piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the paramour found this awesome organisation, which is making it easy for ordinary people in the rich nations of the world to take part in the microfinancing of small businesses in developing nations, for as little as U$25.

read the post with more detail and linkage.

yeah, yeah, i teared up a little too. what of it?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.

c.s.lewis in mere christianity.

thanks, hilzoy. i needed to read that again today.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i spent today starting to catch up on the last 3-4 weeks of LJ. i didn't get all that far, and you people keep writing more stuff while i am reading! :)

since i've figured that once i stop writing here for a couple of days, that means i'll stop for weeks, i have to go back to posting at least every other day, even if i feel i don't have much to say.

i have a post all planned mostly for teal on UV mapping, but need a render a few more pictures.

the most thoughtful thing i can write about today i already wrote as a comment elsewhere, *snicker*. i might as well copy it here, and add some additional thought. this was written in response to a post musing about intimacy and friendship on LJ.

it struck me as interesting that i've been in no danger of mistaking LJ befriendings as actual friendship. i've gone through the whole odd disconnect about pseudo-intimacy before online, however -- maybe i've just learned my lessons already. or maybe the disjointedness of it all makes me not even get close to feeling on intimate terms with people i only know on LJ -- i only see what they decide to post in their own journals, and as comments in mine, and sometimes as comments in people's LJ where we overlap; unlike on usenet where, when i take an interest, i can check out at length what else the person has had to say in various newsgroups over a number of years. while i do get to find out more intimate details here, the overall picture seems to me much slower in development. i see it in myself -- i post about smaller and more personal stuff as my daily life provides, but i am much less likely to write about deep philosophical issues. and my friendships have tended to form over such discussions rather than over sharing lots of little tidbits -- that comes later, when i already am friends with somebody. deep discussions have too short a halflife on LJ for me to even bother commenting much when others do these days. the interface is just too klumsy for sticking with a conversation for days, nevermind weeks.

which is a sadness, because i think LJ would be cooler than usenet if it facilitated that sort of discussion better instead of focussing so much on what everyone wrote today, and yesterday is out of sight already.

i've made quite a number of friends on usenet (and prior to that on PLATO). i met both of my current partners on usenet. i haven't made a friend yet on LJ. it's not that LJ isn't "real life" -- i've not made any friends in some places i've lived either. and i've never made this distinction between the net and " real life"; i think it's a silly superficial distinction. but it's that the LJ format and i don't fit all that well, despite it appearing like an introvert's dream at first glance. it's more of a broadcast than a communication medium for me, and that leaves something distinctly lacking.

on the plus side, and this is a pretty big plus, it does allow me to keep in closer touch with lots of friendly acquaintances whom i already know somewhat from elsewhere. all the little bits of daily life would never be posted to usenet, and with many of the people on my reading list i'm not close enough for daily email, *heh* (and who could keep that up anyway), so yeah, overall it's definitely a net gain. but i need to apply some stick-to-itness when my attention is riveted elsewhere and i write off my daily bits as not interesting enough for others -- right; if i like to hear yours, why shouldn't you like to read mine.

the little bit for today is that i've played with two different pieces of software which i both like quite a bit: eovia's hexagon is a polygon modeller, and i really like its workflow; it's the first modeller i've encountered where the interface strikes me as pretty darn intuitive, and where i feel one doesn't have to read a 500 page manual before actually being able to produce a decent model. the other spiffy software is spiral graphic's genetica pro 2.5, a procedural texture generator. i especially like the layering and weathering effects one can create.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
it's over.

my least favourite holiday of them all. this year started extra egregiously, with the ridiculous idea that us secular folks are waging a war on christmas (make up your mind -- previously we were waging that war by commercializing christmas, now we're waging it by trying to be inclusive and wishing everyone a good holiday season). poor, persecuted fundamentalist christians -- i am so out of patience with those people. i was primed for major curmudgeonliness.

luckily their menacing lack of any true neighbourly spirit did not directly impinge on my life -- and this year i was overall doing much better ignoring things that grate on me without becoming churly (i slipped once yesterday, but i felt strongly provoked, and i am not sure it was wrong to slip -- but slipping probably hurt the person instead of making zir understand better, *sigh*). i managed to not reply "and happy hannukah to you" to each "merry christmas", but instead i just smiled and nodded, and tried to think good things about the speaker. i overall practiced being courteous to a greater extent than normally, and i think i'm gonna continue doing that. little things, like letting that extra car merge in, letting a harried person in front of me at the checkout, smiling at the worn-out cashier and saying thanks. when i started doing it some christmas seasons back, it was a bit out of spite, because this is the season when people are overall ruder and more obnoxious than at other times during the year (ironically, but yeah, i understand that the time is stressful for many who celebrate it), and part of me wanted to show them up, heathen that i am.

by now it's mostly genuine. as long as i am not being preached at, or forced to participate in a specific way, i am pretty sanguine about the whole christmas todo, and if i can contribute to a kinder season, sure thing. sometimes the gall of those people who support deeply anti-social actions (like the war on iraq, the sanctity of marriage for heteros only) while at the same time living in luxury and unctuously preaching about the season sticks in my craw, but as long as i quickly move away from such people i can maintain my equilibrium. and they are rare up here; i mostly see them online (and of course in the news) where they're more easily avoided. generally it helps my feelings about my fellow humans if i don't read a lot of world news. *sigh*. overall people here are helping me become more courteous because so many of them try to be kind themselves. it's a friendly place, and i am adapting to it. at first it was disconcerting to have a cashier comment on items i bought, and i got hedgehoggy about it, but they have worn my prickles down. :)

i didn't go to the neighbour's for christmas dinner because i wasn't feeling social (this is the core of my hermiting season), but i baked cookies for them, and am making a CD with pictures of their flowers turned into wallpaper. that'll be a new year's gift. or something. :) i am not hankering for another date to which to shift obligatory gift giving; i love gifts, love finding just the right thing for somebody, finding something that will make people smile or laugh out loud, finding something that will touch them, please them, give them good feelings. but obligation kills most of the spirit of that for me; i need to do it randomly as i am struck by thinking of things that would make great gifts. ergo, replacing "christmas gifts" with "winter gifts" would do nothing to make me like the season better, but being persistently random about it does. well, quasi-random, *snicker*. i do not give gifts on christmas itself, even if an idea has popped into my head just prior.

i'm looking forward to giving the gifts i've thought of. *bounce*. i'm doing research on one of them now, and i am all excited about it because i think it will be so very much the right thing, and it's one of those gifts that keeps on giving (in a good way).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
somebody on my flist talked about the names she had planned for her children back before she even had them, and asked what we would name our potential children. my thoughts vered sideways from the question, so i didn't make this a comment because it could be misunderstood as being critical of her choices, which it isn't meant to be. besides, it says something about me that belongs in my own journal.

it's an interesting thought experiment, because i name animals after an impression i get of their personality (which means the strays i take in often go for a while without a real name of their own, being called "little black cat" or "mangy dogface"). with children i'd be expected to give them a name right away, before there is much personality. that seems all wrong to me. :) also, naming children after personality traits would be a) confining, and b) make them targets for unmitigated teasing. i have more sense than that.

i don't know that i ever played that game of giving names to my future children, but then i've also been decidedly child-free for the last 30 years. but even when i hadn't determined that this would be the right choice for me, i didn't play with names for children (i did so for myself). i was more worried about it than excited because names are important, and i didn't want to stick a child of mine with a name zie hated. i think now that i'd pick something with meaning to me and a hopeful meaning for the future of the child, a name that's not immediately easy to make fun of, a name that sounds good to me (aurally, i mean) -- that's how i picked my own names (minus the "not being easy to make fun of", because i don't care). and then i'd make it very clear to the child growing up that it was mostly a placeholder, and that zie could pick zir own name anytime.

there are names i like, but i don't know that i'd name a child that way -- it feels too much like i am trying to fit the child to the name, instead of the other way around. guinevere, for example, is a beautiful name, but man, i have it so strongly associated with artur's guinevere that i shudder at the thought of bestowing it on anyone, even a cat, *heh*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
stef and brooks lured me back into alt.poly by callously tossing a troll into my water. i got to bite the troll -- which is always satisfying -- and many oldbies are very welcoming, which makes me feel like i am having a sort of homecoming (of which i've never had any meatspace experience, *heh*).

posting (and reading) through google groups sucked so bad that i immediately gave up on it, and switched (for now) to using opera's newsreader. i am not sure whether the posting works -- this is certainly something where the distributive form factor of usenet is much more of an annoyance to me now than it used to be; i've really gotten used to writing my bit and posting it (and then, despite earlier proofreading, finding a typo and immediately editing it).

but the immense relief at seeing so many people i like/respect/find interesting all involved in the same conversations is a little bit of a surprise. i knew i missed that, i knew i've been irked by the fractured nature of lj discussions ever since i started to keep an lj, but i didn't realise how very strongly i felt that.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
1. One of the first things I learned when I met you was your desire to live on a boat. Now that you have a boat, has the dream altered and if so, how?

it has altered a lot from my original idea of sailing around the world and exploring, but i don't remember whether we met during that time, or later. it hasn't changed yet from the incarnation of meandering around the georgia strait whenever we feel like it, and being tied up in a marina (with highspeed internet access) the rest of the time, so we can continue to make a living. the boat isn't in the water yet; once that happens a lot of things might change.

2. Language differs in more than just word-to-word translations. I often find the British/Canadian phrasing to sting some undefined nerve in myself. With your experience of many cultures, has there been anywhere that you experienced emotion translation difficulties? If so, did you overcome it?

yes, all the time. i hate not knowing a language fluently because i know that i'll miss a lot of the fine nuances one can't pick up from dictionaries and textbooks. this keeps me from speaking a language out loud for quite a while, which is counter-productive. i overcome it by exposing myself as soon as possible to the language as spoken by natives, via television and non-art films to start with -- for american english i watched soaps, for example -- once i was quite the expert on all my children and general hospital, if you can imagine that.

i don't really experience a sting though, that would imply that i think something is wrong with the new language, and i don't feel that way, probably because i've been exposed to so many variants. i do have aesthetic prejudices sometimes, and assign slightly different meanings -- grey and gray are not the same colours, for example, *heh*. and i get really annoyed at written-as-spoken dialect in books; my pattern recognition algorithm can't read it.

is that what you meant? i wasn't entirely sure.

3. The Pacific Northwest is one of the places I hope to explore one day. If I were visiting where you live what would be the first thing you would suggest I explore? Why?

my refrigerator, since undoubtedly you'd be hungry from the long travel. :) i have no idea, this would be extremely dependent on what sorts of things you'd be interested in. if you love nature and small detail i'd take you to a beach at low tide to marvel at the life in the tide pools. but we could also drive along the coast highway and enjoy the views -- around every corner there's another amazing sight. or we could explore the different ecosystems; it's never very far to yet another microclimate. or, depending on the time of year, watch a salmon run which also includes seeing lots of bald eagles. i hear the local museum is good; i haven't been yet, *heh*, but it undoubtedly has lots of historical information about the area. i could show you the coal seams and the old colliery just down the road.

4. If you were an animal besides human, what would you be?

a japanese beetle grub. eat all day, yum! (whenever people talk about how their totem animal is a wolf or an eagle, i like to toss this one into the ring. :)

seriously -- probably a parrot, like an african grey. i'd love to fly, and i would still have some modicum of intelligence and the ability to manipulate things to some degree with talons and beak. one can't overestimate the utility of tools. and i could learn to speak to other species. at least i could imitate them, and drive them batty!

5. Do you have a list of things you want to do?

before i die, that sort of list? not really. there are some things i vaguely think would be interesting to do, but i have no firm goals along those lines. i've found that life tosses plenty of interesting stuff my way, and being open to them has been good for me.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
written as a comment in a discussion of polyamory:

my personal view is that sex is given too much weight in marriage and civil union relationships. the older i get and the more carefully i look around me, the more i see people who form strong long-term bonds on emotional grounds, and if sex was ever part of their connection, it has long since faded away. this is of course not true for everyone; for many people sex remains important. but hardly anybody talks about those for whom it isn't important, or if they are mentioned, they're presumed to have a serious problem that needs fixing.

i wonder, if society weren't set up to promote heterosexual marriage so strongly over all other relationships, (including the act of sex as a defining part of the bond), how many more people would settle down with their best friends instead, or with their siblings, or in what sorts of other configurations.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
this came up in another journal and because it also came up last week in a conversation with P, thinking about it out loud will help me verbalise it to him.

when i learn something new, i tend to do it without the help of a teacher. somebody who is a teacher might ask zirself why, since a teacher can provide so much help especially initially, and even more so when we're talking about physical things.

it turns out i have a lot of reasons:

  • i get interested in a huge number of things. it would be prohibitively expensive to study them all under experts at the stage at which i am initially interested.
  • when i am new to something i don't really know enough to assess the quality of a teacher. i can pretty easily get reviews of books and software, but not so of local people. i can tell whether we'll have a decent rapport, but i've found out that that isn't enough.
  • scheduling. hate it, hate it, hate it. i can impose sufficient discipline on myself to get enough practice even when i am not quite in the mood, but i don't know from one day to the next when the best time will be for that practice, and dealing with the teacher/student relationship when i am not in the mood, *gnarg*.
  • which brings me to: relationships are energy-sapping for me. yes, that extends to teachers. i need a really good one to make up for that. it's a big effort to audition teachers, and an amazing number of people don't take well to it (i don't either :). i love computer-based training -- computers don't get tired, don't roll their eyes, don't CARE whether i want to redo this bit for the 50th time, and i don't have to do this dance that a relationship with another person requires.
  • tied to that, some form of insecurity, i think. i am not sure what to call it. i don't really like anyone to witness me be totally incompetent. it's not an ego thing, i don't think; i am fine with exposing myself to critique at later stages in the process, just not at the start. i don't like being totally incompetent, and i have to take extra measures to cajole myself, and having somebody else interact with me at the same time would interfere. i don't even like the paramour to see/hear me, and zie already knows all my warts and there ain't anything to hide, and yet ... i think it's an energy thing, similar to why i don't want anyone around when i am hurt/sick. i have enough to do with managing the pain/illness, i don't have the energy to be considerate at the same time, and i don't trust myself to stay civil, i don't want to be an uncivil person to somebody who cares, and i don't want them to see me lose it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
there's no shortage of commentary on NOLA out there today, coming from the safety of our collective armchairs. i'll be picking on just one, the person who said that if you can't be bothered to put away $40 for a tank of gas to get the hell out of dodge, you're too stupid to live.

what, an $40 extra gas is all it takes? if you think an extra $40 is gonna do it for you, you are yourself extremely ill-prepared.

it'd easily cost > $1000, and the gas to get out of town is the least of it. first, you need to have a reliable enough car, which is not something an average working poor in a metropolitan area might have sitting around, just in case. but i'm magnanimous -- let's assume you do. now you need to find shelter and food where you're going. you won't know the place you're going to, so you're not tuned into where the bargains are; everything will be more expensive than at home where you know your way. prices will also be higher because of gouging. free shelter will be hard to find, will not take pets, and will offer all the undesirable side effects of shelters (noise, illness, theft, violence). hotel rooms don't usually allow or provide for cooking, driving up your cost for food.

if you anticipate not returning within a short period of time, you will have to rent an apartment. if you can find one -- you're competing with all the other evacuees and regular folks who live there. it'll cost you extra security deposit, and higher rental fee because you're not a long-term renter. you won't have a job at this point in time either, nor are you likely going to find one; there'll be a lot of competition. nobody in your family will likely have a job.

all of this presumes everyone is basically healthy. if we're talking elderly people, very young children, disabled people, seriously ill people, the cost, effort, and danger of evacuation go up.

i'm only touching on the practical issues. none of this talks about how it feels to uproot yourself (and your kids and pets), to go to a place where you don't know anybody. people handle disaster much better when they're in their own community, in their own place.

also: think about assessing this before having seen what this storm of which you are being warned will do. it's easy in hindsight -- once you know your house will be flooded over the gables, you know you should have gone. but how do you know beforehand? the last N storms didn't do anything bad, they missed you, or petered out before getting to you. the media always sensationalises the dangers. you're living in a city which knows about flooding. if the levees hold... if the eye of the storm passes further to the west... if if if. you don't know. you have to guess.

last, but not least -- sure, you're right, people who move to new orleans ought to know that the city is going to be covered by water anyway if global warming continues apace, and that in the meantime it's a sitting duck for hurricanes. in italy, people live on the slopes of mt. vesuvius. i'm living a mere 28m above sea level on the coast of vancouver island. there is danger in many places. some seem a bit more dangerous than others, but none are 100% safe, and when choosing where to live, people don't just take danger into account. NOLA is where it is because a big-ass river that goes through the whole damn country meets the ocean there. like, *duh*. that's where humans build ports, because it makes trade easy. and where there is a port, there are people needed to make it work, since we haven't yet perfected robotics.

california is dangerous to live because it might slide into the ocean. the midwest is dangerous to live because it's tornado alley. the east coast is also in danger from hurricanes. where do you draw the line, how do you choose your own place of residence? me, personally -- not gonna live on the slopes of an active volcano. but blaming the people who do? i dunno. too easy. none of us make purely rational choices; my diet might kill me long before the next outbreak of mt vesuvius.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] slit, who is one of the most fascinating strangers on my flist, has another interesting post titled "ethics, validation, and feeeeelings".

i'm copying my comment here.

as always, interesting and thought-provoking. need to ponder more on specifics because, well, not being a powerful person myself and yet rather given to "fixing instead of bitching", much here doesn't work for me.

am not opposed to talking, though, and see a lot of value in hashing things out with people who are willing to really listen to my viewpoints. and yes -- feeling understood is a good thing, but i'm not at all sure validation is the right word -- i don't actually need/want to be told what i am talking about is valid to another person; when i really doubt my logical faculties, i see a mental health care specialist. it's more about establishing a connection with another person whom i can trust to let me be who i am, since the way i've felt most oppressed has been by people doing the pygmalion thing: chipping away at me, trying to remodel me into their idea of who i should be. this is still the primary form of oppression in my daily life, and any form of gender oppression becomes almost irrelevant in comparison.

(And here she [1] also has an interesting footnote: "Many loners, I believe, carry on through difficult times by imagining competent attenders -- mind spirits -- who perceive what is happening even though mortal fools perceive nothing." Muah.)

ha. that is very true for me (and i am definitely a loner, maybe in large part because neither men nor women could be trusted in my birth family) -- as a child i had a host of imaginary friends, and to this day i use purposeful multiplicity (imbuing aspects of myself with a distinct persona and discussing things with them) when dealing with difficult situations.

[1] sarah lucia hoagland in lesbian ethics: toward new values.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
What, if anything, do you want to do or have done with your life?

learn as much as i can. share what i've learned. be supportive of those i love, and those who need help to survive.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

this no longer applies, i think. i am pretty much there, and it's nothing like what i thought as a teenager it would be. i am all grown up, as much as i'll ever be -- which means that i am an adult with all the attendant responsibilities and rights, not that i am done growing. the most eye-opening part of that realisation has been that there is no longer anyone who has automatic authority over me (for a long time i had an underlying respect for people who were of my parents' generation, respect per se, not because of anything they had done). jokingly, i now say that i am going to be an anarchist when i grow up. it's really only half a joke.

Does a sense of having a particular ambition(s) or purpose(s) motivate you?

not really. it's iffy to tell whether learning as much as i can is what drives me, or whether it's just what i do. i don't feel driven. small plans can drive me, for short periods of time (such as expecting a visit from my other partner motivating me to organise my room NOW), but that is a really different thing from feeling i have a purpose in life. and i am not at all ambitious.

Have these things always been true, or have they changed at various times?

as a teenager and a christian i wanted to save the world. then i realised that it would eat me alive. and at the end of that period i had a "religious experience" that lost me my faith and conveyed that that was ok. since then things haven't really changed, except that i've become happier with my life over time as i've applied the things i've learned, and that has freed me to be more and more myself.

yeah, some things have changed a lot (see above as regards respect for authority). mostly what has changed is my attitude towards the world outside of myself. my internal desires haven't changed much at all. i've always wanted to learn, and i've always burbled about that which i've learned to other people.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the last few days i've been missing usenet a lot, which reminded me to pull this comment from a thread else-lj. somebody said: blogs and journals appear to be where intelligent and witty people went to be boring and banal.

and i replied:

oh yeah, this is where i went to be banal. pretty much explicitly. because that's how much of my life is, banal. that's also where i derive some of my greatest pleasures, in the small daily things around me. and i write a journal in order to communicate those little things to those who know me and care to hear from me. there aren't enough hours in the day to write email to everyone i like, thoughtful email takes a lot of energy, and less thoughtful but still connective email can't bear being written several times to several people. ergo, my LJ.

it could use more thoughtful posts, mind. it's not that i no longer think intelligently, or that i put more effort into my usenet posts, but i put rather less of the deep stuff in my LJ than i ever put on usenet. i am not entirely certain why that is. maybe because it's either a very solitary task (while i am learning about a subject), or one that gains immeasurably from exposure to other intelligent people, and the latter is very clearly a task for usenet, IMO. not that there aren't intelligent people on LJ, but random folks don't drive by like they do on usenet, and then there's the weird ethos of respecting the space of a person's LJ which seems to me to extend to being much more wishy-washy and polite, and carrying real critical analysis on in one's own LJ, and *bang!* fractured conversation, impossible to track.

i'm still experimenting with the format, and it's not even really close to what i want it to be for myself.
piranha: toothy open mouth of piranha (pissed)
warning: high rant content.

i didn't have organic chemistry in highschool, and i've never been much interested in potable alcohol from the typical end user's point of view -- i don't like its effects when drunk, neither on myself nor on many other people -- so my recent investigations into perfumery have given me some surprises.

see, i've been trying to find a high-percentage, pure-as-possible (90-95%) ethyl alcohol, in order to experiment with making alcohol-based perfumes -- essential oils dissolve nicely in it, and it's a super preservative. it's what professional perfumers use. i just want a small bottle, like half a litre. do you think that's possible to buy anywhere in this town of 80,000 people? apparently not. drugstores feature isopropyl and rubbing alcohol, and they have a strong smell, totally unsuitable. hardware stores carry methanol and a variety of denatured ethanols, all of which are not stuff i want to have sit on my skin. liquor stores offer at best vodka, which is only 40%, and carries a hefty price tag. i could get it, though i haven't found a canadian online source yet, from a chemical supply house -- but i don't want to buy a 55 gallon drum, for heaven's sakes. getting it from the US is bound to cause all sorts of cross-border trouble, and it's not like the US is any more sensible about alcohol than canada. anything i can get locally is poisonous crap. WTF? we're not talking about weapons-grade plutonium here.

so i do a little more research. and if i understand this correctly, ethanol (ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol) is the "good" alcohol, the safest, least toxic of the lot, the stuff people drink, and what should be used in perfumes. methanol (methyl alcohol, methyl hydrate, wood alcohol), on the other hand, is a "bad" alcohol, it's highly toxic, metabolises into formaldehyde and formic acid, and can have severe degenerative effects on the retina and the central nervous system if drunk; the fumes alone aren't the cat's meow. isopropanol is somewhere in between, not quite as toxic as methanol, but more so than ethanol.

y'all probably knew this already, but i can be naive about things that never popped up on my radar: methanol appears to be a very typical thing industry puts into perfectly good ethanol to create "denatured alcohol" (which means "made unsuitable to drink"), to not have to pay the heavy taxes governments put on drinking alcohol.

i am probably really, really late with my upset, but this is outrageous. i can't get a small amount of clean alcohol to make perfume, instead i have a choice between stuff that's toxified or too thin, because my government thinks anyone who drinks booze ought to pay through the nose for it, and besides, we're apparently not adult enough to handle >40%. i wonder how many people end up in hospital each year drinking those toxified alcohols, and what that costs me, the tax payer, in turn; nevermind the human cost.

you know, that still i was talking about? now i am considering making my own alcohol. wanna bet it's illegal, even for personal use? those fuckers.

i'm clearly bucking the trend: the older i get, the more anarchist i turn, and the less respect i have for the overwheening nannydom of governments.

p.s. yes, i know i can use oils carriers rather than alcohol. but that's a different thing altogether.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i was joking about building a still, and lynn joked along, saying he was surprised i didn't start my exploration into natural perfumery with doing so.

*chuckle*. not that this really required thinking some more, but i did -- and i believe that this process is fairly typical: i get interested in something people are doing, i'll watch them for a while, and then i start several steps back from what they're doing, at a stage where i can understand how things fit together to produce the outcome that has others excited. i really do like to know how things work, and i like to make them work. i don't go all the way back to some semblance of first principles until much later, though, except that i might do a lot of reading on those principles fairly soon.

frex, i see and feel interesting textures and patterns, which leads to learning how to knit/crochet/needlecraft, which in turn leads to spinning/dying, which leads to growing dye plants, and might in the long run lead to me breeding sheep, alpaca, or silk worms (exposure to [livejournal.com profile] oakenking's endeavours in that area is very, very bad for me). :) i usually collect connected aspects of interest while moving backwards along the chain of production -- spinning and dyeing are separate subpaths, and i came to dyeing long before, and am just revisiting it lately, branching out from natural dyes into synthetic ones.

as regards the perfumery, i'd normally be some months from thinking of making my own extracts. but i am talking about the still already because i've basically been growing plants for fragrance for a long time since, and think that steam extraction of some of them ought to be fairly easy and give good yields (say, for lavender), and guess what time it is? right, harvest time for the first flush.

there is still a wee bit of neroli smell left on the paperstrip. alas, i have neither easy access to mass quantities of bitter orange blossoms, nor will simple steam extraction do the job.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
as it turns out, the girl whose cat got set on fire? lied. i don't know why, and i really don't believe her own explanation; i suspect she told the story originally to get attention from her friends and then it snowballed rapidly out of control. she's returning the donations (lots of people have reported to have received theirs, and i got mine, so that part isn't a lie).

i am not linking to her "explanation" because i don't want to give her more exposure, and frankly, the backlash is nauseating, especially now that the LJ drama whores have found the thread and are busy stirring the shit. it's quickly gotten to the point where the vitriol directed at her bothers me as much as the original lie -- there are always more people pissing on somebody than helping out, and that's depressing.

i feel mostly sorry for those of her friends who vouched for her, like [livejournal.com profile] manhattan through whom i found the story. yeah, i wouldn't have donated without that vouching, but upon reflection, it won't affect my trust in her. i've been in the position where i thought i knew somebody, and then zie did something that completely stunned me; as long as this isn't a strong pattern then it's just a normal part of life. i am cynical enough as it is, i don't need to tune my shit detector any higher because it would result in too many false positives.

i also feel responsible for having propagated the link without checking it out further, and for that i apologise. well, not actually for propagating it, but for not adding a much clearer disclaimer that i hadn't checked it at all. if any of you donated because you trusted me, and you don't receive a return within a week, please let me know and i'll repay you.

no drama. i haven't lost my "faith in mankind" (i already knew that some people tell horrific lies to get attention), and i am no less likely to donate to random causes, since my track record can easily handle this blip. people are yelling and screaming that those of us who donated should file fraud charges and prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law (those seem, interestingly enough, to mostly be people who didn't donate themselves). i am not going to do that because i don't believe she intended to commit fraud, and i don't think lawsuits do what i would want to happen in this case.

i am gonna hold on to the memory of how neat it felt to work so quickly with a whole bunch of people to organise helping somebody in need. i've experienced that before, and i will experience it again, and it's well worth having wasted it this once. if anything, i'll remember it next time and work a bit harder against any intuitive drawing back because i got suckered this time.

and hey! the best news? no cat got harmed during the performance of this LJ drama!
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
this was set off by a comment to the post i made a few days ago regarding pseudonymity.

somebody said: I don't think friending a person to comment on what is said elsewhere (meatspace, elseNet, whathaveyou) is polite, nor is it ethical. Changing venues is just wrong, in my opinion.

considering how many friends i have made because i changed venues (going from usenet to email), i can't possibly agree with the last sentence. i generally think changing (electronic) venues is a good thing, if what one wants to talk about isn't entirely appropriate for the original venue. that could be any number of things -- pointing out an error without the public humiliation factor, expressing vociferous agreement, weighing in on zir side of an argument without wanting to extend a flamewar, telling zir that the argument rocks if one has nothing else to say, adding something more personal to a general case, etc. i think it's a crying shame that so many people munge their email addresses now on usenet, because it hinders easy switching.

i do this a lot less on LJ, because LJ seems appropriate for a lot more personal things than usenet, and because it's more of a pain to find the email address and copy relevant text across. all this makes the change of venue seem more weighty. this also means that it will probably take a lot longer for me to make an LJ friend (i mean an actual friend).

i've friended several people here because of things said elsewhere -- in a third person's LJ, in an LJ community, on usenet, in a wiki, and in books. i've done it because i thought the things people said interesting, and wanted to read more from/about them. i've followed people into other usenet groups too, though not in a particularly stalky manner (as in, not to comment on zir posts, but to see whether the group was interesting in and of itself).

i am not sure i'd friend somebody on LJ to comment on something specific raised elsewhere, because how am i gonna do that if there is no base post off which to hang the comment. but i can see ... and, wait, i have done something like it! the person took the discussion from one journal to zir own, and misrepresented something others (amongst them i) had said. i didn't actually friend zir, i could comment without doing so. i am not sure whether i would have commented if i had had to friend zir first; that seems to me to introduce an extra level of "please make sure you belong here", but on the other hand, zie was talking about something i allegedly said... i might've.

changing venues from electronic means to in-person ones feels like a much larger hurdle. there are people i've known for years on usenet, but have never called on the phone, for example.

so, i am curious. when do y'all think it's ok to carry something from one venue to another, and when does it feel wrong, or even unethical?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
noodling set off by [livejournal.com profile] coffee_and_ink's poll.

my online pseudos are more "real" than the name given to me at birth -- i picked them for myself, and they say important things about me, while my "real" name does no such thing. there are mainly two, because sometimes the first one is taken. they're part of what i consider my real name; the set of names which represent me and to which i listen. i really like having a variety of names that convey meaning; now and then a new one becomes part of the gestalt as which i see myself. my legal name i dislike, and some day i'll jettison it with relish.

i've been reading people's reasons for choosing pseudonyms, and some really common reasons aren't true for me at all, so here's on those first:

i am utterly unafraid of anyone googling for juicy information who knows me -- most people who know me well know my pseudos anyway. that was even true when i still worked for "the man"; my bosses knew. i also don't say anything online that i wouldn't say to somebody's face. that sounds as if i were very careful online, when the fact of the matter is that i am rude straightforward and direct in person as well as online; people usually don't wonder whether i like them or not. and there is no juicy information to find that i am not out about. if i want to keep something secret, i don't post about it, *snicker*.

i am also not worried about stalkers (a problem i consider to be over-hyped), and i'll be damned if i let online arseholes drive me into hiding. i try to abstain from feeding trolls, and i come down like a ton of bricks on somebody who shows repeated disrespect of my boundaries. that seems to work very well, even though i have had a high-profile online presence and don't shy away from controversial subjects.

however, i am a strong proponent of data privacy. my data is mine, mine, all mine. it does not belong to safeway, the postal service, the INS, any government, or any corporation who might want to make $$ off it. i am the one who owns my names, and information about myself. using a pseudo underlines that. i am under no obligation to give random people my "real" name (they are the ones who're obsessed with its "reality", not i, so i use it to shtup their noses in it).

last, but not least, what goes for me, goes for others. i don't live life in a vaccuum, i interact with other people. and while i am careful not to tell others' stories for them, in the grey zone where we interact the stories belong to me too. so i will disguise third parties i mention in my writing, and that together with me using a pseudo gives them two degrees of privacy from random googlers searching for info on them.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] supergee linked to a blog entry and i read it, and its comments on rape, and i am gonna noodle some on it over here.

these are times when i feel completely out of the mainstream. there is no date rape within my circles, there are no men who talk about women as if they were asking for it, there is not a single man who doesn't understand that "no means no", and in fact just about all of them go for "only unequivocal yes while in full possession of one's capacities means yes" (which i think is a much better, if not as pithy, yardstick). rapist talk is not part of the male culture i see around me. maybe geeks needing the proverbial 2x4 over the head to even recognize an interest goes a ways towards that, but i also believe there are huge numbers of men who are thoughtful and considerate, and who are not potential rapists by the mere virtue of having a penis. i am tired of seeing them slagged by association; it's goddamn sexist to do so.

it's not like i haven't had my share of experiences, mind. however, women feature as overall more abusive in my personal history than men, and frankly, the sexual abuse when i was a prepubescent teen does not rank as the most heinous act against me, and my life wasn't ruined by it. the reaction to it, now that left bigger scars. and there is something about rape culture on the side of people who fight it that goes too far into creating and encouraging victimhood. rape is horrible, yes. but one can survive it hale and hearty, without casting all men into the same role as the arsehole who did it. and women need to own their own gender's abusiveness, some of which leaves damn big scars. i don't feel in "never-ending danger" of rape. i am, in fact, completely unafraid of date rape. [1] and i believe stranger rape gets blown way out of proportion. men are statistically in more danger of being mugged -- but there is no movement to take back that night.

sure, men ought to speak out against rapist-style talk when they come across it. women also ought to speak out when a woman perpetuates the "no means maybe" notion. but IMO everyone gets to fight the battles they choose to fight, and not getting into an argument with a stranger in a bar is a legitimate choice, as is not taking every drunken woman who dances on top of the bar under one's wing so she won't get raped. women who get so drunk that they no longer know what they're doing also bear responsibility for their actions, and i don't want to hear the brush-off that i am "blaming the victim" when i say that.

ergo, i don't think rape is an issue that only men need to become more thoughtful about. date rape is to me just one of the many nasty outgrowths of people not working half as hard on actual communication with others as they work on any number of other, less important things.

[1] here's why i am not afraid of date rape: i think the dating culture is moronic, and i don't go out with relative strangers for the purpose of romance and sex. i also don't care to go out and have fun "like men" (as if they all did the same thing!) -- i see no fun in going to bars and "bonding" with people while drinking. in fact, i stay away from activities that involve large amounts of alcohol, since my experience has resulted in this pithy saying: "instant idiot -- just add alcohol". i don't think emulating men in every stupid thing they do and then demanding that one be able to do so without danger (as if men are not in danger as well!) is smart or realistic.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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