April 11th, 2004

_schools120835, IRL, professional, Naomi, _schools3485

Wardrobe Warrior

The Easter dinner with my outlaws Sis's biological hazards relatives is tomorrow. Aiyee! Today, actually, given that I'm up late.

I have been living with my roommatesister for going on three years now, and I've adjusted fairly well to her relatives. They've also adjusted fairly well to me. The number of screaming matches at family functions has decreased dramatically, the politeness level has gone way up, and all in all, we no longer utterly dread them. I may not even bring the pocket flask of strong spirits this time! (I normally consume alcohol only rarely, and am not usually given to hiding from problems by drinking. There are, however, very rare exceptions, such as Thanksgiving with the outlaws and Christmas with the outlaws.) While my family is far from perfect, being composed of humans, and a tribe of humans given to crankiness, obstinacy, and sheer character, I am not accustomed to any sort of family gathering with any routine kerfuffles more serious than some overstimulated children badly in need of bedtime. When I first described this to my roommatesister, she got the big eyes that a child hearing a fairy tale might get. Her family gatherings are typically marked by drunkenness, altercations, arguing, quarreling, and at least one screaming session. As one might imagine, her family has me seriously on edge.

There is the tradition in her family that Easter dinner is with Sis's great-aunt, the archetypical frail, conservative, gentle old widow with the heart condition. We all attend. This may be my first year at this particular party, as there have been extenuating circumstances in years before.

Planning, packing, and dressing for these events has struck me since the beginning as very similar to plotting out some sort of military campaign. Logistics, supplies, armor, plans for advancing, plans for contingencies, and several flavors of retreat. This holiday gathering has to have the least detailed plans of all the missions we've been dispatched on. (This is partly due to the fact that we now have our own reliable transport, so we may advance and retreat at our commander's discretion.) I was only informed of this mission a few days ago. I wasn't sure what to wear, so asked to borrow an outfit because most of what I've got to wear is a little... gloomy.

It's probably wise to add that while I don't often go overboard on making sure my appearance is 100% perfect, there are a few things I do it for. First, I do try to look my best for job interviews. Second, when I am spending special time with Darkside, I endeavor to present the best side of me, because he deserves to see that as well as my everyday self and me at my worst. Third, I prefer to look nice in festive situations. Fourth and finally, I dress for spending time with possibly-hostile people who I may not overtly attempt to permanently alienate with the utmost precision, presenting myself as near to exactly as I intend to, always reinforcing that I am polite, I am cultured, I am restrained, I was raised as the daughter of a well-to-do programmer rather than the child of a lower working-class household, I am pretty, and like it or not, my roommatesister has attached herself to me and I to her, and she and I aren't being pried apart any time soon. Oh, and I'm not a crack whore, and I do have parenting skills that I was able to learn from following my parents' example rather than using them as a counterexample. That's a rather lot to convey nonverbally, and wardrobe plays a large part. Sadly, these days my spring wardrobe runs to poor college student as well as a lot of four year old long sleeved black shirts that are starting to sport small holes (thank you, eris_raven, for your contributions...). This does not exactly scream "I will not condescend to notice that I probably wouldn't be associating with you people if not for the fact that I seem to have done something similar to being married in." So, I asked for some wardrobe help.

Sis dug up a dress that her mother had given her -- white or offwhite fabric with a blue rose print, and something subtle with white-on-white patterning going on in the background. The waistline is that V-shape in the front that so flatters me, and the sleeves are elbow-length, slightly puffed. The skirt is only knee-length, sadly; I would have preferred a mid-calf or ankle-length skirt.

Sis was not too thrilled with the dress to start with, but when I put it on and modeled it for her, she got the big eyes and told me that I would be wearing that dress, and keeping it thereafter. Evidently it suits me very well, much better than it had suited other people who wore it. It actually reminds me very strongly of the pretty dress Mama made me that I wore when graduating from elementary school. That dress was of a superficially similar pattern, but with shorter sleeves and a different waistline. The fabric of that had a cream background with a very small print of pink roses, blue flowers, and I do believe pink ribbons as well. The print on this fabric is large. This dress probably looks tacky when worn by someone unsuited to it, but I make it look good. While white is not particularly my color, and large floral prints on a large soft woman tend to make her look like an armchair, the cut of the dress and my classic figure and regal bearing somehow pull the outfit together.

marxdarx looked at me, and he proclaimed with admiration and astonishment that I could make anything look evil chaotic. Evidently a conservative little flower-print dress was not his idea of what a chaote should wear. However, since I was raised wearing dresses like that, I'm right at home in it.

That was step one. The next step, of course, is accessorizing. I shall be wearing off-white nylons and my navy blue suede flats, naturally. There was some long debate over jewelry. Naomi's blue topaz was debated but finally not selected. A lovely necklace featuring lapis lazuli and malachite was pondered over, as well as an azurite and garnet (heh, heh) necklace, but neither of those was quite right. I finally elected to wear the $BLUE_GEMSTONE and $DIAMOND_OR_IMITATION earring and pendant set from KL7AM (yes, FatherSir, he may be a flake, but he's an interesting person). The pendant will be on the chain Grandma gave me in 1991 or 1992, and I'll be wearing Naomi's ring besides. I'm polishing my nails blue.

I can't wear my "I Kiss Girls" button, even though I'm not a member of the family and therefore can't be disowned. I probably shouldn't wear my rainbow ring. I am debating whether or not to wear my spiked wristlets. Something tells me that as wonderfully lovely as my spiked collar is, that wouldn't go over so well either. I am planning on taking a small notebook and a pen, as well as a project bag, yarn, crochet hooks, and my afghan, and spending some serious quality time with an isolated corner.

Someday soon, I hope, I'll get to spend quality festive time with a higher percentage of people I want to spend time with...
  • Current Music
    cars whizzing past the complex, "Rocked by Rape" in my head (time for us to bug out)
Azzgrin, Azure: Lunatic, crazy

Fwd: Dog Humor


Collie + Lhasa Apso = Collapso, a dog that folds up for easy

Spitz + Chow Chow = Spitz-Chow, a dog that throws up a lot

Bloodhound + Borzoi = Bloody Bore, a dog that's not much fun

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    shammash politely asking that someone open the West bedroom door
high energy magic

On Memory Leaks & Kali's proper place

http://www.sinfest.net/d/20040410.html (Discussion)

People are fascinated with evil because there's a popular assumption that it's more fun to be naughty than nice.

My own perception at this point in my life is that naughty is more fun in the short-term but nice is more fun in the long-term.

From what little I know of Hinduism, I can see where the Judeo-Christian obsession with good and evil (especially with evil) might be confusing. I've gotten the impression that the perceptions of dark and light are somewhat different and possibly more complex in HInduism than in Judeo-Christianity.

As a basic example, many people from Judeo-Christian upbringings look at representations of Kali and assume she must be evil because she is dancing on corpses and wearing a belt of heads. But my outsider's understanding is that Kali is not evil and is Shiva's more fierce consort (Shakti appearing much gentler.) Kali is very powerful and embodies forces of destruction but (correct me if I'm wrong) destruction is not inherently evil in Hindu thought.

Whereas in Judeo-Christian thought, destruction is almost uniformly considered to be evil. There is little room for the notion of destruction so that more creation can occur. This causes many people of Judeo-Christian faiths to struggle with ideas like death, disease and so forth, wondering how a loving God could have allowed such things to exist and to plague mankind.

I'm kind of rambling now. But maybe that gives a little more insight into why folks raised in the Western spiritual traditions have more tendency to be fascinated by darkness, evil, satan, etc.

wonder if there's a significant difference in the number of memory leaks in programs designed/coded by those raised with the traditional Western view of destruction versus those with different cultural attitudes towards destruction.

(A "memory leak" is when memory resources used by the computer program are not freed up after their time for use is over -- improperly disposed of, just sitting there taking up space rather than being properly destroyed.)


Yes, Dear.
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    thoughtful thoughtful

pyrogenic's menstruation survey

Warning: Girly stuff ahead!

Take pyrogenic's Menstruation Survey here, or e-mail to menses at pico dot org. Disclaimer: Any responses may be used in a class discussion or as material for a term paper. If you don't mind the world seeing your responses, answer in a comment. Answers will be kept private (i.e. only used for class) if you email them to menses at pico dot org.

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running, bomb tech

Friends-page insanity

It wasn't even a particularly high-post day, and I had to go to ?skip=120 to read 'em all. So I decided it was time to snip where I'd been regularly skimming.

I don't have time for everyone I want to know! Aiiigh!

*runs around with head on fire*
running, bomb tech

Easter with the Outlaws

We went, we had a decent time, we came back, we're alive.

Getting There:
Sis's mom gives bad directions. No, seriously. The last time she gave us directions to a place, she directed us to the intersection of two parallel roads. She didn't give us an address that time, she just gave us vague turns and intersections and landmarks, some of which were unreliable. There was a major drama-storm over that, though, so this time she gave actual directions which looked like she swiped them off of some road map/directions site. That was a decent development. We headed out a little late thanks to a miscommunication (one party had told us what time we were leaving, but the other two parties never heard any such thing), but got there at a reasonable hour.

The Temple was there, of course -- me, marxdarx, my roommatesister, and the Little Fayoumis. Also there: Grandma & Grandpa (my roommatesister's parents), Great-Grandma (Grandma's mother), The Old Lady Great-Aunt (Great-Grandma's sister?), various of The Old Lady Aunt's children/spice-of-children (one woman, her attached male, and the California Uncle), various of their offspring (okay, one girl, about nine or ten, the California cousin), and two of That Woman's children (Sis's neices Jewel and Jade).

Jewel is nine, almost ten, and was cranky. Some relative came to the conclusion that if she were 13 or so, they'd say it was PMS, but she is too young for that. I pointed out that, um, no, not really, some of my friends started on that at nine. It's definitely the start of "I am an irrational adolescent bitch and the best thing you can do for me is avoid me" season, though, and I advised Jade of the same.

That Woman (my roommatesister's biological sister) was not there, because her youngest, Krystal, had been sick, so they were all home. This made for perhaps more peace and quiet than there might have been.

There was lunch. Grandma had gotten a turkey ham, so there was a main dish that the household could eat. Sis cannot eat pork -- she becomes nauseated and more often than not throws up, even after eating dishes with only trace amounts of pork in them. Naturally, the baked beans had bacon in them. I inquired as to whether or not they were safe, and Grandma said that they were perfectly safe -- they just had bacon, and then went on to make some sort of snide comment about it being my choice not to eat pork-containing dishes. I returned that for me, it was a choice, but in my roommatesister's case, I wouldn't exactly call uncontrollable vomiting a choice.

I think I'm going to have to have a few stiff words with the bitch later.

After lunch, Grandma broke out the cool shit. Namely, she'd gotten a battery-operated bubble gun for each of the kids. I did some troubleshooting when some of them wouldn't work, but eventually, everything was made to be in working order. We really do need to get gallon bottles of the bubble stuff now...

The Little Fayoumis grabbed himself one of the legacy bubble pipes from the bag of other bubble toys, and he was going around with the pipe in his teeth and the bubble gun, looking for all the world like a shorter, slightly less debonair, shorter-haired James Bond, mostly because he was telling Jade that he was (first) the bad guy who was shooting at her, and (second) that he was the good guy who was (still) shooting at her. Mommy and I hastened to remind him that he was fine as long as the only pipe he was smoking was a bubble pipe.

Jewel was having a bad day, or several bad days. She and all the other children had some sort of falling out (several of them), and there was much screeching and crying and calling of names. I advised the California cousin and Jade that Jewel was probably best to be avoided when she was getting all upset and yelly over everything, and that someone should have told my sister swallowtayle that when I was in that phase.

Later, Grandma and someone else were talking, and they mentioned that the California cousin had been setting off Jewel on purpose, and was unspeakably rude, and had been raised by wolves. I noticed that Jewel's "I'm a bitch now, and I'm going to overreact to everything" attitude did not get mentioned, nor did That Woman's mothering skills (which look to be just as nonexistent as the California cousin's mother's mothering skills).

Headache? Him?
Marx gets headaches. He had one. He'd had it on the drive over, which made things off at a rough start. However, he was convinced to give Jade a piggyback ride some hours in, and that wound up getting rid of the headache. There was much with the running around and screeching after that. "No wonder you're so thin!" was commentary from the Old Lady Aunt and Grandma.

Great-Grandma's cat Herschel lives with Old Lady Aunt now. There's also a neighbor cat, a thin dark blotched tabby with a long tail. There was much pursuit of cats by kids, and hiding from kids by cats. The tabby was really, really cute. It's a neighbor cat of some description. It liked playing with my hair. It had claws. It was very kittenish -- I wouldn't think that it was much over a year old, and probably under two years.

Herschel's name is Herschel Bartholemew, originally intended to be shortened to Hershey Bar, because he looks black unless he's in the sun, where you can see that he's a bitter brown. It never caught on, though.

Spirited Away is fun. I distinctly felt the Old Fan phenomenon when Old Lady Aunt sat there explaining that this was the Japanese style of animation to me, with the air of someone introducing a neophyte to a previously unopened very small door onto a broad foreign culture. I explained that I generally watched Japanese animations with the original Japanese voices and English subtitles, because it was more educational for me (learning actual Japanese words by hearing them repeated in context versus just watching a movie). I did not educate them on hentai. I was good.

I brought a book and my crocheting, as well as extra crochet hooks and yarn should the girls desire to learn crocheting. I gave up on the book, but did get one stripe done. I showed off the color choice, which was lauded as unusual and pretty -- black, spruce green, brown, and rust.

I wound up sitting in the living room with the old hens (Grandma, Great-Grandma, and Old Lady Aunt) and swapping various cat-and-kid type stories after the movie ended. I was getting overheated and fearsomely bored. Next time I think I'll find the computer room and go there instead.

We went home, about six hours later. I was exhausted. I think we all were. I'm back in civvies now. My feet are swollen (turkey ham plus no walking today -- bad combination) and I am grumpy.