Archive for February, 2006


Everyone who’s been telling me about LibraryThing, you were SO right. I love it!

oh man…

Terrible but fascinating: this is Rook’s old team from Eggcite.  I used to eat lunch with these dudes every day, talking trash. They were like a bunch of high school boys, sort of annoying and charming and slackery. Actually I can’t think of M.T., a rather sweet slackery alterna-nerd turned manager, without picturing the periods when he would sit in his cube for days, listlessly playing this one web-based balloon-popping game that seemed to be a variant of “Pong”. Or, complaining about his frustrated creative life as an actor.  

These guys moved together as a team (and Rook with them) from Eggcite to Barflink, and then Rook split off from their team (I’d say mostly because of long-standing differences in how they approached programming projects: flexible/evolving and fast-developing, vs. monumental very-planned architecture).  Then a couple of years ago they all went together to Wahoo.   I can see them all moving as a team again and thinking nothing of it. I guess they all copied their code when they left. (And … not to be too harsh… but I would bet money it’s the same never-quite-working-all-the-way never-implemented giant batch of code they’ve been carrying since Eggcite, took to Barflink, and surely then to Wahoo and thence to their startup.)  And that is not rare, I don’t think.  

Anyway, I’m sorry this has come down on their lives. It seems like if they’d done it on purpose, they would have been smarter and sneakier about it.

I took my own code from Eggcite, not to sell it to anyone, but so I could remember what I did, and besides… they were bankrupt anyway and had bounced my paycheck and not paid out my benefits.  I had it in binders anyway, because it used to help me see how all the different modules and things interrelated. And then I’m sure I just had the whole wad of code at home anyway or on one of my personal accounts so that I could work on it from home.  And, if Gogol’s engine had hired me I would have referred to it to duplicate the function, surely (though not just plain used it: for one thing, it wouldn’t have been that hard to recreate – for another it was not so neatly done as to be that portable – I had inherited most of it from someone else.) It’s easy to be sloppy about that stuff and not think about the boundaries.

blog translation carnival

Look, isn’t it lovely?  I put up the First Carnival of Blog Translation.  It’s a humble beginning, but I was very pleased with the variety and quality of entries! 

For something I only decided to do two weeks ago on a mad impulse, it came out very nicely.   And I think it will continue and be much bigger in future.

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negative thoughts, mildly down

I’m overcome by being really pissed off and don’t know how to get out of it. What an odd day. I keep thinking I’m on top of it, and that I’ve handled it okay, adn I’m sincere in my efforts at peace and bridging, and then something else happens and I flare up again and feel ranty as hell.  I also keep feeling disappointed in other people and in myself in this situation which I will talk only vaguely about.  I’m really really trying to keep from flying off the handle. But I’m also mad. And I have no idea what to do with that. One more day of this feeling of conflict that i know no one is enjoying, and then there will be mop-up and I hope we don’t all feel bitter.   at least one part of it went well, the main part.  but this part matters to me very much, too.  And i give an inch and this…   this situation takes a mile, takes more than a mile… I refuse to fucking disappear in the equation…  I won’t give any more ground.  And one of the people who would probably most understand this whole thing, I can’t discuss it with because it would be so basically indiscreet, but actually she’ll probably be able to imagine it all anyway.

A bright spot to the day was seeing Jo at home from the hospital, hanging out quietly with her and eating thai food… 

And I felt like I was able to tell her how hard this has been for me and others, just a little, and she could hear it, it wasn’t too much; and I could say “I need to know that you won’t kill yourself. It has destablized my world and my trust in people in general. I’ve been going around feeling that relationships are too hard, that anyone might kill themself and it would be too painful for me to bear, so why be close to anyone.”It is odd to say that was a good moment, but it was, because it was a relief.  I had been feeling that it was wrong to say it, but then I did anyway. Maybe should not have said it to her, but to pretty much anyone else. It is extremely painful.

I keep imagining that various friends might suddenly kill themselves.  It’s like a cornerstone of my trust in social order, undermined. I realize anyone might die from an accident, but the thought of suicide makes it worse. Then I was thinking I’m just amazingly lucky that no one i have been very close to has died at all. But even that’s a hard thought because it’s so inevitable. Oh, i’ve said all this before…

Another good yet bad moment:  driving home in the rain and seeing two high school kids in a passionate embrace and kiss outside in the rain on the sidewalk, next to the school fence, near the bus stop. They were oblivious.  I felt happy seeing how beautiful that was. But then I thought of moments I’ve had that feeling with someone and how it can’t last. I thought of how much I loved my ex-husband and how much I believed in that and how wrong I was and also how I betrayed that belief and gave up on him. (It was also all my thoughts about death, trust, and responsibility making me think of him, because i thought he was dying from not taking care of himself, and I couldn’t make him pay attention to that, to himself, and I couldn’t help him. So I couldn’t love him anymore. )  And I thought of my poem to Nadya about kissing in the rain and how people don’t get that that poem is not about great love, it’s about betraying that one moment of happiness that can happen, not by not staying in it because you can’t stay in that feeling for long, it’s not practical or even interesting; you betray that happiness by not believing in it anymore.

Tomorrow is going to be a bitch. I’m super strong though.

danger signs in polygamy

Hmmm, somehow these seem like danger signs for any marriage. Or, frankly, any social situation!

security leak

At the airport waiting for a shuttle bus to the train I was sitting in the bus stop shelter, and two people were standing in front of me in the doorway, talking about a conference they were going to.  The woman had short hair and a tough yet grannyish look to her, like a cop
 who knits; she had a thick southern accent. The guy was taller with … a mustache? Balding? And the woman began to put herself down as they talked about work, like a dog going belly-up for no good reason. “Oh, I did Security for 20 years. So I really don’t know anything about this FOIA stuff. But I wanted a change. I’m sure I’ll learn it as I go along.”  The guy became patronizing and avuncular. “Oh, you’ll pick it up. There’s really not much too it.” “I sure don’t know what I’m doing. It was so confusing. And redact this and redact that. You can never tell.”  “You’ll get used to it.”  etc. etc. Before she started ragging on herself, he was treating her as an equal. As soon as she put herself down, he was being “nice”, very clearly nice, but no longer speaking to her with any respect; he was talking down to her. It was terrible to see.

I was amused to hear the guy say (before the belly-up) that “it used to be totally open.” They’d get a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, their instructions were to fill it and respond to it as best they could.  “Then, with Homeland Security and everything, our instructions were not to fill it. Not to let them have it.”  And he said now suddenly there were different instructions coming down from the top, and they were supposed to “give them more” but no one knew exactly what that  meant and there’s a lot of confusion.  They both kind of shrugged and one of them said to the other, “Well, as long as we don’t lose our jobs.”   They gave off this air of being decent hardworking people who were… bewildered, both of them. I wished I could have filmed it.

I was amused that they had this conversation in front of me, an obvious political subversive blogger with laptop in my lap. How very sinister!  Homeland Security “told them” whoever they are, not to answer FOIA requests! Not like anyone would have guessed that, hahahha, NOT.  But to overhear it right from the innocent mouths of these two clerical peons was quite interesting.

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being in seattle

Places have always had a deep textual dimension for me. I enjoy them more when I’ve read about them first, or enjoy them more when I read about them afterward. I like to walk around trying to imagine being someone else, or sometime else, or to try to see geography across time — historical and geological time. I do this to the point of making up history and imagining I’ve read it, if I don’t know it, just to amuse myself…

My trip to Seattle was enhanced by all my blog-reading, both in that I was walking around in elswhere’s world but also that everything was highly colored by my long-time reading of Joshua Norton’s blog, Strip Mining for Whimsy.  Just to walk or drive around thinking “So this is Ballard. So this is Capitol Hill.” And to wonder what Joshua’s perception of the neighborhoods were, what experiences he had there.

Someone (in a cab?) told me that the area we were in was called the Denny Regrade and used to be a hill.  I speculated on when it had been regraded – surely it was before WWII? (from the buildings, and from the concept.) What a fascinating thing, to remove a hill. (You can imagine texts here, too, all about Progress! and more Progress! and Taming! and Harnessing!  It seemed of a time.)  Could it be these hills are moraines? Or are they volcanic/tectonic? I didn’t get to see any rocks, so I imagined it both ways. Both plausible.

And I noticed “Denny” street and began to make up a whole imaginary history about J. Pierpont Denny, an associate of the Astors, who was going for the China and beaver fur trade and came to the area (like with the founding of Astoria) for that purpose…  But then when I tried lamely to explain why this was funny to Lisa, she … no, was it her or was it Amy? whipped out a guidebook to Seattle and i got to look it up.  It was regraded in 1897, and the hill was Denny Hill after the Denny Party who were some of the first pioneers/settlers in the area in the 1840s.  There was a paragraph about one of the Dennys who was starving and diseased in a pathetic hut. Goodbye, J. Pierpont Denny, shipping magnate from Boston! You illuminated the landscape for me. You were a figment of my imagination in the firstplace and now you wink out of existence completely, but I’ll never forget you!

say no to the tiny scraps of paper!

Why do I *ever* write down people’s email and blog on tiny scraps of paper and the backs of airline tickets?   My memory is so bad, all I remember is that I talked to *someone* and maybe an obvious physical or fashion detail like “pink scarf girl” or “thin with glasses” or “black hair, was on this one panel and said something nifty”. Oh dear! What did I do with the tiny scraps of paper?  And even if I find them, I’ll never be able to associate “pink scarf girl” with any of the cryptic bits of contact much less with “conversation about the meaning of online libraries” or “talked about sex and utopia”. 

potlatch notes – points of entry

I took some very rough notes during the first big group discussion about “points of entry” – what first drew us to SF/fantasy as children (or for some, as adults).   Sorry it’s so rough and incomplete, but I am rushed and don’t want to clean it up…

debbie – points of entry into sf as a whole –
points of entry that meant the most to you
points of contact: what brings us together ?
what makes us all want to hang out togehther?

debbie – her father, voracious reader of sf.
moving van guys talking to each other as they packed her father’s books: “you think he reads all this stuff?”
“oh, he must, they’re much too trashy to have around for show. “

debbie – 9 tomorrows by asimov.  ” the feeling of power”  man who reinvents calculation by hand.   wondering, “do you think this is a weapon?”

feminist sf, sf about gender
what got her started on that? she can’t remember.

evelyn sidney lampton.   “rusty spaceship”
boy built a spaceship out of a cardboard box and it starts moving.   modern sf:  swamp thing comic book. letter from harlan ellison.

guy – father used to subscribe to fantasy and science fiction. asimov’s nonfiction articles.

debbie – how you got into the social circle is also important.

another dude – 10 years old. scientists in family.  “The Forgotten Door”  he read it 23 times in a row.  he memorized a chapter at a time.
The Ghost of Dibble Hollow. May Nickerson Wallace.

somebody says Space Cat… funny but ME TOO!  I was just sitting here thinking about space cat and how cool it was when I was 6. and then how happy I was when I was 7 in a new school to rediscover it and find all the sequels. I read it again a few years ago and it was very stupid…

bernie –  wrinkle in time   (lots of agreement in room)

dude – comic books. Heinlen’s Red Planet.  Poul anderson.

“Adventures in Space and Time”
The spaceship that landed under the apple tree
superman comic book – terrible outlaws from krypton.

some woman i can’t see: scholastic – excitement – order form.  Forgotten Door.  throwaways from dumpster diving from bookstores.  cj cherryh cyteen, joan vinge snow queen

dude – had detention in 1st grade, in library  (no no don’t throw me into that briar patch”)    danny dunn book.

me:  moon of three rings, and space cat.   mention of reprints of classic comic books.

kate :   Moon of three rings!  it was next to mary norton books, the borrower books!  someone  had written in pencil alice mary, on the inside cover. So she thought it might be another book by the Borrowers author.

Princess of Mars.  she lays an egg!  yeah!

someone else – phantom tollbooth, alice in wonderland.   Astro Boy – cartoon in early 60s.  then in jr. high asimov, heinlen, etc.

“Space Cadet”

baby is three – theo sturgeon – for a 10 year old.

(actually i think i have to count vonnegut as one of my entry points… 9 or 10 when my dad gave me cat’s cradle.  and also the odyssey. it can be re-visioned as SF. I was glad just now when amy t. mentioned fairy tales, and I’d add mythology to that.)

when 4, Have Spacesuit Will Travel..  those john christopher city of gold and lead books.

debbie’s point of entry moment – she started up a conversation with tom … Nightmares in ??   Fredrick Brown . …  and he found it for her 2 blocks away.

Ulrika – the Moomin comics.   (yay!)  there’s an edition coming out in english soon….

scholastic books mentioned again.   House of Stairs – william Sleater.  creepy.

(myth. odyssey. then… kurt vonnegut)

alan b.   graf conline anthologies. (sp?)
The Enchanted Duplicator

blunt – cs lewis, tolkien, earthsea

karen – grew up w/out tv. spiral bound book with blue paper cover… manuscript of a book about people from outer space. The Blue Book investigaton team   –   it was real – 

happy moment

As I contemplate the multicolored granny square afghan… on my legs… with cats on it looking very happy to Sit on Something New… I am having a surge of fangirlish dorkitude that omg Vonda made it.  Ooooooo.  How embarrassing! But I feel like I should confess it! Not only is it the perfect kind just how I imagined I would make for myself someday…but it comes with this feeling of nurturing-ness and feminist generation-spanning and will always make me think of how uplifted and supported (er, like a bra??) I have felt lately not just through their books but directly from the fabulous women I’ve been meeting….  Like, Debbie being so super supportive, and how S.E. came through for me and was extremely kind when I felt vulnerable for putting my thoughts out there, and T. saying that it was brave.  (When she is SO much braver and harder working.) I hope there are stronger and more kick-ass people than me. 

Still thinking of the good conversation with T. About housework/integry over time, our own relationships, and talking about friendships, feminism, and mental illness…  and that buoyed me up too.  And I believe what she said about that work being just Life. It’s not an inconvenient interruption (well, it can be, but Isn’t) to the real Life. Though for a second I felt that it killed me to think of her doing any dirty work much less someone else’s, I realize it should not. It’s an essential part of life.  Our great brains need to fold the socks and scrub grime off the tiles and crochet afghans for people…  if not us, who?  what underclass do we imagine *should* be doing it? and what i felt for that second was the dirty fallacy of thinking that intellectual labor makes one exempt from having to do anything else, as if it were actually more important. And I don’t really believe that, of course. For one thing, anyone who raises a child realizes that (while it should not fall always on one person) there is a lot of that kind of work to be done, and it has to be done for someone by someone else.  And that is not a compromise of the soul that forever contaminates one’s other work which is more important.  SO.   One should go back and read the lovely marge piercy poem about Work yet again, and forge onwards. While comforted by one’s feminist science fiction security blanket caringly made by a fabulous shining genius.

And so to bed.