This week Postsecret has a secret saying "I think I'm starting to constantly think in 140 characters". Although I don't really use Twitter - Facebook is my social networking drug of choice - I can relate. I think I joined Facebook three or four years ago, and in that time I've gradually come here to write less and less. At first I enjoyed having a place to write short, quick updates about what I was doing in addition to my longer, more rambly LJ posts, but the end result has been a gradual stunting of my personal writing skills.

I think some of it is to do with my sense of online identity. Although I've never been particularly anonymous here this has always been a slightly more private space. I don't necessarily want everyone who is connected to me via Facebook to find it, and I try to make it so that it would take just a small amount of creative Googling for them to do so. I've also been locking down my posts more often as more people connect my real life persona with this handle. The reverse isn't so true: I'm well aware that anyone reading more than a couple of posts here will be able to find my full name and work details with pretty limited Google-fu, and that doesn't really bother me. I assume you all have my mobile number, and I thank you very much for not randomly calling me.

Thinking about it, the distinction is sort of an odd one. My professional life already seeps into my personal life. The people I know through work are part of the disability community. Some of them have known me since I was young, and some are people I socialise with on a regular basis. Me reading about their daily lives helps me to do my job better, and vice versa - which is why, although there's a large contingent of work-related people on my Facebook friends list, I've chosen to keep the 'professional information sharing' to a minimum. I see my work as very much about the personal. People can usually find out about the latest policy developments, workshops and political issues around disability through following any one of a number of email lists. They can ask me about them on Facebook, sure, but I'm not going to innundate people with that stuff in a space which I see as a mix of personal and professional. There are some practical uses to professional Facebook connections too - I've got some feeds from overseas people it's hard to reach otherwise, and the community can organise to respond to things quite quickly on Facebook.

So what's the difference between 'personal' on Facebook and 'personal' here?

My first thought is that it's sort of like the difference between polite conversation with acquaintances and the long, winding in-depth conversations you'd have with a close friend. The way you'd answer "How are you?" within those circles is very different. There are stock answers for acquaintances and colleagues, and you're expected to follow the conversational codes. With people you don't know very well - and don't want to know very well - you might be good, okay, a little ill or a little tired. You can't be questioning what it means to be happy in life or (in most circles) feeling as though you're spiritually accomplished, or pissed off with someone over that thing that happened yesterday. Again, I have some funny divides in who gets what because of the mixed professional and personal circles - there are people I go into professional meetings with that I'll greet with hugs, which is pretty much my standard greeting (and goodbye, and method of offering condolences and congratulations) for anyone I regard as a friend.

(Let me reassure you that I would never, ever hug a politician's advisor or a government hack. I do have some standards.)

We filter our real lives according to social rules, and I think the internet is only just starting to catch up to that. Some people are using literal filters in all of their social networking, some people are using different social networking platforms (and email addresses and handles) to filter different groups. I think I've very haphazardly set myself up with a mix of strategies. I didn't start out with any filters on my LJ for instance, and now I have several. Some are about privacy, some are things like "maybe not everyone wants to read my haphazard attempts at poetry". Now I'm finding that Facebook itself is a filter for people I wouldn't necessarily want to read the depth and breadth of stuff I write about myself here.

This is a big part of why I'm writing less. It's not just that I'm focusing more on a broader group of people, and that my life has really been about putting energy into work over the past few years. It's not just that I'm lazy. Both of these things are true, but it's also about not being sure how my online identities are aligning, and worrying that I'm revealing myself too much to people I'd rather not.

That's not to skip over the other reasons. My laziness is equated with wanting 'fast' things - fast food, quick grabs of news, quick and simple interactions with people. I have to watch that I don't fall into these traps, or that I use the 'fast things' only when the context demands it (I'm not going to have the energy or facilities to get in-depth news when I'm on a day trip to Canberra, for example). This is a matter of keeping myself on task, of remembering that depth is important too.

I wonder if there is such a thing as a 'slow information' revolution, consicously taking the time to look at a few in-depth things rather than a bunch of superficial ones? Sort of like the 'slow food' movement for the internet...

crypticgirl: (Default)
( Oct. 4th, 2009 03:50 pm)
Yes, I'm still alive. Just very busy, what with work and holidays where I don't actually get any time to stop.

(This was not necessarily a Bad Thing. Skippy and I went up to Sydney for Mum's 70th birthday. He is now introduced to the rest of my family, including my sister and sundry children. He has not run, though granted, Melbourne would've been a skritch too far at that point. Also, I got to give my Mum a really nice present: tickets for her and I to see <i>Aida</i> at the Sydney Opera House while we were both in the same place for a fracking change. And lo, it was amazing.)

Otherwise things just seem to be trundling along at present. There is some serious bother with my sister's children right now; unfortunately this is not a new state of being, nor is it something I have any power to change for the better to any great degree. Small good things are always possible, however.

Work is good. Busy, with a side order of "FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE GREEN APPLES, WHY OH WHY DO YOU SEEM TO THINK WE CAN DO THE WORK OF A WELL FUNDED GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITH TWO POINT SIX FULL TIME EQUIVALENT STAFF?" I love the work, though, and the people I work with are most excellent. For the first time in probably five years I can't imagine what The Next Step will be career wise, but that's okay. It's okay because unless there's some sudden de-funding of my organisation I plan to be here for at least three or four years. I've got time. Also, the next career move may turn out to be having a family. It might be state or national public service, or a different arm of the community sector. Could possibly be the UN. Who knows?

In short: am mostly okay. Just haven't felt much like writing, and I find that when I'm in that frame of mind it takes sitting down and actually writing something to get me back there.
crypticgirl: Inara and Mal from Firefly in a shot from a dancing scene (romance)
( Jul. 19th, 2009 10:42 pm)
It's been a while since I've written, but new relationship foo plus holidays to Daylesford plus more new relationship foo plus work have made me lazier than usual. Difficult, I know, but there you have it.

Relationship wise, things are going well. Skippy and I have been doing a lot together. Much of it is stuff I've not done in ages or never done before: bowling (I still suck), movies, going to the football and playing various games with his friends. This includes the beginnings of teaching me to play Magic, which I'm enjoying but finding a little difficult to follow because it relies pretty heavily on knowing what cards other players have out on the table. Since there's a huge number of cards (we're talking tens of thousands), memorising the decks is not a good strategy. I'll work something out.

The games stuff in particular has been with a group of his friends who all play together. I haven't introduced him to many of my friends yet; my circle of friends is (a) all across the damn country and (b) not really a cohesive group even when you get down to the people in one city. So that will be a slow process.

Daylesford trip and miscellaneous )
crypticgirl: Inara and Mal from Firefly in a shot from a dancing scene (romance)
( Jun. 11th, 2009 04:05 am)
1. Last Friday I decided to take whatever steps I need to in order to defer my Masters because I'm burnt out. I kept looking at the last two assignments for this semester and feeling... dull, and uninspired, and panicky and tired. So I'll be failing those classes and putting this on hold for as long as I need to take in order to feel like things are balanced enough for me to do this.

2. Last Saturday I met.. let's call him Skippy, for reasons which will be apparent only to he and I. Another name would be "my boyfriend". :) More details to follow, when I've dealt with the third factoid.

3. I need more sleep. *yawn*
I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a little while now, and I’m discovering some disturbing trends. I started out like Bambi, in the wild on my own for the first time, all “Oh, that nice man with the gun won’t hurt me. I should go and say hello!” Then I learned about the word ‘venison’. Okay, it’s not quite that bad – I have been lucky enough to avoid the genuinely creepy and frightening men. But there are some things which are now immediate put offs in a profile. Namely:

1. SMS speak: I can tolerate the odd ‘lol’ in an online conversation, but if you’re writing a profile to attract someone I think saving yourself ONE KEYSTROKE by typing ‘2’ instead of ‘to’ is poor form, and indicative that if I were to ask you about your taste in literature it would probably lead to a conversation about the pros and cons of book fuelled bonfires. Oh, wait. “book firez r gd” isn’t a conversation.

2. “Fun loving”. Sorry dude. I only date people who hate fun.

3. “Looking for my princess” and/or “waiting to spoil you”. I’m always tempted to contact one of these guys just to ask if he’s read ‘A Room of One’s Own’, ‘The Female Eunuch’ or ‘The Beauty Myth’. After all, the castle where I’m being held captive has one hell of a library.

I actually feel kind of sad for those guys. The content of their profiles is usually centred around how well they’ll treat a woman, not who they are. To me that means they either don’t have a clue how this process works, or they don’t think they’re very interesting.

4. “I’ve never been married before and don’t want to date someone who has been.” Huh. I wasn’t aware that I was wearing a sign saying ‘SPOILED GOODS’. Nor was I aware that life experience actually counted as a strike against someone. If you think that marrying someone who hasn’t been there is going to make your chances of staying married better, you’re probably too immature to handle being married.

5. “Looking for discreet (often spelt ‘discrete’ with no apparent irony) relationship”. I guess at least it’s good that these guys are upfront about what they want rather than stringing more than one woman along (…we hope), but definitely not my cup of tea.

6. “Genuine guy”. I’ll be needing to see a recent medical certificate to back up that claim. Seriously, though. Do they really think the non-genuine guys are going around saying they’re lying bastards? And if they’re non-genuine themselves, do they really think women will just take them at their word?

7. Shift-key Phobia: People who write in all upper or lower case piss me off just as much as the SMS speak baboons. These are the same men who think that punctuation marks of any kind are obviously not manly enough. I want a guy who knows that colons and semi-colons aren’t just for enemas. I’m fussy like that.


I’m not having much luck with this whole thing. I’m beginning to think I should just give up on it for a while. I’m tired of explaining myself over and over. I’m tired of obsessing over my flaws and shortcomings. I’m tired of slowly coming to really like someone only to have it not work out because I’ve managed to fall for Toad of Toad Hall we’re incompatible.

But it’s not just because of the bad luck, it’s also because I’m going through a lot of change right now and it seems unfair to ask someone to tag along for the ride when I don’t even know how to tick certain boxes like ‘religion’ on a profile. Diet and hobbies are also kind of in flux.

Also: I have this funny sense that when I finish the job I’ve just taken up I’ll be going down one of two paths full-tilt: career or parenting. I know I can’t do both properly at once, I simply don’t have the energy. I’m not quite sure why or how I know that the next step several years down the track will be the defining one, I just do. I also get the sense that there’s only so far I can push that decision. Some of it will have to happen naturally. Maybe I should just let it do that for a while.

(Noting, of course, that 'a while' is a variable length of time ranging from 'a week' to 'until the twelve cats I will mysteriously acquire are written into my will'.)
crypticgirl: (purrfect)
( May. 17th, 2009 02:31 pm)

*stares tentatively at oven*

I'm going out to a bi-monthly gathering with a group of friends this afternoon, otherwise known as "Five Women, Five Cats, Three Dogs, Lots of Wine and One Very Scared Man: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" and as is usual for this gathering we're all bringing a homemade dish. Every time I swear up and down I'm going to gather my ingredients lovingly several days in advance, carefully read through recipies and then, the day before, just in case something goes wrong, I'll make the dish. I should stop kidding myself at some point for lo, it is one and a half hours prior to the event and I have just shoved my hastily made quiche in the oven.

It shouldn't surprise me that it's come to this. I can cook passably, as long as I'm not doing anything too complex or new. Then my cooking method seems to involve several key steps:

1. Panic and hope I have all the ingredients.
2. Panic and hope I have all the utensils. Invariably, I wind up doing creative things with a spoon which probably shouldn't be talked about.
3. Slosh ingredients together in haphazard approximation of recipe. Duck any minor explosions.
4. Realise after the ... creation is in the oven that I've forgotten some critical ingredient. The last time this happened it was the eggs (... then the baking soda) in a cake.
5. Breathe huge sigh of relief when concoction turns out to be quite edible, akshually, as it usually does.

I sort of followed the recipe for this quiche, if you squint. I'm not confident making bases and I would really rather not do it without a processor anyway. So the plan was to find one of those pre-made bases at the supermarket and shove everything into that, only I had enormous trouble finding one. They may have been there but the Asian shelf stacker I asked didn't seem too clear on the difference between puff pastry and a base, and when I mentioned the word quiche she looked at me as though I had just asked her to dance naked on the back of a pink elephant. Thank God for little old ladies - one came past as we were having this discussion and said it would be perfectly okay to use the non-puff, butter pastry with a quiche. I don't think I've forgotten anything either.

Oh well. If it doesn't work out I'm only killing a few good friends. Maybe the alcohol in their systems will help?

crypticgirl: Tom from Tom and Jerry screaming in agony (argh)
( May. 10th, 2009 10:06 pm)
So. Am I the only person around here who got freaked out by the robots in Test Chamber 16 in Portal? The ones which have children's voices and fricking laser beams?

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to move past this level...
crypticgirl: (Default)
( May. 6th, 2009 10:07 pm)
On a night when I'm feeling crappy for a couple of reasons, I definitely think picking up some Pratchett was a good idea. To wit:

a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders
with greased rungs.

For a long time I thought nothing could top Rincewind, but I think I'm going to like the Witch books. *hugs Wyrd Sisters*
crypticgirl: (Default)
( May. 6th, 2009 01:08 pm)
I spent Monday and Tuesday home sick with the kind of exhaustion that comes with the flu, but no actual flu symptoms. Got a doctor's certificate for the two days off from a fill-in GP who said it sounds like a low-level viral infection, and went into work today. Big mistake. I arrived at the office ready to curl up on Ellie's bed next to her and not get up for a few hours.

Back to see my normal GP, who has confirmed that the blood tests they did yesterday show symptoms she'd expect to see with a virus and has given me a certificate for the rest of the week along with stern instructions not to go in and push myself, no matter how much better I feel. Because that's the thing: it's one of those bugs where you feel really run down when you're Doing Stuff or Being Thinky, but it isn't much of a problem if I'm, say, reading teh interwebz and listening to corny 90's music.

My doctor has also said that if I feel this way again just to give her a call and she'll write out a certificate rather than having me come in and exert myself further. This is the same GP who did an hour-long consultation with me when I first went to see her 'so she could get to know me and my history'. Admittedly, my medical history is a little more complex than most, but still. She totally rocks.
I am not old enough to have a nephew who is old enough to use Facebook. I am not old enough to have a nephew who is old enough to use Facebook. I am not old enough...

Bugger. Still not working.
1. Place handbasket full of groceries in front of dog while you select something.
2. Wonder why your dog, who has been sniffing everything from the crumbs in front of her to the FRICKING MOON, has suddenly become so very well behaved.
3. Bend down to find dog with head on floor, little chunks of something orange scattered all around her.
4. Check basket to confirm that where there were previously two carrots there is now only one.

Those of you who don't own guide dogs are probably thinking "Aw, how cute!" or "You must have the one Labrador in the universe who likes vegetables." Those of you who do own guide dogs are probably cringing in sympathy because a dog in harness is not supposed to pull that kind of stunt. If the human handler is at the top of the pack, the dog should behave the way it's been taught to, if the dog thinks it can get away with stuff like that it can mean you're going to have difficulty getting it to work well and keep you safe. There's also a social embarassement aspect to it. I suspect it's a bit like a child throwing a temper tantrum in a supermarket: when you see it happening to someone else you know it's not the parent's fault necessarily, kids just misbehave sometimes. That doesn't stop you from being incredibly ashamed or embarassed when it's your little bundle of joy stress testing the linoleum.

Also, those of you who have owned Labradors will know that a Labrador liking carrots is not all that extraordinary. Labradors like anything that looks even vaguely edible. We took her to the free run park a couple of suburbs over yesterday for a break and to teach her to come when I call her. The motivational foodstuff we used was banana. Sounds about right, if you are what you eat.

Short version: mostly going well. Tired as all get-out, but that'll be a thing of the past soon.
I got Ellie on Tuesday afternoon and we started training today. Things seem to be going well so far. For those of you who don't know, the training I'm doing with her is from home, mostly because taking four weeks straight out of work is really difficult to do because we have three staff members and a conference to organise.

That means my instructor and his sidekick are following me everywhere I go. Today we went to an optometrist appointment - funny because she was really able to get my relief at having a smaller dog; the last time I visited her Ashton accidentally sat on the controls for the special chair in her office which goes up and down for eye exams and I was left literally several inches from the roof before we worked out what had happened - then they followed me heading back to work. They met me for my lunch break and Ellie's toileting time in the nearby church gardens, then they followed me home.

At present there are a couple of technique and behaviour things which need to be sorted out, but at Day One that's to be expected. Ellie has a tendency to rush forward. She either pulls me to the point where I can't get control back or I tug her back rather than giving a short, sharp correction. End result? She either thinks she has control over the situation or she thinks I'm playing a game of tug with her whole body and pushes harder against the harness. *sigh* At least we've caught it early, and I think relaxing my grip on the harness and lead should help.

Tonight she's barked a couple of times. It's happened in the lounge/kitchen part of my flat while she's been on her bed out there, so I think she's just reacting to the noise of people coming and going. Until I know for sure what's up I've been turfing her back into the bedroom for time-out for a few minutes.

More positively, she's really a lovely dog. Very gentle and waggly, and today in the office she kept moving off her bed and inching over towards my chair. Every person she's met out of harness has been licked on any exposed skin, which probably just means I should keep her away from nudist colonies. She loves being brushed, and she loves the squeaky rope toy I got her. Most important of all, I already feel safe with her. She's very alert and thorough and I feel so relieved to know I can get through crowded places without bumping into people or stressing out, and that I can cross roads without worrying I'll be hit.

Tomorrow is my day off this week. Of course, because we're training it's not really a day off, it's time to visit the free run park and the local shops for familiarisation. We'll go back to both places on the weekend and add in a new route to boot.

Cute dog pictures under the cut. Warning: may induce gibbering. )
crypticgirl: Kermit the frog smiling and waving a hand (woot!)
( Apr. 17th, 2009 01:35 am)
It's been a good birthday.

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes via various media. Thanks to the huggers-in-person. Thanks to those of you who quietly offer me love and support on a regular basis without asking for anything in return. Thanks to all of you really, for being your wonderful selves and being in my life. I feel like I learn so much from all of you on a daily basis.

No, I'm not drunk (...anymore). No, the impromptu ten pin bowling session with another half blind person (wherein the key questions in life became "Why do I keep getting so many gutterballs?" and "Is it my turn? I can't see the screen.") didn't cause any brain damage. I'm just feeling very loved at a time when I needed reminding of it. I may be alone in the sense that I'm not in a relationship right now, but I'm not alone in far more ways. I'll have to come back to this post when I need a kick up the bum.

After saying all that, talking about presents seems trivial. So I won't, except to say that I really appreciated Matt's gift because it was given with such generosity of spirit (he gave up his ticket to see Adam Hills so I could go), and I loved the card from my Mum. It just said lots of stuff about how she feels about me being her daughter. I'm glad we can express those things to each other.

I also bought myself a present this year, in the form of attendance at a workshop that I really enjoyed. I think getting myself a present should be a new tradition. :)

This year will be my last year in my twenties. I keep wondering where the time has gone, it feels like I've done so little with and there's so much left to do. In that sesne it would be great to be able to turn back the clock. On the other hand, I know I've had to go through a lot of stuff to get to where I am now, and where I am now is a pretty good place, relatively speaking. I look back on the person I was at nineteen and feel like I've come a long way.

I can only hope that when I'm thirty nine I can look back over the coming decade with the same sense. There are many things I want to do, yes, but a lot of it is fine detail. If I manage to grow as a person and work to make the world a better place in this lifetime then I will consider myself very lucky indeed.
For anyone wanting to learn or brush up on Auslan, I present to you the Auslan Signbank, which gives you video for each sign, as well as keywords and which States and Territories use the sign.
crypticgirl: (home stuff)
( Apr. 9th, 2009 10:39 pm)
I spent five days in Sydney last week. It started out with two days at a major conference -- most of which was spent freaking out that I'd have to give my boss' speech, with all of two days to prepare. For me, preparation means memorising the whole speech. There's no way I can hope to read fluently and keep my place without having a sheet of paper up to my nose and that's not viable, as options go.

The speech seemed to go okay, which is a Good Thing given the prestige of the conference, which had keynotes from very prominent politicans, public servants and academics. The plenary sessions, where I spoke, were reserved for mere CEOs. I did not go into the foetal position. I did not swear. I did not resort to interpretive dance. GO ME.

About my time with my Mum. Cut for a serious case of tl;dr )
crypticgirl: (Default)
( Apr. 6th, 2009 10:44 pm)
I have a bit to write about my Sydney trip but for now have a meme. Nicked from [ profile] khoath, though I've seen it elsewhere over time:

If you have the mind to, tell me anything you like about me or something you think I should know. Comment anonymously if you wish, all comments screened.
If you do not remain anonymous, your comment will remain a secret between you and myself unless you state otherwise.

There's no need for anyone else to repeat this, I'm just feeling especially narcissistic.
crypticgirl: (ashton)
( Mar. 29th, 2009 07:28 pm)
I'm getting a new guide dog in just a few weeks. I had a trial walk last Sunday with Elise the black lab, a three or four year old female who has come from a human just retired from work. She trotted into my flat and immediately came to say hello... by licking my arm. Then switching to my other arm. Then she started in on my foot. She was waggling her tail all the time, so I'm not sure if this is just her standard greeting or whether she just decided I looked particularly edible for some reason.

After a few minutes talking about things like "do you think this shoebox will really be okay for a dog?", we went outside and looked for toileting areas. There are a couple of possibles: across the laneway at the back of the apartment block is a tree with some grass around it (downside: have to walk across laneway first, hell of a trek in the rain), down the side of the building itself (downside: windows look directly out at ground level; people would see, hear and smell her pooing in high definition detail), and at the front of the building behind some trees (downside: not fenced). We decided that if we can get the body corporate to allow some temporary fencing like lattice or chicken wire at the front that will be the best option. Steps are already underway to see just how recalcitrant my body corporate is. I've never had to deal with a body corporate before, but my understanding is that it's a matter of degrees, not whether I'll run into problems or not.

Then we went for a trial walk to the station. It's not very far from where I live, but I noticed a couple of things: she was on the ball straight away, rearing to go. She dodged obstacles very deftly. She loved being in a new area, but wasn't distracted by it - I could tell her head was moving around a lot, but this is an obstacle-laden walk and she didn't run me into anything. This is especially impressive because there are also distractions: I don't know if we ran into the resident cat, but the dogs in the houses nearby were barking. She turned her head more at their noise, but didn't stop working.

So after thinking on it for a couple of days, I said yes. The 20th has been settled upon because it looks like I won't have a lot of interstate travel for work in the month thereafter. I'm already making preparations for then: I now have a backpack without broken zippers (important because you can't carry a bag that cuts out use of one arm with a guide dog), and I may have gone a leetle overboard on the doggy toys today at Coles. Overall, I'm feeling positive about it, though I'm obviously sad about Ashton at times too. I'm sure that will keep cropping up in the months to come.

Oh, and I think I'll be calling her Ellie if she'll let me. Elise is nice, but it does sound like a name that belongs on a receptionist, not a guide dog.
I just realised I have two separate bumps on my head from finding the corners of taxi doors. On opposite sides of my forehead. Symetrical. Kinda knobbly. A sign perhaps?
Courtesy [ profile] japester, I give you a very profanity ridden, NSFW funny take on the Clean Feed silliness currently prevailing in Australia. Blinkies beware: this is a clip from the movie Downfall spoken in German with subtitles in English. You're not going to get a lot of out of it if you can't follow the subs.

While I'm on this topic, if you're upset about what the government is trying to do: this is why we need the National Human Rights Consultation to hear from lots of people saying "Hey, we need a Bill of Rights. One that fully protects our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association would be good so we won't have a government pulling these kinds of stunts in the future. kthxbai."

They probably don't need the LOLspeak. But you get the drift.