kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
Waiting For the Plumber or Someone Like Him. Oh, and Advanced Policy-Wonking

I'm actually waiting for an actual plumber, who's set to come between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to evaluated our leaking garbage disposal unit and determine whether it can be reset in place to eliminate the leak, which would be the case if it had somehow been jarred loose enough to create an opening at the top for water, or whether there's an actual un-repairable physical crack or hole near the top. The guy said he'd bring a new disposal unit "just in case," so BB and I are set to question him sharply in an effort not to be talked into a new unit that we don't need. Wish us luck. 

I have actually tackled something that I've been avoiding for some three weeks; writing up a draft report on recommendations for possible changes to the Chicago News Guild bylaws. We got a start on that, as I said, three weeks ago, when I and another Guild member appointed to the task got together an did a rather rudimentary review of our existing bylaws.

The true wonkishneth begins hereunder )
kaffyr: (Clara under pressure)
Still Alive

But goodness me, it seems to be taking too much energy.
kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
Boo-Yah!

Tonight, when I go to my monthly union local meeting, I fully expect my emotions to be, as the subject line says, whipsawed. 

Still mourning Jerry. Many of us at the meeting will mourn him as well. But we're also celebrating this news (it's been a long time coming), and I know Jerry would be so incredibly happy to hear this news. I'm hoping he's looking down (or up, or sideways, or from That Other Dimension of Perfect Justice) and cheering. God knows, he helped get us here. 

So on his behalf? 

BOO-YAH! 

(Yes, the union election has yet to take place, but our remarkable organizers wouldn't have announced it, wouldn't have gone public with the news — or the very sophisticated pro-union Trib newsroom employee website — if we didn't have a fairly strong expectation that we'll win this one. I'm knocking wood as I say that, of course.) 

Still ... 

BOO-YAH!

Dept. of Goodbye

Monday, 9 April 2018 08:13 pm
kaffyr: Fantasia - night and the profile of a hill (Dark and lovely)
Jerry Minkkinen

One of my oldest and dearest union colleagues, Jerry Minkkinen, died Friday. I am still trying to come to grips with the news. 

He was the first Newspaper Guild official I met when I was hired by Pioneer Press in 1983. He didn't introduce me to unionism; I'd been a union officer at my previous newspaper job, and I already believed in the union movement. But he taught me so much about how to make day to day unions work for their members - for us - that it's a debt I could never repay.

Jerry combined a street fighter's instincts, with the seductive charm of a troubadour - he could hold a room in thrall, something I experienced many times - and the formula worked for us far more often than not, whether it was sitting at the table with successive waves of increasingly nasty managements, fighting grievances on behalf of individuals or the union as a whole, or giving us tips on how to fight for ourselves. He did this not just for my section of the union but for every Guild covered unit in the Chicago area. That's a lot of work for one person.

More than that, though, he was a good man, who gave his all to the union. He sacrificed health and family through much of his career, in order to help us. I am glad to know that in the last few years, he had much joy of his family.

He laughed often, was kind, was both fierce and gentle, and I am honored that we were colleagues and friends. There is so much more that I could tell you about him, but it all jumbles up in a tremendous Jerry-sized pile of stories. None of them will make up for the Jerry-sized hole his passing has left. 

I could only find one picture of him, but it's a fitting one; he was holding a union stewards' workshop. And here is a much, much better remembrance of him.  
Jerry Minkkinen )

Dept. of Union Stuff

Saturday, 27 May 2017 02:52 pm
kaffyr: The newsies contemplate striking (Stop the presses)
Day Two of Vacation: A Request

After my brief, but heartfelt, snarl about one of the awful people with whom I'm forced to negotiate, I realized I haven't told anyone about the miserable news we folks at my immediate company heard concerning Chicago news. Michael Ferro, who bought the Chicago Sun-Times several years ago, drove it even further into the ground than Conrad Black had left it; who gave the Sun-Times holding company the ridiculous name Wrapports;who sold all the Sun-Times suburban publications to the Chicago Tribune Publishing Company, thereby freeing the suburban properties - we thought - from his bizarre, self-aggrandizing, and supremely anti-journalistic ass;  who then jumped ship so that he could become majority shareholder at Chicago Tribune Publishing, ensuring that we couldn't be free of the bastard; who proceeded to rename the Tribune after the sound a flatulent goose makes when trod upon (and even the Trib didn't deserve "tronc") - has now turned around and plans to buy the Chicago Sun-Times, which he ensured would be barely breathing by the time he did so. 

We believe he plans to kill the Sun-Times, somewhere between 18 and 24 months from the time he gets his claws on it. He's a mean, vicious creature, and we believe that -  not content with having used the Sun-Times as the platform from which he could reach his real goal, the Trib and it's network (the L.A. Times, Hartford Courant and others) not content with having sucked the lifeblood out of the Sun-Times in his quest - he actually wants to kill it, so that Chicago become a one-paper town, like too many major markets in the United States. As I said; mean and vicious.

Thus far the Department of Justice's antitrust division appears to be paving the way for Ferro to do this; here are a couple of stories about the proposed sale. You be the judge when it comes to how carefully the antitrust boys are looking at this. 

The NewsGuild is trying to stop this, or at least slow it down so that other potential buyers could be found to save the Sun-Times. Part of our strategy is this petition.
 Consider signing it; no matter where you live, the continuing health of news outlets should be a concern. If you decide to sign, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. 

Dept. of Union Stuff

Friday, 26 May 2017 01:01 pm
kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
My First Day of Vacation

I am in union negotiations. Yay. 

And one of the folks across the table from me is a World Class Grade A Union-Hating Dick.

A fucking dick.  

Dept. of May Day

Monday, 1 May 2017 10:16 pm
kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
The First of May

"The bosses gave us Labor Day. May Day we took for ourselves."  

I took this from a friend's Twitter feed, because it's certainly the truth in the U.S., where Labor Day, in September, is celebrated, and not International Workers' Day, on  May 1. And by "celebrated" I mean "The working class/political origins of Labor Day and May Day? La-la-la I can't hear you!"

(The reasons for Canada and other countries going with the fall holiday may differ, so I'm sticking just with what might be reasons in this country.)

There's some interesting suggestions out there about why the United States chose September and not May. Some people believe that Grover Cleveland signed the September date into law to help turn peoples' attention away from the troops he sent in to kill workers in Chicago during the Pullman strikes (sorry for the Huffpost link - not a fan of aggregation sites, me - but it's late and I'm too lazy to seek better links. I hope you'll forgive me), although that doesn't completely address the choice of date. Other sources say that the country's determined rejection of May 1 stemmed from general American government/capital mistrust of connecting American labor movements with international labor movements that had already coalesced around that date.

It seems fairly clear to me that whatever the specific source of the American disconnect from International Workers' Day, the general establishment dislike of an empowered working class had a great deal to do with the blindness to May 1 and the watering down of the September Labor Day from a celebration of workers to a picnic-oriented long weekend.

This year, though, more people in America paid attention to May 1. I hope the trend, if not the reasons for it, continue.


Dept. of Union Maid

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:20 pm
kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
Union Migraines

I don't know why I leave union meetings of any kind with upset stomachs and headaches. 

Oh, wait. I do. 

Luckily, my bed is awaiting me, and my beloved is giving me tender loving care. He is a jewel among men. 

Dept. of Minimal Effort

Wednesday, 8 March 2017 09:44 pm
kaffyr: (Bored in Porco Rosso)
This is a Placeholder Post

Because I'm exhausted. 

I can tell you two things that I have realized today. 

After getting a McDonald's Shamrock shake, I remembered that I don't like Shamrock shakes. It's a good thing I only got a small one, because I felt less guilty pitching it. 

Also? Meatball sandwiches are, architecturally speaking, stupid.

But I was a good union rep. today, and that makes up for the fact that I either have a hole in my radiator (my car's radiator), or a loose hose somewhere.  
kaffyr: Animated Canadian flag (Canada!)
In (Very) Brief

Went down and visited the striking Chronicle Herald workers on their picket line, talked to several of the folks holding down their union strike office, took pictures, made a donation, told them I was hoping for the best. Come this morning, I hear that the Chronicle Herald has had to shut down its weekly edition in Cape Breton (the northern island part of Nova Scotia) because of - and they admitted this in their announcement - "a headwind of union sympathy." Good. Capers are good union folks, and this will hit them in their pocket, maybe go a ways to force them back to the table. 

Going to dinner tonight with an old friend. Going on the Bluenose tomorrow. Pics from both of those things Saturday, most probably. Boy, are the folks at Mac's local Tim Horton's ever getting to know me. (And Bob.) 

Dept. of Oh, Hell

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 11:08 am
kaffyr: (Clara didn't ask for this)
 I Think My Laptop is Dying

And my company is deliberately not responding to my questions about my phone.

I do NOT need this. 

Must think of fluffy bunnies. 

Actually, thinking of the gorgeous day, and the fact that I'm gonna drop down to see striking Chronicle Herald workers this afternoon before heading up to the Valley to visit with my step-dad again. (We visited for awhile yesterday, and told him we'd take him out to have ice cream this afternoon.)

So, that's good. And laptops can be replaced, or fixed (preferably the latter.)

Huh - I actually feel pretty good now! Vacation magic ....


kaffyr: (Joe Hill)
I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night

It doesn't matter that Labor Day is almost over. That's because every day is Labor Day. On this Labor Day
, I remember Joe Hill
YouTube heavy post under here )
kaffyr: Keep Calm and Carry on At Length poster (Carry On)
I Am Not - Repeat, Not - Going To Give Up On Posting. Or Responding To Posts

Because all of you out there are very important to me. 

I realize that the last few months have seen epic absence from me. Somehow, each day at work has been so much more stressful than it's been in the past, that getting off work in the evening doesn't leave me with enough energy to communicate. I haven't worked out why that seems to be the case - certainly, I've posted like mad during previous periods of extremely high stress - and perhaps it's counter-productive to wonder at the reasons. Poking a stick at a dead horse doesn't do anything for you or the horse. 

Exercise in writing something longer than a tweet )
What I've seen on YouTube )
Union work, huzzah! )
Jazz! )

Nova Scotia, television, gin and hernias )
Dear lord, I'm babbling like a brook. It's time for me to cease. But I can tell you that it's wonderful actually having the time and energy to post. I'm very happy about that. 
kaffyr: (Tired of typesetting)
I Aten't Dead, Mostly

I was supposed to be at a new board meeting tonight, but I'm feeling like crap, and realized it was a migraine (and possibly a cold that started creeping up on me at a meeting I covered last night. So I'm more or less on the couch, feeling miserable, after eating supper, and I realized it's been almost two weeks since I actually posted anything here. So ... well ....

... I'm here. 

I have a fic to post, which might go up tonight. Maybe. If I feel like it. Augh. I still have two more fandom_stocking IOUs to complete, but this isn't one of them. 

I wanted to re-read a particularly powerful and well-written piece of fiction by 
[personal profile] ljgeoff  (hi, my dear!), but my eyes and brain aren't allowing me to do that with the care I want to lavish on it. Instead, I'll send wishes for quick healing.

I wanted to tell the story of how the remarkable 
[personal profile] gerisullivan  helped pass along a tradition of earrings to me, after hearing about the loss of my favorite earrings in Cleveland. Really recount the event the delight and joy it deserves, I mean, because she is such a marvelously creative and overall remarkable human being. But I don't have the spoon, except to say, Geri, you rock, and I'm still enthusing about your gift to me, all these days later. 

I have emails to send out to our unit owners and renters about a water problem that needs to be fixed on Friday. I have to chase after one of the people I represented two weeks ago in a discipline hearing, to see if he can make it to his first stage grievance hearing next week. But right now, I still hurt too bad to do anything more than post here. 

I want to continue reading Paul Cornell's latest dark fantasy police procedural, "Who Killed Sherlock Holmes," which is on its way to being just as good, and scary, as the two previous books. But I can't read much. 

I thought I might comment on the Dems and GOPs as they flounder and founder prior to their national conventions. But I have not the heart to do so. 

I may go and lie down in the dark. Or I may lie here in the living room and chat, slowly, with BB. Not sure which. 

So how are all of you?


kaffyr: Dancing French cracked geniuses (Sometimes you need to dance)
The Weekend. Dear Lord, the Weekend

Monday: Sinead 
Tuesday: More Sinead
Wednesday: Union rep at two discipline hearings, 1 clearcut, 1 less so. Learned I'd be getting another town added to my beats, with at least 3 more beats in said town.
Thursday: Can't remember, because of Monday-Wednesday. Not enough stories written
Friday: Results of discipline hearings. Teh Suck. Not enough stories written.

BUT ... This 



Also, old-fashioned jazz, and a mimosa. 

And a very handsome husband.

Maybe things are looking up?

Dept. of Union Stuff

Saturday, 23 April 2016 10:18 pm
kaffyr: (Bacon!)
I Adulted Like an Adult Thing Today

And it has made me very, very tired. 

Veryveryveryveryveryveryveryvery....

*snorts, wakes up*

Yeah, time for bed. 

*wakes up, remembers thing*

Oh, Good Thing: BB has his second eye surgery Tuesday, Hurrah!

Bad Thing: It's the same day I moved my rheumatologist appointment to. So I'll have to move it a second time. Because the next possible date for BB to get his second eye done? August. YeahNOPE. 

Good night all!
kaffyr: Animated rain falls on the bathhouse from Spirited Away (Bath house in the rain)
And the Work Isn't Even Started Yet!

The work starts tomorrow, and I'm not sure i'm up to it. I have a confusing mandate from my Exec Dir. I don't know the people I have to lobby. And I've been up since 3:45 a.m. I'll probably feel better after some sleep, right?

And there is no more Prince in the world. Jesus. 


kaffyr: Animation of a Ghibli film scene, water rolling into shore. (Anoesis)
 Cleveland, Ho!

Off to Cleveland tomorrow morning; have to get up at 3:45, yay. Wish me luck, folks. 

Nothing else much to say, except that I've neglected my exercises, battled mouth sores (mostly successfully) and screamed like a screaming thing last night when I felt something on my leg while I was reading, looked down and saw a huge fucking hornet. Kicked it off, screamed some more, and was very glad BB was able to kill it. He said it was on its last legs anyways; I'm not so sure. And how the HELL did it get into the house? In April?

Ah well; to bed now for a few hours.

Dept. of Surgery Day

Thursday, 14 April 2016 08:02 pm
kaffyr: The TARDIS at Giverny (TARDIS at Giverny)
Operation Get BB Back to Optimal Ocular Outlook

It's the end of the day. BB is sleeping on the couch, one eye very piratical. I will be quite fierce with him if he does anything like bend over, or try to pick up things, both of which activities are prohibited over the next day, and highly discouraged over the next week. 

Medical stuff )

Union and work stuff )

Good things, good books )
And now I must away to bed.


Dept. of Stuff

Monday, 11 April 2016 05:41 pm
kaffyr: Mid-afternoon view from the spirit world train. (Train view)
So ... Gratitude. 

I am grateful for these flowers. They bloom for a very short time every spring in Chicago, just a breath ahead of the forsythia bushes. To me, they are spring. There are some stretches of Ridge Road in Evanston where lawns are blanketed in the bluest blue for a few glorious days. I've always told myself I'd take photos of the flowers, and I finally got around to doing so. No enhancement needed for this picture.  Happy Spring!

 photo dd7a05e1-b6c6-45ae-b5a5-a02746e5f73a_zps3victt9v.jpg


Other things for which I'm grateful: 

I'm finally fic writing again. Three separate things (Chapter 26 of H&M, and two MCU tales) all at the same time. I'm not complaining - you go with what works, right?

I'm going to try to be grateful for the surgical team that will be working with BB this Thursday, but I'm not grateful to the "support" team at the surgeon's office. Incompetent twits. But this is a post about gratitude, so we'll leave that alone. 

I'm grateful for the clarity of mind that descended on me this afternoon, and which has convinced me - or nearly convinced me - not to run for Chicago NewsGuild local president. Being acting president is bidding fair to convince me to run the other way. Screaming. 

I am, as always, grateful for BB, and grateful for all of you. I hope your weekends were good, and that your week began well, and will end well. 
kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
Unions and Special Assessments and Irritation, Oh My. 

So what's on the agenda for the coming week, 
[personal profile] kaffyr ?

Great irritation beneath )
kaffyr: Calvin face palms (Calvin face palm)
OH, CRAP 

Crap, crappity crap.
kaffyr: Animation of a Ghibli film scene, water rolling into shore. (Anoesis)
 Post Hiatus Thoughts

Things I've been thinking of during the week or so I didn't post anything. 

After I read that Wisconsin has slithered into that half of the U.S. that is afflicted with so-called "Right to Work" anti-union laws, I couldn't help but wonder; with union membership nationwide at a paltry 11.1 percent — a number that drops to 6.7 percent when public sector union members are excluded — why are the anti-union crowd so frightened of the union movement? It's pretty clear union members are not the menacing hordes they're made out to be by corporate apologists and their sleazy fellows. I mean, you'd think they'd be satisfied, knowing that union membership is down almost 10 percent from 1983, when it was 20.1 percent. That they'd be able to sit around their comfortable dens, and finally feel safe, knowing that they can command 89 percent of the workforce at will, that they can promise, renege, coerce, frighten, shaft, fire, layoff at will, etc. nearly all the working men and women in this nation.  But nope, apparently the idea that 11.1 percent of the workforce still not only believes it has a right to fight back, but the means to fight back, terrifies them. And then I think about all the people who fall for the Big, Bad, Powerful Unions That Just Want Your Money And Won't Let You Do What You Want line, and I simultaneously want to slap sense into people and weep. 

I am now officially a Brainiac on vocabulary.com. I finally and forever understand the meaning of recondite and heuristic. Go, me. I'm still weak on asyndeton and chiasmus, though.

Oh, Absalom my son, my son Absalom ....

It is possible for me to make a curry that is actually too hot for me to eat comfortably. 

I'm still writing fic, a half sentence or so a day. 

It's finally spring; the last of the ice dam in the alley behind our place has melted away. It may be a telling sign of my age that each winter I become more afraid that it will not end before I do. 

I am so very glad that I know BB. I love him so very much. 
kaffyr: The Polar Bear from Polar Bear cafe (Polar Bear-san)
Saturday Night Date and Good News

BB and I have just come back, happily stuffed, from our new favorite Japanese restaurant in Evanston. The place is called Kuni's, and it's a little bit more expensive than our previous go-to place, the sadly departed Tokyo Marina on the north side of Chicago, so we probably won't go there often, but it's really a great place for when you want really good sushi or chirashi or a nice dinner box of teriyaki and maki and whatever they call the fried rice balls, and the sweet omelet. MMmm. Also, red bean ice cream. But best of all, oddly, was what I've been faunching for for a few days - miso soup.

It was no big thing, but at the end of a week filled with (thankfully low level) stress, I'd told BB I wanted to go out for supper. After a very busy Friday afternoon, however, I changed my mind because I was beat, To my delighted surprise BB said "I'd like to go out tomorrow night for sushi," and it dovetailed so perfectly with what I'd wanted that I hoped all day today that both of us would have enough energy to do it.

It turned out we did, and the weather was much warmer, and I got a chance to try a new appetizer (fish jaw, which sounds gross, but isn't, especially after the waitress told us you just ate it with your hands), and we just talked about nothing at all stressful, and laughed, and enjoyed each other. And it cost less than stingy me had thought it would, which is kind of petty, but that's the way I think.

No big deal, and that's a very big deal for me. Next, I'm going to sweet-talk BB into watching three or maybe four Korra episodes. He's not yet as into it as I immediately got, but I suspect he will be.

And then there's this. Which I am very happy about. Our local has been able to organize two new units within the year, including this one, and believe me, there was a time I would have thought that no reporter on the Reader staff would ever deign to consider becoming a union member. My former bosses treated them with so little respect that, when they saw our unit members actually gain back some lost pay in our hard-won contract, when they got nothing so much as a sou, well, they came to us. Never forget, children, that management is often the best organizer a good union can have. 

So, yes, a post full of quiet and seemingly inconsequential, but actually very lovely, good things. I am a happy camper.



kaffyr: (Side-eyeing Coulson)
 Winter Freeze, Brain Thaw (I Hope)

It's been far too long since I posted anything, and, as a sort of resolution for 2015, I'm going to try to post something every day. Yes, yes, you in the back, chuckling into your beard, you heard right. What's more, I'm going to try to post something worth reading. And I'm going to try to interact with people on their journals — so what do you think about that? 

Ah, still chortling. 

Well, I don't blame you. 

It's true. My ability to maintain a healthy posting habit has not been stellar in the past. But I swear I'm going to try. Just as I'm going to try to find something positive to say about my life. It probably won't be daily, but I am going to try to do it regularly. I think I read something, possibly on one of my friends' journals, which speculated that forcing one's self to actively think about positives can make one eventually feel more positive. Using externals to force a change in the internals, as it were. 

So: what have I been up to?

New Year's Eve and the Christmas tree )

Writing and fandom_stocking )

Being union mom. Gah. )

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