Showing posts from April, 2017

Feminist Dudes

The title of this comes from something I saw on the internet. Methinks the gal who defended her so-called "feminist dude" acquaintance could stand to be a bit more skeptical.

Many men who see themselves as very idealistic and pro women's rights are not all they imagine themselves to be. They can be mediocre allies. Sometimes, they are far worse than the Fred Flintstones of the world.

In some cases, they are actually men who want to be relieved of male responsibilities and are happy to wash their hands of things like financially supporting a wife and children. Hey, let the wife go get a paid job -- and also let her continue doing all the women's work. They have no plans to buck up and do their fair share.

I have seen far too many statistics and far too much anecdotal evidence that many women with paid jobs are basically modern slaves. The fact that they can get a paid job has not liberated them. They remain prisoners of social expectations that they do all t…

The Metrics that Matter

This is something I struggle with: Figuring out which metrics matter and somehow making progress on those metrics.

I know you can use forums, social media and the like to further projects, but I have never been good at that. No, instead, much to my chagrin, I was always good at being a walking, talking train wreck where I attracted all kinds of attention of the wrong sort and could not for the life of me figure out how to direct that attention into things I wanted to direct it into, such as traffic for my websites or new members for a discussion group I own.

Over the years, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to stop being a walking, talking train wreck.* For the past few years, I actively worked on attracting less attention and lowering my public profile. I was fairly successful at achieving this goal. On the upside, that meant I saw fewer shit shows. On the downside, it seemed to lead to even less positive attention, such as website traffic.

I found the whole …

PRR Case Study: Starting a New Project

I have long had it in the back of my head that I would like to do something sort of in the vein of I never really had a clear idea what I wanted to do. I just keep seeing questions in various forums to the effect of "What city can I move to that has X?" and I feel like that represents some kind of underserved market or need.

Then on March 30, 2017, I was snarkily tweeting a lot to vent and probably losing followers left and right. Somewhere in there, I began tweeting about wanting to do personalized relocation research for pay. I keep wondering if I can start a business doing personalized relocation research for people.#youwouldthinkthiswouldwork#Butwheretostart?— Mic (@TalithaMichele) March 30, 2017Srsly, I have a Certificate in GIS. I was a military wife. I would be awesome at doing personalized relo research.#Idoitformeallthetime— Mic (@TalithaMichele) March 30, 2017 And then I spontaneously created a website to go with the idea. I have a website even…

Friendly Shoving Matches

There is a great scene in the based-on-a-true-story movie Remember the Titans in which one of the white team members shoves one of the black team members and invites him to shove him back. The black guy hesitates.

In the racist place and time where these events occurred, a black guy shoving a white guy was potentially a good way to wind up seriously harmed or dead. The point at which the black guy shoves back is the point at which race no longer matters to this team. In spite of the horrendous racist environment in which the team existed, the team itself had gotten past race and become a cohesive whole.

Nothing quite as pleasant and triumphant as that scene is happening on Hacker News today. But amidst a lot of not nice comments, downvotes and the like, someone did basically invite me to "shove back" and someone else emailed me to express support.

I don't recall anything quite like this ever happening before. Someone else also conceded I had a point on one particu…

Imperfect Reflections Pt 3: Jessica Livingston

This was actually going to be Pt 4. But my series stalled for a long list of reasons. And then I saw this today: Y combinator, X chromosomes and I am on a tear. As I said in comments there:

Sounds like a great lead in for "Hey, didja know that one half of the original team that actually founded this is really a woman who kind of isn't getting the credit she really deserves while people run around talking overly much about Da Menz."

To be crystal clear, this isn't really about Jessica Livingston. This is about me and my ideas about my life. It has been delayed in part because I doubted the value of saying it in public. But after reading the above tripe, I think I am going to go ahead and put it out there and let the chips fall where they may.

What follows is an account of the unfolding understanding I had of who Jessica Livingston was and is and why that mattered to me, personally. Due to the subjective nature of the tale, it may well be filled with factual errors a…

PSA: I do not have a martyr complex

I can be generous, long suffering and have a lot of forbearance for certain things. I am slow to judge and I am inclined to err on the side of assuming misunderstanding, etc. rather than pointing fingers.

But it often happens that people conclude this means they can just blithely crap all over me and I will take it indefinitely and continue to be kind, generous etc. Nope. I will not.

One of the best things that came from raising my very challenging children is that it allowed me to make my peace with who I am. I am not broken. Other people are just all kinds of stupid and fucked up.

I like being kind, generous, helpful and trying to do nice things for other people. That in no way means I like being a goddamn doormat or taking abuse.

Apparently most of the planet is incapable of figuring this out. They are just asshats and dumber than dirt and just don't get it.

But it isn't me. What I do works well, if people are not both completely fucked up and also dumber than dirt.

A Free Cup of Coffee

I have been trying to close a safe deposit box long distance. Naturally, this is not exactly a one phone call kind of thing.

I was told that I would need a form from a local bank branch. This turned out to not be true, but it means I went to a local bank branch recently in person to talk to a banker about getting this form.

I went there basically first thing in the morning, not long after they opened. They had free coffee in the waiting area. I got myself a cup.

The thing is that I am still homeless. Most of the free coffee I have had while homeless has been from homeless services centers.

When I had a corporate job, I could also get free coffee in the break room. Middle class and upper class people get a lot of freebies in life. Courtesy items are a pretty routine part of life if you have a job or enough money to be a regular customer or participate in various other types of social connections.

One of the big problems with being homeless is the degree to which you are socially c…


In 2015, it was Turkish men in miniskirts that was a bright spot in my day at a time when I was fed up with the routine man bashing in the world. Today, it is Dutch men holding hands in solidarity to protest the beating of a gay couple.This stuff tickles me pink. This in particular hits a nerve for me because, in high school, I was asked once if I was having a lesbian relationship with my best friend because we held hands walking down the hall at school. No, we aren't gay. We both have German mothers and it isn't weird for women to walk around holding hands in public in our German-American families.Geez.Holding hands is not a sexual act. Come on.So, you go guys.

Obscure Legal Expression: "Kiss on the Wrist"

I was writing some fiction last night. I wanted to use the legal phrase "kiss on the wrist." I was concerned it would be too obscure and no one would understand the meaning, ruining the story.

Googling suggests my suspicion is probably spot on. I probably would have lost my readers.

I was just putting an end to an old story that I have grown bored with, so it wasn't terribly important. I ended up truncating that bit mostly out.

But now I feel the urge to tell the story behind this expression because it seems to not be readily available anywhere online. This article seems to be the best reference, and it really does not do justice to this delightful true story.

Sydney Biddle Barrows was a socialite who could trace her roots to people who came over on The Mayflower. Her family no longer had money, but they had taste and upper class manners and expectations.

She tried to go into fashion. She was working for a time as a buyer at a department store. Someone else came…

Make Sure You Wear a Condom When Posting

When I first joined Hacker News, there was only one man on the leaderboard who consistently spoke with me. I viewed that fact as a big problem.I mean, I viewed it as a problem that he consistently spoke to me. The fact that no one else did made it clear this was aberrant behavior, talking to a newcomer female.It really didn't matter why he talked to me. The reason for it was irrelevant. I was clear this was going to go bad places. It was one of those thorny issues where there was no good answer. I was clear that publicly asking him to stop would make the problem bigger. I was also clear that privately asking him to stop would make the problem bigger.So, I spent about a year doing my best to just quietly walk away from discussion with him. I also put a lot of effort into formatting my comments in a way that I hoped would not draw his replies. In essence, I walked on eggshells.He isn't used to being ignored. He got increasingly grumpy about the situation until he finally picked …

Grumpily Stomps Off FTW!

So, I was commenting on Hacker News the other day. I left some restrained comment in the latest installment of pointlessly measuring "Just how much sexism is there really?" discussions instead of people, you know, doing something about the problem. And someone replied to it, and then I vented a little at him with this comment, which I closed with:
(Throws hands up in air. Grumpily stomps off.)
And then this apparently decent human being went and left a comment in my otherwise essentially ignored query. The two comments there -- but especially his -- are some of the most useful things ever said to me on Hacker News.

Maybe I should stomp off like a grumpy three year old more often.

Anyway, I am working on that project and thank you to the two decent humans who actually fucking* answered my question. It was remarkably useful to me, more than you might think. I am busily working on developing the project in question.


This is being posted to HN in the vague hope that …