apel: (Sharukh Khan)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Which gender do you generally present yourself as (man, woman, androgynous, etc.)?

2. Have you ever deliberately done "drag" (i.e., presented yourself as a gender you do not identify as)? If yes, how often? Why? How did it make you feel and act differently?
Not really, although I was a tomboy as a kid.

3. Do you get mistaken for another gender "remotely" (i.e., in letters, email, or on the phone)? How often? Why or why not?
I've deliberately chosen gender-neutral or ambiguous pseudonyms in many online contexts. Apel is a case in point. Since some people assume that anybody who doesn't immediately advertise that they're a woman is a man, it has happened that I've been mistaken for a man online. I'd attribute that to sexism and/or stupidity on the part of the other person, rather than any kind of androgynous linguistic patterns on my part.

4. Do you get mistaken for another gender in person? How often? Why or why not?
I'm occasionally called sir, probably because I'm often on my own and have short hair. It's a bit irritating, more because of the underlying assumptions that are exposed than because of anything I'd take personally.

5. If you could take one aspect of another gender's presentation (dress, make-up, hair, etc.) and instantly make it widely socially acceptable for your gender, what would it be?
Shoes, definitely. Men's shoes seem to on the whole be a lot more comfortable than women's shoes.

Now, if this question went the other way around, it would be much more interesting. I would love if more elaborate grooming were socially acceptable for men. They'd be much softer, prettier and sweeter smelling than they are now. That's something I'd appreciate.
apel: (my face_smiling)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. If someone described a person as "nice", what mental picture would that give you? Would their gender make a difference (i.e., is the mental picture of a "nice" woman different from that of a "nice" man)?
Nice to me means that somebody is pleasant to deal with. It's mostly an absence of bad habits like telling people how they feel, an absence of unattractive traits like BO plus that they don't get riled up easily. Smiling probably comes easily to them too. Oh, and a certain neatness. I like well-groomed people.

These things all go equally for men and women. "Nice" to me isn't about being attractive, but about not being actively unattractive.

2. Is it important to you that people be "nice"? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely. There's enough friction in life caused by real disagreements. Adding to that by being obnoxious, bossy or generally unpleasant to deal with doesn't help. It's much easier to solve conflicts caused by real issues if everybody is nice.

3. How "nice" are you?
I do my best but sometimes I'm grumpy.

On the other hand, being nice does not mean giving in easily. For instance at work, I'm the user advocate. If I were to roll over every time somebody disagrees with me, I wouldn't be doing my job. Outside work, it's important that I keep people on the right side of my boundaries. If I can be nice about it, that's great but when others aren't nice, turnabout is fair play.

4. Who is the "nicest" person in your life?
Probably this woman at work with the little girl's voice. When somebody is too nice, it comes across as faked and insincere.

5. What is the "nicest" thing in your life?
I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you friendslock this entry. For now, let's just say that I love this sunny weather.

The Questioner says: Don't forget your links!
apel: (GTD)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How many things do you have on your "to-do list" (mental or physical) right now?
34 here at home. At work it's fewer.

2. How many things do you generally have on your "to-do list"?
It's probably in that range.

3. How do you keep from forgetting the things on your "to-do list" (e.g. keeping a written list, using software or a PDA, relying on your memory)?
I use Life Balance from Llama Graphics. The at-home to-do list I synch to my PDA and the items I've ticked off get archived in Natara Day Notez. That z may have been cool five years ago but I bet Natara regret it now. The work to-do list isn't synched anywhere. It stays at work when I go home. At work I use Notes to keep track of scheduled tasks so the Life Balance database is only for things that could be done whenever or before a certain date.

4. Are you generally good at staying organized and focused enough to get the things on your "to-do list" done? Do you get them done with lots of time to spare, or just in the nick of time?
Since I started following the Getting Things Done process with weekly reviews I've gotten much, much better. Hardly anything slips through the cracks anymore and I'm less stressed because I have a system I trust for keeping track of things. I'd love to go to the GTD Roadmap seminar in London in July. If it weren't for my plans for a holiday in August I think I would. The price translates to less than UKP 300 for a whole day of personal productivity coaching. I highly recommend getting the book if you want to stress and procrastinate less. For some reason it's particularly popular among people in technical professions.

5. Have you ever forgotten something important that you were supposed to do? What was it? What were the consequences of forgetting?
I know I have but it can't have been anything earth shattering. Although I do remember that I paid one bill twice and another not at all after leaving the US. That will have messed up my credit rating because it went to a collection agency. I got a check for the overpayment but never cashed it.
apel: (mellow)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How energetic are you right now? Why?
I'm pretty mellow right now. Taking a break in my decluttering efforts. So far I have three bags for Oxfam and three bags for the skip. That feels good. One bag holds clothes and two bags contain shoes. Next I'm going to tackle

2. How energetic are you in general?
I'm generally more into slow and steady than doing things in spurts. Like when I walked in the Lake District on Tuesday. I was out on the hill for nine hours but I didn't go all that far. In fact I spent probably at least one hour reading a book and untold stops for taking pictures. It's about the moment.

3. What makes you more energetic?
Red Bull. :-) Joking aside, the sun makes me more energetic. I think I was a solar-powered toy in a previous life.

4. What makes you less energetic?
Being stressed and feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention rain and low light levels.

5. Tell us about a time when you were exceptionally energetic, and a time when you were exceptionally unenergetic.
That's a tough one. I tend to be more energetic when I'm out of doors and experiencing something new, like when I'm on holiday. What I really prefer is when energetic times are mixed with relaxation. It's that old pendulum-swing between expansion and contraction that really works best for me.
apel: (grain)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How at ease do you feel about discussing financial matters with your friends and family?
I have no problems discussing finances in general or everyday decisions like weighing the higher cost of a monthly tube pass against the lower rent the farther out you get from central London. But when it comes to capital and investments, that's nobody's business but mine. If the question comes up, I say that I do have some capital but that's the extent of disclosure.

2. How knowledgeable are you about financial matters (i.e., mortgages, retirement, savings, investments)? Are you happy with your level of knowledge?
The rules around these things keep changing so in general I think it's better to read up, solicit informed advice and do research before making life-changing decisions. It's one of those areas in which making decisions based on out-of-date information or hearsay is too risky. So, yeah, I'm happy with what I know now. I will need to know more in the future as I make decisions.

3. Do you have a budget? Do you stick to it?
I have some sort of budget in my head that I do stick to but nothing on paper. One of the advantages of a being single with a good income and a modest financial cushion is that I don't have to worry about money from day to day.

4. Do you have any savings or investments? Are you happy with the amount you have saved?
I have a nest egg but I don't think it's enough. Money is one of those things that you can never have too much of in my opinion.

5. If you won $10,000* today, what would you do with it? What if it were $100,000?
£10'000 isn't a whole lot of money. I'd probably tuck it away somewhere for when I need to buy a new car. £100'000 is real money, on the other hand. That's worth investing in a way that binds it until I want to buy a flat or house.

*Where "$" = the currency where you live
apel: (A)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Is it easy to slack off at your job*? Why or why not?
It's easy to take a break without drawing attention to it but I typically have one or two deadlines per day so if I start slacking off a lot, it's going to be obvious very quickly. As in by the end of the day.

2. Do you find it easy to stay focused on your work? Why or why not?
Most of the time yes. But if there are people talking loudly next to me it gets hard.

3. What helps you to stay focused?
Etymotic 6i

4. What distracts you?
Loud conversations mostly.

5. Has lack of focus ever been a problem for you (ie, to the point where it started to be noticed or get you in trouble)? If yes, tell us more about it.
No I notice it long before anybody else does and do something about it.

*Job = the thing that occupies the bulk of your time, which may be paid or unpaid work, school, or keeping a home.
apel: (Sharukh Khan)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How impulsive are you?
Not very. In fact if I act on impulse, I usually feel I'm doing well.

2. What is the most impulsive thing you've ever done?
Moving to California.

3. What is the most unimpulsive (i.e., deliberative) thing you've ever done?
Staying for 7 years in the UK, patiently pursuing all legal options to move back to California.

4. How easy do you usually find it to make decisions about what you want to do?
Not hard at all. I weigh the pros and cons and then make the decision. It's probably easy for me because I'm pretty clear on my values and priorities.

5. What was the last impulse that you had? Did you act on it? Why or why not?
To stop at Baker Street and buy Oreo Cookies. I didn't act on it because it would have taken me longer to get home and the chocolate I had already had was enough sweets for tonight.
apel: (hindi)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Which languages do you know? How did you learn them (e.g. as a native, from classes, by immersion)?
I speak English, German and Swedish. German was my first native language, Swedish my second. I first learned English at school, then from spending lots of time on Usenet and in mailing lists, then I took it at uni and finally I've lived in English-speaking countries for nearly a decade now.

2. Which language would you most like to learn? Why?
Hindi seems interesting. I know a lot of people who speak it. I've got some books but right now my priorities lie elsewhere.

3. Have you visited any places where you did not know the predominant language? If so, which ones? Was it hard to manage?
Italy, France, Spain. It's not such a big deal. Usually I bring some sort of phrase book or similar and learn along the way.

4. Which language do you most enjoy hearing, seeing, or expressing? Why?
I'm hardly original in thinking that French sounds beautiful.

5. Which languages, other than the one(s) you know, are you exposed to your daily life?
Hindi and Tamil mostly. Going on the tube I hear quite a lot of languages I don't know, let alone can identify.
apel: (baaah)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Do you follow any cultural superstitions (e.g., avoiding the number thirteen, picking up pennies)?
No. But my and a cousin once ran after a chimney sweep and asked him to kiss us. Sadly he declined, saying that he was married.

2. Do you have any personal superstitions (e.g. wearing a certain item of clothing to bring you luck)?

3. Did your parents have any superstitions? What were they? Do you believe in them?
Not that I can remember.

4. Make up a new superstition and share it with us (who know, maybe it will catch on!).
If you haven't watched a DVD within a year of buying it, it will bring you bad luck. Sell it on eBay before the year is up or watch it.

5. Did you notice the date today? Does it affect you at all (e.g. make you nervous, make you happy)?
Date? Oh, right. It's Friday 13. I hadn't really noticed it.
apel: (owl)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How good are you at arriving on time? Why or why not?
I have an uncanny knack for arriving on time, sometimes even without looking at the watch. I habitually plan my time and always plan for being on time, particularly if the stakes are high.

2. Does it bother you when other people are late? Why or why not?
It does. Making other people wait for you is Not Nice™. People who think their time is more important than mine deserve a raspberry and nothing else.

3. What's the most that you've ever been late (i.e., in terms of time)?
After twenty years, I'm still waiting for my degree...

4. What's the most important thing that you've ever been late for?
I can't really remember anything. Being on time is something I value so highly that when it really matters, I always make sure I've got plenty of margin so that I'll be on time even in a worst case scenario. Of course I've had my share of missed buses and trains but it's never really been serious.

5. Have you ever been, you know, late? Or, if that's not biologically possible for you, has anyone you've been involved with been, you know, late?
apel: (California)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How connected do you feel to the physical and/or social place where you live right now?
I don't. It's familiar because I've lived here for more than six years now but I don't like the place, nor the people.

2. What sorts of things makes you feel more connected?
Warmth and smiles, beauty.

3. What sorts of things makes you feel less connected?
Ugliness, hostility, defeatist attitudes.

4. Tell us about a time when you felt highly connected to the physical and/or social place where you lived.
I'm sure my friends list is tired of hearing me wibble on about how happy I was in northern California. Suffice it to say that even when things were very bad, I was happier there than when things are going very well here.

5. Tell us about a time when you felt highly disconnected from the physical and/or social place where you lived.
I think I just did. It stinks. I wanna go home.
apel: (fluffy_greeneyes)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. When was the last time you took a test?.
I took a short usability quiz yesterday and got 9/10.

2. Does taking tests make you anxious? How anxious?
That depends on if I'm worried about failing it. If I feel poorly prepared and the consequences of failing the test are dire, then I'm very anxious.

3. Pick your favourite type of test question (short answer, essay, multiple choice, etc.). Why? Least favourite? Why?
I prefer essay questions because I'm good at writing lots. Multiple choice questions are the easiest but only if the person who wrote them made sure the hard part is knowing the answer, not figuring out the tricky way they worded the question. So often that's not the case because the person who set the test didn't realise that what they write can be interpreted in several different ways, they try to make the test harder by wrapping questions in negations, or in the middle of the test they change how they perceive the answers.

4. Have you ever felt that someone was deliberately "testing" you (i.e., setting up situations or conversations to see what you would do or say)?
Not in my private life, no. Of course there are situations where it's appropriate to do this, such as in a job interview.

5. Have you ever deliberately "tested" someone?
Yes. Nothing dramatically manipulative, though. But I've done things like say something that I thought the other person would disagree with just to see how they would react. It's quite a useful thing to do. It's easy for people to be charming when everything you say rubs them the right way. Just ever-so-gently ruffling their feathers will reveal a lot about how they react when everything isn't just peachy.

Sep. 9th, 2005 02:21 pm
apel: (dreamy)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

Name your guilty pleasure when it comes to:

1. Music. I like New Age music. In fact I've liked it for so long and have explored the genre so well that I know pretty much exactly what i like.

You can keep Yanni, if I can keep Andreas Vollenweider. Mervyn Goodall is barely listenable but Global Journey is a label that pretty consistently delivers the goods. For instance in my CD player here at work I've got their Zen Garden by Steve Millington. Oh, and I liked Ace of Base.

2. Food and/or drink. Don't get me started on all the things I'd like to eat but can't.

3. TV and/or movies. I love cheesy cop shows. TJ Hooker for instance, or Riptide with the delectable Joe Penny. Some episodes of Nash were great too. But I never got into Miami Vice.

4. Activities. I can't really come up with anything that gives me pleasure that I feel guilty about. That's a good thing, I think.

5. Reading material. I don't like graphic novels/long cartoons/whatever they're called this week. If it's got speech bubbles I can't sustain my attention for more than half a page.
apel: (owl)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. You have half an hour to leave your home, knowing that you will never be back, and anything you leave behind will be destroyed or gone. What do you take? (assuming all the people are taken care of)
Passport, money, jewellery, laptop, camera, GPS, PDA, the CDs with my PC backups. The rest will probably be clothes, food and drink. Depending on the circumstances tent and sleeping bag may be useful too.

2. You have twenty-four hours to leave your home, knowing that you will never be back, and anything you leave behind will be destroyed or gone. What do you take? (assuming all the people are taken care of)
Pretty much the same things but if I leave by car I would also try and pack a box or so of the most important books. If I've got this much time, I'd definitely make sure I'm all stocked up on maps for the area I'm fleeing to too.

3. For those of you that have a car: Now answer 1 & 2 assuming you don't. For those of you that don't, assume you do (just a regular-size car, not a Hummer!).
If I didn't have a car, in the first instance I'd probably rather forego more clothes than tent and sleeping bag. The problem with such a short time frame as half an hour is that it's hard to pack efficiently, i.e. in a way that you can actually carry what you need. Stress and fear comes into it too. In the second instance if I didn't have a car, I'd bring perhaps one or two of the most important books that I know will help me keep level headed when everybody around me is going mad.

4. You have to go at least 100 miles away (and if you're coastal, inland) to be safe. Where would you go? Family? Friends? A shelter? How would you get there?
100 miles away is hard in this country but I guess I'd go somewhere that I considered safe. There is nobody I know who would be able to take me in anyway. How to assess safety is another matter. From what I hear is happening in Baton Rouge and other places overrun by refugees, going somewhere most other people aren't may be safer than going to the big metropolitan areas. Rural Wales for instance. What areas I have maps for would also factor in.

5. How much would losing your home and possessions affect your life? Would you recover fairly quickly? Or would it be disastrous for you?
Considering that I've been living the last 6-7 years as if I would have to give up most of my possessions at any time, that part wouldn't affect me too much. I like possessions but I've made a conscious decision not to buy expensive things that I can't carry on me. But I'm vulnerable if I don't have a home of my own where I can feel safe and have considerable privacy. I would need to get another home pretty soon. Being homeless, even if you have the money to live in decent hotels, is not good for me. I learnt that the hard way.
apel: (snail)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. Tell us something prosaic that you really should do.
Polish my shoes.

2. Tell us something abstract that you really should do.
Not so much for the abstract. I prefer measurable goals.

3. Tell us something interpersonal that you really should do.
I should call the local life coach on Tuesday and make an appointment. She's expensive but may be worth it. She sounds good in email.

4. Tell us something regretful that you really should have done.
I should have moved to California already dammit!

5. Tell us something career-oriented that you really should do.
Rewrite my resume. In fact I'm answering these questions in a break from that activity. Go me! :-)

And bonus question, if you're feeling up to it: 6. Tell us something absurd that you really should do.
I'm flummoxed.
apel: (hand)
Shamelessly stolen from [livejournal.com profile] fortysomething on my friendsfriends list.

1) Do you have pets -- do you sleep with them?
No but I would if I had them. Having a kitten fall asleep on your chest has to count as one of the best things in life.

2) Have you ever been moved by a piece of art? If so, what was it?
Definitely. I used to be a huge art geek, going to places just because the museums had wonderful paintings. It was impressionism, particularly the Danish Skagen painters, who brought me into art but I soon grew tired of them. Most people do. Then I got more interested in some German painters. Nolde, in particular. I still get a kick out of many of his paintings. What I like the most nowadays are landscape paintings. I sometimes go into the National Gallery just to say hello to Constable and Turner. We're old pals.

3) High school reunions? Have you been? Are you going? Was it awful?
Nope, no reunions for me. I suspect that it would be awful. At least I would still have some things in common with my secondary schoolmates. The people I went to primary school with, on the other hand... It might be interesting to watch on TV what happened to them. Interesting the way a train wreck is interesting, that is.

4) All things considered, are you happy with the way your life turned out?
It's turned out much better than I thought. Except for the "living in the UK" part. Which, all things considered, is still better than living in Sweden.
apel: (Default)
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