Not sure how things will play out at work this week. I would like to focus deeply and submit a patch! Must catch up with email, go to at least 2 meetings. So i could not until late afternoon. By then I may be in too much pain. Then Wed. morning a meeting and then physical therapy. So I really really want to try for this afternoon.
Not sure how things will play out at work this week. I would like to focus deeply and submit a patch! Must catch up with email, go to at least 2 meetings. So i could not until late afternoon. By then I may be in too much pain. Then Wed. morning a meeting and then physical therapy. So I really really want to try for this afternoon.
I had great food, 3 different really good hotels, nice people all around, got to see a little of the library, strange experience today of scootering around downtown Salt Lake City and, yay, went to hear an organ recital in the Tabernacle, which was truly great. Mormons weirded me out. I went into the geneology building.
Actually just crossing the street from the temple plaza to the geneology building was weird and hilarious and a good silly story. I was facing the building across a wide, completely empty street at a crosswalk and red light and don't walk sign. The lights on either side a block away were red and no cars were even visible. Across the street from me was a lineup of mormons with name tags, ladies in skirts and like big hair, and men in suits with flowers in buttonholes. It was as if they were in 50s shop windows. They were all staring at me like i was from Mars but with big smiles. I have to say my heart quailed as I realized I was about to jaywalk or jayscoot in front of these people. Do Mormons do a citizens arrest? So, I went across and they all burst into nervous laughter. I went to the median and thought perhaps we could leave it at that, but no, it had to be done right so I just kept going. We grinned at each other wildly. ONe of them stepped aside and made a remark, something like "Well, uh oh, you might just block our way or something!" (Which was weird because.... i am one person and they were like 10 and they were blocking the crosswalk ramp) False joviality! I laughed lightly while grinning (and considered dramtically taking off my hat to reveal troll doll crest; rejected as the right moment had passed before I thought of it, plus, not actually there to troll mormons, just wanted to cross street, so, unworthy) and went on to admire the Pioneer Cabin to collect myself (rattled!) and hack its portal(s).
Then peeked into the geneology place. A large imposing building with very ugly art inside. The greeters were perturbed but came at me with smiles and nametags. Sister something explained that I could go to watch a video then go to the computers and people would help me. I said I was pretty experienced in doing that kind of research and familiar with how to do geneology stuff online and what i wanted to know was what paper archives they have and what access people can have to them because I like history. She did not know but after some fumbling said that there were books and papers and things on other floors but would have to ask around. I didn't have time to stay so thanked her and went off to the GLORIOUS organ music.
Gershwin on an organ, meh. "Southern Song" ok, noted the blue note accurately done (impressive) but this compounded feeling of cultural appropriation/ruining done by Gershwin. and yet it was quite beautiful and dreamy. BUT. Toccata and fugue(s) A PLUS WOULD FUGUE AGAIN. holy shit! So great. The organist did a demo of the acoustics by dropping a pin 3 times onto the table and then a nail and then tearing a newspaper. My observation of the pin drop was that the pins were dropped onto a hollow wooden sounding box type of thing on top of the table. That is not quite cheating, it is fine, but, it was implied that they were just dropped onto the table...... Kind of cheating really. Wondered what the hell. Immense wealth of odd religious cult displayed. What if someone like, busted me for playing ingress in t heir plaza? What would it be like to flat out own like 4 city blocks for the your monumental architecture of your Thing, whatever it is? What even is their thing, wtf? I think my knowledge of mormons goes like this: Sherlock Holmes story. Pat Califia complaining about childhood. Abuse scandals. They wear particular underwear (garments). Feminist Mormon Housewives group blog (which was great when i was reading it). Oh, also, impression that it is odd, but mostly harmless, to think if you record everyone's family tree then you get their souls in your heaven. You know, weird, but, shrug....
Back in SF feeling the vast weight of wondering if Mormons will get me lifted off my shoulders.
Much more to say but must sleep. Must blog about things like, the movie itself, my amazing breakfasts, all the nice things about the hotels, mountains, things I wish I had gotten to do, the library, etc. etc. also ada's school musical which, highlight of everything, was great.
We are proud of our cultural diversity, and of the cultural activities that celebrate our part and our future.
Unfortunately, the next sentence is not:
In 2021 we will be commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa race riot, in which envious, racist white residents killed at least 39 of their black neighbors and destroyed the most prosperous black community in the United States.
And the list of key city attractions -- opera, ballet, the jazz district -- doesn't mention that, as a bonus, if you visit one of Tulsa's parks, you may well be standing on a mass grave.
The scifi conference is requesting submissions of short stories. Alt-history counts....
So I wasn't going to post this at first, but then wild_irises pointed out that holding it back for fear of being seen as self-absorbed is hardly in the spirit of Wishcraft, and she's right, so here goes :)
I tried to combine everybody's positive comments about me into a single narrative, something that resembles the spirit of the original exercise in Barbara Sher's book ("ask a friend to say good things about you for 3 minutes.") So I combined comments that were similar to each other and grouped them roughly by topic. This includes all the comments from my Dreamwidth post, plus some from Facebook and one from an email. However, I've mashed things up enough that there shouldn't be anything there that's possible to trace back to one person (except for the ones that were made non-anonymously here on Dreamwidth, of course!) So, don't assume that a given sentence has the same author as the next one or the one before it, because there are a whole bunch of cases where that's not true.
You're willing to listen without assumption, and to act. You're loyal. I never feel like you're gonna bite my hand if you don't like my idea, and honest criticism is gold in ways that people don't always understand. You are a straightforward and trustworthy person. You are a very encouraging friend. When I didn’t want to live anymore, you wrote me a letter that touched me and made me cry. You sent me a book that is dear to me and you wished me solace. It makes me happy to know someone that I could confide & brainstorm with if I am having a real crisis or need some insight. (within certain realms, to be realistic) You happily met up with me and readily continued a friendship, even though we hadn’t been in contact for ages.
You have much warmth, kindness, and empathy. You care very deeply and so fiercely about so many important issues. You are aware of how other people see the world, and try to do the right thing. I believe you to be the kind of open minded person that in the heat of an argument, if proven wrong, would yell out apologies & correct yourself in the same heated tone you were slamming the ideas just minutes before........which is awesome. You are actively striving to be better and have the capacity to learn from your mistakes; you're also willing to make them in the first place. You continue to investigate your own biases deeply and refine your worldview and opinions as an adult, even as an adult over 30, motivated by wanting to treat other people better. You have great sensitivity to the suffering of others and your focus on other people is directly (rather than inversely) proportional with how much oppression they've suffered. There are people you’ll never know whose lives you have touched in a beautiful way. You are adding so much good not only to the lives of those you know and care about, but to all those people you will never know.
You also share your opinions and communicate well about them. I've learned a lot from you, particularly about privilege, and specifically in ways that I hope have made me able to treat people better, and/or that will make me able to potentially treat people better in the future. Your writing has led me to interesting questions and further exploration of topics like discrimination and intersectional feminism, which in turn has appreciably improved my understanding of the world. Your opinions sometimes seem outlandish at first, but often cause me to think long and hard. You make me challenge my assumptions. Specifically, you've made me realize that I tend to hide behind a belief that any progress is better than no progress on many fronts instead of actively working for change. It's an ugly truth but I'm glad you've helped me to realize it. You help me learn more and open my eyes to things I’d never thought about before.
You approach your life with both analytical distance and thoughtfulness. You think hard and deeply about topics many people shy away from, and speak frankly about your thoughts. Particularly, you confront difficult and complicated problems even if it would be easier to stay quiet; you don't shy away from conflict. You are an engaging writer with a lot of interesting things to say. I appreciate your precision. I like you because you speak your mind, but with respect for your reader; because you acknowledge complications and nuances while not adopting the cowardly option of either assuming all sides are all equally valid or that only one is. You are deeply engaged with social justice issues and are not afraid to take unpopular positions. You are a person of integrity and seriousness. I find your point of view consistently well thought out and understandable.
Specifically I enjoi the critical talk of cis, straight, white culture & queer, trans culture (when it warrants it), or even tech industry (aka bro-ding...get it? coding...bro....ah haaaa! you get it) You say interesting things about gender, including but not just how it affects your life. You pay attention to and amplify marginalized voices, particularly those of women and trans people. You "get" feminism and are outspoken on behalf of person who are not cis males, especially in computer science. I am always appreciative of your ability and willingness to advocate for others. You are strongly compassionate. I particularly like that you always consider children as human beings (and I'm curious what your parenting will look like in practice.) You care so much about people and non-humans too.
You come across as a knife with a neon nyan cat handle in subject matters you feel strongly about, all shiny, bright & happy "....but ...wait....oh god! ......I've been cut to size? but how???? " You have a low tolerance for bullshit, and the ability to cut through the bullshit and get right to the heart of the matter. You challenge empty rhetoric directly and do not tolerate even passive acquiescence to something you know is wrong. I have always admired your ability and bravery at times to tell it like it is. You are unapologetic about who you are and uncompromising about principles. That said, you're not abusive or threatening about it: you are critical while maintaining your ability to connect with others. You're fighting injustice and making this painful world a much better place.
You have always struck me as intimidatingly good. I say intimidatingly because it puts me in mind of something in one of Diane Duane's Young Wizards books: direct contact with the Powers that Be is actually a bit of a dangerous hobby for a human to get into, because the Powers are impatient with mere human flaws, including the flaws of their own vessels, and they tend to burn through whatever impurities they encounter.
That's what you try to do to obstacles between you and justice.
You are very clear about your goals and their status, but also flexible about them. You don't exploit others. You somehow maintain optimism about human nature, despite considerable evidence in your personal history for the opposite perspective. You're idealistic, but it's tempered by a hard-won jadedness, which I think contributes to your good and offbeat sense of humor. While you are a very serious person at heart, you are approachable and you don't shy away from enjoying life and relationships with others. You are very capable of relaxing and pursuing pleasure and leisure, without neglecting your convictions. You take responsibility for the things you enjoy. You are often fun to be around, and pleasantly talkative.
You are highly intelligent and apparently a very good coder. You enjoy learning and sharing what you've learned with others. I think the best thing about you (to me) is the fact that you're outspokenly more critical & well read than myself & I use that to my advantage to learn about or become more in depth with subject matter I wasn't aware of. You are enormously curious and eager to acquire knowledge and understanding, where understanding is more important than knowledge. You have a drive to get useful things done, which is far better for the world than a drive to get things done in general. I regret that you and I did not get to work together for the short time we worked at the same place.
You are responsible. When part of groups, you are good at identifying tasks for yourself and doing them correctly and consistently. You'll invent processes where there aren't any, and you'll improve them where there are some that need improvement.
You're fun when you're very horny.
Your beard is awesome. I dig your glasses.
Oh, and you let your kitties stay with us for a couple months and they brought us much joy.
~~~BONUS CAT POV~~~
Oh, and one more thing, Spotty and Spreckles telepathically communicated to me some good things about you, too. Don't ask me why they didn't tell you for themselves...ask them. Your kitties are strange... :)
Spotty - You happily pay for as many headphone wires as I chew up and still love me. You are fun to snuggle with. Oh, and you bring me my food!
Spreckles - I have never told you this and I should have. You gave me a really spiffy name*. And you make every day fun. You make me glad to be a cat. And you bring my food! If you bring me more food, I will say more good things about you! Right now, I need to nap! Sorry!
Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my DW post, on Facebook, or in email. I'm not thanking you for having positive opinions about me, since I hardly think that my thanks will affect your opinions one way or the other :) Rather, I'm thanking you for writing them down, which is hard to do.
My own judgment. I'm tired of hating myself because of what other people believe, whether it's about me or their ethical quandries with the way I live my life, or whether I'm just setting myself up for a fall. I'm happy. I have a lot of things to work on, but I'm fucking happy.
Josh and I are still together and stronger in love, commitment, kindness, persistence, and security than ever. February 14th will be 2 1/2 years, and I'm excited as hell about that because it's longer than I've ever been with anyone and I'm just—so—so—pleased for so many reasons.
Yes, we're polyamorous. No, I don't particularly want to defend that. It's hard enough dealing with my own insecurity and jealousy while simultaneously managing my triggers and anxiety. Please respect this for the moment, because I want to write about it.
I'm so fucking jealous of Josh's newest
None of that is true. It's not true anymore, and it never was. Never.
But it's so ... nearly impossible for me to accept that. So much pain and desperation lurk in my psyche, sticky tar over my hopes and dreams, and the jealousy feels like I'm boiling myself alive—but only sometimes.
This is what I will endure to be the person I want to be. See, the thing is, I want to be poly. I spent years saying it wasn't for me and I spent those years cheating. (Ironically, cheaters are much more likely to be concerned about their partner's monogamy.)
I wasn't being true to myself and my desires. I suggested polyamory about a year and a half ago and we've been gradually opening up the relationship ever since, and I feel like I can breathe again. I won't cheat on Josh because he's aware, and he's happy for me.
I want to be happy for him. I know I can be; I feel the happiness shining like a warm sun within me, but the grasping, the attachment of my fears——oh god, the dilemma. Listen to my fears, feel more secure temporarily by restricting his activities, control freak, probably end up losing him—listen to my heart, follow its lead, feel more secure but not for a while, assertive but not aggressive, communication, pain, endurance.
These are the paths I see before me. Maybe poly is my path less travelled, but by god, even if I pay dearly for every mile, I know it will be worth it, no matter what. I want to be the person I know I can be, who's secure in her relationship and enjoys the fact that her partner also has other people to talk to, to spend time with, to love.
I want to be free, and I want to let Josh go knowing that he'll always come back to me. He told me I am his home.
I want to believe.
Book 1: Unnamed PW review. Noting for book count
Book 2: Unnamed PW review. Noting for book count
Book 3: Unnamed PW review. Noting for book count
(Heh. Sense a theme? I took on a few extras over the break.)
Book 4: Two Serpents Rise, Max Gladstone. I'd read the first book late last year; technically, these are standalone novels set in his amazingly well-designed world in which gods exist (although most of them have been defeated by humans in recent years), and magic is ruled by contract law. If that sounds boring, you're missing the point of pretty much every black-box magic system anyway. Here, there's a real-world metaphor that actually makes it more interesting, and that's on top of the fabulous world-building. Also, Gladstone does a great job of having his books center on people of all races (helped by his alternate history). In this book, a risk management expert named Caleb is tasked with finding out who poisoned a city's water supply with demons (as one does), and the mystery involves gambling, alt-universe extreme sports (really), dangerous business meetings, and more. Really good stuff.
Book 5. Pulphead: Essays, John Jeremiah Sullivan. These essays range from personal memories of Sullivan's time working for Andrew Nelson Lytle to a profile of Axl Rose. They're all wonderful, and wonderfully-written. Read him. If you're not sure, here's a list of his essays on the web (many of which were expanded for the book). Just read it.
Book 6: Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine. Hell, I wish I'd had a single book I really disliked on my initial list (even the review ones were all good). I keep saying "just read it," but it's true. This is a mix of poetry and essays about race in America, and is amazing. It will make you angry at times (it's filled with microagressions, the sort I used to be oblivious to because people save them for when other white folks are out of hearing range), and make you gasp in awe at Rankine's writing prowess at others ("You are in the dark, in the car, watching the black-tarred street being swallowed by speed."). So good, and so important.
Book 7: What We See When We Read, Peter Medelsund. It's not quite Understanding Comics, but this book (by the head designer for Knopf), is a look at both how we interact with the words on a page in a literal sense (skipping ahead, scanning for information, etc), and at some of the interactions between reading and the senses (how we form images of characters, etc). It's more free-form than anything, but is vital for anyone fascinated with the thought processes involved when our brains consume fiction.
Book 8: Dark Entries, Ian Rankin and Wertehr Dell'Edera. I'm a big fan of Rankin, of course, and seeing him write a John Constantine graphic novel was unexpected (and since I'd largely stopped paying attention to Vertigo years back, I missed this book's release). In this one, Constantine learns that a new reality show about a "haunted" house might have some actual supernatural elements. When he's asked to investigate, he finds out that things are much worse than he'd originally thought. It's a fun and brutal story, and Rankin does a great job of capturing Constantine without ever feeling like he's aping Moore, Delano, or Ennis (the three essential writers of the character). Basically, if you like Rankin or Constantine, you should like this.
Book 9: Missing Person, Patrick Modiano. I try (with mixed success) to make it a point to read at least one book by each year's Nobel Prize winner in Literature. And I'm a sucker for amnesia stories (Amber remains one of my favorite series). This uses the amnesia and the private detective tropes, but is a story of identity and nationality and all sorts of other things. The plot is that a detective named Guy Roland decides to finally take on the mystery of his own lost past. It's a tiny novel, but well worth the read (and props to the translator, who clearly understands Modiano's style). From what I've heard, this is Modiano's most accessible work in English, but I'll probably try another just to get a better sense of him.
Book 10: Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948, by Noah Berlatsky. I'm a sucker for pop culture studies, and have been a big fan of WW over the years. This book pretty much does what it says on the cover, and is pretty damned readable for an academic work (although I do have a mild rant about formatting: if your notes contain additional content and commentary as opposed to just page sources, you should use either footnotes or endnotes at the end of the chapter. This book uses endnotes at the end of the book, which is extremely annoying). It's interesting in the sense that, unlike a lot of literary analysis, Berlatsky approaches the subject with the presumption of conscious authorial intent, which makes sense given Marston's background. Likewise, it allows the use of a Freudian lens (something I often side eye), given the ere in which Marston wrote. I do occasionally get frustrated by the presumption that Peter's art was subject to the same thoughts (without more of an understanding of why Peter might be on the same page, I'd rather go with a less conscious set of assumptions, although the outcome might be the same), but that's a minor quibble. There's stuff that gets triggery in here -- there's talk of subjects like rape and incest alongside sex and bondage -- but it's all presented believably and with a hefty amount of research.
The Mountain Goats
Getting up early
Getting something in the mail that isn't bills
Celery in a stir-fry
You can't stop the negative tapes just by saying you're going to stop thinking these self-critical thoughts -- rather, you have to replace them with something new. A positive tape. She suggests two ways of creating a positive tape; the first one is to sit down with a trusted friend and ask them to spend about 3 minutes talking about precisely what's good about you. Your job is to write it all down (and not argue with your friend!)
I didn't want to do this face-to-face with somebody, so I decided to do a distributed version instead, which I did in this post (and on Facebook, and in one person's case, email). Now that I have some responses, I'm going to try to compile them together into the equivalent of that 3-minute monologue from a friend (combining common themes together).
And then I will have a positive tape (written down, so I can always refresh my memory) that I can always replay when the negative ones are too loud. I don't think my self-esteem is especially low these days, but I still have plenty of self-critical thoughts and some residual impostor syndrome. Also, distinctly from actively thinking bad things about myself, there are plenty of good things about myself that I don't notice on my own.
So, thanks to everyone who commented! I probably won't post the summarized version publicly (too self-absorbed ;) but I appreciate everyone who provided me with raw material for it :) Also, this was a fun experiment and I would wholly recommend it to others.
I'm doing an experiment (and will reveal why after I've gotten some data). I've temporarily enabled anonymous commenting for this post (actually my entire journal since you can't do it post-by-post, shhh) and I'm temporarily not tracking IP addresses (eventually I will turn that back on, but Dreamwidth won't show me the IP addresses for comments posted in the interim). Anonymous comments will be screened, and as usual, I'll unscreen them unless you say "Don't unscreen this".
With that said: tell me what you like about me, or what you think is good about me. One or two sentences is okay; if you want to say more, that's okay too. It would help if you could be as precise as possible, but don't obsess too much. Just say what you would say if somebody called you up and said they're checking my background, and to just say whatever comes to mind about me. You have the choice of commenting as yourself, or anonymously.
I'm not intending for this to be a meme, but feel free to make it one. I didn't come up with the idea, though.
One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with in my adult life is that abusers aren't 100%-bad figures of pure villainry. That somebody can both do good things for you and abuse you, and if they do both, it doesn't diminish the fact that they abused you or make it any less wrong. I still haven't come to terms with it, honestly.
In this particular situation, I feel that I'm in a no-win situation. I suspect many of my comrades in the loosely knit movement to redistribute wealth and power in the tech industry feel the same way. I have a choice between:
- boosting the signal for Amelia's message, which contributes to the abuse that is currently being heaped on Shanley for separate reasons -- in fact, the reasons that she called out an abuser herself and had a past romantic relationship with another abuser -- even though that's obviously not Amelia's intent; or:
- remaining silent, which, given the degree to which I've supported Shanley in the past, sends the message that I approve of abuse when it's from someone who I personally like and whose work I like, which is not a message I agree with.
I'm choosing in this case to not be silent. I believe Amelia and I support her unequivocally in her decision to tell her story. I don't think the fact that Shanley has abused people means that she's beyond redemption as a person. It also doesn't negate the value of her writing or of the writing by other people that she's published in Model View Culture. We can accept that Linux is a useful piece of software while refusing to tolerate Linus Torvalds' abuse of contributors in public; we can also accept that Shanley has done incredibly valuable work while refusing to tolerate her abuse of colleagues, or anybody else, in private. Trustworthy leadership is important. That means that we shouldn't accept someone who can't or won't treat others with respect as the leader of a software project, no matter how good we suppose his technical judgment to be. And that also means that we shouldn't accept someone who quietly abuses people in private as the leader of a social justice organization, no matter how good we suppose her activist skills to be.
Some people are choosing this moment to question whether Shanley sincerely believes in the work she does. I have no doubt in her sincerity. I know what it's like to get so carried away with doing what you think is right that you forget to consider the feelings of other people. That's a reason, not an excuse.
We can be a stronger community if Shanley chooses to take responsibility for her actions towards Amelia -- and anybody else, as the case may be -- and model what accountability looks like. Of course, whether her apology is adequate is up to Amelia to decide.
I also want to emphasize that there is no excuse whatsoever for the scurrilous harassment campaign revolving around media scrutiny of her past sex life that Shanley has been subject to over the past week. What's being done to her is an attack against her as well as a warning to every other woman who speaks up in tech. We have to get better at coming to terms with the fact that a person who has been abused, who, even, is experiencing ongoing abuse, can also abuse others. So just as Shanley's behavior towards Amelia does not in any way warrant the torrent of abuse that Shanley is receiving for being a woman with independent opinions, that torrent of abuse does not justify her in violating other people's boundaries. Our analyses need to be complex enough for us to condemn the misogynist terror campaign that targets every woman who dares to speak in public, without making the victims of these campaigns into unimpeachable heroes, beyond criticism.
Because when you hold somebody up as a person who can do no wrong, you're dehumanizing them, just as much as those who cast feminist women as evil misandrist sluts do. Part of being human is the capacity to do wrong; to hurt other people; to hurt other people a lot. The part we get a choice about is how we deal with it when it happens.
Comments are screened. I will assume it's OK to unscreen all comments unless you state otherwise. If you ask me not to unscreen your comment, I'll delete it after reading, since it irritates me to have screened comments sitting around :)
Edited to add: To the sockpuppet commenter whose username is a word cleverly spelled backwards: uoy kcuf.
Edited to add, 2: In case it needs to be said again, fuck GamerGate; Milo Yiannopoulos is the scum of the earth; and fuck everyone who's linking to this post in an attempt to make the analysis less complex instead of more. I didn't write about my pain and heartbreak so you could use it for your bullshit harassment campaign. I believe that people can be better than their pasts, and I'm still holding out hope that Shanley will prove she is rather than sinking into the same defensive tactics we've seen from so many. Amelia said she didn't want her words twisted and used in your petty little hate campaign, so show some motherfucking respect.
Edited to add, 3: To the person who asked me not to unscreen their comment: I wasn't going to unscreen it anyway.
The middle day of a three-day weekend is a beautiful thing. Sanguinity and I went to our favorite coffee shop and ate this:
and I drew Batman (a bit Loki-ish now that I think of it):
Last week I started reading Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and did not want to stop til it was (sadly) over! (But there’s going to be a sequel!) It has a bit of a Little Women vibe, with three close sisters and the boy next door. It’s about family and friendship as well as romance, and the characters were likeable, good kids just trying to figure stuff out. Even the mean girl was not that mean and had an understandable motivation based on the characters’ past interactions. It’s the kind of sweet comfort reading I call a cupcake, light and well written.
I was a little taken aback at how much of my pleasurable sigh as I got into this book was based on the setting of universal affluence. I mean, starting on page two, the characters are talking about a possible trip to Paris over spring break. And when they decorate their Christmas tree, it’s “We run out of lights, so Daddy goes to buy more at the store.” (I grew up middle class, but you unwind the lights and redo them with more space between the rows!) It’s not a gossip-girl type thing where conspicuous wealth and glamour are what the book’s offering; it’s a shiny, normalized wealth where teenagers have cars and no one thinks twice about ordering pizza delivery once a week. I love it when books show working-class families (Ramona and her Father, Please Ignore Vera Dietz), but apparently I love this too, in a different way. Maybe it’s nostalgia for Nancy Drew and her roadster, or the baby-sitters in Stoneybrook? Some kind of relaxing escapism going on.
At the same time, I happened to have also just started Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life in a desultory way. (It’s my backup bus book, in case I finish my book on the bus, or don’t feel like reading my regular bus book. Not an exalted position in my book hierarchy.) Weirdly, the unremarked-on affluence in that book made me grouchy and resentful! She buys a pricey chaise longue “covered in an antique Tibetan blanket” because why? Because “although I have an office in my home, it had grown stale. My desk was piled high with papers, mail, and various forms that had nothing to do with my writing life.” A few pages later, she’s like, “I can’t imagine what my UPS delivery guy thinks when I crack open the door to sign for a package. There’s that weird lady again.” Um, he thinks you don’t have to go to a job. Right? By this time I was pretty much hate-reading (“On my desk, propped between two Buddha-head bookends,” grrrr), until on page 47 I came to: “my friend Peter Cameron.” What? Really? Well. Just in case they really are friends and I am missing something, I will quit with the judgey and keep reading to learn something. I’ll let you know.
Yesterday Sanguinity and I went on a Heritage Tree Walk down in Sellwood. The rain was coming down like it meant business, but there were still about a dozen of us there, led by an arborist and an AmeriCorps volunteer and someone from the city’s street tree program. We saw a gorgeous pair of American Chestnuts that escaped the blight, a big Oregon white oak, and an amazing huge European Copper Beech in a big yard. But one of the coolest things was when one of the leaders started measuring the trees that were on public property or in the planting strip between sidewalk and street with a diameter tape!
It’s a cloth tape with a little crank for winding it up again after use, and each “inch” on the tape is actually 3.14 (or so) inches long. So you measure around the tree and the number on the tape is the diameter. I wish every kid learning about pi and circles could play with one, it is so pleasingly concrete.
At the end of class we got a booklet with maps and descriptions of every heritage tree in Portland. And an application in the back in case you know a tree you think should be designated. (They’re pretty choosy, accepting only about 25% of applicants.) So we are equipped for a project if we ever want to go visit them all. :)
This post also appears at read write run repeat. Comments read and welcomed in either place!
That if you can find a moral center in it, it's that all the men who want to pursue great and serious art are really just chasing an ego trip, and women are saved from that fate only insofar as they don't have the artistic ambition or self-awareness to be more than side players in a man's story.
So not only is it kinda misogynistic, it also seems to foreclose on the possibility of anyone, regardless of gender, making art for the sake of beauty, curiosity, exploration, and the sake of sharing an experience or a vision or a feeling with other people -
And if you're going to be that cynical about it, why not watch (or make) the latest Marvel movie?
(Also, for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet but has heard good things : SO MANY trigger warnings.)
I just went out to swim, it was lonely and boring, I could not keep up with the (overly bouncy) arthritis exercise class so did my own thing in the corner, and a couple of people said hi but mostly they weren't friendly, including the instructor. Missed the bus back so had to wait another half an hour. At least it was sunny. My back hurts.
Got back to news from zond7 about what is going down last night and today with s., wv, and entire fucking world of jerkfaces, feeling a bit sad and dispirited. feeling for her extremely. it is quite horrible.
The connection was really bad. So my teacher said "download QQ and let's try it that way."
But while QQ is available for Linux, you have to unzip the tarball and all that, and I have done that before but I thought it would take too much time to reteach myself how to do it, so I thought, OK, just boot into Windows. Now, I have a dual-boot system, but I have not actually booted into Windows since I set it up. Because you can do Netflix streaming on Linux now.
It would not let me boot into Windows 8.
It would not let me boot into Windows 7.
I tried 8 a bunch more times.
Finally it let me in.
I downloaded Skype just so I could message my teacher that I was having a computer problem and I'd be there in a minute.
I tried to download QQ but Windows kept giving me grief.
My teacher called me up on Skype again and we managed to have a little bit of a lesson before the connection faded out again.
(IDK why it was so bad! I have a fast enough connection to stream video, and it's not like I was running an MMORPG on top of a BitTorrent client or something!)
My teacher said that my pronunciation was very good considering I'd mostly self-studied (*^▽^*) and that I wasn't "lower intermediate" but "higher intermediate" (*^▽^*)
(I am aware that flattery is a good business decision.)
I wonder to what extent my pronunciation is actually improved by having studied linguistics in undergrad? Although I only took that one phonetics class and I wasn't great at it. I never learned to recognize and produce most of the many IPA sounds that don't exist in English, but knowing "a retroflex sound is a thing that exists, you have to curl your tongue back" is perhaps a useful thing even if I'm not good at actually curling my tongue back. It definitely makes me aware of what to listen for, so I don't just stop at "x and sh sound like sh, ch and q sound like ch." (And I have French to thank for the u/ü distinction!)
I don't feel very confident with spoken Chinese outside of the kind of really scripted interactions that happen within a classroom setting, so sometimes it's hard to remember that my level in Chinese is maybe somewhat similar to my Japanese level when I graduated high school - I could read manga, I could read novels laboriously, but social anxiety multiplied any weaknesses in my spoken production to the point where my responses tended to be single slow words unless I had a chance to script things out a little beforehand. (I have finally made peace with the fact that it's okay to just say "Renew?" rather than trying to arrange everything in the correct order inside my head to say "Do you want to renew your books?") I feel like it started to come together for me when I lived in Japan -- I didn't consider myself "fluent" for a long time after I got back (and even now will say things like "moderately fluent" or "relatively fluent" because so many people think fluent means "native-like"), but that was the point where my brain started to be able to process whole sentences fast enough to actually have meaningful real-time conversation. That was the point where the "Din in the head" that Stephen Krashen talks about kicked in. (This is why I think that TPR and TPRS are so great - you can get meaningful real-time communication with a lot of participation from the learner, but it requires very little from the learner in terms of fast or accurate production.)
There are times when it's so easy to compare yourself with some (objectively quite high) standard and feel like you don't come close, that it obscures any progress you're actually making.
(Although, looking at it as objectively as I can, I guess I'm roughly around A2/B1 [that is, between elementary and intermediate] by the CEFR framework, and Intermediate-Low to Intermediate by ACTFL guidelines, despite any flattery.)
C. showed up a bit late but it was ok. The plan was to try out her driving me to PT at the pool today. The pool has been closed for about a month. I did go do a little mild moving around in the JCC twice and I do my PT exercises every day at least once. Still I figured a 3+ hour scooter, bus ride, scootering, PT and back again would wipe me out. It also would serve as a scouting trip to see how driving there would work out, if I can drive again, which I hope I can. The drive took around 15 minutes. Maybe a bit more. (It takes an hour for the bus + scootering.) She realized on the way she had left her fancy vaccuum cleaner in her building lobby. So went back to get it and then picked me up. Our plan was if there was lots of traffic she would call me and I could just take the bus.
There is parking on the same level as the pool. So I could in theory drive there with the manual wheelchair. Much easier in some ways than scooter + bus. If my driving leg (and hands/back) can do it. Anyway, PT felt great. I got some good advice on my knee difficulties. There were two very nice new people. It was mary's last week that her insurance will pay. I will miss her, she is super nice. Not mega chatty but nice. I felt for A. who was there for the first time and clearly in pain hell and trying not to cry. I was going to ask her if we could give her a ride or how she was getting home. But should have asked in the pool. I waited for her in the locker room a while but she was clearly trying to get dressed in one of the bathroom stalls. I really felt for her. Like how was she managing in there to get on a shirt?????? Jesus. Not well, I can say that much. Anyway, I liked her. In the way of just respecting someone's private everest climbing and trying not to cry moment. LIke you want to let them know you respect it or are there with them but not in a way that's like intrusive. Impossible unless over time, sometimes. PT guy super nice, super competent, continues to impress me on all levels.
My knees are a little wobbly because I am walking better. This is familiar phase of leg rehabbing. Must not fuck up my knees. I am excited though. Really must not. Asked for advice. PT guy familiar with this. Looked at what I was doing. Said I need to not just think about core (hard enough..... ) but consciously tighten quads, glutes, all leg, while moving (holding onto side of pool, gentle leg lifts to side, not far up, just using hte muscle) I could do the side lifts fine but the knee I was standing on then in pain. Thinking about tightening everything worked. I pictured it all like all like a girdle of muscles around my knee holding it together. Will practice this somehow more. In bed. The squats in the pool also help. I can visualize things more. Cannot do them out of pool. A little bit with "sit to stand" exercise. Which, embarrassingly, is just standing up out of a chair, which over time I have come to do in a very "adaptive to back pain" way which is incorrect and destabilizes everything more. Basically, I have not only forgotten how to walk "correctly" and use my muscles together, I have forgotten how to get up out of a chair. Grrrrrreat. Clearly, if I can keep doing them, squats = magic, for all of this.
Felt invigorated by everything. Exercise! ! ! ! ! While waiting for C. in the parking lot I had a good moment of extra enjoyment on a park bench in the sun. A young mom talked to me about dying her hair. They were having a pirate picnic. I thought fondly of the coffee in the boring toddler playground days and their weird pace. Then I got a DM from sandra. The movie trailer is out!! whoa! I am in the trailer! D. is in the trailer! it is noisebridge,and our tiny living room office. Cool! The trailer is good!
Trigger warning: sexy naked ladies in the trailer as well as scenes of violent protest and me in my Hackmeet tshirt in noisebridge, being interviewed (unaware that horrible WV is just out of frame in the DJ booth having a nap, in his special sunday fake trolly christian suit or whatever the hell was going on then, until after the interview when he popped out of the booth looking owly and sleepy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSMKXg0
D. texted me to say his laptop broke and he is coming home. Luckily yesterday he JUST put together a sort of zombie back-up laptop. In case of this very thing.
You can see already it was a lively day full of interest and people.
C. picked me up. Home in 15 min. If not for the vacuum cleaner I could nearly have gotten to my other meeting at 1:30. We got back just as Revolt was about to leave. So he parked his scooter (he has a copy of my garage door opener) and came on up. I babbled about the movie thing and we all lined up on the couch to watch the trailer. OMG!
Revolt and I then babbled some more about music. He played me a song that was tru and eileen singing together about sisters. I got all teary. When I heard her song on the blacklivesmatter mixtape I thought immediately she and eileen would like each other and had compatible singing powers and taste. Now they are composing songs together. I am very excited. I would listen to just their rough cut from the living room fooling around. It was lovely like hearing eileen practicing. Beautiful strong lyrics. Revolt played me Kool Mo Dee "I Go to Work" which was motherfucking genius. He is in some bad pain. His right arm is not doing well. But he is super happy. He talked about how happy he was that the mixtape ended up bringing people together creatively more than he realized it would because they worked together on it. It is meant for activists and radicals to refresh and sustain them. He worked super hard on the sound clips and we talked about making a malcolm x torrent that is better than the one that's out there (there is only one! ridiculous) I said not a lot of people had responded to the mixtape and he gently said that it was not really meant FOR liberals which is probably who is on my FB. Oh thanks dude! ahahahah. Well! Not gonna lie. Mostly true.
Here is the mixtape. it is free! http://blacklivesmatter.bandcamp.com/re
I then worked. (whew) Did many different small things. Emailed people. Followed up on shit. Etc. C. cleaned the fridge which was something I could just not do as it meant taking out all the drawers and shelves. I dont even know how she did it. Careful manipulation of things diagonally. Anyway she saved us all from the consequences of an entire gallon of orange juice having gone under the veggie drawers. I mopped as much up as i could on Sunday but it was nasty. And, she took away all the cardboard and did an asston of laundry. And was lovely company as always. I invited her to dinner but she went home.... Long day.....
A. got home around 6. Did her homework. She was pleased to have people there that were not just me. Realized I was stiffening up and in pain. We got bbq. all too tired to cope with idea of making tacos as i had planned. A. and I discussed her birthday party and looked at photos of her over the ages. She was very cute in the past, as was Moomin. They are still cute. But they were differently cute.
D. is working probably all night tonight. He has not quite got back onto a day schedule anyway. His friend Fakebit will be in town next week. Yay! I also invited damnedcolonial to stop over on her way through her North American Tour some months from now.
My mom was excited about the trailer and put it on her fb and her friend said i looked poised, professional and natural. hahahaahh. No really opposite of poised or professional. Actually, that is what not giving a fuck looks like. Natural I will give you. But it was nice my mom liked it.
Yesterday was horrible and I cried a lot and listened to emo music and Processed and then kept waking up in the night in cold sweats thinking of things. But as so often happens I woke up and just rode the day and was absolutely fine, if melancholy underneath. I thin this is a mixture of brain chemical luck, Stoic philosophy, resilience, and a dollop of embarrassing shallowness.
Tomorrow I hope to go heads down and concentrate harder on the things I am actually supposed to be doing for Goals that take continuous hours of concentration.
In bad pain now! Very sore. Must sleep! Drugs are good! I shoudl take tramadol immediately tomorrow morning and also tylenol.
Sticking to thoughts: Do not fuck myself up physically on this trip to sundance. Take it all easy. Stick to hotel room with D. and the soothing, healthy internet, which makes me Rest. Do not attempt to Explore all of SLC and park city in the cold in a scooter. Exploring can be for another time somewhere else. Specially planned. OK maybe a little breakfast-getting in downtown SLC. 2nd thought: Tentative 2-month goal to try driving (in 2 months-ish) to the pool at a non-PT, open swim or arthritis exercise class time. Is this theright goal? 6 month out, goal to drive there and walk in? Maybe realistic if I don't backslide/flare up. 3rd thought: kick ass at work. 4th thought: zine.