thanksjeweled

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This Thanksgiving, my sole accomplishment has been introducing FunkyPlaid to Bejeweled 2. He is … a little obsessed. The good news is that he is extremely good at visual strategy games, so he has almost exceeded my highest score. The bad news is that I am pretty sure he can just keep going. Forever.

It is traditional in the American blogosphere (and I can’t believe I just typed that) to make a list of things we are thankful for today. I was sifting through my archives in order to link to some old Thanksgiving lists, but not once in eleven years have I written anything during this time of year worth reposting.

That’s just fine. I am sitting on the couch with sunshine on the back of my head, laptop on lapdesk on lap. My fiancé is sitting cross-legged next to me, cursing quietly at his iPhone. The murmur, thud, whistle, roar of football emanates from the TV we aren’t watching. Cats have sought out sunnier or more secluded spots. In a few hours, we will head north to ensconce ourselves with family and friends for the traditional overeating portion of the day.

Today is my list. My life is my list.

she told me it took a long time

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She told me it took a long time. She told me it took a long time before she stopped seeing him everywhere he wasn’t. She told me it took a long time to unlearn the cringing, to unfurl during the phone ringing. She told me it took almost as long as they were together to be comfortably apart, not to expect the other shoe to drop, his other shoe, when his feet weren’t even near.

She told me it took a long time, not that she expected it to be short. Once you are terrorized in a certain way, she said, your body exists only within boundaries of panic. For long, hollow years later, she would be flooded with adrenaline from a glimpse of the color of his hair. Fight or flight, but of course she did neither.

She told me it took a long time to allow herself a leisurely shower, an indecision over clothing, a detour on the way to the market, a reshuffling of plans. Sometimes, after years of only being grabbed and pulled by the wrist, she would just sit, sit somewhere quiet, and hold her own hand.

on breaking a twitter app

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Disclaimer: If you have no interest in iPhone apps, Twitter, or my opinion on software, you will want to skip this entry.

Long ago I used Twitteriffic for iPhone, and was perfectly happy with it. I only defected to Tweetie because the iPhone app offered Ping.fm integration, allowing me to utilize Ping.fm to update multiple networks all at once, and not only status updates, but blogging, micro-blogging, and photo uploads. The fact that Tweetie offered Ping.fm integration was big for me: I could read tweets and also update multiple services, all from one nice UI.

Then Tweetie became seriously unstable, crashing more often than not, and around the same time Courtney told me about Birdfeed, an app developed by a good friend of hers. Birdfeed’s UI was far superior to Tweetie’s, plus it had local caching, and though I was loathe to give up Ping.fm integration, it wasn’t of much use to me in its current state. I figured I’d catch Tweetie 2.0 when it was released.

When Tweetie 2.0 was released, Ping.fm integration was written out of it. Ping.fm-loving Tweetie users were upset. Some felt betrayed, and in an open-source world, there is always another client for betrayed users to buy. Those of you with greater marketing experience than I have should feel free to comment on the changing face of customer loyalty.

Tweetie employees had been using GetSatisfaction, a well-known customer support community engine, and of course a number of “what happened to Ping.fm” threads broke out on it. No one from the company answered clearly, and instead asked people why they wanted the integration. One Tweetie employee was quoted as stating the following about wanting to update multiple networks simultaneously: “It always calls to mind a small child repeating the same thing ad nauseum. Essentially wasting the time of all the people who actually like you enough to follow you on multiple networks.” (As of this writing, I cannot verify this quote because GetSatisfaction will no longer allow me to go further back in this conversation. I can, however, point you to where the employee states that he has “some well known negative ideas about Ping.fm”.

Now I don’t need to point out the logical flaw in this argument, but I will anyway for the sake of thoroughness: not all of my contacts are on the same network. For example, NO ONE I know from Second Life is on Twitter; they are all on Plurk. I don’t want to stop updating Twitter in favor of Plurk, or vice-versa. I want to update both simultaneously. Ping.fm is the tool I use to do that. Tweetie 1.0 allowed me to access to this tool. Tweetie 2.0 does not, and for no clear reason.

I disagree strongly with how Tweetie employees have chosen to handle this. The discussion continues over at their new support forums but the employee who has taken point on the issue does not seem to understand why anyone is asking for Ping.fm integration. He repeatedly asks people to tell him why, a tactic I recognize as a favorite of ineffective management. This tactic eventually wears your opponents down enough that they either (a) lose the ability to articulate what it is they want because they are so frustrated with your (real or feigned) ignorance or (b) give up because you are obviously too stubborn to even entertain an opposing opinion, let alone adopt a better idea.

Obviously I won’t buy or recommend Tweetie 2.0, which is a shame because it could have been the best Twitter app available. Instead, I will use a combination of apps until someone figures out how to do what Tweetie was already doing, and does it before they can do it again.

asking the question

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We have a question about the menu: what is chow-chow? A table of four library professionals, we are practiced in knowing how to find an answer quickly. The woman who seated us walks by, so we ask her. She responds, “Your server will be right with you.” A different woman approaches the table and asks if we would like iced tap water or bottled water. We agree to the tap water, then ask the water-giver our question: what is chow-chow? She responds, “Your server will be right with you.” Our server arrives, and we jump to ask the question: what is chow-chow? She says it is like cole slaw, except for– and then mumbles something I cannot hear. The dish with the chow-chow was my second choice, so I avoid asking any follow-up questions in case someone else needs to be sent out to answer them, and I order something else.

I go home, look up chow-chow on the web, and desperately attempt not to turn this into a metaphor.

becoming a ghost

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I dreamed that I was a ghost. I didn’t die; I faded away, bit by bit. I dreamed that one night when FunkyPlaid returned home from work, he had trouble hearing me. A few nights later, he accused me of hiding from him, as he could see my clothing and shoes lying about but didn’t see me.

All this time I was standing right in front of him, yelling and waving my arms.

In no time at all, I was not even a memory. I tried to pick up a lamp to throw it, because then I was sure he would know I was still there. My hand dispersed like fog as soon as it neared the solid object. I resigned myself to more yelling, but had lost the ability to make sound.

I stood in the doorway of our bedroom and watched him sleep as I silently screamed.

I woke up wailing with his arms around me.

thank you

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I tweeted earlier today that I know “what makes the world a better place: saying ‘thank you’ when someone does something nice for you, no matter who that person is.”

As a civil servant, politeness is something I think about multiple times each day. It is easy to think about it in the negative case, but today was different: I was warmed by the number of people who took a moment to thank me for helping them. I also tried to thank other people, and tried to be courteous even when I wasn’t feeling courteous.

There is a trap in judging whether or not a person is “worth” receiving thanks. I used to try to figure out if someone was acting out of sincere caring — and therefore worth my sincere thanks — or if that person was acting purely out of self-interest (what’s in it for me?) or obligation (I’m paid to do this). The truth is that most acts are a mixture, and speculate though I may, I won’t ever know for certain. I would rather assume the best of others than the worst.

When my job is at its most demoralizing, thanking and being thanked makes it worthwhile. This is how I know it is important.

Thank you for reading this and for thinking about it.

intrepid

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intrepid

Originally uploaded by cygnoir

I am a good walker but not a good hiker, not yet. Now that I have proper hiking shoes, I have incentive to improve. I also have a terrific hiking partner who never fails to keep my spirits up, especially when I feel like I am going to keel over and never stand up again.

I felt that way on our Multnomah Falls hike in October. The pouring rain was the least of my concerns. I started to beat myself up, too, which never helped anything.

Just then, FunkyPlaid took a moment to stop me and talk with me, and listened while I barfed out some stupid excuses, and then hugged me. And we kept walking, and we finished the hike to stand right next to the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.