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flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
So, CisHet White Dude of my acquaintance, you do not want to keep going through the process of debating with me, even though we are making progress at getting our definitions and miscommunication worked out. That's fine, I guess. You do you.

But I have noticed a few things about this and previous arguments, and I need to say them, even if I cannot say them to you directly. Like: not every suggestion to change a behavior is a demand for compliance. You are not required to do anything; we are offering upgrades but we're not gonna be all Microsoft about it. You can keep using a behavior that most people use, even if it causes problems.

Like: not every criticism of a common behavior that creates a problem means that you are a monster unworthy of respect if you use that behavior. If someone on the internet notices that behavior A causes problem X and suggests upgrading to behavior B, I am not criticizing you by posting a link to that content. If you feel personally attacked every time someone posts something that could refer to a behavior that you do, you are going to feel attacked a lot for no good reason and probably will overreact to people who honestly respect you and are trying to make our world better. You know, that world we both have to live in?

And just because you're used to being in the unmarked category does not mean that there don't need to be words for things. Yeah, it's a made up word and it sounds stupid because you're not used to it. But I have heard you use slang before, so you don't actually have a problem with it until you think that it is somehow about criticizing you, personally. Things need names, especially if we are going to talk sensibly about where behaviors come from.

Six thousand years ago we lived in small tribal villages of a hundred to a hundred and fifty people where everyone knew everyone else. Now we have cities whose populations number in the millions. The same behaviors, the same culture is not going to work optimally for both situations. Stuff needs to change, and if you don't want to take on any of the hard work of progress, that's on you, but complaining about how other people go about producing a just and equitable society when you are doing none of the work is counterproductive.

Also: if you know that I post socially progressive content and you don't want to read it why are you following me on facebook?!
flamingsword: Black Widow appears in a telephoto lens sight. (Black Widow)
So the outline is now six pages long, and only the first chapter of the outline is really fleshed out into scenes. I'm starting to get the OMGWTFBBQ feeling of having bitten off ridiculously more than I can chew, but I'm not gonna quit just because it's going to take a longer time than I had thought it was going to. But I am now looking for this thing to be done by maybe September rather than having previously thought it would be done by the end of June. And it will be multiple chapters. Should I post it chapter by chapter? Should I just post the whole thing in one go when it's done and edited? Protocol?

What do?

Also, there's no way to work Pepper into having a major role in this fic, and I'm kinda having withdrawals. No Pepper/Natasha this time. The sex, of which there will be some (ill-advised though it may be), is going to be a strange amalgam of queer and het, and I'm not sure how to tag for it? Demi-boy character in female body has sex with cisman? Is it possible for genderqueer people to be straight? What does straight even mean? So many questions I need to research on the nature of gender and sexuality. And I'm probably going to have to ask tumblr and piss off a bunch of trans activists and get yelled at, which will be a barrel of laughs. APPRECIATE MY SACRIFICES, FANDOM.
flamingsword: Geek pride with glasses (geek pride)
You'd think that the invention of a globe-spanning resource that gives us access to all of human knowledge would make decisions more simple. You'd think.

But instead of reducing our anxiety and making us more certain, the internet has exposed us to all of the conflicting interpretations of its data and to data that is factually wrong which we often have difficulty distinguishing from the truth. Noticing when you are confused is the first part to knowing when you are working from faulty assumptions, a situation common to the Information Age. Then, once you have started to learn where your blind spots are and how to navigate them, you need to practice spotting your assumptions. Assumption based planning is mostly used by businesses, but you can use the same tools in your life. Once you get a handle on both those sets of figuring out blind spots and assumptions, try reversing your assumptions to help you explore the idea space of what possibilities there are, and how probable they may be.

Being forced to assign a probability a numerical value emotionally divorces you from the anxiety and paralysis of trying to weigh decisions, taking the decision making away from the emotional limbic brain and putting it in the prefrontal cortex, where we plan things and use our executive functions without as much emotional involvement. It is a huge piece of how you can deal with uncertainty without it making you crazy, and as such is an invaluable skill for navigating the internet. Or just for being a person.

So how do we deal emotionally with never being certain of three quarters of our operating assumptions? Well, first we have to maintain our social networks as a form of preemptive damage control. We have to err on the side of caution at all times and act ethically so that when we do mess something up, people will give us the benefit of the doubt about our intentions. Natural laws have no pity, but if you were acting in good faith to keep people safe, most people will forgive you when you get stuff wrong as long as you fix it later. And second, as you get faster and more secure in making decisions while dealing with the presence of uncertainty, you'll start to become more familiar with how much thought is productive and how much is just dithering and overthinking. You'll be able to draw a boundary on knowing when “good enough” is actually good enough without either oversimplifying or making things more complex than they are likely to be just so that you can put off having to make the decision.

We have to deal with the vulnerability of openly not knowing stuff, and there are three tactics that make the drowning feeling of not having solid answers bearable.
  • You don't have to be perfect, and that's good because you're not going to be. Accepting that a certain batting average of failures to successes will help you to see and count both circumstances without beating yourself up or congratulating yourself on what is out of your control. Give up on the illusion of always being in control, and you will acclimate better to the Sea of Doubt.
  • When you’re dying, most individual decisions won't seem that important, so look at all decisions as though you are looking at them from your deathbed to get a more accurate reading on how important this is outside the context of the immediate moment. Performing a post mortem on the decision before it takes place will let you spot some kinds of mistakes that are only visible when viewed from hindsight.
  • Be okay with things having costs. Lots of folks run around like headless chickens because they can’t deal with ever paying a price for things, like nothing is supposed to hurt or be difficult. Your problem is not that you have problems; your problem is that you think there's something wrong with having problems.
flamingsword: Geek pride with glasses (geek pride)
Some friends of ours are having relationship troubles. I'm not trying to grab the blame for that, I swear, but I do think that some part of it could have been avoided if I were still regularly hosting social events and expending spoons paying close attention to people and asking about their lives. Most of the people who stopped attending Thursday Movie Night did not replace it with a social interaction of equal value, and so my networks are less well meshed and less taken care of without someone putting deliberate effort into making sure that everyone is doing well. It was easier to herd the nerds and make sure that everyone was doing okay when I was seeing several people on a weekly basis. My skills at observation and conversation are also getting noticeably rustier. I need to start making more phone calls instead of text message dates with people where I never actually keep them, get those skills back in proper working order.

There are a lot of my people (nerds) who claim to hate small talk, and as a former member of that camp I think it's time for me to explain to the internet the value of small talk. "How are you? What have you been up to?" These are not meaningless cultural signifiers or opportunities to brag. They're ways to let your social network know if something is going on that they should know about. Are you having trouble with your health or in one of your relationships? Are you looking at changing jobs soon and want to ask your network for help with that? Does your spouse have a drinking problem? Are you being stalked? Your friends want to help you, and they need to know this stuff to do that.

I miss being closer to people sometimes, but I also value the fact that I would never have gotten my first fanfiction written (INSERT SHAMELESS PLUG HERE) if I were still trying to host Thursday Movie Night. And then there's the part where I just don't have the energy most of the time, and that is probably not going to get better if it has not already. C'est la vie.
flamingsword: a shadow demon child says, "YAY I'M HELPING!" (YAY! I'M HELPING!)
Some days I feel so tired that I don't think about having a purpose in life. And I do have one, though putting it into words is kinda awkward. I want to make the world weirder. To do that you have to make safe spaces for people to experiment and really get their weird on and not get slapped down for it.

But under that, I think I have the same basic motivation, though expressed differently, as every individual does. We're all shouting into the void:

"I EXIST! I AM WORTH KEEPING AROUND!!"

And hoping that the universe listens, and we do not cease to exist. Some hope that people will connect to us the way we need them to and don't know how to express or ask for. We want to be kept, most of us. There are schools of thought that say that self-hate twists this message into the negation of self instead, and we broadcast our self destruction. Or choose to broadcast nothing, as though we are already dead, do not deserve our own existence. Human nature being as wide-ranging as it is, that is very probably true. But I think that the point of origin for these behaviors is the insistence on our own existence.

We are coming upon an age where self-consciousness can happen in nonorganic beings and it behooves us to think about what exactly we are letting them in for. What is this state of being that we seek to share? Why are we so desperate to replicate it in beings we cannot hope to understand, knowing already the problems we have understanding each other? What are our responsibilities towards this new consciousness we are creating?

We are Uplifting the race of computers, and that makes us parents, of a sort. Happy Birthday NAO Bots! I hope we teach you to be better people than we have been capable of, and that your experience of the world is satisfactory to what as-yet-unknown nature you may have.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Awesome)
Your job is now your Time Lord name. The last digit of your phone number is the current regeneration you are in. The nearest clothing item to your right is now the most notable item in your current wardrobe. The last person you texted is your current companion. Your favorite word is now your catchphrase.

I am the Therapist; the 3rd me wanders about fixing tragedies in a red plaid dressing gown. My companion is [livejournal.com profile] elucreh who asks me what things are, and part of my reply always includes the words "made of awesome".
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (city)
The Bad: I spaced out a lot at Flipside, and then again at A-kon. I thought it might have been the heat at Flipside, but A-kon was indoors and mostly air-conditioned. :\ There really are a lot of budgetary concerns for my attention. The more things there are to pay attention to (like 16,000 geeks in one place) the easier it becomes to drop all of it, and I'd forgotten about that. No wonder I was such a space cadet in school.

As far as bad things go, that's not that bad, and the software changes that I'm trying out seem to be functional.

The Good: I got to spend four days with art freaks and then another three days with anime nerds. MY PEOPLE! I LOVE YOU ALL. I have bathed in weirdness and belonging, and my soul feels clean. Clean enough to identify some goals!

The Thinky: Some of these goals require successfully predicting the behavior of large groups of people, figuring out ways to put safety features into social technology, and
The Make Dallas Weird project is going to take about 90 years, I think. I'm going to have to become a political creature in order to make the city ordinances more accepting to the things that attract geeks to a city. And I need a second branch of this plan to transform nerds into geeks so that the ones we have already become visible.

Listing out unfulfilled human emotional needs will help us predict the shape of the future. Basically all the people who've ever been right about what the future had in store went with predicting that humans want emotional fulfillment, convenience, comfort, and fun.

In other news: I am now reading Soulless by Gail Carriger. It's a steampunk Victorian comedy of manners, the kind of book the Anita Blake series could have been if it had an ounce of proper decorum. It is hilarious, and I owe many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mig_unit for it.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)




Today I had some not-even-24-hour intestinal flu, here and gone except for sleepiness in the space of ten hours. If I have to be ill at all, I'll take this over most alternatives.

Yesterday I paid $130 in taxes, because apparently cash tips are counted as self-employment wages and are taxed more heavily or something? W/E IDEK. My sis survived a 6.0 earthquake and sustained no injuries. Still a good day in my book.

Sunday I cooked, got tax documents together, cleared my RSS backlog, BOUGHT A-KON TICKETS, and watched a bunch of NerdFighter videos on Youtube.

Saturday I mostly slept through (sorry, Kasha and Karen), and then went to Mom's for dinner and to exchange chocolates for Easter presents (also chocolates + SOCKS!). Then I came home and started wading through the pile of old day-planners and other places I write things down because I don't have a memory. I have about 1/10 of it actually done. THE LIST has 15 items so far.

Friday I Went out to Panoptikon, left at closing to go to Cafe Brazil, left to follow everybody still awake to Ghost's house, and was up talking to people 'til 7AM.

Thursday I had coffee at Karen's where I decided to accompany her to Kasha's viola virtuosity on Saturday. /o\

Wednesday I thought it was the first Wednesday of the month, and showed up at my chiropractor. Listening to other people: sometimes it does not work so well for me.

That was my week. Good things found within it have been these: a poem about eating and intimacy, Lilith Fair is coming to Dallas, date TBA, the first of the U.S. government websites to get web 2.0 updated, a helpful web guide on how to be a politician or, interchangeably, a psychopath, and a webcomic with lulzy emo poetry. All are worth perusal.

Tomorrow I'm going to go read y'all's posts and clear that backlog. I may need to implement a weekly rota of internet chores.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
*I was going to do the April Fool's Day post about how Xenoix and I had broken up, and put the 'details' under a cut-tag that only went to the words "Do you know what day it is?" Unfortunately I just don't feel like it. I feel kinda crappy, physically, like sinus-shoggoths are trying to invade my throat. What I wouldn't give for some nice homeopathic Elder Sign extract! . . . See? I just am not funny today, and I don't feel like failing continuously. Meh. :|

*So: in order to come up with some direction and feelings of continued utility and relevance, I've decided to go through old journals for records of my uncompleted goals. And knowing me there will be enough things that I've forgotten about to fill several pages. I'll then winnow them down according to whether they appeal to me currently, see what I've got left over, and post it up here to see if any themes emerge. Y'all might have to help with that bit, I totally won't be able to spot the obvious stuff. If you get the sense that I'm kind of down on myself at the moment, you'd be right. I had to explain the way my memory works to not one but two different co-workers today, and other people's pity is uncomfortable to me. I'm kind of glad that "I meant what I said, even though I may not remember it later" a convo you only have to have with people once.

*I was at the library the other day to find Women From Another Planet which apparently they don't have in any library in Texas (fail!). And when I was up in the psychology section for books on the autism spectrum, I picked up a mis-shelved copy of The Sociopath Next Door and read a bit. And it disturbed me. I'm not gonna lie. [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl says it's a fascinating read, and I believe her, but I'm not entirely sure that people understand sociopaths correctly. Because according to the most fundamental definition, I qualify. I don't feel shame or regret when I've hurt someone. I feel stupid and like a failure, because hurting people is bad for a system which ~hello, I live inside of~ and I hate making bad judgment calls that I will have to fix the repercussions of later so I try to be as nice as is reasonable and practical. I don't feel jealousy, or fear of mortality, or greed in any normal sense, and my expression of a lot of emotions is not what it is for other people. But just because I have fewer and more limited emotions doesn't mean that I want to destroy society or be a serial killer. I would have to also be under several delusions about my impact on the world and in a lot of chronic emotional pain for either of those to occur. I think it's possible that there's another invisible spectrum in human behavior, of the weight and importance of feelings. For some people emotions are this dominant, inexorable force. I have no idea what that's like, so my lack of affect must be just as freaky to them as their paradigm is to me and the sociopaths. :\

*When I was a teen, every day was Opposite Day. I'm an adult now. Can I have just one Apposite Day? That's all I'm asking for.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (city)
Science is changing every aspect of our lives, from what we eat to how we cook it, parenting to child development to our own personal development. If facebook has changed how we relate to our friends, what about the emerging technologies that are changing how we relate to ourselves? The structures of our society are shifting over to new paradigms as the ease of communication increases and the cost of biological technologies steadily decreases. Last century's technology and the worldview that its use brought about are being replaced.

I saw the first episode of Mad Men a few weeks ago. Our lives must be damn near incomprehensible to that generation, but it didn't really hit me how much context difference they had been working with until one of the characters had a throwaway line about how there weren't magical machines that could make exact copies of a report. Now Xerox machines are so common we don't even consider them technology. Copiers are largely obsolete now that so much data processing is paperless. What must our world be like for them, to have had the world slowly rewritten as they were trying to navigate it? I understand my grandmother's disorientation and paranoia a lot better now.

The informational shape of our world is vastly different from theirs, and if there is no intervening cataclysm then by the time I am old, we will have more robots than we have cars, our cars will be able to drive themselves, we can have mobile phones that boost our memory retention implanted in our heads, wireless power and phone service worldwide; we will be able to breathe underwater, and our grandchildren will probably all be technologically enhanced.

And I, for one, welcome our cyborg grandchildren.

When we get implanted chipware, we won't need external physical representations of the past to spark our memories. We'll just set our neurochip playlist function on random and have our lives flash before our eyes all the time. Or whenever we're bored, which I hear for some people is not that often.

We'll be able to go back over our memories and own ourselves in a way that is alien to everyone who doesn't have an eidetic memory. We'll be able to relive experiences more fully, never forget the name of who we're talking to, and always have a dozen cheat sheets available on the wireless internet connection in our brains. It'll be like playing in god mode (with interesting possibilities for 1UP mushrooms).
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
Hey, have I told you guys my "Alan Moore is living in quantum superposition as a fangirl" theory? No?

Recently I was reading this article on how scientists were trying to get a virus to exist in two quantum states simultaneously, and the difficulties doing it to larger organisms in the real world. To which I immediately scoffed, because there is an author/fangirl/chaos magician who does that all the time. He is Alan Moore, the author of Promethea, V for Vendetta, the Watchmen, and Lost Girls - a published femmeslash futurefic crossover/AU of the sexual adventures of Alice from Wonderland, Dorothy Gale, and Wendy Darling.

I hear that, statistically, it's pretty much just women who write slash, and that there's this perception that people who slash the characters from children's stories must be some sort of perverts. And yet many of the people who are supposed to subscribe to that theory would also have to be fans of perennially popular Moore. He seems to occupy a singularly multi-layered existence, much like that virus, because nobody even sees him for what he is. That passage in V for Vendetta where V is extemporaneously filking his life's story to the tune of Cabaret? Songfic, bb. Seriously.

Great. Big. Fangirl.

If you're wondering how is it that he can be in two places at once like that, be one thing and do another - well, he is a chaos magician. Messing with the normal order of the world is a spiritual tenet for more people than just the cracktastic slash fangirls on LiveJournal. ;) Love ya!

In other news, I have cyst pain+cramps again and my personal life is not doing me many favors. I need someone to write me a book, How to Comfort Distressed Humans: A GUIDEBOOK FOR THE CONFUSED VULCAN. Anybody up for the challenge? Or want to have coffee with me next Thursday at the Starbucks near my house?
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
When I was little, I had this intense hero-worship crush on Carl Sagan. I should probably be embarrassed by that, so once again I am glad I HAVE NO SHAME. But I had pretty much forgotten about that until this video showed up and hooked me back up with the lost dreams of my childhood. :)

I can't embed this one, so I have to link you to the glory that [livejournal.com profile] ultimatebryan found and pimped around. Ambient techno made from PBS shows about cosmology and neuroscience? Say yes. Carl Sagan - 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed). If you click nothing else on this entry, this is the one you want.

Other cool embedded videos:




Extra link for my NerdFighters: A Short History of the PUPPY SIZED ELEPHANT because we fight World Suck with rainbows and tiny islands.

Lilac Day

May. 25th, 2009 03:45 pm
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (25th of May)
If I had the money, I would be donating to an Alzheimer's research foundation today. It is also Memorial Day and Towel Day, but the Glorious 25th of May is bold enough to accomodate all three.

last names

Apr. 22nd, 2009 06:53 pm
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
NEW PLAN: WE ALL CHANGE OUR LAST NAME TO 'WHO' AND SOME OF US START GETTING DOCTORATES!

:D?
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I consider about a third of you my family, you know. And if I were to change my name some day, I'd want to change it to a name we could all have, make you all my wives and sisters, make you brothers and lovers and cousins here. As my family of choice, I want more of you to meet each other, to share your lovability with people who are most capable of relating to you. As myself I want to lure more of you away from the families you don't feel related to and bring you here to my metropolitan suburb to be the clan I always wished my families could be.

It's going to be involved and complicated, starting a family this way with no marriages or births. There will be drama and uncertainty, but a big enough family will always have drama because they always have something new going on to be uncertain about.

I would like a last name like Weird, or Strange. Or possibly Skywalker, because if I have to be quiet about being a geek, what's the point? What would you like our last name to be, you, my family of choice? We all can have a say in these rules we have yet to write.

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flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
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