every single task is half started. The package isn’t mailed, the dishes aren’t put away, and the tea isn’t made (though it’s the furthest along).

This is a quiz I made up a few years back at a different job and swore that the next time I was being interviewed for a position I would spring it on whoever my boss would be. Too many times I’ve worked for people who would say the person in the quiz was a real go-getter, who seemed to believe that doing twelve things at once meant you were doing twelve things instead of the usual results of twelve half-done messes. I never did use it in that context, and my current bosses aren’t as bad as previous ones in this respect. I have given the quiz elsewhere on message boards and watched people insist that it’s a question of “granularity” which should wave a red flag right there.

THE WORLD OF SYNNIBARR

I promised a while back to post more about this absurd RPG book that Dave got for me, The World of Synnibarr. And I really did mean to just go nuts on the absurdity within. But here’s the thing. With some distance from Shadowrun, D&D, and so forth, looking at this thing, it just doesn’t seem any more absurd or unplayable than any other RPG. Oh sure there’s some goofy backstories in there and some horrible art, but I had to really dig to find stuff that was just blatantly outrageous compared to a “normal” RPG.

It’s now been well over a year since I quit playing RPGs. I have friends who still do, and they talk about them, and I figured at some point I would say, “Man, I do kinda miss that.” But I don’t. In fact, my reaction is usually relief. I don’t miss RPGs at all, and am considering selling a bunch of my books off.

That’s all I can remember off-hand. Is there anything else you’ve been waiting to hear more about that I have seemingly forgotten?

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6 Responses to Follow That Post!

  1. David Thiel says:

    Ah, I’m disappointed that I won’t have a chance to read your mocking of “Synnibarr.” I wanted to see the wit of Legomancer pitted against the myriad absurdities of Raven C.S. McCracken. Surely at least the Tiger Shark–which, unlike the real animal, is actually half-tiger, half-shark–is worth a jibe or two.

    I’m suprised that anyone misunderstands the “tea quiz;” the answer seems so obvious that I actually thought it was a trick question.

    I really oughta buy some “traditional marriage” stickers. I’ve seriously mulled over the shirt, though I had a mild concern that someone might not bother to look beyond the headline to see the punchline.

  2. Grant says:

    the problem with buying chinese goods lies in not buying american goods. the chinese are doing what we did a hundred years ago. we subsidize their manufacturing, and they subsidize our markets. the question is, who gets the better deal? our poor and their poor both get the short end of the stick, but their poor have jobs they can be proud of, while our poor eat sugar and shortening and get fatter.

  3. I got my “Traditional Marriage” stickers and they look great!

    I sent one in the SASE to Dorothy Gambrell to get some Cat and Girl swag. You oughtta take up her amazing giveaway offer over at http://www.catandgirl.com/

    Dave, maybe you can find some nice person with a copy of Tikal or Amun-Re who wants a pile of RPGs. I’m thinking either an index card on your FLGS bulletin board, or a big ol’ post on the Geek. As it happens, I do have a copy of Amun-Re that I’ve owned for several years but only played twice. Do you have a list somewhere of your RPG stuff – I have a buddy who might be interested…

  4. Topher says:

    You know, I have half forgotten what was in the original posts you are finishing up. Sort of like seeing an episode of 24 after missing like 8. Particularly the tea quiz one, which sounded interesting. Any chance for hyperlinkage?

  5. Dave says:

    Weird, Topher. There WERE links in there, but WordPress 2.0 “fixed” them for me. Now they’re working.