March 20th, 2004

pretty, Francine

First you gotta learn how to stand...

Discovered that I walk a bit duck-footed, and when I deliberately walked slightly differently, my knees did not get mad at me. So I've been re-training myself how to walk, because the knee-clicking was getting disturbing.

Consequently, all my leg muscles are very, very angry, since I'm re-learning how to walk 30+ minutes a day, at nearly full speed (because it's the commute to work and back).
running, bomb tech

Another day at work, tra-laa.

Went to work. Bleh. Remained somewhat akin to asleep for the first few hours, as per the usual. Got a few cartoons drawn. Got a few things that I must type up for my book done as well. (The craftwork book, rather than either of the fictional novels.)

Boring & lonely. Didn't write notes to Darkside, just kept track of the time and wondered when I was going to start bleeding out the ears.

The rest of the household is celebrating marxdarx's birthday (a bit early) over at Celtic Potter & Hippy Dave's. Being as I was at work, I'm at home, o yay me. Et cetera.
Eris Raven, Marah

Career Information: Private Investigator

The Friends List that Ate Livejournal is definitely a good resource to be able to turn to. So there's a person who's considering looking into starting a career as a private investigator. They're already good at watching people and not getting caught at it, and they have been reading up on it on their own time, but they've asked a couple of their friends to ask around.

So.

What do you people know about the private investigation field? What are the job prospects? What is the training like? How many unemployed PIs are out there? How are the odds on making PI work pay all the bills? What does it take besides an aptitude for sneaking around not getting caught watching people? How secure are the families of PIs? What are some of the pitfalls to have in your background if you want to be a PI? Why would any sane person want to do this, anyway?

My experience with the field is limited to fiction of dubious quality, so I'm very curious to hear what people with real-world knowledge of the trade will have to say.
ieee coin

Bye-Bye, Neo

For the good of the Temple, I'm letting marxdarx play with my soon-to-be-former Linux box Neo, and Neo's younger clone-twin that I got from DeVry this past Yule. We hope that he'll be able to hack/mod them into something shiny to help Acknar out with the rendering.

Neo's got a bum network card, and Neo's clone-twin is less coherent than young Lord Mark on a bad day. (Oh, dear. I think I just named it. Sorry, Lord Mark.) Together, they'll either be one shiny kludge of a failure, or one ... interesting ... kludge of a helpful little thing.

I dug up my A+ Certification Training Book for marxdarx to refer to when playing with the matched set of differently flawed Compaqs. I think I'll advise the Little Fayoumis to stay way out of the way for this one, because otherwise he'll learn some new words. I think I'll do the same, because while marxdarx and I get along all right, Naomi and Marx do not get along well at all, and if Naomi's going to be getting any work done, I can't be babysitting her.
documentation, writing, quill

The Vagina Monologues and Intellectual Elitism

The book for the freshstartwrite book club this month is Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, and just from how much I've heard it around, I was afraid that it was going to be an example of the sort of book that the intellectual elite avoids.

theferrett wrote a recent essay on the fallacy of intellectual elitism, the fallacy of saying "If it appeals to a large number of people, it is crud." I suppose the time to write about how I formed my intellectual elitist stance now.

When I was quite, quite small, still in elementary school, I came to the justified conclusion that at least 90% of my classmates were dumber than I was. There were those of my classmates who were better than I was at certain things, especially social interaction, but overall, I had gotten the good end of the genetic and developmental stick, and I knew it.

I was reading well ahead of my grade level, and by age ten, had decided that I had more in common with the adults than I did with my school-assigned "peer group". I shared very little common culture with them, and found that the vast majority of the popular books that my agemates sought out were not only well below my reading level, but not particularly well-written, and definitely did not stand the test of time. Based on Sweet Valley Twins, The Baby-Sitters Club, and Goosebumps, I decided that if something was designed to be accessable to those-idiots-my-peers, it was by design also flawed for a more mature intellect. The masses wanted glitz and guts. I was developing an affinity for excellent writing. (In junior high, my rebellious guilty secret was checking out forbidden Sweet Valley High books from the library, since my parents said they were trash and would not abide them.)

As my taste in books matured, so did my estimation of who was likely to be able to recommend a good book to me. I learned that the stronger and more flexible someone's mind was, the more likely that I would be able to agree with them if they passed me a book saying, "That totally blew my mind!" The less intellectually savvy they were, the higher the likelihood of me saying, "Meh" to a selection that had completely warped their thinking ever after. My most common thought on those books was, "Yes, very nice, I learned this about five years ago, and ... that was the point of the book? Ooo....kay."

That's nearly what happened with The Red Tent this past Thursday. I read it, it was a nice piece of literature, and it certainly looked historically decent (but then, I'm not a historian, so anomalies wouldn't leap out and scream at me) but since I've already read enough history/historical fiction/science fiction to be conversant with tribes in tents, people in developmentally low-end cities, village life, and the fact that people are people still, no matter the time and place, that the only new thing that the book brought me was some details on womens' ritual of the time, and the fact that it was based off a Biblical story. But when I expressed my "Meh" to the group, the general look that got handed in my direction made me do a double-take and check to see that yes, I still only had the one head. It was good, solid, tight writing, and apparently-decent research (though I'm not qualified to comment on that), but it did not break any new ground with me. Since the group is made up of smart and interesting women, I must conclude that either my experiences are more varied, or I'm an alien, or both.

It's getting more and more difficult for me to be recommended and track down books that will break my brain correctly. I guess the problem is motivating me to find them and read them, as well as pitching them to me in such a way that I know I will want to read them. Good ol' Fuzzy Modem gives me the consistently best book recommendations for my psychset.

While the books that are overwhelmingly loved by the public are often well-written, solid things, when I hear a loud percentage of the public claiming, "This book will change your life!" I am understandably skeptical, because I know that I'm still smarter than 90% of my peers, and through my reading, have a nicely varied experience in many of the intellectual and philosophical fields that your average student who wasn't reading Feynman at nine was never exposed to. The books that do wind up actually tweaking my mind while holding my interest are often too dry, too thickly-written, or require too much previous experience to have the same effect on the average reader.

The Vagina Monologues were in that 10% of highly-acclaimed books that actually do bend my mind some. I am in that lucky percentage of women who have not only never been actively sexually abused (there were some touchy sex-related situations, but they were not bad taken in themselves, and were part of a greater context of social and psychological manipulation/ickiness) but also had a body-aware, sexually satisfactory childhood and young adulthood. I knew "vagina" before I knew "pussy" and "cunt", and I only learned "coochie" and so forth within the last few years. These together puts me in a distinct minority. I did not know that people feared their bodies that much. I did not know how vast and evil the disrespect for the bodies and lives of women is. There was really no way for me to know.

Like Eve Ensler, I hope for the day when 90% or more of women can read The Vagina Monologues and say, "Meh," because they know their bodies, their sexual responses, their reproductive capability, their own beauty, and women aren't getting raped, battered, shamed, abused. Someday, someday soon, the bad parts should be history, and the good parts should be common knowledge.