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Aug. 9th, 2015

08:54 am - 203

Actually just 203.8, down from last week's 204.0, but I'm not tracking tenths, because it's how my clothes fit that matters. Speaking of, I did put away the 38" pants and I unpacked, washed and am wearing the 36s. They're a little snug at times but not uncomfortable.

I won't be sleeping in my own bed tonight, nor for the next six nights. I'm going to a week-long director's workshop with Theatre Ontario. Since it's held at Wilfred Laurier university, which is right up the street, I could conceivably eat/sleep at home, but then I would miss out on all of the social interaction -- which is at least half of the point of residential retreats. And I doubt they'd give me a break on the price anyway.

The residence rooms don't even look like a crappy motel. Cinderblock walls, a single overhead light, a bed the size of a cot, a desk and a chair, and a shared bathroom. I guess I won't be having any wild orgies in there. Maybe that's what the lounges are for? I just don't have the frosh mindset.... yeah that's probably it. I just don't find rug burn that sexy.

Anyway, the rooms are just there as recovery from exhaustion. Our schedules are full each day from 730 to 2100. And Wednesday night they'll be bussing us to Stratford for The Sound of Music. Which I have heard is pretty good!

We're told to dress up as a famous Canadian for the party on Friday. It took me a while to choose one, but I found one who closely represents my own values ... and typical appearance. I did have to pick up one item from a costume/party store, though. Not telling who, yet.

See y'all on the other side.

Aug. 2nd, 2015

09:23 am - 204

I'm not surprised to see a big drop after a month of no change, given the number of variables that affect body weight. Still, it's nice to be well away from 220 where I was feeling quite unpleasant. Not yet back to the 36" pants but I suspect that will happen before too long. The goal is 195, at which point I will start adding in a physical regimen. I'd like to be reasonably fit, rather than kinda flabby. I have quite a bit of extra skin from my 300+ era; it doesn't just vanish. And rather than surgery, I think it would be smarter to just fill in the space with a bit more muscle.

Progress is good on my camera app, which has a new name that I'm happy with. I'm filling in features now, though I still need to address the reliability of self calibration. I really like the images it produces.

d has completed all the requirements and deliverables for the MBA program, which is fantastic, as is the two week vacation coming up a week from now.... which I will not be around for the first half, due to theatre camp. But we both agree that's a good thing: a time to reconnect with self, without the presence and pressures of work, school or me. We'll have the week after that to reconnect with each other.

Jul. 26th, 2015

08:06 pm - 12

A different number; this one counting the years I've been married to d. The person whom I look at now is a very different person than the one I looked at then. But, the person doing the looking is different, too. It hasn't been a simple nor a straight path down through the years, nor has the journey been at all easy. But it still feels like the right path, and I want to keep walking it with you. Happy Anniversary, love.

07:45 am - That's me, sucking all the joy out of the room, but quietly, by myself

It is disappointing when I attend parties, getting there earlyish as I often do, and the party is chill, and sociable, and not loud at all -- where one can have conversations and share stories with the whole room, able to hear everyone clearly -- and then a certain type of person (a "loud" person) arrives and then the party very quickly becomes hyper, and obnoxious, and not quiet at all, and one is hard pressed to even hear what anyone standing nearby is saying through the din, and if there is a rare room-wide conversation then it revolves around "that" person or their experiences or their comments or thoughts.

Last night at the One Acts strike party two such "loud" people arrived. That's when I left, not saying goodbye to anyone, just fading out the door. So if you happen to be reading this and you wondered at the time when or why I left without bidding adieu, now you know.

I am thankful that the "loud" people were in general easy to avoid during the production, but I am also thankful for earplugs because there were times when even though I was wearing them and on the other side of the building I was seeing red because of unnecessary boorish loudness. But two "loud" people in a small townhouse with two dozen other people after a long hot day, with alcohol, is basically a recipe for me suddenly and silently leaving the party.

Jul. 25th, 2015

08:22 am - 207

Again. I thought I was being more mindful this week. Clearly not. (Saturday, because the strike party is tonight and I expect that I will have snacks.)

Last performance of the one acts tonight. I am glad to see the end. I have fun on stage & many of the people are fine. There is nevertheless way too much shouting, dick slapping, obnoxious commentary and a general lack of respect for other people, the performance and the space.

Still, if you haven't seen it, you should see it. Ange's opening show THE STEPMOTHER is hilarious and well acted, and the finale MISSED CONNECTIONS is delightful and poignant. QUARTER LIFE CALAMITY is narcissistic angst turned up to 11 so if you find that kind of thing funny, it might work for you.

My show, THROUGH THE MIRROR, isn't bad, it's just forgettable. Nevertheless, Rachel and Evelyn as Teri and Tori manage some genuinely funny physical business; all that dance training and innate hyperactivity really pay off. Also, it's probably your only chance if you want to see me deliriously huffing a catnip toy.

App development is going well. I solved the UX problem that was giving me fits last week. Now it is largely a matter of backfilling features. Then I need to do some shader optimization. Realistically it's probably a month or two from being done, but that's not *forever*.

I have to send a Bio to the instructor for my director's retreat, which is just two weeks away now. Also a copy of my Pooh Corner script. Because they ask what play you want to work on during the retreat. Well, that's the one I want to work on. So I'm kind of nervous about that. I'm sure it'll be fine.

I've got a couple books on directing and am working my way through Lenore DeKoven's "Changing Direction" and already learning quite a lot. Nothing surprising; nebulous stuff that's been in my head as an actor and playwright have been given concrete words: kind of confirmation that the way I want to approach direction is a good way. Or at least Lenore's way. It's a dense book; read a couple pages, put it down and absorb, then read a couple more. I also have Elia Kazan's "Kazan on Directing" which should be a fun read as well.

Jul. 19th, 2015

08:36 am - 207

Again.

Okay, fine. Six nights of sugar-rush theatrical performance snacking and I didn't gain anything? I'll take it.

OMG Six? Six. Sunday: tech. Monday: dress. Tuesday: dress. Wednesday: off. Thursday: opening show. Friday: show. Saturday: show.

Four days off now. A relief.

The show is okay.

I haven't made much secret that I don't like the script. It's a poorly characterized, ham fisted and not especially amusing morality play about the evils of drugs. Fortunately in the hands of the director and cast, it's funnier than it due to stage business and pulls back a lot of the morality BS due to a different implementation of the stage directions. But given that we can't cut or change the words due to the license agreement, it's still nowhere near as fun or funny as it could be.

It's redeemed by the cast and crew, of course. Lovely people, some new to the theatre, some old hands. A bit too much FASSitude at times, though it's to be expected given the timing and low bar of a One Acts production. Nevertheless, everyone is there for the show and it's come together well. But -- making new friends and reinforcing old friendships, that's what community theatre is best at.

Jul. 12th, 2015

09:12 pm - 207

After the bike trip to Elora last Saturday I weighed myself and it was 213; this was after a 68km bike ride and included a modest lunch and just over 4 litres of water.

I quickly lost the excess water weight and I was expecting a 206 or even 205 but I am not surprised at the 207 -- his weekend I've eaten poorly and I feel worse for it -- "Tech weekend" is an annoying but necessary part of theatrical productions where actors stand around all day waiting to be told what to do, so the technical (lighting, sound, props, grips, etc) crew can do their own rehearsals. We get months to prep; they get a couple days. I don't begrudge it, but loitering in a theatre all day doesn't lend itself to bodily health. No big deal, though, tomorrow it's back to a normal schedule during the day so I'll bounce back to a more healthy pattern.

The show I'm in, THROUGH THE MIRROR, one of the "One Acts" at KWLT, opens this Thursday. Honestly it's a mixed bag of scripts but all of the people are really nice to work with and it's very cool to be part of one of the less scary sort of "introductory" productions as opposed to a "main stage" shows; many people who participate in these one act shows are new to KWLT, new to a certain task, or even new to theatre in general. The enthusiasm is infectious.

I've been seeing horsetraveller rather more frequently of late. Given that my usual weekdays are passed mostly in isolation, the additional social and physical contact has been quite beneficial to my mental health. As I said at the turning of the year, I need to ensure I am with actual flesh and blood people more often for just this reason, and it seems to be working!

Jul. 4th, 2015

08:30 am - 207

It's a day early for weigh-in but as I'm doing a 70 km bike ride today (to Elora and back) I wanted to get a before & after.

Jun. 29th, 2015

08:34 am - Meditation: Doing it right!

A friend recently tried meditation and said it was boring, that they were easily distracted, and that they felt ridiculous. I about did an air-punch, because you cannot possibly "do" meditation more correctly than that.

Meditation isn't a place you go or a destination you seek, it's a journey you undertake -- and specifically a journey where the obstacles you face along the way are the entire point of the journey.

The literature -- religious, spiritual and secular -- all talk about many different kinds of impediments, but they all fall into three broad categories: 1) excuses, 2) distraction, 3) doubt.

Excuses keep you from starting your practice, or stops it too soon. Whether it's "do I have enough time" or "I'm too hungry" or "I'll just fall asleep" or "My leg hurts" or "I have to pee". You overcome excuses by just performing without thinking about it.

Distraction pulls you away from your focus. Emotions, memories, environmental sounds, thinking about work; your busy busy waking mind without external distractions turns on itself and demands that you amuse it. You side-step distraction by simply letting it go and returning to your focus.

Doubt is the metacognition that watches you meditate and mocks you, or allows you to get angry at yourself for the excuses or distractions, or tells you that it isn't working or that you can't do it, that there's no point, you'll never get better, any of a thousand reasons why you could be doing anything else and it would be much, much more worthwhile. Doubt is the nasty one because you can never truly leave it behind; as soon as you think you've quashed a doubt, it morphs into a new shape to challenge you anew.

Meditation is really no more and no less than your interaction with those impediments. It is discipline, pure and refined, but a discipline you cannot master with any kind of force because you cannot bludgeon your way to inner peace. That's the conflict at the heart of meditative practice, the nugget of truth which gives it both its benefits and its challenges: striving to not strive, wanting to not want, effortless effort.

(Fair disclosure: I haven't meditated in years but I used to practice diligently.)

Jun. 28th, 2015

09:47 am - 209

Fairly annoying to see a larger number than last week but it is likely last week's number was anomalously low and I am continuing a moderate and sustainable loss. Also last week's 208 was like 208.8 and this 209 was 209.0, though I only count three significant digits, because weight's gonna vary at least that much due to hydration and waste.

It's been a good week for my camera app project. I've been struggling with some design work and fighting with memory usage on the lowest spec devices I intend to support. But the visual results are very appealing. I hope to spend the next week or so getting it to a very preliminary alpha state and getting it in the hands of a few interested photographers.

I am also struggling with the name of the app. I'd settled on "Silver" but there is an older piece of vaguely similar software called "Silver EFEX Pro" which, though the company has been bought out by Google, is still for sale. And I've received a couple of "your product's name is too close to our product's name so you can change it right now, or you can fight a velociraptor in the Thunderdome" letters from corporate lawyers before and I really don't enjoy them so I don't want to risk getting another even if the usage might be defensible (with a few hundred thousand dollars). So I'm looking for a new name again.

Not a great mental health week. Anxiety/stress mostly. Not too much depression or unsourced anger, though a little of each. Not enough social interaction again. Must keep making efforts to keep that up.

Saw KWLT's [ title of show ] musical productio on Friday. It was good fun, enjoyable, some catchy tunes, good performances. Good inspiration for creative dreamers: it's a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical and how they take it to Broadway. Follow your dreams, etc.

Pixar's new thing "Inside Out" is in theatres and I kind of want to see it and kind of also don't. A Disney-sanitized version of the inner mental health states and emotional processes of a child may not actually be the kind of thing I want to engage with, even if there are perfectly timed gags and excellent vocal performances. We'll see.

I guess that's it for now.

Jun. 21st, 2015

10:09 am - 208

My clothes fit better now. That's nice. I also feel less gross.... about 5% less.

Last Sunday was a long bike ride (50km in the Tour de Grand) and I haven't done any significant riding since then. I should, though, this coming week.

I've kind of mapped out a ride to Paris which wouldn't be too awful, though since Paris is downriver it would be a harder ride coming home than heading out. Also, the trail route is ~45km while the straight shot is 35km, kind of a downer.

I also have a vague plan to cycle the Kissing Bridge trail, which starts in Millbank and ends just north of Guelph, but I'd also have to cycle to the start point and from the end point. Which would make it a 100km ride. Which I'm not strictly opposed to the idea of, but it's not a lark. I have also read some trail reviews that say there are sometimes loose dogs and that having dog repellent is a good idea. So I should get some of that.

Jun. 19th, 2015

07:41 am - UnRage

I get angry at the injustice in the world. At thoughtless people. At selfishness. At unmutual behaviour.

But I can't change people. I can't change the world. So all the anger just sits there and festers. "I'm always angry."

But constant anger is constant stress, and constant stress is very damaging. So I tamp it down. I say I don't care. I shrug it off.

But I can't seem to just diminish my response to anger. Everything else gets diminished, too. If I don't feel anger, I also don't feel joy, I don't feel love.

But that's depression. I have to choose between being angry or being depressed?

How to be authentic and in the moment and emotionally responsive without burning up?

How do people do this?

Jun. 14th, 2015

06:17 pm - 210

Yeah, okay, body, whatever. 210 it is.

Today I went down to Cambridge for the Tour de Grand organized bicycle ride and met up with four friends and we all started off on the 50km route together. It was a lot of fun, despite the sky opening up on us about halfway through until the end -- there were no body parts that were not wet. Aside from the rain, though, it was a lovely ride -- overcast, good temperature, mild breeze, not too dry.

Amusing: in order to get down to Cambridge, I strapped my bicycle onto the back of my motorcycle. It folds (the bicycle) up so that isn't as absurd looking as it sounds. And it worked really well!

Jun. 12th, 2015

02:39 pm - Quiet

I don't talk much.

At times I will reflect that d and I have had a nice conversation but on consideration it was d who did most/all of the speaking and I mostly engaged in active listening.

Also at parties, the few I attend, I almost never have anything to contribute. I am mostly a listener.

Which isn't to say that I can't have a conversation when there's an earnest topic to be discussed. And I certainly am able to have a two person coffee break that can go on for hours.

But the small talk, in general, doesn't seem to pass the bar for worth going on about.

I am in a play with a bunch of people many of whom are 20 years younger than me. During rehearsals they chatter away, sometimes on topic, sometimes off. I generally don't have anything to add. I may say something but more often than not I simply won't be heard because there's no "air" between the words.

I don't know why this is. I just don't talk much. I am not sure it is something that wants fixed.

Except that it is not great for forming friendships. How do people make friends, anyway?

Jun. 7th, 2015

10:38 am - 213

Not everything I'd hoped for but I'll take it.

I suspect some of the difficulty with making that number drop faster is the cycling, which is resurrecting muscles that haven't been needed in years. Tuesday I did 60km, which was fun. This Sunday, weather permitting, I'll do 50km with friends on the Tour de Grand. Shouldn't be any problem.

Later today I'll be heading over to a friend's house to help with some yard work. Other than that, still working on software most of the time, and I've finally picked up Bloodborne which is proving to be just the game I hoped it would be.

Jun. 2nd, 2015

08:05 am - I'll have what she's having

I've been thinking about orgasms.

Well, yes, who doesn't. But lately, I've been thinking about how they are typically regarded in the larger social consciousness. Particularly, it seems to me that people very often treat orgasms as the primary goal of a sexual encounter.

If one doesn't reach orgasm, then one has performance issues or isn't really interested. And if one's partner doesn't orgasm, then one is a poor lover by either being inexperienced, inattentive or simply inadequate.

None of those things are necessarily true or false, but they're very common internal narratives (and sometimes external narratives, hurled accusingly) for sexual encounters that don't end in orgasm.

And I was thinking not only how damaging those narratives can be to the self esteem, but also how much they trivialize the joy and pleasure that comes before an orgasm. And I was thinking that that was bullshit.

One might as well evaluate whether a movie is any good by whether it has an explosion in the finale. Or a symphony by whether there's a big orchestra hit just before the applause. Or a hike in the woods by whether or not at the end it looks down on a magnificent autumnal view. Or a painting by how bright the colours are, or a song by its power chords, or a poem by whether it ends at an exclamation point.

All of these experiences are not, in fact, defined by their denouements -- they are the sum of *all* of their parts, from the first quiet movements to the fading memories. Insistence on a big climax not only closes off an infinite variety of other possibilities, it also limits appreciation for times when you do get it: when you expect, if not demand, things to happen in a certain way, there is less improvisation, less spontaneity and more judgement.

Good sex, I think, is like making art. You have tools, techniques and abilities with which to craft an experience. If you allow that experience to guide itself, rather than always pushing it in a certain direction, then you can open yourself to new realms of pleasure.

Or, putting it in more concrete terms, instead of always walking on the blazed trail to the scenic overlook, just wander in the forest to see what you find. Maybe it's a secret glade, maybe it's a hidden waterfall, maybe you discover that you didn't really want much of a walk at all because you're tired or your leg hurts, and there's no shame in admitting it.

Orgasms are just one measure in the big symphony of sexual experience. Sure, it's a triumphant chord and makes you feel awesome, but you know what? Not every symphony has the same big final chord, or even a final chord at all ... it's the music that matters, not how it ends.

So, that's me overthinking about overthinking sex.

May. 31st, 2015

11:22 am - 214

214 again. Ugh. This week, I blame the cheese. I don't usually have cheese because it slows .. things .. down, but Friday night I was at a party and there was some really good cheese and sliced meats, and I had some. I knew that it would make me bloaty and oogy, but sometimes one will accept the trade of a very good experience with a few negative outcomes.

Nevertheless, my pants fit better this week.

I'm writing an iPhone camera app, and I hate that I'm doing it.

I hate it because I hate participating in Apple's "app store" ecosystem as a vendor. What one must understand about apps is that when you sell your shit in Apple's world, your participation in that realm is being tolerated only because your contribution helps them sell more hardware. They don't care about you or your app or your profit or really anything beyond the fact that having a platform for 3rd party apps creates more demand for Apple phones, tablets and computers.

I'm doing it anyway because I want a camera that works a certain way, and my research indicates that writing code for the iPhone is my best chance for making that happen. It's nearly impossible to create custom code for consumer or prosumer retail cameras, and even in the instance of the "Magic Lantern" or "CHDK" firmware packages for some Canon cameras, the camera can't be made to do what I want. Some professional grade cameras (many, many thousands of dollars) could possibly be programmed to act the way I want, but I'm not willing to take that road. So, a smartphone, and my choice of Apple is predicated on satisfactory camera hardware, an intelligent and usable API/SDK, and a development environment that isn't monstrously stupid.

So, my best chance is the iPhone. I'll make the camera app I want to use to shoot the pictures I want to shoot, and if a saleable app results, I'll put it up for sale in their App store, but I will have no expectations of making any money at all.

I have another topic to chat about but I think I'll save it for another day.

May. 25th, 2015

10:56 am - i do not find my lack of faith disturbing

I do not find existential comfort in systems that rely on faith rather than evidence.

However, I do think there is self-comfort to be found in the performance of kindness to other beings.

Further, faith-based systems that emphasise and encourage the practice of that sort of kindness seem to be very useful templates for behaviour patterns, if not internal mental states.

So, even if I don't subscribe to a literal interpretation of the writings of and about Gautama Buddha, I still don't mind calling myself a Buddhist, as it gives others an easy shorthand understanding of my behaviour patterns and my regard for other beings.

On reflection, I probably shouldn't say I'm a Buddhist. That's appropriation: saying one is a thing, when one isn't. I guess I could say I have Buddhist-like behaviour patterns. Or I could just call myself a Humanist. That would probably be best.

May. 24th, 2015

09:53 am - 213

It should be lower, but yesterday was kind of a disaster. Unexpected water retention makes a weight loss charts look not very steady.

I had a nice lunch with a couple of patties and a dog, which is a lot of protein and fat, but it's what I wanted and needed, and then a couple hours later decided that I wanted and needed a long bike ride.

I took along 2l of water just in case I got really thirsty and I wound up drinking most of it before my 45km ride was halfway done, and I was still getting the "colours are too bright" effect of dehydration. I managed to refill and drink more, but it never really seemed to settle in and refresh me.

By the end of the ride plus sitting on the porch rehydration time, I'd had 4l of water, which is about ten pounds. I am guessing the heavy meal I'd had for lunch was making it difficult for me to process/absorb water, so most of it sat around in my gut rather than get into my bloodstream where it was needed.

I was mildly nauseated all evening and slept poorly. And got up every two hours to pee. I feel human again this morning. But I expect my water budget is still surplus a couple pounds. So that's why the 213 figure seems a bit high.

It was a nice ride, west on Highland to Sandhills to Carmel Koch to Conservation to Westmount to RT Park and then in to the UW Gym for water, then home via Uptown.

A lot of emotional frustrations this week.

May. 17th, 2015

08:34 am - 214

In general, I feel great. The past five years have been a fairly amazing turnaround in terms of physical health. Although my diet is very restricted right now, and that kind of sucks from a social and eating-out point of view, it is also very nice to not be regularly putting things into my body that make it chronically angry.

Thus, though I am nearing my fifth decade, I also have excellent night vision, I do not have any rheumatic joint aches or pains, no sinus problems, no asthma, no blood sugar issues, and I have a decent resting heart-rate and BP. My last blood chemistry test, though a while ago, was also quite good. And I feel good; I feel now like what I think I should have felt like in my 20s -- if in my own 20s I hadn't been at least 120LBs overweight and unwittingly jamming allergens into my mouth at every possible moment.

I've been in better shape, though. In 2002 I would regularly ride 60-100 miles per weekend on my bike. My stamina was higher, and I had more muscle and less fat, though I weighed then about what I weigh now. I also had a lot of the chronic issues that come from eating the wrong sorts of food. So while I was well exercised a decade ago, I was not at any kind of peak in the realm of "feeling awesome."

I also would like to look good. I would actually like to have a period in my life when people look at me and are not turned off. I'm a bit soggy here and there, and it would be nice to make the lumpy bits less so. I might like to have the occasional appraising glance from a stranger, even. But, unless I know you, please keep the cat-calls to yourself.

My plan revolves around the fact that I build muscle quickly -- so quickly that I typically avoid strength training because it makes my clothes not fit in a matter of weeks -- so I am going to focus on weight reduction first, though I am also going to ramp up the endurance/cycling training (which will help with stamina as well as caloric expenditure). Once I lose about a stone, I'll start doing some moderate interval training focusing on core strength.

And that brings us to the number in the subject of this post; my current weight. A month ago it was 218. I intend to make another post on this topic each Sunday. Not just to keep me honest, but as a journal. Really. And I can maybe share a few thoughts, if I have any, about the week.

Also, considering the state of our global culture, this is also the perfect time to work our corporeal existences towards excellent and vibrant health for the coming apocalypse. When the Old Ones finally come, we will owe them our lives, and it will only go well for us if the meat suits we have prepared for the rebirth of their spawn are agile, able and healthy. I am doing my part, brothers and sisters in flesh, will you do yours? Ia! Ia!

May. 13th, 2015

02:07 pm - Too Many Men in Dragon Age

In BioWare's Dragon Age games, your team consists of a party of four: yourself and three computer-controlled companions.

I was curious how many different party combinations there are in each game for parties of homogenous gender.

Dragon Age Origins:
Player: gender choice
Male companions: 6 (including the dog)
Female companions: 3 (+1 in Stone Prisoner DLC)

20 different all-male party combinations
1 (4 with DLC) all-female:
As shipped:
Morrigan, Wynne, Leliana
With DLC:
Morrigan, Wynne, Shale
Morrigan, Shale, Leliana
Shale, Wynne, Leliana


Dragon Age Awakenings:
Player: gender choice
Male companions: 3
Female companions: 2
Agendered companions: 1 (Justice)
1 all-male party, no all-female parties.


DA: Leliana's Song DLC:
Player: female (Leliana)
Male companions: 3
You can't change the party and it skews male.


DA: Golems of Amgarrak DLC:
Player: gender choice.
Male companions: 2
Unknown gender: 1 (the golem)
You can't change the party and it skews male.


DA: Witch Hunt DLC:
Player: gender choice
Male companions: 2
Female companions: 1
You can't change the party; at best there is gender parity.


Dragon Age II:
Player: gender choice
Male companions: 5 (6 if player is a mage)
Female companions: 4 (3 if player is a mage)

20 (12) different all-male parties
1 (4) all-female:
Aveline, Merill, Isabela
If the player is not a mage, you get Bethany (sometimes)
Aveline, Merill, Bethany
Aveline, Bethany, Isabela
Bethany, Merill, Isabela


Dragon Age: Inquisition
Player: gender choice
Male companions: 6
Female companions: 3

20 different all-male parties
1 all-female:
Sera, Vivienne, Cassandra


This is something I noticed when thinking how well Bioware usually does with gender equality when compared with most other developers... and considering that in DA it's not very equal at all, that's really saying something.

(The limited combinations are acutely annoying when you're playing for dialogue, because the available lines of banter are exhausted very, very quickly amongst all-female parties.)

N.B. Bioware's Mass Effect does not suffer from the same problem as Dragon Age, as the gender mix for squad members is remarkably equitable in all three games.

May. 12th, 2015

08:39 pm

Nef.

Glad I auditioned yesterday when I felt only the first tendrils of ick, because That Cold That's Going Around is really blooming now. This one doesn't seem to be very goopy except for some gross post-nasal drip, but it does hit like a hod. So sleepy.

No, I didn't touch anyone yesterday, or cough in the theatre.

Jan. 3rd, 2015

10:23 am - 2014 in review

2014 Year in Review

What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?

Burlesque; specificially, singing and dancing on stage in shiny black vinyl lederhosen. Adapted House at Pooh Corner for the stage, and directed a fully cast staged reading, which people really liked.

Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t have any last year. I have one vague resolution for this year. We’ll see how it goes.

Did anyone close to you have or adopt a child?

There were a couple babies produced, and one older child adoption, by friends and acquaintances, but no one so close that I felt a need to go and welcome the sprog in person.

Did anyone close to you die?

Not that I’m aware of.

What countries did you visit?

None.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I desperately need much more social interaction and physical contact with friends. I realize that it is on me to make this happen. And this is part of my resolution for the year.

What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t have any etchings on my memory this year. There were some stand-out moments but they don’t have dates attached as important identifiers.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not running away, screaming.

What was your biggest failure?

A lot of my own pain is a result of not seeing to my own needs. And that’s 100% my fault.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Physically, nothing out of the ordinary. Mentally, several bouts of more or less severe depression and flattened affect, which to some degree persist to this day.

What was the best thing you bought?

I don’t attach much emotional response to purchases, or at least I haven’t done so in the past few years. I shop carefully and then use my items. I guess the self-chilling ice cream machine would be a candidate, as are some of the new fountain pens I enjoy writing with.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

I can’t answer this right now.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Basically everyone, except a few close friends. Humans are terrible.

Where did most of your money go?

Support payments, which are now finally completed.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Believe I mentioned the thing about flat affect? Actually, I really like performing on stage. That was really wonderful.

What song will always remind you of 2014?

That’s not the way my brain works.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

Happier, though that isn’t saying much. The end of 2013 was horrible.

b) thinner or fatter?

A little fatter. I’m about 10lbs over where I’ve been for the past decade, and 20 over where I want to be. Depressive eating and lack of exercise.

c) richer or poorer?

About the same, though the monthly expenses have gone down.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

Anything, other than sitting at my desk.

How did you spend Christmas?

Quietly.

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Probably the CS rep for our new ISP when signing up for service. I don’t use the phone except when it’s completely unavoidable.

Did you fall in love in 2014?

Had several crushes and lots of fantasies….

How many one-night stands?

… but didn’t act on any of them.

What was your favorite TV program?

I’ve stayed away from episodic TV for a long time, but I have watched a season and a half of Elementary, and that’s been generally delightful.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I am now more than ever having a very hard time dealing with peers who are blind to their own entitlements and react poorly when called out on them. I should revisit some calming mantras or something.

What was the best book you read? — video game you played?

Haven’t done much reading of note this past year though I have gone through a couple dozen books, so I’m going to edit this question to be instead about video games.

The best video game I played in 2014 should have been Dark Souls II but I found it a real let-down. Instead the award goes to Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen with a very close second to Mass Effect 3. This may be cheating, because I started playing DD in 2013, but fuck it. I won’t give ME3 a best of the year because it’s not as much a game as it is a story.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

The soundtrack from Valkyria Chronicles by Hitoshi Sakimoto. James Horner only wishes he could write music like that.

What did you want and get?

Time on stage.

What did you want and not get?

Mental peace and a sense of self and stability from which to become myself.

What was your favorite film of this year?

There were some really lovely Chinese costume dramas, of which the best was Jet Li’s Hero a.k.a Ying xiong (2002), which received one of the very rare five star ratings we give to Netflix. I recommend it unreservedly. (Also see The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

The day after my 48th birthday we took the train to Toronto for a few errands and I got some nice but inexpensive fountain pens and some lovely ink to go with them.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More in-person social contact and more physical touching.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Black t-shirts and cargo pants. Same as the year before, and before, and before…

What kept you sane?

I cannot answer this question as posed.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t tend to fantasize about unattainable celebrities because their reality is so detached from what we are shown. You may as well ask which fictional character I fancied the most…. the answer to that is Cdr. Shepard from Mass Effect, voiced by Jennifer Hale.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Wealth inequality.

Who did you miss?

Probably you.

Who was the best new person you met?

Sorry, new person I met this year who is reading this. It’s not that you’re forgettable, it’s that words like “best” have little meaning for me.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:

A valuable lesson is that I need to get out of the house more. Will I learn it and act on it to my betterment? Only time will tell.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

We all walk through this world alone
We keep ourselves untouched, unknown
You look up to the sky above you
Read this there, I love you
Oh, it's written there
You know I love you, love you, love you, love you

Everything But The Girl - Troubled Mind - http://youtu.be/PxPbLy7uLlM

Sep. 22nd, 2014

07:58 am - One Post Wonder

I have of late been posting more frequently to onepostwonder.com than here.

The idea of OPW is that you can only post once per day. Which seems like it might suck, but seems fairly positive.  

First, it means that people tend to post thoughtfully, because they can only do it once per day. And it's really nice reading thoughtful posts.  

Second, it means that people tend to engage more in comments. Since each post was thoughtfully made, comments seem to flow more naturally.

Third, it means that you don't need to visit the site every hour to keep up. It's a manageable flow of information. 

Fourth, it looks beautiful.  Okay, this is where I come out and say that I did the visual design for OPW.  I did a nice job. Reading and commenting is a genuine pleasure.

Fifth, it has a smart privacy model. Fine-grained access control though a simple system of keys and locks.

I don't think it'll replace Facebook or Twitter or Dreamwidth or LJ; not for everyone. But with its simple restrictions it does seem to shape usage to be a genuinely useful communications model for people who like to write and like to be read. 

Because I did the design, I have a lot of beta invite codes. So if you'd like to sign up, reply here with an email address or some other way of contacting you securely (comments screened) and I'll get you one.

Aug. 31st, 2014

09:35 am - The Unpersoning

A few weeks ago, an apparently middle-aged middle-class white man spoke to me, also an apparently middle-aged middle-class white man, in the context of me and D, an apparently middle-aged middle-class white woman, packing a slightly too-small luggage compartment of a motorcycle with slightly-too bulky purchases from a middle-class retail wonderland which for the purposes of this tale remains nameless.

This white man said to me (paraphrasing) "Looks like you should put a big backpack on her, huh?"

I should note that D was standing right next to me at the time.

I replied (paraphrasing), "i suspect she can make her own decisions about what to wear." At which point he seemed to begin apologizing, however I continued to speak (paraphrasing), "and further, she is a real person that you can speak directly to, and not in the third person." And he seem to get really confused and stammered a little what seemed to be more apologetic sorts of things.

Though I'm not sure what she said next, D had some brief words to him. I was concerned with packing, really not giving a shit what the guy was saying, and mostly just hoping he would go away.

But as soon as D engaged with him (thus revealing herself as a person and not as property), his attitude changed 180 degrees from apologetic to indignant. 

I think the next intelligible thing I heard him say was (paraphrasing), as he was now indignantly getting into his mini-van, "if you're getting offended by something like this then you have some really big problems".

I believe D said at this point, "My problem is society"

But white man had slammed his door on us and was starting up his mini-van.

I think I then characterized him as "A white man in a white world."

To which D then made a wave I didn't see, and said loudly to the backing-away mini-van, "HAVE A WHITE DAY!"

Which was really quite amusing in one way, and really sad in another.

Because of course he *will* have a white day, a white week, a white life. His whole existence has been designed to be, and will be catered to almost exclusively by non-white and/or non-male and/or non-middle-class people. And though he himself serves the upper, richer classes, he will get only satisfaction from his service as a major pinion in the engine of capitalism and he will never feel the hot ears of shame or demeaning commentary.

No, he didn't run us over or anything. I like to think he was angry and confused for at least fifteen minutes. Maybe he'll learn something. Probably not right away. But maybe eventually, if stuff like this keeps happening, things will change. Maybe not.

But, we tried.


So, hey, middle-class white male friends. When this shit happens near you, don't fucking let it go. We have significant power to adjust the attitudes of our "peers" by letting them know, mano-a-mano, that it is time for attitudes to change.

And, yeah, maybe you might take some heat or back-talk by speaking up. But how bad could it really be, compared to the heat our friends *have no choice* in taking *constantly* throughout their lives?

Thanks for reading, and for making a difference where you can.

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