Showing posts from February, 2014

Writing Tools for Android

Cross-posted from another site of mine:
Some tools I used to use to help me do freelance work and check the quality of it while homeless and limited to a 7" Android tablet:

Spellchecker (Android app)

Qute text editor for Android

Evolving Images of a Future Me

Probably since I was a teenager, I sometimes dream of Madonna as a symbol for some part of myself. Like Madonna, my hair is naturally curly and comes in brunette but, in spite of not coloring it, I am often a blonde because it bleaches out easily from sunshine, ocean water, etc. I think she is a symbol of me "at my best," perhaps also what I envision myself to be once I have finished resolving enough problems to consistently perform well at things other than coping with my health issues and the problems that grow out of it.

I still have that imagery and I see it more frequently these days. But, in recent weeks, a collage of other imagery has intermittently joined those various images of Maddona. I think it is an attempt to envision a future me, perhaps a search for a template to follow.

The first image I had was of the infamous nude photo of Demi Moore high pregnant that made the cover of Vanity Fair. On the upside, although she was 28 when the photo was taken, I think of …

Ramblin' Mom

This is an edited excerpt from a piece originally posted elsewhere with the title Gawd & A Long Ramble about Our Rambling on 2013/11/13.
Some time in roughly the past week, I commented to my oldest son about how being homeless in some ways is not that strange for us. I remarked on the fact that our first few months in Germany, we lived out of a truck during the day and only went home to sleep. His dad had rented an apartment in a small farming community. There was a farmer's field practically right outside our back door. My oldest son could not breathe at home and was in the ER to get more antibiotics about once a month. We began only going home to sleep while trying to break our lease and move.

My son agreed and expanded on the idea. He commented on our generally nomadic lifestyle and frequent moves. With his dad in the army, we typically moved to a new duty station about every three years, plus usually lived in more than one rental at each duty station.

I had not really tho…

Seriously Ugly Recent-ish Photo of Me

This is a brief excerpt of a piece that was originally posted elsewhere with the title New Haircut on 2013/10/03.

I got a haircut last night. For the first time ever, I am so blonde that getting my hair cut did not return me to being a brunette like it usually does. I still look blonde, though I no longer have outright white hair. I am still old and ugly but I think it is the first haircut I have liked all year. Given that I wear no makeup or jewelry, a decent haircut is especially important. Humorously, I liked that haircut but, oh, gawd, this is an ugly picture. I liked that haircut a lot more than I like my current one but I am posting it because this coloring is closer to what my hair currently looks like. With living in Southern California, my tendency to wind up bleached out from sun, salt water, etc, is worse than ever. In recent months, I am much, much blonder than usual and it does not seem to be going away. I did end up slightly more brunette with this last haircut tha…

For All the Shallow Hals Who Have Not Yet Been Driven Off

This photo was originally published elsewhere under the title Mug Shot on 2013/09/09. It was accompanied by some pretty depressing remarks, which I am leaving out.

Anyway, if you are just here because you had some delusion that I was an attractive woman, let's hope this cures you.

You are welcome.

What a Little Pressure Can Do

Excerpt from a piece originally posted elsewhere under the title On Track on 2013/09/03.

The penny on the left was found on a train track, deformed because it was run over by a train. The penny on the right was probably run over by numerous cars before I found it. The middle one is a penny in good shape, for comparison purposes. I have heard that trains will do that to a penny but I had never seen it before. So I wanted to share. I later briefly had another train track penny that was even more deformed. I still have some probably very poor quality pictures of it on my phone. At the moment, I don't know how to upload those to the internet, much less this blog.

Male Fantasies are not about Female Empowerment

Edited excerpt from a piece originally posted elsewhere with the title Fascinating on 2013/08/11.

This morning, I read this discussion and perused some of the very NSFW links in it: The Erotic Art of Namio Harukawa. I found it oddly fascinating. I am not quite sure why.

I guess I find it fascinating because imagery of this sort is often framed in terms of female empowerment. I do not see it that way. The artist is male, so it is his fantasy, not a woman's fantasy. I have no idea why it appeals to him but, hey, men are human and very often feel just as sexually chained up by cultural pressure as women do. So while I am not really interested in speculating on why this male artist draws this stuff, I really do not see it as having anything to do with female empowerment. It is really just another male fantasy.

The cultural meme is that in order to stop being oppressed, abused, miserable second class citizens, women need jobs so they are no longer financially dependent upon a man. In…

My Relationship Crystal Ball Says...

This is an edited version of a post originally published elsewhere with the title Relationship Credit Score on 2013/06/2.
A financial credit score is based on two things: 1) ability to pay and 2) willingness to pay. It isn't enough to just make enough money to, in theory, comfortably cover your monthly payments. A credit score also measures your historical track record for actually doing so in full, on time and consistently.

This is a similar rubric to the college entrance process. Colleges judge both 1) college entrance exam scores and 2) high school grades. Performance on exams suggest aptitude, which is similar to ability to pay. Grades indicate track record, which is similar to willingness to pay.

In most cases, your past track record -- like high school grades or payment history -- is a stronger indicator of future performance than ability to pay or intellectual aptitude. However, there are cases where this is not true. In my case, my college entrance exams were a better pre…

Your Stereotypical Valentine's Lament

This is a slightly edited version of  a post originally published elsewhere under the title Roll the Bones on 2013/06/22.

I sometimes play Master of Magic as a form of rolling the bones -- as a kind of reading of tea leaves. On a practical, nonmystical level, I find that when I am a mess, I make stupid mistakes and back myself into a corner that I cannot get out of. So it goes very bad when I am just not functional. When I am more together, things seem to go smoothly. But I also think that how it goes kind of suggests (or fits with) the vibe for the day.

I actually started this stub on June 8, 2013. I originally gave it the title "Longitude."What I really had in mind with the original title was the story of John Harrison. He played a key roll in the History of Longitude. In short, Great Britain offered a princely sum for a solution to the issue of determining longitude reliably. His solution: A highly accurate time piece, more precise than was believed possible at the time.…

Old Jarhead Pic

This was originally posted elsewhere under the title Shorn on 2013/06/16. I had gotten my hair cut that morning and, oh, god, I hated it. This was the least unflattering of three or four pics my son took of me that day. But I like posting ugly pics of me to the web in order to balance the flattering ones. Call it a personal quirk.

My most recent hair cut is not quite that short and I don't hate it but the above pic is probably closer to how I currently look (in terms of hairstyle, at least)  than some of the cuter pics here.

In Search of a More Nuanced Discussion of "Rape Culture"

This is an edited excerpt of a piece which was originally published elsewhere under the title Rape Culture on 2013/05/11.
One of the problems with most discussions of "rape culture" is that it is very man blaming. The reason this is a problem is because it actively reinforces fundamental precepts of rape culture, such as "only men have any real say in the matter". It vilifies men as evil manipulative plotters in situations that are rarely black and white. It presumes that if things go wrong, it is entirely his fault no matter what the woman was doing.

Trying to suggest that this paradigm fails in a big way to move gender parity forward inevitably gets decried as "victim blaming." If I suggest a woman has a lot of power to dress differently and behave differently and thereby influence how others treat her, I am always told I am morally wrong for trying to empower her. Guess what? This is "morally wrong" precisely because it is the s…

I Don't Know What I Would Do Without You...

This was originally published elsewhere under the title Emergency T-shirt on 2013/04/29. I don't really see myself as a feminist (if you have to use a label, I have seen the term humanist and I would be okay with that -- I think there is a lot of room for improvement for treating everyone on the planet better and I don't think women being pissed at men for supposedly getting over or something is terribly productive), but this was funny at the time, in part because I am divorced and I do feel like my marriage was an obstacle to me having a more awesome life.

This is my emergency t-shirt that I bought for $3 (+ tax). It says "I don't know what I would do without you but I bet it's Awesome." My son thinks it's funny. I probably looked rougher than usual. If I needed an emergency t-shirt, I was probably not well. I was either throwing up or sweating out something noxious or ...something.

Android Browsers: Recommending Dolphin

This was originally posted elsewhere on 2013/02/28. (So I am eating fine at the moment. Things are generally better in that regard in recent months. Also, it was followed up by a post noting the money came through and we were fine.)
If money I was expecting does not show up tomorrow, we could be not eating for three days (and we already haven't really eaten quite enough today -- I have $2.08 to my name right now). For that and other reasons, I am pretty crabby. But I thought I would do a brief post, in part because I am super annoyed at how little I have done with my websites this week.

I have had a lot of trouble with my Android browser being slow, glitchy and crashing. I was using whatever browser came with the tablet. It has been especially problematic for trying to read Hacker News or Metafilter. I kind of complained about it on Hacker News a couple of months or so ago, to no avail.

I recently tried downloading both Firefox and Firefox beta. They are faster than the old brow…

Some Kivy and Python Resources (for Android)

Originally posted elsewhere with the tongue in cheek title I Blame Paul for This on 2013/01/22. I never did get Kivy and Python working on my Android. I want to re-post it because of the links here.I no longer have an Android tablet. I again have a Windows laptop. So I am in no position at the moment to improve on any of this Android-related information. But having spent nearly two years stuck in the Android ghetto, I want to do my part to provide resources (like this Jabiru tutorial) for Android users so their lives suck less.
I joined Hacker News 1283 days ago in order to ask how to learn to program. Some very nice people tried to be informative and helpful. I tried repeatedly to make use of the feedback. I never got anywhere. I was too sick to make sense of it.

I am less sick these days and doing more. In part because of that, I am hanging out more on Hacker News. It has been making me crazy. My Android browser frequently freezes and crashes and it takes forever to download discu…

Really Fuzzy Picture from 2012/10/31 Plus Additional Reflections on My Most Recent Post

Original text with it:
My son took this yesterday. He said the other picture was even more fuzzed out. I haven't had my hair cut recently and it is longer than I have typically kept it in recent years. I thought my curls were cute yesterday, so I wanted a picture of them. It is still up in the air whether I will let my hair grow out a bit or go back to the Joan-of-arc-esque do I typically sport. I will also note that it is a very rare picture of me smiling. Due to my long history of complicated health issues, I have nerve damage to one side of my face and I have trouble trying to smile on purpose -- like for a photo. Generally speaking, if I am smiling, I am genuinely happy or amused. I look macabre when I try to "fake" or intentionally make a smile. So most photos of me have a fairly neutral expression and I get told in person "I have never seen you smile."

As a child, I had a very Shirley Temple-esque bubbly personality. I suspect my innate warmth and tende…

Nothing But A Bunch of Boobs

I pretty routinely take heat in online discussions for suggesting pro-active things women can do to try to deter sexual harassment, unwanted male attention and so on. I am fairly often accused of "victim blaming" and called a "rape apologist" or similar while people paint the guy in question as clearly a creep though they usually don't personally know him and only have the woman's (obviously biased) side of the story for how things went down. I don't like fighting with people to begin with and in some settings it simply results in my comments being deleted anyway.

So, one day, when I was frustrated and annoyed about that kind of thing, I wrote the following (edited) blog rant. Because I have an opinion. And a blog. That's why.

Women are still, by and large, de facto second class citizens. When they run into trouble at work or elsewhere with some man, it is common for the man to be in a position of strength relative to them. Men have the hi…

Independently Poor: A Twist on FU Money. Or: "FU, Money"

The main body of this post (the part in the blockquote) was originally published elsewhere under the title "Money and Maneuvering Room" on 2012/07/12.
I have long collected little mental snippets about money and how people relate to it. For example, (ironically enough) long before my medical diagnosis, I made mental note of the idea that if you have a deadly disease and there is no cure, no amount of money will fix your problem. I also really like the scene in "Titanic" where the rich guy tries to buy his way into a lifeboat and gets told his money won't be worth anything at the bottom of the ocean.

In the past year or two, as my financial problems deepened, I began reading and thinking more deeply on this topic of money and how people relate to it. I learned the phrase "fuck you money", which I had not heard before. It is the idea of having enough money "to be able to tell anyone to go to hell". It is attributed to Bogart (supporting link…