Recently my DVD of Wild Palms came in, along with a good biography of Ataturk. Wild Palms is interesting in that although it's really corny in some of the dialogue, it also is very good at showing the most twisted sides of humanity, the weak, the addict, the snakes in our veins. I'm not sure if Wild Palms is properly considered cyberpunk -- it's not quite far enough in the future, and what chaos there is in its society is apparently only present in isolated pockets, with the focus being on the upper classes, the "wilderzone" being just a small slum. Still, it's at least edging towards being cyberpunk, and in message it fits.
I recently participated in a discussion on LiveJournal, started by a fellow KGBer, on the roles of women and men in the local geek communities -- KGB, CS Loungers, CS Clusterfolk, etc, at CMU. There have always been aspects that struck me as a bit .. odd.. in that subculture -- it's very touchy-feely. This makes some people uncomfortable -- the more general norm, whereby people don't touch, massage, etc. people they don't know well, does not hold there, and seeing it is something that's almost, in some ways, like being part of another culture. By and large, I've avoided unwanted/unexpected contact -- I'm kind of particular with who I let touch me. I was the centre of one group hug (which was fairly uncomfortable for me), and got one hug from someone else (initially surprising, but given that the person was someone I find attractive anyhow, and it was just one person, it was actually kind of nice). I'm just someone who's a bit more .. interpersonally reserved -- not quite cut out for things like Shomer Negiah, but very distant from that everyone-touches-everyone culture that I've seen. By that discussion, it seems that there are at least a few other people who are likewise put off by being randomly hugged or touched by people they don't know without advance warning. Culture clashes always are rough -- it's easy for people to get hurt feelings, be judgemental, or be made uncomfortable. What's worse -- some people sacrifice themselves, repetatively doing things that make them uncomfortable for the purpose of fitting in. I offered some memories of pain from my past for the enlightenment of others, and, what came as a bit of a surprise, got a few pieces of important advice from the thoughts covered. I've been messing some things up in how I act when I'm around people I'm attracted to -- probably the most unique thing about me is that I'm incredibly self-aware, and that's a problem when I need to let instinct run some things. I understand part of what makes relationship dynamics work -- I've recently come to understand on my own some of the details of why "nice guys" don't win, and it ties into evolutionary psychology -- passion, even expressed as bigotry and/or short-temper, is sexy. As always, how to react to that without sacrificing my principles is up to me. The conversations on livejournal add new information that was so obvious that I wonder why I didn't think of it myself -- that angst and self-pity are emotions that are generally repellant on a relationship perspective. I have a certain attraction to them, and the self-awareness they engender, but my experiences with relationships have taught me that the intrigue they have in my brain can get old if laid on too thick. For most people, who I don't think have that attraction in any significant amount, they are almost certainly repugnant, and because I've been expressing them a bit too much in public, in order to purge myself of them, I have been repelling relationships. E was initially interested in me, I think, but probably seeing enough emo in my away messages put her off to the point where she no longer says hi when she sees me. There are (a small few) other people in my social circles that I might be interested in eventually dating, so it's not the end of the world -- it's just important to learn from these things.
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Tonight I also learned, when opening wine, to make certain that it has a cork before using a corker -- if it has a lid, the lid will be ruined and it will be impossible to reseal the thing after pouring. Oops :)
I seriously need to work on making my BLOG software faster... and finding a more decent webhost for dachte.org. I don't have much disk to work with, not much CPU, and almost no RAM. Now that the disk on the "system" is 95% full, it's time to move to something better. I'm calling around to see if anyone offers inexpensive personal colo in town. I'm willing to pay about $100/month, but would prefer to pay less, of course. I might look into nontraditional colocation with a Squirrel Hill business, e.g. the local gaming folk. One place that's been mentioned a few times that I haven't called yet is ASPStation -- I'll probably talk to them tomorrow to find their prices and incidental charges. The only other thing is to get a server. I'd like to get a PenguinComputing box like all those I've ordered at work (I like the vendor, and will probably stick with them for the foreseeable future). The issue is that the system I'm looking for, configured as I'd be looking (2G RAM, DVD-ROM), runs $1765, which, while very reasonable given the market price for that hardware, would cramp my ability to get a new laptop, which I'm really going to need soon. Meh. I guess it's unavoidable.
I'm thinking about moving to a new apartment -- my new neighbour often has guests over, and she talks very loudly with them (and they with her). It's quite irritating.
I'm kind of quietly running for ArbCom on Wikipedia again. I'm basically announcing that I'm willing to serve if people want me to Arbitrate as well as Mediate (I am giving the precedent-breaking notice that I will not resign from MedCom by the tradition that people only have one office on Wikipedia, instead offering another way to handle conflict of role). I'm not super attached to the idea, but don't dislike it either, so we'll see if whoever votes on such things will decide I should arbitrate as well as mediate. I think I'd do a good job, but I just don't feel like campaigning and am pretty comfortable as a mediator too. Fortunately, the burden of being a usenet moderator is much lighter now that I rewrote my moderation tool. Part of the ugliness of the old tool is that I didn't really know what I was doing with Perl/Tk when I originally wrote it. The Tk bindings for Perl are still ugly and hard to use, but I (surprisingly!) keep becoming a better programmer as time goes on. w00t. Now I just need to restate all my philosophy for my webpage, finish some of the work I've been wanting to do on my BLOG/Wiki software, and do the other webpage work I've been meaning to do. I took some steps towards it today by regenerating my web development environment -- I haven't had a working base to work on POUND ever since I reinstalled the OS on my laptop.
I hate this cold weather. Brr.