I was looking at my blog page showing the calendar of when I post. Apparently it's pretty much a sure thing that I'll post on a Sunday, moderately sure on a Monday, and kinda spotty for the rest of the week. Dunno what that means, merely an observation.
Is is goofy to get giddy about stuff? I was jumping up and down and clapping and generally making an ass of myself (as much as I was capable of) today about getting my VIP pass to the DMB concert in Golden Gate Park. I'm sooooo excited!!! Can't wait to go, it'll be fun. Dave concerts are always fun, and it'll be nice to be out and about, and I'm looking forward to spending time with my friend that I'll be going with. All in all, should be a great day. It would have been perfect if I actually felt as good physically as I did mentally/emotionally about getting the pass.
Have I mentioned my paranoid delusion that I'm on the verge of a physical breakdown? I feel like crap, have done for days now. I have a canker sore under my tongue that I think has infected one of my salivary glands (one side is all swollen and an angry red), my glands are swollen and I have a sore throat. I think the only thing holding my together physically at this point is sheer willpower - I don't have time to get sick. But as soon as I do, I'm going to get good and damned sick. (Like when I got bronchitis and when I got shingles if you think I'm merely being dramatic.) How long before I can get sick? Probably another month, at which point I hope that both personally and professionally things will be at a point where I can bow out for a few days straight, so I can take myself away where no one knows where I am so I can sleep, recoup my strength and generally get the fuck outta dodge.
Now... knowing that this physical collapse is imminent, am I doing anything different to try to ward it off? Yes, I'm trying to marshal the troops, trying to make sure that I take good care of myself (eating actual vegetables and fruits, getting enough rest, drinking enough water, asking for help when I need it - ok, that one needs work). But I think it's a bit of too little too late. If I could get rid of the stress, I'd have done so already (and continue every day to try to let the little stuff roll off like water off a duck's back). So the best I can do is do the best I can and ward off the collapse until a point where I can actually deal with it. Wish me luck.
I just realized that I've been compartmentalizing again. I only share certain parts of myself with certain people. Not very many people get to see me being cranky and tired and run down and sad and how I really am. To the degree that I've been generally happier lately, that's not a bad thing (i.e. I"m being the sad cranky person less often.) For most people I put on the happy face (or at least the "I'm trying to be happy" face). And I realized that when a friend shared one of those cranky times, that that let me into their world a little bit, made me feel closer to the person (whether they really intended that or not). And I realized that I don't let that happen very often. Not because it would hurt me to do so I don't think. But because I don't want to lean on anyone. The only person I can ever count on being there is me, so if I get used to leaning on someone and then the person isn't there, then I'll fall. Would it kill me to fall? Probably not. I wouldn't let myself lean on someone if I were near a precipice, right? So if I'm nowhere near a precipice, why can't I lean on someone? I think mostly because I don't know how anymore - how do you let someone in when you've built all the walls to keep people out? Could it also be that while I'm thinking that letting a person see the tired/cranky/real part of me would drive them away, that what it would really do is let them in? Because if I thought it would drive them away, then does it matter if I'm these negative things in front of other people? Or is it scary to be negative in front of people because it makes me real and (whether I want to or not) it lets them see me?
I guess that makes me wonder what things about me that other people find to love? In what ways do I get into their hearts? I think of the ways that other people have gotten into my heart, and it's by being real and human and vulnerable - when they let me in to see who they are without the veneers. But can you let people in in a studied, calculated way, or do they find what they love about you by what you *didn't* intend to share but somehow did? Hm... stuff to ponder.
I'm off to sleep - why do I keep scheduling these damned early morning meetings? Doh!
People on 101 drive differently than those on 280. People don't seem to go as routinely fast on 101 as they do on 280 (maybe because accidents screw things up on that freeway often enough that people know better than to try going 80 on a consistent basis?). Another thing I noticed - people stay in every lane on 101, regardless of how fast they are going. On 280 there tends to be less traffic late at night, so you see people sticking to the two right lanes and only using the third or 4th lane from the right to pass. But people on 101 seem to think it's their god-given right to stay in the fast lane, even if they are not going faster than the other lanes. Or even if they are being passed on the right. (Not that I would do a thing like that...)
A thanks to the universe... As the latest reality slap goes, this one was reallllllly minor. More of a tap on the shoulder than a slap. But I got the message just the same. It's nice to sometimes get the lesson without the hugely fucked up dose of reality for once - this lesson was only a small one, the reality was one that I could work around, one that is well-timed, and is a good reminder to boot.
I need a vacation. I really, really, really want one. It's been almost a year since I took a real one, and 4-5 months since I've even taken a day off (other than work holidays). The stress is building, some of it stuff that I'm doing to myself, and some that others are putting on me, and some stuff that has been hanging around and is sorta/almost/maybe/kinda coming to a head. And bad things are gonna happen if I don't get some relief soon. (By bad I mean physically, not that I'm going to stick my head in the oven or anything.) Maybe even a 3 day weekend would help? Maybe a trip to someplace warm/sunny/beachy with tropical drinks for a long weekend? Maybe I should plan something in late Sept. as both an incentive and a reward to myself (incentive to have things far enough along on my project to be able to take the time, reward for having survived all the crap on my plate thus far). Hm... with that in mind I need a travel buddy - let me put it out there and see what manifests.
How come I feel really busy, but also out of touch with friends? I haven't seen a number of my friends in a while, but I still always seem to have stuff to do. (I'm not complaining about the stuff to do, mind you, just noticing.) Maybe things will slow down soon for both me and them, and we can catch up? And if all else fails, I can always plan stuff with them.
Poker is fun, but apparently my luck is rather streaky. And does your good luck even matter/count if someone else at the table is having better luck? I have proved to myself (yet again) that I'm not really a gambler at heart - I can (and do) walk away at any point and am fine with it. And while I prefer to win, I'm generally a poor winner and a good loser (no, that's not backwards). When I'm winning I don't like to rub it in people's faces, so if I've been taking someone's money all night and I have a killer hand, I don't then go in for the kill like I would if I had a killer hand on an off night. And vice versa, if I'm having a losing night, I try to not be a poor sport and ruin another person's good time (although that strategy may not meet with full success). M used to be a complete butthead if I were winning and he were losing, so since I hated that, I try to keep that in mind when I'm either winning or losing. Besides, I'm usually even-steven.
I'm a spoiled CA person. When it gets below 40 or over 90 you'd think I'd lost my mind with how much I complain. But yet it's never for very long (4 days, tops) in either case, nor is it very often, nor is it humid, nor do we have twisters, etc. So I'm sure I'll get over it. But it was damned hot today even though I tried to move about a little as possible, and it's still hot in my house with every window open. Maybe that's why I can't sleep. (yeah... right...)
Would the opposite of a meltdown be a freezeup? (It's not quite the same, is it?) In any case, it was only a teeny meltdown and I thought I should check in and let people know that I'm ok. Had a bad day, had to make a difficult choice and have a difficult conversation and then felt guilty about it (which I knew I would), feeling better now.
Just as a measure of how I'm doing - my sense of humor is intact. When I was feeling like a shitty human being (which is not to say that I'm not), I kinda talked myself down. My starting phrase in my head was "I'm the worst person EVER". Then I had to amend it to "...ok, except for Hitler." And then to "...ok, except for dictators in general". From thence to "...ok, I'm not even as bad as my shitty director at work, so I'm obviously a rank amateur at this being a shitty person thing." Which made me laugh and realize that all is not lost if I can still laugh at myself.
Oh, and I thought about a comment that kwc made the other night, the gist of which is that I keep having shitty managers where I work. (Other conversation went on about my company having shitty managers in general - again based on anecdotes from some folks in our crowd.) And I realized that that may be true in *his* experience of knowing about my work environment, but that that's not true overall. Basically, I think his sample of people at my company and their perceptions of their bosses is skewed.
So just to prove that I'm not ONLY a grumpy bitch, I have to give credit where it's due and say that while my 2 most recent bosses at my company have sucked ass, I have actually been lucky in my 7 year career with this company to have had mostly cool bosses. People rarely talk about their cool bosses (because bitching is so much more fun than praising), so I'll take a minute to do so. My last boss before the two bosses from hell was the only female boss I had at this company. I liked her enough to basically choose to be her employee (i.e. she wasn't a people manager before I joined her "group"). Things weren't always peachy between us, we'd have our disagreements, but we are still friends, and I think our working relationship was strong because of our many similarities (both driven to do the right thing, both smart and semi-technical, etc.), but also made stronger by our differences as well (she was more steady, I was more fire/brimstone/let's go kick some ass). So she was a kick ass boss.
The boss before that I sorta chose to go work for. Basically my job as it stood was going to go away (they no longer needed a project manager when the technical person who got hired could both project manage and do the technical stuff that I didn't know how to do specific to that function), so I had to find another situation. We were both wary at first of taking each other on, but he was a great boss - shielded me from shit, took my feedback seriously and acted on it when he felt he should, told me when I was being full of shit and wouldn't let me get away with laziness, but was also indulgent of how I did things (i.e. going to beer bashes at 4:00 on Fridays). I was bummed when he left the company, but I still see him occasionally socially. Besides, you gotta love a boss who gets drunk with the gang on a group offsite and tries to open the valve on the beer tanks on the brewery tour.
The cool boss before that (there was one in between that was ok - not great, not horrible, mostly let me do what I wanted and my management of him consisted mostly of talking him down - for whatever reason that was my designated task in the group) is one that I still see at least once per month for poker (even though he left a few years ago). When we first started working together I'd have thought you were smoking crack if you'd have said we'd become friends because we butted heads over so much stuff. But it turned out that we butted heads because we were both trying to do the right thing (protect our people), and because we were so much alike. I later chose to go work for him in a group we formed that hadn't existed before in our company (essentially IT functions within CS because IT wasn't cutting it for us). He was awesome because he'd give me honest feedback with enough sensitivity for me to hear it and act on it (i.e instead of telling me that I was being too strident about something, he'd take me aside and give me hints about other ways that I could approach the issue). He was also cool because I could go toe to toe with him and argue about stuff and that was both cool to be able to do, but also that even if things got heated, we'd both walk away with no hard feelings.
Ok, so out of all this, what makes for me (what do you guys think?) a cool boss:
-someone who shields me from crap - both from above and from below
-someone who tells me what I need to hear - both positive and negative
-someone who listens to me
-someone who is willing to work with me on communication issues (both mine and theirs)
-someone who appreciates that being fiery and passionate can be a good thing as well as a bad thing, and helps me channel that
-someone who doesn't micro manage (who trusts me to do my job and to tell him/her when I need help)
-someone willing to let me try things my way, even if it turns out to be a mistake
-someone who takes my side or champions me when I need it
-someone who is good at being a manager - having a vision and communicating it, leading, dealing with escalations, etc.
Was I a good boss when I was a people manager? No. One of my ex-employees (actually two now that I think about it) tells me I was a great boss, but I think that is just ass kissing and not entirely true. (Probably not entirely false to him - I let him have pretty free rein because he delivered.) Was I the worst boss ever? No. Was I a *good* boss? No. Could I be if I were a manager now? Probably. I'd at least be better (I've learned a lot since then).
I chose to get out of management because I recognized that I wasn't good at it at that point. To be fair - I was in over my head. I had too many direct reports, we were doing too much hiring and I didn't have time to do the things I needed to do for my people. Mentoring, one on ones, shielding them from crap and knowing what was really going on (who was shirking, etc.) all took a backseat to interviewing, escalations, meetings with other groups, planning hardware stuff, etc. While I take some of the responsibility, I can't take all of it because in hindsight, I'm surprised they let me become a manager because of my lack of experience. Also, my co-manager sucked worse than I did and didn't do his share (or even pretend to). The fact that I became a manager just goes to prove that willingness to work like a dog and attitude will take you a long way in this world.
**Is it a bad thing if one of the defining characteristics I have liked about most of the previous managers that I've liked has been that I've been able to go out drinking with them? (I suppose it's better than having to take up drinking because of them...)**
...of my patience. Here, a simple word diagram that explains much of my current state of mind.
rock | cshell | hard place
Things to remember when I'm in this sucky place:
-I have friends who love me.
-I have family who love me and that I love, even when I don't like them very much - which would be right about nowish.
-I have a job that pays my bills.
-I have options and opportunities that other people wish they had, whether I choose to exercise them or not.
-I am not losing my mind.
-I am a single woman who owns (partially) her own home in the USofA - this is probably the most privileged place I could be as a woman at this point in history.
-I have the opportunity to (however inelegantly) express myself.
-I won at poker on Friday.
-I will someday have a real vacation again.
-I have plenty to eat (and even if I didn't I'm sure I could live off my fat deposits for quite a while).
-I love the spectacle of the Olympics, especially the secret pleasure of crying my eyes out when a US athlete is standing on the podium mouthing the words to the Star Spangled Banner.
-I am not some sort of monster for making difficult choices. I'm not anywhere in the league of Hitler, or dictators in general, or hell, even my evil Turkish boss.
-That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I am fucka strong right now, whether it feels that way or not.
-For a little bit longer I get to come home when the sun is still shining.
-Even if I don't avail myself of it - there is chocolate.
-Someday this will be better and I'll be able to breathe again. Probably after a physical collapse.
-I have friends who love me. (I know I said it before - it bears repeating.)
-I have friends that I love who send me virtual hugs (and I even love the ones that don't send me virtual hugs.)
If you're stuck in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation, and you choose the don't, is it rationalization to tell yourself that if you're damned either way you might as well take the easy road?
I was watching Def Poetry Jam a couple of nights ago, and had a bunch of thoughts rolling around my head that probably need to be captured here. Not sure how interesting they'll be to others, but maybe if I capture them correctly they'll be interesting to other folks too. Essentially I was thinking about spoken aloud poetry versus reading it to yourself, as well as rants as poetry.
Watching Def Poetry Jam (aside from the name which may be a tad offputting to the non-hiphop among us) is enlightening. While I've always loved poetry for how intensely personal it is or can become, I have to admit that there's something to seeing the author perform their work that gives the poetry a whole new dimension.
I don't use the word "perform" lightly. I think the works on that show are showcased as the author really intended them - with all the things that make up good poetry blended in just the proportions they were meant to have:
But in addition to those things, there is an immediacy to a poem that is read or performed aloud that they may not take on in the privacy of your own head. Maybe when I read it to myself I rush it, or I don't really roll the words off my tongue and lips and palate in the way they were intended, or I put the emphasis in the wrong places. Or maybe when I read it to myself I put a different emotional slant to the piece which really changes its meaning.
For most poetry I'll never know that for sure, but I wish I could both read the poems that are performed on that show as well as see them performed so that I can compare/contrast what I get out of each version. Certainly my favorite poems are my favorites because of what they mean to me in the way that I personally put my own flavor into them based on my interpretation of the words based on their arrangement. But it is also indescribable to see and hear a poet perform their own works because you have both your own interpretation still, as well as the author's interpretation that you can meld together.
For instance, one of my favorite poems as soon as I read it was Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. In my head it was quiet, dignified, merely statements. I was flipping channels on cable one night and caught Maya Angelou reading her works aloud as part of a discussion. And suddenly I heard it as she meant it to be - triumphant, can't hold me down, sassy, brassy, defiant, and an insight into the pride of being a black woman. And that changed me, changed my mind, made me look at things in a different way, which is really my favorite aspect of good poetry.
I guess I'm decrying the loss of spoken word or oral traditions as methods of imparting information and meaning. There is something about words spoken in various ways that make them more than what they would appear to be on paper. Certainly words coming out of the mouth of James Earl Jones and out of the mouth of Woody Allen, though they can be the same words, will suddenly take on different sounds and meanings because of how they say them as much as the words themselves. Great orators can take great words and give them even more life, can make them a rallying cry to take action in a way that wouldn't come through from just a straight reading of the words. Take the difference between a mediocre actor and a great actor (though this is not a poetry specific example) - a mediocre actor can say the words in the right order, and even with the right tone and emotion, but a great actor can take you into the moment, directly into the emotion of the piece.
And out of the serious and into the mundane - What I wouldn't give to hear Dorothy Parker recite any of her poetry, especially this one, because while I think I'm capturing the humor and bitterness at the same time, I wonder if that's how it would really sound from her lips? Ok, after reading some more of her stuff online, when I already knew I loved her work, I have to add her to that imaginary list of famous people alive or dead that I'd invite to a dinner party, and I'd provide her with all of her favorite brand of alcohol that she could drink.
Am I just some sort of freak to love words so much? I love the way they sound and how they feel when you say them and complexity and the nuance of them, and I especially love learning new ones. And don't you love it when you hear a word pronounced that you've only ever seen in print? I remember when I was 12 and put together that the word I'd seen in print and pronounced in my head as "awe-ry" was really pronounced "a-wry" - it was a revelation, as well as being funny as hell.
Oh, and randomly because I thought it was interesting and will probably want to come back to these sites at some point to browse around: Poetic Table of the Elements and types of poetry that I should someday attempt, and this one for the listening booth option.
And I'll have to get back to rants as poetry. Tried to look up some examples to give immediacy to my arguments, but could only find stuff from Denis Learyand Dennis Miller, and not good examples from Brett Butler who was actually my favorite among rants to listen to. Maybe later I'll deconstruct how I think some of their rants are poetic. And maybe some day I'll start one of these posts and end it like a real [insert word I can't think of here] that has a beginning, middle, end and actual point I'm trying to prove. Or maybe not.
I'm such a sucker for sports. Especially the Olympics. Where else do you get to be teary eyed over the Star Spangled Banner? Where else do you get to see people go above and beyond even what *they* thought they could achieve? Where else do you get to see the promise of dreams that people have trained for years for both come true and go up in flames, often in the same event? Where else do you get to hear the phrase, with no irony whatsoever "She's a great little breast stroker"?
It's been a while since I've been drunk. Not buzzed, not tipsy, but drunk. Drunk is fun if you hit the right level. While I can't be sure I won't be hung over tomorrow (and this is taking entirely toooooo long to write without spelling mistakes because my motor skills are impaired), I can be sure that I had an awesome time tonight and today at steverod's wedding.
I'm at the I love you man stage of the evening. I love everyone and everything. I'd like to thank everyone I ever knew for anything even remotely nice they've done for me or thought about doing for me. Life is good, all evils and ills can be cured on the morrow. (Which doesn't mean I"m not drinking water and taking ibuprofen as I type... I'm drunk, not stupid.) This is apparently why people are alcoholics - this particular state is wonderful. We'll see how I really feel tomorrow, but for now there is no such thing as pain, I did nothing embarassing and all is right with the world. I wish all days ended so well.
Editorial note: I managed to not be hung over. I did NOT think that was going to be a possibility when I woke up at 5AM and considered staying awake to process alcohol more readily, but other than being tired, there were no ill effects from last night's alcohol-induced "I love the world" mentality. Sadly, this is not then a deterrent to my furthering my alcoholic tendencies.
I was wandering through various blogs and links today and pondering that I don't end up writing more about work. In looking at misbehaving.net I realized that while I qualify as a woman working in technology and blogging, not much of that voice, of that part of my life really makes it into my blog. And I started wondering why? (more...)
I think part of it is that when I'm on my own time I don't really want to think about work anymore unless it's to work through a problem. I find myself a lot happier if I don't rehash the whole day in my head when I get home - if I just go home and lose myself in TV or music or blogging or blog reading or hanging with friends or whatever. It feels like to talk about my work outside of work gives it that much more of my time and energy that should be mine and not belong to work.
At least partially I don't usually talk much about technology because I feel like a bit of a fraud doing so. I'm moderately technical - I can hold my own at work, and end up being the person who takes a technical thing and either puts it in customer-speak (makes it more easily understandable/digestible for the customer), or I'm the person who translates from engineering to the CS folks who have to do something with the information. But I feel like a fraud in speaking about technology stuff because all my friends are such hard core geeks that I don't want to sound silly or ignorant by talking about things I either don't fully understand or don't care to take the time to understand. And I think that in general I don't have that much of an opinion (outside of work) about technical stuff so I'm happy to let other people blog about that if it's interesting to them. I'd rather blog about the things that go on in my head that are not about work I suppose.
Probably another reason I don't talk about the technological work I do is a weird sense of not wanting to give away any of my company's secrets. Nothing in my blog identifies specifically where I work (which I do try to guard out of general paranoia), and the people who read the blog all know where I work, so it wouldn't be letting any cats out the bag, but it makes me skittish nevertheless. At least partially I think this sense of protecting the company also comes from the fact that much of what I do on a daily basis is to decide who gets how much information - knowing that the information will make its way into the wrong hands, how do I mitigate damage.
At least partially I'm not interested much in talking about technology as such in my blog because while there a coolness and an interest factor to me about technological tools (mp3 players, PDAs, latest phones, computers, etc.) I don't get excited about the tools because they are just tools. To me a PDA or computer, while fun and interesting for a while, are just tools that will hold (at some point after the newness wears off) the same amount of fascination for me as a wrench or a hammer. I'm interested in what I can do with the tools or how the tools make me feel, but not usually so much about the tool itself. So my iPod is cool to me because it's cute, because I like what it lets me do (take all of my music with me instead so I can listen to whatever I think of, instead of what I thought to bring with me) and because there's a prestige factor of having one. But I give it about as much thought as my pen or my cell phone because while they are the right tools for their jobs, they are just tools.
Being a woman I do find that what turns me on to talk about are feelings. So if a technology makes me feel a specific way, or allows me to connect (ideas, people, whatever) in a new way, then that would be something for me to talk about. But talking about the technical specifications of how fast a machine is or how much memory it has doesn't hold my interest so much as telling me that I'll be able to do things faster or will be able to play better games or whatever (i.e. don't sell me on the merits of the hammer, sell me on the merits of what I can build with it).
I guess another reason I don't blog much about work is that I get tired sometimes of being the only woman in most of the meetings I'm in (and/or the only technical one if there are other women) and feeling like somehow I have to hold up the banner of feminism when all I want is to get along and not be different anymore. I know, I know, being a woman is great, there are many advantages (not the least of which to me is that it's both a blessing and a curse that I have to work harder than my male counterparts at many things), etc., but sometimes when I admit non politically correct feelings I have to admit that I'm tired of being the only one.
I do enjoy being different and unique sometimes. But I get tired of having to bang my head into the wall of different communication styles every, of having any emotionality used against me (even if men in the same meeting get equally passionate about the topic), of feeling like they've made the glass ceiling out of bulletproof glass that I can't shatter, that I've walked into a good old boys network where they'll all pat me on the head and humor me until I walk out of the room so they can get the real work done. (Whew... didn't mean to go on a rant.)
I guess I wish I didn't have to even mention that it's different for me than for my male counterparts. I wish it wasn't that way at all (that men's and women's styles would be equally valued). I wish that I didn't notice the differences and that it didn't bug me, but it does. Most of the time it's just part of the deal (if you want to get paid the rates that tech people get you also get the "bad" stuff too) and it doesn't bother me. But sometimes it wears me down - having to prove myself constantly when some of my male counterparts get by on marginal work, minimal effort and some glad-handing, back-slapping, bullshitting with the guys crap. And maybe I don't talk about it because to talk about it gives it life that it doesn't have if I pretend it's not there. Plus I think there's some unwritten rule that you don't look a gift horse in the mouth - that if you have it good (because I have to admit that I have a pretty kick-ass life) you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you, you don't backstab your host, (what other lame cliches can I use?), etc.
So the conclusion out of all of this? There really isn't one other than the fact that there's no compelling reason for me to blog about tech stuff. And that apparently it took me that many words to validate that.
Why do I play with fire? Because the flames are so pretty and fascinating, and isn't it warm here by the fire, and isn't it nice to be in the warm reflected glow. Besides, I rationalize that I can be careful of the flames to keep from getting burned, and that while flames can be destructive, they can also be a useful tool, either in a harnessed manner (i.e. flames from a gas stove) or can reap unexpected benefits even after a conflagration (renewed growth and reseeding of an area after a forest fire). Well... all those things and that in general I'm an idiot who refuses to learn simple lessons. Flame on...
I have nothing much to say, merely blogging to see myself think out loud...
I'll have to use this if I'm ever on the date from hell. Oh crap... I don't have that service. Oh well...
Listening to Violent Femmes makes me want to dance and not blog. Must remember to dance more often - even if that means dancing around my house by myself. VF reminds me of high school - driving around in my friends' cars running errands (especially the bank - I think ATMs weren't as prevalent then - or we couldn't afford the fees or something).
My new chiropractor is cute. He's also married, so I don't flirt with him. But it's fun to have him feel me up (ok, at least my back) and tell me how to breathe (take a deep breath and let it out slowly) and manipulate me in the name of pain reduction. Mmmm....
Ran across someone else's life rule that seems to apply well in my life (well, except for the strippers part, but I'm sure I can use that some day too): If there's an etiquette to being the only XX at a traditionally XY party, it's this: don't complain, don't be the first or last to go home, and don't flirt outrageously (except with the strippers). Oh, and my own corollary - choose what you're going to be better than them at - you usually only get one and you should stick to one that is moderately non-threatening to them or be SO kick-ass at it that they can't contest it.
Boys are fun. They are cute, they are fun to flirt with, they make no sense in the ways that they think (ok at least dating-wise) - you'd think that for such single-minded entities they'd be easier to figure out, but they are opaque to me. They look at you like you're crazy when you make an outrageous statement and very often they are easy to shock. (Or maybe it's just me - I don't think what I'm saying is very far out there but maybe it is to other people.)
Don't shoot shoot shoot that thing at me. Oh yeah, I've still got it. I can dance even in my chair. Do other people think in lyrics? When I hear a fragment of something that is similar to lyrics that I know, I have to chase down the reference in my head right away or it will annoy me all day. Thank god for the internet so I can look those things up instead of relying on my hole-y memory.
Do you ever get to the point that you're so old that you give up being impatient? I'm kinda doubting that will ever happen to me. I'm not good at waiting (unless I have a way to entertain myself in a way that is so engrossing that I forget that I'm waiting or I can wait if I don't really care about the outcome).
I am not reliably funny. Or rather, I can be relied upon to inject an amusing quip here or there, but I am not funny all the time, nor (generally) upon short notice. I wish I were funnier, but then again I can let other people be funny without having to try to suck all the energy out of a room, so all in all it's not a bad thing. I wonder if comedians are funny all the time or feel like they have to be on all the time?
See... I told you it was all random blah blah blahs. (Is that a band name? If not, maybe it should be.) Either that or the band name I made up by mis-seeing the name of a store - the store name was Urban Forage - I for some reason saw it as Urban Fromage which I think would be an amusingly stupid name for a band.
Ok, since I said (for the sake of fairness) I'd blog the ways it's great to be a woman, and also because as usual Meta makes some good points, see extended.
-The fact that you can adorn yourself in many ways to enhance (or contrast with) your beauty is amazing:
-Being adored or revered for your outer self - getting to revel in someone else's reflection of your beauty.
-Freedom to wear sensual things, things that feel good as well as look good. Men can wear silk, but usually not in panties and bras and skirts - things that caress the skin. And skirts feel so good when they are light that they move against your skin in a breeze - the fact that you can make your own breeze to make the skirt caress your skin as you walk is something I bet most men don't get to experience. And it's great to wear velour or velvet or cashmere - anything that not only you want to touch, but other people want to touch as well.
-Flirting - I can flirt with anyone, men/women/children without someone questioning my sexuality - I can just do it because it's fun. And get them to flirt back to me.
-Touching - women have the freedom to touch other people in non-sexual ways and get the sensual benefits. As Meta mentions, we can give and receive hugs freely, or link arms when we're walking or hold hands to keep from losing each other in a crowd. Even sitting snuggled up against another woman isn't either sexual or taken as some strange slight on our sexuality the way it seems to be if a man touches and is affectionate with another man. (Ok, maybe less so in my current crowd of friends, but with other groups of people the homophobia was so rampant that guys would only hug each other if they could throw in a little violence with a big manly slap on the back.)
-Dancing - I can go on the dance floor with most any other girl or a guy and dance my ass off and laugh and have a good time and enjoy the hell out of it without thinking that I look like an idiot (mostly because I don't care if I look like an idiot or not so long as I enjoy the music).
-Being able to span worlds - I can be the only girl who hangs with the guys to go to car events, or be the only woman in most of my meetings in my work life, or I can go up to most any woman and find something to chat about. I can blend into casual social events, or upscaled hoity-toity events or anything I want to as easily as changing clothes.
-Empowerment - the more people tell me (or imply) that I can't do something because I'm a woman, the more fire it gives me to blow beyond their puny expectations for me.
-Emotionality - I think this part is both my favorite part of being a woman, and part of the curse of being a woman. I get more opportunities to express my feelings and to be in touch with what happens inside of me emotionally that men do. But then there's the PMS thing (which sucks ass - I agree with Meta on that one). If I want to be a dork and write poetry or talk about how cute puppies and kittens and hearts and flowers and pandas are, people don't look at me like I'm a freak. (Well, they might because I don't usually talk about those things, but they'll probably just let it go.) Maybe it's just the freedom to express the positive emotions as well as the negative emotions that's liberating - if I think to tell another person how cool they are or how excited I am about something in my life I get to do that equally as much as talking about anger or fear or other negativity.
Ok, maybe this is anti-feminist or something, but I just wanted to vent about the ways it is a pain in the ass to be a woman. Maybe someday I'll blog about the analog, but for now:
-high heels and walking more than a block (this one is a mixed bag - they suck to walk in when you want to go fast, but I'm such a sucker for them, and I love that I can choose how tall I want to be on any given day)
-showers - bridal/baby, etc. - why do a bunch of women want to get together and make polite, awkward conversation with people they don't know and ooh and ahh over stuff they don't actually care about. (It's not really the showers themselves I hate - it's the stupid getting to know you games you have to play. I know why those exist - I just don't like them.)-guilt
-sexual violence - and the fact that the threat of sexual violence makes me live my life in a different way than I would if I were a man or didn't own a vagina.
-feeling the need to constantly prove yourself, both in comparison to men and in comparison to other women
-feeling inadequate as a woman
-envying men - their ability to pee standing up, their ability to do whatever they want in terms of belching/farting/scratching, their making more money than us for the same jobs, their thinking they run the world when we really know it's us who keep things running smoothly
-feeling guilty about envying men
-crying in public
-other people's expectations - that I'll know the right thing to say/buy as a present, that I know where something is located, that I can cook
-being put on a pedastal for my sexuality
-being vilified for admitting my sexual needs, wants, desires (the whole madonna/whore thing is so fucked up)
-being a good girl
-being a bad girl
-my entire relationship with my mother
-fucked up social norms about weight (any minute now I'll get over them...I hope...)
-feeling bad for exploiting double standards to my advantage (Ok, while I don't take this back, I do agree with Meta that it's good to game the system if you can and it's a fucked up system.)
I'll add to the list as I think of things. Feel free to comment with stuff I've missed. (See extended for additional items I've thought of. Also, editorial comments to the above are in italics.)
-Maintenance - jeez it takes a lot of time and effort to pluck/shave/color/paint/makeup and all the other things we do to look beautiful (or at least not scare men away).
-guilt - this is not only a woman's province for sure, but women seem to use it to curb other women in ways that men don't.
I was thinking recently about the lost tradition of letter writing. Maybe I'm just a closet romantic picturing various types of correspondences through history. Some between platonic loves, some between lovers separated by war or other calamity, or simply lovers adhering to the strictures of their times. See extended.
It seems kind of romantic when you think about it - taking the time to hand write a letter to someone, to share your thoughts and feelings (or everyday minutiae). And oddly intimate to read it - the anticipation of waiting for the next letter, the possibility of squirrelling it away to be read in private, the feel of the paper in your hand, the scent of the paper (or the perfume sprayed on it). While much of the fun of letter writing is still captured in email, it also loses something in the process. I'm still a sucker for the physical feelings of paper - the sound, smell, touch of it. I suppose that's part of why I'll always prefer reading a real book over its online cousin.
But at the same time there is a continuity that happens with email or internet correspondence - you can scroll back and forth to find previous conversations or refer back to the last email pretty immediately, you can search for and find a specific word or phrase. You can also pull in references to other conversations or ideas readily (i.e. the whole idea of a blog), as well as solicit commentary (although that can be fraught with trolls and spam). There's still the ability to horde and treasure and revisit email, you just can't carry it around with you in the same manner. Ok, you can print it out and carry it around, but it's not the same as a piece of paper with the actual pen impressions from your correspondent's hand, is it?
Maybe some of the allure is the idea that it's a shared world between just the two of you? It's a direct personal exchange of ideas where sometimes the lack of immediacy that you'd have in a face to face exchange builds a certain anticipation that you might not otherwise have. Isn't it pleasureable to speculate when you might receive your next correspondence, is your correspondent thinking of you enough to answer your last missive, are you on the same wavelength regarding the appropriate amount of time between communications, it a letter waiting for me? In a world of immediate gratification isn't it fun to have to wait for something out of your control?
Is some of the allure of the internet romance the same sense of discovery that you have in an unfolding correspondence? I think as a correspondence unfolds you start revealing more and more of yourself - wittingly or unwittingly. Your opinions, ideas, prejudices, humor start showing through in what you say, what you omit, what you choose to respond to, how you deal with assent or dissent. It's a slow unraveling of what makes another person tick, a peeling away of layers while at the same time building up a store of information.
Maybe some of the charm of a correspondence too is the ability to choose your words more carefully than you can in a regular conversation. You can put forward your funniest quips, or remove the boring bits, or edit in or out anything that puts you in your best light. You have time to reconsider that rash statement or declaration, time to find the best way to say something difficult, time to use the sweetest words you can find to express your feelings. Choosing what to reveal can be both exciting and agonizing - what if it's too much, if I've gone too far out on that limb, what if it's not enough for them to really understand me, what if it's taken poorly, what if it's misinterpreted, what if it's correctly interpreted but not reciprocated.
All in all I think correspondence/letter writing/mail is a lost art, and we are all the poorer for not knowing the charms and pitfalls associated with it.
For someone who didn't have a ton of music-related plans this year, I suddenly seem to have a concert-heavy social calendar for the next couple of months. Maybe it's to make up for missing Sarah? Maybe I'll also try to bankrupt myself by trying to squeeze in Liz Phair as well?
Alannis/BNL - July 28 (done)
And in the course of 1 week (depending on how you count the week):
Prince - Sept 11
Dave Matthews Band - Sept 12
Lyle Lovett - Sept 15
Apparently "I'm not in dating mode" (or similar verbiage) is guy code for "let's be friends" which is girl code for "I enjoy your company, but you're never going to get any". Ah... this explains much. Glad my mars-venus translator is working again.