Saturday, June 16, 2012

ProtestKid interviews Me

ProtestKid has a lot of questions about why his friend Ted got arrested on December 17th, and since writing helps me clarify my thoughts on things, I thought I'd put it out here. Please to note, these are answers I am giving to an eight year old. Adults might get slightly different answers.

Why are police being so mean to protesters? Why would they arrest a peaceful protester?

In our society, police are supposed to focus on the law-- what's legal and what isn't. Their job (not who they are as people, just what they get paid for) is not to worry about what's right or what's good.

I know the police's job is to enforce the laws. Why did they arrest him when he wasn't doing anything wrong? He was protesting a grievance, the bill of rights says you can do that.

Good question! In this particular situation, a lot of stuff was going on. People were making music and talking and carrying signs on the sidewalk outside a fenced lot. That piece of land, the city says, belonged to Trinity Wall St, a religious corporation. (Note: that language I picked up from sitting in court. I'm not being snarky, Trinity's legal counsel called them that.)

The police didn't arrest anybody for being on the sidewalk. Some people brought a ladder and used it to climb over the fence. Do you remember how Liberty got cleared out in November?

Yes. They put up a fence so people couldn't get in. They beated people. They killed puppies. So so so bad.

Right. So for a whole month, the occupiers hadn't had anywhere to call home, from November to December 17th. And Trinity Wall St owned this vacant land, and the Occupiers decided that it was the perfect place to build a new home.

They brought two ladders, actually, and people even moved part of the fence and opened a gate and lots of people went into the space with backpacks full of camping gear so they could make a place to protest from.

Our friend Ted was one of those people. After lots of people came in, chanting and hugging and dancing, the police came and arrested everyone they could reach. They reached Ted. (The guy wearing a grey knit hat sitting in front of Bishop Packard)

Why didn't they put handcuffs on him? Usually they put handcuffs on the prisoners?

I don't know! I think they ran out of handcuffs.

That's kind of funny. ...Why didn't he run away?

I don't know for sure, because I haven't asked him. But I can tell you some reasons a person might not run away.

One is, they know they can't escape. If you "resist arrest" and the police catch you again, you can get into a lot of trouble. Really lots.

Another is, they think they haven't done anything wrong. If you aren't afraid of the consequences of being arrested, then you have no reason to run.

Is that enough? Or do you need more explanation?

A little more, I'm still confused.

Sometimes police arrest the wrong person. If you're sure you're innocent and you believe you (or your lawyer) can prove it in a court of law, then you don't need to feel afraid and run away. (Though even if you are innocent, it is scary being arrested, and you can't be sure the court will find you innocent, and jail is no fun.)

Another kind of innocent is if the police say what you're doing is wrong-- like trespassing--

What is trespassing?

It's when you go onto somebody else's property without their permission and knowing that if you asked permission, they would definitely say no way.

...So maybe someone arrested for trespassing would say, "Well, yes I was there, but I didn't think the owner would mind so much." So they think a trial will clear them of the charges against them.

Another kind of being innocent, though it's trickier, is saying, "Yes, I was there, and yes I knew the owner of the space I was in wouldn't like it, but my reasons for being there were much more important than what the owners want."

Like, if you saw a little kid was hurt in somebody's back yard and no one was coming to help them. They might not want you in their yard, but helping the little kid is way more important than something like "property rights"... So if the police arrested you, you might say, "Yes, I was trespassing, and I had no reason to think the owners of the yard would let me in, but the little kid was hurt, and helping is more important than anything else."

I've got a question about the court. What does the jail look like? Does it look like a really tall upside down cylinder made from bars?

That sounds like a cartoon! In real life... I don't know, I haven't been inside a jail before. But if Ted gets found guilty and is sent to jail, we will go visit him and find out. Deal?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pancakes of Lurve

A recipe:

3 cups flour. (I usually do a mix of whole wheat and white)
3 Tbsp sugar (I usually put in 1-2, because Maple Syrup!)
2 tsp double acting baking powder (orig recipe said 1.5, but that was hard to measure. It's not an exact science)
1 tsp salt
(an amount, not to exceed 3 Tbsp, of wheat germ if you are being super duper healthy or your guests aren't and need it)
(spices to try: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom)

3 cups milk (or apple juice if you've run out of milk because Coffee!... use much less sugar if you use apple juice)
3 Tbsp butter (melted)
1-2 eggs (1 if you're low, one yolk 2 whites if you like it extra fluffy, 2 whole eggs if you're tired, 3 if you like really eggy pancakes or you're trying to kill someone with an egg allergy)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients while butter melts. This is a good job for a helper.

Once the butter is melted, mix it with the milk/juice/cider/liquid-that-is-not-eggs and warm it all to body temperature. (Stick your finger in it. If it feels pleasantly warm, good. If it hurts... let it cool.)

Add warm liquid to dry ingredients, then add beaten eggs and stir it gently and not very much. Lumps are ok, these aren't crepes. If the batter is too runny, add a Tbsp or 2 of white flour to thicken. If it gets too thick, then add some more milk/juice. No such thing as too much batter, adjust as you go if the first couple pancakes just don't turn out right.

Batter likes to have a rest before you start cooking it-- gives a chance for the double acting baking powder to do its thing. However, if you leave it overnight in the fridge (which Joy of Cooking says you can do for pancakes first thing in the morning) the batter will turn grey.

It's still edible, but... grey... So sometimes the kids get a bowl of cereal before I start making pancakes just so they don't whine while I'm cooking. Zombie pancakes. *shiver*

Skillet should be hot but not burning and should be sprayed with Pam or butter or something. There is enough butter in the batter that after the first pancake you don't need to re-grease, but an initial deposit of fat will improve your overall cooking experience.

Pancakes are ready to flip sometime after the first bubble pops and a crater is left behind, and before your smoke alarm goes off.

My mom used to say that the first pancake should be thrown away. I don't know if that's because she didn't grease the pan or it was a holdover from god-sacrifice times, but if your first pancake is a mess, don't panic. If your third pancake is a mess, try adjusting heat (warmer than medium but only just) liquid (milk!) dry (flour!) or expectations (human!)...

This recipe feeds 3 hungry people. If you need to feed more than that, add flour, bacon, sausages, croissants, yogurt, and other tasty things until everyone is full.

NOTE: If you want to add fruit, DO NOT add it to the batter. (And not just because some of your guests are picky eaters/ungrateful wretches, though they are and will make gagging noises at the thought of fruit in their pancakes) You never get them evenly distributed and they just burn and make holes in the pancake.

Pour (or scoop) out your batter onto your hot surface, and wait a few seconds for the bottom to cook. Then take a handful of fruit (or chocolate chips) and sprinkle them onto the top of the pancake. Proceed as normally. When you flip, yes they will make a mess and a hole-- but only on one side of the pancake.

...Or you could just serve fruit on the side...

Anyway, hope this was helpful. As I tweeted earlier, cigarettes and coffee work short term, but for a happy revolution you need pancakes.

Well, fuck

So, as my "About Me" section used to say, I wrote a novel the summer of 2010. It was a mad splurging rush of drama and excitement as I tried to create with my own ten fingers a future that had all the scary things in it I was afraid of (I am afraid of many things) that still had room for joy and growth and people falling in love and art and stuff so I could pretend my grandchildren would be ok because they so obviously weren't.

And then Occupy happened.

And now I'm totally stuck, because Occupy has changed the universe for real. It has made more options possible, both good and horrible, and anything I write now in Suncatcher's universe feels out of touch unless I mention how  Occupy has touched it.

But since we don't know what Occupy will look like in 60 minutes, I can't write about it in 60 years without immediately being ret conned by reality.

Curse you, Occupy, for making my dystopia irrelevant.

Now how am I supposed to pay for my kids' college education?

(Or even get Bujold and Scalzi and Yolen and McKinley and McKillip to hang out with me at SF author nights?)


This was not the future I expected, and I don't know how to write about it. Ideas gratefully accepted in the comments.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I've got a previous commitment this morning, but my heart is with those outside Trinity Church. I know one of the people charged with trespass on December 17th, and am aware that "It could have been me"... Well, if they had managed to get the fence down. (I'm afraid of many things, but especially heights. Thank goodness I'm short or I'd never make it out of bed.)

Light humor aside, I'm serious. Not as serious as this guy, but I am moved by his real sacrifice. The least I can do is collect some appropriate Bible quotes together in one place to help others make signs more easily:

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

(Psalm 23:6)


Matthew 25:40-45

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was astranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’

Matthew 8:20 

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Psalm 34:17-20 

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Proverbs 21:26 

All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Isaiah 61:1 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 Timothy 2:9 

For which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

If there are any other Bible quotes you think are appropriate, send me a link and I'll be happy to add them.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

ProtestKid learns about corruption

What color was your balloon today?

Orange. It's easy to see. We usually use yellow and I wanted to use something different.

Why do you bring a balloon to Occupy events? 

So that we are visible to the other occupiers and the police so they're easy on people having the balloons.

What was the focus of today's Disobedience School?

Grounding. It's to be aware of your surroundings and the other things around you. It's also so you can maybe de-arrest someone if you're able to. Arresting is when the cops take you. De-arresting is when your friends take you back without handcuffs.

A way of grounding is, for instance, if someone takes you by the leg and tries to lift you up. If you're grounding, you put your weight on both feet, knees bent just a little bit. While you guys were grounding I was eating my McDonald's. 

What was something you learned?

Mainly it was about the grounding and the hopping which I did a little bit. I did help with the wall, as well. (LittleMan) came, too. I think he learned about the hopping. He's really good at the hop thing. I think I'm best at the wall. It's not too hard but it's not too easy.

Where did we go after Bryant Park?

This week we did marching. We used Broadway songs and wrapped them up a little bit to make relations with Occupy.

Which song was your favorite?

The last one on the sheet. "Super Catastrophic Economic Ponzi Schemes. Leave it up to Wall Street and they'll go to the extre-emes." (singing) It was kind of silly. I think we ended up at the fountain thing... on 50th street. After I was done singing I blew bubbles.

What sort of action would you like to do next week?

Next week I want to march to Wall Street. Do a little singing about banks being wrong and bad stock exchanges. If it's too far to march, then I'd want to go over to the Chrysler Building. It's a famous building, so it's got a lot of power with the government and the protestors are against corrupt government.

How do we fight corruption?

We march and do things like that. It makes people want to join occupy, and the more people we get the more powerful we are. Soon, we might get lots of hearts to rise up to occupy. And once we get to there, at that day, I think... I hope that day...we'd have enough people to defeat the government that's corrupt.

Do you know what corrupt means?

Well, no. It's not a good thing, that's all I know.

Corruption means they don't listen to the people they're supposed to serve, they just listen to the people with money.

 We need enough people that we can influence... and have them listen to the occupiers, not just the rich. Not just the 1%.