sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 10:49pm on 31/12/2015 under
 I use "smug techie" as a fairly specific term, so I'd better explain:

There's a habit amongst code monkeys who have an interest in security to hold in disdain people who don't use relatively basic security measures like friends-only options &c

There's a habit amongst techies to look down on people who find it difficult to grasp new systems or new gadgets

There's a tendency of smug techies to complain amongst themselves about the way things are used, which every single time puts the responsibility in the hands of the end user to understand the security implications of everything they do, even when using an unfamiliar system or gadget

There's a related tendency of smug techies, should they deign to lower themselves to actually help the layperson with a system, to append some comment that makes the layperson feel stupid, because apparently it was obvious all along

I understand that at a high level of any given skill, it's difficult to see how bright people who you get along with can't immediately grasp everything that you already know. But the thing is, not only are people not omniscient or telepathic, they also have different aptitudes, and may not have had need for the knowledge you are imparting previously. It may also be difficult to engage with something new and potentially complicated. Have some patience and don't be so bloody smug.
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posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 01:00pm on 03/12/2015 under ,
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 12:59pm on 10/10/2015 under , ,
I have long believed that those who can, should. That the one in a million voices should be the ones we're hearing on the radio. That those who are built to dance should have that opportunity, and (if they love it) should take it - for those of us who aren't or can't. It takes strength to go through with something when you believe you could be better at it, but there are so very many folk out there who will never be as good as you. Training someone untalented is (never wasted, but) not going to create the same effect as bringing someone with raw power to the fore. If you can, do.


Somebody described themself as "strong, but really gentle with fragile things" and declared it their best quality. I think that might be right. I think when we talk about not causing hurt, when we talk about supporting people, we're talking about appropriate use of strength. We're talking about being gentle even if we know that the fragility is temporary. And "protective" is not an negative descriptor.


Learning new things does not mean you were lacking before. It's sometimes difficult to look back, thinking, "why did it take me so long to work that out? Now that I've said it it seems obvious..." but coming to a full understanding of something requires having experience and time, not only for the emotional impact of certain statements to sink in, but for your backbrain to sift through the details. One of the things I really appreciate about my job is the time I spend standing on parade staring at nothing. You call it discipline to stand still like that, but when I'm not actively engaged in playing music (or taking a moment to recover from the physical exertion), my brain is in downtime mode. It might be really useful to be able to direct it to certain challenges, but in practice it does what it does. Rather than coming up against walls in my thinking, I can get on with life and occasionally have a realisation crop up about something I may not even have noticed was bothering me.


My job doesn't tax me intellectually. Arguably the music does, but as above, when not actively engaged in the complications of ensemble playing, my capacity is not being put to its full use. As a whole human I am very much put to work, physically, socially, emotionally, and because I believe I have this spare intellectual capacity, there are roles I have taken on which I can spend more or less time on without too much oversight; these will require some learning and some interaction with new people. It's exciting, and I'm glad to have taken it on, both because of the opportunity for new experiences, and because I believe somebody in the band needed to step up to being a keeper of our history. There have been many personnel changes and with that the root of various traditions is in danger of being lost. What are ceremonial soldiers for if not to keep the lore?


If I've reached the point where I can do my job and have spare energy and brain available, it's time to do more. If I can, I should. I want to start singing. I want to build an exit plan, if possible, and I'm starting to see how I can build my own structure and routine (to match my vast and resilient support network) in order to keep myself functioning without the job. It's not going to happen overnight, and that's fine.


Meanwhile, I've been thinking about responsibility, and stepping up to being a member of your community. I admire people who are important in their social groups. I admire people who see a problem and step up to help fix it communally. I started adult life as someone who was used to moving on, to finding new social groups, keeping hold of only one or two people I deemed interesting enough to stay in touch with every time. Then I decided to put down roots. I want to know what I would look like if I stayed in the same place for twenty years, dealing with problems both dramatic and mundane, long term. I found my tribe, and they care about the same things I do; and those who'd been there twenty years had a dignity and a weight to their actions that I respected. They could also be some of the most ridiculously fun people to be around, because they had the confidence to allow themselves to look stupid once in a while, knowing it wouldn't affect their cachet, and the experience to know when a bit of daft fun would help everyone lighten up and perform better. I've seen the culture of our band shift with the loss or introduction of each personality, and I've decided to step up, because we can be better. And I can nudge that. I'm ready.

sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 09:48pm on 30/06/2014 under , ,
My thoughts are not coalescing well so this is half-formed. But not malformed.

Something about being meant to be alone, while the Army taught me to truly want to understand people, so that I learnt to value alternative relationships to the Capital R kind.

Something about realising I am not just used to being the carer - I actually *do want* to be the protective one.

Something about being open to adventure and perhaps too quick to seize upon true connections.

Something about learning to do things alone    because I want to do them regardless of the company    but further, realising I can enjoy my own company.
(work in progress)

Something about while doing awesome things, realising with joy that they would really piss off the bastard ex, and noticing that that matters, and is not a bad thing.

Something about being comforted by things that I learnt to love when I was quite young, despite now being able to see problems with them; something about criticising from a place of love.

Something about realising that not every encounter has to be epic, and that being able to have non-epic encounters is the stuff that long-term relationships (small r) are made of.

Something about odd childhoods, and something about recovery, and learning to live.

Something about seeing negative traits as hang-ups from childhood, and how that relates to the self and others, and which different standards or expectations I apply where.

Something about how "people who love one another take care of one another" is a dangerous model to live by if you are not safely amongst others who live by it.

Something about realising that if I can endure being alone to do mundane things, I can also embrace it.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 11:05pm on 03/03/2014 under
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
I don't understand monogamy. I don't understand thinking that one person is the most special important thing on the planet, to the exclusion of all the other special important wonderful people in your life. I don't understand being interested in new people, learning a little bit about them, and then when you find a person who is interested back in this intense way, deciding not to spend any more time thinking about the others or to continue to communicate directly with people you were previously anxious to find out everything about.

I don't really understand being that anxious in the first place. People are too complicated to ever truly understand; having long conversations about everything you can think of for a month straight would still only tell you so much about a person. The world has to be experienced together. I'm slowly learning that the best friendships come from having been through stuff together - sometimes hard, physical graft; sometimes emotionally difficult situations; sometimes bonding gradually over quiet afternoons drinking tea. It's not necessary to set the world to rights every time you see someone, even if it can be valuable. It's not necessary to share every opinion with a person in order to find them attractive and valuable.

All that being the case, there are many people in my life who are attractive and valuable. There are many people in my life I enjoy spending time with - from the comfortable silence of laptops at dusk, through the supportive active world of free-running or bouldering or the gym, to the noise and complication of marching inside a band. There are people I love. There are people I love in different ways; family is different to friends is different to heroes (and I'm incredibly lucky in having some workmates who enter multiple categories). I've had incredible chemistry with some people in my life. Some of these I've dated, others not, and usually because they or I were monogamously involved with somebody else. I don't regret anything about that; I do understand that not everybody feels the way I do, and I am not egotistical or selfish enough to break up multiple people's happiness. But still... I don't get the repulsion. The need to differentiate between the levels of love you have for folk, and to display that proudly.

A lass in our band has had an unpleasant phone call tonight, from a woman who claims to be her best friend's fiancee. She didn't know he was with anybody; he's repeatedly told her that he wants to be with her, that it's hard being single; she's repeatedly told him she's happy with her fella. If this lass knew or decided that she could make up the rules as she went, I'm pretty sure she could be happy with three blokes, instead of happy with one. She fairly obviously has enough time and energy and love for them all. So what's so great about this one-only model? All it does is make people lie, and make people hurt.
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posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 08:06pm on 16/08/2013 under , ,
I have a hole in my foot. I had a verruca removed, and in its place there is a thumbnail-size open wound. It's not hugely deep, but on the sole of my foot, nearly under my heel, it doesn't have to be. It's sore as fuck. What I can do, is I can load up on painkillers, and pad out around the wound, and dress and tape it nicely, and then I can walk almost normally for a while, ignoring it oozing gently into the dressing until the next time I shower, savlon and repeat.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that walking on it doesn't help it heal any, so I'm trying not to do that. Given that my job is basically walking, you might think I'm not onto a winner there, and you'd probably be right. HOWEVER. All that I'm trying to do is limit my walking to the absolutely necessary. Most things in my room are now within reach of the bed. My day off has consisted of lying around moping, moaning on twitter, and eating whatever's within reach. The highlight was when a friend from the band, who'd agreed to collect a takeaway if I needed it, turned up at my door bearing cake. Cake! Apart from its inherent cakey goodness, this is also an ongoing joke between us two, part of a pact if you like. So. Yes.

Getting up to the door made me realise that the painkillers I'd eventually, unwillingly taken had actually worked. And I'm not just talking about the nap they made me have, either. I felt like I could tape up lightly and walk on the ball of my foot, so I did. I went to Boots and to Marks and Spencer - not my first choice, because they use Workfare, but one of the nearest shops and only across the way from the Boots I needed to visit.

The difference in those two shopping experiences reminded me again how lucky I am to be usually able-bodied. Boots were great - I hobbled in on the phone to my bestie, found the earplugs I need, spent a few minutes muttering to myself as I selected dressings and tape, and realised that a woman from the shop had been keeping an eye on me in my obvious pain and distress; she checked if I was okay as I staggered to the self-service tills, and I was fine.

M&S was another story. I was hurting by this point, moving more slowly, and the shop was a little busier, with all the inevitable people who don't notice your impairments that that entails. Not that I blame the shop for that. But then I got to the tills, using the self-service again, and the machine froze for one of those random shitty reasons they always, fucking always have. I looked around. I looked around some more. I flagged down a staff member wandering around the shop floor, who took a minute to get to me and couldn't actually do anything about the machine. He got somebody else's attention, by which point I had sat heavily on the machine next to me. It can only have been two, three minutes I was waiting for the machine to be fixed. Two or three painful minutes, feeling a bit hopeless and a bit sick, and a bit angry enough to punch the screen and walk out, if I hadn't needed the food so much.

My pain is relatively minor. I have ways round it, products that can make it not matter. I am functional enough, and I am still a shit patient, with bad grace for every minute of minor suffering. I cannot imagine how much I would hate the world if I were always this slow-moving, this much in pain, this brain-foggy, or worse.

Another point is that I'd obviously paid through the nose for my products. It was that or try to get as far as Sainsburys - easily two or three times the distance, and possibly lacking the specific products I wanted anyway. Not worth trying to save money for me. I am damned lucky I can afford to be stupid sometimes.
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posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 04:55pm on 24/06/2013
Something I jotted down the other day, because I'd like to remember the squee a friend made when I chose their company over cuddles and kisses. It's part of why I don't have so many adventures these days (although said friend pointed out that leaving a party to find cake in the middle of the night is just a different kind of adventure).

It's powerful to say "you're important to me" because it's so easy not to. Because in this culture nobody would openly blame you for pursuing something you evidently wanted, even while disappointed by the message your behaviour sends - that time with them is less valuable to you than something new and untested. You'd be forgiven for leaving with somebody else, and with the best of friends you wouldn't need forgiveness. But there's power in saying that lust can wait. That other relationships matter.


There were two occasions this week where I could've ended up stopping out, and one of them probably would've been innocent. I also thought it would be awkward, for various reasons. There were two occasions I chose to go home alone, and part of me considered this a failure of confidence; the same part that was lonely in the morning. Five years ago I might've made a different decision. It's okay not to be that person anymore, and to look further into the future than the next day.
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posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 11:01am on 16/06/2013 under ,
I find conversations about hair fairly boring, and my hair in particular to be incredibly dull. So obviously the best thing is to discuss it on my blog. That'll change everything.

What I've noticed lately is the North-South divide on this issue. Back up North, people would ask me "Would you ever grow it?" as a conversation starter; whereas down here, people apparently just assume it's a gay thing and ignore it for ages, and then say things like "You must've known when you were doing it that you were making a political statement?"

I've got a statement for you right here.

It's just hair.

Hair grows. Hair gets messy, has to be washed and untangled, has to be scraped into a bun, has to be hoovered up and removed from plugholes, has to be dealt with all the damn time. I can't be bothered with it. I'd love to say I don't give a fuck what you think of me for having it short, but sadly I'm getting pretty riled up over how many people think it somehow signifies my sexuality or political views. What my short hair signifies is that I like my hair short. It's just hair.

I hated hairdressers for a long time, and now that I'm in a position where it's convenient in many ways to have short hair the way I like it, I'm going to carry on. If people are going to assume shit about me because of it that's their loss, frankly. But for reference, this is what I look like most of the time. Notice the hair?

The Band of the Grenadier Guards on parade in full Summer Guard Order.

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posted by [personal profile] sevenhelz at 10:13am on 20/05/2013 under , , , ,
If you've never had a period, don't ignore this post.
cut for length. )

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