Dancing Thru

Updates to Everything -- Busy, busy!

Okay, it's been too long since I checked in, and now everything has changed on LiveJournal. Serves me right, I guess.

Two jobs and my regular stream of activities... I am not just working at Pivotal, the startup I've been at for over a year, but picked up another side job, doing part time stuff for another startup. I got a loaner Apple laptop from them the other day, as my other boxen are Windoze machines, and I needed to run some software that wasn't Microsoft-friendly. I was SO happy to get back onto Unix (not Linux, Unix!) again! It's like riding a bicycle, and I don't have to think about what I'm doing. But wow, my time is sliced and diced thin, lately.

The some folks who do documentaries and other stuff for the BBC saw the Cougar Wives show and hunted me down through the Civil War connection. It looks like we might be getting a documentary on the BBC? Um, okay, the examples of their shows look good, not like "reality TV." We seem to be a human interest feature, for "Age Gap Love". Woman with her young husband who do historic reenactments and live an unconventional life. They're sounding like it's a go. They also wanted our itinerary for when we are in Scotland and Ireland, this summer. We might get filmed when we're on their home turf. I have to admit this is a turn of events I never expected for my later life.

We are getting a 2 week visit from the teen we are mentoring, Savanna. She wants to grow up to be me. She's said as much. And she's turned into my little radical firebrand. Yes, she really does want to be me. I'm flattered, and honored that she thinks me worthy of emulation.

More chickens have come to roost. Foster, our rescue chick from San Juan, has turned into a pretty little hen, and four chicks are now 3+ weeks old, and getting their first feathers. The older hens are not all in the best shape. Still hanging in there, but getting some issues. We are still getting eggs, but fewer, so it will be nice to have new blood. Yikes, Clarisse is 6 years old!

Oh yeah, we're going to Scotland and Ireland this summer. Yay!

Finns and Discrimination in the 19th century

I'd heard about the discrimination from older family members, when I was growing up. I'd heard about the slogans like "Never marry a Finn or a Catholic," and how Finns were not considered "white." I heard about the discrimination my grandfather faced. But I finally found something about it online, about a case in Minnesota, where it was decided that the "Mongol" part of us was so dilute, we should be considered white. Heh, talk about phyrric victory for human rights...


It also brings up some interesting issues, since Oregon had laws (passed in 1866) forbidding intermarriage of negroes, Hawaiians, Indians, and "mongolians" (the blanket term for anyone coming from Asia) with whites. I know there was a Finnish ghetto in Astoria, in the Uniontown district, where my father's family lived. My father always "felt" more Asian, and for much of his life, his closest friends were Chinese. Food for thought.
Dancing Thru

Health is Encouraging

Good news.My rheumatoid syndrome seems to be responding nicely to the more body-friendly treatment (hydroxychloroquinine, plus fish oil, astraxanthin, vitamin D, and doxycycline from the opthamologist). The one that worries me (I see the opthamologist tomorrow) is that while I think my tears are improving, the sight in my right eye is still blurry. Darned rheumatoid syndrome...

The good news is also that my thyroid biopsy shows the nodules as benign. They aren't doing much to mess with me,other than literally giving me a lump in my throat. No medication. Which is good. I'm taking enough handfuls of pills, as it is.

And the orthopedist and rheumatologist both like the progress being made on my crooked right elbow.

No one told me that you just reach a certain age, and your body starts to fall apart all over the place. I could have prepared better. Still, considering how many of my friends in my cohort didn't even make it to 50, I'm still above ground, and that's a good thing.
Dancing Thru

On Being a Geek Girl

(reprinted from my wordpress blog account, since they don't set up to send essays to LJ, which is a pity)

I’m old enough that I can find it amusing that geek girls are something that the mainstream seems to find creepy. I am, and always have been a geek girl. I grew up watching Star Trek and making Emma Peel my role model, was an honors student and president of the Science Club. When I got to college, I found My People. The Electronics Club was full of folks who could quote episodes, chapter and verse, and everyone loved Monty Python (which I then discovered, thanks to my electronics geek boyfriend). I sat at simulators and crashed the Lunar Entry Module more times than I want to contemplate. I wirewrapped for my boyfriend. I tutored Computer Science students in correct English by diagramming sentences using computer flow chart methodology. Though a biology student, I learned about computers by hanging out with the best and brightest, some of whom were boy wonders who went on to help found companies. My then-boyfriend ended up working for NASA. And I went on to a career in tech, not in biology as I had once expected.

Along the way, I met programmers by day who were medievalists by night, weekend warriors who reenacted history in a variety of time periods, and who sung, played instruments, and punned unrepentantly. We recognized each other as kindred, and talked for endless hours/days/months about everything interesting in the world. We dressed up in what other people thought were odd costumes, and read lots of science fiction. We fought and drank and made passionate love with people with amazing smarts, and led amazing lives.

And mine continues to be amazing. But I have recently discovered that there are still people out there with nothing better to do with their lives than make fun of people who are interesting and creative and having infinitely more fun with life than they could ever dream of. Poor fools. Their entertainment seems to consist of watching tv and adopting a superior tone on the internet, in groups like Reddit, mocking geeks/nerds/dorks and their activities. Wow, I thought all this went out with Usenet and alt.flamewars. I am learning new slang, too, words like “neckbeard” and strange references to someone named Tobias.

And I’m chuckling, because they’ve never stood under a filled sail, watching dolphins escort their Tall Ship out the Golden Gate. They’ve never fired on a 50-gun Civil War cannon line at a recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg. They’ve never drunk a toast of atholbrose to a departed comrad in the darkness of the night at Renaissance Faire. They’ve never carressed naked flesh by firelight, while drums pounded in the distance. They’ve never had to pull a vintage airplane out of an induced stall, and felt the G-forces of a loop-the-loop. They’ve never danced a Castle Waltz with their partner almost painted onto their body. They’ve never partied like it’s 1925 at the Valhalla and Tallack mansions at South Lake Tahoe, complete with vintage cars. They’ve never felt the smack of live steel against live steel, or used a sabre to behead hapless vegetables from horseback. They’ve never felt the gratifying mule-kick of firing a Martini-Henry, legendary gun of the Zulu Wars. Poor sods. I’ve gotten together with fellow geeks and done all this and more.

And I’ve dated some amazing men along the way, from a city planner to an Air Force crew chief, from a costume designer who could pass for Oscar Wilde to a private investigator, from a former State Assemblyman to an expert on nanotechnology. I’ve been on TV, just because I do what I do. I was a cougar long before anyone coined the term. And I ended up marrying an amazing geek soulmate, who loves to dress in top hats, and kilts, and waxes his moustache. Who will discuss John Stewart Mill with me, and could spend weeks in the Smithsonian, or get into the philosophical basis behind government economics, and supports me in all my efforts to make the world a better place for every element of humanity, even those who do not understand us.

It must be rough, being one of the mainstream masses, with little to do except hang out online and make snide cracks about those of us who live life to the fullest. I just thank god that their lives aren’t mine

“No memories I’ll sell/’Til I toast with a drunken angel/On the merry side of Hell.” –Michael Longcor, “Drunken Angel”
Dancing Thru

Reality TV Stars!

I suppose it was one of those things that was destined, and I can now talk about our new identity on reality TV! The British tabloids are already reporting the scandal, and I'm quite flattered, actually. But would I end up as an overaged Page Three Girl?

Anyway, striking the blow for Women of a Certain Age, I am out of the ageist closet, and have no problem being sex positive, as well.

Here's the Huffington Post version: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/extreme-cougar-wives-tlc_n_3672242.html

After all, well-behaved women rarely make history!

Silk worms!

In an unexpected windfall, I seem to have inherited a tub full of silkworms. They were intended as chicken food/treats, but now I'm perversely hoping to get a few of these to the coccoon stage. We have raided mulberry leaves from a neighbor's yard down the street, and this might be a good time to introduce myself to the new neighbors. "Um, hi, you have a mulberry tree, and I'd like to be able to pick a few leaves off of it to feed my silkworms. Oh, and I notice that you have an Irish flag you use as a curtain upstairs, and there is another one that looks like interlace. Are you Irish? Fannish? Do Renfaire?"

Of course, just knocking on a door to ask for food for some silkworms could either make them think I'm daft or a kindred spirit...
Evil laugh

Treating the Country as if it REALLY WAS a Business

Yes, my warped little mind has made a connection. I hear the comments about the "best politicians money can buy" and whatnot. And suddenly, I had a realization, like that Johnathon Swift must have had about Ireland. I have found the root of our political problems: we are not making good business decisions because we are not paying our politicians enough!

Now hear me out. The problem with the public sector, as opposed to private industry, is that it simply can't compete. The average CEO of a Fortune 500 company makes $12-13 MILLION PER YEAR! Even the President makes a paltry $450K. You just can't attract the best talent with a record like that! Isn't America entitled to at least the same entitled leadership as a major corporation?

Think about it. If we paid competitively, these people might actually become responsive to their shareholders, a.k.a. their constituents, instead of being swayed by big bucks from special interests. Does the CEO of Exxon jump to the demands of Chevron, on being offered donations to the fund of choice? Well, aside from untraceable accounts in the Cayman Islands, that is. No, they are expected to look out for the needs of their shareholders.

So, here we are with bargain-basement Executive Staff, running a first-rate country. What's more, some of these losers even spend their own money in trying to get elected! How pathetic is that? I mean, for what Meg Whitman spent on running for Governor of California, she could have bought a small Grand Dutchy and made herself Supreme Baroness or something. She might have made a bundle as a CEO, but she sure fell down on this one.

So, what would we get if we made this country run more like a business? Well, there would be a lot of cost-benefit analysis, and maybe they could figure some great write-offs for infrastructure. They'd drive hard bargains to get the lowest possible price for things like Pentagon expenditures. "What, $100,000 each for these missiles? We can open a factory get those made in Moldova for $40 apiece! We just might have to offshore this whole effort!" You can bet your bottom dollar that there would be no more $1000 coffee makers!

We might not even need those missiles. Strategic acquisition is part of any corporate strategy. Problem with North Korea? Buy it! Rather than wasting a few billion on conventional warfare, just offer to buy the entire place. You'd be surprised what third-world dictators might do, offered the right financial incentive. Win the hearts of the people by flying over dropping dollar bills, instead of bombs, at great cost-savings! And once have acquired a new territory, just incorporate it in and put its industries and citizens to work for you, generating tax dollars. Long-term return on investment! If it doesn't work out, you can sell it to someone else, or spin it off as a subsidiary (call it "granting independence") but keep a seat on the Governing Board.

You know, this just might work...
Dancing Thru

Reading Wisdom

I read the full book of Ecclesiastes out loud last night, from my grandfather's Bible. It was speaking strongly to my mind state, and dealing with injustice, and Andrew's mind state. It's one of my favorite books of the Bible, anyway, (Job is another) and fit into both the season and where I was at, mentally. Andrew commented that I made it sound like a really lively text, not the way a lot of folks read the Bible. And this is why I was popular as a reader for blind students, in college. I could make even Economics texts sound interesting.

The basic message is not to let injustice get to you, because in the end, it's all the same same. It's just how the world is. It helps me calm down when I'm in what Andrew calls "avenging Valkerie" mode.
Dancing Thru

Fortunes of contracting

I found out last week that due to "budget issues" I was being let go, as of this Friday. I found out a little more. It was described as like a pool ball interaction. A project was cancelled, and they needed to find a place for a staff writer who had been on it. Set the pool balls in motion, shuffle resources, and eventually, someone was moved into this group, pushing me off the table. Foo. I liked it here. I liked the group and the writers and a lot of things. But that's the way it goes.

Oh well, things are better out there, so we will see what new opportunities come down the pike. I am going to miss the group, though. It was the best sense of community with my fellow writers that I've had since the Stratus days, sigh...

This is What Utopia Looks like

I was talking about the continuum of "utopia" the other day, and how some of us build them, and others live in them and experience the decay of the system, and they are not necessarily the same group of people. The world is not a stable state. We can hold to ideals and try to build to the vision of the dream. "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams..."

But once the dream is built, it is at the mercy of the forces of the world. And ultimately, it will fall.

I was talking to Andrew the other day about how the political system frustrates me, and how you no sooner get something accomplished than people attack it and try to bring it crashing down, but with vigilance you can keep a step ahead, each time you lose ground, you never fully lose it, but make progress, five steps forward and four steps back. But you have to keep working, or it will be five steps forward and six steps back. He observed "this is what utopia looks like." And he was right. We have a system that allows you to build. And keep progress going, five steps forward and four steps back. But still a net gain of one step.

This is what utopia looks like in the real world.
"For each age is a dream that is dying,
And one that is coming to birth." --O'Shaughnessy
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