dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)

I have a clutter problem, partly from having too many activities with associated stuff that I want to have all "on top" at once for easy access when I switch gears, partly from just running out of spoons before I accomplish enough any straightening-up, and partly because I say too often, "but I might need this later".

Folks who know me personally may be relieved to hear that I noticed a probably useful thinking-shift this afternoon. While sorting through a box of papers, dividing them into stacks for "trash", "maybe read later", "file", "whoops that's months late now", and "oh that's where that got to", I caught myself repeatedly thinking, "I want to scan and OCR this, and throw away the paper."

Alas, I'm not yet set up to do that (I need to upgrade the nearly-full hard drive in my file server and make sure one of the scanners I've got will talk to Linux happily), but the mental shift here is probably way overdue. Of course, I need to get better about keeping my computer files organized too, but being able to have the same file appear in two different places at once without making another copy of it can be a big help there.

I still need to get my hands on a music-OCR program. Or get around to writing one.

And I want a pony librarian. (To help me work out the most useful organization scheme for my data.)


My plans for last night got rained out, but for a while, watching out the back window upstairs, I could see lightning bolts and fireworks in the same quadrant of the sky at the same time. (The weather pulled the Baltimore fireworks below the tree line for me, but the various displays to the south, southwest, and west seemed to be launching 'em up nice and high.)

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)

I have a clutter problem, partly from having too many activities with associated stuff that I want to have all "on top" at once for easy access when I switch gears, partly from just running out of spoons before I accomplish enough any straightening-up, and partly because I say too often, "but I might need this later".

Folks who know me personally may be relieved to hear that I noticed a probably useful thinking-shift this afternoon. While sorting through a box of papers, dividing them into stacks for "trash", "maybe read later", "file", "whoops that's months late now", and "oh that's where that got to", I caught myself repeatedly thinking, "I want to scan and OCR this, and throw away the paper."

Alas, I'm not yet set up to do that (I need to upgrade the nearly-full hard drive in my file server and make sure one of the scanners I've got will talk to Linux happily), but the mental shift here is probably way overdue. Of course, I need to get better about keeping my computer files organized too, but being able to have the same file appear in two different places at once without making another copy of it can be a big help there.

I still need to get my hands on a music-OCR program. Or get around to writing one.

And I want a pony librarian. (To help me work out the most useful organization scheme for my data.)


My plans for last night got rained out, but for a while, watching out the back window upstairs, I could see lightning bolts and fireworks in the same quadrant of the sky at the same time. (The weather pulled the Baltimore fireworks below the tree line for me, but the various displays to the south, southwest, and west seemed to be launching 'em up nice and high.)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)

Nearly everything I've managed to accomplish since returning from Conterpoint, I've done in the last six hours. But hey, I did at least get something done -- the drums are moved away from the basement door, so I can do laundry once I catch my breath; there's finally a path to the vacuum cleaner that I'm too exhausted to use; and what's done and not done... )

My back, alas, is killing me. And I'm tired, and haven't been able to sleep well all week (the weather finally broke but then my legs started doing their almost-cramping-won't-let-me-sleep thing, state of D'Glenn, more detail if you care for it )

Earlier today, I was depressed because ... )

Fortunately one of the important differences (the most important difference?) between acute situational depression and endogenous chemical depression is that with the former you have at least a fighting chance of being able to pull yourself out of it (or even just wait it out). That doesn't work with the years-long, brain-chemistry-glitched, "no good reason for it" type of depression, which is, ironically, usually the only kind that lasts long enough for anyone else to think of giving you the terribly broken advice to "pull yourself out of it". The kind of depression that advice might (or might not, but it's worth trying) work for, doesn't seem to naturally last long enough for your friends to get impatient enough to say things like that, as far as I can tell. (As usual, I welcome corrections from my friends with actual psych training if I'm way off the mark here. Right now I'm trying to remember whether "just like depression but doesn't last very long" is technically called a brief, mild form of depression, or "technically not depression because it doesn't last long enough". Maybe if I'd had more sleep ...)

I identified the condition, ... )

, wallowed in self-pity a little while, convinced myself to give in to a pizza craving and ordered one delivered (and with the "difficulty making decisions" symptom being rather pronounced, that took a while), and picked a single task/problem -- fitting the drums into the living room -- to get stubborn at. Now I'm no longer depressed; I'm just in a kind of bad mood. If I can get a reasonable-ish amount of sleep tonight, I should be in a vastly better mood tomorrow. All the more so if I actually feel well enough to walk to the drug store and back (is the pharmacy counter open on Sundays?). managing to keep perfectionism in check, and benefits of doing so )

(As some of my friends have noticed to their annoyance, I pretty much suck at accepting help. It's a flaw I've been struggling with for a long time. Progress is slow, but I do recognize the need to improve.)

In other news, the toe I sliced up is healing, and I haven't noticed any frightening smells when changing the bandage yet; it was deeper even than I'd realized, so it's taking a while for the nearly-sliced-off part to fully grow out to the ready-to-fall-off point. It's less tender now, but still a bit sensitive the previous milestone )

. When I changed the bandage last night, I considered cutting back to just a Band-Aid, or at least leaving off the cellophane armour layer. "The what," you ask? ) ... Well, while I was fussing with stuff in the living room, I managed to whack my foot into something heavy, and yup, I hit with the pinkie-toe of my left foot (in the slipper, but still hard enough to feel through that). So I was really glad I'd gone ahead and included the armour again. As it was, the effect was merely, "Oh wow, that really would have hurt..." *whew*

Okay, time to program the VCRs, eat another slice of pizza, and see whether tonight I finally manage to sleep, so I can manage to write a bit more coherently on the morrow.

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)

Nearly everything I've managed to accomplish since returning from Conterpoint, I've done in the last six hours. But hey, I did at least get something done -- the drums are moved away from the basement door, so I can do laundry once I catch my breath; there's finally a path to the vacuum cleaner that I'm too exhausted to use; and what's done and not done... )

My back, alas, is killing me. And I'm tired, and haven't been able to sleep well all week (the weather finally broke but then my legs started doing their almost-cramping-won't-let-me-sleep thing, state of D'Glenn, more detail if you care for it )

Earlier today, I was depressed because ... )

Fortunately one of the important differences (the most important difference?) between acute situational depression and endogenous chemical depression is that with the former you have at least a fighting chance of being able to pull yourself out of it (or even just wait it out). That doesn't work with the years-long, brain-chemistry-glitched, "no good reason for it" type of depression, which is, ironically, usually the only kind that lasts long enough for anyone else to think of giving you the terribly broken advice to "pull yourself out of it". The kind of depression that advice might (or might not, but it's worth trying) work for, doesn't seem to naturally last long enough for your friends to get impatient enough to say things like that, as far as I can tell. (As usual, I welcome corrections from my friends with actual psych training if I'm way off the mark here. Right now I'm trying to remember whether "just like depression but doesn't last very long" is technically called a brief, mild form of depression, or "technically not depression because it doesn't last long enough". Maybe if I'd had more sleep ...)

I identified the condition, ... )

, wallowed in self-pity a little while, convinced myself to give in to a pizza craving and ordered one delivered (and with the "difficulty making decisions" symptom being rather pronounced, that took a while), and picked a single task/problem -- fitting the drums into the living room -- to get stubborn at. Now I'm no longer depressed; I'm just in a kind of bad mood. If I can get a reasonable-ish amount of sleep tonight, I should be in a vastly better mood tomorrow. All the more so if I actually feel well enough to walk to the drug store and back (is the pharmacy counter open on Sundays?). managing to keep perfectionism in check, and benefits of doing so )

(As some of my friends have noticed to their annoyance, I pretty much suck at accepting help. It's a flaw I've been struggling with for a long time. Progress is slow, but I do recognize the need to improve.)

In other news, the toe I sliced up is healing, and I haven't noticed any frightening smells when changing the bandage yet; it was deeper even than I'd realized, so it's taking a while for the nearly-sliced-off part to fully grow out to the ready-to-fall-off point. It's less tender now, but still a bit sensitive the previous milestone )

When I changed the bandage last night, I considered cutting back to just a Band-Aid, or at least leaving off the cellophane armour layer. "The what," you ask? ) ... Well, while I was fussing with stuff in the living room, I managed to whack my foot into something heavy, and yup, I hit with the pinkie-toe of my left foot (in the slipper, but still hard enough to feel through that). So I was really glad I'd gone ahead and included the armour again. As it was, the effect was merely, "Oh wow, that really would have hurt..." *whew*

Okay, time to program the VCRs, eat another slice of pizza, and see whether tonight I finally manage to sleep, so I can manage to write a bit more coherently on the morrow.

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)

My brain frequently tries to "correct" what I'm reading, trying to compensate for the frequent tpyos, mispeellings, and folks who yews a homonym that their spell-checker can't catch; often it fills in the right things, but sometimes it's just trying to race ahead of tired eyes making predictions.

This morning I just caught an interesting quirk: when reading the phrase "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", I read 'liberty' just fine, got halfway through 'equality', saw the 'Fra' coming up beyond what I'd already focussed on, and mentally "corrected" 'equality' to 'égalité', was confused when 'fraternity' had a 'y' on the end, and had to backtrack to verify that 'liberty' did in fact end in 'y' instead of 'é'.

Now all of this happened at my normal (fairly fast) reading speed, which means it took a lot of after-the-fact analysis and some experimenting to piece together the events outlined in the preceeding paragraph. An important clue was how trying to hear the sounds of the words as I read them or to read them aloud, "liberty, equality" was easy if I was careful not to look at the next word, but if I let my eye slide over there it became a struggle not to read "equality" but hear/say "égalité" and feel as though the "liberty" before it had been an error to be corrected by backing up and starting over with "liberté" (though I suppose one could fudge a pronounciation halfway between the two).

Either this is an interesting bit of wiring in my brain, or my allergies and attendant headache are affecting me even more than I'd thought this morning. Note that while the motto, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" does occasionally pop into my head at odd intervals, the only time I've had really intense repeated exposure to the phrase was in 10th-grade European History class *mumble* years ago. It's not like I've spent a lot of time since then handling French currency or reading essays and books on modern French history, or listening to French rhetoric (I've no idea how often the phrase comes up in speeches, but I know how often "liberty" and "liberty and justice" show up in US speeches). ... Then again, there are various random phrases that are as likely (or more likely) to pop out of my mouth in French or Greek than in English despite my being almost barely at a "conversational with lots of pointing and shrugging" level in French and not even that good with Greek.

In case anyone's curious, I tripped over the phrase in question in "Washington diary: Land of ideas" (How different might our lives look if the US had never been founded?), which [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave linked to.

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:31am on 2007-03-24 under ,

In all the decades I've walked this Earth, I've never completely gotten used to the fact that my legs have fewer nerve endings than my fingers.

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:59pm on 2007-02-21 under , , , ,

It took a while to sink in, but gee, I'm depressed.

Y'know, ordinary simple depression feels different from caused-by-bad-meds depression[*] or your-neurotransmitters-are-screwed-up depression. The similarities are interesting enough that I am inclined to call it by the name "depression" with suitable qualifiers still to be figured out, rather than mere "sadness". But it doesn't feel quite the same. (I'm not certain how it compares to serious, longer-lasting, triggered-by-life-events depression in this regard.)

Of course the much more important differences are: I know, on both an intellectual and an emotional level, that this feeling isn't going to last forever; there isn't the same kind of hopelessness -- it's "I can't catch a break" rather than "nothing will ever, ever work, so I shouldn't even try" -- or maybe it's just that the hopelessness isn't paired with helplessness; it's not going to induce me to do anything crazystupid; and, most likely, not only will it not last forever, it probably won't last more than a couple of days. In those respects, it's so incredibly different from major depression that, well, it seems like it really needs qualifiers in front of the word "depression" lest folks think I'm describing something more serious, or that I can't tell the difference between "sad" and "depressed".

Anyhow, this is "worst birthday I've ever had anxiety about my car doesn't feel right now I can't face wrestling insurance companies are intimidating and evil bastard hit my damned car doesn't feel right and I don't know whether to risk driving it where I need to go tomoorow I have to try to find out how badly it is damaged by some random jerk who just doesn't care what a mess this is going to make of my plans and my budget doesn't have enough slack in it to buy all my meds much less handle car repairs costing who knows how much I'll be able to get from the other owner's insurance or when I'll feel like seeing whether there's enough money to buy food sounds like a good idea and I'm hungry but eating seems like so much trouble seems to find me even when all I'm doing is watching television in bed is both boring and inviting at the same time to eat something always seems to make things just a little bit harder to get to where I need to go sleep because I've slept so poorly the last few days have been terribly frustrating and I didn't even manage to spend part of my birthday with my friends and doggone it I hear the CPU fan in this computer making bad noises and I bloody well don't need a computer dying tonight on top of everything else" depression.

It'll pass.

But I may be grouchy and out of sorts for a few days while I try to find out what/whether/when/how somebody else's insurance will do anything to make my life only suck as much as it did before 23:40 last night instead of how much it sucks now.

In the meantime, I think I'll indulge in that most trivial of self destructive behaviours, eating something tasty that's bad for me, and then crawl into bed and either watch television or go to sleep. That way I'll have dined instead of merely refueled at least once today, I can take some comfort from, well, "comfort food", and maybe I'll feel a little more like coping if I can stay asleep for more than four hours.

I'd been thinking of French toast, but I'm out of vanilla extract and I'm not sure about making it without that, so I think I'll go for pancakes instead (despite realizing that those would have been so much more apropriate yesterday).


I appreciated the birthday wishes/greetings via email, LJ, and telephone. Thank you, several of you. Alas, the scheduling that would have had me spending the evening in the company of friends without having had to make Special Birthday Plans (I didn't want to make a big deal of my birthday this year but I did want to spend a chunk of it with folks), was a casualty of the car stuff (my car might have made it to College Park tonight, as nervous as I was about it, but dealing with car stuff ate up most of my day and most of my energy, and by the time I was finally ready to get out the door, rehearsal would've been pretty much over by the time I got there (and though my car might have made it, I was already receiving advice that given how tired I sounded, it might not have been the best time to go zooming off in a car that's harder to steer than normal)). This after missing last night's rehearsal, which would have served the purpose as well despite being a day early, with a bad headache that left me not feeling well enough to go. I feel like I'm somehow not holding up my end, by not having had a happy birthday after so many people told me to, but this one just didn't fly.

Hey, at least it wasn't a round-number birthday that sucked this badly. And once I get past this eitage and the mood that goes with it, the fact that one of the days that sucked so badly was my birthday -- that my car was struck twenty minutes before the calendar ticked over into my birthday -- will become just another detail to tack onnto the telling of the tale to highlight the suckful absurdity of cruel fate for whomever is listening, and won't feel anywhere near as personally important as it does this moment (which, having distracted myself by slipping somewhat into "performance headspace" by writing this (hey, some tricks work even when you know what they are and you're doing them to yourself ... sometimes anyhow) already seems a little more like a storytelling detail amd a smidgen less oh-woe-is-me than it did an hour ago).

Next year's gonna be better. Next week ought to be better. For now: pancakes, doggone it.


[*] "Iatrogenic" is a cool word, and it seems a bit of a shame to pass up a chance to use it, but "iatrogenic depression" didn't have quite the ring I wanted here.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:36pm on 2006-03-04 under

Not doing well today. Started off feeling logy and off-kilter, after not enough sleep.

I have a great whopping pile of recorded television shows to watch (so far I've only seen two episodes of the current season of Gilmore Girls and I haven't even started on Alias, much less 24. A day when I'm not feeling well enough to do much else sounds like maybe a day for catching up on stuff I recorded back in September, no?

No. Fuzzy-head gradually morphed into significant head-and-neck pain, along with the distinct impression that watching television would make it worse, and difficulty paying enough attention to follow a show anyhow. But the point of this entry isn't to whine about that (it's a fairly ordinary -- and all too common for me lately -- complaint, which I'm not inspired to find a way to make funny right now, so no point.) It's to record and ponder an observation:

I'm feeling too wrecked to handle television, so I turn instead to a novel. Following the plot of a one-hour show with familiar characters seems taxing, but following a much more involved story involving (so far) four sentient species and SFnal technology to keep track of feels okay. All right, it's not like I'm reading Dostoevsky, admittedly, but I feel as though I could handle Camus or Shakespeare today (and maybe Doyle but probably not Christie). On a day when I don't think I can handle The West Wing or Veronica Mars. (I could probably cope with House, but I'll get a lot more out of it if I wait until I feel better.)

On a day when I don't think I can deal with a medium I can mostly just listen to with occasional peeks (depending on the show) without increasing my headache, I can read lots and lots of words on the screen of my PDA. Go figure.

Of course, part of this must be that if my attention wanders, or my brain speeds up and slows down, or I need to rest my eyes, I don't miss anything (and rewinding a book -- 'lectronic or dead-trees -- to make sure I caught something correctly, is easier than finding the right spot to flip back to on a videocassette). But still ... reading news articles and political commentary seems like real effort right now -- even reading random LiveJournal chitchat feels like a strain -- and sorting out culture-clash issues between unfamiliar imaginary species feels easier? Go figure.

Brains are curious things. (Feel free to parse that multiple ways.)

And yeah, it did eventually dawn on me that feeling gradually crappier and crappier meant I should probably take something. Took a while to sink in, it being a slow-brain day and all.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)

Interesting ... I see how this set of questions led to "journalism" as the answer, but as much as I like expressing myself, I find writing "on assignment" stressful. And the reason I got As in math and Bs in science in high school was that I wasn't graded on my lab notebook in math class.

QuizFarm "What is your Perfect Major?" meme )

I majored in mathematics. I was nearly as tempted to major in literature, but it was the amount of writing I'd have to do that tipped the scales in favour of math. (Hmm. It occurs to me that even the folks I went to school with probably didn't know that about me.) So maybe, even as math-identified as I am (and boy do I fit the way we're portrayed in mathematician jokes), perhaps the idea of me as a journalism major isn't so bizarre. I did write for the school newspapers in high school and university. But my shyness[1] would be (and was) an obstacle to being a good reporter. (I know that's not the only job in journalism, but it does seem to be a common starting place, isn't it?)

So seeing journalism and philosophy up at the top makes some sense ... but seeing mathematics so far down the list strikes me as quite odd. Behind engineering? (I was known, in school, to sneer, "Don't sully my lovely abstractions with that applied stuff!" ... only mostly joking.) Behind dance?! #blink# Dance? Me? I mean, theatre, sure, okay, but dance? I admire[2] and respect dancers, and envy them the self-confidence I lack in that regard as well as their delightful grace, but everything I did in school that related to the aesthetics of the human body in motion, I did on the soccer field.

I'd never really thought, "how would my life have been different if I'd gone into journalism instead of computers back then," despite occasionally having reporter-ish urges and even more frequent desires to effect change in the ways that journalists can do. That's going to be an interesting contemplation. Hmm.

[1] No, no, I am most certainly not joking, though that's usually the response I get when I mention being shy. Okay, I'm less shy now than I was twenty years ago, but mostly I've learned a) ways to compensate (somewhat), and b) ways to disguise it (really well). Also, a lot of people mistake being a performer for not-being-shy, but they're different phenomena. Put me in the spotlight, and I know what to do. Tell me to go pester someone I don't know for a story, or make a bunch of phone calls, and I freeze. To handle a job interview, I have to reframe it as performance art. Dealing with bureacracy kinda freaks me out. Public speaking? No problem. Approaching someone to tell them they should hire me? Difficult as hell. And is it any surprise that the big professional-photographer skill I lack is sales/marketing? A few people say, "Oh yes, I recognized that," when the topic of my shyness comes up; many more refuse to believe it. But I'm not kidding -- it's a problem I've got.

[2] "Admire" may be too weak a word ... but I try not to let my staring, drooling, and panting be too obvious.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)

There are a couple of books I want to read (plan to read soon, in fact, as I've located free translations I can download for my PDA), that I can't help feeling I Really Ought to read in their original language, in this case Italian. I'm feeling, well, almost guilty for resorting to translations. Like I'm cheating ... no, not cheating, just taking shortcuts and not doing proper scholarship.

This is not reasonable when I stop to analyze it. How long would it take me to learn Italian well enough to read the originals, and how many more books would I wind up using that skill for? (Okay, The Divine Comedy comes to mind, but I think I'd need to do an additional round of language learning for that -- isn't it in something halfway between Latin and Italian, or have I misremembered?) And unless I became really fluent, would I really gain a better understanding from the original language than I will from a good translation? (Of course, there's the matter of how to determine whether the translations I've gotten my hand on are any good ...)

The same argument holds for a few works I'd like to read in German and Hebrew and Old English, of course. I'd be undertaking a huge amount of study just to read a handful of books. (Not that there wouldn't be significant beneficial side effects, of course, such as the ability to converse with living people who speak those languages -- but considered in light of my current motivation it'd be a pretty big effort as "groundwork".) If I were going to read more than a few works here and there, it would make sense; if I were an historian or a literary scholar or a global news analyst, a frequent traveller or even a translator. But just to read a couple of books in each language ...? (Okay, it does make sense for really deep study of even a single work. Special case.)

I pick up programming languages very quickly. I learn human languages very slowly and find it frustrating. Yes, I'm pretty damned good with my native tongue, even if I do say so myself[0], and have an appreciation for nuance, meter, tone, and the precision afforded by the huge vocabulary English has available[1] -- I'd go so far as to say that I truly love Modern English[2] -- so it's not a matter of being tone-deaf to language[3]. Nor is it simple provincialism, for I consider it a failing that I do so poorly in other languages, not some sort of, "English is good enough for everyone so why should I learn anything else," attitude; and I really do appreciate the beauty of French and Greek, the other two languages I know even a little bit of[4]. I'm just a) not talented in that direction, and b) not sufficiently motivated to put in the amount of effort required to overcome that lack of talent, when I've got so many other intellectual pursuits beckoning.

So part of this nagging feeling that I'm "not doing it right" by reading translations is feeling guilty about my own priorities. Which is kinda silly. If I'm not going to feel my priorities are wrong enough to actually rearrange them, then I shouldn't feel bad about what they are, right?

Still, I wish that more of my six years of French and three years of Greek had stuck, that I could do better than halting conversation in French with frequent pauses to grope for words and constant fear of mangling tenses, that I could to more than recognize some words and recite a few favourite passages in Greek, that I could read smoothly in those languages instead of translating with a dictionary at hand (yes, simply practicing would -- ["will", I should substitute hopefully] -- brush a lot of the rust off of those) ... and that I were one of those people for whom language acquisition is a smooth enough process that I could have picked up a few more languages in my youth.

I don't go quite so far as wishing that I had traded my time at mathematics, programming, guitar, and -- yes -- English for the time it would have taken for me to learn more languages with only an ordinary degree of talent[5], but I do go as far as wishing I could eat my cake and have it too.

All of which digression has distracted me enough to go read those translations now without the "academic shortcut" shame being quite so annoyingly fresh on my mind as to get in the way.

[0] Yes, I think I'm pretty good, but that doesn't mean I fail to notice those who stand head and shoulders above me, even here on LiveJournal. I am not [livejournal.com profile] misia or [livejournal.com profile] n0ire, I am not Vonnegut or Zelazny or Keillor ... but I am not embarrassed to say, "I'm pretty good at expressing myself." I'm not quite willing to say, "I am a writer" -- compare me to [livejournal.com profile] theferrett to see the difference a goal and conscientious practice makes -- but I do think I'm better at expressing myself than a fair percentage of the population. There's a reason I was the programmer who got forced to play tech writer when working for folks who didn't have a real tech writer.

[1] Admittedly a large part of the reason English has such a huge number of words is that English speakers tend to consider any subset of any other language that looks useful at the moment to be fair game for inclusion in the English lexicon. Yeah, y'all know the relevant (and oh so catchy) James D. Nicoll quotation, right?

[2] The more I look at it, the more nifty Middle English seems, but I can't say I really know it well enough yet. And Old English still looks more German than familiar, so far. Of course, I mean "Modern English" in the technical sense, including Shakespeare and the King James Bible.

[3] Actually, I'm almost halfway decent at identifying languages that I don't know when overhearing them, and got a surprising-to-me score on an online test for identifying sample sentences in obscure languages (though in the latter case, alphabets were a big clue).

[4] Knowing how to say "Ita, nos habemos non ullas bananas," and "Cogito ergo oblivio," do not constitute enough for me to claim "a little bit" of Latin any more than counting to ten in Spanish or saying good night in Russian counts for those languages. That's "knowing a few phrases."

[5] Of course, being American, I've had less everyday exposure to other languages than some other folks. I'm guessing that constant exposure helps even people with merely ordinary language-learning ability pick up languages faster than I have. Still, many people just seem to be able to focus on learning a language better than I do, many seem to "just absorb it" better than I do whether they're trying to or not, and some do both.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)

1) In my previous post, I mentioned an overdue "how I'm really doing" entry that I plan to write Real Soon Now. When I wrote that, I fully intended the next paragraph to be a very brief comment on noticing that although I don't feel mentally/emotionally messed up over having gotten beaten up at this point, nor feel upset when others mention it, I keep sliding away from the topic in my head. I plan to write about it, and the thought escapes before it's typed. I plan to deal with the hospital or donations, and get distracted by just about anything else almost immediately. It was several days after I'd looked up the serial number of the flash unit they took before I managed to keep the thought "call the police and tell them the serial number" in my head long enough to pick up a phone. So there's something I haven't worked out, and I'm a little too good at hiding from myself. On the one hand, I fear that if it's bad enough to trigger this stubborn a defense mechanism, confronting it won't be fun; on the other hand, I'd really like to get past whatever it is, if for no other reason than that the defense mechanism is bloody annoying and is getting in my way. Not feeling like the shining example of mental health here, despite not feeling anything directly and acutely at the same time.

2) Jeepers, I really need to get around to rearranging the house so that the music room is on the ground floor. Carrying amplifiers down from the third floor when my arms feel like this sucks. Think maybe the drum kit will stay home. (The big question is; can I bring the snare drum without feeling compelled to drag along at least the hi-hat and the kick drum?)

2a) The piano is definitely staying home. Not that I was actually thinking of bringing it before, mind you, but it would be pretty cool to take it to Baitcon one of these years. (This is not as absurd as it sounds, since it's a Fender-Rhodes, and hauling it up or down a flight of stairs is (just barely) only a two-people-my-size task. It'd be a bit of a pain to lug to the Catskills, but if any real pianists were going to enjoy it there -- real piano mechanism, real piano feel, not like most synthesizer keyboards -- I'd get a kick out of that. I don't play piano enough to make it worth bringing just for myself, just enough to find it useful for working out arrangements.)

3) I so need a saxophone.

I am almost certainly going to have a good time this weekend. Thing is, I'll come home very tired, need to dive into preparing for Pennsic and taking care of unrelated must-be-done-before-Pennsic tasks, and probably won't have the time and energy to write about what a good time I had. I need to do something about this, so the happyniftycool stuff gets its proper share of airtime.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)

Okay, I'm not really doing as okay as I'd like to be, or as I'd like to claim to be. *sigh* I'm not worried about me -- I'm confident that I will be just fine -- but the process of working through my mental/emotional reactions to what happened is uncomfortable. And the old "I'm supposed to be both tough enough to be able to find the shortcuts through psychological trauma" meme isn't helping, of course. I keep wanting to ask my subconscious, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How much longer? Are we there yet?"[1] Feh.

One annoying pattern I've noticed is that just as I'm falling asleep, I see the attack unfold all over again in slow motion, up to about the second blow that struck my head. And then I'm awake again, feeling agitated and annoyed, and filled with "shoulda" thoughts: looking for what I could have -- should have -- done differently. Taken a step to my left before the first one tried to kick me. Turned my body fifteen degrees to the right. Paid more attention to the one coming in from my right instead of the one in front of me. Used the camera as a weapon instead of trying to protect it. Ducked. Gotten a clue that I was in danger a second or two earlier and started figuring out tactics then. Tried to kick an exposed knee instead of trying to throw an elbow at a face. Run into the intersection so the folks sitting on their steps on Fulton Ave. would've been witnesses. Something. Ideally something that would have netted me a souvenir chunk of hair or flesh ripped from one of those guys.

I can manage not to blame myself for anything that happened after the first punch landed; after the second head blow I was too dazed to be effective, and the first one stunned me long enough for the second to land. And I'm pretty solid on not blaming myself for having gotten attacked for just existing as a transgendered person (though there are a few thoughts of the "could I have said anything that would have changed their minds?" variety). But the moments from when they started to rush me to the first swing that connected keep coming up for review. I'm hoping that by sitting down and writing this, I can get the annoying coach to stop waving that pointer at the screen where the replays are showing and yelling at me for my mistakes and poor technique, at least for tonight. (He'll probably be chewing me out again from inside my skull tomorrow night though. Dammit coach, remember that I'm only junior-varsity at best when it comes to fisticuffs, and these guys were semi-pro -- give me a break, willya?)

It's not as though I expect myself to have been able to win the fight ... Except in a few fantasies that involve my managing a few perfectly-timed martial-arts moves that lay out half the group on the street and thus intimidate the other half into backing off, or get one of them into a lethal hold and use him as a shield/hostage until the police arrive ... Well okay, more like a stuntman steps in to do most of that and then I step back in to deliver the really dramatic lines and as far as the folks watching in the movie theatre are concerned I kicked ass ... but those fantasies are just how my inner eight-year-old rewrites the scene, not what the coach-in-my-head is yelling about ...

So it's not like I feel I should have been able to take on a half dozen or so younger, faster guys who actually know how to throw a punch, and come out on top. It's just that I can't help feeling that I should've managed not to come out seeming so utterly helpless. It's like it wasn't even a "respectable loss". It's like getting into a head-cutting contest[2] and only being able to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", at half speed, unevenly. Showing some ability and being seriously outclassed is one thing; looking like you don't even belong there is another. There's just enough "man" in my gender[3] to feel that I "really ought to" not look like a complete idiot in a fight. Even outnumbered six-or-more to one.

And yes, yes, somewhere in the hundreds of comments to my recent journal entries, which I've read and plan to reread at different stages to see what sinks in when, and later reply to some of, a few people, IIRC, have already pointed out that not fighting back can sometimes be the right answer, ego be damned, and that feeling this way about it isn't useful or rational. And some part of me knew that early on, when I wrote that the attackers lost interest after I went down, and that I went down pretty quickly. I know, or at least I think I know, what's wrong with the attitude I've expressed here, the meme-set with which I manage to torture myself when I so badly want to just fall asleep. Knowledge isn't understanding and understanding isn't having-internalized. One more part of what I have to work through, one more bit of rusty barbed wire on what looked like a psychological shortcut. One more "gee Glenn, you're a lot like everyone else, you bozo".

I'd just be happy to have the nightly slow motion replays stop. There's an [livejournal.com profile] anniemal I ought to be cuddling instead of typing this. Still hoping that by writing this out, I'll exorcise it for the night.

So one hemisphere is blathering about how I shoulda' taught dose guys a lesson, yeah, if'n I hadn't been so dumb and let dat foist one clock me so early and muttering under its breath that it's important to teach clowns like them that femmy doesn't mean helpless -- gotta confound those stereotypes -- and boy did I blow it ...

... While the other hemisphere is sternly lecturing that I am not crippled, nor dead, so I must therefore be okay; so why do I not feel okay? and I must be a shining example to those around me, showing that a minor thing such as being set upon by ruffians is not enough to make me feel defeated; we must go about with our heads held high and that means I myself am called upon to lead by example with more than a little bit of I hate it when my friends are upset so I have to Be Okay so that they won't worry[4] ...

... And some lobe is looking perplexed and saying, I'm smarter than this. I'm not supposed to fall into these traps. Why am I feeling like this, thinking these thoughts? I'm not supposed to take as long as anyone else to recover my emotional balance; I'm analytical and able to rewire my brain and should be able to make myself All Recovered And Fine with a quick pass through the debugger and a few tweaks to some of the registers. Why do I still feel messed up? and some gland or something is shouting, No fair! Do over! But I get a sword this time to even things up!

Gee, no wonder I'm having trouble sleeping. (Maybe it won't seem as noisy if I try to give them all the same accent?)

(Hmm. This reminds me that I've had an essay in mind for a month or so about what I do to distract myself or shut up the too many thoughts. While I'm in the middle of coping with a worse-than-usual case of that might be a good time to finally get around to it. I'll try to get to that this week.)

So no, I guess I'm not actually okay. Yet. But I'm sure I'll get there. I'm just kinda hatin' the trip.

And reading back over this before posting it, I can't tell whether how I'm coping so far (and how I'm approaching it and what I have and haven't realized/recognized intellectually) is more healthy or less healthy than average, or absofuckinglutely typical. But that at least is merely a matter of scientific curiosity so far, not one more thing to beat myself up over, thank goodness.


[1] To which the canonical response is, "We're there. We're there. It's just a very long driveway!"

[2] Uh, for non-musicians reading this, that's not as bloody as it sounds, really.

[3] For relative newcomers, and for folks who've been reading a while but not when I've talked about it, I currently think of myself as "intergendered" (which some would call a subset of "genderqueer"). There are both male and female in my gender identity, although the scale tips heavily to the female. (While my body tips rather heavily in the other direction.)

[4] Hmm. I wonder whether this connects in any way to my having so much difficulty asking for help even when I manage to figure out what help I need and people have already offered ... ? Maybe I should be in therapy.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)

Folks,

This is a more difficult entry to figure out how to start than I had expected it to be, so I guess beginning by saying that I am overwhelmed by your support isn't an overstatement after all. Thank you..

The response is a little intimidating because it's so huge, and some of it so vehement, and here I am walking around the next day while other victims of similar violence wind up hospitalized or dead. Yes, what happened to me was horrible, and the fact that such a thing could happen at all is horrible, and of course my friends and community will be Especially Horrified that it happened to me, and I really am grateful for the emotional support, the e-hugs, and the anger on my behalf, from friends, acquaintances, and from strangers ... I'm just a little freaked out by not knowing what to do with so much support and feeling a little (probably irrational) guilt at getting so much of your emotion when there are transgendered people being beaten worse than I got, every week. That's probably a problem with the inside of my head, not with your responses and support. And I know that much of the support is for the emotional impact of having had this happen to me at all, not for the magnitude of my injuries. Does this count as "liberal guilt", that as grateful as I am for the reminders that what happens to me counts, I still can't help thinking of the folks who get killed for being themselves, when I read (and am warmed by) each new message of support? (Or does it just mean I need therapy?)

Please indulge me for a moment while I try to work off some of that probably-irrational guilt with a little preaching. I'll be brief, honest. I'll try to keep it to one paragraph:

Many folks have said things along the lines of, "let us know if there's anything we can do to help." Well, I do need help, but I'm not very good at figuring out what I need help with, and I'm even worse at managing to ask for it even when folks have offered (and I know that's a my-head problem, not a problem with how help is being offered), but I think I can ask this -- if I don't figure out a way to ask you for help myself, please look at doing anything to make life safer for others as doing something to help me. I'm thinking "transgendered people" when I say "others", but widen that to all GBLT folks, or to any other populations at increased risk of violence if you like. Speak out. Complain about stereotypes and ugly speech. Contribute to visibility campaigns. Lobby for better police awareness in cities I don't go to as well as ones I do. Offer your support to a transgendered cousin or niece or nephew. Vote. If retelling my story helps because it personalizes things, feel free to do so. There's little to no chance that the guys who beat me up will be caught, but if my wonderful friends, and their cool friends, are motivated to activism on behalf of people like me, then some good will have come out of this horrible act. And you will have helped me even if I can't figure out how to ask for help personally.

Thanks also to the people who've sent me money via PayPal. I've gotten offers of flash units to replace the one that was taken, but I do not have medical insurance and don't know how much the ER bill is going to wind up being. Your words and deeds matter more to me than your money, but I'll not turn down what financial assistance comes my way. I hadn't thought of it until I saw that someone had asked one of my friends for my PayPal address (which is dglenn@radix.net). Again, thanks.

And finally, an update (copied from what I sent to a mailing list this afternoon): I can still feel the pain in my back, especially if I twist the wrong way, but I can now take full breaths again. If I'm lucky, it'll be down to an ignoreable level before I use up the pain meds prescribed by the ER doctor, so I'll have some left for using on fibromyalgia pain over the next couple months. (I had run out of Ultram again.) At the current rate of progress, I might try to play double bass at rehearsal tomorrow after all -- yesterday that seemed unlikely, today it seems possible though still uncertain. The bruise under my left eye, small to begin with, has nearly faded already. The one under my right eye has darkened, so that instead of looking like a faint blue mascara smudge, it now looks like a reddish-purple bruise (about the size of the last joint of my pinkie -- half as long as the width of my eye). The invisible bruise on my right cheek is still invisible and still swollen, but has reduced significantly (I now only feel it when I smile or when I touch my cheek). I discovered a bruise on the left side of my face, under my beard, by touch last night; it's still tender but getting better. The elbow is behaving as a scraped elbow is expected to -- I've been putting triple-antibiotic ointment on it just to speed things along a bit because I want that reminder gone, not because it really needs any help (though I just noticed that the brand I bought, unlike my last tube and the name-brand stuff, doesn't mention zinc on it ... odd). My right eyelid still feels a wee bit puffy and tender. And looking in the mirror this afternoon I discovered an abrasion near my left eye that was so slight it took this long to ooze enough fluid to form a scab, and was invisible until the scab formed -- I mention it solely for the sake of completeness.

Later on, I'll post thoughts about arming myself -- what that does and doesn't mean -- but for now, this has gotten kind of long, so I'll stop here.

And again, thank you, all of you, for your support. I'll try to start in on replies to individual comments and email in a while, after a bit more rest.

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