Afterwards

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:25 pm
The con is over and I'm trying to adjust back to normal world. For example by pulling an all-nighter to finish a paying job which had been run over by con-arranging... and now I'm tired and have a sore throat and should clean up the house since it's all messy because of con stuff and my work stuff and it would be nice to surprise husband with a neat house after him being practically a single dad for the past month.

I screwed up some things but on the whole I'm pretty surprised how well I managed to organise my particular section of that event. I guess I would not have volunteered if I had figured out just *how* much work it would be or at least tried harder to split the workload to more people. Anyway, I'm not dissatisfied. For whatever reason, acute stress experienced with co-volunteers at a con is an enjoyable experience, I guess much the same as extreme sports. Running around organising things, giving orders to gophers, gulping down a quick coffee at the volunteer lounge and all the time feeling surrounded by my own sort of people... Real life feels boring and empty in contrast.

But I could not do this more often, I just look in amazement at people who organise cons year-round. Just how do they have the energy????
Also, an unrelated thing, just in case someone might know: are there servers vital to the functioning to internet that solely reside in the USA? Or is everything distributed globally? I thought some naming/isp servers were only in the US, but now that I researched, it seems this hasn't been the case since 90's.
I'm not planning to ruin the internet, trust me, I just need this for a story I'm writing. I need the internet to crash in it, which could maybe happen if USA seceded from the rest of the world and cut all electronic contact, and all computer technology from US self-destructed, but I'm not sure if it's theoretically possible to shut down the internet anymore.

Gudetama

Jun. 12th, 2017 04:49 pm
I can't bear to think about the Basic Finns horribleness today, although it would be a good time to freak out. That man is so evil, and to top it off, also smart. A horrible, dangerous combination. I fear for this country's future.

Instead, I wonder if there's somewhere an essay dissecting Gudetama dance in the light of Japan's current generation's feelings of lack of direction and meaning. The continuous absurdity and relatable feelings of embarrassment... I can't put it to words yet, but the series is popular not just because it's "funny". Going through the motions even if they don't make sense, and are harmful to inner sense of dignity, and still trying to do that properly, because the other option is impossible to imagine. Maybe, something like that.

Also, reading Gibson's Zero History, and making dog's ears on pages he writes something interesting about fabrics, or fashion, and that is like every other page. Why haven't I realised before there's a whole Gibson book about fashion!?!
Writing and sending an invoice is such a chore for me. It would be more logical for it to be a joyous occasion - work done, money soon coming, yay! but no. It's like pushing through a wall. I procrastinate, fidget, feel uneasy, even if there is no rational reason for it. The recipient is not going to contest the invoice, no-one is expecting me to work for free, the customers are probably eager to get the invoice and get it paid as soon as possible to get the project closed. And yet in my head it feels like asking for money in exchange for my work is somehow shameful. Why is this!? Otherwise I don't find I have self-worth issues. And when I've finally managed to send the invoice, the stress evaporates. But even today, I had to make myself a rule I'm not eating lunch until the invoice is sent, otherwise it mght have taken all day.
I talked with my husband about this and he just could not relate to this in the slightest. He tried, but it was just utterly impenetrable concept to him. But I've seen discussions where women have expressed some similar feelings, I wonder if this is a gendered thing...

Why Tokyo?

May. 19th, 2017 10:29 am
In Jennifer Egan's book The Keep there was a chapter which resonated a lot, protagonist being stuck in a foreign country without a cell phone and feeling really disjointed and out of touch, and then finding a satellite phone and hearing the connecting beep, and suddenly feeling he's where he belongs, ie. between two places. I've been thinking about that after returning from Japan, because the feeling of happiness I experience just by being there is something like that, between places. I understand some of what people speak, but not all. I can read some of street signs but not all. I can manage, I'm not helpless, but everyone sees at a first glance I'm not native, so I'm expected not to be part of everything. Somehow this situation seems to sit well with me. I suppose it might get old at some point, after some years maybe I'd long for blending in and not all the time being treated like a foreigner, but on the other hand following my old uni professor's life (he's European, living for 30 years in Tokyo and not making a particular effort to blend in, on the contrary actually) it seems like some people just are suited for that kind of situation. Slightly in, slightly out.

Just walking around in Tokyo by myself I feel like walking on a cloud, much the same feeling as crushing on someone and being with them (how wonderful it would be if Tokyo liked me back like in Rajaniemi's story about Paris falling in love with a Finnish farmer!). We took turns, my husband and me, just leisurely strolling to grocery store to pick up a few onigiri and soaking the Tokyo atmosphere. It's like there are a million possibilities in the air every second, it's electrifying, no other city has done it for me. Siiigh!
Generally I think smoking is an unhealthy and unattractive habit, but occasionally it's just so aesthetically pleasing... saw the other day this lovely scene, as if I'd walked into a movie:
a cool Japanese dude, as cool as you can imagine, good-looking and self-assured and emanating a slight bad boy vibe, lounging outside a traditional charcoal grill food place. Unlit cigarette in his mouth. He takes tongs, picks up a red-hot coal and lights his cigarette with it.
Asdffsfsf my cool-o-meter just exploded!
But smoking only suits the quite young ("I'm not going to bother to live past thirty anyway") or the very old (consistency and has cheated death already). Middle-aged and smoking, very difficult to look hip.
Testing testing, we'll see how this works and if I'll get used to DW instead of LJ...
I've gone and started another blog for my scifi romance stuff at https://aurooralamminlaine.vuodatus.net. I'm obviously not one of those people who abandon net journals and blogs in a quest of reinventing themselves every few months, but the situation seems to demand a separate place for my romance writer alter ego. I don't want to go to the trouble of hiding all my LJ posts for 10+ years from casual readers, who might end up here if I used this account for romance stuff. So now I have FB for general communication, my professional blog for clothing writing, another blog for recreational writing and LJ for a diary... oh and a Instagram account as well, somewhere between professional persona and general communication. Lots of communication! Eek!

testing

Feb. 25th, 2017 10:00 am
I wonder if this works now
https://youtu.be/69dnqIFfrnE

I'm so smitten with this song. I can't stop listening to it. It has even surpassed my previous Lata favourite Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya.

A couple of days ago I played a half-hour set of my fave Bollywood music at my friend's birthday event. It was in a public bar and so it was the first time I've dj'd in public. The best word to describe this is much-abused but this time fitting: *empowering*. For years I've thought of how fun and interesting it would be to dj, but I've always thought it was somehow impossible, that one has to be a special sort of music person to do it, which I'm not. But then this opportunity arose, and I played music, and the equipment did not explode, and no-one flew in disgust, some heads were actually bobbing to rhythm. So, I'm perfectly capable of this, definitely not mysteriously unfit.

Hubby v. concerned that I'm flying head-first into another near-manic obsession – with good reason, I'm afraid. But at least even this first try earned me free fried noodles and a beer, so earning potential seems somewhat better than for example writing romantic sci-fi stories with bitter(sweet) endings.
aaah this being adult / work stuff is so frustrating! I need to complete a project but I can't get working on it because answering e-mails and filling travel forms (matkalasku, whatever that is) swamp me. I could be more productive though, I argh and grunt about having to fill forms and just communicate with people so much it eats up hours of my time.

And yet I know being a freelanecr suits me better than working employed, so I really should not complain.

Argh argh matkalasku, grunt grunt phonecall, whine whine e-mail...
Getting a job immediately after sending an offer = feels I've made a pricing mistake. Of course, not getting a job = also feels I've made a pricing mistake. Having to drop the price is irritating, and makes me resentful.
I wish clients would just tell how much money they have budgeted and I'd tell them what they get with that price.

Pricing is the most annoying part of freelancer life.

Spent a couple of days with my 93 year old grandma, who has lost her memory. She is confused and sad, just a shadow of the strong-willed matriarch of just a decade ago. Ahh, it is a sad thing to get old and lose your self... and what do I have left myself even in the best possible scenario, maybe 60 years, max 70, if I'm lucky. Now I feel a strong urge to go out to the world and have adventures, when I still have the time. Haven't actually done anything adventurous, but buried myself in hard-boiled scifi thriller (Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan). All those fistfights! Bullets flying! The vitality of violence! Maybe fictional violence is so popular because it does work as an antidote against the gloomy feeling one gets from the knowledge of mortality.
It used to baffle me when non-published amateur writers commented on whatever discussion something like "oh this reminds me of the main character in my novel, she's this really cool vampire gogo-girl who can shoot laser beams from her ass", like, as if anyone cared about your unfinished and unpublished writings in relation to this discussion that has zero to do with writing, vampires, gogo-girls, novels or laser beams. But I'm slowly starting to understand. Everything seems to connect with my stories. Only the memory of those previous encounters with over-eager writers hold me back from posting similar comments.

I suppose in the end of my life I'll understand everyone and everything.
Of Flesh All the Way: The Harmlessness of the Serpent and the Wisdom of the Dove
by Mrs Elle Tabuu

'Come here, my poor pale-faced, heavy-eyed boy, come and sit down by me', she said. Modesty covered him with confusion and compelled him to be silent. She was, however, all smiles and sweetness. 'Oh, my dear', said she, 'My unhappy hero, you are at once so very right and so very wrong'. She looked handsomer than ever.
He said little, but noted everything, with staring eyes, ghastly pale, and with despair branded upon every line of his face. Where, where, he asked himself, was it all to end? Was it to be always sin, shame and sorrow, in the future as it had been in the past? His heart fainted within him: the mangled bones of too many murdered confessions were lying whitening round the skirts of his mother's dress.
Then it all came out. There was an end of it. Oh, it was sublime! She wept bitterly and buried her head in her pillow. He took all his sermons and put them in fire – and his eyes were sparkling with pleasure.
'I am sorry I was not stronger', he said, 'but to do as I did was my only chance'.
I picked up a book of the above title from recycling center free room. The early days of space race interest me, there's something appealing about the optimism and drive of that moment.

The question that arises from reading this book is "what on Earth drove people to obsessively experiment on rockets in the very early 20th century, when all they could produce were pitiful things that flew a few hundred meters if they did not explode dangerously, which was the most common outcome?". In the very beginning it was not military. It was mostly personal obsession of individuals, which however laid the groundwork upon which the military rockets of WW2 were built, and which in turn were the very necessary groundwork for real spacecraft.
Might have some spoilers so
Read more... )
My back broke or at least it feels like it. Very humbling. I tend to think of myself as a person with a robust body, migraines being the only exception. But hoo hoo, every now and then I'm reminded that I'm at the mercy of my flesh like everyone else.

AI ethics interest me currently – interest inspired my the recent Star Wars movie. It suddenly struck me that it is highly immoral and wrong how droids in the SW universe have masters and owners, despite being obviously entities with own will and understanding of self. Of course the heroes treat their droids kindly, but still... this revelation has made the whole Rebellion taste rather sour with me. Why is precious freedom only for biological creatures? Why build self-aware entities which have no way to break free from ingrained servitude?
Now one explanation could be that the droids have to "pay back" the materials which went into constructing them. But it would take only certain amount of time, and if we go that route, then we should also think that children are obliged to pay back what their parents have invested into them, in devotion and obedience if not in material terms. (Which is, as filial piety, of course the view in most traditional societies). But the current view is that we do not owe any obligatory, unassailable gratitude for our parents, only in relation to how nice they have been to us. And if we reserve this right for ourselves, then it is clearly unfair to deny it from being that were built instead of born. So, if C3PO is made so that despite being a self-aware being he can never break free from his bond to his masters, and this is accepted as OK – then also the same morality should be applied to others, and we should despise Luke for 1st for being unobedient toward his fosterparents, and then later not agreeing to join his father at the Dark Side.

And the same moral considerations can be applied to 21st century Earth. This race to build a real, strong AI creates moral complications in a world where even the moral simplicities (do unto others etc.) are not observed.
"Incoming orbital bombardment, including plasma attack. Repeat, orbital with plasma. Maximum shields."
I have a new embarrassing interest: reading Warhammer40,000 novels. It feels a bit inappropriate, like leafing through someone's diary, found in the corner of the trash room. It's so not meant for me. But there is something incredibly soothing about reading of endless war fought by hypermasculine heroes waving plasma cannons, in a world where after all the bloodshed and warring nothing ever really changes. Zero femininity, no romance, only bonds of brotherhood and honor and duty and so, so grim future universe (although my favourite writer Nick Kyme does include quite liberal amounts of description of sweaty, well-muscled bodies. One does not need to have an oversensitive gaydar to wonder if all the 15-year boys reading about the heroics of Salamander warriors have yet completely figured out what draws them to these books).
Other than being tied to the house loan for next 20 years I'm super happy about new home. It's a peculiar little apartment in a 1910's jugendstil castle, all strange angles and totally unreasonable little nooks. I feel so at home already.
small but irritating problem: my hair needs washing every 5 days. But the week is 7 days, and so it's impossible to match my hair-wash schedule to co-incide with ballet lessons, after which I in any case need to wash hair.
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