October 29, 1997

The monthly urge to change all the color schemes has hit me, but I think I'll be able to hold off until the end of the month. Do another style sheet and see how it works out. I'm realizing that without the underlines, the links don't show up on lynx, and I still do use vi as my main html editor, which made a few people laugh very hard. *grin* Not that I minded.

Tad Kelson pointed out a journal entry which I found fascinating... I know why I let other people's emotions flow through me. Often, it's because they can't express it any other way.

Which might be scary to some, might be wierd to others. That's okay. Oddly enough, it kinda encapsulates my experiences in S&M. Amusingly enough, most of my experiences aren't in funny dungeon thingys or whatever most people stereotypically think of that kind of stuff. Usually, it all starts out with a very, very long conversation. In a Denny's or a park or somewhere neutral, safe. And people talk to me. For a very long time. Sometimes it's just email, for years, even. Then we go somewhere safe and then I do what they've talked around for that entire time, something that all their words, all their feelings give shape to in my mind. More often than not, that 'place' is just in their minds, through the text interaction of a chat-like environment; but the impact is entirely on their emotions, their minds. But real nonetheless, because they have learned something of themselves they didn't see before. Which probably wasn't what Tad thought of when he pointed those words out to me, but that's what came up. *grin*.

Empathy works in other paths, too. Writing fiction digs deep along those paths. Empathy for a person that doesn't really exist, in a world that doesn't really exist, in a time and in situations that don't really exist. But to make the person, the character real, the empathy has to be there. I guess that works for roleplaying games, too, which is why I enjoy them so much. How many people can get into the skin, mind, and emotions of a one ton Troll that moves faster than lightening but can't really think for himself?

Morality's another interesting place for it. How can you have sympathy for the hungry and the homeless if you've never been there? Works of the imagination can result in good works.

I guess, though, that the most mundane of ways for it to work is when someone comes to me with a problem, with a need that is nebulous, incoherent, nearly, and they let me find the words to contain that emotion, to give it boundaries and recognizable features. Lots of the folks at work have come to me with their incohesive frustration, and we talk it out. Figure out the shape of what exactly is bothering them, and then we figure out what will make it stop. That's been an interesting application and one that's been kinda nice to help people out with. It's lowered tensions around here, some.

I think, in some ways, empathy for me has moved some people to write to me about the journal. If something here strikes chords in them, they tell me, and that's cool. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in all this.

Heh. Had a dream last night. I've been having dreams lately, but somehow lost the knack of remembering them. Haven't paid enough attention, I think. So I made sure, last night, that when I went to sleep I'd pay attention... and I dreamed of being in a huge house that I shared with much of the Horde, and it was a big, old wooden structure that I knew that I owned much of. Reminded me of the Ranch of the Apocolypse, but West Coast based. And I was playing music, fairly loudly, on the central system; but I trusted the sound-proofing enough that I was cranking it fairly late at night. Thing is, I now don't recognize any of the tunage that I was playing, and a lot of it was in the old Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, and NIN style of play. So there's like hours of music somewhere in my brain that comes out in dreams that's never been written down or published anywhere.

I have to get it out, someday. It was pretty nice. Anyway, the dream ended when a tall, big, grey eyed, tanned guy with bleached white hair and black leather walked in from going to a concert, he lived there too, and was half-laughing to see me still up, in purple silk pj's (okay, so I was wandering through the Victoria's Secret catalog before going to bed, did you *see* the mermaid dress? it's *gorgeous*, okay, maybe the girl in it was what made it gorgeous, too, but just *wow*), and gently reminded me that it was late, and people were trying to sleep, and even if I didn't have to go to work in the morning, others did...

The alarm went off around 6:20am. John and I had breakfast with a guy we used to work with, and who had heard of the unrest, had seen half a dozen of our people wander through on interviews, so thought it wouldn't hurt to talk with us. It didn't hurt, but we weren't looking, either. However, it would be interesting to start a whole new UI setup; and John's never done embedded systems stuff before, so... it might be a fun new thing.

I think, though, that I'd rather come up with some interesting product idea and figure out a way to do a startup right. It wouldn't hurt to have money coming in while that's happening, though. Maybe something the big engineering tools companies would be interested in aquiring. I dunno. I keep thinking along the ideas of a flexible design engine.... that knows something of the human processes along with those of the machine. We'll see.

Breakfast was good though, blueberry pancake, yum. Though I did figure out that some of the extra weight has been going to belly and hips, so I'll figure out a way to lose those, I think. Hoorah!

One great thing about having hway too much work to do, I don't stop for food breaks, at all. *grin* The challange is getting me to stop for lunch...

How cool. Andrew Plumb, the author of the page I pointed to at the top of this page, wrote me, and said, "...interesting how ideas wrap themselves out of their boundaries...".

Heh... right into other people's lives and back. Very keen.

I did note, though that he was right about one thing I hadn't mentioned, which is that sometimes empathy does wash away the boundary between 'me' and 'them', often resulting in my figuring out ways to fulfil what someone else needed without regard to my own desires or needs or tastes. Not a good thing, all in all, and I find that it's far too easy to do that when I know someone really aches for what it is that they don't have which I can give.

The afternoon went okay. Lunch was a trip to the local costume store. I got a few small things for my costume as John shopped for his. I won't spoil the surprise for those folks at work that are reading this. *grin* It's a pretty keen outfit.

Spent the afternoon chugging away at the slides. Tom Bowns wandered over looking worn and tired and worried, as he's likely first up for all the training material stuff, and he was exhausted and was taking a much needed break and we commiserated for a while.

It takes a lot longer than eight hours to churn out eight hours of training materials that are coherent and actually useful. I'm not sure that they really thought of that when they assigned about 30 hours to each of the four of us, and only gave us two weeks before the first day of it began. I have visions of me with my laptop, banging away at it while I'm flying to my small vacation in San Jose. *sigh*.

Anyway. It's 7:30pm. Time to go home, nap and then soccer again. Patrick sounded a little under the weather and not real hopeful of having a full team tonight. *sigh* I am starting to get tired of these games with just not nearly enough people. We're supposed to be down at least two women tonight.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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