Slate on the Fiscal Cliff

Honestly, I don't really know how to follow this whole fiscal cliff thing.  It's big and complicated and I can't get a straight answer from anywhere about whether it's really likely to happen or if this is just chest-thumping. But Slate's coverage, if it's accurate, cleared at least one thing up for me.

Our government is run by fracking children.

 [...I]f there is ever going to be a deal, it will only happen if Boehner looks like he has dragged the president somewhere President Obama doesn’t want to go. Each time the speaker makes a public display, as he did today, it shows that he is fighting the good fight and holding the president's feet to the fire. Now, if there is a deal, he can say, "I beat on the president about cutting spending, and he gave in." Members are going to look closely at the math above the theatrics, but if Boehner were unable to point to moments of peril and stalemate, his rank-and-file will just assume he got rolled. Therefore, this statement that seems to be about frustration—which would suggest we're farther than ever from a deal—can actually be seen as a necessary prerequisite for a deal.

The one trick for Boehner is that he can’t appear to be too effective. He doesn’t want to stir his members into such a fevered pitch that they don’t accept any deal. Perhaps that’s why Boehner described his meeting with the president this weekend as “nice” and “cordial.”

Emphasis mine.

What the hell?  Why is it okay for our government to balance our economic stability on the possibility of bruised egos? It's like we elected a bunch of eight year olds, and a few of them have started to notice that they can't keep throwing tantrums without blowing everything up -- but now the atmosphere of the political dialogue is "I want my toys and my candy and I want to get to stay up late and I don't want to clean my room."

Gamifying yesterday's problem

I wrote yesterday about how I have a massive problem with handling money.  And I've written before about how much I love Jane McGonigal's work in gamification to help make life easier, and more fun. McGonigal made a game, years ago, to help her heal from a serious injury.  It's called SuperBetter, and I'm setting up an account now.

I'm sort of misapplying the basic premise here, using it to treat bad habits rather than a specific illness or health goal, but I don't think it's out of the spirit of SuperBetter's function to use it to improve your ability to handle things in your life that stress you out.  I'm saying this because there's a page in the signup process where you have to select what you're using the site for:  Illness or injury; or, Health goal.

I picked illness or injury, and left it on Anxiety for a while.  But part way through the process of finishing the initial goals, I changed it to "Horrible money habits."

And since my goal isn't one of the clearly stated options, I'm going to choose to design my own adventure, rather than starting with a pre-made power pack.  Here, by the way, is a great bit of validation for my decision to use SuperBetter to deal with my money problems:

What are other people using SuperBetter for?
  • Finding a job
  • Getting pregnant
  • Writing a novel
  • Learning to dance
  • Detoxifying
  • Getting over a breakup
  • Overcoming a fear
  • Making more time for family


Okay, I've finished setting up my profile and completing all the starting quests.   Now, I feel really, incredibly awful.  Like, (if you're familiar with the experience,) the way you feel when you're in therapy and you finally talk about something that's a really huge deal but you've been avoiding thinking about it for years.

Which, I guess, is pretty much what I'm doing here.  I've been semi-subconsciously deflecting my awareness of my money issues for years, and now it's really painful to address because it's big and scary and every little thing feels like a huge imposition and a massive personal flaw.  I just want to hide under a rock right now.

So, I think that's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to take a nap, and hopefully I'll feel a little better later.