Monday, 20 October 2014

Spoetry

The following was submitted to the SuperCollider-london email list. I can only assume that it's meant to be raw material for creativity:

Fitzgerald, when will you learn t

Ing in every family, if one only inquires. Your nerves are over-strained. I wish you'd go to bed, and let me have some one to see you. You are looking like a ghost. Mrs. Denham. I feel like one. But I am not going to haunt the scene of my crimes any longer. I am going away--going away! Denham. Well, I'm going with you, then, to take care of you. We'll send Undine somewhere, and go abroad for a while. Mrs. Denham. Oh yes. You can be kind enough, if that were all. Denham. Will you never make peace? Mrs. Denham. The only peace I _can_ make. Denham. What do you mean? Mrs. Denham. I shall trouble you no longer. Denham. My dear girl, don't talk like that. It is ghastly. Constance, I must go to Fitzgerald with this wretched drawing. I have to give some directions about the reproduction. I sha'n't be long. Promise me that you won't do anything foolish--that I shall find you here when I come back Mrs. Denham. Yes--you shall find me here. Denham. That's right. (_Goes to settee, and takes up shawl._) And now lie down here, and let me cover you with this shawl. Mrs. Denham. Very well. (_She lies down._) Arthur! Denham. Yes, dear. Mrs. Denham. Kiss me once before you go. Denham. Oh, if I may! (_Kisses her._) My poor Constance! I would give my heart's blood to comfort you. And meanwhile I'll send you a better thing--tea. Mrs. Denham. Thank you, dear. You have always tried to be good to me. You could not help being cruel, I suppose. Denham. I want to be good to you always. Well, good-bye, and God bless you! (_Kisses her._) Mrs. Denham. God bless you! (_Exit Denham._) Mrs. Denham. (_listens for a while, then starts up_) He had tears in his eyes when he kissed me. Poor Arthur! he thinks we are going to patch it up, I suppose. I am to live on pity--a man's pity, more akin to contempt than to love. Why _should_ he love me? I was not born to be loved, not made to be loved. And yet I wanted love so much. I wanted all or nothing, and I have got pity--pity that puts you in a madhouse, and comfortably leaves you to rot! Oh, my God! is this madness--this horror of darkness that seems pressing on my brain? (_A knock at the d<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">

/* and sees a sk */
/* hat yo */
/* re's alw */
/* olitics. The b */
/* ght, I t */
/* y arms? To me it */
/* e? Den */
/* solace myself with */

Fitzgerald, when will you learn t

And another one:

the whiteness of her

Hink she could have got hardened in that little while to do what she's done." "I know--I know that," said Adam. "I thought she was loving and tender-hearted, and wouldn't tell a lie, or act deceitful. How could I think any other way? And if he'd never come near her, and I'd married her, and been loving to her, and took care of her, she might never ha' done anything bad. What would it ha' signified--my having a bit o' trouble with her? It 'ud ha' been nothing to this." "There's no knowing, my lad--there's no knowing what might have come. The smart's bad for you to bear now: you must have time--you must have time. But I've that opinion of you, that you'll rise above it all and be a man again, and there may good come out of this that we don't see." "Good come out of it!" said Adam passionately. "That doesn't alter th' evil: HER ruin can't be undone. I hate that talk o' people, as if there was a way o' making amends for everything. They'd more need be brought to see as the wrong they do can never be altered. When a man's spoiled his fellow-creatur's life, he's no right to comfort himself with thinking good may come out of it. Somebody else's good doesn't alter her shame and misery." "Well, lad, well," said Bartle, in a gentle tone, strangely in contrast with his usual peremptoriness and impatience of contradiction, "it's likely enough I talk foolishness. I'm an old fellow, and it's a good many years since I was in trouble myself. It's easy finding reasons why other folks should be patient." "Mr. Massey," said Adam penitently, "I'm very hot and hasty. I owe you something different; but you mustn't take it ill of me." "Not I, lad-

---

Este mensaje no contiene virus ni malware porque la protecci?n de avast! Antivirus est? activa.

/* re as well as u */
/* and ditching, and showed but */
/* ef. A grin of delig */

/* in the chimney-corner a */
/* lf-engrossed l */
/* rs wherei */
/* more of her than o */
/* ng to buy and sell more s */

span.jaundicing /* ck lest they s */
span.overstride /* little uns */
/* ' been */
/* d not d */
span.subverting /* must have Meg sad */
/* Irwine's feeling, */
/* Coat, with a face a shade re */

a.speeding, span.truing /* . He was ready to pitch */
/* d the vision was that in his dr */
/* y the pale mother, a */

a.synchronize, span.toddlers /* e o' what she did." Set */

/* master's mental sta */

/* ty landl */

/* longest and q */
a.fingerer, span.gullibly

/* ..I thou */
a.stound, span.snakes

a.reitemises:hover { color: #0000ff; }
/* bibliopegist saprozoic homelike */
p,ul,ol /* man t' urge you against y */

/* ch a g */
/* gold and pearls and */
/* done it all herself, wit */
.strumpet /* s. For we */

the whiteness of her


<p class=strumpet>

Hin

I've done some editing, removing bits of HTML and the spam links, but there may be masterpieces in your spam trap, awaiting discovery

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Moving to Diaspora*

For many reasons, I've decided to drastically curtail my involvement with Facebook and move my social networking efforts towards Diaspora. If this name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because they were briefly famous a few years ago when they launched the site before it was ready. However, despite a troubled start, developers have kept working on it and it has gotten to be pretty good. This post explains a bit about disapora and turns into a short tutorial.

Decentralisation

Diaspora is not one site but many. If you think about email: I use email through my university, my wife uses hotmail, many of my friends use gmail. We have different providers, but we can all email each other. And if next week, google decides to close gmail or do something awful with it, everyone on gmail can migrate to another mail server and still send and receive emails. Because there's a standard for how email works, we have lots of choices about where we get our email. This is somewhat annoying, but also good - we're not tied to any particular company and if our host gets annoying we can leave.

Diaspora is somewhat like that. Every email user has some email server/provider. Every Diaspora user has a pod. It's decentralised, like email. However, all the pods look almost identical when you log in, so there's only one user interface to learn.

Picking a pod

I've just signed up for a handful of pods and have recommendations! People in North America or who are into the arts should join shreckislove. (Loving Shreck is optional.) People in the EU should join Despora.de.

If you want to do your own research or try out a few pods on your own, there is a resource podupti.me, which gives statistics about various pods.

You can join as many pods as you would like or have as many identities as you would like. Make an account for yourself and one for your drag persona and one for your band.

Signing Up

Those links above take you straight to the sign up pages for the pods. That should be pretty straight forward. For the username, you need to pick something like you might pick for your email address or twitter @username. Remember your username, because you'll use it to log back in later.

Signing up will take you to a welcome screen. Ignore the part that asks for your name and click on the button that says, 'Upload a new profile photo!'. It will pop up a window to pick an image from your hard drive. Pick one you like. A little yellow banner will appear at the top of the screen saying 'OMG you look awesome' and the user icon will update to your image. When this is done, scroll down. There's a box that asks for hastags. Type in a few words that you're interested in, starting them with #. So if you like puppies, type #puppies. This will not effect your profile right now, because of a bug, but will effect what public posts you see in your stream. After you type as many or as few topics you want to see posts on, click the button that says 'Awesome! Take me to Diaspora.' If you decide to skip putting in any hastags, it will ask you if you're sure. Click ok.

When you first log in, they give you some help text and your screen looks something like this next image.

Edit your Profile

As nice as that is, let's start by modifying our profile. In the upper right hand corner, you'll notice your username@your_pod. Click on that and you'll get a little menu. Click on profile. Then, on the next screen, click on the button that says 'edit my profile'.

Everything on your profile is optional. Give as much or as little information as you want.

The top part is your public profile. This is stuff that is visible to random people. Fill in what first and last name you want to use in the name boxes.

For the box that says 'describe yourself in 5 words, it wants hashtags. If you like puppies, zimba, bicycling, pizza, and anarchism, you would type all of those words starting with #. It will try to do some auto-fill magic for you and a menu will pop up as you type. If you see what you want to type, you can click on it, or else just keep tying your word until its all typed and the hit space. Your word, #puppies, will have a blue box around it. You can put as many or as few hashtags as you want for your interests.

Below that is your private profile. This will only be viewable to people you add as contacts. You can type whatever you want for your bio, your location, and your gender. (Mine is set to 'manly'. It's completely open.) Then is your birthday, which you can fill in or not. Below that, you can select if you want to let people search for you. And then below that, you can set your profile as NSFW, is you plan to have a lot of content that might perplex people's prudish line managers.

Click 'update profile'. This will take you back to the first screen you saw after making your account. The one that says 'Well, Hello there.' At the top left of that screen, you'll see some words on the top bar. One of them says 'stream.' Click on that.

Add a contact

We're now back at the stream page. At the top right, you'll see a search box. Click on that and type: celesteh@joindiaspora.com . A drop down menu will appear. Type in the whole term and then wait a moment. Hit enter. You will see my profile.

Near the top, to the right of my name, you'll see a pull down menu that says, 'Add contact'. When you click on that, you'll get a list of 'aspects.' The default opens are friends, family, work, or acquaintances. Aspects are a way of categorising your contacts. then, when you post stuff, you can control which aspects see your posts. Let's say all your poker buddies join diaspora too. You could make an aspect called 'poker' and select it when you're posting about upcoming games or inside jokes from previous games. Any contact can be in as many aspects as you want. So your sister-in-law Eva who you play poker with and who is also your coworker could be listed as 'friends,', 'family, 'work', and 'poker'.

right now, though, you're looking at my profile. Click on 'add contact' and then select 'make a new aspect'. A window will come up asking you what to call this aspect. Nobody but you will see the name, so type in there 'pedantic tubists'. Click create. Now you have an aspect for slightly boring tuba players. However, the box will stick around, in case you feel like making lots of aspects. Just click cancel to get it to go away. Then hit reload on the page. Now you will see 'pedantic tubists as one of your aspects. Select that one and whatever other ones you think I might belong in. I am now your contact! Click again on 'stream' at the top of the page to go back to your stream.

Posting / the stream

the stream page is like the feed on facebook or twitter.

at the top is the box you use for posting stuff. Let's make a test post and make it public:

I am #newhere and I really love #kittens and #anarco-syndicalism

Click 'preview' to get a preview (you will have to close the helpful welcome popup to see the preview). Click post to post.

That post defaulted to public, which means it's viewable to many people on diaspora. Remember when we said we liked #puppies,#zimba, #bicycling, #pizza, and #anarchism? Public posts usually have hashtags and those are the hashtags we said we're interested in. When people post something public containing the hastag #pizza, it will end up in our stream. We just posted about #newhere, #puppies and #anarcho-syndicalism, so people following those tags will see our post.

If we want to post to just our aspects, we could type the post and then select the desired aspects instead of public. For example, we might type:

I prefer having a #tuba with at least 4 valves to a three valve compensating tuba.

And then, instead of public, select 'pedantic tubsists'. We can set any post to as many aspects as we want.

These posts will show up in our stream, along with posts from our contacts and public posts from other people who have tags that we're interested in.

Notifications

You may have noticed, at the head of every page is a little icon that looks like a satellite, that sometime shas a red number next to it. Those are our notifications. It lets you know somebody has commented on your post or started sharing with you. Etc. Click on it to get a list of notifications.

those notifications also go to your email address, which is something you might not want. To get to the settings, click on your name in the upper right hand corner, then click on 'settings'. Near the bottom of the settings page, you can select when you want to get email. the other setting may also be interesting to you.

Connecting with your friends

Unfortunately, for now, the best way to find out if your friends are on diaspora is to ask them directly or via another platform, such as email, twitter, facebook, etc.

Let's say you find out your friend Amy is on diaspora. You want to give her your disapora id. That is your username @ your pod. If you signed up as catman on sheckislove, your userid is catman@shreckislove.us. Or, if you signed up with the username potnoodle on despora.de, your disapora id is potnoodle@despora.de. This looks like an email address, because it's got both your username and your pod. there might be more than one catman or more than one potnoodle on all of diaspora, but there is only one on your pod.

If you are ever unsure about your disapora name, you can find it by looking at your profile. Click on your name in the upper right hand corner and then click on profile.

It says your name across the top of the profile and then, to the right of that, it has your username @ your pod. That's the ID you need to give to people you want to connect with.

Have fun

This is hopefully enough to get started. Leave a comment if you have questions.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Hug from a Stranger: Saturday Night in Lower Clapton

I was waiting with Sonia at the bus stop, when she saw a man across the road collapse. I went over and he didn't seem to speak English, so I waved Sonia over because he sounded Russian. He couldn't get up, so I lent him a hand, but then he was having trouble standing. I had a bunch of his clenched in my fist, as he swayed back and forth. Sonia decided to call the paramedics.

He noticed me touching his back and threw his other arm around me, leaning into a hug, I thought to keep his balance, but he lay his head on my shoulder. I told him everything would be ok, but his hot breath on my neck was more intimate than I expected. He moved his head and I thought he was going to kiss me, so I moved my head back away from him. He stood apart and then embraced me again. I kept my head away from his this time and he started to walk away, but was unsteady, so I lead him to the bench in a bus shelter.

He sat down and after a moment, started bashing his head against the back wall of the shelter, with an angry intensity. I put my hand on the back of his head and asked him to stop, but he didn't understand. After a while he gestured angrily that I should remove my hand, so I did. Three teenagers came up, waiting for a bus and told him to sleep it off. One of them said he was a rap star and would pay the man a thousand dollars if he quit bashing his head. The man listened and as soon as the kid stopped speaking, bashed his head with greater force.

A paramedic arrived on a motorcycle, which the kids ran over to flag down. The high-vis vests medics wear don't look all that different from the ones the police wear and the man became more alert and said a few words in English, but ran out of vocabulary quickly. Sonia and I left them to it, but after a few moments, the man had enough and walked away as quickly as he could. The paramedic spent the next ten minutes filling out paperwork. We watched from the bus stop back on the other side of the road as a young woman approached and put on his motorcycle helmet, and sat on his bike, asking for a ride, until one of her friends dragged her away. Sonia's bus came and I walked towards home, the feeling of the man's boozy breath still tingling uncomfortably on my neck.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Letter writing

Dear Sir or Madam,

I found your story 'Meet Nell Pickerell' to be fascinating, but I was dismayed by your use of pronouns. The author writes, 'Nell appears to have been consistent in viewing herself as a man.' Given that consistency, wouldn't it be more correct to refer to him as 'he'? Most style guides, including the AP guide, do say that pronoun use should conform to how the subject views themself. I would like it very much if you could please correct this otherwise excellent article.

Best,
Charles Hutchins
London, England

How can a journalist get something so right and so wrong at the same time??

Saturday, 26 July 2014

My Week

I am posting about my week, something I used to do here with more regularity. I'm not sure if this last week has been busier than most, but has involved more modes of transport.

On Saturday, Sonia and I went to a wedding out in the countryside, held at the Bride's family's manor. It was a lovely wedding. They had a live brass band (note to self: try to find a brass band ASAP). At the end of the evening, the later soul and broke up in a screaming fight that threatened black eyes. We stayed in ahotel room in the town near the manor.

On Sunday, we decided to look around for a place to have breakfast that was not a horrible, soulless chain restaurant and that didn't have Muzak. This took a while and we were later than intended back in London, which meant we were in serious danger of missing our skype appointment, so we stopped in an internet cafe near Paddington. The dream of the 90's is alive in a Paddington basement. I was in so many internet cafes just like that in my travels in 2001 and this place was a perfectly preserved specimen of the era. It was fantastic. And the meeting went well. The pracher, Sonia and I formed a todo list of things that needed to happen by the following Sunday. Not one of those things has been done.

Honestly, I don;t really remember Monday at all. I think I put a few things in boxes and then went to Sonia's dad's house.

On Tuesday, Sonia, her dad and I drove to Dover and then took the ferry to Calais. We went to the Carrefour in the outlet mall there and I felt despair. The British experience of France is very different than how Americans tend to approach the place. Sonia's dad went for a swim in the channel. We drove to a village I've forgotten the name of and had crepes and carrefour items. Then we went to Montreuil and checked into the most picturesque hotel I've ever seen. On the inside of the room, none of the walls were at right angles to each other and some sagged in completely different direction. The room was done up entirely in dark wallpaper with roses on it that covered every surface, including the ceiling. I felt somewhat dizzy whenever my eyes were open. We had dinner and then the next day went to The Wine Society and bought enough wine for the London wedding event and loaded it into the car. then we went back to the Carrefour, back for another swim in the sea and back on the ferry.

On thursday morning, I stuffed most of what I own into boxes and in the afternoon, a removals van arrived and took my stuff to Hackney, were it was strewn around the house fairly randomly. So I've moved house, but I have no idea where my socks or underwear are.

On Friday, I brushed up on how to cite things in wikipedia and then went off to the She Must Be Wiki feminist film wikithon at the ICA. I was originally meant to be leading the workshop, but then some volunteers from wikimedia got in touch and sort of assumed control of things, which I was fine with, but, in retrospect, it did set a bit of a tone, of which the implications become more apparent. Anyway, rather than go on about it, I do tend to have a different method of workshop delivery which assumes a higher competence of participants and takes less time, but I certainly have less experience with the wiki project. Uncomfortably, all of the people setting out to add feminist content were women and all of the 'wiki experts' were men. I use the scare quotes because, although the other three men have thousands of edits each, one of the women organising the workshop certainly has more edits than I do. The leader was trying to address the gender inequality of wikipedia, which is very nearly 90% male, by resorting to gender stereotyping, which I did not feel was entirely helpful. Another volunteer mentioned in passing that the project was founded on an 'Objectivist philosophy', which I think better explains the disparity. It's not really surprising that something founded under a pro-sexist, pro-racist, pro-classist philosophy is overwhelmingly staffed by extremely privileged people. The ability of 'axe-wielding feminist mobs' to access the tools does not address the inherent problems in the organisation.

After the edit-a-thon and a panel session, they showed the film She Must Be Seeing Things, which is about a white bisexual filmmaker and her black lesbian partner. It's funny, well-constructed, interesting and, as the introductory speech noted, pre-figures some of the shifts in LGBT culture that came up in the 90s. For example, they're a butch-femme couple, more in line with modern ideas of queerness than the ideals of the 70s. Cross dressing and a certain amount of cross-gender identification is a repeated theme. There is a film within the film, directed by the femme character. The lead character of that film often functions as a stand-in for her partner. That character would certainly be seen as trans* now, but at the time, was seen as a woman who gradually 'forgot her womanhood'. The butch lead also cross dresses and, in a scene that may be resonant for some trans* viewers, wanders transfixed into a dildo shop to inspect the wares. Shelia Jeffries was apparently outraged.

After the film, I went to a birthday party at a pub in Tooting, which is in south west London. My new house is in the North East, so it was kind of a journey. House parties are a relatively rare thing in London, as most people want to entertain in pubs. A lot of people don't have much space. Pubs don't have annoyed housemates lurking about. You don't have to clean up a pub before inviting people around to it. Anyway, it was a fun party.

Tomorrow, I'm going to move some furniture, do some things on the todo list, and got to trans pride in Brighton.

...

Apropos of nothing in particular, I'd like to offer some random advice:

  • If what you're saying is actually a long plea to explain how you're a good guy or deserve a cookie, maybe stop talking.
  • Don't apologise for the actions of your ancestors. Nobody cares about how you great grandfather was sexist or racist and it really is quite easy to see how you're trying to deflect attention from yourself and your own poor actions.
  • If you don't identify as a feminist or a feminist ally, try to find somebody who does to come to feminist events in your stead.