liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
My mother had a theory that the best route to a good social life was to know how to swim, play tennis, dance formally, and play bridge. This turned out to reflect a society that isn't quite the one I grew up in, but still, I did learn some of these skills.

social skills and bridge geekery )

And coming full circle, [personal profile] jack has made himself very popular by making a fourth at bridge when he's visiting my parents. So far we seem to be an exception to the maxim that couples shouldn't be bridge partners! I think this is partly because we've set out very determined that we are interested in improving our game not "beating" our friends, and also because we are using bridge learning as a sandbox to practise communication. So ways for [personal profile] jack to point out that I did something wrong without turning it into a fight, and ways to come to a compromise quickly when we have incomplete information or limited time for negotiation. And generally being partners, something which we strive for in our life in general, not just at the bridge table!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
I was a fairly early adopter of Gmail, back in the days when Google was the non-evil alternative to Microsoft. As a result I was able to snag an email address which is just my (common) first name plus initials. A consequence of this is that people quite frequently sign up to web services and mailing lists with my email address.

The other day I received one such email, acknowledging receipt of $500, welcoming me to a business service, and listing "my" details, including full name, address (in New York State), phone number, SSN and partially obfuscated credit card number. I'm not sure why I even opened the mail, I could tell it wasn't really intended for me. At this point I felt a bit sorry for my namesake, who had spent $500 on a service she wasn't going to get, and I was a bit concerned about all her personal details being shared with a total stranger (you would think that a competent business would verify the email address before emailing details; at least they didn't send out her password in the clear). I was also a bit unhappy at the prospect of receiving all this person's emails forever.

There was no unsubscribe link, presumably because the person had already positively opted in to receiving the emails. I went to the URL the email originated from (typing it manually, not clicking any links in the email). I saw a website that looked legitimate in the sense that I guessed it was actually selling the thing it was claiming to be selling, not just trying to install malware on my computer. But it looked pretty slimy in the sense that what it was selling was essentially some kind of multi-level marketing scheme. I could not find any useful contact details for said slimy company; the only way to contact them was through their members-only area. I tried their Twitter account, and as expected got no reply. While this was going on I received a whole bunch more emails from the company, which made me the more determined to get myself off their books.

So I tried calling the number listed in the person's details in the email. I already have a calling plan such that calls to the US are free, so it was just a nuisance, not expensive, to do this. To my surprise, it was a home number, not a business number. The person who answered made no attempt to find out who I was or what my business was, just informed me that the person I was asking for was out, would be back in an hour and would I like her cell number? So I called again an hour later, having considered what I would say to make myself sound convincing. I personally would be very suspicious if I received a call from a stranger in a foreign country claiming there had been a security breach and the foreigner had access to my personal details. In the event the person believed me straight away without needing any convincing, and was effusively grateful that I'd let her know, and promised me to get things fixed straight away.

A little later I received an email from the company with a slightly panicked tone and rather poor SpaG begging me to please delete the email with the personal details. Of course by this point they'd already sold my email address on to various even scummier "business" services, so my hope that I was going to avoid getting unwanted mailshots was in vain. But at least I helped the person whose email address is one letter away from mine to get what she paid for.

security thoughts )

I have no particular suggestions for how to fix this, but I'm annoyed.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
Lots of internet communities I'm peripherally aware of talk about consent culture. I think the idea started from sex-positive feminism, a sort of more advanced stage of dealing with sexual consent beyond just "no means no". People should actively choose the sex they want to have, without being subjected to even subtle or indirect pressure. It's not a big leap to notice that this principle applies to interactions that aren't particularly sexual, hugs and other social touch, say, and indeed relationships and emotional connections beyond just physical touch.

So in a consent culture frame, the only reason to enter into any kind of relationship, or to continue an existing relationship, is because everybody involved actively wants that relationship. That includes capital-R officially together romantic couple relationships, of course, but also everyone involved should consent to how close they want to be as friends or acquaintances or whether they even want to have any kind of contact and interaction at all. This seems a totally logical extension of principles I hold about autonomy, and I want to live in a world where relationships are freely chosen and not coerced. I think I need to adapt my own attitudes and behaviour to promote consent culture values, though. And I definitely want to think through the detail of how this works in practice.

contains angst, passing mentions of partner abuse and domestic violence, and references to personal sexual history )

Last time I tried to talk about something like this, I think some people got the impression I was advocating forcing people to stay in abusive relationships, for largely spurious reasons like "for the children" or "because God said so". I don't want that at all, I want to be in consent culture, I'm just trying to work out how to be confident and secure enough, let alone all the practical considerations, to make sure I don't find myself coercing people to be in relationships with me that they don't want.

The Plan

Feb. 5th, 2014 07:46 pm
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
One of the things I've been bursting to talk about, but got queued behind the January journal stuff, is that I'm in the process of some serious life rearranging.

ch-ch-changes )

In other transforming my life news, I've just ordered some new glasses. I only did this because my old glasses have broken, but bowing to the inevitable, I'm going to change my image a bit. Having to go back to my old glasses while my recent ones are broken, I've realized that round glasses suit me a lot better than any other shape. Unfortunately round glasses are not at all in fashion at the moment, so I had very little choice of anything like the sort of glasses I had in mind. The saleslady had no hesitation at all in guiding me to the section labelled "for him" because she thought that the kind of glasses I want were more likely to be marketed to men than women. So I've got a pair of slightly hipsterish, androgynous round glasses with thin but not ultra-thin black frames. And since glasses are two pairs for the price of one, I chose something much more striking than I've ever dared wear for my second pair, top-heavy ones with thickish, shaped brown tops and a thin rim round the base of the lens. (Neither style seems to be listed online, so I can't show you.) It's going to take me a while to get used to my new face, let alone anyone else!
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] ephemera wanted me to talk about childhood memories of food. If there's one thing I've learnt from this meme it's that I'm not cut out to be a food blogger, but I'll have a go.

fooooood )

[January Journal masterlist]
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] mathcathy offered a very thought-provoking prompt: Reflections on the beginning of a new year, both calendar and Jewish - compare and contrast.

ring in the new )

[January Journal masterlist]
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[personal profile] mathcathy asked for my favourite 3 places in the UK

I love this country )

[January Journal masterlist]
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
Another excellent prompt from [personal profile] ephemera: What sorts of art you do you have on display in your space?

pretties )

[January Journal masterlist. Anyone want the last empty slot?]
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] forestofglory pointed out that 16th January corresponds to the 15th Shevat in the Jewish calendar. This date is mentioned in the Talmud as being the new year for trees, and in modern times it's become the festival of Tu biShevat in which we celebrate all things tree and nature. The middle of January is kind of a ridiculous time to be celebrating the first signs of spring growth in England, though we're told that almond trees come into blossom at this time of year in Israel.

[ profile] velveteenrabbi explains the spiritual significance of the festival, even when it doesn't quite match our experience of the climate. [personal profile] kerrypolka celebrated with fruit cocktails, and [personal profile] forestofglory herself had a fruit party. Anyway, my last minute attempt to mark the festival is by filling [personal profile] forestofglory's prompt to talk about trees that matter to me.

trees )

[January Journal masterlist. Anyone want the last empty slot?]
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
[personal profile] ceb is another person who's given me several really excellent prompts for this meme. Today's is What was different about living abroad and would you like to do it again? (if so, where?)

distant climes )

[January Journal masterlist. Anyone want the last empty slot?]
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
I was chatting to [personal profile] jack about what prompt he might suggest, and if there's anything he doesn't already know about me after six years together. And it turns out that I hadn't mentioned some of the creative projects I've done, so that became the prompt. This post will also serve as a kind of belated response to [personal profile] kaberett's post about creativity.

I hope this doesn't come across as bragging )

[January Journal masterlist. Anyone want the last empty slot?]
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] ephemera asked about Jewelry and personal adornment (eg- what attracts you, your favorite pieces or styles or approaches, pure aesthetics vs memories.) (I stared at the spelling for ages and kept correcting it and doubting myself and reverting it back, and eventually I looked it up and discovered that the UK spelling is indeed jewellery, I haven't just completely lost my ability to spell.)

shiny! )

[January Journal masterlist; there's still quite a few spaces so do feel free to add some more prompts even if you didn't get to it in December! Or indeed to make a second request if you're already in the list.]
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
[personal profile] hunningham asked about Happiness - what things (activities, people, things, thoughts) make you happy? Do you seek these out or do they just happen? I really like the scope of this question and the precise way [personal profile] hunningham asked it; it gives me an excellent reason to talk about stuff that's important to me but that I don't normally post about much.

happiness is... )

[January Journal masterlist; there's still quite a few spaces so do feel free to add some more prompts even if you didn't get to it in December! Or indeed to make a second request if you're already in the list.]


Jul. 30th, 2013 08:43 pm
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (mini-me)
[personal profile] staranise made a post recently which led me to get a bit more of a clue what's going on with MBTI types. In particular, I understood about MBTI dividing people into 16 "types" based on four pairs of preferences, but I never really got my head round the meaning of four special pairs within each type called "cognitive functions". And [personal profile] staranise explains it! Amazing!

who doesn't love a good personality test? )

Some people cynically say that MBTI is just astrology for skeptics. I don't think it's method of fortune-telling, for sure, and I know it can be very much misused, such as in businesses where they make all their employees take a quiz and assume that once they've put people into one of 16 boxes then they know everything about them. Obviously people have other aspects to their personality beyond their MBTI type; you can't just divide the whole world into 16 groups. I also strongly disapprove of the kind of career counselling which tries to treat your MBTI as if it were your inescapable fate; I don't believe that there's any job that can't be done by people of any given type. Most jobs after all need a variety of different strengths and skills.

I think what MBTI and similar systems is most useful for is that it gives you a kind of shorthand way to explain what sort of person you are to others. Of course, if you want to have any sort of ongoing relationship, you want to add in other aspects of your personality, your life experiences, your background etc. But it gives a kind of starting point of, this is what to expect from this person, this is what they're likely to feel comfortable with, this is an area where they may have difficulties.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 40

Ticky box time!

View Answers

I have a good idea of my MBTI type
31 (77.5%)

My MBTI type is a good fit for my personality
25 (62.5%)

MBTI is a useful way of understanding how people work
17 (42.5%)

MBTI is meaningless
4 (10.0%)

Personality tests killed my grandmother, you insensitive clod
1 (2.5%)

I have opinions which don't fit in your tickyboxes!
17 (42.5%)

Ticky (aka I have filled in your poll)
13 (32.5%)


Jul. 11th, 2013 03:12 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
A couple of weeks ago, the infamous Laurie Penny (as discussed recently et passim) wrote an article about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, which really seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people. I've read quite a few articles where people talk about how they did or didn't relate to story archetypes, and unfortunately can't now find the one that most spoke to me. But I've been wanting to contribute my own response as well, because I've been figuring out some stuff recently about me and stories. I hope this will make some sort of sense for people not in my head, it's still a bit at the unformed thoughts stage.

thinky thoughts )

Hairy tale

Apr. 28th, 2013 11:14 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[Sort of a response to Hel Gurney's Hair, very rough, I want to write some of this down and I don't know if I'll ever knock it into a shape I'm contented with.]

long and messy ) If all this tangle makes me feminine, well, I suppose I shall have to live with that. There are other versions of the truth, but I won't sacrifice my long hair to be able to tell them.
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
Aaaages ago, Pervocracy hosted a discussion about Things I wish my sex ed teacher had taught me. I intended to post a response to that, and then I got distracted, and then I was reminded recently because people were doing some kind of straw poll on Twitter about whether people's sex (and relationship) education included anything about rape or domestic violence. I voted yes, and turned out to be in a minority of about 10% of respondents. Not that a Twitter straw poll is exactly a valid sampling method, but you know, it reminded me that I meant to make this post months ago.

includes some fairly abstract discussion of rape )

So, to repeat Pervocracy's question: what was left out of your sex education that you wish had been included?
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
I'm just about the most extroverted person I know, certainly one of the most extroverted. I have an unlimited desire and nearly an unlimited capacity for human interaction, and I have the trait which is typical but not universal for extroverts, that I pretty much always want to be talking about anything and everything. I have a job that most days involves a lot of interacting with people, and I come home wanting more contact so I use the internet to facilitate more conversations.

navel-gazing )

So yes, I am aware of this, and I am aware that it can be a problem sometimes. My apologies if I ever do impose too much on your time and energy, or if I seem to be shooting you down through inappropriate expressions of enthusiasm.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Recently, I've been finding myself saying "I don't think of myself as the kind of person who..." Chatting to [ profile] blue_mai at the weekend made me step back and think about whether that's actually a useful way to look at things.

on the whole, no )

I think what I'm groping for is that I want to accept that some aspects of my self-image may be wrong or just simply out of date. But also that it's possible to do things and join groups I never expected I'd do or join, without that compromising the things that fundamentally make me who I am. It's a bit confusing, though!
liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
Various people are playing the interview / questions game, and [personal profile] khalinche gave me a great set.

what a great excuse to talk about myself! )I'm happy to provide questions for anyone who'd like some; obviously the quality will depend a bit on how well I know you. I think the optimum for this game is people I know a bit but not really well, because then I can think of something interesting that I don't already know the answer to. But even if you're a total stranger or a close friend of many years, I'll see what I can do.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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