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This week had some weird emotional stuff at work. It wasn't a normal week to begin with, because I spent two days teaching instead of doing my usual. Then there was the part where I spoke about my childhood in front of a crowd of coworkers (minimally and lightly, but still), and also the part where I was hearing about something sad in another part of my team and I got to see my boss cry. :-( This is all totally separate from the HR issue that also blew up after business hours one day, sending four of us little managers scurrying around to each other to decide to escalate, together, above our vacationing director to the VP. We didn't have full consensus on doing that, either, despite it being in my opinion an obvious call. *headdesk*

I saw Quarte yesterday and pried his foot off another inch or so off the sexual brake. He's been a little overwrought about sex, if you ask me, and a couple of weeks ago he'd expressed that having an orgasm with someone felt scary because it felt like giving them his soul. So last week I told him that if someone were to accidentally give me a soul, that would be okay: I would hold onto it for a few minutes, take care of it and then give it back. Apparently that stuck and was the Right Thing To Say! Good. Little wins, I will take them. Still no soul-transfers (or intercourse, for that matter: GRUMP), but at this point there should probably be a friendly betting pool on when.

Working toward a breakup with serious structured acro. Or, actually, done, today -- my latest partner's usual performance partner is free to take dynamic with him, so I'm out and they're in. I want my Monday evenings back, and I want to work on stuff that will actually pay off. Of course upon sending the final text I got hit with a wave of very unpleasant FOMO, but that's the point, brain, let's do miss out on an awkward schedule with hard work that doesn't go anywhere and a weird "are you in the in-club" feeling attached! So, today I went out to the park for the first time in a long time. That was a good call. I got to vent to people who Understood, and do very nice standing hand-to-hands on three different people including [personal profile] soong, and I walked away with one person who'd like to take private lessons and one person who'd like to video a particular (long) acroyoga flow. So I feel better, and like I can ease off on the stressful stuff without my acrolife having to be entirely over, even though the jams are time-consuming and I've been feeling edgy about time lately.

Speaking of which, the work email calls.
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Sitting at the back of a classroom, having to be ready to help the teacher catch some dumb Javascript mistake at any moment while he's live-coding, I'm too jittery to do nothing but can't do anything too attention-absorbing, either. So, here are some tabs I've had open for a while.

  • Badgers in love comic, because it's adorable. "Offer's open." :-)

  • To my friends on the spectrum: covers the basic idea that if people ask you what you're doing, the meta-question is whether they can join you. In fact, a straight-up answer will turn people off. I've found this to be less true in adulthood, possibly because people are more into their chosen hobbies by now, and a lot of extreme activities aren't easily or safely joinable. But when I was younger I sure could have used this article.

  • Geeks, MOPs and Sociopaths -- about the typical rise and evolution and fall of subcultures. This was presented to me on FB, and rang dreadfully true to me in the context of the Boston acroyoga scene. Clearly I was a Geek there, and I could name some of the Sociopaths. I quote: Fanatics do all the organizational work, initially just on behalf of geeks: out of generosity, and to enjoy a geeky subsociety. They put on events, build websites, tape up publicity fliers, and deal with accountants. And then the "mops", or normal people, show up, and then... Fanatics may be generous, but they signed up to support geeks, not mops. Then the subculture dies, unless there's enough value for the sociopaths to show up.

  • Have you tried solving the problem? -- this just gets funnier the more I dip into it. Have you tried tying the problem to a stone altar, extracting its heart, and tossing its body down the stairs?

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I'm going to give my newly special guy friend a name, and his name is Quarte! Nothing to do with small packages, you dirty-minded creatures, and everything to do with the fact that a quarte is the first parry learned by most fencers. Those who know him IRL will get the pun.

I hung out with him for a while yesterday and discussed his reasons for not just fucking my brains out already, which would generally seem to be the polite thing to do under the circumstances.

Basically, people have an "accelerator" system and a "brake" system when it comes to sex. I knew this, you knew this, and Emily Nagoski has written about it at some length (but if you didn't know this: article, comic). Quarte right now is revving both systems pretty hard, which spells self-imposed f-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n. He has a high drive and also high brakes-pressing, the latter being left over from his last relationship. Importantly, I realized that when I was picking up sort of mixed signals from him last week, I wasn't really. He wasn't sending mixed signals, or at least not confused signals, he was sending TWO signals. (Oh!)

I further extrapolate that while I am very good at picking up people's "I'm attracted to you, let's go" signal, I'm not as natural at picking up the "ehhh maybe stop" signal (until people use their words -- I'm talking just about intuition and "radar" here). That is quite useful to know, if mildly likely to lead me into embarrassment. I'm not sure yet whether to work on being more sensitive to the other signal; a certain cheerful obliviousness seems likely to be pretty useful to Quarte, so maybe not yet.
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UGH. With mad dislike, I must relay to you the news that my acro base, out with an injury these last few weeks, finally got his MRI done and he has a labral tear (probably a SLAP tear). Even if he gets surgery he's very likely to be out for 12 months. Which means I don't have a dedicated base for dynamic class anymore... and I didn't even give this last one a special blog name. :_(

Me last August: The next one's got even more to learn than Panther, and maybe I'll just waste my energy training up someone else who'll leave me before the work can pay off...

Yup, almost called it. The one thing I got with him that was new is the cast-up to foot-to-hand, which is gone now: a flyer alone can't do a damn thing.

I'm not 100% sure, but I currently suspect that I won't continue with this class; at least not next session. I'm too discouraged at continuing to cover the same ground over and over with different new partners, and I'm not putting in the time I want to on my second handstand coach's press drills. Maybe I can solve/avoid both of these problems at once by ditching LCS on Monday nights, and dedicating them to solo handstand work.
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Well, that's twice in two days now that an infusion of cash (mine) and expertise (others') have worked magic in my life.

Exhibit A: my smartphone, already having been shattered at one corner for a few days, got dropped again and began to... well, it's more like a demon got into it. It wouldn't respond to the touchscreen but was ALSO acting as if it were getting a lot of random touch input -- cycling through every app I have, changing settings, trying to call me a Lyft, putting a shortcut to a particular (not very close) friend onto my desktop. Yeah, you can bet I got my sim card out of there fast; not before texting that friend though. Anyway, I have the next phone already on order, but I found no way to back up some game data or make my next upgrade easy without fixing this one, and the guy at a local phone repair place was actually working on the 4th. So I took a bus over to Union Square, and in ten expensive minutes the demon was exorcised. I really didn't think it would work. The guy even fixed the damage done by the last screen repair.

Exhibit B: my tooth. Mah toof! I had a chip (or sharp-edged wear, who knows?) in the back of one of my front teeth, so this morning I went to the dentist at 8AM. I love him, and he fixed my tooth in about 10 minutes, and now I love my tooth again. Also, he is hilarious. These snippets of dialogue actually happened.

Me: What's your plan here?
Dentist: Well, I'm going to stick some stuff on it, and then smooth it out, and then maybe change the angle of this other tooth so that it doesn't hit the stuff.


Dentist: That's it. Get out of here.
Dentist: I wouldn't go that far. Go on, get back to work.

(Dentist leaves)

Me to assistant, unprovoked: I love him.
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New friends -- would you enjoy reading occasional, detailed writeups of my sexual encounters? Comment here to get on my "explicit" filter.

I mostly only write about the ones I like, so they are cheerful posts, but not what everyone wants to read. Content warnings for explicit sex, and sometimes for kink involving (very happy) female submission.
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Work trips are always overwhelming. I kept this one low-key by avoiding all evening social plans, working out every day except airplane day itself, and playing a fair amount of Pokemon Go (the highlight of my trip: ten minutes early for a meeting with a director at the edge of campus, I sat down to pit myself against a raid boss that happened to be right there. The director pulled up on a bike, whipped out his phone and joined me; we got that Croconaw together and then had our meeting). At any rate, good meetings were had, and I got confirmation from my management chain that I Have Support to go for promotion this fall. I'm also putting together proposals for potential new teams to be under me. In short, there are interesting things to do and I guess I feel back into it again, enough to not mind the whole scene too much.

The seedlings were faithfully watered by [personal profile] heisenbug in my absence, while I put them on 6 hrs dark / 18 hrs light schedule to give them some transition into the flowering stage. They are absolutely not seedlings anymore; I call them this only as one fondly calls a cat "kitten" long after real kittenhood is over. All eight of them are now sprouting little white pre-budding hairs at the crown and also in the joints between trunk and large leaves, and they've gotten taller; exactly like gawky young teens getting leggy and starting to sprout armpit hair. I've decided not to update their grow light, and just switch their light/dark schedule to 12/12 and see what I get with the setup I have.

Sexploration: I feel some coming on, so to speak. I've been feeling both very happy with my two lovers, and very explorey, lately. I did a small amount of Tinder swiping while in California, but Tinder makes me nervous; if I swipe right on a single goddamn person, then the next day we are very likely to match, and then I feel obligated to chat. (You cry for me, male readers, I am sure.) That's exactly what happened on my last evening, but I was tired by then, and just wanted to do laundry in the corp apartment and read and go home. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with an old-but-infrequent friend who I had a crush on in college, and who was once a metamour, and I wonder if things will line up this time; one of these years you'd think they might. And there's a guy I need to write about a threesome, also, who I've been meaning to write to for months. Time to roll a few dice, I think, before I get too worky again.
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I spent a weekend in Vermont with [personal profile] heisenbug, actively disliking small towns and facing unfriendly food options (dairy, bell peppers). Our friend's wedding went beautifully -- it was outside in a sculpture garden, and they wrote their own vows. So bittersweet to see them doing an acro routine for their first dance... it's the kind of thing we would do if we were getting married now, but we got married well before there was any acro in town, before [personal profile] justplainuniverse ever lifted me onto her feet and got me hooked. So, yeah, they are younger and cuter and cooler than us, and he brings the contentment and she brings the joie de vivre and together they'll do just fine, I think.

It was also my first time in a hedge maze, and I took pictures of an adorable little frog.

Then I went back to work today. Bleh, it was so weird, filled with people caring a lot about very abstract and esoteric stuff that I couldn't quite connect with. I declared email bankruptcy and didn't have much to catch up on, except figuring out what happened this quarter and what the tech leads think we should do next quarter. And I went to meetings. There's a list of stuff I could be doing this evening, but today it all feels too distant to care about, and I took the evening off. Luckily, after the long break nobody expected me to be useful on Day 1... maybe tomorrow I'll be able to care more, and therefore actually do more.
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Definite change in tone, on about Wednesday, as my focus began to shift to "okay, really, this vacation will end soon. What will I be pissed at myself later for NOT doing now, while it would have been easy?".

Hauling my Dutch commuter bike out of the basement was one of those things, a somewhat spiderwebby thing. Longtime readers might remember me getting this bike in, uh, 2009. Here is a picture, and it still looks just like that (except for the now-flat tires) because I rode it probably less than 10 times. It deserves way better, and it prickles at my minimalist brain to have SUCH a large object sitting there unused; vacation confirmed to me that I need to sell it, along with its numerous accessories. It is lovely and if I were going to ride a bike, it'd be that one; now it's time to accept my nature as Not A Bike Person, sweep the webs off it, and put up an ad.

Taking a private trapeze lesson was another (originally planned to be a semi, but people are flakes). I like to sit on the trapeze between classes on Wednesday, and wanted a couple of safe things to do during that time; what I actually did, according to the teacher, was about half of the 101 class. And if I can remember them, I have some easy tricks to do now: star in a box, dead hang, rajah with a twist out, some random poses that are mostly "make this body shape". Also a half mill plus the one trick I hated and wouldn't really do, a candlestick. I would like to learn a monkey roll... does anyone here happen to know what Esh level those are usually taught at?

I've also started to work through all my various logins to websites, updating and deleting. That last one is a much longer project than I'd expected; with ~125 lines left in the password hints spreadsheet, I might have realized, but I didn't. Guess I'll be working away at that for a while. Let's see though, I started with 138, and the first 15 are now confirmed, so that means I removed 12 or 13 lines while verifying 15? Yep. As I suspected, that file is full of cruft. It's also OLD -- how old isn't clear, but there was one password hint that actually stumped me for about an hour. "Bk...", all right, it's probably based on a phrase, but what on earth could "Bk" be short for? Big kids? Burger King? Be...? Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle! That's from at least six years ago and the login doesn't work, and I hate that site, so delete. (And now you know that I base a lot of my passwords on phrases: the "Be kind" quote turns into Bk,4eymifagb. It's reasonably good because you get built-in capital and lowercase letters, punctuation, and often an easy number from a "one" or "for" or "to".)

The rest of my vacation is pretty well spoken for. Last night was all about [personal profile] norwoodbridge and his birthday (dinner with his kids, walks on the beach -- the kids got fascinatingly fighty!), and the next two are all about a friend's wedding. This was all planned, and it's nice to not have much chance to fret about work starting. I'm still planning to walk into Monday completely cold, and let people tell me what happened.
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Yesterday was nearly the platonic ideal of a vacation day:
  • Woke up with no alarm clock

  • Productively did follow-up things from the weekend (review AirBnB hosts, figure out who owes $)

  • Try a new-to-me restaurant with a work friend

  • Go to the gym just to stretch: read more of Too Like the Lightning while doing pikes and splits and backbends

  • Home, email, social media

  • Went to LCS for handstands, then dynamic acro with my very sweet and amusing new substitute base. He's new to this level of acro, a cute young thing who works in software sales during the day and does burlesque performance at night, and I think we beat him up pretty well. I also think he based his first standing hand-to-hand though... so, hopefully worth it?

  • The park near my house was all lit up with Pokemon Go lures! Caught some Pokemon in the late-evening warmth.

  • Showered, made up for missed date night with [personal profile] heisenbug

  • Finally got memento from Sassy Fran in Neko Atsume

  • Received cat snuggles, fell asleep.

Sickening, huh? Today's been mildly less ideal, but I did get caught out in a very dramatic summer thunderstorm -- something I didn't realize was on my list, but it should have been. There was hail! Trees got knocked over! It was thrilling, in a low-consequence way.

And now I'm off to finish Too Like the Lightning. It's a current Hugo nominee which is dense as hell, has a very unreliable and self-conscious narrator, and which spends a lot of time at the beginning confusing the reader for fun; I would never have been able to get into it if I were working full-time.
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In an ironic and (to me) amusing twist, hang gliding last weekend was pretty anticlimactic. We would never have gotten a large group together, or been able to reserve a nice 8-person AirBnB, if I hadn't planned way in advance; but I also learned that you shouldn't plan way in advance when something is 100% dependent on exact weather/wind conditions.

On Day 1, Saturday, we got to set up a glider, which basically means unfolding it and adding struts to it like you'd add tent poles to a tent. Then we learned how to hold it on our shoulders and trot with it so that it picked itself up for a few seconds. We rotated between four people on one glider, so there was a significant wait between attempts; I'm not sure this was wisest in terms of time usage since there was so much lag between try #1 and try #2 but, at any rate, my second try went fine.

Then we went a little bit up the hill and tried to run downhill! My hang glider picked itself up and then picked me up, but I held it too far in front of me (instead of holding the triangle back by my sides and keeping my chest shoved through) and that led to an inglorious nosedive from maybe a foot off the ground. Obviously I felt fine about that -- hey, very first try, lots of tries left to go! -- and [personal profile] heisenbug got a glorious picture of me going splat. I got up laughing. Sadly, I was strapped into the glider for my second try when we found ourselves waiting for the wind direction to change; it was just a mild breeze, but the direction never changed and everyone came in off the hill. Mild drama was added at this point, as one lone paraglider went up from the top of the hill and went down, observed by many people, as his sail partially collapsed and he disappeared behind the hilltop. (He had a radio and was soon determined to be fine, and they sent folks out with a "rope kit" to fetch him, his pride, and his paraglider from a tree.)

We left early, with the promise of more efficiently getting to the hill on Sunday; and had a perfectly fine social time of lunch, playing Joking Hazard and A Fake Artist Goes to New York, and dinner at the AirBnB. The second game was new to me, and I laughed until I cried when everyone tagged me as the fake artist for drawing a skateboard under (what was supposed to be) the Power Rangers -- I have never seen such a ranger, and thus provided excellent cover to the real fake artist. So it goes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I was still disappointed at not getting to correct the easily fixable mistake in my first-and-only run downhill, and heartened the next morning when the forecast (which had said "gusty") cleared up quite a bit; our experienced friend thought we would get more attempts. Unfortunately, the morning weather reading indicated not; the mild, pleasant breeze was again from The Wrong Direction. Nobody else went out either, except for some beginning paragliders who were just learning "kiting" or handling their equipment on the ground; and we did acro for a bit on the grass there and went home, with vouchers in hand for another day.

I'll happily try again, and clearly the way to go is to call in advance, go on very short notice in smaller groups, and maximize one's chance of ideal conditions. I grew up daydreaming about hang gliding, and it still seems appealing, modulo the main dealbreakers of needing a lot of equipment and a car and perfect weather conditions, and a few more tries seem in order.


This weekend I also learned that if one hang glides during spider parachuting season -- you know how baby spiders will reel out a thread until it picks them up and wafts them to a new home? One can apparently hang-glide along and collect tons of these baby spiders on one's guide wires, then land and be instantly surrounded. Ahhhhhh! Why did no one ever tell me about this nightmarish possibility!?
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Sigh. I was so looking forward to reading Capture. While I still buy its Big Idea (the dynamic of minds getting stuck on things is shared among many mental woes), the book first collapsed under the weight of too many anecdotes and then failed to deliver on practical insights. I appreciated the book's final message, on the possibility of change through "becoming aware of the ways in which we deploy our attention" and working to actively shape these. However, I turned the last page expecting to find a chapter or two of techniques to use to that end, and was surprised and disappointed to already have reached the footnotes.

At any rate, I'm no stranger to the phenomenon of "brain being stuck on a thing" and feeling powerless to shift my attention. Crushes and limerence are like this, of course, but here are some others that come to mind immediately:

MIT: what kind of little kid reads about a certain college at the age of seven and decides to go there, and devotes her life pretty singlemindedly to getting there for the next 9 or 10 years? This little kid! In case you're curious, I read an article in Reader's Digest about the hackers there (roof and tunnel style hacking, not computers); I identified with that nonharmful sneaky playfulness just as I was attracted to the article's message about MIT being "the best" engineering school. I was caught! I look back in some horror at how badly this could have bitten me, if I hadn't in fact gotten in. I did, though, and I'm sure that my obsession made it easier for me to pick up and move across the country, and many good things ensued. I never broke out of this capture, just achieved the thing.

Four-Leaf: the last bad-spiral kind of capture I had was definitely [personal profile] norwoodbridge's ex-girlfriend. The reasons why are still unclear, but surely she was salient (appearing suddenly, and seeming like a threat) in an area of my life that I cared about. Why her approach to life, which was different from mine, became a subject of my almost constant thoughts is less clear. That was all very bad, and combined with other dynamics that were also going on, which was worse. I did break out of this one eventually, after I realized that my brain being stuck was itself a problem and, in desperation, agreed to (or proposed) just not talking about her for a full month. Talking less allowed me to think less, and a few weeks later the stimulus went away.

The press handstand: AHAHAHHAHA fuck. Still mightily in the grip of this one. I'm not even completely sure when this hit -- could it have been 2006-ish, when [personal profile] justplainuniverse did one in front of me in a park in Philadelphia? I don't think it was earlier and it couldn't have been much later. I also remember being so shocked that I said something REALLY stupid, along the lines of "zomg, if I can't do that in a year I'll want to kill myself" and immediately regretted my wording. So I think there was a strong feeling there, I was trying to make a strong statement of desire/intent whatever I actually said, and that might have been the capture moment. I've definitely gotten attached to handbalancing overall in the meantime, but the initial goal remains, and I've wondered many times whether it's done me more harm than good. Overly ambitious goals can hurt a person, and -- starting where I was starting -- that was too ambitious. No more athletic goals of that sort for me, I think. It's comforting that the splits, too, took me about ten years, and I got that... but still. Stupid freaking brain.

(I wrote all that on Thursday and am just posting it now.)
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Topic that came up with therapist lately, and which could turn into an essay or more structured musing at some point: my mother has always been disappointed in me for not being more into color. Or possibly disappointed for me that I haven't gotten into it... either way, it's especially about colorful clothing. This goes back to at least college:
  • One time when she visited, and said aloud something like "I thought you'd stopped wearing black so much, until I saw you fold your laundry".

  • Just over a year ago I dressed up as Kimmy Schmidt (this outfit) for Halloween. Her response was "Hallelujah, you've discovered color! :-)" Later she laughed about the moment when she realized it was a costume.

Unfortunately for her, my tolerance for color in clothing has taken a nosedive in the last two years, right along with my tolerance for scratchy clothing tags and seams. I haven't talked to her about this but, at some point, I should. And what I should tell her is: bright colors sap my energy and make me tired. She might not realize this, given how long it took me to realize it myself, and therefore might not ACTUALLY be wishing that I'd annoy myself all day more often. :P

I've heard her use the term "feasting one's eyes". Maybe she needs to know that eyes can be force-fed, too.

Anyway, we became curious whether this is a common sensory processing thing, related to the aspie/autism spectrum, and yesterday I did a few searches. Sure enough. Not always, but sometimes, and the specific colors that kids with sensory issues like are the ones that I have always liked. I found a lot, but here are just two quotes.

  • From here, autism parenting magazine: "Reds, oranges, yellows and white are over stimulating and can be highly disturbing, whereas blues, greens, purples, browns and black are soothing and comforting. We educate parents, family members and caregivers to not only be aware of the colors that surround the children, but also what people wear around sensory kids..."

  • From here, "Children with sensory issues typically like muted tones of blue and green, This is according to the research of Rogers, J., & Short, J., in "Sensory Differences: Online Training Module," for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. These colors have shorter wavelengths than brighter colors and thus do not create as much stimulation in the brain."

Intriguingly, this all led to a good discussion with [personal profile] heisenbug about how he doesn't like bright lipstick. Somewhere in a tab that I closed was, indeed, a story about a boy who loved his aunt but wouldn't greet her on the days when she wore red lipstick... the contrast with pale skin, apparently, is part of it for the bug, along with the idea that the bright unnatural ick might smear onto one. That, in turn, led me to something else the smithy proprietor talked about, "the hand of the eye", and how we can be displeased by something that looks bad to touch even if we're not planning to touch it.

I still like lipstick, but I don't feel so bad anymore about the mom thing. And I got lucky when it comes to palettes, really: there's good overlap between what I like and what looks good on me. If I were black and looked fantastic in bright orange, that'd cause some terribly interesting tug-of-war between vanity and tranquillity.

Only in this moment did I realize that when I changed my last name in my early 20s, I chose a color and it's arguably the most neutral of them all... laughing as I post this.
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C'est moi! I jittered my way through the workweek, pushed hard until the last hour, and went out as clean as I could possibly have hoped to for my four weeks of sabbatical/vacation/outage. It hasn't fully sunk in yet, on this first day that was much like a normal Saturday, but two things were different: first, I read a fun book cover-to-cover in between other things (The Girl With Ghost Eyes; yes, it was good. Yes, I read very fast). Second, when the party I was attending kind of blurred on for a while and I lost track of time, it didn't stress me out.

The one thing that deserves (but won't get) its own entry: blacksmithing offsite on Thursday, in which we made bottle openers. I am far, far happier with this bottle opener as an object than I was with the bracelet I made last time I went to this same place; also the bottle opener doesn't have bad memories on it. I might actually keep it and use it! Also, the proprietor of the smithy gave the same wonderful lecture on how when one is a toolmaker, one owes it to the world to smith up and fix things that are wrong with one's workspace or environment. Smith up! Fix it! He didn't know, and I had the honor of telling him, that [personal profile] norwoodbridge and I have had an email thread about "smithing up" running since last year when we got that lecture the first time. He was super touched, and I felt good about allowing that circle to close.

I also learned the lovely phrase "think in the fire", which apparently is the often-lost other half of the "strike when the iron is hot" maxim. It doesn't mean to think while one is on fire but, rather, to use the time while the iron is sitting in the forge to plan one's next move and get things all set up. It has applications to life, I think: use the calm parts of life, get ready, think how you want things to be for the next time you need full functionality. As a manager, it could also mean: use the time when your team is calmly working on their project to be thinking about their next projects.

Little else to report... a freak 80-degree day and a 90-degree day have melted the ice off my bones, and I'm behind on reading/commenting but have a lot of tabs open for perusal tomorrow.
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Weeks and days. It hasn't been my intent to post only weekly or on the weekends -- weeks are the units of my emotional life now, and weekly is the cadence on which, for the most part, the things in my life happen. Obviously that can't be entirely true, because sleeping and eating and such; and also monthly bill payments (mostly automated now) and quarterly work planning and yearly events like holidays, seasons and birthdays. Still, the week is what dominates my conscious sense of how things are going. Did I have good handstands, did I finish with a nice sense of completion or with a sense of "thank goodness I have the weekend to catch up"? I wonder whether I'll be able to change this while I'm on vacation, maybe by creating a few more daily habits. There could be real payoff to experiencing 30 days, as opposed to 4 weeks and a random extra weekend.

Weird exercise stuff

Well, first of all, if you are doing effortless pistol squats in a public place I am probably going to approach you and drop into a pistol to say hi. That's how I met probably the highest-level ashtanga yoga practitioner I've ever talked to in person (he practices third series regularly -- you can't even learn that in this town), on a train ride out to see my handstand coach yesterday. I showed him dragon pistols for fun, and we talked about body-weight stuff and instagram-friended each other at the end.

Second of all, if you are doing something obviously balance-intensive at the gym, I am probably going to approach you and ask what it is. That's how I learned an exercise I have no name for, last weekend. Basically you hold a weighted bar in front of you, vertically, just a bit below its middle, as if it's a sword and you're in an ad for the Marines. Tighten your butt and core, find some stillness, hold the bar there with just one hand. Then put your other hand below your first hand, raise it a bit (the bar is higher now), drop your first hand, find some stillness. Repeat. Repeat. It gets much wigglier and harder by the time you're holding the bar at the bottom, and much easier if you keep the bar in a good place to begin with. I think the guy I saw was doing this with an 18lb bar and I did it with a 12lb for my first try... it felt very like an acro tightness/stillness exercise, and I think my years of flying foot-to-hand came in handy.

Third of all, if you are my handstand coach and tell me to do something, I'm probably going to do it. Yesterday I learned "eye pushups", my coach's name for an exercise he learned at a Z-Health event. One holds a marker (pencil, stick... thumb?) out at arm's length, stares vigorously at one spot or letter on it, then slowly brings the marker in to the face until it's no longer possible to focus well; then slowly back out. Three reps. I don't know WTF is going on here, but I did a few handstands before that and a few handstands after that, and my balance got way better instantly.

Cold, cold, cold.... this 50-degree weather just isn't working out for me, Boston. It's been weeks, the house's heating system seems helpless against clamminess in a way it's not against true winter cold, and I'm sleeping in heavy fleecy clothes that I usually can't wear to bed in the winter without waking up all sweaty (now, it's working just fine). I'm only warm when I'm exercising. Bleh.
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Punched Out -- it's rare to read an explanation of suicide this cogent and grounding. It makes me sad that more neurotypical folks did such a bad job of dealing with this man while he was alive, though. People are often very quick to anger when there's a perceived slight.

I found the best anagram in English is a fun read if you're a crossover wordplay/programming nerd, with some very satisfying anagrams as a final payoff (excitation and intoxicate)! I won't give away the best one, but it's VERY good.

A "5 questions" self-help thing that I rather liked; first for the sheer chutzpah of claiming "Buddhism, Stoicism and neuroscience" as a combined source, and second for the content. I particularly like "Does the world owe me this?" and "Must I have this to have a happy life?".

A Silicon Valley abuse story, in which physical abuse and death threats are judged "offensive touch" and the abuser is given less than 30 days in jail, is a link you probably shouldn't read. I found it more disturbing than anything I've read in quite a long time. Some of the abuse-scene transcripts (which she recorded on an iPhone) read much like BDSM scenes, having the same sort of, well, silliness to them. Except there's the most horrible crossover into the realm of her professional knowledge (“What is a bug?” he asks. “Come on, bitch! What is a bug?”), and the whole thing of demeaning her, and blaming her for things is done without consent (“You don’t want to get beaten up?” he asks. “Then control yourself”). It's about a million miles away from the in-joke between [personal profile] norwoodbridge and me about how everything is my fault... and when he hits her it's not because they both like it, and there's no safeword. Not only was this article hard for me to get through, I think I finally understand why BDSM scenes are upsetting to some people. Ugh.
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Fluevogs -- I went to Fluevog, as I do every year or two. The idea was to look at a nice sensible plain pair, and naturally those things hated my feet and my feet hated them right back. These chunky, mildly witchy platform sandals though? Surprisingly wide toebox and a comfortable stride. I wouldn't have picked them out online, but they came home with me, and on some non-rainy day soon I'm going to startle my co-workers by wearing them. How deliciously tall I will be, that day. :-)

Head scritches from the corporate overlords -- behold, my highest ever performance rating! It seems to have been a combination of me dealing with some next-level shit and the bar moving slightly (as a manager, I know perfectly well that the bars move, which means I can pry it out of my own managers when the bars affecting me move). It required some explanation, but now I know what counted as next-level. And I managed to quickly squelch my reaction of "oh shit, I'd better not take that vacation if I want to hold on and get this rating again", because that is no bueno and also a trap. My new plan is to take the vacation, clear my head, get the rating ANYWAY and consider floating a promotion packet in the fall. Things are changing (new definition of tech-manager levels probably going into effect, plus unknown process changes) so it'll be a guinea-pig cycle where nobody quite knows what's going on anyway.
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Welcome to new friends: I made an intro post over in the [community profile] 2017revival community and have picked up some new readers/friends as a result. I'm hoping that some will stick, and offset a bit of the disgruntlement I feel at how quickly LJ has left my life.

Taxes happened this weekend, and brought to light exactly how much more I make right now than my husband (no DW name yet). It got awkward when he didn't want to split the bill evenly, but an hour of calculating "married filing singly" shut up my whining: that is a hellscape made of razor blades, and I would have owed a lot more alone than we do together. So we ended up splitting it proportionally to our income and calling it a day. It's funny... we've had all kinds of different income ratios over the years, and every year we decide something different regarding fairness at tax time. Radical idea: maybe the government should stop caring whether people are married. But that might be unrealistic... there's a lot of economic thinking baked into the current legal idea of "marriage", and one change would probably mean a cascade of changes. The right set of changes isn't obvious and would definitely not be an easy political win for anyone trying to push it.

A quote: From Ursula K Leguin's The Dispossessed, on the topic of deserving things and not deserving things.

“For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.”
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Burnout and victories

Another week of work burnout is down to its little nub of ash (though topped off nicely with an unexpected Friday lunch with [personal profile] melebeth). There were some victories, two to be precise: I got one of my junior folks promoted after writing an appeal that the appeals committee actually complimented, and I struck a deal to hire another person (before the headcount I was borrowing could evaporate or be yoinked on its string back to California, as they are wont to do). For those playing along at home, yeah, that means I also lost one appeal and, with it, a promotion case: my first such loss as a manager. Thoroughly expected, I might add; the engineer in question really wanted to put himself up, though, and I will defend to the death his right to do that.

With those top priorities taken care of, I'm just down to the angry buzzing list of emails and design docs that want attention. It's hard to focus on them; burnout means that I feel overwhelmed and filled with heart-stopping ennui all at the same time. I'm trying to acknowledging and observe the feelings while still doing the things people expect, and setting up for that four-week vacation. Five full weeks remain between now and then, so I guess self-care will continue to be a huge priority for a while yet.


This weekend I finished reading Sapiens, which I enjoyed for its biological focus and absolute lack of species-centric snobbery. A taste:

Most members of agricultural and industrial societies are domesticated animals.... Today, the society called New Zealand is composed of 4.5 million Sapiens and 50 million sheep.

Handstand presses off boxes!

And I also made some handstand progress, consistently straddle-pressing off of 24" boxes at the gym. I know the height is unimpressive, but it's a start. I had a breakthrough when I realized that I can press off the wall but have a harder time starting on a horizontal surface -- so I put my toes just over the edge of the boxes, so that I was pressing away from the side instead of off the top, and voila. If I can improve on this over time, it'll just be a race to the bottom.
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First post from DreamWidth; it helps that ALL my most active LJ friends are here already.


I've spent an amusing amount on artificial cheeses, what with all the new products popping up at the new grocery store that's a block away from me. Who knew that daiya has a "smoked gouda" style, until last night? (It's not The Same, but it tastes decent on a cracker.) And kite hill makes a dairy-free spinach and ricotta ravioli that's based on almond-milk ricotta. And there are cashew cheeses with live cultures!

If you'd gone two years or more without pizza in your life, you might be on this weird little bandwagon too.

Press progress

I did indeed impress my secondary handstand coach yesterday with my strength and balance, then unimpressed him with my inability to press up from having my feet on benches. That's my next goal. I should be able to do it... but I lose my spinal curl and go from press to planche right after my toes lift, and down I sink. What a strange and esoteric thing I am into; but I've been calm and happy about it lately. This year's very likely my year. Today's not my day though, today my shoulders get a rest.

The recruiter game.

Recruiter sez: I like to think our engineers are true bar raisers - they work cross-functionally and tackle insane technical challenges in order to [blah, blah...]

And then I sez: No thanks... and I doubt you're going to have much luck recruiting female tech leaders / engineers with wording like "insane". Why would I want to pit myself against "insane" challenges when I could lead a growing, healthy team that sets achievable goals for itself? If you're interested in pitching your job listings to encourage diversity, you can read more here:



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