On Google+, Social Media & Web-Apps

OK, I’m back. It’s only been…what? A year and a half or so? How the time just flies.

I posted something to Google+ that got me thinking it would be a good thing to also put on my blog. Here’s the original post (with linky goodness added!):

OK, I’m just going to say it: There’s a reason you don’t see many posts from me on Google+…simply put, and despite being a professional geek, I’m a tech-crank who really HATES web-apps. From the earliest incarnations of webmail to the current crop of social sites drenched in web 2.0 “goodness,” the fact remains that I just want the superior level of integration—and, being a Mac geek, the superior UI—that a native application brings.

I don’t like “living in the browser.” UIs are inconsistent, notifications are insufficient, I have to hop from tab to tab to see everything I want to see or post everywhere I want to post (holy copy-pasta, Batman!), and I haven’t met the browser yet that doesn’t bog down or crash on me with all the tabs I open just while browsing. I’ve sampled the browser extensions for all the majors, I’ve tried the “social browsers” like Flock (R.I.P.) and Rockmelt. They just don’t do it for me.

This is why I’ve actually put up with an AIR app—Tweetdeck, in this case—to handle my social media. (And hate AIR…like I said in a previous post, I want native Mac and iOS apps with the same feature-set and plans to support Google+ once its API is released. I’ll even pay for them!) Its columns show me everything I want to see in one place, and I can publish to one, all, or a selected mix of the sites at the same time. Or at least I could until Google+ came along.

Simply put, having to go to a separate place, scroll through a stream that doesn’t collapse lengthy comment threads, and copy-paste my posts creates enough additional friction that it makes me not want to deal with it despite really wanting to like Google+. Hell, I still resent having to go to Facebook in my browser to reply to PMs, event invites, and the like. Is it any wonder my favorite social utility on the web is Twitter? There’s almost nothing I need to actually go to the Twitter web site to do. If I only ever had to go to the Google+ site to manage my friends & profile, and maybe finally try a Hangout, I’d be a happy camper.

Yes, I get that Google+ is richer than Twitter, and even a little more so than Facebook in what and how you can post. But as long as I have to drink the “living in the browser” kool-aid and can’t interact with the service the way I want to, Google+ is going to remain a second-class service for me. This makes me sad.

The thing is, I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. If you’re going to create an online service that aims to act like a public utility, as opposed to just a way to force ads in front of eyes, you need to create APIs that allow people to use 3rd party apps which interact with your service the way they want to rather than the way you think they should.

None of which is to say that you shouldn’t try to make your web-based experience the best you possibly can. Sure, you want to be “sticky” to all those eyeballs out there and, yes, you want to serve up some ads and make some money. I get that. And, hey, some people actually prefer living in the browser. I really don’t understand them at all, but “different strokes” and all that.

In the meantime, Google, do hurry up and let me use Google+ the way I want to so that it can be truly useful to me. I’ve been wanting any excuse to kick Facebook as far to the curb as I can for some time now. And social media app developers (I’m looking at you, Socialite!), please support Google+ to the fullest ASAP after Google releases the API.

PS: And while you’re at it, if you’re a multi-service social media app like Tweetdeck, Seesmic, or Socialite, please let me filter my damned Facebook feed by friend-groups. Do this and I’ll be in nerdvana and love you forever. If I could code it myself, I would.

Originally published at Effluvium From Sonya's Brain

Space, Magic


(Preliminary grumble: WordPress 1.2.1 for iPhone ate a nearly-done draft of this post when I tried to go from local draft to online draft. It also didn’t update to 2.x through the standard App Store update process despite both being free. WTF, WordPress?!?)

Sigh. Another long stretch without posting. It’s not like I have nothing to say. One look at my Twitter feed will tell you that. And I have posts cooking in my brain about favorite topics like Lost and The Best Bands You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of and a bunch of other things as well. (I mean, I saw MUSE live, ferchrissakes! MUSE!!)

So why no blog posts from me? I’ve been feeling really frozen up inside, my guts knotted by anxiety, for months.

You ever get the feeling that you’re standing at a Rubicon in your life? What’s more, have you ever felt terrified, even though you know that crossing over is The Right Thing To Do™?

I’ve been there for a while now…almost a year, really, since I started the current job. In other respects, I’ve been there a lot longer. Depending on how you prefer to look at it, it could be since I had surgery, since I left home en route to college, or even going back to murky childhood. I’ve definitely written on the subject before, though.

And I’m feeling kind of “reinvented out” after the number of times I’ve done it in my life, so I really want to get this one right in order to not have to do it agin anytime soon. It’s hard work, don’tchaknow!

A few things have me brooding on this topic again:

  1. Getting ready to move out of the apartment I moved into shortly after starting at my old job, thereby shedding the very last vestige of the life I led during the Tale of Woe™

  2. Watching other friends being or becoming all self-actualized ‘n’ stuff. (There are six links in there, folks!)

  3. Feeling like I’m finally about ready to start expressing myself in the world now that I’ve finished the process of creating the “release version” of me.

The hardest things I’m going to have to learn are self-motivation and discipline, my twin bugaboos. Need to turn those dreams into action and all that. Like I’ve said before, inspiration is never my problem. It’s that “perspiration” part that always gets me.

Universe, help me channel the Spirit of Nike®

It’s just that taking that step and really committing to not procrastinate ad infinitum, to not constantly sedate myself with the modern opiate of the masses, and to stop fearing the risk of failure is just pants-wetting terrifying after a lifetime of the bad patterns.

My rational mind knows that doing is a skill like any other, one that anyone can learn regardless of initial talent for it (which is good because my initial talent level is roughly that of a rhinoceros with a neurological disorder taking up skateboarding). My irrational, software-virus-ridden mind tells me something quite again in the voice of my parents, every teacher I ever let down by not fully realizing my Awesome Potential™, and every friend or lover I ever offended in a moment of thoughtlessness. Unfortunately, that voice has always been so much louder than the voice of reason inside my dense cranium. (‘Sides, nowadays, even the voice of reason is starting to sound a bit suspect…)

So, the emotional pressure has built up inside of me and I feel like something’s gonna give. EIther I’m going to become Super Self-Actuated Sonya™ or I’ll just give in to my couch-tuber tendencies forevermore. Ye gods, that sounds emo! >.<

I just hope that, much like Lane Meyer, all I need is a taste of success, and I’ll find it suits me.

In the meantime I stand, tremulant*.

*10 Scooby Snacks™ to the first commenter to correctly identify the source of this title. And yes, I know it’s not a real word!

 Originally published at Effluvium From Sonya's Brain 

Space, Magic

The Roller-Coaster Continues...

It's a metaphor...for LIFE!A writer, they say, writes. This makes me a sysadmin, queer/poly pervert, a geek, but certainly no kind of writer the way I've been neglecting my blogging. And, really, the whole point was that I was trying to improve my writing habits. But, I'm not writing it off yet. (See what I did there? It was a pun, people! A writing-related pun! HAH! Oy...)

So, I'm going to check in and tell you about the nosebleed-inducing highs and the soul-grinding lows of late. All three of you who still read this blog after months of basic fallowness.

I'm not breaking down, I'm breaking out...last chance to lose control!

Some of the highs, it turns out, were chemical. And they were helping me screw some things up in epic fashion. If any mental health or medical profession ever again tries to prescribe me any form of Wellbutrin, they're getting a smack. I mean it. The stuff is seriously no good for me. It and another antidepressant called Remeron were effectively doing bugger-all for me and canceling one another out for some months as my primary-care was at his wit's end trying to help me medicate myself out of The Tale of Woe™. (One of these days, I'll post a timeline of that. Long story short, it was about 3.5 years of my life during which the universe seemed to be conspiring to turn me into emotional road-pizza.)

Actually, that's not true, it wasn't accomplishing nothing. It was draining my pocketbook horribly on my current employer's horrible high-deductible + HSA health care plan.

So, my newly-referred psychiatrist thought it would be peachy-keen to step me down off the Remeron first, leaving the Wellbutrin unchecked (and the truly marvelous Cymbalta as the only really effective med for me in the cocktail). And the resulting behavior prompted my therapist to say I was acting like a bipolar person in their "manic" phase—euphoric, out of control, and in my case even more oblivious to the concerns and needs of those around me.

I ended up burning my romantic relationship with wee Amy (tho thankfully not my friendship), screwing up so badly at Bawdy they asked me not to come back, and so obsessively seeking new partners that I almost drove the lovely Renie away completely.

Once I came down, I was (to continue to overuse the word) mortified at myself. I can't think of a single relationship I didn't strain, romantic, platonic, or employment.

Don't try to keep your composure, I'm only having a laugh...

But there were happy things, too! My relationship with Renie has been intense and amazing. Even if we don't make it (though I still have this odd presentiment that we will...I could be wrong, but I don't think I am), it's nice to know that I can feel chemistry that intense for anyone, and that someone so miraculous could feel it for me.

I've also been seeing two delightful women named Amy C and Kanane, who've just been wonderful to me. I guess my polyamory isn't "academic" anymore, and what's more it's really nice to settle into a groove without feeling obsessive about meeting new partners every which where and all the time.

My longstanding friendship with a woman who's always impressed the hell out of me—Heather—deepened in a wondrous way, as has my friendship with Amy of Chasing Amy, who's also damned impressive. Chasing Amy has also been responsible for some of the more interesting and sexy stories of my recent life, for which there will be future blog posts, have no fear. (Teases: "Best...housewarming...EVAR," "Pasta and strippers!" and, "FIVE?!? And a boy in the room?")

I've also made new friends, like the astonishing Mags, and reconnected via the Internet panopticon of Facebook with two friends I've known from birth (mine or theirs, depending), Nick and Sam.

And Polly! Never has anyone made me look so good as this camera-slinging Photoshop goddess. She's sweet, kind, and talented. How could I know her for a couple of years and only now start to realize how cool she is?

I am so surrounded by exceptional people. And they all, oddly, seem to like me. How cool is that?

The psychiatrist poses as psychologist...

And my therapy has gotten in-fucking-tense. We're into all the crappy childhood imprints I took that have been holding me back since time immemorial and perennially making me feel like a loser and a failure. I've been avoiding talking to my mother for months now knowing that, after our last conversation was the straw that broke the camel's back, the next time I talk to her I was have to read her the riot act. She still wants me in her life things are gonna have to change, swiftly and permanently, 'cause I'm not having it anymore.

*sighs* What a fucking cliché.

But this is going out to all my friends...I need your help. I need your encouragement. I need you all to check in with me and help me overcome all this crap in my head that keeps me from doing things for me. Doing things for others, never a problem. Other people deserve things, and the people around me are so worthy of happiness and success.

But I'm having such a hard time making those baby steps toward feeling like I deserve things, too, and not neglecting myself horribly. So help me not lose sight of my goals and wants, OK? I really need you guys now.

You all rock. And speaking of rock, 10 Scooby Snacks to whoever can name all the songs quoted in my section headers without Googling 'em. (Not that I could prove you didn't Google them, of course...)

But I won't wait two %^@!*($#^ing months to write again.
Pensive, Whimsical, Musing

Let Me Tell You a Story

Bawdy really does put the 'ass' into 'ASSignment' ;-)Round about the 12th of August, I was taken to a wonderful event by my new friend, Dana (as opposed to my old friend, Dana, who calls new Dana "Zuul," which new Dana finds amusing). It's called Bawdy Storytelling, as many of you who follow my Twitter stream already know. I went and enjoyed it immensely...and thought to myself, "Talking? About sex? And getting applause and laughter? I can do that!"

And the theme for September was kinda cool and a bit challenging to me, so I had to do it. I approached the instigatrix of the thing, the bodacious Dixie de la Tour, and volunteered. Her handy helper, Kitty, worked up the ad I used based on my input to her, and I came up with the following story.

Now, there's also been a lot of story going on around my involvement with Bawdy, and I'm going to tell it. Just not in this post. Oh, and what I did on stage only bears a family resemblance to the below, but I'm working on getting video from Dixie et al so I can embed it here, allowing you all to compare and contrast.

Overall, I think I did rather well for a first-timer who hasn't graced any kind of stage since high school, but I could have done a few things better.(Note to self: Better time management!) Still, I felt surprisingly comfy up there and felt like I had achieved a good rapport with the audience so, oh yes, I will be doing it again.

First, the ad, which I put up on Craigslist W4W.


Femme-azon seeks fellow fabulous femmes
Femme-azon seeks fellow fabulous femmes

I'm a 5'11", curvy 37-year-old femme switch looking for some good ol' fashioned kinky geek-on-geek action. A night, a week, a month, more...? Up to our chemistry, really!

I'm only into other femme-identified queer or bi women (cis or trans women included). NOT into boy/masculine energy at all, so no butches, FTMs, andros, or genderqueers. Sorry, bois! Big pluses for dangerous curves, dangerous wit, or dangerous desires...I'm more of a RACK girl than SSC.

Sexually & kink-wise, I'm a very physically/sensation-oriented person. S&M is delicious fun to me! Things like power exchange and bondage don't interest me much in and of themselves, but can make fine accompaniments to a decidedly sensual main course.

I want someone who isn't a newbie to women, kink, or polyamory. Been there, done that, got the toaster.

I'm not much into bars and not at all into clubs, so let's think of something where we can hear each other for a first meeting. The Academy of Sciences? Soak in a hot tub? You tell me!

I'm serious about meeting and playing if it feels right, so let's make a story we can both tell for years to come (and come and come...you get the idea. ;-) )

Your pic gets mine. Put "amazon" somewhere in the subject line so I know you're not a bot.


And now, the story...


HiI'm Sonya. Since most of you don't know me and this is my first time doing thisso do please be gentlelet me start by saying that I've been meeting partners over the Internet for 20 years now. Real Internet, toonone of this dialup BBS stuff! That's right, I got online at UC Santa Cruz all the way back in 1989. For those in the know, I was a "b-geek."

(Aside: Anyone here remember finger files? They were the old-school version of a profile page. You just typed "finger so-and-so" and got whatever info they posted about themselves. And no, laughing at that never got old!)

So I got all the classic blunders out of the way relatively earlyfalling for someone halfway around the world, importing lovers, exporting myself to a lover, being taken in by someone's well-crafted but fraudulent identityhell, I even got over cybersexwhich we TinyMUDders called "TinySex" at the timeright around 1992 or so, and we used to do it well back then.

Over the years, I've met people over email, on forums, on irc, on MUDs (remember MUDs, MUCKs, and MOOs?), over IM, on dating sites, on social networks, at geek parties and consevery which nerdy way you can imagine, except for one: Craigslist.

Somehow, that particular sex and dating phenomenon passed me by. Maybe it's just that I didn't think of it as anything but a hookup medium when I'm something of an intimacy junkie. Maybe it seemed "too easy." Maybe it was some of the horror stories I'd heard. I dunno. But then I came to this very room a month or so ago and heard that we had an assignment and I was pretty jazzed about that. On the one hand, it felt like a challenge, but on the other, I'd been 'net-dating for decades and lately I'd had some unexpected mojo between meeting amazing women in person and over good lo' OKCupid. Surely, Craigslist couldn't be that hard!

I can see you're way ahead of me here....

Now, I'm going to assume that you've all committed my Craigslist ad to memory by now, and you'd better have. It will be on the midterm.

The delightful Ms. Kitty Stryker did a brilliant job of condensing my slightly rambling email into a few short, sweet paragraphs summing me and what I was looking for up quite nicely. So now it was time for me to do my part of the jobto post it and start sorting through the responses.

So I did. And I waited. But I didn't have to wait too long. This was easy! Or so I thought...

No one told me about the bots, you see. At first, for a short while, I just thought I was dealing with incompetent pseudo-literates
I would rather chat with you than just reading your post and see what your like. If your a real person then hit me back here and if your not, then you won't see this. If you are, Im lookn forward to chattin with your.

Uh-HUH. But when one of them tried to pitch me a skeevy-looking dating site, the penny did finally drop.

Then there was the pic-trader, who lured me in with a few pictures of some random nymph, no doubt harvested from some porn site or some other unsuspecting dupe. Whoever it was lost interest when I stopped short of nudes, some healthy suspicion having finally crept in on my side.

I was still waiting for a real human to replythat is, aside from the two of my friends who replied to say, "Sonya? Is that you?"


But then, finally, one reply. And what a reply! I thought for sure that my story was now assured and I would be able to appear before you today, triumphant. (Silly, silly me)

My first real response to my ad came from a woman who'd actually been in one of the very few pornos I had ever sought out and bought myselfGood Vibes' "Voluptuous Vixens." Her picture was beautifula curvy, smoldering, tattooed latina temptress with piercing eyes and a playful arch of the eyebrow that said, "Well? What are you going to do about it?"

Naturally, I wrote her back.

But before I get to that, her reply had already illustrated a screw-up on my part in the presentation of the adI'd provided the headline, and the initial one read, "Femme-azon Seeks Same." So, here I had this goddess, this porn-star, responding to MY ad and apologizing for not being "a big tall Amazon woman." Clearly, that would have to be changed if I ever wanted or needed to use the ad again.

And, fortuitously enough, there was going to be one of the entirely-too-rare women's play parties at the Citadel that weekend. So, we arranged to meet there. I was cruising on this assignment! I might even have time for extra credit, I thought. (HAH!)

Things started to go wrong when I got a call from her apologizing profusely, saying that she hadn't been able to secure a volunteer shift at the party and couldn't afford to pay her way. And, just my luck, I was a bit light myself so I couldn't be all suave and sugar-mama-y and just say, "Hey, no problemI'll cover yah!"

So, the play party plan was canceled. But we made a raincheck for some Indian food the following Tuesday. Hmm, I thoughta restaurant date during the week seems a lot less likely to produce immediate sexual interaction than a play party. Maybe I need to hedge my bets and re-post my ad

I came up with a better headline ("Femme-azon Seeks Fellow Fabulous Femmes") and tried to re-post it. I thought all had gone well, but for some reason I couldn't browse the ad. It was acting like it wasn't there, even though I could go right into the editing page again. Something wasn't kosher.

"No biggie," I thought. "Must be some transient glitch. Maybe I'm better off deleting and re-posting."


In dear old, 20/20 retrospect, I should have just waited 5 minutes or so to see if there was any lag in publishing on a site as big as Craigslist. But nooooooooooooI delete the post. It shows as deleted. So far, so good.

I go to RE-re-post it, and get an error telling me that the post was "substantially similar" to another recently-posted adnamely, the one I'd just deletedand that it wouldn't allow it again in the interest of keeping people from feeling spammed. And I'm fine with that. As a former social network admin, I'm a booster of anti-spamming technology! But I'd deleted the other ad. It was no moreit had ceased to beor at least it had anywhere except in whatever overactive watchdog database Craigslist was using.

Now I wasn't going to be able to re-post my ad for what I figured to be at least a good, solid 24 hours.

But hey, why was I worrying? Dinner with a porn star was approaching. Surely, I'd be charming and scintillating and we'd be firing on all jets and soon. And I was! Not that it helped, of course.

She showed up looking as if she'd just stepped out of her picture, only far more wondrous for being in 3-D and full-motion. Her curves and hauteur made her look like she should be a queen on a litter being borne by Aztec bearers. Her tattoos read like war-paint in life and in love. And we ate Indian food and talked and talked until she had to run home to the primarywithout us ever really having broached the topics of sex, BDSM, and comparative tastes.

Watch carefully, 'cause here's where I blow it.

'Cause you see, I'm SO not "cool." I'm not smooth. I'm not suave. Somehow the scarcity sexual economy that was my virginal pre-college years left its mark on me. When I want someone a bit too much, when my hormones get over-carbonated, I get a bit too eager, too puppy-like. I'm no stalker, mind. I try to resist this, but it's insanely intense and that intensity has a way of ruining things with anyone who isn't frightfully secure in herself and patient with someone suffering the carbonated hormones. Some women find it cutejust not enough of them.

Soback to the story at handshe emails me shortly after midnight that same night expressing concern that our talk hadn't headed in that direction and that she was worried I might be too much of a top given that she herself was very toppy. I happened to be up and online when it came so I replied immediately to reassure her that, no-no! NONONONONO! I'm a switch, and one with a rather neglected bottom side at that since people don't meet an outgoing, assertive, brassy, large woman and think to themselves, "piggy bottom," much to my eternal dismay.

But she had only sent the email a few minutes ago! She must still be upmaybe it would be OK to call? So I called, and got voicemail. And got nervous. And blew my cool. And tried to ping her a few more times that day over email and IM.

And, when I did get to talk to her next over IM, she said she felt that I'd been "coming on a bit strong." And that's pretty much where things stand today with her. I star-crushed, I wanted my story way too much, I spazzedand I managed to scare off a bloody porn star.

Meanwhile, back on good ol' OKCupid, I found myself getting mad responses from bloody amazing women. Some to me messaging them, and some without any prompting from me whatsoever. Whatever mojo I had that was abandoning me on Craigslist seemed to be going strong here.

So I set up a few datesbut they were going to be entirely too close to tonight and I wasn't really expecting sex on the first date with any of 'em. What was I going to do?

But then, a lifeline. Another reply on Craigslist. A reply that started, "You sound way too good to be true." *squee!*

My respondent was a library assistant who, in her spare time, plays rugby in queer leagues I hadn't previously known existed. Geekyphysicalwhat a combination! And the picturecoy, slim but not skinny, chestnut-brunette, bob-haired, looking somewhere between a librarian and a demure Catholic schoolgirl, but with such a wicked little half-smile.

We made contact and made our datefor this past Friday. Oy. That's cutting it too close! We're going to have story rehearsal on Monday! *auuugh* Why do I feel like I'm in college again, grinding out a paper at the last minute? And why on Earth is it SEX I'm finding a way to procrastinate on?

I take her to a friend's party in the East Bay. We nibble gourmet hors d'oeuvres, chitchat amiably with some of the most delightful people I know, play an amazing round of Rock Bandincluding some of the new Beatles game. ooOOOooo

And, despite a truly delightful chat about sex and BDSM and all the yummy stuff, as I drove her back to her car I knew that I had failed in my Craigslist assignment. I would have to take an incomplete. Maybe, if I was very lucky, Dixie or Kitty would spank me.

But the next night, I had one of my "first dates" with one of the wonderful women I'd met on OKCupid. And I have to admit, this one had me in a complete lather. She's smart, wise beyond her years, open and bold to the point of intoxication for a blunt kinda girl like me, and she writes Harry Potter slash. But we won't hold that against her.

And physically? It was like she had walked out of a highlight reel of every sexual fantasy I'd had since I was a teenager. Long, coppery red hair, porcelain skin straight out of a Keats poem, a delightfully goth flair, tall enough that I don't feel like Andre the Giant next to her, blue eyes with a mischievous twinkle, pouty "snakebite"-pierced lips just designed for kissing, hips you want to grab and pound with the nearest available strap-on, an ass begging to be spanked or plowed..or both!big, beautiful, creamy-complected, rose-nipped breasts I don't think I could have possibly stopped sucking on once I got started.

But she was young, not terribly experienced, and I didn't want to repeat my earlier mistake.

I shouldn't have worried. A few drinks and a very strong "magic" brownie later, and she's having her way with ME in such a way that I feel so used, so violatedso fucking happy I couldn't believe myself.

After a time of happy snogging and petting, of slow discarding of article after article of clothing, the pot kicked in. It turned her every touch into fireworks. When she sucked on my nipples, it was like they'd been hardwired right into my clit and all I could do was come and come and come helplesslyecstatically.

I don't think I could tell you how long it lasted. It was simultaneously eternal and criminally short. We kissed, we explored, we tasted and nibbled and caressed until she had to head home.

Ironically, though, we had to stop short of anything much beyond "2nd base." (Albeit 2nd base with a very long lead toward stealing 3rd.) To go farther than night would have necessitated a mood-killing call to the skittish primary boy who's new to sharing.

But right in that moment, as much as I might have liked to rip off her panties, I was content not to. It was a reminder of how profoundly sexual extended foreplay and delayed gratification can be. Besides, we have another date coming up next weekend and I don't mind quivering in anticipation.

So, I may have failed at doing things a new way on Craigslist, but it was nice to know that doing things my usual way on OKCupid was working so well!

And oh yeah, maybe Craigslist didn't treat me so badly after allI do have another date with a certain rugby-playing library assistant coming up soon, too. Maybe I'll tell you about it the next time you see me on this stage.

 Originally published at Effluvium From Sonya's Brain. 

Eliza, Rock Band

"Life moves pretty fast...

Create world peace, 2PM-3PM Friday......you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
—Ferris Bueller

So, you may have noticed it's been a couple of months since I blogged last. Life has been crazy to say the least. My new job has become hectic to a point of making me wish I could clone myself even despite the inevitable rent that would cause in the fabric of space and time...or maybe just an amusing xXxenophile vignette.

My fling with Amy ran it's course, but I still adore her and have a sneaking suspicion she'll be around in my life for the foreseeable future. And it was delightful while it lasted. She'll forever have a special place in my memory and my heart as the girl who helped me get my groove back.

'Sides, if not for her, I never would have been shining as brightly as I was when I met Renie at a women's pool party over at the delightful House Weirdness. And the *click* was probably heard around the world.

I've had a lot of partners and lovers. A lot. I've had several primary partners. None of them have ever been on the same wavelength with me like Renie is. I've finally found my partner in crime. As poly as I am, as kinky as I am, as desiring of adventures together and separately as I am...and seems to know more about making life good than I do despite being 10 years my junior. I'm in love...truly, madly, deeply.

But I've also met a bevy of beautiful Amazons...more on that later. That's important.

I've also found some new motivations and meanings in my life...both long-term and short-term. I've already alluded to one of the short-term ones: Geek Salon. Part intellectual salon, part geek house party. Something like a mini-BayCon every month. I'll talk more about it later, but I will make it happen and you'll hear all about it here.

The other idea is one I'd had for a long time, but it took meeting a wonderful woman named Beth to crystallize with the right metaphor...the right name: Amazons. In a queer women's culture that seems to be obsessed with butches, andros, genderqueers, and FTMs (not that there's anything wrong with them, mind), and in which even a group calling itself the "Femme Posse" was a disappointing queer ladies' auxilliary that seemed to do nothing but plan Butch Appreciation Day, it's time for the powerful, femme-loving femmes (even if they love others in addition to their fellow femmes...no one's demanding exclusivity here) to reclaim their space and their pride in the community, dangit.

And I'm going to make it happen...create my own private Themiscyra. I want it to be a thing...a meme...an identity. When a gaggle of fierce femmes shows up at the dyke bar/play party/club/whatever, I want heads to turn and people to whisper in awe, "The amazons are here!" And we'll have our own space for just us, in person and online. I'll start it...but I want my fellow amazons to join in and make it as great as I know it can be.

In the long term, I think I need to work on how to stop the damage that I now realize was done to me growing up. I've been so hampered in figuring out who the hell I am, loving that person, and in reaching out for what I want...feeling like I actually deserve it, and deserve happiness.

As my therapy goes on, the shape of it is becoming clearer through the haze of non-stop, low-grade (and sometimes rather intense) pain that was my childhood. More and more I see how I was discouraged from being me at every step along the way by my family, my peers, my circumstances. I still struggle with the idea of doing things for myself, from the mundane tasks of self-maintenance to the achieving of life-goals and the realizing of desires.

I've started reading books by a very interesting psychologist named Jane Middleton-Moz. In specific, her books Children of Trauma: Rediscovering Your Discarded Self (in which she explains that trauma isn't just colossally bad individual incidents, but can also be an accumulation of smaller mini-traumas...and that the reactions of the significant adults in a child's life can be more harmful than the traumas themselves...or they can practically delete the damage if they're handled right) and Shame and Guilt: Masters of Disguise (reasonably self-explanatory).

I wonder if I'll have to go back to college and study developmental psych now. Maybe I can find another way to advance the cause. We'll see. Goodness knows I don't want to be fixing computers and telling people how to access their basic application preferences for the rest of my working life, even if it's paying the bills for now.

But first let me get Geek Salon and Themiscyra going.

It's nice to have both short- and long-term goals, eh? I'm finding it to be!

BTW, shout-outs to Amazons I've met in recent weeks not mentioned above (in roughly chronological order): Dana K, Jetta, Tora, Celestina, Lucy, Lori, Violet, Tegan, and Brandi. You're all amazing and you kick much booty. My Themiscyra is open to you all!

Clouds, Logo, Head, Shades

Pardon My Tweets

Whoopsie-doo...looks like I mistakenly set my Ping.fm to sent status updates to LiveJournal, and since LJ doesn't have "status" the way, say, Facebook does, it turned 'em into posts. I fixed it, tho, and you shouldn't see a hailstorm of tweets turning into posts anymore. :-)
  • Current Music
    The hum of computers
Invader Zim, Gaz, Sonya, SonyaLynn

An Open Letter to AT&T, Re: iPhone

Berke Breathed had it right...phasers on kill!Dear AT&T,

I've been a loyal customer to you both personally and with my various employers since 2003. I bought both the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G almost immediately after their release and have never once felt a need to quibble about the premium I have (or my employer has) paid for the privilege. And, just to start off on a positive note, I'm not here to gripe about the upgrade cost from an iPhone 3G to a 3Gs, considering that the people who bought the 3G did so knowing full well they were signing a 2-year, not 1-year, contract.

But you've been treating me and all the rest of your iPhone subscribers worse and worse by inches—nickel-and-dime-ing us, underdelivering, and even just being a plain and simple jerk—ever since.

I can accept that you raised the cost of the data plan $10/mo. from the EDGE-only original iPhone to the HSDPA-enabled iPhone 3G. I get that you have to get the money to pay for throughput expansion somewhere. So, free pass on that one.

But really, what was up with giving us 200 SMS messages as part of the plan and then suddenly making that level of messaging a $5/mo. add-on? Text messaging at that level (less than 7/day) is an insanely low-bandwidth proposition. I move more data than that by loading a few media-rich web pages in Mobile Safari. Let me put it to you this way, even my friends who actually work in the sex industry don't charge you additional money for previously agreed-upon services, they at least give you some little bit extra. So, not classy, Ma Bell.

And really, the less said about the speed and quality of your 3G rollout, the better. I get spotty 3G coverage at times even right here in the technological epicenter of the Earth, the San Francisco Bay Area.

Now tack on making us wait for sending MMS messages when there's no technological reason whatsoever for doing so, and a probable gouge of an additional $30/mo. to tether (if your other tethering plans are anything to go by), and the picture that emerges is extremely ugly. Maybe that kind of premium for tethering might have made sense in the days of scarce bandwidth and phones that didn't pull down as much data while browsing as a full-size computer, but now it's just plain extortion.

It's quite clear that you don't care about your customers, your OEM partners, or anything but this quarter's bottom line. What's more, this attitude is what makes you the main obstacle to growing your iPhone business by even greater leaps and bounds. Not Apple, not the iPhone, but you. If you'd changed your tune, you'd have every iPhone-toting fanboy and fangirl singing your praises. You wouldn't have people saying, "I so want an iPhone, but as long as I'm stuck with AT&T, no deal."

And when the whole world is on LTE come 2011 or so, and there's no technological reason for Apple to stay exclusive with you, you're going to lose your biggest cash-cow.

Your network, your customer "service," your willingness to leech your customers...they're going to cost you a lot more in lost goodwill, lost customers, and lost sales than those measures will earn you you in new fees or savings for your corner-cutting.And when C-level Apple executives take the worldwide stage and damn you in all but name, you should take it as a sign that, at their earliest convenience, they're going to hang you out to dry and you're going to deserve every bit of it.

You've had all kinds of time to prep yourself for MMS and tethering on the iPhone, but you didn't. You've had every opportunity to make your existing iPhone customers into raving fans for both you and Apple, but you didn't take them.

So, "Mommy Dearest" Ma Bell, I'm still going to buy my iPhone 3Gs and say, "Thank you, Ma'am. May I have another?"...for now. But that's only because Apple's done its bit to keep me wanting more by evolving its handsets year after year despite last year's model getting 90% of the new features along with each new OS.But unless you change your ways, the second you're no longer Apple's oh-so-exclusive partner and my contract is up, I am so gone, and I'll do my damnedest to take my friends with me.

Care to prevent it? OK, here's how:

  • Don't charge an extra premium for tethering on top of a $30/mo. data plan anymore. Just stop that!

  • Roll out iPhone MMS ASAP. Think, "before July," instead of, "later in the Summer."

  • Get your 4G LTE network deployed and bulletproof at least in all the major metros ahead of schedule.

  • Get with the program that you're going to need a network capable of video streaming for all and stop nixing app developer ingenuity out of pure network lameness. Nixing Skype on your cell-data network, I get. Nixing Sling is just plain lame.

  • Give us back our 200 SMS messages gratis. If you wanna charge the heavy or "unlimited" users extra, fine, but don't make me pay 20/msg. despite not being a heavy SMS user just because I know people who are.

Do these things and we'll talk about my continuing to send you money any longer than I absolutely have to.

Your disgruntled customer,
Sonya Hipper

 Originally published at Effluvium from Sonya's Brain. 

Clouds, Logo, Head, Shades

Seeing Signs of Life

And from the ashes...Hi, everyone out there in Internet-land. I know it's been a while since you heard from me. Long enough that I actually had to clean some cobwebs off this bad boy, even (though goodness knows how they managed to latch on to a bunch of pixels).

Well, what can I say? The post-part-time depression got really bad after my brother's lovely wedding down in Baja and I started losing enthiusiasm for pretty much everything. The only things keeping me going were my regular gym attendance, Chasing Amy events, Lost, and my hardest of hard-core friends, like Deborah, Dana, Gina, et al.

So it got bad. Really bad. But, at the risk of sounding like a bad sports clich, I didn't give up. Once I gave up the delusion that I was was bursting with motivation and entrepreneurial spirit enough to actually start my own business, I started looking for a proper job in earnest. And I got one. This was the "Important Stuff" I was nattering on about in my Twitter feed, for those of you who happen to follow that.

As of this past May 26, I'm the new Mac Server Goddess at Eaton & Associates and so far, I'm loving it. The people are great, the clients are varied and interesting, and it looks a lot like I'll end up making substantially more than I did previously after figuring in their "profit-sharing" bonus plan.

So that's one of a few things that have been keeping me massively busy since I found out I would get the job. Obviously, I had to get my old employer all buttoned down and school my replacement, for starters. Then I had a whirlwind weekend including a day and night at BayCon and something else I'll be getting to soon enough. (I really should also post a separate piece on my BayCon experience. Believe it or not, after a lifetime of geekery, it was actually my first time attending a major con.)

BTW, going from depressed to the point of permasloth to getting up at 6:30 every "school day" and scurrying hither and yon pretty much instantaneously has been a jolt that my system really hasn't adjusted to fully.

There have also been changes of seismic proportions in my personal life. I've met not one, but two wonderful women who've really helped me kick aside the last remnants of The Tale of Woe which has dominated my personal life for about 3 of the last 3.5 years. In chronological order, they are Melanie and Amy.

I met Melanie at the home of a mutual friend and was already fascinated by her before I realized she doesn't live locally. In another, earlier time both the distance and a certain shared characteristic would have caused me to give up interest then and there even though she and I have more chemistry than I expect is strictly healthy. But she does come steaming through here every couple-few months and tells me she's trying to find a way to get out here to stay. Needless to say, I'm doing everything within my power to help with this immigration project even if it isn't a whole hell of a lot. I like this picture of her in her goth-princess finery!

Of course, once I have such a thing as disposable income again, she gives me a reason to go back to Jolly Old for the first time since 1990. Always meant to go back...

And then, at a recent Chasing Amy event I met Amy. But not the Amy who runs it. (Though that Amy, aka Ms. Kitty, is like buttah, dahhhling!) I mean this Amy. I've been spending every spare moment I can with her (and sometimes her lovely fiance, John, too. Ain't polyamory grand?) and as a result have had emotions woken up in me that I hadn't properly felt in my whole post-op life...emotions I was really starting to wonder whether or not I'd ever feel again. And, again, she's someone I might have looked past not that very long ago precisely because of the perfectly lovely fellow she's going to marry. Doesn't make her any the less into me, though goodness alone knows why. (But I'm not gonna question my good fortune!)

The net result of all of the above is that I've been experiencing a curious phenomenon: Happiness.

Now I just need to learn how to adjust to these new rhythms of life, making time for work, play, home, and everything else. Consequently, I propose slowing the rotation of the Earth to create a 25-hour day and its orbit around the sun to allow for 8-day weeks.

And, oh yeah, I still need to find more time to write in these very pages. I have ideas for posts that have been stewing for weeks and hopefully haven't gone past their "use by" date.

But, to all my friends, family, and assorted loved ones, thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU! for putting up with me while I lingered in The Pit of Ultimate Darkness. I can't imagine I've been a while hell of a lot of fun to be around.

Hugs to you all and *happy little sighs.*

I sleep now!

Originally published at Effluvium from Sonya's Brain.

Clouds, Logo, Head, Shades

New DocArzt Post re: Lost ep. 5.11 "Whatever Happened, Happened" is Live!

My other favorite TV resurrectionYou have to love a show that can actually one-up Buffy the Vampire Slayer for an "I'm back from the dead, miss me?" moment, which is exactly what Lost did with "Whatever Happened, Happened."

I mean, OK, yes, that satisfying moment comes from the end of the episode, but there's still a lot of great stuff there, like a great debate about time travel that actually worked in a Back to the Future "fading hand" reference.

Really, the only disappointing thing about "Whatever Happened, Happened" is that it was a Kate episode instead of, say, a Faraday episode, which is what one would expect from one named after a phrase so closely associated with the character. But, ah well, it was lovely all the same.

"Welcome back to the land of the living." *snerk!*

Originally published at Effluvium from Sonya's Brain.