Saturday, 23 November 2013

What I've been up to

1. I've had this brilliant Sia song on repeat on my ipod. I love Sia. She's an excellent singer and songwriter who decided that stardom was a lot of hassle and now gives most of her good songs to other people. (And then you get occasional YouTube clips of her singing them herself much better, like her version of Rihanna's Diamonds.) I also really like Diplo, though his thing where he just nicks sounds from lots of different cultures makes me feel a bit uneasy. He is half of Major Lazer, who have this really brilliant song which I may have posted before.

2. I had a custom Carrie-necklace made which reads "Tetchy". I really like it but now I can't decide if I can actually wear it. It would be very cool if someone thought my name was Tetchy but on the other hand is wearing it a bit passive-aggressive? Because I am quite tetchy a lot of the time, which is why I like it obviously, but maybe it's not a good idea to draw attention to it, and furthermore I work with a lot of friendly men some of who are slightly timid men and it would be rude to disconcert them. Plus I would like to be less tetchy and maybe this necklace would suggest that I'm proud to be tetchy. I can't really give it to anyone as a present either -- it's a total minefield. But I do now quite want to have other ones made, which read "Confused" or "Irascible" (or "Discombobulated" though they tend to have a 10-letter limit). Maybe abandon adjectives and go for "Paninaro" or "Pynchon" after some things I like. If I thought of the right words they would make good presents.

3. I'm the only woman in my team at work, and there weren't many women on my course last year either. The gender-balance situation in computing has got worse not better since I was an undergraduate. This is daft because programming is fun. It mixes creativity and abstract intelligence to produce things that are immediately useful. Plus it's a brilliant industry to be in if you care about work--life balance because once you have a certain level of skill people will buy however much of your time you want to sell. Loads of people in my department work part-time to share child-care duties. But there it is, I'm the only woman in my team of between 10 and 12 people, even though the contractors come and go so the actual number of people I've worked with over the last year is something more like 17 or 18. This is why I'm a STEM ambassador and try to be visible to children as a female programmer. I keep meaning to blog about it properly, but because I want to do it properly it keeps getting put off. But more and more I feel a side-issue which is that whenever I start getting involved in conversations about gender balance I end up feeling really bad about myself as a rubbish woman who was an atypical girl. I'm fed up with hearing how good girls are at communicating and multi-tasking. Me, I'm not a great communicator, and I strongly suspect that most people who think they can multi-task are self-deluding. Also apparently women are bad at self-promotion and we should put ourselves forward more: well, maybe I read too many Just Seventeen problem pages as a girl but I resent being told to change my personality in order to attract the attention of men. Stop making me feel bad about myself, people who are trying to help! In these situations maybe the tetchy necklace is indicated.

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