(aka "no, I really don't want it to be 2003 again except in the sense of having meaningful discussions on LiveJournal.") These from safiiru, who happened to overlap (mostly) with stuff I've been thinking about anyway. Well-done :-D
If you didn't ask me for five questions before, you still can!
- Of all the places you've lived, which has been the least soul-crushing in terms of general place-to-live factors? That is, excluding your job, who you knew in the area, etc.. (As though this is easy to untangle, I know.)
I try to aspire to a higher standard than "not soul-crushing", you know :P That said, I found Cambridge, England to be very pleasant. It's well-nigh impossible for me to separate that experience from my job, the overall headspace I was in then, where I came from, where I went afterward, and so on, but the surroundings helped. I'm not sure I would move back there, even with a reason, since it was hard to find much of a queer scene there. (Maybe that's changed.)
- What is it like working at Mozilla on a day-to-day basis?
Leaving out the recent political tensions there (because that's the other post I'm working on): I still have to do a bit of pinching myself over having a job where I can pretty much do my best, be supported in that, support others, and have a remarkably low amount of BS interfering. I have two hours a week of pre-scheduled meetings, never more than that. The fact that a large percentage of work-related communication takes place over IRC, which is near-universally if not universally used, lets me circumvent my residual social anxiety as it pertains to asking people for help. (Usually.)
That said, it took me a while to adjust when I started out as an intern. I arrived in the midst of the Firefox 4 release. That was the last one before Mozilla moved to rapid releases. The release parties, and other nominally work-related events, struck me as somewhat excessive, especially for a company that was featuring the concept of "doing good" prominently in its branding. Since then, though, I've sensed a move in the direction of somewhat greater restraint. I'm getting paid past the point of "generous" (not that I'm complaining; student loans don't pay themselves) and there's still free jellybeans in the kitchen. But I no longer regularly get uncomfortable about the level of extravagance, and I'm happier that way. (Keep in mind, I wasn't in the industry during the first dot-com boom and I didn't grow up with money, so my extravagance meter may be calibrated differently from yours.)
There's also a pretty big difference between the days when I spend 3 hours on the train to go to the Mountain View office to work (where most of my team usually is), and days when I go to the San Francisco office, which I can walk to (not that I need to when I have a Muni pass). If I'm in Mountain View, I go out to lunch with the other Rust folks et al., and overhear my colleagues talking about different corners of the project than the one I'm working on all day (I like to think I learn by osmosis, which is at least better than thinking I'll never break out of my functional-programming niche.) Days when I work from San Francisco, I can go a whole day without talking to anybody in the office except on IRC, and frequently I eat at my desk. If I could magically transplant my whole team up to San Francisco, I would, but they seem to have minds of their own and it would take a lot to get me to move further south than the Glen Park BART station.
I'd really like to get more of a toe into the rest of the company beyond research, and there's nothing really stopping me except my own comfort zone. If nothing else, it might give me some more answers when my friends complain about Firefox memory leaks.
- Why doesn't every mid-sized or larger city in that's at least nominally full of liberals have quality vegetarian Chinese restaurants?
Probably for the same reason that many cities don't have much quality Chinese restaurants at all, as far as I can tell (and this is 100% rank speculation): because there's so much low-quality Americanized Cantonese food out there that it's hard to market anything else, and in what may be some sort of Gresham's Law of Chinese food, bad Chinese food drives out good (at least in the US). If I really felt like pulling something out of my ass, I'd conjecture some relationship between concentration of recent immigrants and diversity of restaurant styles (like why the Peninsula/South Bay area has Indian food that isn't just Punjabi, or why Portland has decent Thai and Vietnamese restaurants but tons of mediocre Chinese restaurants), but I don't. I don't think it's to do with the vegetarian angle per se, just that Buddhist-vegetarian Chinese food, like Islamic Chinese food or Szechuan food, fails the "give the customers what they expect" test, except when there's a critical mass of people who are actually from the appropriate region.
Don't hesitate to tell me I'm being a douchy whitesplainer here, anybody :P
- Do you have any fun, funny, or exasperating OkCupid stories to share? (If yes, please share them.)
Besides the libertarians replying to my "libertarians need not apply" clause to ask me what I have against libertarians? Or the time when I went out on a date with someone only to realize that his primary partner was the guy I hooked up with last summer (let's be honest, one of the guys(let's be honest, one of the two guys))? (The second was in the "funny" category, just to be clear in case either party happens to be reading this ;-) Well, there was the guy I went out with who turned out to be a fundamentalist atheist (fundamentalist in the sense of believing that religion is the foundation of every oppression -- yeah, he was white and cis, how did you guess?) and, when I cited that as a reason for not wanting to see him again in an email later, tried to persuade me I was wrong. On the one hand, I made the mistake of giving a reason more specific than "just not at the same place in our lives" for not wanting to see him again. On the other hand, he made the mistake of not taking "no" for an answer. I guess it's about even.
- When I read your posts / the posts you retweet on Twitter, I feel like I'm seeing part of a big, long, ongoing conversation - or sometimes commentary on such a conversation - that's mostly with horrible people. How do you deal with that day after day? (The best I can guess is that you learned how at Wellesley...)
I'm not really sure what I learned at Wellesley, but I know that back then, I felt more infuriated and othered than I ever wanted to admit to myself at the time, all the time, and never knew how to deal with that. Partly it was that I didn't fully understand at the time that I was being gender-policed; I wasn't aware that if I'd been at a non-single-sex college or university, especially an engineering school, I could have been twice as abrasive and been five times as popular for it. Provided, of course, that I'd been experiencing cis privilege (conditional or not) and male privilege at the time. That too.
That's a tangent, though. I deal with it, I think, the same way that people who have dealt with far scarier things IRL have dealt with it: because I don't see any alternative. Because I knew, from the moment I started to be able to speak, that silence was death. 95 out of 100 times when someone says something oppressive -- online or off -- I do keep silent. (People who think I'm too sensitive have no idea how much energy I burn just on that.) The other thing that helps is when someone tells me (privately or publicly) that they're glad I said what I did. Speaking up lets people -- who may not be active voices in the conversation -- know that this space doesn't just belong to het cis able-bodied white men. And now that I'm frequently assumed to be a HCAWM, the added safety that that placement confers on me makes it morally necessary (in my opinion) for me to go further than I used to in challenging the assumption that societies must necessarily be organized as coercive hierarchies.
Which leads nicely into the post I have to finish next! Thanks, safiiru!
If you didn't ask me for five questions before, you still can!