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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
It's that time of year when companies host holiday parties, free booze flows, and dress codes are made a requirement. This year I have/had invites to two parties (due to various circumstances).

The dress code for the first was "Dress to Impress" that, through phone-chain communication, turned into "No t-shirts, jeans, or sneakers." I dislike dress codes and fancy clothes so I don't own any, which means to comply I would have had to go out and buy an entire outfit just for the holiday party. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I went shopping and bought an outfit that matched the requirement while being closer to my own preference, but I started hating myself for capitulating. I contacted the party organizer directly to clarify acceptable attire to which I was told 'wear what makes you comfortable'. I ditched the new clothes and went with the outfit I originally had in mind, which was a black t-shirt with an artistic design and new dark blue jeans and my normal black shoes. I still felt conflicted for a while due to pressures to conform but otherwise was comfortable with myself again.

Though all this I realized that one major reason why I dislike "fancy" clothes is that I'm not impressed by suites, ties, slacks, or button-up shirts. On rare occasion I may feel momentarily intimidated or out of place for non-conformitity but I recover quickly enough and go about my business. Interestingly, most of the time seeing a guy in fancy clothes makes me feel less attracted to them (thus making it notable the rare occasion where someone in these kinds of clothes is still attractive).

The second party invite makes no mention of dress code so I'll pick out a different shirt but otherwise go in similar getup.

Eventually I'd like to change out my wardrobe en-mass but I'm going to be very particular about what types of clothes, designs, and colors and I don't want to do it piecemeal or from being forced to by someone else either. I want to get a dozen new combinations of outfits before wearing any of them, regularly or for special occasions.

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Current Mood: okay okay

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Seattle Symphony:

Whether it's Birkenstocks or a ball gown, please wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Chicago Symphony:
What should I wear?

Attending a concert at Symphony Center is always a special occasion; therefore, most patrons enjoy dressing up a bit. Today's standards for business formal dress or business casual dress are both acceptable for concerts at Orchestra Hall. Jeans, shorts and t-shirts are discouraged. After all, the musicians will be wearing their finest (tuxedos or suits on the men and gowns on the women). It is also recommended that patrons refrain from using strong perfumes and colognes so as not to distract the patrons sitting around you.

This is one major reason why I haven't been to see a performance at the Chicago symphony. I don't own the "proper" attire, have very little reason to so, and so it would be a large investment just to see a performance. If I know my attire will be frowned on then I'm disinclined to go where I know I'll be unwelcome (if not also barred entry).

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I may have just figured out why there's such a massive disconnect between me and most people (in particular gay guys but also applicable to other scenarios): Fashion. I don't dress like them.

The number of people who dress and act similarly is staggering. I just watched a gay couple holding hands go by wearing nearly identically fashioned outfits. Both high shorts, thin shoes, similarly styled button-up shirts, and even beards and glasses of a similar style and length.

Then I thought back to the other night when I was passing by the gayborhoods bar area and recalled that many of the people who were there and talking to each other were all wearing and acting very similar to each other.

My fashion sense was frozen back when loosefit jeans and simple tshirt were casual dress. I've never worn a suit and can count on one hand the number of times I've worn shorts. Even button up shirts are very rare to me (I dislike how they split open to expose skin, get untucked and hard to put back in place, and strongly dislike the idea of wearing an undershirt (talk about hot and uncomfortable).

Well, I'm screwed.

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I haven't posted about the writing exercise recently because I switched focus to a personal programming project I've been meaning to do for a very long time now.

Over the last week I've written a new feed reader from scratch containing only the features I use and optimized and organized using better design practices than the one I'd been using for a very long time. The backend is built in PHP 5.6 using composer packages for routing, database access, logging, and the feed parser. The frontend is built in HTML/JS using npm/grunt packages for AngularJS 1.4 and Bootstrap 3. It took about or a little less than one work week of time in total.

For the most part I'm satisfied with what I've gotten done but now there are a few new features I want to implement, like better notification when feeds fail to update. One of the things I noticed while working on this is that a number of feeds I used to watch moved or stopped working altogether and the old feed reader never put anything up in my face to say 'hey, there's a problem, go check it out and do something'. That's something I'll tackle in future weeks as for now I want to get back to the writing and other goals I have in mind.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

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Whenever I start writing I feel a little guilty about making it a story about a male. I feel like I'm contributing to a male-dominated society. On the other hand a male is who I am and what I relate the most with so perhaps when starting out using that as a crutch to get going isn't such a bad thing. If we want more females in stories perhaps we need more female writers? Though the author of the Honor Harrington series, a female-centric story, is male so that's not really the end of the story. Maybe some day I'll write a story with a female protagonist but for now I'll go with what I know and expand from there.

Today's writing exercise comes in as two (unrelated) snippets.

Day 3: 2 parts, 660 wordsCollapse )

Current Mood: optimistic optimistic

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I'm going to call it a day on the writing exercise so I can get some lunch and get some other productive things done, like washing dishes. :-P

Today I have four moderately sized snippets combining to a total of 583 words.

Day 2: 4 parts, 583 wordsCollapse )


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As an exercise in writing I've decided to start by just writing whatever comes to mind. Bits and pieces of characters, worlds, mechanics, interactions, situations, whatever comes to mind. Typically the only editing will be in the sentence being written, to change a tense, or fix a spelling error. From this I intend to refine my writing style, explore new situations, and perhaps in time a story will materialize.

Below are the meager results from yesterday. There are three tiny snippets and one larger action piece.

Day 1: 4 parts, 300 wordsCollapse )

Current Mood: calm calm

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Two weeks ago I talked to my manager and said that I think it's time to start transitioning me out of the company. After giving it much thought, discussion, and time I decided that this wasn't the place for me and it was time to move on. We talked about how long to transition and what needed to be done before the last day, and that was that.

Now that that period is finished I can start thinking about what my next steps will be. I'm thinking about trying my hand at writing again, or teaching a programming architecture/design class somewhere, or doing a little traveling to see friends, or some combination of those. I'm also going to spend more time on things that interest me, like playing games, going for walks, going to the symphony, reading, and cafe hopping.

I'm going to give myself this coming week to unwind, rest, and feel out these prospects before deciding what to pursue and how.
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Whenever I visited Vancouver it felt like time passed at a different pace than elsewhere. There wasn't a huge rush to get anywhere other than to the bus station right before leaving. It felt like things happened when they happened and when I wanted to spend time on specific things there was time to do so. Whether I wanted to spend a couple hours on the beach or an hour making dinner or an hour walking the water front or an hour walking around the neighborhood or an hour quiet on a reclining chair. It was peaceful and relaxing.

I want to return to that place; that state of mind.

I also want a place I can return to between trips into the world where all of my creature comforts and stuff is; a place to call home where I can do anything I want however I want. A place that is relatively quiet from street noise, sirens, and neighbors.

A small house in a moderately sized town, where living doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, could be that place. Somewhere within biking distance from groceries, transit, and other comforts like restaurants and cafes. Maybe somewhere with year round moderate temperatures, though a little heat and a short chill is fine too.

My introversion is leaking.
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Last night I had one of those dreams that feels really sweet when you're having it and for a short while after waking up but the longer you think about it the more it starts to turn sour.

The dream started off innocent enough with some chit-chat while getting ready for bed with a certain straight guy. Casual conversation and banter, nothing more. Once in bed things took an odd turn when he made some sort of connotation about being a poet and into poems which seemed to be the catalyst for 'accidentally' getting close. I froze and stared awkwardly as I felt him beside me and asked what that was supposed to mean, if that meant he was into guys. No, just poems and cuddling. I still have no idea how poems means cuddling but if some cute guy wanted to cuddle with me I wasn't going to say no. I said that was fine with me and if I got aroused it was just an automatic response but I wasn't going to try anything.

It was a nice feeling, just cuddling. There were some more strange occurrences with regard to how one sleeps (pajamas? underwear? nude?) and being potentially interrupted by someone walking in but even once I woke up it still felt very nice for a while.

But now as I think about it more and the specific person involved it just makes me sad and disappointed. I know it's not real and while this specific person is largely unknown to me it's still safe to say this is an improbable scenario. Oh well. Life goes on.
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