Anyway, I started Friday afternoon. It's not Monday morning. Here are some progress shots.
So, this article was floating around facebook. In short: women are less successful in men in the workplace because of social conditioning which results in them not trying hard enough.
I don't really like the tone much, it seems awfully victim-blamey to me, particularly the message that if only you kept trying you would make it in this institutionally sexist world! Bitch, please.
However, the article makes an interesting point. In the study sited, they found that generally when girls succeeded they were told they were good, while boys were told that they succeeded because they tried hard. Yeah, there was only one study done at one school in the 80s, so I'm not exactly going to take this as gospel, but fine. Let's run with this theory. So girls think their success is innate, while boys think they worked hard to achieve it. When faced with a difficult task, girls were more likely to give up and boys were more likely to try even harder until they got it.
This still sounds kinda bullshity to me, but then close to the end:
"Are there things you decided long ago that you could never be good at? Skills you believed you would never possess?"
I hear the phrase "I could never do that" almost every time I mention any of my circus skills. And looking back, I don't think I have ever heard a man say that. I typically respond with "you probably could if you worked at it," because barring disability, most people can learn how to do what I do. Hell, depending on the disability it's not big deal-- there are blind jugglers and amputee aerialists. It might take some people longer than others, but it's not impossible. When I say this, though, the (usually able-bodied) lady I'm talking to will laugh nervously or shake her head, then change the subject.
I don't try to hide how long it took me to learn this stuff, or how much work it is. But if deep down they believe my abilities are innate rather than earned, of course they think they would never be able to do it.
On the flip side, when I tell men about what I can do, I get a raised eyebrow, respectful nod, and a "wow, you must be really strong" or "that sounds like a lot of work."
I realize that anecdotes from my life are not data and do not prove a theory. After all, most of the students at the circus school are women, so obviously there are lots of women who know about working hard to achieve success. Still, it's interesting enough to make me want to write about and probably worth investigating further when it's not the middle of the night and I should be sleeping.
This isn't about me (I wasn't even there), but rather my boyfriend, AKA Austin, AKA the Sign Guy. While he was in university, he took to carrying a sign that said something different everyday, and it was usually nonesense. This got him all kinds of attention, though he was too socially awkward to use it to his advantage - he was hit on several times by women, but either didn't notice, or didn't know how to react so he never got a date, and occasionally people would offer to buy him a beer, but this never happened. People would hug him, talk to him, and tell him he was awesome. He was essentially a minor celebrity. Then one day he carried a sign that said "Platonic Prostitute for Hire." Surprisingly enough, he only had one skeevy encounter that day. A homeless man read the sign, looked him up and down, and said "You can suck my dick if you want." Austin declined and removed himself from the situation, but he continued to carry the sign for the rest of the day.
To this day, Austin still visibly shudders when he talks about it. This is perfectly understandable, of course, but I think his reaction is interesting. He thought the encounter was gross, but he was never in fear for his safety. He is a man, after all, a tall, burly man that most people would not want to mess with. Perhaps this is why it does not appear to have occurred to him that the sign could invite creepy behaviour, and he continued to carry the sign even after faced with this behaviour.
I wondered, briefly, how this day would have been different if it had been a woman carrying the sign. I quickly dismissed the thought because I seriously doubt any woman would carry such a sign; the harassment would be neverending. If it were me, I'm sure I would have torn up the sign before I even got to the university (though now I'm tempted to try it, for science. I would have people with me in case things went sideways, but even so, I'm not terribly tempted to subject myself to that).
In conclusion, even while being accosted by a creepy, unattractive dude, Austin (and I'm guessing the majority of men) are just as grossed out as women, but not nearly as scared.
(Yeah, I know, not a new concept, but I haven't seen many stories like this so I thought I'd share)
I am glad that people are sharing their stories, on Captain Awkward’s site and elsewhere. Of course, I hate that these stories are all so similar and universal. I have a number of stories of my own, especially when it comes to using public transit. I have been thinking about the last time I encountered a Creepy Train Guy, and actually... it hasn’t been for a long, long time. Probably not since I was in university.
I don’t know why I’m suddenly not a target. It’s been suggested (by myself and others) that maybe it’s because I’m older or more confident or more confrontational. But none of those theories hold up. I’ve looked the same since junior high, and the internet has informed me that looks don’t have much to do with it anyway. A huge cross-section of women experience this behaviour, no matter how they look or dress. Many of these women seem to be very confident, some more confrontational and aggressive than me. So why aren’t I being harassed?
I was discussing this with a friend who has noticed the same phenomenon. She said that while she’s happy she isn’t getting harassed anymore, it kind of annoys her because she essentially wants to prove to herself that she can handle it, that she can talk back, defend herself, enforce her boundaries, whatever. I completely understand. I am really, really glad I don’t get harassed. But at the same time, I have this weird desire to prove to myself that I can tell off a douchebag, that I can switch seats or say “please don’t talk to me.” I want to prove to myself that I can make the Creeper look bad and shame him for his behaviour, that I won’t tolerate harassment. I’m not getting the chance to show off these abilities, and while I’m happy about that, I’m also intensely curious. If I knew the secret to my success I could share it with other people.
My leading theory right now is that I really only use public transit during the week, during rush hour, whereas before I would be on transit at odd hours, often on sparsely populated buses or trains. I think this is a pretty solid theory, since not only have I not been harassed, but I haven’t witnessed it happening to anyone else. After all, it is hard to isolate someone when you’re packed like sardines, and creepers don’t seem to like having an audience. However, it’s not a perfect theory, since I don’t recall being harassed during my time as a Notetaker or while I was attending college (which happened after university), and I still travelled at odd hours then. Maybe there are just fewer creepers around? Nah!
Robot & Frank: ****
Plot: In the near future, a cranky old man (Frank) is letting himself go, so his son buys him a robot to help take care of the house and get Frank in mental and physical shape. The robot decides Frank needs a project, and Frank, a former cat burgler, decides to plan a heist.
Characters: Believeable. I particularly liked Frank's daughter, Madisen, who is vehenemently opposed to using robot labour, until she comes to take care of Frank and realizes how difficult it is.
Dialogue: Good, natural. The part where the two robots are trying to socialize is pretty funny.
Kinda like: The Alziemer's part in Rise of the Planet of the Apes crossed with your typical heist movie.
It was a very cute movie, but some parts were quietly but almost unbearably sad. One of my biggest fears is losing myself to Alzeimers, and whenever I'm confronted with the possibility it makes me scared and uncomfortable. However, most of the movie was about a cantankerous old man training his robot to pic locks and generally be awesome. I love a good heist movie, and this delivered, while at the same time being very thoughtful.
I came back to my desk in a huff and told the people around me what happened. I then asked if it would be childish to write an angry letter and stick it to the fridge, and a lawyer whose office is nearby said "do it!" so I did.
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Today, I couldn't help but check the fridge. I knew it was unlikely, but part of me was hoping there would be a new package of cheese with a note that says "I'm sorry" attached. There was no cheese. But there was a picture of a camera with the caption "Say Cheese!" attached to one of the shelves in the fridge. I think it must be related to my letter, but I have no idea what it means. I doubt they would set up hidden cameras or anything. Maybe a bluff? Anyway, I am now keeping my cheese at home and only bringing it in a block at a time. I also no longer feel like a paranoid patty for locking my desk whenever I'll be away from it for more than a few minutes.
*Yes, I work at a law firm, and I know lawyers get a bad rep, but the ones who work here do mostly corporate work and some litigation, but not the ambulance chasing type. So while I could joke that some rational lawyer devoid of ethics stole my cheese, it doesn't ring true to me.
EDIT: I just went back to the kitchen, and both my letter and the "Say Cheese" picture have been removed.
This year was... not as awesome as previous years. I think it’s partly to do with the overwhelming anxiety from work, as well as general disorganization. No one seemed to know what was going on until practically the day of the event. I also humiliated myself in front of everyone, which did not help.
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All in all, it was a good weekend. I think this time it really was just me, when it came to any non-enjoyment aspects. I had attitude issues for a lot of it, although they went away by the end. I also learned that I must really love teaching, because as soon as I had a bunch of students in front up me, my energy level went way up and I forgot about the pain. I wasn’t soaring like I was last year, but that’s ok.
I met some really wonderful people, namely two kids. I started out helping one of them with some gymnastics skills, and we hung out a lot throughout the weekend. They were energetic and enthusiastic and friendly, and just generally lovely people. I met Nicolai, who is a hottie, but who lives in Edmonton (damnit!). I love that I still manage to learn something new, even though I’ve been doing circus, and this festival, for a long time and I tend to hop from one skill to the next, gaining basic proficiency before moving on to something new. But so far this year, between Madskillz and Light and Motion, I have learned club passing, knot throwing (which I’ve mostly forgotten now), lasso, whip cracking and a bunch of new diabolo tricks,. I learned that I love teaching, and as stressful as life gets I doubt I’ll be leaving the circus any time soon.
All in all, it was a good time and I’m very glad I had Monday off to recover.
No cut-off times
The race is in September, and I could conceivably be in shape to do it by then. Especially because I can do a 25km bike ride after work without a second thought.
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Despite all this, I would still really like to go. I’m not big on endurance type sports, but this is a short event and I think I could get through it without hating it at the end. Having a goal to train towards (besides an arbitrary number of kilometers) is also fun. It’s something Austin and I could do together. Of course, bragging about it afterwards is also fun. If I tell people not in the know that I did a Sprint Triathlon, it just sounds like I did a Triathlon really fast, rather than a shorter one.
Not to mention Austin and I have been sort of planning several mini-vacations this year (haven’t gone on any) and spending a weekend in Banff would be a lovely mini-vacation.
I have to make up my mind soon, because if I do this I need to start training ASAP.
Week of June 25: 69km
June total: 246 km
Week of July 2: 102km
I finally achieved my completely arbritrary goal of 100km/week last week. This was largely due to another ride to Chestemere on the Monday, which I had off. Austin was out of town, but one of my besties, and oldest friend, Tessa, agreed to come with me. Tessa is not a cyclist and generally doesn't like bikes, but she does to a lot of hiking so she's pretty fit. She drove to my apartment and we set out, getting lost in the neighbourhood before we got onto the bike path. This ride was a lot easier on me than it was last time. The weather was good, I had a better bike and better gear, and I was in significantly better shape. We still went pretty slow, the whole trip taking about 5 hours (including a stop for lunch, which probably took at least an hour). I was tired but not broken when I got home.
Tessa, who refuses to wear bike shorts because she thinks they look stupid, fared somewhat less well. Her butt, in particular, was not happy with the situation, but I think she was pretty sore all over. She also forgot to put on sunscreen so her arms were quite burned. I got burned in a couple places, where I missed a spot, but it wasn't too bad. I have a sunburn bracelet on my right hand which is almost faded now, and I had a couple other spots here and there which have already healed.
For the rest of the week I was pretty lazy, only biking in to work on two of the three days that I worked.
I am on track to accomplish my other, completely arbritrary goal of 400km/month. I can do this pretty readily if I bike to work every day. I also want to go on a few longer trips, particularly to Cochrane. Austin sometimes goes there and back in one day, but I would do it in two, staying in a hotel overnight and biking back the next day. It's about 50km each way, so comparable to a round trip of Chestemere. Austin would accompany me, of course. We haven't picked a weekend yet, but given his schedule there's no real point in planning things too far in advance.