Posts Tagged ‘programming’

Foolish overuse of those leg-like objects

And maybe of the hand-parts too. Oh well. I know! I’ll lie around typing some more!! SMRT.

Today was fabulous, I enjoyed the programming stuff for work and all my co-workers, crept out for lunch with Minnie & persuaded notcalm to come with us to hang in my back yard with my baby nephew. Mr. Pants does indeed love to fix a bicycle with whatever tools come to hand. He picks up a spoon or whatever, and studies the bicycle. Then he carefully touches the bicycle all over with the tool. He’s so awesome! Minnie and I devoured our fried chicken from Betty’s.

face washing while playing with tripod

We gossiped mightily. I think my favorite part of the conversation was an unprintable statement from one of the three of us about people we know who might expect to have sex with other people we know, two weeks after a c-section. I mimed the hand gesture of leg-parting and a quizzical glance to see if all was well in there before diving in. Ahahaahh! We discussed some of the details of the first 6 weeks of life after giving birth. That’s all I’m at liberty to say. I also realized at lunch that Minnie would understand all the bits of things I’m doing at work and would likely have good advice.

I thought I would use my newly affirmed powers of dashing and sprinting to hobble into Savers and get Moomin a jacket. Uhhh maybe that was too much. Got jackets though. Then was passing grocery outlet and thought “Oh, I can walk so well, I’ll get a soda!” and bought some soda and juice but was totally falling over and regretting that I ever got out of bed. Uhhhhh! Whoops! And so to work. I had that moment of trying not to whimper out loud, wanting to lie down and cry, and then was able to just push it aside. Sometimes concentration is really useful. I got to the point in the last few days where I “know” where I am geographically while poking around in directories on three different servers, four if you count my laptop as one of them since i have stuff on it too, and weird bits of code everywhere. So, our thing works! It was wildly exciting to push the button and see all the directories and the bits of code magically appear! I wish I had time to go understand what J. did in the back end of drupal with the hook, or action, or whatever, which looks like a sort of skeleton of it doing something & then some extra php. I did not read it but stuck to my little bits and then to messing with the javascript parts. J. fixed the IE problem by breaking it all up into bits and nesting the html and the js. It was extremely clever.

I then hauled ass to go pick up moomin at camp. i sent him back in to pay for the after care realizing i needed to cut the walking attempts. ohhhhh. warning sign number MILLION that I completely ignored. Then, back to my work (10 min away in traffic) and i thought, Oh, well, maybe i could send him in for my phone (which i forgot and realized must ahve fallen into the couch cushions.) I can get the wireless from the parking lot… and notcalm sent my phone down with hedonia. I thought moomin woudl balk at being sent in, but he liked the idea. (Warning sign number 2 million, i knew i could not walk up to the office again) Then home!

Where I then tottered about the yard a little because it was nice out! And then made snacks and dinner for 3 children and then a giant salad (mostly sitting down b/c i was losing it then) for me and rook and zond-7! and then washed the dishes and realized I was going to FUCKING DIE

Took celebrex, cursed self a bit, laid down, successfully disappeared into Zond-7’s python (django) and twill and sql stuff which was totally fascinating (and i was helpful i think) Now I can’t wait to make some nifty tests with twill! omg! handy! I pushed past the whole “lie there and cry and whimper” moment again and had a nice time. But, I admitted it was bad and started asking for help to get stuff, open the windows, etc. My hands are in a lot of pain too. i wonder if it is from the attempts at digging and gardening? Or from the excessive leaning on crutches, so much harder than wheeling?

I really love my life. I was reading the bit in the Ben Franklin biography where it describes how all his life he loved to live in a household that was lively with swarms of children and bustling domesticity. I don’t know about all my life…. heh… I’d hate that. I’d hate to have to do it all the time. But I really enjoy the moments when the house is full of people and I have just fed them, or given them all scissors and tape or a rake and a mission, and the kids are swirling about underfoot, emitting strange kid-rays. colliding with reality in all different ways, glowing with excitement.

Programming stuff at work

Today I figured out how to do some more things in php, which I totally don’t know, but it is much like Perl in some ways and I vaguely remember some Perl and have at hand to look things up. J. and I debugged things at work all day in a tenative and unnerved way. It is good to have someone to work with. If I had listened to her and put my stuff in svn, it would have been a good thing. Also, I thought through how to store like 10,000 files in a directory structure. (Looking it up and reading first, but it still had the weird feel of re-inventing the wheel when I thought all the way through it and compared it to other ways of doing things and how it would be scalable, and it made me happy that my programmery instincts are correct.) I also felt proud that I caught yet another very horrible architectural problem which would have killed the project.

It is very interesting to me how different me and J’s styles are. I am not used to seeing people do this kind of work not in unix. We have totally different backgrounds of knowledge & methods just to do the work. Hers is very fast and she understands its map. But watching her, I am completely lost. I think watching me on a command line also loses her. I thought about that as I busted out some hoary doorstop of a sys-admin book that I had in like 1993 and the book was about half “how to use either vi or emacs”. Mind boggling! Anyway my point about the book is really that, sometimes those older books are more clear to me (and yet go into more detail) than available documentation is now.

I continue keeping my scripty stuff separate on my own server where I feel like I have control, and can test it and know how to do that, and then when the little bits work I give them to J. and she puts them into the drupal module as php functions. To test it she has to sort of make a whole admin interface and then is using “watchdog” to see output. But, I desperately need a command line to understand anything going on! It’s just simpler!

We were good at keeping each other going throughout the day. There is so much work to do in general that it is easy to just keep interrupting yourself and chipping away at things-to-be-done, and let the hard problems lie fallow. It is very helpful to have someone else saying “have you done X yet” or to approach a debugging problem a completely different way (that might be the wrong way but that suddenly lets you see another possible tactic.) I am haunted by knowing that a really good programmer would just know what they are doing, and could write in a day or two what we are doing in 2 weeks. I am so glad she knows the drupal stuff because I have not had time to really look at it yet. At least now I know where all the files are and have started to read the settings files and understand its guts.

Reading thinking talking

Brow piercing!
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I forgot to write last week about the Three Rings party – they are a company that makes a game called Puzzle Pirates – but anyway I had a good time at the party, played Rock Band for the first time which is more fun than I thought it would be – sucking me into the absorbing world of trying to beat a video game while also giving a little adrenaline boost of the fear & high of performing and making an ass of myself. It turned out I was weirdly good at singing the two songs I knew on the list, “My Sharona” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper”. My only regret is not getting to sing Enter Sandman. Bring on the 80s badness and I will sing it. I also loved the giant tentacles all over their office, and the pirate decor, and the tiny cozy room with leather couches and the scotch hidden inside a globe, and the fancy pool table. I met some people mostly that I didn’t know but one that I remember from SXSW.

Rook had jury duty this week and though he has not been picked yet has had to sit there for most of the week listening to the lawyers throw people off for some rape trial that sounds very heinous. The defense throws off people who say they trust the police. Huh.

I worked a lot and kept exhausting myself completely. But I have not collapsed from it and seem to be successfully pushing myself to get stronger and stronger. In January even after un-diagnosis I didn’t feel like I trusted that I would really get better. Now I have a lot more faith in it. I’m still in pain but it isn’t crushing pain. For so long I was going around most of the time struggling not to just lie down and gasp like a fish out of water. Very zombie-like & climbing-mt.-everesty. Now it is back to the level where I don’t have a lot of stamina, and my leg hurts and isn’t working right, but it’s not like destroying my fucking soul. Man, it was bad. I feel like I’m only realizing how bad, as it gets better.

Yesterday we played with a tiny helicopter. The rotors break very easily! If you get one, just order a 6 pack of replacements. Don’t delude yourself that they’ll last.

Today was fabulous and I am just reading a tiny book about Os Cangaceiros…. details and links to come soon. And all of a book of comics, “Cat Getting Out of a Bag” which I highly recommend to anyone who likes things like “What’s Michael”. I read most of Solove’s book and I have to say I loathed it. Expect that rant as well – I ranted but it was midnight and I think editing is in order before I post. Then as a fabulous antidote I read some bits of the Clay Shirky book (Here Comes Everybody) which took the bad taste out of my mouth. I did some basic Python lessons mostly from Seth’s email from his lesson last week, and if he does another email with this weeks’ lesson I’ll do that too… it’s fun. (I am doomed to know only a little bit of baby steps in every single programming language ever.) Anyway… the really nice thing other than spending most of the day in bed was walking a block to Body Manipulations where I got my eyebrow ring put back in. I got that piercing in 1991 in San Jose done in some skeevy tattoo parlor by a guy named Eddie. By some odd chance he hit a minor artery. Blood went spurting out like crazy and I bled for half an hour, soaking a lot of paper towels. It was fascinating and didnt’ hurt. Of all the piercings I’ve had that is the one that never hurt or got infected – maybe because it bled so much? Anyway, I had the ring out for some of the MRIs I had in December, forgot to put it back in, and then couldn’t manage to stretch the hole.

So today I got it re-inserted – with a new cheap steel ring – and ordered a super satisfyingly fancy gold one with a bit of opal which is so tiny that choosing its color was pointless but I agonized anyway and chose a microscopic bit of black opal. Perhaps to someone at close range in the proper light it will look like rainbows… I can’t tell.

Then was able to say “Hey, look, the zine store, let’s go there!” and go with crutches to stand around and then sit on the floor looking at zines and books. That was a milestone to be able to walk and do something at a whim and then walk back to the car. Only 1 block radius, but still, pretty great.

I’m off soon to pick up Moomin and Hamster. Hamster’s spending the night! I hope to lounge a lot more tonight and do some more python lessons, read zines, and late at night when kids are asleep, watch The Wire.

Pokehacking, bunnies, and barf

It was a long slow weekend of puttering and resting and reading and hacking, and some unexpected work. I did not get to watch more of The Wire. I’m on the first season, about episode 5, and I’m completely addicted. Right now it’s a struggle not to go poking around in episode guides; Zond-7 is trying to persuade me to experience as the detective/viewer with maximal confusion and let it all unfold as it may.

We messed with Greasemonkey and jQuery. I now see the allure of Greasemonkey, now that I’ve realized I can make my very unfavorite web pages that I must look at all the time say at the top “Fuck you piece of shit monkeyfuckers!” As Zond-7 observes it is like having a giant can of spraypaint and getting to go “Psshhhhhh!” all over the web. The appeal to me is that I can mess around with code and not fuck up anything except my own browser. I am pondering things to do with storing values in about:config.

Rook wrote some code for Moomin to learn programming; since he spends so much time reading about Pokenom creatures he might as well have a web page with a little window where he can type “for $m (get (eevee) ->evolvesinto) { show $m->name, ” “, $m->types } ” Zond-7 spent hours figuring out how to suck all 490 Pokenoms out of a Flash script and some xml. I did not participate in the Great Monday Morning Pokehacking but instead did some actual worky things and got things together for an expedition to the outside world.

Meanwhile, I read Elizabeth Bear’s Dust, which I liked okay, and Permanence which had some neat ideas but was somewhat annoying as a novel. I read some kids’ books which weren’t very good, including The Castle in the Attic and uh… I can’t remember because they were so very generic.

Moomin’s classroom rabbit was home with us for the whole long weekend, so we all did some staring-at-the-bunny as it hopped around. The cats tolerated a bunny with startling aplomb. I am stunningly allergic to rabbits (and rats, and chickens, and any birds I’ve ever been imprudent enough to touch in the last few years) so spent the weekend hopped up on over the counter allergy meds. The bunny mostly stayed in Moomin’s room, which now must be decontaminated. (Not by me.) At one point I sat on the floor in Moomin’s room to watch the bunny and feed it carrots, and 15 minutes later my eyes were streaming with tears and swelled half shut, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, and I had chain sneezed so much I had to change my pants. At that point it is time to take a shower and get out of the rabbit-dander-contaminated clothes completely. Well, thank god that’s mostly over and the bunny is gone.

It was a cute rabbit, charmingly bold, well-adjusted, affectionate and curious; despite the allergies, I liked having it for a visit.

I spent a whole day and a half being super annoyed about unbloggable things! In fact I am still annoyed! Why must people be so dramatastic! But it will blow over. I am trying to be careful not to draw too many conclusions based on speculation. I am at this point where I’m like, “I think X did a fucked up thing; if I ask them about it and try to discuss it, it will cause them to over-dwell on it AND discuss it with 4 other people resulting in even more drama; therefore it would be best to write X off as a friend to some degree.” Which might be unfair since it might have been Y or Z who did the annoying thing; but since even asking person X about it feels so wrong and impossible, that makes me question whether I should bother thinking of them as a friend. It’s been a weird year for friendships. I have almost never thought of friendships as something that I might deliberately choose to end. Reading WikiHow articles like this one has been very useful to me: How To Break up with your friend, and How to End a Friendship.

Reading the friendship category on that wiki or searching on words like “boring” or “annoying” will lead you to some very funny articles, like How to Act Annoyingly Uninterested or How to Lose a Boring Friend in 3 Days, which reminds me of Chulita, because she is an expert in that.

The expedition to the outside world was fun, and kids liked it, but it got freezing cold and then I did too much driving around (bad estimate of how much driving it would be). Even in the middle of that, cold and legs hurting suddenly a lot again, I had a good time. I wished I could run around and play in the sand and dig ditches and build castles. In the summer, I’ll do that.

I started the day walking around with no help, around the house. Moved to crutches at mid day after being in the car. Crutching in sand was difficult but not impossible. It felt like excellent physical therapy. I had to concentrate hard on where to put my feet, into other footprints and at particular angles, so that I didn’t hurt myself. Afterwards I was pretty much toast, and it was back to the wheelchair. Resting for a while and a lot of warmth (hot water bottle!) fixed me up. My legs and feet hurt, and I’m limping. My plan is to stay in bed all day… mostly working, but with naps.

Moomin woke up barfing and so he’s home with me, also reading and napping. I’ve done 3 loads of laundry already this morning. Poor little dude. When he can keep down a few sips of water I’ll give him a popsicle and put him in front of the TV. (Traditional family remedy.)

Oh, and I dreamed that Minnie had another baby. She had genetically engineered it to have glow in the dark eyelashes, lips, and hair.

Squeaky wheels

IN the last few days I had a very peaceful relaxing time, read, took notes on The Orphan’s Tales, played a lot with Squeak and eToys images (the Smalltalk based stuff that runs the OLPC), eaten leftovers, blogged rantily in private and wrote stormy emails I’ll never send (to and about my in-laws) and puttered about with kids and presents. Squeak dazzled me for a while and I still feel its pull and yes, it sucked me instantly because I love flailing around to investigate programming environments like that. I tried for like 6 hours to put moving eyes on a BlobMorph. Then looked up and realized that not only did I still not know how to do it, but if I did, it would be awfully useless, no matter how much fun I have along the way. Anyway, probably better to go back to Python and the fun of pair programming with that…

Zond-7 got me SpokePOV kit, better than hokeyspokes but will be a couple of days of electronics project for us to really do; we talked about ideas with wireless or bluetooth so that you could text your wheels… and ways to bling out my exoskeleton/chassis with gumstix (tiny tiny linux boxes) and things like that. I am walking limpily around the house sometimes without crutches but then my leg seizes up again.

I went to the neurologist today again and we had some more open talk about things, which was very good and interesting but also very difficult. Each time i feel like I am swimming more and more bravely into it. He talked frankly about going to the clinic and about how he thinks als/pls was a spectrum really and basically i should not freak or be surprised if I “flunk” my emg and get reclassified as ALS since clearly everything is long developing. He was strongly encouraging me to up the oral baclofen a bit faster and thinks that it will control my spasticity and thus I’ll be walking much better again. We talked about the years of recovery and then of walking much better, and he said the clinic will be interested and will also know more about that, but he thinks that it is that there is scarring (the “sclerosis” but that mine is still fairly minimal, and that is why it is so much better when the spasticity calms down. and the long gradual recovery kind of a long rehab path or gaining strength without triggering off nasty spasms. We talked more frankly as well about swallowing problems. I showed off by going in on my forearm crutches. Now I’m hurting. It is harder to do everything in the cold.

I am doing the bicycle thing for PT (a small set of pedals with no resistance on a low frame that fits under a regular chair). it hurts. I am a bit eager for the spring assist ankle-foot orthosis which sounds like it will hold me foot in position. The neurologist also talked about how spasticity works and for example that my gait is sucking because of spastic hip muscles (i forget what he said about extensor and flexor… doh!) and that the muscles in my tibia/shin are contracting but so are the back ones in my calf and guess which one is stronger and about 4 times as big – the calf – so that side wins and my foot gets pulled downward, and my tibial muscles are fighting with it every time I need to flex my foot upwards.

Beach day delirium, strange shapes bring in a banquet

Friday I hung out and worked from SF from That Cafe, meeting Skud and some guys I work with (Matthew and Marc) and Zond-7 who showed up for an hour to rant about how much he hates the snootiness of That Cafe (pre-caffeination). I had the best tacos ever with Marc and Matthew who nicely drove me to La Taqueria on 25th and then Mission Pies which I had just described to them in glowing yet slightly mocking terms as a beautiful utopian thing. Then shovelled Zond-7 off to the dentist at 2 and got him around 3 from downtown. Our vacation cannot be stopped by mere mortal things such as traffic or lost fillings. I don’t think *I* could get a novocaine shot and a crown replaced and then be in good temper for a drive and a vacation but Zond-7 can, or can fake it well! The coast was beautiful… there was no traffic once we were on the highway… all was magic and imaginary leaping dolphins with rainbow sparkles. We established with tenative pokings that we are both the sort of people who like to stop randomly and often on road trips. We got a smoothie and some fudge and …. holy grail (unused as yet) index cards as Zond-7 was fantasizing about how index cards were about to bring the molecules into alignment and in the correct chambers. Every once in a while over the weekend we would sigh out “Index cards!” pleased that they were there just in case. We stopped at the beach… we talked about so many things that I will never remember and cannot list… I did hear entertaining differences in me and Q’s travel styles. Apparently my saying “let’s fuck around in this random shopping center to buy fudge and eat it in bed later at midnight for energy” hit home as an elemental Difference from “we are in for the long haul and will pack much flat food wrapped in tin foil which will sit on the engine block and cook”. Which strikes me as having a certain charm as an experiment (yet not a way) and I prefer convenient if overexpensive food, not fussing about things, midnight fudge, and crumbs in bed as a luxurious pleasure of life. The beach — i think it was Bean Hollow — was beautiful and nearly deserted but not quite. We didn’t care and made out disgracefully as if completing a postcard of the beach with a slot for “snogging couple”. After a bit we tried to move out of direct parking lot view. The sand was warm, the water freezing, we did not see otters, we rolled in the sand, there were pelicans galore; everything was fuzzed with a golden halo. Back on Highway 1 we saw a bobcat cross the road — a cat, no, it is huge, its ears are tufted, and no tail. The drive into redwoods from the coast is always astonishing, gold and sage and dryness and dunes turn to furry post oak canyons then suddenly a cleft and you’re 200 feet down into cathedral pillars and shadow. Among all the beautiful things we talked about I am suddenly thinking of Zond-7 breaking into a silence by remarking dreamily on the way the trees looked like they had dropped down not grown up because of how straight they are – like stalactites – and I felt so fond of him for this quality of reacting to any situation by looking at it and having a new thought, a sort of fertile improvisation, erratic – I just like how he reacts to the world in general. I do it too. By the time we got to the Secret B&B it was 7 or so. I was not as crippled as they had expected. D. welcomed us with absent-minded professorly concern. His partner’s razor sharp observations made me want to hide a bit — plus, I had to pee. The room felt very private, separate from the house. I like to think of myself as unfussy, and I am, but I do have aesthetic awareness and this room was the nicest I have ever been in, down to every detail. Things were where you would expect them to be, convenient things, beautiful and useful, extra things you don’t expect but think OH how every sensible and good. The tub, enormous, stone, with a sort of bulgy part underneath the tap in a different kind of rock obviously fiddled in by hand on purpose to catch the water stream. We stayed up pretty late, I think, but I lost track of time… it’s bizarre for things to be so amazing but to be also sure that they will continue to be more so and it is not some random peak of feeling or coincidence or new-love surge.

Breakfast in the morning was … well I was feeling like oh will it be annoying and intrusive or what… but instead we walked into the living room of the house and the other 2 couples were there playing scrabble with coffee in fancy china cups quietly chatting and then we all had breakfast together at the table… and everyone was nice. and D. and S. and the other person served us breakfast in 3 courses complete with shakespeare anecdote about how D. felt like Prospero and his invisible spirit minions at the feast and Ariel saying we must think on our crimes… I loved D. and would not mind going back to talk to him and S. sometime. What a beautiful unexpected thing to say and image to give while shimmering in like a philosophical butler and placing honey and biscuits… I shall record the fantasticness of the food (forgive me) A wedge of pineapple that looked like an enormous piece of cake – perfectly ripe and sliced and in its shell – with slices of ripe warm banana covered in lemon sauce and cinnamon. Biscuits with butter and honey and apricot jam and another kind of jam but the apricot was the best. Eggs and spicy sausage sort of things and fried tiny peppers and potatoes, all perfect. And I drank about a gallon of coffee – still delirious from the night before – As I still am right now. We spent the rest of the morning in bed and in the giant giant deep bathtub. We thought about going to the shakespeare festival with them but ended up doing the redwood park instead and again finding a nice compatibility of liking to lie down in a quiet spot and stare at the trees.
Meanwhile we talked and Zond-7 entertained me royally with the History of J4vascript and then the 3 kinds of Object oriented programming with tangents on various actual people and with me interjecting my own experiences — it is very fine to bitch about my encounters with hideous objecty code that didn’t have any reasons to be that way. Observer; Aggregate or Collection; Commander, etc. explained as well as history of the architecture patterns dude and his books and the trends following them. My own counterlectures were shorter and more interruptive or disruptive; ocean surfing tips, rants on various topics, resolutions and organization, personal history, feminist internet controversies, whatever the hell else I usually talk about, (interrupt) but it’s another day later now, so I don’t remember anymore. We discussed what to do in another tenative establishing-of-norms-or-expectations conversation (trying to make sure we were not just saying what we thought the other person wanted or or expected in an endless round of doublethink) and concluded we did not want to waste more time sitting in a restaurant, or going to a town, or going to a place of crowdedness, or calling people we know, or going back, but instead would like to be somewhere else nice and space-outable, zennishly spacing out and talking and looking at things. This ended up being scott’s creek beach, which had some very excellent warning signs about rip tides, sharks, water contamination, not breaching the lagoon, and many other forbidden or dangerous things. Walking in the sand was a challenge, but not impossible. I went halfway in the water until my feet stopped being numb and instead ached scarily – though I could have waited it out. Soon we should go to the beach with both kids, to the excellent place with tidepools!! We got back after dark and hung out with Skud and Rook and zdashamber for a while – I had to lie down a bit and so Zond-7 and I crashed out with computers as the others watched a movie (that was coincidentally my exact anti-pattern of a good movie, with extra hollywoodyness).

The rest of the weekend I stressed about my article deadline, helped Rook do prep for his trip, did kid things and domestic chores and made pancakes for everyone and drove Zond-7 to the train and picked up Moomin’s friend, Hamster, who lives near the train station, and got to hang out with Hamster’s mom in my yard eating tomatoes I grew and picked, and I also walked all the way to Hole Foods and bought things and walked back (!!!) and did not get to hack with Skud mostly b/c of catching up on domesticity and my deadline (alas) but it was a good, mellow, day.

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Rivers of blood in the worst places

Today was nice… and yesterday… we hung out all Friday, had lunch in the cafe, did some setting up of computery stuff which I’ll blog up thoroughly later, but which was basically insane yakshaving necessary to even make me have the stuff I needed to set up to do some programming. Oh and he read me from the bees and siggraph pong game chapter of Out of Control which I really loved… and he looked at my Composite #2 but I still need to get him to read the preface.

We drove up 280 in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight and watched the hang gl1ding people zipped into bags flying around at Fort Fun$ston and were very silly about them being in bags. If I were about to crash and die I would not like for my legs to be zipped into a bag though I suppose it might make collection of the parts easier for the people who clean up smashed hang gliders off of beaches. But we also were thinking how they looked like ovipositors and then invented the strange rituals of hang glider mating and fertility rites. Possibly you had to be there. We talked about preteen obsessions with big grand overarching systems and pulp books like M. Moorcock and how at that time it was hard not to write like that… At least it was hard for me not to. Also about our families and childhoods a bunch more… all that sort of thing… I hung out in a cafe trying to go through two different python tutorials. The Learning Python book blew chunks, much as I remembered it doing. My god! Awful! Dull! Pompous to boot! Condescends one minute, then assumes you have C and Java and Fortran, the other! Bah. Diving Into Python was much better. Though I did not love the comment on the guy’s wife. Why must they do it? What kind of relationship is that? And anyway it was like i was supposed to chuckle in sympathy and yeah, I know how that is. Instead I was just massively annoyed. Fog rolled in. Off to Zond-7’s house to provide laps for cats and eat some dim sum. Then we realized he thought we were staying there and I wanted to go home — so as not to ahve to drive huge distances in one day. So, my house – tired yet amiable – talking about all sorts of things – This morning we woke up quite late and went to deal with the hot tub – and I started to bleed through all my clothes and was going through super size tampax like once every half an hour to an hour. I tried to like vacuum the junk out of there and wished for one of those extraction kits like we got in illegal abortion feminist training camp, which most of the point is they can suck your whole period out in 1/2 hour. Soooo I managed to make it through the geek party with only minor difficulty! Plus, was walking! Oh and we ran into Liz Ditz’s daughter at Buck’s, and looked at me and Minnie’s geocache, having breakfast with Skud. SOOO the party was fun, I did not go around meeting a ton of people, but talked with Adina, Zond-7, Skud, Kragen, and some others. We did get to teh point I wanted to get to, of poking at the rest api for my work thing and making it spit data back at us. Now maybe tomorrow to do something with it. I think Zond-7 and I will pair very well on projects once we get going.

I also need to:

* fax forms to blogher!
* maybe cook something big like chicken soup
* write blogher posts
* set up feeds properly for them
* write up stuff I learned about python including all the links and tools

We picked up Rook and Moomin at the airport and headed home. Moomin got the 1st chapter of Dr. Doolittle on the Moon and then read a bit…. he was happy to be with his animals & books & to cuddle with me. Rook is miserable with lingering airsickness which he always gets – dizzy, vertigo, sick-feeling, and I think sinuses messed up like altitude sickness. He fell asleep over a book and Zond-7 and I hot tubbed. Talking a bit about kids and parenting again.

OHHH meanwhile all the blood in the world is crawling out of me as if wanting to evolve amphibiously from the primordial soup. All at once, out of my poor cramping suffering cervix. Enormous glistening things…. with eyes… okay not with eyes but they might as well…. schlooping out of there. So I’m staggering around doubled over in pain with blood pouring out of me. I feel very studly and keep holding up these baby-fist-sized clots to the light. Shimmery and amazing! Let’s make blood sausage! Well, days 2-4 of my period will be like “something vaguely pink happening in one’s underwear” time if this is any indicator…. entire period happening in one goddamned day. Apparently my uterus is an efficiency nut and read that GTD book when I wasn’t looking.

Thank you god for not making me bust through those tampaxes right onto the suede couches at the geek party mansion.

I’m falling asleep so this is just sort of a graceless brain dump of what was a couple of awesome great days with many happy shiny moments. What are we? What will we get to be? Those sort of thoughts, incredulous ones.

Blogging boundaries, state of the badger

I am having trouble with my blogging boundaries lately. In part I have just been thinking too much about work, which I knew would eat my brain, and I decided to just go with that flow and see how it is. But mostly the lack of blogging is that my brain dumps end up being too private and so have gone either to LJ filters or straight to a plain text file. Also, I’m writing a bunch of poetry which doesn’t spill over into my blogging very well — I’m not sure why. It’s the wrong context. That isn’t the boundary problem though, it’s that I’m all in love and it feels like it can’t quite escape, because it would be rude. Squid nailed it at bad moms’ coffee the other day when she said “OHHH I can tell you are super happy in love because of how you look down when you talk about it. If you looked at me you would explode or something.” Not exactly what she said but the right idea. When I’m this on, I go on all the way and it feels hard to contain. And with poly, and with the complicated SF polyblob endogamy, it’s like being demonstrably too happy at particular moments can hurt or piss off other people. If I rave about Zond-7 does it make Rook feel dissed? It’s not like he doesn’t know anyway, but somehow blathering about it massively on the internet feels uncertain for me. And yet that’s what I *do in my default mode* — burble with overshare-boundaries on the Internet in order to try to say complicated things that don’t get said because of the reasons people (women) cling to privacy — so *not* doing it seems artificial and false. As I think over some of the stable poly relationships I know, a few of them established a sort of triad more or less at the same time. So A and C and J started up their thing all within months, and same for some others. I think Lori and her lads are more in my situation where 2 of them were together a long time and then black_pearl came into the relationship. Ideally your super happiness and your NRE spills over into other relationships rather than messing them up. NRE! What a boring term for love! It’s like going “Oh baby, be my ecstatic reciprocal limerent object!” Also I am a bit self conscious in more normal way, just of being madly in love within like 2 weeks or 2 days or whatever it was. That’s how things happened with Chulita too, so I’m not all that embarrassed – sometimes it happens and it would be bogus to expect love to develop on a particular schedule at a predetermined pace. Actually with Chulita I recall Leeanne being in the background like a good poly fairy, so she was saying things like “I think i love you, and that seems too soon to say it, but Leannne says it is dumb to not say it just because it’s too soon, if you’re feeling it.” So true! So Chulita and I were all dizzy and stuff, for months.

Yesterday I also had breakfast with Jo Spanglemonkey and we talked about all the unbloggable things and unbloggability. It fired me up and made me think I should leap back into this unfinished attempt to talk about Things.

Then I spent the day in cafes with my computer fiddling around with fun wiki projects and books, and got a somewhat relaxing but somewhat unsatisfactory pedicure and manicure, which I thought the point would be the massage part because that’s what their web site said, but instead the point turned out to be fiddling with fingernail polish which turned out to be the super ugliest french tips manicure ever. I have done better doing it myself, freehand! It looks like my hands were dipped in liquid paper and I still have hangnails! Oh well. My feet ended up feeling great though and I can just take off the ugly, already-chipping nail polish.

So last night me and xyzzy had dinner and it was super nice to see him and yet not unpainful. I think we will rewrite things or map out some new way of being friends though. Man, just as we were mostly done eating and chatting and about to launch into this sort of Talk About Things a giant group of loud street musicians came into the restaurant and began to serenade us and he totally headdesked. You know when you’re trying to get up the minor nerve to bust through a conversational wall? Well just at that moment at the end of sentence one, like punctuation. We giggled insanely for a bit, or at least I did. He said he was sorry things went how they did and that some of the stuff I had said or was upset about was very true. But other bits weren’t. Well, those were the bits I said in the heat of anger anyway and I apologized for them. But, I further pulled out my bitch card by saying that the times I got super mad and asserted boundaries and said that he was hurting my feelings, his super persuasiveness would only work up to a point. So what he was doing was preventing me from running away screaming… not keeping me in place… And I was backing off and backing off. There wasn’t really any fixing of the issues, for one thing because there wasn’t time made to look at them, but for another. And he was liking me more, just as I was backing off and also pissed off. So, we both ended up saying that we had liked each other and there was possibility, but on some levels just a mismatch and perhaps bad timing. On the sad side, for example it was hard to go into his house where I had thought maybe things would be one way, and there was the ghost of sadness that when it came down to it they just weren’t and instead my being in there made me feel unhappy and unincluded… and angry. So it was funny to sit on a persons couch nad think “Right here in this spot is where I was so pissed off at you I had to make an excuse and go away.” Sad! But also good that I can see that and be aware of it, and get over it and replace it with nicer memories. It’s really hard to talk about this without specifics. Plus, they all end up sounding retarded. But here is an example. There was a day months ago maybe in April where we were going to hang out late afternoon. But my plans changed and I was up in the city at 11am or something. So I gave a call thinking we would compare plans and see what was up. He and B were at brunch with a wad of people at someone’s house and actually a bunch of people I already knew and liked. And so automatically I was like “Oh fabulous I’ll come over” but he acted odd and evasive and basically disinvited me because he wasn’t “sure of the plan” and then as I pushed further what that meant (in confusion) that he didn’t want to invite me to someone else’s house. We hung up and 2 seconds later I called him back to go “You know, that just really hurt my feelings and made me mad. If you want space to hang with B without me, say so, though we only see each other once a week at best. And if you actually wanted me around you would look up from the phone and say “hey can badger come over” and voila I would be invited, because I’m nice. ” I felt that maybe that whole group of people didn’t like me and he knew it and was hiding it from me. I explained this, and listened to the theory of it being a cultural difference, etc. But already we had spent more time on the phone talking about how and why I couldn’t come over than it would have taken for me to arrive there, and it must have been rude and weird enough for him to have this cagey or private conversation while at their house. So none of it made sense to me. I was confused and furious. One very tiny minor incident, from months of (to me) similar ones. This kind of feeling would happen almost every time we tried to see each other. There was always some invisible boundary I was crossing and I couldn’t understand it, and didn’t want to accept it whatever it was. From my perspective it was like being in a separate category from xyzzy’s normal friends, who could just drop by any time and who would be welcomed. And things like I could not stay at his place and he couldn’t stay at mine because of boundaries in his relationship. (Blamed on B, which was unfair and not necessarily the whole truth.) Then, my being pissed off would be sort of pathologized and I would turn into this needy pissed off irrational person so that that was my function and xyzzy’s was to explain away my feelings and soothe me. NOT a good recipe! So in case anyone is curious, that sort of dynamic is why I could never go beyond “we’re dating” with him. He could glimpse my reality when actually talking with me. But his own reality field was solidly different, solidified.

It reminds me a little of how painful it would be when Chulita would email or call me and be all bubbly. “Ohhhh come come come my gossamer butterfly genius we’ll flounce around the town like bounding tigers in our miniskirts and conquer the world in the sun holding hands reading comic books writing stories” Which sounded like heaven. But I’d get there and she’d be angsty, bitchy, tense, upset at something else entirely, working on a deadline, have a headache, be unable to change her schedule to accommodate me being there as anything other than a disruption, and it would feel like our dream selves who had fun (and who often DID have fun like that) dissolved for me painfully and yet in an okay way; but for her they’d dissolve so guiltily that she would become angry at me for being perhaps faintly disappointed. Ah well! I could not live only for the rare moments of being intersecting tigers. I wanted to figure out how to actually exist together. I think we never quite got there in a sustainable way. Her guilt and anger were not expressible and so she would be a little bit bitchy and mean to me, to which I respond by either being deliberately callous or by feeling desperate inside to fix or please a person. A bad dynamic. She was right in most of what she said in our breakup, and I see that we are better as friends…

So, then, there are so many other complicated bits which I have been leaving out. I knew that xyzzy and Zond-7 were friends and had this history of Zond-7 dating women who had been dating his friend, often (jokingly but wrongly) phrased as Zond-7 stealing xyzzy’s women. Apparently in this view of history I am stolen ex # 4 which you can imagine causes some comment and teasing. So it was particularly hard for xyzzy to see me get together with Zond-7. Perhaps again if one had waited a respectable amount of time or had a completely clean clear break and then the required-by-society waiting period of, I dunno, several weeks at least, before starting to date anyone else. Instead, I started talking with Zond-7 about computery things, and we just hit it off instantly and started talking a lot and got very interested. And I think seeing that interest in myself made me realize I had to clarify what I was doing with other people and whether I was even trying to keep dating xyzzy and I realized I wasn’t, in fact there had been a wall I hit in early june, but it was still painful or sad to just let go of the idea. Oh! And let’s not forget that Zond-7 was really recently broken up with Y. And that Q made that amazing wiki about how he was so crazy that he required intervention, an open secret I have not mentioned till now, but which I will say, I hated as soon as I heard it and before I even knew him. (And I heard it from like 10 different sources.) But I will put it down to Q and Z’s long complicated messy breaking up of their very intense marriage and won’t judge it. I am just happy they all get along well on the co-parenting front and don’t screw up their kid; they are awesome even in the middle of super intense sadness and anger. Anyway, back to a month ago. I was vaguely flirting with many people. Frankly I was wondering if there was anyone in the world as nice and interesting and smart as vito_excalibur, since she is taken, and trying not to pine after her or be lost in a crush. But it was not that bad a crush and I figured it was a good sign that there *were* more fabulous people in the world and my heart was lively and ready for action. Also, I felt pretty frisky physically compared to the last few months of being crippled, and so was cruising the world looking for some fun that would not break my heart. BUT. In the meantime, Zond-7 and I were like “okay let’s go meet up since we are talking constantly online and our conversational intimacy has far surpassed our knowledge of each other in person, which feels odd. And maybe it will be a date but maybe we will realize we want to be friends.” Man I will never forget him on the sidewalk going “Well the thing is I lost my keys” and me going “Um… Hmmmm. Well that sucks.” And him looking at my somewhat slyly and saying “You’re wondering right now if I really lost my keys or if I’m just saying that because I’m really neurotic and don’t want to bring you back to my apartment.” Spot on. “Well yes I am. Did you? Are you?” “No, I really lost my keys!” But you can see how this charmed me completely that he could see into my head and would just say so. We obtained his spare keys. (I wanted to make out with him, and would not, could not, in the car. And we had the weird experience of our fingers touching and then raging certainty that more must happen immediately.) That was a month ago! A couple of days after our first date I was way far lost and was raving to my friends like whump about space helmets and breathing the air of other planets. We are both very talkative emotionally volatile somewhat codependent-leaning people and thus things are just really fast to develop. So we go through this wild thing of finishing each others’ sentences, etc. “I never remember song lyrics!” “Me neither but I sing them anyway really half assed!” “Me too!” “I made you a mix cd and then couldnt stop and was already making you another one but i figured i should space them out so as not to look psycho!” “Oh my god! ME TOO!” “Suddenly I keep noticing gender issues!” “Suddenly I care a whole lot more about digital rights!” “I love John McFee!” “OMG I’ve always wanted to BE John McFee!” “I think pair programming is hot!” “Oh baby i’ll go back to Perl for you!” “No that’s okay I’ll totally learn Python!” “No, both!” “When I was little I used to imagine aliens invading and putting everyone in my school in cages and you know, uh” “OMG this is going to sound nuts, but ME TOO.” It goes on from there but I’ll spare you. I stopped caring about cruising anyone else because I am immersed and have not come up for air very much. We are trying to be civilized around other people but it’s difficult because of the intense impulse to babble, gaze sappily at each other, or be making out every second. Mostly I am just going around being really happy. And all the things that could be problems just aren’t. It all seems easy and do-able. I feel so… seen and appreciated. Our expectations for a relationship mesh really really well. We have room for each other in both our lives. We seem good for each other (which is my real definition of love; what is happening on a practical level and is it good for everyone?) And meanwhile Rook is happy that I’m happy, a bit wobbly but capable of compersion, and likes Zond-7, and we will see what kind of groove we settle into. Rook takes a long time to warm to people and to get to know and to get to know other people, I think from being naturally somewhat reserved (in the way of believing in the value of being reserved, rather than from being shy.) Oh, also, there is Mina. I groove on her, and she and Moomin get along very well. And our parenting styles are compatible though I keep a little bit firmer of a structure around bedtime, with exceptions. But my point is there are a lot of compatibilities and I am happier than I had imagined was possible, and it seems like things could only get nicer.

Best April Fools’ Prank, the worst interviewee ever

In this April Fools’ prank, my friend Bri dresses in a horrid outfit, douses himself with perfume, practices his interview skills, and gets a job at a high tech startup despite not knowing how to do the job and having the worst social graces ever.

His props included a foot-long deli sandwich with plenty of mustard and a tie printed with the words “I HEART PERTH AMBOY”. Most of a bottle of White Diamonds perfume. Tic-Tacs. An horribly “off” stare. Glitter.

“well, he’s insane, but he has such good skills — if you think your group can handle him, I say we hire him”, but the fact that I got the job even after saying that I coded robots in HTML, went to Africa to teach robotics in remote villages, or got my programming inspiration from the Terminator movies…

Oh, my god. Severin has often outdone himself in outrageous pranks but this time he had a brilliant accomplice – our friend Bri, an actor & voice actor, blogger, board gamer, geek, and improvisational genius.

I’m dying with impatience to see the video!

I hope this part is included:

As the third intervewer showed me out of the building, he held out his hand for a handshake in the lobby, and I gave him an enveloping hug complete with my head on his shoulder. I don’t think he’ll ever forget that.

Teaching prep notes, & what to wear

JM asked me what I’m going to wear. Strange, but I have no anxiety on this count after a lifetime of not having a clue. I think during my time working in programming and tech support, I developed my philososphy of what to wear to work and I stick to it. Reasonably nice jeans or work pants (like Dickies) and a shirt with a jacket over it. I have maybe 2 jackets – the nice black one that is sort of hipster-chick-esque that fulfilled ALMOST all my requirements for clothing (non-fussy, abundant pockets, fits, throw in washing machine.) There is no inside front pocket – its only flaw. I’m not too stressed about what kind of shirt b/c it doesn’t seem like that kind of place — yeah it would be good to wear “shirt with collar” i guess but, i don’t really have any other than a couple of button down ones that I can’t find anyway.

Boots – arm warmers – long underwear – they don’t seem to be able to afford heat in this community college – so the long undies are crucial. A belt.

I figure as long as there is a jacket or some other boob-disgusing garment, a belt, and no holes in the jeans, that should be just fine. I don’t feel any need to try to pass as a nice middle class mall-clothes-lady; it won’t work anyway, because of the hair, and even without the hair and with girly hair, I wouldn’t pass for more than one or two classes until something way too strange came out of my mouth. So, why bother with any prissy ass cable knit sweaters… At the dept. meeting I was thinking, “Okay, a lot of you are nice middle class mall ladies, good on you, i’m not and I can still pull a room full of people, including you, to listen to me and give me props.” If that turns out not to be true, I don’t think a haircut and office lady clothes worn rumpled-ly with kleenex coming out of the pockets (as I surely would) are going to kick me up a notch in anyone’s esteem!!!

So!!! I finished my syllabus. It’s not perfect and I only have a rough outline of the course, with due dates chosen for the major paper and the holidays specified.

For the first class most of it will be syllabus going-over and add/drop and “fill out this info sheet on yourself and tell me your myspace or whatever”

With whatever extra time, I’ll do personal narrative lesson 1. I want them to read 2 short animal fables. One Aesop’s and one from Peter Beagle. My idea is that if I gave them an example of someone’s memoir or story telling, they’d follow its format too closely (at best) So we’ll read the short fables (they fit on one page) and then “write a story about soemthing that happened to you – if you like it can be intense or meaningful – ” sort of assignment (in-class, super short) Then look at them and (not written on the paper) pull out a meaning, a moral, a generalization or abstraction, the “point of the story”.

Class#2 will be a lecture on prewriting (try 4 techniques: mind map, freewrite, outline, brainstorm) and then an in-class benchmark essay – ungraded – using an old exam question. Class#3 we will go back to those first stories and morals/meanings/abstractions, and improve on them, brainstorm/prewrite with them, add description, etc and rewrite for the first real assignment. So that takes me up to class #4 with no textbooks and I can lecture/improvise endlessly and interestingly using all that as anchor points. Brainstorming and mindmapping as a group will be a good icebreaker. Personal narratives, anyone should be able to tell, and the “abstraction/generalization” plus description should kick it up a level in thought/writing quality.

In there somewhere I will go on about “register” and audience, and how talking in different levels of formality is code-switching between different languages which depend on the situation and audience and your goals. That might could be a whole class and would be super valuable. Maybe an exercise of writing the same narrative 3 different ways – tell it to your boss’s boss, tell it to your best friend over IM, then.. maybe take someone else’s IM chat story and tell it formally in 3rd person. We will read stuff by Aung San Suu Kyi (from Letters from Burma (big pdf if you are curious).

I decided to go with google groups for the class’s online component, or at least its most basic manifestation. IN fact I might have to make class#4 in the computer lab and make them all sign up on the list and create profiles and write emails. Hmmm, there’s a thought!

Then I want to move quickly out of personal narrative and into “how to”, summary, synthesis, etc. And then whole 2nd half or 2/3 of the rest will be argumentation and research paper.

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