that Dawn guy's musings|
Here are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in
yes, *that* Dawn person's LiveJournal:
|Sunday, August 21st, 2016|
|I am a terrible, fake, Canadian
I could sing you a surprisingly large fraction of David Bowie's, Prince's, Bruce Cockburn's, and even some of the Crash Test Dummies back catalogue given anything from a fragment of a line to a karaoke track. But I can't tell you the name of a Tragically Hip song without going to look up their discography.
The music of a well loved Canadian icon isn't part of my internal soundtrack. Downie is reported to be 52: odds are the music that might have connected with me or with my offspring came out when popular music in general and the stories the band had to tell weren't on my radar. I listened to a few songs yesterday to see if I could recall something, anything: I heard competently written and performed music that didn't have deep meaning for me. I'm an alien: I'm a legal alien [and yes, I know I just quoted Sting].
I respect the band for achieving and maintaining commercial success for an extended period. I respect that a lot of people I know, and millions I don't, value The Hip in ways analogous to my love of Bowie and Prince. I'm in awe of Gord Downie's professionalism, stamina, and love for fans and for this country.
Downie is on a hard road that is reported to be near its terminus. As is often the case with people with a terminal diagnosis and resources to do more than barely survive, he is making miracles in the time he has left.
Take the space you need to remember, reflect, and respond to the end of an era that matters to you. It's good to see people doing just this on social media.
It's not so positive to see the shaming a small number of people are engaging in. Please don't belittle others who don't share what may be a huge part of your life and culture. Please consider how little you know of others' circumstances before sharing the ableist memes you see as motivation to rise to challenges in your own life.
|Tuesday, July 26th, 2016|
Also twenty. The twenty is the one that shines wonder about my being.
More folks would make congratulations about the lacy one.
|Sunday, July 17th, 2016|
|I tell stories to myself
I started to write "I tell stories to myself to survive," and thought how familiar that phrase, that thought was, as though I'd read it. And because we have the store of words that is the internet (who lost her battle to retain a Proper Name some time when I was still a prescriptivist about it) I checked.
Dorothy Allison wrote in "Two or Three Things I Know for Sure"
"Let me tell you a story. I tell stories to prove I was meant to survive, knowing it is not true. [...] I am here to claim everything I know, and there are only two or three things I know for sure."
I am fairly certain I haven't read that book, hadn't read that vignette those words come from, but telling ourselves stories is part of who we are, so of course I would find a match.
I tell myself the story in which I have a purpose. Sometimes my difficult times have a noble reason of tempering my spirit; sometimes they are my reward for failing to be what I'm capable of. The path, the tapestry, the narrative are so much cleaner in the stories I tell myself than the begrimed, overgrown view from what we call reality: we edit, and I am a superior editor.
For now I read from others' wisdom and experiences, setting aside the task of telling myself stories for a while. There is work other than surviving to be done, and I'd best get to it.
|Wednesday, June 29th, 2016|
|Tell me about yourself
I'm passionate about identifying brokenness in systems (computing/network related, human, and business) and sustainably fixing them.
The first production code I wrote was a reversible encryption routine in COMPASS for a mail utility that relied on globally writable shared files, to reduce the likelihood of abuse of the utility. The original mail system had been written by John Bennett and was maintained by Fred Whiteside, who showed me the wonders of the language simply because I asked.
My first job after graduating from McMaster with my Computer Science and Systems degree was developing and maintaining a suite of tests for the C/370 compiler that used the ANSI standard which was still under revision at the time. Because I held the job for less than 6 months, I tend not to list it on my resume.
I owe a great debt to my father, who made time to do important things with and for me, involved me in all the maintenance tasks a boy should learn as he grows to manhood, and encouraged me to work hard to excel even when I was ahead of any visible competition.
Now that I'm nominally eligible to be an astronaut (which has been a lifelong unattainable goal), I wonder whether I should bother to apply for the two open positions with the Canadian Space Agency.
One of the people I admire greatly is my younger daughter, who has gone through hell yet is both compassionate and well loved by many. It was hard on me when I had limited resources to help her, though in retrospect I accomplished much that still helps others in similar circumstances.
I played a small role in the maintenance of Usenet after the Great Renaming as a way of giving back to the communities where I found more seemingly kindred folk than I ever did in real life.
Joining Mensa as a teenager was an eye-opening experience. I am glad I quit.
Not all of these answers are suitable for a phone screen (which mode of interview I dislike because I rely heavily on visual as well as audible cues to interact effectively with people -- yet my professional writing is reportedly exceptionally clear, albeit not executed in real time).
|Monday, June 20th, 2016|
Not the "but we have to give them a part, it's community theatre" kind, but the ones who do something that violates professional behaviour in work-related situations.
I recalled an incident from back when I went to Large North American Conference about as often as I missed it due to the way funding worked in various areas of some employer or other, and I tweeted it.
Later in the day, I tweeted another incident where someone in an employment-related context (again away from the workplace -- this time on off-site training) violated the bounds of professionalism.
I have enough of these memorable incidents that involved me to provide a few every day from now through Friday. Not all of them are related to my presentation as a woman in a technology-oriented workplace, though I could fill a week that way if I chose.
Because the incidents themselves were out of place in the expected background of salaried employment (I won't be doing any from my various hourly wage jobs), I'm providing no special hashtags. Read my stream, some of it will be the usual and some of it will seem like a flashback to something unpleasant. Kind of like a compression of my career to date.
I'm interested to see whether anyone notices, and how they might react.
This is particularly interesting given my ongoing search for employment that better fits my needs and desire to contribute meaningfully to the world.
|Wednesday, June 1st, 2016|
Izak Ezekiel --
Ululant, claw-clicking, touching-you Jack --
Studied the Way of Cat
Mastered his role:
Now the Wheel takes him back.
[*] does not scan, which fits Jack's frequent attitude of being a little outside himself to verify he was Catting as Required
|Friday, May 27th, 2016|
|a man about a cat, as it were
I have always been somewhat of a private person. The more time and distance I log in leadership roles, especially in my day job, the closer I keep certain information. Not out of fear something unsavoury will get out about me or someone in my life but because my larger presence in the world makes my voice in all things louder.
I am grateful for those with whom I choose to share information about my burdens. And I continue to grow in appreciation for public figures whose troubles may seem nonexistent until the enormity of them reaches far past the point of privacy.
|Wednesday, April 13th, 2016|
|I don't think it means what you think it means
A filmmaker creates a short public service piece in which a Mediterranean-featured woman wearing a hijab is visibly nervous when a black man wearing run of the mill street clothes (short sleeved t shirt, chinos, trainers IIRC) is walking behind her on a sidewalk with no other pedestrians in view. He deliberately crosses the street to walk behind her early in the clip. The tag line about racism being bad comes when the man grabs and saves the woman (who at this point has changed from being clearly wary to being absorbed in using a mobile phone or small tablet) from walking into the path of an oncoming bus.
Comments about the film [in one of those social media forums] run strongly along the lines of (mostly) women saying the fear/alert response to anyone (but especially a man) walking behind them is trained into girls [hence it's not a suitable message to highlight assumptions about people based on visible racial characteristics] and others who see no sex- or gender-related overtones in the piece [so of course it's about racism, because nothing else would explain the woman's attitude]. Few on either side appear willing to engage in a learning and/or teaching dialogue.
I think it's cool that someone (presumably) paid and credited two actors who are not white men to make something that is getting an audience of non-trivial size. I have considerable difficulty accepting the filmmaker's apparently intended message of the dynamic between the characters as being motivated in more than a minor way by racial or cultural issues. I have had discussions with people (mostly straight men) who don't seem to understand that following someone fairly closely in an area where there are few others around is an intimidating claim of personal space and implied threat to the person being followed.
|Saturday, March 26th, 2016|
|The tale of the scholar
[originally posted on Medium
in a much larger font, without any indication of the abbot berating the traveler for putting themselves into their own story]
The traveler spoke to the initiates. “In this province, in a time when indoor smoking lounges for employees and outside smoking areas for students were common, there was a young scholar in their first year of attending high school. This school took thousands of students from the surrounding areas of the city. It was common for any student in a mandatory class to be acquainted with few of their classmates, especially at the start of their first year.
“One of the mandatory classes taught physical fitness and social hygiene in groups segregated by official sex. Like many of their peers, the scholar was roughly average in ability with some areas of strength. They had a notable deficit in graceful movement that made them seem less desirable than the norm in team sports, while possessing superior intellect that was evident in non-sports areas of thte curriculum.
“A slightly older, shorter student took a dislike to the student lacking in grace. They taunted the scholar in their one shared class and encouraged others to do the same. The scholar seemed to be aware of and to quietly accept the defamation and apparent loss of status that was confined to the one classroom, the gymnasium, and the sport field.
“Both the scholar and the student occasionally socialized in the smoking area. One day they crossed paths and the student challenged the scholar to fight them in this area at the end of the day, making a vague threat that trouble would ensue if the scholar did not make this appointment.
“The scholar had been trained in a fighting style by their elder siblings, and raised to avoid the use of violence. Their friends were aware only of the scholar’s character and behaviour, not their skill.
“At the appointed hour, the scholar arrived at the smoking area to find the student and a crowd of onlookers. The scholar expressed a clear preference to settle whatever difficulty the student had with them through discussion. When this option was clearly rejected, they moved to a position in which a wall was at their back. The crowd closed in.
“The student threw an experimental punch at the scholar’s belly. The scholar grunted. A steady rain of blows followed, all directed at the scholar’s well muscled stomach as the scholar had hoped: the student’s fighting style was learned through taking on weaker opponents and targeted areas the victim seemed invested in protecting. It was easy to absorb the force of the student’s punches and encourage them to pursue a strategy that would seem savage and effective to the attacker and onlookers while protecting the defender’s vitals.
“Eventually the student began to tire. At this point, a person in the crowd said to the fighter and all assembled, ‘Stop. It’s clear you’ve won and it’s gotten boring.’ The crowd murmured assent and the fighter stepped back. The scholar, head down, belly cradled in their arms as though the blows had had great effect, departed through a gap that formed in the crowd.”
An initiate asked why the scholar had not taken the case to the authorities.
“I will answer this question with another story of the scholar,” the traveler responded.
“One day, at this same school and in the same season, a criminal whose identity was known to the scholar arrived at the school in circumstances that they and the scholar were alone together briefly. The criminal threatened violence to someone beloved of the scholar, letting slip the information they knew which other school in the city held their intended victim.
“The scholar went immediately to the authorities and was told to wait. When the vice principal eventually heard the scholar’s tale, she expressed scorn and accused the scholar of lying to gain attention because no person, criminal or otherwise, could slip into the school unnoticed and leave as easily.
“The scholar’s request to contact the target school was denied, as was their request to contact a member of their family. They were sent to class, arriving late and interrupting the lesson.
“After the end of the school day, when the scholar reached home, they heard that the criminal had indeed found their target and done violence to them: violence that was returned in kind. The authorities at the other school suggested the scholar’s loved one leave the school because of poor citizenship and loss of face.
“Given the attitude of officials to threatened and actual violence, there was much to risk and little to gain in reporting the student’s threat.”
The initiate protested that it was the responsibility of the authorities to provide justice and equity.
The traveler answered, “the emperor makes the law and delegates the management of the kingdom to trusted officials, who in turn make regulations and delegate their enforcement, and on down the line. It is a small matter for wrongdoing to be upheld as well within the letter of the law and learned scholars to agree. Officials do not need to be corrupt for such an end to come about: all that is required is the obedience of a horse to its master.”
|Friday, March 25th, 2016|
|Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016|
|sometimes in the midst of the stress and disengagement
you realize you have been doing some important things wondrously well.
Seeing yourself described by the standards you reserve for others, rather than the impossible ones you set yourself, helps. And one could do much worse being raised by humans than welcomed into a wolf pack of one's own choice.
|Monday, February 8th, 2016|
|Leaning out the car window, 'cause that's how I roll
There was a faculty seminar at $employer today, and I was allowed to go because the powers that be opened up registration to include staff who had been through a particular leadership education program. The topic was "leadership in the post-secondary environment" and the target audience had initially been women faculty and grad students plus supporters of the whole UN-based HeForShe thing.
I went with the intention of listening openly, engaging in discussion, and learning. Because of my personal and work history and the cultures at $employer, my impressions were coloured by the caste system in evidence in the organization and the sector, intersectionality, the philosophy of feminism, and an intense awareness of differences between words and intent.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the majority of the (60-ish person, 10-20% male-appearing) audience appeared to be white, cisgender, heteronormative, highly educated, socially and economically in "comfortably above the mean" classes, able-bodied, physically and mentally healthy, and focused on improving the lot of highly capable white women with impeccable backgrounds. I did not actually spit-take when the speaker (from Toronto, a highly multicultural city an hour up the road) commented that of course $employer must have multiple highly activist black student groups. I noted the Sandbergian "lean in" attitude in the audience's questions and reactions to the speaker. I discussed some of the kyriarchy-related issues that were *not* raised with a couple of men who had been in the audience after the event was over.
I may well be a bad fit for a leadership role at various organizations because I allow my personal views on inclusion and equity (and my record of failures to meet my own goals and ideals in these areas) to be known. And if that means I've gone as far as the ceiling will allow in terms of positional power to create cultural change, the person I am today accepts that the ceiling is there while noting it's a stupid ceiling.
Because it is a stupid, tribal, vicious limitation we impose on ourselves and each other.
|Sunday, January 24th, 2016|
|Letting Google autocomplete make a dating profile
I am a
man of constant sorrow.My status is
baddest.I am looking for
cash job in Scarborough.I live
I die I live again.My height
in cm.My age
of anxiety.Body type
turtles.I like to
move it.I listen to
the wind of my soul.I watch
protein.My dream is
to fly.My dreams are
better than reality.I have
a plan.Looking for
continuing, having found the @TechnicallyRon sourceMy name is
Jeff.I live in
French.I was born in
the darkness.My body is
my own business.I am looking for
a job who
is beauty inside and has
to be tonight.I enjoy
being a girl.
mary jane being
number 2 speech.
|Tuesday, January 12th, 2016|
|if you can't say something cromulent
I've not been lacking for experiences, thoughts, and feelings that are worthy of communal sharing: enrichment, humour, common and uncommon humanity. I have, however, stepped into a place where writing about my inner and outer lives, formulating a narrative from my processes, is -- difficult. I'll tell you that I'm too full of dull plodding, the grey fog of enworldedness, and you might believe me.
Much of my state of being and becoming is admirable. Much of my interaction with society draws the razor-coated cynic out of me. I virtually bite my ethereal tongue, lest I give unintended, isolating, lasting offence.
I hope these words find you well, with a glimpse of the richness of your life.
Here endeth all I dare wring out at this time. Peace.
|Friday, January 1st, 2016|
S and I had purchased tickets to an event at a local independent movie house with DJ- and VJ-managed music, art, and shiny things. The event itself was scheduled to run from 9pm to 3am. We arrived around 9:20ish, to a fairly sparse group. Had our timing allowed us to catch a (free for the night) bus without much of a wait, we might have gotten there earlier and a bit warmer. I was low on stamina, having felt chilled for much of the previous three days. About an hour in S brought us both coffee; we'd had tangerines earlier, bursting with sweet fragrant flavour. We found seats in the least-lighted part of the theatre, where I mostly parked myself to enjoy the show; S sometimes sat companionably beside me and sometimes found enjoyment elsewhere in the venue. I put my scarf and neck warmer on when I felt cold.
As the night went on, noticeably around 10:30 when the music changed from vinyl to oontz-ful electronica, more people arrived. Some of them danced in front to the big screen despite the floor being on a bit of an angle. I'd have gotten up to dance to the mostly older rock but didn't want to dance alone. S got up a few times and danced to the electronic music, which I prefer to listen to and watch; he said the people were friendly.
There were two or three scheduled dancers with light-emitting hoops and sticks: they were fun to watch when I could see them. Sometimes when someone stood up close in front of me, I stood up so I could continue watching the light dancing.
Around 11:35 or so, the bellydancer I had particularly wanted to see started. I moved down from my seat to the front and managed without inconveniencing anyone to get a good view, perhaps the span or one or two arms away from the dance in a gap just behind the front row of people. The dance and the dancer were delightful.
Once that dance was done, I was ready to head home via city hall where I expected music, an indoor video game arena, and fireworks. S was also flagging, so we trotted off together. I nicked a couple more tangerines, one of which S ate as we walked downtown. We had a little conversation and agreed it was a good night.
At city hall, there was music and a host to count down the minute to midnight, but we did not see fireworks. We heard some later was we headed on homeward. Indoors, vendors and the video game minders were starting to pack things up. I did not play any of the games, even though they had a standup Ms Pac Man and a Gauntlet. S and I reminisced a bit about games.
I brushed my teeth, having already taken care of the rest of the usual evening rituals (S stayed up for the bedtime cat feeding) and slept.
I woke a little after five this morning, mostly stayed in bed for about an hour, and set to some kitchen chores. I stood in the relative quiet of our front porch as the snow fell in a light flurry and much of the city still slept. I brought in a disk of snow for the cats, and ate a little fresh snow myself. Yes, it probably is bad for me.
Now I'm sipping the coffee I made about two hours ago from the mug that keeps it warm for hours. I expect I'll go out later.