When I first got the Nexus 4, with its 4.7" screen, I complained that it was too big. I just about got used to that. When I got the 5.2" Moto X, it was GIGANTOPHONE... and a few months on, it still feels too big. I was also disappointed to discover that if you get a gigantic Android phone, you don't get any more on the screen - it just shows everything bigger... Of course, while I consider this phone to be huge, it's actually on the small side compared to its contemporaries...
In every other respect, however, the screen is wonderful. It's the first time I've had an AMOLED display, and I'm not sure what it is - perhaps the higher contrast, perhaps the flatter illumination - but with the brightness dialled down it feels less like looking at a glowing screen and more like reading something natural. Ebooks are a nicer experience than on any other device that I own. (I don't own any e-ink devices).
The wooden back... is a gimmick. It feels nice, but I don't like to think too much about what it will be like after 2-3 years of absorbing oils from my hands. The front glass is really smooth and low-friction - more than other phones that I've had. It feels really nice, but takes some getting used to for Swype-style typing. Sadly it's not unscratchable; it got a chip in it, so I applied a screen protector, and that removes the delightful feel. This is a very tactile phone, on both sides, which makes me reluctant to put it in a case. I've compromised with a fabric sleeve to keep it safe in my pocket, but having to take the phone out to use it does make it more vulnerable to dropping.
Anyway, the important stuff: It's really fast, and it's not RAM-starved. This makes it a dramatic improvement over the Moto E. Come to think of it, I think that's just about all the important stuff for me nowadays. 16Gb of storage with Android 5 without an SD slot is pushing it, and I do have to manage storage carefully with things like podcasts and offline maps, but I'm coping. In hindsight, if buying again I'd go for the 32Gb version.
Moto's addon features, unlike most manufacturer additions to Android, are actually useful. Being able to gesture near the phone to check the time and see notifications is great. Being able to gesture, holiding the phone, to activate the camera or to turn the torch on, is genuinely something that I'll miss if my next phone doesn't do it.
Speaking of the camera.... it has a lot of megapixels, so pictures take a lot of storage space, and it gives a really high-resolution poor quality image. I wish phone manufacturers would stop doing that. I've just turned down the image size in the app now. The much-hyped "ring flash" is, as expected, a gimmick. It's a pair of LEDs to either side of the lens with a ring of clear plastic covering them - but the ring doesn't actually get lit up, the LEDs just shine straight through it. Which is fine, because honestly, what would be the point of a ring flash at this scale anyway?
The battery has been criticised in the press, but I haven't noticed it being any worse than any other high-end Android phone in this regard - which is to say, not great. A small external battery pack is now standard in my day bag.
This is a really good phone, and became an especially good buy in the last few months that it was on sale, when the price was dropped. I'm sad to see that its replacement is, just like all the others, huge.
(On a side note, I love how we've finally gotten a few shows with POC in leading roles and already there have been concern troll-y "But what about the white men?!" articles.)
Anyway, once the episodes stopped focusing on Piper, I started liking the show much more.
( Spoilers got time )
Also, the opening song is the best.
It was a contemporary triple bill. I have never been to see contemporary ballet put on professionally before, so that was exciting, and three short ballets is I think good for the attention span, if you're not going to have narrative.
( Ballet! )
Also, this morning I had a phone interview for a job, and I managed to answer the phone and hold a whole conversation, and it went really well - she let me talk about books and things, and she said at the end that she liked me and she'd organised for me to come into the office and meet people, so maybe I have a job!
"The thing I think we have to remember is that there is no finish line with depression, anxiety, or any other sort of mental illness. We’re on this path, and the path is constantly changing. Sometimes it’s flat and well-marked, and we can see all the way to the horizon....Other times, it’s so heavily shrouded in fog and mist, we can’t even see past our fingertips and we need someone to show us where the path is. And sometimes, we come to a wall that we don’t think we’ll ever get over. I’ve been staring at the base of that wall for weeks, and just now you helped me remember that there are always handholds to get up and over it."
-Tears in Rain, from wilwheaton.net
As some of you may know, but most won’t, I’ve been a user of Omnifocus through various versions for several years now. At a superficial level, it’s a to-do listing app that cloud-syncs across Macs, iPads and iPhones, so your to-do items can follow you from device to device. Integration with Siri on mobile devices also works out nicely, letting you say ‘Siri, remind me to buy the cat a new Ferrari,’ which will automagickally create a reminder to bat the car a new ferrite, or something.
If you look at Omnifocus as ‘just’ a to-do list app, you’re not quite getting the point. For me, I’m way over my head on multiple projects at once much of the time. I literally have so many to do items that it’s impossible to remember them, let alone track them, and am well into the territory that makes a linear list long enough that finding anything isn’t really feasible.
Yes, I’ve read Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I found many of his ideas really interesting, and I think I’m now using most of them.
So what’s this GTD thing all about?
Well, the basic idea is that it isn’t sufficient to just divide your to-do items into projects — rather, you also divide them into contexts, giving you a second view into the mess of items. What’s meant by a project is pretty obvious — something like, ‘Remodel the kitchen’ would be a great example. Individual tasks should be things like, ‘Order a new stove,’ something that is essentially a single thing that needs done that doesn’t break down finer than that. Importantly, tasks should not be split up between personal and work — the system really works best when you glom all of your tasks into it. Contexts indicate where the task is to be carried out (with a loose definition of ‘where’). Email, Home Depot, In The Garage, At Work, etc., are simple examples of contexts. I like to break down both projects and contexts hierarchically. Breaking down projects makes immediate sense, e.g.:
Home : Kitchen Remodel
Work : Project Alpha : Presentations : How to Pickle your Ooblefetzer
Some real(ish) examples of broken-down contexts would be:
Computer : Internet : Facebook
Work : Bldg 123 : Conference Room 6
Computer : Purchasing : Amazon
Outdoors : Mall : Home Depot
Outdoors : Mall : Safeways
What this lets you do is things like deciding to head to Home Depot and then easily pick up a list of everything you need to do while you’re there, even if those things are spread across many projects. That’s the Getting Things Done level. But you can kick it up a notch — if you are going to the mall, you can easily see everything that needs doing under every context that derives from that. Really, GTD and GTD-like systems can’t ever make time where none exists, but they are brilliant at not forgetting things and avoiding wasting time repeating things that didn’t really need to be repeated.
Another thing GTD is awesome at is C. A. R. Hoare’s concept of ‘waiting faster.’ Everyone hates waiting — I’m sure I, like most people, feel like I waste half my life waiting for things: stuff to be delivered, other people to reply to emails, applications to be processed, etc. Tony Hoare (admittedly in the context of the mathematics of concurrent processes, but hey, I’ll steal anything that works!) suggested that by waiting for as many things to happen at once, then acting on whichever one completes first, you end up waiting as little as possible and being as efficient as possible. I use Omnifocus to track everything and everyone I’m waiting on, which means that I don’t need to get stressed out by asking lots of people for lots of things all at once. The difference this makes to my effectiveness is pretty surprising.
Omnifocus also lets you tag every task with your estimate of the time it will take. This takes a bit of work to maintain, but it gives you a very important third route into the data. I use this to create a ‘Fast Attack’ view of my to-dos, which cuts across all my projects and contexts, limited to tasks taking no more than an hour and sorted so that the fastest things happen first. With this, if I’m told I have half an hour before a takeaway shows up, for example, lets me rattle off a few emails or update my timesheet or whatever with time I’d otherwise probably spend staring mindlessly at Facebook.
Setting deadlines on tasks is really important. It’s a GTD principle, but Omnifocus does this really well. You can defer a task, which means that it will be hidden until a specific date and time, or set a due date, which will start warning you when it’s coming up and nag you when the date has passed. From personal experience, I have learned only to ever set due dates when there really is a due date for the task — if I ever get carried away and start creating a schedule for myself, all that happens is that everything gets out of hand and nothing really gets done, and I’m too scared to open OmniFocus because there are 58 red tasks staring me in the face. No, don’t do that. If it’s something like a paper that’s due on a particular date and time, go for it. That’s what this is for. But don’t ever use due dates when there isn’t really a hard deadline, or you’re missing the point of the system. Omnifocus has some very nice features for creating repeating tasks — I can, for example, have it remind me to suggest going to see a film. If I check this off, the reminder goes away for 2 weeks, then starts popping up again. The other kind of repeating tasks have a hard interval, so I have reminders to submit my time sheets, do my weekly and monthly reporting, pay my rent, etc.
Omnifocus implements GTD’s recommendation to regularly review your task lists. You can set, per task, an interval over which you want to review everything. Some people like to set this to 1 week, but I actually like it do it daily. If I don’t have time, it can wait until tomorrow, but by going through my task lists even very cursorily once a day, ruthlessly putting projects on hold if I can’t work on them yet, deferring tasks until later when I can, fixing things up as plans change, is really the only way I can keep everything on track.
So far, this is all standard(ish) Omnifocus and GTD. I have some of my own tweaks and brain-hacks, however.
My Omnifocus Kanban hack
One other feature I’ve had a love/hate relationship with in Omnifocus is flags. You can flag an item, which visibly shows its importance, and can be sorted against or shown in its own query. I find this psychologically bad — if I have flagged items, it stresses me out, and I also don’t necessarily make good decisions about what to work on if something is nagging at me. Flags are an invitation to procrastinate, in my opinion. Instead, I abuse the flag system for something completely different — Kanban. The Kanban idea comes from manufacturing, where the idea is that you have a table with (nominally) 3 columns — the left column is things to do, the right column is things that are completed and the middle column is things that are in progress. So much so obvious, but Kanban’s magic special sauce is that only a fixed number of things at most are allowed into the middle column at once. The idea is that this stops manufacturing processes from getting gridlocked or producing lots of stuff that isn’t really needed yet. Omnifocus doesn’t really support Kanban, but it’s possible to abuse the flag system for it. Basically, if something isn’t flagged, it’s in the ‘left’ column. If it’s flagged, it’s in the middle column. If I’ve already checked it off, it’s in the right column, logically speaking, though I never actually get to see something that looks like a traditional Kanban board. So basically, I let myself flag 3 to 5 things I’m ‘doing’ at once. Even this is really too many, but what it does is give me a one button view of the stuff I Really Am Getting On With Right Now. My ‘Fast Attack’ query covers all the little faffy short tasks that aren’t really even worth flagging because they get done really quickly anyway. Between those two, and just these two, I know what I should be doing, and don’t forget anything. Psychologically, this really helps, because these lists never have more than 4 or 5 items in the Flagged/In Progress view and maybe a couple of dozen in the fast attack view, so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
The Input/Output Hack
This one is due to me personally as best I can tell. I had 3 or 4 false starts implementing GTD which kind of worked but always ended up failing. In a couple of cases, the amount of stuff just got out of hand and I couldn’t really cope with it, to the point that the system just fell apart. In a couple of cases, it worked so well that I ran myself into physical exhaustion that took weeks to recover from. This is the most recent version of my personal system that, so far, seems to be working really well for me.
I have a very strong work ethic. In work time I tend to do work stuff. That means that I tend to prioritize things that I need to deliver to someone or do for someone extremely highly, to the extent that this dominates. In extremis, I’ve found myself working crazy hours on a project and literally only eating, sleeping or doing work directly on that project, never allowing myself to prioritize anything else. As a consequence, I tend to build up what I have come to call infrastructure debt. By never really allowing myself time to build infrastructure — to do the things that you need to do that allow the things to get done, I’m always way more stressed than is OK, and tend to be cobbling together ways of working rather than having everything to hand. It occurred to me that I needed a brain hack to fix this, and it was going to take something like Omnifocus to pull it off. Thing is, I have no difficulty figuring out what needs done to put all this infrastructure in place, it’s just that, normally, I was not allowing myself to spend any time on it. The mythical ‘free time’ never actually occurred, because I was either working or flat out exhausted.
Here’s the hack. I think it’s pretty cool.
I now divide all my projects, without exception, into the following four categories:
- Always. These are the things that always need to be done, regardless, because a wheel will fall off my life if they don’t. This includes things like paying the rent, regular paperwork that can’t be delayed, etc. This category should be used very sparingly.
- Recreation. Things I would like to do when I need to switch off. I list things like, go see a film, go to the beach, watch Netflix, etc. Stuff that gets done both when my brain is turned off and in order to cause my brain to switch off. I don’t include personal projects in this list, because personal projects are still work within this system. By way of an example, I might have a something in this category like, ‘Go play music for a couple of hours,’ but definitely wouldn’t have something like, ‘Finish mastering those last 3 tracks for my next album.’ The decision is brain off or brain on, basically.
- Output. An output task is something that is directly needed. These are ‘day job’ tasks, as well as any chores that are an end in themselves rather than enabling something else. Effectively, these are all the tasks I used to obsessively work on in the exclusion of all else. Output tasks create infrastructure debt because they need to be supported.
- Input. An input task is something that isn’t directly needed, but that builds the infrastructure necessary to support an output task. Input tasks by definition pay down infrastructure debt. An input task would be something like, install a new piece of equipment, tidy up the lab bench before a new project starts, order and install some shelving from Home Depot to support a remodeling project, etc.
These are the four folders at the top of my project hierarchy. Work projects mostly go into Output. Personal projects that create something also go into Output. Stuff I need to do so that I can effectively work on Output tasks goes into Input. I can use the perspectives feature in Omnifocus (Pro version only, but well worth the $$$) to create myself a set of 3 buttons:
- Rest Day. This shows recreation tasks, plus any Always tasks that are currently due.
- Output Day. This shows all my Output tasks, as well as any Always tasks.
- Input Day. This shows all my Input tasks, as well as any Always tasks.
So basically, on a morning, I can decide. Am I exhausted? Then I should click Rest Day, use that as a suggestion for something to do and a reminder of things that Must Get Done Or Else. If I’m feeling really ‘On’, I’ll click Output Day, which houses the tasks that typically need the most braining. If I’m kind of in the middle, not really feeling focused enough for detailed work, I’ll click Input Day, whose tasks tend more toward the physical. My work ethic guilt makes it hard to hit anything other than Output Day, but I know the consequences of that all too well. In all cases, if I decide to do a task that’s really brief, I’ll do it and just check it off. If it’s something more substantial (more than an hour typically), I’ll flag it and add it to my Kanban-hack-repurposed Flagged list — by keeping this list to no more than 3 – 5 items, it stops me from being overambitious and running myself into the ground with overwork. Also, I know I really suck at multitasking, so the best hack for dealing with that is to only do things one at a time, which is kind of the point of all this.
Summarizing my System
To sum up, the way I work this is each morning, with my coffee, I generally do a daily review of all my tasks, so by the end of that I have checked off anything I missed and have a pretty good idea where I’m at. I mercilessly put projects on hold if I can’t work on them because I’m waiting for something — this is key to keeping things manageable, as is using Defer to throw something forward in time to pick up on again later. By looking at my Flagged/In Progress button, I can remind myself what I’m in the middle of, and add one or two more things to that list from my Input or Output perspectives. If I have a few minutes to spare, I can use my Fast Attack perspective to kick out a few emails or whatever. I capture new tasks straight into Omnifocus wherever possible, but I do heavily use the ability to create tasks via email otherwise, then I file that task appropriately next time I do a review.
Right now, I have 3 concurrent major projects, a fourth semi-unpaid work project, a musical personal project, social stuff and other stuff I wouldn’t mention here all going on at once, and amazingly it’s not really stressing me too much and I’m pretty much staying on top of it all. Considering that I am someone who always regarded themselves as really sucking at this kind of being-organized, this says a lot.
YMMV. IANAL. I am not your mother. GTD doesn’t work for everyone, particularly if you don’t have much leeway in organizing your time. GTD has a cultlike following, for sure, but I’m not a true believer — I junked it several times before hitting on this approach, particularly the Input / Output hack. I am not inherently awesome, and do screw up sometimes.
Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2
#GTD/Omnifocus, #MoMBlog, #Musings
(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Anyway, as long as that's going on, I might as well tell you about a show I've mainlined and greatly enjoyed recently: Killjoys.
( thoughts )
Anyway, I've already written a short ficlet for this show, about the first time Dutch decides to accept kindness from Johnny: Midnight Tea. I'm still taking prompts! Give me a pairing/character and a scenario/kink. (Best results if you give me backstory-related prompts, since that's the stuff that comes easiest.)
And there's also a Dutch fanvid by lithiumdoll (*____*) that you should watch if you're wondering whether to watch the show: Been Better.
Julie has full-on ManFlu, and is face-down in the bed.
And fifteen minutes ago the End-Of-Festival Fireworks started. Which we had planned on seeing from Holyrood Park.
I hate missing things. Always have. That sinking feeling that life is happening somewhere else, and fun is being had without me.
It's not the end of the world. There will be more fun.
I'm just a bit sad.
Because of being away for the Bank Holiday weekend.
There has been some bread-baking, however:
Last week there was a Standen loaf - 2:2:1 wholemeal/white spelt/buckwheat flour (white spelt because it turned out what I thought was a fresh bag of strong white was wholemeal).
Saturday breakfast rolls were Tassajarra method maple-ginger-cranberry.
Today on return I made a loaf of the Three Malts and Sunflower Seed flour.
Yes, it's Jonathan Jones again, this time dissing on Sir Terry Pratchett and people who write popular books (that is, people of this present day who write books that are loved by the public)*, in comparison to oh, ye Gr8 Canonykle Wryterz of Gr8 Litrachur -
Is this not, my dearios, a tiresome affectation that The Past Was Good, the Present Is Crap, that I noted in Mr Jones's moaning about modern artists and Kate Moss as icon?
Because he is a modern avatar of a recurrent theme, which is This Awful Modern Generation of [Practitioners of some Art/new genre of Art, popular among The Masses], so unlike Ye Passte, and in the 1930s he would have been moaning about movies as a form, including specific individual examples that I am sure he will now in this year of grace consider Classix of the Arte Cinematique.**
C. 1820 he would have been whingeing on that the Romantic Poets were AWFUL, so very much not like Pope, and what is this thing that this thing is, this dreadful NOVEL by A WOMAN about the trivial matters of a wimpy poor relation in a gentry household, how is this worthy to stand by FIELDING or RICHARDSON.
A few decades later and it would be (we guess) DICKENS is not like SCOTT and is a mere journalist pandering in sensation.
(This is, I think, a different thing from people who diss on Modern Art, which is seen as Highbrow and pretentious, rather than panderingly populist: in fact maybe it is just the inversion of same.)
I do not think that Mr Jones can have been reading the current series in The Guardian in which people write about the Books That Changed Their Life, because this shows how very various are the books that do that for individuals and it is not necessarily works of Universally Acknowledged Gr8 Lit.
As a palate cleanser, have this piece snarking J Franzen for his attitude to women writers and the quote-unquote 'sub-literary', and defending 'comfort reads'. I don't agree with it all, and I think it's possibly still a bit buying into the value-system, but it makes the case for LOVE of particular books rather than patting oneself on the back for having read/appreciated them because they are culturally respected.
*No, really, not linking, I am sure my dearios can make it up for themselves, second verse, same as the first, etc etc.
**This post gets him bang to rights about the embedded cultural elitism in that theme.
Updates from the last month:
-My mother is having delusions of me going to law school again. At one time this would have depressed me, but I have apparently reached the distance that makes her pingponging between "you have a BRILLIANT FUTURE" and "you are WORTHLESS" hilarious instead of emotionally exhausting. She at least suggested I go to law school to be a disability rights lawyer this time, which suggests she is slowly gaining an understanding of my actual interests.
-I appear to not have my job back, as I have not had an answer from them for a month.
-My mother is also buying a house. It looks nice, but like a lot of work. I guess that is what she can afford. She told me she was worried about having only one guest bedroom in case my older sister and I needed to stay with her in the future.* I managed not to tell her that she didn't need to worry about that, as I would rather jump off of a bridge than live with her again.
-I was cleaning in my apartment the other day, and I guess I swept something out from the cracks between the floorboards, because I stepped on something sharp. I picked it up and discovered it was not one of the ubiquitous pieces of white plaster, but a human tooth. (!!) It was a molar, with roots visible. I am mildly alarmed, but if this is a haunting it is very low key, as I have been living in this apartment for thirteen months.
-Writing is going well. I will leave it at that, lest I jinx myself.
-I can't remember if I ever mentioned that I got back together with my girlfriend a month ago here. Anyway, that happened, and I visited her as previously planned. It went fine.
-I got a T shirt that reads "My other disability is a bad attitude." I have worn it three times in public, and twice strangers have complimented me on it enthusiastically. I am rather surprised, because I expected it to be somewhat obscure.
-My hands have progressed to shaking when I try to write, in addition to hurting and turning red.
-The PT/OT pain clinic sent me a letter informing me they had a treatment recommendation for me! Nine to twelve on Friday mornings for eight weeks. I facepalmed. I called them back and informed them that I have class, and work (I still thought I had work then) and could not be anywhere else mornings. The case manager was polite about it, but said she had to bring it up at the staff meeting a week and a half from then. I suppose I will hear back at the end of this week. I hope.
There was also a patronizing letter I was supposed to sign about commitment. I am considering claiming my religion prohibits me from signing frivolous contracts, as I have a panic attack every time I consider actually doing so. (Medical PTSD, long story.)
-The dog has become extremely clingy after my return from the visit. She follows me to the bathroom and sits on the rug while I put my hair up. She follows me when I pace. She has not yet progressed (again) to following me in the kitchen while I pull pots out of the cupboards, getting behind the door and being smacked in the face by accident, but I predict it is only a matter of time.
*This isn't a statement about the economy or our capabilities, this sort of thing is normal in our culture and the fact that other older sister and I both moved out ASAP is rather weird.
“You know, I get insulted, too,” the straight white cis dude says. “I read articles that mischaracterize my experience as a straight white cis guy. And when that happens, do I bitch about it on the Internet? No! I just suck it up and move on.
“So I guess,” the straight white cis dude concludes, “I’m not easily offended.”
Hold on there, hoss. Lemme suggest another potential conclusion:
It may be that you’re not insulted nearly as much.
I’d guess that as a straight white cis dude, I’d guess that your experience in things means that your very existence is not routinely forgotten. Nobody in the majority cultures goes, “Another movie consisting exclusively of male leads has hit #1 at the box office? How could this happen? Is there really a market for male movies?” And then, weeks later, forget that this trend of “male movies” has been ongoing since, oh, the 1960s.
Nobody in the mainstream cultures goes, “Oh, yeah, fuck, I guess you might be attracted to women, sure. People do that. But are you sure you don’t want this dick?”
Nobody in mainstream cultures just assumes you’d like to have transition surgery and that your dressing in men’s clothing is some form of weird attempt to fit in.
What I generally find people saying when they say “I guess I’m not easily offended” is actually closer to “I don’t actually have that many people who offend me.” In general, what these dudes are actually saying is “Ninety-time times out of a hundred, people acknowledge and support me, and I quietly assume that as my birthright. And that hundredth time someone doesn’t acknowledge me, well, that means I’m not easily offended!”
Which is a lot like a five-foot-ten guy saying, “Well, I’m not picky about my furniture. I can sit anywhere.” Which may be true, but it’s overlooking the fact that as a guy of average height, most furniture is made to fit you. If society had quietly decided that the average person was four-foot-ten, or six-foot-ten, then you might spend a little more time in the furniture shop finding something comfortable.
Or not. There are genuinely some dudes who can fall asleep on rocks. Just like there are some gay trans black women who can sleep through bonfires of Internet hatred. Some folks are, in fact, genuinely not easily offended, and maybe that’s you.
But my point is, it’s kind of difficult to say whether you’re easily offended when you have an entire society dedicated to reaffirming your existence. You don’t get erased in 99% of the circumstances. You don’t get stereotyped. You don’t have people pigeonholing you.
Yet when I talk to not-easily-offended straight white cis dudes like this, you know what really pisses them off?
Essay titles like “Why Straight White Dudes Don’t Get Offended As Often As Normal People Do.”
A lot of these very same dudes who are all “It’s not important to put gay/minority/trans representations into things!” and “That was just a joke!” when it comes to pointing at other people get veeeery angry when you stereotype them. “I really fucking hate the way you make ‘straight white cis dude’ sound like an insult, Ferrett,” they’ll say, frothing at the mouth. “We’re not all that way. I’m not this parody you’re writing about!”
Well, shit, bro, are you not easily offended? Or are you simply not easily offended when things are generally not aimed in your direction?
Hell, you’ll see a lot of straight white cis dudes getting angry by the mere fact of being called straight white cis dudes, because they hate the label, don’t you realize we’re people, you’re racist for labelling me. And that’s a funny thing, because you are straight, you are white, you are cis, you are a dude, and I’m gonna suggest the reason you hate having your whiteness and your cisness and your straightness called out is because up until now, everyone quietly assumed all those things were normal.
Having your central identities marked as different makes you feel freakish and othered, and you fucking hate it.
So again, are you not easily offended? I’d argue that maybe you are easily offended. Maybe you’ve just not had to experience what a lot of marginalized communities endure on a regular basis.
Maybe you should take this offense at the way “straight white cis dude” does, in fact, strip off layers of who you are to replace them with a stereotype – and instead of using that anger to defend your domain, maybe you could look at how other stripes of people are more routinely erased, replaced, and debased, and start asking, “Shit, how can I not do that to them?”
And even if you are not easily offended, that doesn’t necessarily mean that “everyone should not be offended” is a great way to be. I myself have such a tremendous pain tolerance that I walked around for four days with a burst appendix and thought it was a tetchy stomach virus. But I would be a stupendous dick if I went, “Well, I don’t experience that much pain, so why do we need all of these painkillers? Just suck it up and deal, like I do.”
And even if that was something we wanted to do, would it be wise? Sometimes being stoic doesn’t fix the problem. Like me. I was very stoic to an illness that was actually fucking killing me – I am lucky to be alive – and maybe complaining is the proper method to fix problems like, I dunno, people forgetting that entire alternative existences exist.
If you’re really not easily offended, then maybe you should demonstrate that invulnerability by going, “Huh. I wonder if they have a point” when someone unloads on you instead of frowning and saying, “Complaining is bad!” Maybe you could use that amazing superpower to better other people’s lives instead of shrugging off potentially valid complaints as some form of weak whining.
You’re in a position to do some real good, if you’re not that easily offended. You can make a positive difference.
I’d like to ask you to think about how to do that.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
I'm back at the hotel now avoiding the heat and even on the fifth or sixth floor above a six-lane road I can still hear the cicadas singing. The plan is to head out in a little while to find something to eat, but even that's going to be limited to the local area. Hopefully I'll be up to more tomorrow.
Signal-boosting much appreciated!
- CN: abortion; suicide. ( Read more... )
- We are all of us sinners, and as tempting as it is to believe that it's possible to devise a timeless set of rules that if followed precisely will keep us pure, unblemished, etc, unfortunately the world's a bit more complicated than that and you're going to have to think and you're going to have to make decisions and you're going to have to act according to your lights as best you know how having assimilated and contemplated information being fed you; following rules without heart does no-one any good, but just because no single set of rules that will work absolutely in all cases exists does not mean that you don't have to try, or that it's okay to not wash your hands. Compare and contrast: we're all *ist, there's no single absolute set of rules that applies in all situations, you've got to think critically about what you're doing and act as best you can work out, ...
I find this bay on the ward very wearing. I can't avoid hearing everything going on at each of the other 4 beds, whether it's loud daytime TV or people's diagnoses, arguments with family, biological functions, etc. And I'm highly conscious that the same applies to anything I say or do aloud.
There is an older woman who can't see well and is a bit confused, and she never remembers the nurse call bell, just calls out again and again. I want to be compassionate and understanding but at times I quite hate her :-(
Born on this day in 1602 to John Solms-Braunfels , Count of Solms-Braunfels and Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein, Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (my toy,wikipedia). Grandmother of William III & I. Amalia escaped with the Winter Queen to the Hague after being forced out of Bohemia. She had a big influence on policy, and was responsible for many important marriages. After her son William died she was guardian of her grandson William (later King of England).
I'm going to see The Minions at 12.40pm but there is nothing else on the to-do list. I think naps might happen later as I am still so unreasonably tired.
This morning a bunch of us went out for dim sum and to see Lise (WINOLJ/DW) while she's in town after Worldcon. That was fun, but about an hour after I got home this afternoon I realized that I was worn out, some combination of physically tired (I woke up early for no apparent reason) and maybe just more socializing that I'd been prepared for. Fortunately, while there are things I need to do, everything except about 15 more minutes of PT exercises can wait until tomorrow.
Diane Duane: The Book of Night by Moon
These two DDs are in the same universe as her Young Wizards books, but the main characters in this are minor ones in the YW books and vice versa. These books focus on the feline wizards of the Wizardverse, and are strongly recommended for those who love cats (especially if those who love cats also like sci-fi and/or fantasy). I always find it difficult to disentangle the two genres in Duane; this is because it is magic, but magic with rules, and rules that are based upon/highly entangled with science and mathematics. The structure of magic is mathematical, and elegant, and full of patterns. I personally find this very satisfying. And you use magic to save the world, as in the best fantasies. And the characters can lose important things, and this matters in the plot. And characters are forced to evaluate things, and they grow, and they can be not perfect and they try to improve and they don't always fully manage that, but they're heading to things that are better. And magic has a cost, so you can't just make it all perfect. It's a very theist world, but it works - theism is where the magic comes from, and theism structures the underlying metaphors of the universe, but the magic's rules aren't handwavy.
The author also clearly loves cats, observes cats, and gives them a structure and a culture that is different from that of the humans they co-exist with.
Diane Duane: On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service
Another feline wizards one, this one with fun time-travel in it. Lovely sense of time and place, and some cool visionary stuff which is meshed nicely with the time-travel (and with the 'physics' explanation of it). And little cultural observations. And ( spoilers )
Chuck Wendig: Zer0es
Fast-paced near-future hacker novel. I liked this in many ways, though it was handwavy in a couple of places (which are spoilery, so I'll cut-tag further discussion). Handles a lot of diverse characters, makes them realistic, distinct, not tokenistic. Many of them are unpleasant (or start off like that), but there is character growth through the novel, from the frankly horrific things that they go through. It's a pretty shitty world they live in (and one that's terribly close to our own). It's not quite irredeemably shit, but it's pretty fucking nasty, and so are some of the characters we follow. Most of them are at the asshole end of hacker culture; even the nicest of them are at the 'strange and abrasive' end of people I regularly hang out with - a whole bunch of anti-hero types. There's some pretty good writing to get us to care about these people, and also to structure the story in a way that makes sense and also gives us some big reveals.
A lot of the hacker stuff is plausible, rooted in things I know happen. Some tech is borrowed from other near-future-type thrillers, and is a bit less realistic. ( spoilerspoilerspoiler )
But there's politics, and group dynamics, and people pushed to do things they're pretty damn ambivalent about.
This is Hugo-noms eligible, and if you like modern techno-thrillers, I'd encourage you to give it a read. This is on my provisional nominations list - it may get displaced by some better stuff if I find it, but it's passed the basic threshold of worthwhility.
Saladin Ahmed: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Charlie Stross: Glasshouse
Novel-by-a-friend (noted here so I remember to finish reading it, because I'm reading it on my laptop so I can also take notes)
I've gone from having the phone in my hand much of the time to really not touching it much at all. I already have a lot of soundcodes on my phone -- I know when my kid is texting me, or when Snapchat or Breaking News is going off -- but you can only fine-grain that so much. I don't know *who* is Snapping me, I don't know if the newsflash is worth taking the phone out for, I don't know if the email is from a human or a robot. That all kicks to my wrist now. The phone stays in my pocket a lot more. The speedbumps in my day that it smooths out are probably trivial, but the new layer of distance and quiet that it introduces feels real.
This rings very true to me. I still use my phone a lot - for a start it's mostly how I read most of my 110-odd RSS feeds, but if a text, email, or tweet comes in I know if it's something I need to look at or not, and I know I don't need to take my phone out of my pocket to see if something "exciting" has happened.
If you're not someone like me, and you don't get many notifications on your phone, then you probably don't need one for that. You may want one for keeping track of how far you walk, or to track your heart rate. But as I don't do either of these things (this week), I can't help you there...
- I want to read The History of the Countryside by Oliver Rackham
- I want to re-read Grimms' Fairytales
- I want to go walking in Staverton Woods
- I am unconvinced by the theory fairytales originated from a cultural consciousness made by forest living.
Reluctant to link to this as it is in the midst of some rather annoying letters in yesterday's Guardian Weekend:
Rather than an increased inability to endure discomfort, there is a simpler explanation as to why waiting 30 seconds for a microwave can seem more tedious than waiting an hour for an oven. It’s that an hour is plenty of time to go and do something else.
Oh yes, that. Those little bits of time that are like pieces of string too short for any purpose.
"No, no, no, NO! Of course the friend from uni isn't the killer. Haven't you seen his backpack? Don't touch anything. I'm coming over right now."
Sherlock stabbed his finger down on the phone's "off" button, cutting off Lestrade in mid sentence.
"So, a large number of people brutally murdered in unusual ways, then?" John put a tick next to the photograph of the "secluded villa with swimming pool" on the printout Mary had given him this morning, thought for a moment, re-read the blurb, and converted the tick into a question mark.
"Christmas, John. Christmas. Nothing above a five for three whole months. Now, unless this is Scotland Yard being incompetent beyond the dreams of Anderson, this is at least a nine-and-a-half."
"Splendid. And how many dead?"
"Five. At least." Sherlock began ticking off enthusiastically on his fingers. "First, there's Elsindustries' CEO. His wife: two. His wife's son -- Claude's stepson -- three. The Polonskya boy: four. Those are the bodies they found this morning. But --"
The phone rang again. Sherlock picked it up.
"Yes, of course you need to exhume old Hamnetsson; I told you so two months ago. Even those idiots can't say you don't have probable cause now. And get me the files on Edwin Polonskya and his daughter. Everything there is. I'll collect it when I arrive. And whatever else they do, make sure none of your morons touches the fencing foils. Even Anderson, amusing though it might be."
The room is great, even the accessible bathroom (mostly) makes sense, but the arrangement of furniture means you can't get the chair into the window half of the room, I'm not even certain it would be possible without taking at least the coffee table out and probably the drawers as well. That isn't too much of a problem as the room looks out on Vassilious Sofias Ave, which combines being the road past parliament, embassy row, and a six lane motorway (eight lane for the more adventurous). Glad I brought a good pair of earplugs!
Breakfast today was good, also leisurely, then I headed out to meet my friend Julia, and decided to be adventurous by wheeling all the way. Considering the whole embassy row/road past parliament thing, accessibility is pretty dire. If you find a good kerb-cut then 50% of the time it either has a dumpster in it or someone is using it for parking. Half the kerb-cuts don't have matching kerb-cuts on the other side of the road and I only saw one traffic island with kerb-cuts to match those on the pavement. Even the Hilton didn't have kerb-cuts. By the time I was half way there I was muttering dark threats against whoever is in charge of pavement maintenance, there's a man who needs to spend a few days in a wheelchair trying to navigate his city.
Julia and I met at the Benaki museum at about 1pm, but only got about half of it done before it closed at 3pm (Jules had already done the Parthenon, the jewellery museum and part of the open-top bus ride before we met up), then we wandered past Parliament to take pictures with the Efzones on guard, through Syntagma Square, then down Emlou, the main shopping street (mostly closed given it's Sunday), finishing of with a meal in a streetwise cafe (moussaka for Jules, a chicken and pork gyros for me, which had so much meat it beat me). And then I caught a taxi back to the hotel as I was pretty knackered - and it's up hill all the way (fare 7 euros, I pay nearly as much for the 5 minute ride between the station and my house - and more on Sundays!).