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Monthly Archives: September 2016

So, what am I thinking about today? Halloween!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my favorite holiday is Halloween. In my teens and twenties, I was something of a flamboyant dresser. Everyday was Halloween. When did I get so respectable?

The village Halloween parade finally announced their theme. This year, it’s reverie – which pretty much leaves it wide open. Of course there’s no reason that you have to dress according to the theme. For me, it’s just a starting off point to try to think of something inventive. I have a few different ideas kicking around in my head. I haven’t quite decided what to do yet, but I’m starting to narrow it down.

As it happens, I was looking to make some molds for another project.

As an aside: If you didn’t know. I love projects. The messier the better. The only thing that gets in my way is living in a small Manhattan apartment. Even then, I usually just go ahead and make a big mess all over my coffee table. I want to live in another dimension in which my apartment is a small, modern, sleek thing, but inside it, somehow, there is a big garage or basement with a slop sink, a work bench, all sorts of tools for when I’m feeling macho. It’s kind of like my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. By day, or rather by weekday evening, I’m a nice, respectable, mild-mannered, sophisticated urban woman. Weekends, I want to retreat to my man cave.

Where the hell did that “man cave” thing come from anyway? Why don’t we have woman caves? (Besides the obvious joke that we carry one with us. But it’s too small for power tools!) How did a “room of her own” become a “room of his own?” Many of the companies from which I’ve bought my supplies tend to have projects for “man caves.” It sort of irritates me a little. I really hate the fact that so many people think that because I was born with a vagina I’m supposed to have a very definite set of likes and dislikes. Lately, as in the past few years, the damned thing has seen remarkably little use anyway. And not for lack of trying. That guy I gave my phone number to never called. I’ve given up trying online dating, although I toy with the idea once every couple of months. The truth is, I’m too old for men to want to have anything to do with. Guys a few years older than I am drop not so subtle hints that they would like someone even younger. Worse yet, if they can’t get someone younger, they’d rather masturbate to pictures than sleep with someone near their own age.

Eh, I don’t want to go there. It’s all a bunch of whining and it never changes. I could put up the same damned post about my sexual frustrations at least once a month. My last few attempts were such humiliating failures, I’m not sure I want to try again unless a man seems genuinely interested. I thought about writing about my last several attempts at sex. I had a pretty good sex life when I was younger. My recent experiences, however, were awful. I found myself asking, has something in the culture changed or have I reached a different stage of life and now people behave differently? They were awful in weird ways. As I said before, they were oddly humiliating. That’s sort of a new experience for me and to have that happen three times in a row with three different men is odd. Actually, since then there has been some fairly routine sex that was okay. So, I guess I should count that. Of course, to explain the bad sex and what happened would involve a pretty extreme level of self-exposure. I’m not sure anyone really wants to hear it.

Then maybe it was just bad luck. We all have a bad streak now and again, don’t we?

It was easier when I was young and attractive. It probably shouldn’t be that way, but when you know you’re the sort of woman men want you can behave with a certain level of confidence. Also, men treat you with respect. You’re a valuable commodity. They’re afraid to blow it. When you’re older and commensurately less attractive, men take you for granted. The don’t really care if you walk away. What makes it so annoying is that they’ll still go out on a date with you, but they won’t treat you well. They’ll be very critical. And sex is suddenly all about their needs. Suck their cock and leave. Or worse yet, take it up the ass. So, what’s in it for me? Where’s my pleasure?

You’d think something or someone triggered that outburst, but not really. This goes through my head on a regular basis. I just keep it to myself because to whine about the same thing over and over is just boring.

How did we get from Halloween to here? Oh, right, projects.

I used to feel like I could make my own way in life. Be my own person. Define myself the way I want to be defined. Now, everything is identity, identity, identity. But they don’t mean identity and any sense of the word as I used to understand it. Identity is just a code word for the little box they want to shove you in. It’s the ultimate result of commodification of everything. We’ve let the way advertisers and marketers view the world seep into the way we see ourselves.

So, I don’t like being forced to do things that are defined as women’s things because of my genitalia. Does that mean that I’m not “cis-gendered?” I don’t think so. When I read that Facebook had a huge number of gender options, my first reaction was to think that was good. Then I thought about it more. There are a few options that might describe me more accurately than cisgender woman, androgynous, bigender, gender fluid. (Gender questioning might fit, but it reminds me too much of the “bi-curious” thing which has always irritated the hell out of me. That’s a rant for another day, I suppose. But it’s probably outdated these days anyway.) You know, I don’t want a damned flag. I want a life. All the options might make it seem as if our perceptions are being refined, and maybe that’s good, but there’s a down side. (If you haven’t gotten used to the fact that I don’t see the world in black and white… I don’t have a conclusion for that if. I guess you’ll be disappointed.) When we only had two big boxes, male and female, it meant non-conformists (gender non-conforming and otherwise) had to slip out of the boxes. We found ourselves in a great big territory with no maps and no markings. We defined ourselves however we wanted to be defined. Now, the “straights,” for lack of a better term,” have just made better boxes. I don’t feel like any of those terms actually improve my life. I don’t want to be trapped in a ready-made identity, confined in a thing like an iron maiden. I don’t need or want other people to validate me. I can validate myself. My identity is who I am inside and it’s okay if you don’t have a word for it. I don’t need a name, or a flag.

We need to make lives that we want to live everyday as a subject, and how we portray that to other people as an object is a consequence. All these words put that order in reverse.

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A couple of weeks ago, I started with the idea of writing down whatever comes into my head for about an hour each day in order to improve my fluency with writing. I’ve let it drop a bit since my trip to New Jersey, so now I’m going to try to pick it back up.

This has coincided with several other similar efforts. I am also cleaning the apartment for one hour each day. That includes laundry and dishes. I’ve fallen behind… Actually, can you even say that you’ve fallen behind when that is your permanent state. Anyway, my place is a mess and the idea of cleaning it all in one fell swoop is overwhelming, so I’ve been doing it bit by bit, one hour every day. I’ve been more dutiful in that regard than I have been with the writing. Still, sometimes at forty-five minutes I find my attention wavering. Housecleaning is so difficult. I think it has the wrong level of mental engagement for my taste. Too engaging for your mind to totally wander without affecting your ability to clean well, but not absorbing enough for the time to pass without noticing. I find that I keep checking the clock. “Am I done yet?” “Am I done yet?”

The other thing I’ve been doing, and pardon me if I’ve already mentioned it, is programming for one hour a day. I realized that I hadn’t done any programming in a while. I wanted to make a little tool to make my sister’s life easier, and it was like pulling teeth. I’d become terribly rusty. So, I decided that I would program for at least one hour a day. This has, of course, just the opposite problem as the housecleaning. I find it very absorbing and I usually do it for as long as I can, meaning until my eyes are crossing and I need to go to bed. I’m still terribly rusty, however. Far from improving my skills, I’m reclaiming skills I lost.

I’ve set myself about the little task of make a half a dozen games. These are casual games, and they’re basically copies of things I’ve seen elsewhere. If I get any brilliant ideas, I’ll be glad to do them, but right now the point isn’t to come up with a clever game so much as it is to start programming again. So far, I’ve made two little ones, a memory game… and something else I am forgetting. Oh, yes, a code breaking game.

So, now I’m working on little game number three. It seemed just as simple as the other two games… actually, I realized it was slightly more difficult, but, still, it’s not a difficult game. I should be able to knock it out in a couple of days. Well, needless to say, that has not been the case. What’s bothering me though is not the time it’s taking. What I’ve done is really ugly.

First of all, I cobbled together something that I thought would work. It was really good practice. I haven’t had to do a traversal of a graph in a long time. It’s one of those things you think you know, then you try typing it out. You look at what you’ve typed and say to yourself, “What’s to prevent me from revisiting that node a million times.”

“Well, nothing.”

“Okay, let’s think this through again.”

I know people have solved these problems before and I can just look at a reference, but I find that I remember it better if I try to hammer it out myself first.

So, I did that, and I was happy enough with it. I did look at other people’s work. There’s a happy medium between trying to work it out yourself so that you understand and not reinventing the wheel.

The next stage was to cobble together some sort of GUI (Graphical User Interface) to see if it worked. I believe most of my readers don’t program, so let me say that I was doing it according to a pattern called “Model-View-Controller.” The “view”, in this case is the GUI, which allows the user to interact with the program. What I had done thus far was mostly the model. Now, you know that parts of it aren’t going to work, but you assume some, hopefully most, of it will work. Unfortunately, nothing was displaying at all. I was having a hard time finding, in everything I’d already written, where the problem was.

So, I did an absurdly simple version. Since then, I’ve been adding pieces back into it. Now, it is all messy and ugly. I add a bit of the functionality back, and then I need to be able to show it to the user. Then I add something onto the GUI. I have a whole bunch of nested “if… else” statements. I’m not done, but the part I’ve done is working as expected. I guess I can try to clean it up and make it more elegant afterwards. Still, I feel slightly dissatisfied. I’m not sure I’d want to show anyone the source code as it is. It’s about as messy as my apartment. Somehow, that seems fitting.

Beyond one hour cleaning and one hour writing, there are other things in my life I’d like to improve. I think I should add one hour exercising and an hour playing the piano. That’s five hours already and I haven’t even done any work yet! I want more hours in my day. Life is not fair, is it?

Maybe that’s why I don’t like to go to bed. Sometimes I joke that I’m on a thirty hour a day schedule. Unfortunately, that’s not really a joke. My sleep schedule slowly shifts. Each day, I go to bed a little later and each day I wake up a little later. The worst days are when my schedule is completely backward from the rest of the world. It’s no problem at all as long as I have no appointments, but if I have to interact with the rest of the world during this time period I can get a little stressed out.

Last week, we went to go see Mark Morris’ dance company and a couple of days before I started making an effort to get my sleep schedule set so I’d be wide awake between seven-thirty in the evening and ten o’clock. I didn’t entirely succeed. Normally, I like Mark Morris a lot. They were performing three new dances all set to the music of Mozart. It started seeming repetitive sometime during the third dance and I struggled to pay attention.

I was hoping to get my sister to do a dance review as a guest post, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

Do any of you have favorite, living, choreographers?

That’s New Jersey, the state on the Atlantic coast of North America, not the island in the English Channel.

Okay, that was quite a lot of work. My apologies for any errors.