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Chronicle Politics Preparedness Reading

Harden Your Personal Supply Chain

Remember think global act local? That wasn’t just a cute 90s slogan to warm us up to globalization. Or at least it probably shouldn’t have been. Having local hookups started to look pretty smart last March during the lockdowns. Local grocery stores held up better during disruptions than the big chains did. That’s just how complexity works. Americans learned that local has advantages.

One of my favorite scenes from the science fiction epic The Expanse is a botanist explaining systems cascades to the muscle.

“It’s a simple complex system. Because it’s simple it’s prone to cascades. And because it’s complex you can’t predict what is going to breakdown next or how

Supply chains are “sort of” simple complex systems (it’s just inputs of goods and outputs of retailers really). Which means cascades are a normal occurrence but genuinely hard to predict. The more we rely on modern inventions like “just in time” ordering and multi-country manufacturing and assembly, the trickier it gets. The money people are already worried about how distributors and consumer end points like groceries and restaurants will cope.

I’m obviously someone who likes to prepare for possible futures. I like finance, disaster preparedness and science fiction. All of which are put options on the future. So I’m beginning to give more consideration to how I can harden the supply lines in my own life. I have no control over logistics companies nor do I have special insight into choke points but I have done enough import work in my time in fashion and cosmetics to have lived through a cascade or two and seen the damage.

If it’s a topic of interest to you too I’d check out resilience and complexity studies (give Joe Normon a gander) and read the classic Lean Logic. You will start to notice the more expert someone is in complexity systems the more interest they have in providing themselves with personal protection against system hiccups or god forbid collapse.

Now I’m a globalist (in both the Hyatt points system sense and being married into a Jewish family) a capitalist, and a fan of trade so I’m pretty invested literally into a planet of free trade and open markets. But I don’t like being unprepared for a problem. Be it short or long term. So in addition to being a dedicated prepper I am giving a lot of thought into how I can harden my personal supply chain.

Some things are national or global in scope (pharmaceuticals notably) and I doubt I can find a local manufacturer of toilet paper, but I can very much get local milk, eggs, and vegetables. So I signed up for a milk coop. I already paid up front for a community supported agricultural share for the spring. And I’m noodling on what else I can find local in the Rocky Mountains. Meat is at the top of the list. I’m guessing some fuels like wood would be easy. Refined fuels might be tougher but Colorado has some options.

But it’s a fascinating exercise right? You realize you probably can’t buy clothing (even if it’s made here chances are the fabric and dyes came from elsewhere). You can’t buy most personal care products but you probably could buy some apothecary products. Most herbal medicines, teas and some cosmetics could be acquired. You notice that if our global supply chains cut off the goods you rely on simply won’t make it to you anymore. But the basics of life like food can very much be acquired and cultivated nearby. So I’m starting to buy what I can locally and build ties with farmers. Because it’s good for my community and it’s just more resilient living.

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Chronic Disease Chronicle

Day 10 and The Migraine

When I committed to writing a long form piece every day I told myself a lie. I told myself It was no big deal to make a daily commitment. I told myself I’d find a way to put fingers to keyboard no matter what.

I told myself this lie knowing full well that willpower was never issue. My addiction to my willpower was the issue.

You see I’m a workaholic. And I made my physical illnesses significantly worse because I tried to exert willpower over them. I tanked my body into a kind of rock bottom that forced me to stop my whole life.

I told myself I physically couldn’t do it anymore. But that was a lie too. Even at my worst physically I had secret. I could still work through it. I could muster up my resources and be “on” for just long enough to get a job done. And then I would crash. Bed ridden. Pain addled. But I could will myself to action. I only began my recovery when I admitted to myself that I wasn’t willing to pay the price anymore. I knew eventually I wouldn’t just crash. I would force myself to perform when weak and I’d kill myself. I knew deep down my sickness was that I had the willpower to kill myself with work. So I decided to turn that willpower towards recovery. I stopped. And I healed.

So I’m a bit sad to see myself caught in the same lies again. That willpower is what matters. That I can always do what needs to be done. That I lied to myself by saying that it was no big deal to write every day. Because some days I won’t feel well. And I’ll be tempted to use my willpower to overcome it in order to keep my promise that I will write every day.

I bring all this up because I have had a migraine for the past 24 hours. It came on as was writing yesterday’s post. I felt it in my forhead building. I crashed out of an important virtual gathering last night crying on the floor as I dumped my dresser drawer searching for an Imitrax. I’ve been struggling with the migraine all day. So the post I had planned to write (media training for normies part 2) has been at the edge of my addled brain all day. It took till 6pm for me to realize I’d relapsed. I was going to use my willpower to power through the lie that that I could do it.

Except I can’t. Noises make me cringe. Bright lights make me shrink back. I’m sick to my stomach. I couldn’t bring myself to go for a hike in the fresh snow today even though I love stomping through undisturbed powder.

So I’m giving myself a pass. I’m admitting the lie to my teller. I won’t write up some advice on media today. Maybe I won’t write it tomorrow either. I’ll do it when I do it. I won’t try to prove to myself what I already know. Willpower isn’t the issue. Willing myself to recognize my limitations is the challenge. One day at a time right?

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Chronicle Media

Talking To Press for Normies Part 2: Who To Talk To

Gone are the days when normies could be assured they would never have occasion to talk to the press. Social media gives us all the opportunity (and I don’t mean this positively) to grab the attention of the media. So how do you handle yourself, as a normie, when it’s your turn in the spotlight? This advice is not meant for folks who need to improve their media training skills but for normies who have no professional reason to interact with press. Plenty of great public relations content covers how to talk to the media for business people, civil servants and law enforcement with obligations or incentives for public relations.

To start at the beginning check out part 1, what to say. Today I’ll cover who to say it to. With future installments I’ll discuss when to say it and specific tactics on how not to fuck yourselves in the process.

So you may intuit why in what to say the key takeaway is to repeat your core point and not deviate with any color or commentary. Many of us know that words can get mangled when someone retells it. Telephone is a children’s game for a reason.

But who you talk to can be just as crucial as what you say to them.

First, stay as local as you can. National press, particularly television or big publications like the New York Times, can give you life changing exposure. But I mean it when I say life changing. Being in the spotlight can up end your reality. So be careful of that monkey’s paw. A local reporter is closer to your community. They have a better grasp on why an issue may be controversial and require a lighter touch. They appreciate that their subjects live in their community meaning they have less incentive to sensationalize or portray two sides to an issue as mortal enemies. Note that this isn’t necessarily true for how the subjects see themselves (few issues divide quite so well as the provincial or personal) but reporters have to remain in the good graces of their beat (the topics they are assigned by their editor) in a way that occasional subjects do not.

Next, be honest about what medium will serve your message best. If you are particularly articulate with the written word go to a print publication or online daily. If you are photogenic and confident you can deliver you message concisely in short (30 seconds or less) bursts then you can consider an invitation to be on a local television program. If you are good at conversations (this is the most risky as it is the least controlled) a radio or podcast program can offer more range. It is a rare person that can deliver information equally well in any medium. The old adage “they have a face for radio” has more truth to it than we care to admit to ourselves. Be brutally honest and pick a medium accordingly. Again this assumes that you are the center of a story and have a choice (and the first choice for most folks is not talking at all so all this advice assumes that you are past that moment and need to speak for yourself.)

Finally, if possible, pick a reporter or personality that is similar to you. We are kinder and more empathetic towards those we see ourselves in. I know this sucks for women and minorities of all kinds. But if you can find even the slimmest of ties or commonalities between you and the media covering you highlight it helps create a sympathetic connection. Both played the same sport? Love the same team? Have a passion for the same tv show? Research that shit ahead of time. I guarantee that the reporter will have done the same. Establishing a rapport is crucial.

So decide what you will say (concise and repeated) to an audience that will be empathetic to you (local, in a medium that flatters you, with someone who can relate). Next installment I’ll go over when to say what you have to say.

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Chronicle Politics

I Need To Start Preparing

I’ve managed to make it a full week of writing something long form everyday. And this off the cuff stuff is becoming routine but also I need to start preparing topics and having a thesis or two. Because I’m just winging it. With a violent insurrection in the capital smack dab in the middle no less. As I doomscroll Twitter this Friday night I’m barely able to pull myself away from “The Purge” to think about a topic for a few sustained minutes. How could I ever consider “thought leadering” up some content in the middle of all this!

I feel like I should be doing better. Being more productive about this creative exercise. With as much effort as I’m putting in to parenting my inner child and taking responsibility for my emotions you’d think I’d be coping with the insanity of the week better. And writing better essays. Because when you take responsibility for your own actions you can survive anything right? Well maybe for a couple minutes at a time. And then you add them up and it becomes hours and days and I think I’m just reciting AA program jargon at this point. One day at a time don’t “should” on yourself and such.

Truth is I am struggling mightily. While doing the laundry I tripped and smashed my foot into a cabinet so hard I split my big toe’s nail. I spent a good 15 minutes on the floor crying over the pain and unfairness. Like the 5 year old that lives inside me. Because I just feel that fragile and distracted. To do lists are piling up. Obligations aren’t being met. And here I am crying over an ouchie. But then if you told me that you were doing just great and has never more been more officer I honestly might not believe you.

Today’s consumption was all over the place.

Food: Picked up the raw milk from the diary cooperative Light Root Farm. Then stopped to get empanadas for lunch on the way back. I also got ahead of things by securing and preparing for my spot in a biodynamic CSA farm share for spring. Fun fact about this farm? It’s my first YIMBY effort! In 5th grade I testified before Boulder City Council asking to get permits to farm the land my school had purchased. They said no. I was crushed. Twenty five years later the farm exists (no clue how the permits worked out) and now this spring I’ll finally get to eat the fruits of my labor. You do reap what you sow. It just might take a few decades.

Media: Nothing has made a serious impression on me today. I put on NPR with breakfast. I read the various New York Times round ups. I got annoyed at the latest Olivia Nuzzi talks to anonymous political toady piece. Mostly I read up on various cultures for cheese and prepared to make ricotta and yogurt tomorrow.

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Chronicle Politics

Shock and Horror

I’ve spent most of the day watching cable news and doomscrolling. I tweeted a lot. I cried. I watched my heart rate hover above 120 as I sat on the couch. Alternating between numb shock and furious anger.

I’m quite honestly a mess and I have no idea how I’ll say anything of substance given the trauma of the day. And I knew it was coming, not that that helped soften the blow.

To paraphrase Republican Liz Cheney, a violent mob assaulted the American capital as Congress did their constitutional duty. The President formed the mob, he incited the mob and he lit the flame.

I’ve been concerned that we would have violence in the streets around the election outcome for sometime. I have done my damndest to disavow Trump from the start, while holding fast to my libertarian, small government principles. Incitement has been a real concern since before Trump was even the nominee, but even with the warnings of people from across the spectrum of ideologies, it is still genuinely surreal to see it come to pass. Because deep down I really believed it can’t happen here, in America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. A great and free democracy that the world has looked to for inspiration for centuries.

Sure I was early in stating it was a possibility that Trump would bring our institutions to our knees. If I were writing this with citations I’d break out the time stamps. But I’m writing this in my bed, under the covers, and with a box of tissues next to me. Knowing and living it are very different experience.

We had a mob of raving mad insurrectionists storm a constitutionally mandated certification process. Even if you think irregularities happened (which I’ve seen no evidence of and remain convinced is largely a conspiracy theory and not the fun kind from Art Bell at 2am), taking the Capitol isn’t the path.

We have a legal system. We have representatives. We do not have any need to engage in violence. Americans have fought and died so we could have free fair elections without fear of violence. Seeing a mob of terrorists stop our election process was chilling. Literally. I’m fucking freezing as I tremble from dismay.

Obviously none of this is incisive political commentary. It’s barely coherent. It’s the emotional rambling of a woman who was born into a stable functioning democracy who believed it would be there for her entire life. Our system of government was a given for me. I believed in the American dream.

I’ve slowly watched that dream unravel for a pack of power obsessed grifters who only wish to self enrich.

I’ve watched as people equivocated and waffled over the dangers to our institutions.

I’ve listened to arguments on how it’s all worth it for the Supreme Court seats or the tax cuts.

And now all we’ve done is debase ourselves. It has come to this horrible moment. Where democracy was overrun in the heart of America.

I’m watching Mitch McConnel reconvene the Senate now. His speech is actually pretty good. I feel somewhat soothed. Except that he’s enabled the path that has led us here. He’s just as responsible as any. But I am comforted that there was a line.

But I don’t know at what cost. What cracks in the foundations may widen in future shocks. I’m too sad. Too angry. Perhaps even too afraid to calculate out future horrible possibilities. I’m sure many of you are feeling the same mix of emotions. To say that today was traumatic is an understatement. .

Take care of yourselves. Be with your loved ones. Be resilient. But remember it’s ok to be hurt.

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Chronicle

On Being Extremely Online

Many folks find social media to be overwhelming. It’s a constant barrage of sensory inputs. It’s not necessarily the most pleasant unless, like me, you live for large information loads. It provides me an emotional comfort get data points. One of the few things I could do when sick was scroll Twitter and read news (longer form not so much) so I have become as they say “extremely online”

I follow shifts in opinion like a rancher can sense a change in the winds. Being extremely online skews your politics in some ways. I can recite minutia in history and policy. Which makes it harder to form firm opinions. It’s all simply too nuanced to be partisan. Then I speak to family members who are dead sure of their position who can’t answer a basic question about how they decided to hold the opinion. It’s not so much that they are low information voters so much as I’m a saturated voter. If a pollster tried to talk to me they couldn’t place me. Which is how I ended up being the token white conservative that voted for Clinton that Frank Luntz brought to Oprah. So being a saturated voter does have its perks.

This saturation effect isn’t just true for politics. I swim in economic data. I follow petty feuds and undercurrents in venture capital. I have entire magazine mastheads committed to memory. I know what stories writers wrote a decade ago. I probably know CV of some editors better they they know themselves.

This also makes it relatively easy for me to move between different types of communities. Code switching isn’t just for race. Online it can be the difference between getting ratio’d or being promoted. And thanks to the constant scrolling and consumption I can talk just as easily to size proud chronic disease communities as I can the swol bros who insist being jacked is a moral authority. Which I find to be genuinely additive to my life. Diversity of opinion makes you smarter. It makes you kinder.

And holy shit does being in the information flow of diverse communities give you an edge. My favorite thing to do on Twitter is to ask someone to explain a controversy or event and nine times out of ten I get a nuanced thoughtful answer…from the source. Just this week I was feeling overwhelmed trying to parse the Bret Weinstein controversy at Evergreen college. It’s one of the original culture war battles on campus but I’ve never understood it. Media was intense and wedded to their priors. I couldn’t make heads or trails of it. So I asked. And within hours Bret himself took the time to point me towards sources so I could become informed. I still don’t know exactly how I feel about it but I do know if you seek in good faith the internet will provide. If you can find a way to intake more media and don’t let it overwhelm you being extremely online will make your life significantly better. Or it will melt your brain. No guarantees.

Media: In which the venerable conservative George Will loses his shit on the venal craven fuck nuts that are senators Hawley and Cruz. I also reread the interview I mentioned above with Oprah and I have to say I was spot on in my predictions.

Julie Fredrickson being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2016 about the election of Trump.

Food: I was out of pour over coffee so I acquired a latte from Spruce Confections. Ok I’ll also admit I got a ham and cheese croissant too. We then made a trip to Costco and acquired quite a bit of meat and vegetables so I don’t repeat that nonsense too often.

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Chronicle

Time Rich But Energy Poor

I’ve got nothing but time. It’s been two years since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that took my ability to walk and work. Thankfully only for a time. I’m on other side mostly which has afforded me a chance at introspection on the experience of living with all the time in the world but none of the energy to live it. When you are busy you have fantasies about time. The freedom it will afford you. What you will do with it. Canceling a plan is a delicious pleasure. You crave free time. Which is a misnomer really. Nothing about time is ever free. It’s the most expensive commodity we have. And you can’t really buy more.

So it’s an an odd sensation going from being busy to have total control over your time. It’s being wealthy in the truest sense. I’m a time billionaire. I have most of my life ahead of me and no real claims on my time. But when I was working on recovery I found that despite having no schedule or obligation I couldn’t make any use of my time. I was like the bibliophile Henry Bemis in Twilight Zone who is stranded in a library after a nuclear apocalypse but breaks his glasses before he can even crack a book. He had all the time in the world but no way to spend it. It’s a heartbreaking realization.

For the first time in my life I answered to no one. I spent my day in bed. But not because I wanted to. Because I couldn’t get myself out of bed. People would ask me well how do you spend your time? “If I were you I’d binge watch television or catch up on all the great works of literature.” I’d try to be polite about it but I was too tired to hold my head up on a pillow and follow a plot. My mind was too foggy and slow to take in insights. I lay in bed in a perpetual twilight. Barely cogent. Like Henry Bemis just as I thought I would have all the time in the world human frailty intervened. Without his glasses he couldn’t read. Without my health I couldn’t think. And like Henry my greatest pleasure was ripped away.

Unlike Henry Bemis I got better. We will never know if he found another pair of reading glasses in his bombed out world. I like to think he did. Maybe he wandered stumbling for miles and found an optometrist store with just the right prescription.

A new section I’ll add to each day with some media and consumables I found interesting.

Cosmetics: I’ve recently become diligent about applying vitamin C as a skin serum and my face has never looked better. I use this Superdose from Beauty Pie.

Media: New York Magazine is laundering the ZeroHedge conspiracy that the virus is escaped from a lab. So that’s fun to see come full circle to media legitimacy. Zero Hedge walked so NY Mag could run?

Food: I ate pulled pork from West End Tavern in Boulder.

Clothing: For my own amusement I wore a pair of pink sweatpants while taking my daily hike.

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Chronicle

The Sickness Unto Wokeness

Everyone has their own cross to bear. You never know what suffering someone is carrying inside. Platitudes designed to increase empathy towards the other are a common linguistic trope. Humans need reminding of our essential condition to keep us from holding others to higher standards than we hold for ourselves.

I think about empathy a lot and the way we often struggle to extend it towards others, as I live with a chronic disease. When pain is a constant companion it’s easy to demand that others see our full humanity. Even when at the bottom of our own well of suffering, we struggle to extend the same kindness. If anything it is because we often live without the light of an easy existence we are willing to do more to accommodate another human soul. Because the thing about regular reminders of human frailty? It works. Slowly those with challenges do become more attuned to the struggles of their fellow man. Their heart softens when reminded that others suffer as they do.

Because the true blessing of disease in all its forms is the persistent reminder it provides to cut your fellow man some fucking slack. Someone blocks you online? They must be fighting their own hardest battle. A stranger is an asshole to you for no reason? You don’t know what is going on in their heart. Those of us that live with chronic diseases and disability have a special superpower that short circuits the tendency towards cynicism. Having uncharitable thoughts towards a friend who is chronically late or unreliable is almost impossible when you too fight for the normalcy of consistency and timeliness, as a disease flare can occur at random. We aren’t saints but we know human frailty is no sin.

I’ve long thought that anyone with significant disadvantages in life, like a chronic disease, is more likely to be sympathetic to a gentler, kinder set of societal conditions. We aren’t all leftist or committed to equity work. Hell I’m a libertarian. But the chronic disease community has more than its fair share of people who believe in social safety nets and the role of government in protecting its citizens. And the tendency to police for ableism can be sharp. Screeds toward self reliance or even off hand jokes about the morality of sickness just don’t land for chronic disease patients. And why wouldn’t it? Asking for the golden rule seems reasonable. It’s a bare minimum.

All this is to say I’m more likely to empathize with the social justice warrior set than those who are convinced it will be the downfall of civilization. Is it irritating to always be reminded of the multitudes of the human conditions and the identities that are built from suffering? Sure. Do people abuse the hierarchy of perceived victimhood for personal gain? That is as American as apple pie. But we are engaged in a constant existential battle to get ourselves out from the bottom of the hierarchy heap. The churning inhumanity of systems beyond our control makes us more attuned to hypocrisy. It makes us less rigid about opportunity, access and outcomes. We can see someone suffering and realize “there but for the Grace of God go I.” I’ll not defend the byproducts of a polarized society. I’ll will defend extending an extra beat of human kindness in your journey.

So the next time you find yourself tempted to be snide about an activist and the language they use remember me before you let less complaints about the softness or stupidity of woke society. Because what most of us are asking for is a reasonable accommodation of our humanity. You know me to be a good faith person. I’m asking that you approach me with the empathy and kindness that comes from being genuinely caring about the plight of someone you know. That’s what being woke is; empathy. And if someone you respect asks for it you grant it.

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Chronicle

The First Hurdle

Tossing one offs is much easier for me. Editing is a misery. I constantly second guess my wording and narrative when I am building on a thesis. But letting lose a good pun of stream of consciousness rebuilds my willpower. I find it easy and restorative. I suspect pith and story telling are the equivalent of introversion vs extroversion. You can develop the skills for either but you’ve got an innate preference for one or the other. In my case I crush a cocktail party and can write terrific essays but I’d prefer to be in the company of a few close friends and keep my writing away from the red pen.

I’m unclear if this is a function of insecurity. I never worry about holding my own in a conversation even with the most qualified and demonstrably brilliant. Sometimes to my detriment as I’ll make a ridiculous joke that undermines someone’s authority or credentials but once it’s out the door I don’t dwell on it. I move on and find I’m generally forgiven. But if I’m given the chance to refine and revise I’ll dwell on it endlessly. I’m constantly finding poor phrasing and agonizing that I could have found a clearer way to make my point.

This is all a long winded way of saying that on my second day of writing long form content in 2021 I’m already struggling. I’ve got dozens of topics I’d like to delve into but I spent the entire day being so worked up about making a coherent point that I ended up not writing anything. But I did write a half dozen good tweets. Let’s hope by exercising the muscle of putting this into long form that tomorrow I’ll actually make a decent point.

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Chronicle

Day 1 or The Chronicles of Julie

In 2021 I will create as much as I consume. Or at least attempt to balance the ratio as much as is possible given divisions of labor in capitalism. I’ve fallen out of the habit of making things in the past two years as I’ve worked through health challenges and the transitions they imposed on my life. I’m happier when I’m making things. From my early childhood in Waldorf schools to my career as an entrepreneur creating has always been the anchor of my life.

In my college years I picked up blogging. As was typical of the early blogosphere, I mostly focused on my hobbies which at the time was Greek antiquity and Italian fashion. I called it “Where Plato and Prada Meet” and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it changed the trajectory of my life. I met my first cofounder in the comments section, I got invited to fashion week and I eventually turned the community in a business selling advertising and the early incarnations of sponsored content. That lead to an entire career in retail and e-commerce where I was lucky to ride the wave of the next generation of merchants and shopping. But back to my original point.

The simple act of committing a thought to more concrete form is a creative discipline. Like any discipline it becomes easier the more you practice. Ease comes from regular action.

To begin my practice of regular creation I am committing to publishing some form of content every single day. There will be no theme. No specific form of content. No overarching lesson. I will write essays. I will collect links to topics that interest me. Some days will publish longer form content that o have prepared and edited. Some days I will put down a stream of consciousness. But I still commit to do something every single day in public. If you would like to tag along with me I typically wander a large terrain, often with my pack of intellectual peers across the independent web.

But if you would like a preview to decide if you want to ride along with me I plan to deeper my interests across liberal politics and civics (by that I mean enlightenment liberalism not say leftist political parties), macroeconomics, aesthetics both personal and cultural, science fiction, finance (generally venture capital but some private equity and public market topics), currency and monetary policy (obviously I like crypto) homesteading and resilience, health and fitness (including a large dose of woo-woo self experimentation biohacking), public relations and media theory, and whatever else may come across my transom.