Azz the Wonder Admin, Friday dinner, and the role of Beauty Culture in crafting the selfie

http://azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org/7630259.html

I am gathering evidence for my qualifications as Wonder Admin. This includes my principles for group catering, and surely more. (Anybody know of anything I should include offhand? Or topics for more Admin Storytime with Azz?)


Dinner with Purple and Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly. Next week is first Friday, so next week I'll see less of Purple. This weekend is unlikely to be greatly sociable on Purple's part, as he's pretty zonked.

Purple was running late. I didn't run afoul of feetball traffic. We poked Purple gently about his phone. It had been a long week. Purple diverted the discussion to his couch. (On which he has sat naked, he points out. I continue to react convincingly.)

The sweet potato fries with the marshmallows and so forth were stared at as an abomination. We did not get them. We did not have silverware, either. I was best-positioned to stare down a server, so I did that. "Wedgie" in terms of food just sounds wrong.

I don't have dates for the next set of medical shenanigans, but the next round of appointment-giving is due to start next week. Somehow, and I'm not entirely clear on how, this turned into a discussion of how large a Yule tree I could actually become a stand for, assuming the Yule tree went where no Yule tree should go, and not considering the actual weight of the tree, just the size of the trunk.

Purple has commenced conveying greetings to a remote party, on the idea that the remote party is likely to remain present for quite some time. He also made some truly terribly filthy joke which I wish I could remember; I had to roll a will save against telling him I loved him for that. I'm sure he'll make it again at some point.



[personal profile] norabombay and I were talking about the literally years of training that goes into the generally-women's skill box towards taking good selfies. I was thinking about it on the drive to dinner, and because of the ubiquitous nature of Beauty Culture, one of the unacknowledged skills that most little girls learn is how to make a pretty face in a mirror.

There's all this time spent staring at your face in the mirror and making it do things, making horrible faces and faces of every emotion and looking at expressions from multiple angles to see which expression is best for what viewing angle. But because it's part of the general background noise of being groomed to become a woman in Beauty Culture, it's simultaneously assumed as a given, and the level of effort and hours consumed are dismissed as important, because of course it's not important, it's just vanity.

I have no idea what my genuine, first-reaction smile like I would have smiled as an un-self-conscious toddler would feel like, now.
I may still have it.
I may not.
I don't know.

I do know that my smile, the way I hold my mouth, the way I hold my face -- all of these are the result of extensive training and experimentation, all with the aim of either "being beautiful", or with the aim of not getting picked on at school, or the aim of Not Looking Funny, or getting Bugs to stop being a dick. (Bugs was the freshman year boyfriend who drummed on my head. Resting Bitch Face wasn't a thing when I was a freshman, or he would have told me that I had it. He did tell me that my neutral face looked cranky, or angry, or something, and that I should hold my face with a slight smile at all times, because that would make me look more pleasant. And to this day, my "neutral" face is not actually neutral. It is a very slight smile, to turn my natural frown into a straight line.)

So, yes, it should not in fact surprise me that when someone who has not been immersed in Beauty Culture since the age of knowing the difference between boys and girls goes to take a selfie, that maybe it doesn't come out so great.

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The Ballad of Purple's Cell Signal

http://azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org/7629607.html

Purple has a flip-phone that's about ... 5? 6? years old now. It charges off MiniUSB (not MicroUSB). Every now and then someone calls him "Captain Kirk" for using it. This tends to result in some parking lot improv.

Every now and then someone suggests to Purple that because he is a software engineer in the tech industry, perhaps he should be getting with a smartphone. Purple has a standard rant prepared for this occasion. The gist of it is:

Purple has a home phone. Purple has a work phone. When you find a smartphone plan that costs $100 a year, come tell him about it. Meanwhile, Purple is over here with his prepaid flip phone, which works perfectly well at getting him calls and texts while he is out and about; while he is out and about he is also not likely to need to be emailed, because he's generally driving or at dinner or in some other situation where really, you should not need email. (Also, in recent years he has added an iPad to his set of gear, and you often don't need a second portable computing machine at that point.)

Now, that's been the situation for nearly as long as I've known Purple. It's something that I've come to accept and even like about him.

Over the past months and weeks, Purple has noticed that his signal has become patchy. His noble little cellphone (which often does fun tricks like leaving the screen light on, which chews through battery, or failing to charge for some reason, or occasionally even pocket-dialing) has been getting signal in fewer places. First he noticed he wasn't getting it reliably inside his office anymore. (That chewed up battery.) Then there were other spots of spotty service. At some point, his prepaid cell outfit gently pointed out that his little old phone was 2G only, and the 2G network around these parts is going away. Soon. Now. And maybe you should get a new phone, bro.

I would describe myself as a procrastinator.
I would describe Purple as the kind of procrastinator who will cheerfully spend 15 minutes every week and a half to twice a week (depending on temperature) using a cigarette lighter plug portable air compressor to refill his slow-leaking tire, for over a year, rather than making the appointment to get the tire fixed or replaced. (I cannot throw too many stones. He knows where a lot of my stuff is hidden, too.)

Purple has allowed as how he will probably need to get himself a new prepaid flip phone that uses a slightly more modern cell network, and maybe takes a charger that more people are likely to have on them. He allows as how he may continue to put this off.

Last Friday at the ex-co-worker-crowd dinner, Purple invited his old friend GG (and her husband) as well as Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly and me. I texted Purple to let him know that I was running about 10 minutes late. I arrived to find that he hadn't got my text, as he'd no signal in the restaurant. Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly arrived somewhat after me. She'd become delayed in some event-related fuckery on 101. She'd tried to call Purple!

GG proceeded to give Purple a hard time about his Luddite refusal to have a smartphone, pointing out that Purple is a well-paid engineer who can afford a fucking smartphone and a data plan. GG does this sort of thing, it turns out -- gives Purple a hard time about things. And Purple continues to be his cheerfully procrastinatory and stubborn self.

I learned long ago that when Purple took a hard stance about something, that I was wasting everyone's time if I kept arguing about it, and the way to get around it was to accept his viewpoint and let him get around to it in his own time. Possibly by setting a good example by way of my own anti-procrastination efforts. Occasionally by saying "Eh, maybe you should get on that thing?" but not when he'd just been ranting about it.

Tonight I was halfway to dinner when I realized that I hadn't let Purple know that after we'd agreed on a time and place, I'd poked our mutual friend phone (whose favorite lunch spot it was) to let him know that we were convening for dinner and he'd be welcome. I thought about texting (hands-free, wheeee!) but realized: Purple wouldn't get that text. Anyway, I wasn't sure whether phone would be able to make it. So, we might as well see if he showed up...

I eventually remembered to text phone to let him know where we were sitting. He and his boyfriend showed up quite promptly thereafter, and we took a bit bigger table, and had a lovely time.

I may inquire gently with Purple, tomorrow, when he thinks he's going to actually get that new flip phone. 💜💜💜☎️🙄😘

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21 questions, as seen from a number of friends!

http://azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org/7628382.html

  1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth? I was not in the room where it first happened, but I was in the room where it continued to happen, after [staff profile] denise and [staff profile] mark announced Hypothetical Journal. Therefore I was so there. [identity profile] azurelunatic.livejournal.com is userid 50, although I waited a little longer before actually creating my permanent journal, in case something needed doing, testing-wise.

  2. Why did you choose your journal name? There was a punk band name generator on mp3.com back in 1997-ish. There were a number of silly names that I wrote down, but this was the one that magnetized me. It compelled me, even though I was hesitant to commit for a few years.

  3. Do you crosspost? Why or why not? "Somebody That I Used To Know" is my song for LiveJournal. "I don't want to live that way." (Yes. I do have to treat them like a stranger.) I do not crosspost, but I did set up a syndicated feed for the public entries there, for the ease of my friends who still live there.

  4. What do you do online when you're not on DW? Reading fanfiction, email, Twitter, IRC, ICB, various other forms of instant message. Sometimes clicky-games. Writing, though that can be offline as well. Work, too. Many of my previous jobs have been heavily computer, if not 100% online.

  5. How about when you're not on the computer? Housework, spending time with family and friends, reading books, the portions of work which are not computer-enabled. Errands. The odd walk.

  6. What do you wish people who read your journal knew about you? I'm fairly social for an introvert, but at the end of the day that's who I am. This means layers and layers of self-protection against exposure to too many people.

  7. What is your favorite community on Dreamwidth? Lately it's been [community profile] awesomeers, actually. A daily-ish reminder that I am still doing things, even when they seem small.

  8. What community do you wish was more active? I miss the regular screaming in [community profile] capslock_dreamwidth.

  9. Are there two people on your reading list that you think should meet? I was just running an encircling meme! [personal profile] sithjawa and [personal profile] silveradept should meet, though.

  10. Tell me about your default icon. My default icon shifts like the Aurora Borealis in the solar winds. Right now it's the Bastard's Prayer, from Lois McMaster Bujold's Five Gods universe, and it goes like this: "And the Bastard grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts: the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle, the feather at the pivot point, the pebble at the mountain's peak, the kiss in despair, the one right word. In darkness, understanding." As soon as I met the Bastard, I knew that I was one of Theirs. They are the god of the out-of-season and weird, and while Bujold defaults to "Him", I feel rather strongly that the Bastard's gender cannot be encompassed by normal measure.

  11. What features do you think Dreamwidth should have that it doesn't currently? This is a difficult one for me too, because when I think of one it goes into [site community profile] dw_suggestions. More work on the API and image hosting would be awesome of course!

  12. What do you consider the five most "telling" interests from the list on your profile?

    • the bullhorn of viola swamp: This is the magical item from Hogwarts which I would pull out of the Sorting Hat.

    • center for talented youth: Nerd Camp, which I adored. This probably says a lot about my childhood.

    • fishmumming the unfishmummable: While I wouldn't claim to have a "maternal instinct" as such, at some point I became the most likely grown-up in the room. Unless [personal profile] synecdochic is in the room, at which point I revert to being the one most likely to cause an item to be added to the local equivalent of Skippy's List.

    • magick: extra k and all.

    • [unicode goes here]: I wouldn't be me if I didn't test systems that I'm trying to use by also trying to break them. (Hold my flower.) I also have an enthusiastically frilly and/or sentimental side which is well-represented by the odd flower.


  13. Do you have any unique interests on your user profile? What are they? How'd they get there? I've got a bunch. They mostly got there as the result of bizarre injokes and references, some of which I have already forgotten.

  14. Did you have a gateway fandom? Still in it? Why or why not? Is there a community for it on DW? It was, technically, Star Trek. The animated series. As novelized by Alan Dean Foster. Or perhaps it was Pern. Dragonsong got me hooked on science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek introduced me to other people who liked the same things I did. Slightly different gateways. There are various Star Trek-related communities about. I haven't sought after Pern-based community, though I hear there are excellent angry feminist rants available in other parts of the internet. And I do love me some angry feminist ranting.

  15. What's your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination? I don't believe I have a fannish obsession at the moment. Generally, though, the common themes when I dive deep into something tends to be that there are a lot of things to be discovered and delighted over. ... Or yelled about. I've had projects at work which qualified as obsessions where there was more yelling than delight. Still a lot of things to discover. So, infinite discovery with strong emotion, perhaps?

  16. What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about? I ... did not walk into any stationary objects on the night of June 23rd??? I mean ... the most recent thing that I am delighted with has been the removal of my murderous uterus, but I've had the chance to post about that. So ... *hands*

  17. How many people on your reading list do you know IRL? I stopped counting about 25% through the list and had already hit 30-ish, just with the people I have met at least once in person that I could think of, not including the people I have never met in person but who have become a part of my life. A lot.

  18. What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy? It turns out that with an appropriate and sufficiently tight filter, I will talk about a lot of things on Dreamwidth. But there are a lot of things I won't talk about in public. Other people's business, mainly.

  19. Any questions from the audience? Do feel free!

  20. Yes, but what are your thoughts on yaoi? The format isn't my thing, but being queer means that m/m romance is My People, even though one might argue that people who look like me are not fully represented in it.

  21. What's your favorite thing about Dreamwidth? I'm going to say what I said elsewhere: the conferences. I feel that some of the loveliest and luckiest moments in my recent life have been at conferences where People From Dreamwidth were about.


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The ordinary joys of dinner.

http://azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org/7627514.html

Friday was the usual dinner out with Purple and Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly. I had no idea where I wanted to go, just that it shouldn't be too far. Purple picked a place not too far from old-work.

The timing worked out such that when it was time to actually leave, there was a conversation that I was in the middle of that I didn't want to just bail on. But the other party to the conversation was aware of my schedule, and adamant that I should not miss dinner on their account.

We wound up talking on the phone. It was a good conversation, running the full course from the usual sort of daily grievances we discuss, to the sublimely silly. By the time I hit the parking lot (and got pinned in the car for a few minutes as the van next to me loaded up their kids) I was giggling again, and went in to see Purple with a silly smile.

I was a little spacey through dinner, partly as the result of nice conversation, and partly because I was still just very tired and quiet and didn't have very many things to say about Game of Thrones.

Purple and I chatted in the parking lot, as is the custom. I headdesked at him some. He was encouraging, and just enough of a sarcastic bastard.


Sunday was the birthday, I believe the 30th, of one of the guys from the ghost team. Most of them are based in and around Palo Alto, so many of their dinner meetups are on a half-hour's notice, which is not quite enough time for me to get from schlubbing around the house to out the door, let alone from Pacifica to Palo Alto.

This time, there was early notice, so I found something comfortable and set out at the appointed time. It was a place I hadn't been before. The tiny parking lot was overfilled, and there was nowhere to go but back out onto the main drag; you couldn't go on the back street and circle around. So I found street parking, and jaywalked over just in time to encounter four of the other five of us who were coming.

Three of them are roommates, which can often be entertaining. 2/3 of the table was playing Pokémon Go. Mr. P and I were the holdouts.

One of the themes of the night was scallops. The guys enjoy their seafood. They also enjoy their steak. One of the guys had been debating whether it would be scallops or dessert. "Scallop cheesecake!" I contributed, cheerfully.

The concept was not well-received.

One of the guys is apparently notorious amongst the crew for eating at approximately the same rate as Zeno said that Achilles chased the tortoise. Except he would have started off as the tortoise. This had the effect of slightly delaying dessert for everyone else. By the time he was in fact ready to order, all of the good-natured chirping from the table caused him to say "Cheesesteak" instead of "cheesecake". Hilarity was the order of the moment.

I ... may have a mild crush on Mr. P. He is a very quiet geekfolk who appears amiable and with a wicked sense of humor when he has something to say.

I got to talk with Dawn on the drive home from that dinner. It was good to catch up with her. I had a few things to say about a situation that one of my friends is in. They were ... not especially good things. It was good to have that conversation, too.


Neither Purple nor I were quite feeling the dinner thing Monday, so we decided to retry on Tuesday.

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Hysterectomy: The Musical (or something)

http://azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org/7626994.html

The original of this was written on Thursday, August 4th, after I got home from the hospital, and sent to a selection of friends and family. I have redacted some bits, added other bits, and corrected some details.

I am settled in back at home, and have been up and walking around, sitting up at the computer, and napping. I am sore, but not more than is reasonable. I have a dotted line of five 4x2" bandages across the middle of my abdomen, and a not-so-mysterious sore spot where my cervix used to be. There are marks of adhesive tape on my hands and arms and basically everywhere which I am slowly scrubbing off with alcohol wipes, and I'm still discovering little stick-on snaps from the monitoring leads that they didn't entirely remove after I came out of surgery.

I'm doing okay and will hear more back from the doctor in about a week, and I have a follow-up appointment for the 22nd. They think they got everything of concern out with the uterus, tubes, and ovaries, but they will follow up to make sure. I should be able to resume normal activities in 6-8 weeks. I probably shouldn't be driving for several more days, but I've been sitting up and walking around without any particularly large amount of pain for the past 6 hours, so I may be ready for that sooner than I initially thought. [I wound up driving on Sunday.]


The long version follows.

Read more... )


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