sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2015-12-31 10:49 pm
Entry tags:

"Smug techie"

 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.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2015-10-10 12:59 pm
Entry tags:

thoughts I am having

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)
2014-06-30 09:48 pm
Entry tags:

Something like growing

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)
2013-09-01 04:46 pm

on relationships and Relationships

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.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-08-16 08:06 pm

on walking slowly

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.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-06-24 04:55 pm

(no subject)

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.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-06-16 11:01 am
Entry tags:


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.

sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-05-20 10:13 am

(no subject)

If you've never had a period, don't ignore this post.
cut for length. )
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-03-23 09:09 pm
Entry tags:


Update: many of these are spoken for, and the rest are going to one friend of mine who spoke up early to say he'd have all of them.
Read more... )
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-03-15 02:14 pm
Entry tags:

Futures, pasts, and presents.

Sitting on my own bed - bought new, by me, for me -

finishing up stuffed olives, houmous and pitta for lunch

in an Army barracks

in Central London

with no duties for a while

but perhaps to choose gifts for old friends

this is not what I would have imagined for my future

but damn if I'm not happy it's my present

I could have wound up anywhere.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-02-13 12:26 am

(no subject)

I don't know if it's a girl thing, or just a me thing (but not *just* me, I think), but I've always had trouble laying claim to interests that I'm not deeply involved in.

This ties up a few ideas that've been rolling around my head, like the way I basically never competed with my older siblings in maths and puzzles, or coming to terms with how I came to play the euphonium at the age of ten - not sooner, because apparently I didn't realise that you didn't have to be brilliant straight away - and also, the problem with my first boyfriend having been such a bullshitter that for years I was not able to say no, I've never heard of that band, tell me more?

So there was also this post about the "fake geek girl" concept which got me thinking, partly because I do think traditionally the geekiest people have been kind of autistic, and that's tied into a whole other issue about autism and gender and nature vs nurture debate, but mostly got me kind of sad that people feel the need to attack others for wanting to do the same things they (the first people) want to do... Anyhow I figure I empathise with that author, Kate Conway, who said she feels like she's about to be caught out, if she expresses an interest in something that she hasn't read the whole backstory to. I totes get that - like, I used to be pretty active on the internet, but I will be quick to dismiss my geekery as not computery, because I don't do codegeeking. I really get it. I feel like that when I'm trying to talk or even to humbly find out about things I've always kind of mentally categorised as too cool for me. These things include but are not limited to; parkour, clubbing, climbing, martial arts, roller derby, ska bands. You may note that I actually have some experience in some of these fields. What I don't have is confidence in my history there, or my provable worth/understanding. As opposed to when I'm geeking about instruments, at which point I'm geeking too hard to care much how people react... that's kind of an OCD/aspie side to me which, like I say, I think is pretty common in strongly geeky people... So otherwise it's probably partly the army set-up and being straight out of training that makes me nervous of talking like I think I know more than those around me. I don't want to step on anybody's toes... But then I think it's a habit I've always had, and the thing is; I really don't want it to hold me back from anything. I'm big enough and ugly enough to stand my ground should I get sneered at, and I'm actually old enough now that mostly people don't bother to try to pick holes in . This is... new, odd, and I suppose should be exciting. Mostly I'm confused. It ought to be okay or indeed more than okay not to be so obsessively into something as to be mean to other people wanting to find out about it. Surely it ought to be the aim?

sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2013-02-12 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Army memes

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Tell you not to do something stupid when drunk
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post 360 security so you dont get caught

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents Drunk as hell and tell them about the fat chick you tried to pick up

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Hope the night out drinking goes smoothly, and hope that no one is late for the ride home.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Know some wild shit will happen, and set up rally points and an E & E route.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will be sitting next to you saying, Damn...we fucked up...but hey, that shit was fun as fuck!"

MILITARY FRIENDS: Laugh at you and tell you to put some vagasil on your pussy.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Steal each other's stuff so often nobody remembers who bought it in the first place.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are happy that someone picked up a one night stand and leave them alone.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will Low Crawl naked into the room with a camera and hope for the tag team.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will listen to your relatioship problems and hope it works out for you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will listen to you over a long hard road march, and will help you straighten it out better than Dr. Phil.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Might try to hit on your girl behind your back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Have spooned with you in the field more than your girl has, and would never even think about doing that.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds ass that left you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home fuckers!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will try and talk to the bouncer when you get tossed out of the bar.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will man up and go after the bouncer for touching you on the way out.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will wish you had enough money to go out that night, and are sorry you couldn't come.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will share their last penny with you, drag you along, and try to steal free drinks all night.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "Bitch, you better drink the rest of that shit, you know we don't waste.. That's alcohol abuse!!!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Want the money they loaned you back next week.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Can't begin to remember who owes who money after taking care of each other for so long.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will say "I can't handle Tequila anymore".
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will say "okay just one more" and then 2 minutes later "okay just one more".

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk shit to the person who talks shit about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will knock them the fuck out!!

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will tell you "They'd take a bullet for you."
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will actually take a bullet for you.
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2012-03-30 07:36 pm
Entry tags:


It's ten days till I join the Army, barring everything going tits-up again
I have been such a stresshead this week trying to remember everything I need to sort out and buy and pack and tidy
I had a belly dance class where we talked about how to teach other people, just in case
I've spent liek £200 in two days on kit list stuff. well and nice foods.
I feel I need to write to people but first I probably need to decide who I need to write to
I'm having some foot-warts treated and my feet hurt like anything
Also this has stressed up one of my calves so I'm having the night off from the gym
I have a couple of things I want to write about in detail, I think I even made some notes for one already
I will be really glad to finally go
I am a bit worried that it might all go tits-up again
I think everything will be fine
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2012-02-18 08:28 pm

Why I'm selling my corset

long post are long )

I think I've said everything I needed to here. Good corsets are really cool. Lingerie that makes you look and feel good is wonderful. Paying attention to how you look does not make you anti-feminist. Wanting to display femininity for any reason, including the aim of having a sexual encounter, is fine and dandy with me. But I don't want this corset anymore. It's a thing I'm not comfortable with, and it's a beautiful thing that someone else could love. If you are or know someone who would be interested in it, please let me know at @sevenhelz on twitter or below (anonymous comments are screened).
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2012-02-05 09:22 pm


is insanely unrealistic. This is entirely based on what my mother (of farming stock) has told me. Spoilers!
bromance! action! adventure! hiding in bedrooms! )
sevenhelz: photo of me snuggling a cat. my face is not shown (Default)
2012-01-27 09:37 pm
Entry tags:


So, the February intake is full. I knew from the minute my op was cancelled last week that there was every chance it would be. But y'know, that's okay. Aside from the fact that my fitness is suboptimal after Christmas and being ill, there is actually Stuff Happening these next couple of months. Brass band contests, a belly dance performance I can be in, oh and my ex's leave. Which I would've missed if I were away from early Feb. So that's alright.