More Women in the Electronic Arts: A HOW-TO GUIDE

Originally posted on DANCEFEVER5000:

The lack of ladies behind decks and on dance floors has really been bothering me for a while; not just the dearth of women in the EDM community but music in general and indeed, arts culture as a whole. Females are globally underrepresented in the arts from San Diego to Singapore, and I wanted to figure out why.

Naha, Seattle

Naha, Seattle

People told me it was too large of an issue to tackle or have any effect on; sure, I might be able to organize a local women’s DJ night or help promote various female producers, but this giant problem encompassed all music and all arts, and there would be no solution or answer. It was too big.

I did not want a quick fix, either, like an all-female DJ night where the chicks come out spinning beats in bras; those kinds of nights draw more males than females anyway. And I didn’t…

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April 8, 2014 at 9:22 am Leave a comment

Women and Magic… a full moon in Leo post!

Sunfell:

This fellow Mage has some insightful thoughts about the role of women and magic.

Originally posted on Josephine McCarthy:

Something that has bothered me for a long time is something that has come up frequently in magical discussion and that is the issue of women and magic, or to be more precise, sexism in the magical community. Rather than launch into the usual ‘all men a bad and all women are victims’, which is not true by any means, there are some things that as an older woman in my fifties I can pass on to young women stepping out into magic.

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February 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

She Who Hesitates…

…pays less. I’ve supported and believed in this particular credo for a long time now- especially when it comes to technology. No way am I going to pay a premium price for a first generation item that is essentially a late-beta lab-dump. I learned my lesson about that a long time ago.

I’d been reluctant to give up my perfectly good 26″ Panasonic CRT television because of many reasons: it worked, it did what I wanted it to do, I owned the thing, and hey- it worked. I hung onto it when the 36″ ‘flat’ CRTs came out. I hung onto it when the projection TVs came out. I hung onto it when the first pricey, clunky LCDs and plasmas came out. And I even hung onto it during the transition from OTA analog to digital broadcasting. Why not? I had cable, and it worked.

It still works, but it’s now parked in my front bedroom, awaiting its fate. I wrung every nickel and minute out of that TV, just like I did my now-vintage analog stereo receiver, newly revived after being repaired. But it was becoming increasingly evident that it was time to move on.

I always joked that my TV was so old that I watched either “No” or “Ova” because the ends of the picture were cut off by the HD signal. But the middle was still there, in all its slightly hazy lo-res 525 line progressive scan analog glory. I grew up with it, and although I do use hi-res computer monitors, for me, TV was different. It was supposed to be a slightly blurry window into a parallel universe. (more…)

January 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

De-fragging my mind

If I’ve learned anything during my time on this planet it’s this: people dislike radical change. Things like moving, starting or ending jobs, various stages of relationships, etc- it’s hard on people. I noticed how it was for me when I moved out of the apartment I lived in for 14 years, and into my home. I had to clean out 14 years of junk, cruft, accumulations, etc. It was hard. It wasn’t hard to part with the majority of it- doing so was actually pleasant. (Getting the tax refund of my largesse give-away was also nice.) And I’ve been combing through my remaining things and continuing this reduction and removal. I know that I’ll never get back to that brief time where all my belongings fit into the trunk of my car- but that was another life, one I am glad is behind me. I have books, furniture, appliances, electronics- and cats now. And a house that is mine. And while I could pare down to the basics in an emergency- I will not give up the quiet comfort that being sandwiched between two content kitties gives me.

It is becoming increasingly clear that I am entering a new stage of my life. It feels like it might be better in many ways than my early years, which reinforces my personal ‘late bloomer’ hypothesis. I’m officially into my menopausal stage, which means that I have to learn to cope with the physical changes that brings. I am processing things through this new Aspergian filter as well, and being easier on myself when I don’t ‘get’ certain things that Everyone Else seems to understand osmotically. I am becoming comfortable with the understanding that I speak ‘people’ as a second language, and that I will never be ‘fluent’. My deficits are hard-wired, but my assets are hard-wired also. And I have much better assets than deficits, and I am accepting these assets (some might call them ‘gifts’) as part of who I am. I find myself no longer actively worrying about what horrors might befall me, although the caution that my past experiences have given me still remains. I’m a realist. My health is much better, and I am stable financially. It’s amazing what that does for one’s well-being. Having ‘enough’ is a good thing. And my strict budgeting and frugal means have paid off. It’s nice to see the result of such efforts. It’s nice to see that good things do happen, and are not accidents, but are normal.

This ‘new normal’ has meant that I have had to consciously work on re-orienting my mind and reactions to many things. Seeing life through clearer lenses means that there are new details that have to be addressed, new habits to be established and old ones to be discarded. I’ve accepted that I will always require a certain amount of solitude, because Planet People is not going to change for extreme sensitives like me. I have to create my own space within this world, and establish firm boundaries to enable me to recover and decompress from the numerous sensory assaults that the Outside World inadvertently hands me. But I cannot become a hermit- or I’ll become one of those weirdos that reality shows become centered around. I am working to find a balance between the social and the solitary- using the Internet to interact directly with people without the additional ‘noise’ of parsing body language, tone, and gesture; learning how to cope with the racket of the Outside World without having a shutdown or head-stall, coping with the changes in my reaction to things that aging is apparently bringing me, and learning to accept my differences- and defend them. That last has always been difficult- I’ve been something of a pliable doormat for most of my life- because going along with things was far easier than dealing with screaming, angry people who dislike being told ‘no’. I lost the tiller for a while in that regard- but it is firmly in hand now- and has been for a while. Steering this ship is not easy, but at least the course is now my own- and not dictated by others.

There’s a quote I found that explains my new course in a radically pungent way: “I refuse to be a self-narrating zoo exhibit.” I am not going to be a spokes- Aspie, or a spokes-Magus, or a spokes- anything/one. I can only speak for myself. My experience, opinion, insight, etc- is mine alone. Yours will vary. Differences are inevitable, and that’s OK. In my understanding of gainful friendships and relationships (both personal and professional), I’ve learned that similarities bring people together, but those differences between people keep them together, if all parties understand that variety and difference is positive, not negative. It takes a certain level of intelligence and self-confidence (and perhaps self-actualization) to understand the true value of difference and the richness it brings to interaction. People who insist on lock-step, point-for-point identical ‘values’ with their friends and cohorts in belief seem (to my eye at least) to be the most miserable, paranoid, and stressed people out there. Look at certain political parties and religious sects for numerous examples. But acceptance of difference (notice I said ‘acceptance’ not ‘tolerance’) can go too far, and you can find yourself in an amorphous, incoherent and dissonant situation as well. Such dissonance imparts its own sets of miseries and confusion. So, both extremes are unhealthy.

But I digress. I’ve entered a new stage of my life. It’s like changing operating systems, or moving to a new workstation or house. I have to re-arrange things- perceptions, opinions, insights, beliefs. The core remains- that imperishable starlight that is my inner drive. Things shift and change around me, as they should, but I am still the axis in that regard. Remembering that keeps me steady. It also permits me to do a more radical and thorough sift through my life and mind up to this point. With the mind, there’s no discarding things like one can do with belongings. The brain is a biochemical construct, not a hard drive. Things like thoughts, habits, reactions, etc- are downgraded/forgotten only by overwriting them with newer, better habits and algorithm. Things are enforced or remembered by repeating them in a habitual manner. The new habits I’ve established have served me well for nearly 3 years, and I am reaping their benefits at long last.

And I’ve ended the accumulative stage of my life (perhaps with the exception of furniture and wardrobe upgrades and refreshes) and have started the experiential stage. Doing is more important than having. I had to learn that having too many things was as bad- or worse- than having none. I wish I’d known these things when I was younger, but in spite of the things that happened to me, I would not change those experiences for anything. They make this stage of my life far sweeter and rewarding for their happening. Understanding, accepting, and enforcing how my mind (and body) works is the key to future success and happiness. I just have to continue to bust the crust of complacency and inertia that fear and uncertainty have saddled me with, and keep breaking it when it builds.

October 6, 2012 at 9:47 am 3 comments

International Pagan Coming-Out Day: A Word of Caution

Today, May 2, is International Pagan Coming Out Day. For those who choose to reveal your beliefs to others, I congratulate you. You have made the choice to reveal your religious beliefs to you family, friends, and colleagues, and I wish you all the best. This should be a happy occasion for all involved.

I use the word ‘should be’ because even though things are much better for minority religions today than they were 25 years ago when I came out- it still isn’t genuinely equitable. In fact, in today’s atmosphere of overt religious intolerance, active fundamentalist aggression, and regressive laws that discriminate against women, gay people, and ‘non-conformist’ faith groups, I’d venture to say that things are actually worse. But my own story took place 25 years ago. Here’s what happened.

I was serving in the US Air Force, and already had 8 years under my belt- and about 7 of metaphysical training- including with the Rosicrucian Order and with a group of Brit-Trads that had a circle in Germany. I had already run into discrimination- including hostile questions and treatment from Christian colleagues and command staff, numerous unannounced inspections of my barracks room at previous bases, religious tracts tucked into my books, and disregard for my desire to be treated equitably. I joined the SCA when I got stationed in Germany (real castles to play in!), and found fellow Pagans who had the same difficulties. This seemed widespread enough, so I started a small round-robin news letter called the “Farwander Fellowship” (which later became the Pagan Military Network). I advertised for it in the European Stars and Stripes, and thought nothing of it. I had people from all over the European Theater join it. (This was before the internet.)

A curious reporter from the Army and Air Force times decided to interview me and a couple of fellow Pagans, and I was the subject of a Stars and Stripes interview along with my local Pagan friends. We spoke of our desire for equal treatment, and pointed out that Wicca was listed in the Military Chaplain’s handbook as a legitimate faith. Yet, we could not have “Pagan” or “Wicca” on our dogtags. The article ran on Thanksgiving weekend, so we figured it would be buried in the holiday noise. How wrong we were. The story made the AP wire, Paul Harvey mentioned it on his ‘the rest of the story’ newscast, and used my name- and things exploded. The pro-vs. con arguments ran for weeks in the “Letters” section. Hysterical Christians feared that we would ‘desecrate’ the chapels if we used their facilities. I became the target of ‘prayer warriors’, had my property damaged, and at my next base, my career was totally sabotaged. That article was the beginning of the end, and although it did lead to military Pagans being given equal rights as religious practitioners- including the VA finally permitting the Pentacle as a headstone- it cost me my career. I returned home crushed, depressed, and having to move back in with my family. That was probably worse than anything, especially my father taunting me with, ‘I told you so!’ (more…)

May 2, 2012 at 8:54 am 1 comment

Apps for Introverts

I just noticed a new little icon on the corner of my Google Plus input field. It looks like a map pin. A hover tells me that my ‘browser does not support adding my location’. This does not bother me at all- in fact, it gratifies me. I am apparently one of the rare people who not only disdains location-based applications, but actively -even proactively -avoids them.

I don’t want people to know where I am, unless we’re specifically meeting. I will never socially ‘check in’ anywhere, and I am not interested in who might be nearby running the same app. I am not cruising, grinding, dating, lonely, curious, or otherwise interested in meeting strangers. Plus, there’s that creepy stalker vibe- who the heck would be interested in my whereabouts? I am not sure I would want to meet such a person unarmed. Instead, I will mind my own business, and- polite, normal interaction excepted- I expect you to mind yours, as well. I expect that this sounds almost heretical, coming from a self-professed geek. But let’s drill down a bit, shall we?

These location based social applications are products of an extraverted world full of social butterflies who live in high-population urban areas, particularly San Francisco. A perusal of the people who do the most shouting about these apps all tend to come from- you guessed it! San Francisco. I do not live in San Francisco, or on either coast. And while the vast majority of my peers carry either an iPhone or an Android phone of one sort or another, I never hear about these things being used. I have a large, diverse, very social user-base. They ask me about everything. About this, though- something that might be useful to some of them- not a word. Perhaps they prefer the old-school way of hob-nobbing.

Let’s switch gears for a moment, and consider the minority- geeky introverts. While we enjoy going out and socializing almost as much as anyone else, we have different goals when we do. Our energy and tolerance for the social stuff is limited, and we dread getting trapped by overbearing, noisy people. Quiet, sensitive introverted folks would probably prefer an app that warns us that there is a garrolous, long-winded man with a bone-crushing hand-shake directly ahead, or a perfume-drenched touchy-feely-huggy woman waiting to ambush us with 2,390,837 photos of her grandbabies, and gives us the route to avoid them. We could program our app to warn us about the proximity of gossips, time hoggers, religious fanatics, stumping politicians, MLM salespeople, large jumpy dogs, and narcissistic droners.

And let’s not stop with annoying, energy sapping people. I’d love an app that warns of noise levels too loud for normal conversation in restaurants or bars, or advises you that the place you are contemplating for supper is ‘family friendly’ with the accompanying noise hazards. I’d love to see an ‘annoying music’ warning for certain stores (*cough*Kohls*cough*) who play overweening alt-emo garbage at volumes that leave me wishing I’d brought my Zune. A really indespensible app would warn me that the parking lot at my local grocery store is chock-full of cars, as well as there being no carts available, thus warning me away from the harrowing experience of shopping in a crowd. Such an app would map out all the dogs in a neighborhood, so if you are house-hunting, you could find a place that you can go into your yard without being assaulted by barking neighbor-dogs.

Yeah, I know- total foolish fantasy. But being the minority in sensory, social and sonic sensitivities makes me keenly aware of the utter lack of truly considerate applications. Perhaps a fellow introverted geek who knows how to gin up such things could create an app for the rest of us. It could be called ‘Skoshi-Sosh”.

March 5, 2012 at 10:29 am 1 comment

Musings of a Former Fat Lady

[warning: I am going to use terms that some who are sensitive might not approve.]

Three years ago, I was fat. Maybe not quite as fat as some, but I was shopping exclusively in the womens’ department. I was a ‘plus size’, and at my max, I was a size 20W. I was in denial about my size- and maybe someday someone will note that there is a reverse version of body dysmorphia- the fat person who believes they look normal. Hey, I still had curves- how could I be fat? I had friends and acquaintances who made me look svelte! I wasn’t going to be one of those headless stock photos that show up on every article about obesity. I could still sit on normal furniture, too, even wooden chairs with splayed legs, which are deadly dangerous for anyone over 250 pounds.

But I was deluding myself. I had sleep apnea. I had wheat-face and wheat-belly. I had no neck. I had migraines and those stacked love-handles on my sides. Normal-sized jackets made me feel like a stuffed sausage. My shoes were wide width. While I eschewed sodas and most junk food, I wasn’t averse to going to restaurants, or getting Chinese takeaway or going through drive throughs with no difficulties. I was also invisible to most men, as fat women tend to be. I did not mind this. But I was still fat. (more…)

March 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

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