Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Department of Incoming Search Terms

19 December 2013

These were all used to find pages on my site.

Alabama Gardens and Bellingrath Gardens are always especially popular this time of year thanks to my trip a couple of years ago. First post Second post

pinboard wordpress instagram icons

objectification of actors

fitzhenry whiteside

micronesian 2014 calendar

steve jobs death influence

lighthouse lit

how to make hickory bark bottom chair video

bellingrath gardens

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World's Lowest Countries

19 December 2013

I’ve been to four on this list (1, 4, 5, and 8).

  1. Maldives, 2.4 meters, Indian Ocean
  2. Tuvalu, 5 meters, South Pacific Ocean
  3. Cocos Islands, 5 meters, Indian Ocean
  4. Marshall Islands, 10 meters, North Pacific Ocean
  5. Cayman Islands, 46 meters, Caribbean Sea
  6. Turks & Caicos, 49 meters, North Atlantic/Caribbean Sea
  7. Gambia, 53 meters, Africa
  8. Bahamas, 63 meters, North Atlantic/Caribbean Sea
  9. Anguilla, 65 meters, Caribbean Sea
  10. Niue, 68 meters, South Pacific
  11. Nauru, 71 meters, South Pacific
  12. Vatican, 75 meters, Europe
  13. Kiribati, 83 meters, South Pacific

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Scientology Says I'm a Suppressive Person

19 December 2013

deirdre-is-an-sp
As if you didn’t know that already.
This is the first time I’ve actually had documentation of it, though. (“Dead File” simply means “Do not contact this person (treat them like they’re dead).” SP means “Suppressive Person.”) Apparently full SP list can be found here and in related videos.
I’d actually intended to change my surname a few years earlier than I actually did, and I’d gotten into a fit of Celtic pride after taking some Irish lessons in Hollywood back in the day. When I actually tried to figure out what to change my surname to, well, the Irish form of Maloy (Ní Mhaolmhudhaigh) was too unwieldy, so I picked a first name.
Saoirse means freedom. (Moen is Rick’s surname. Like the Borg, I added his distinctiveness to my own.)
In this case, it was a meta commentary about my life: I was free from the trap of selling freedom to people who were freer before than they would be after.
Events that have occurred recently have had me thinking: should I write a book about my time in Scientology? I came up with a great title for it yesterday. I’m only going to reveal one word: Firebrand.
I never had the experience of Marc Headley, who got run off the road trying to escape from Hemet. I still shudder to think I could have wound up there. Wanted to, in fact.
To my knowledge, I was the first person for whom Scientology used its resources to out me on the internet. (timeline here)
There are — a lot of things I wouldn’t say outside a book. Like why “firebrand” is the right word in the title. Or why writing a book makes me shake, even oh so many years later. Or why you might think less of me once you’d read it. Or, weirdly, why you might think more of me in ways that would make me uncomfortable.
I left because I didn’t like the person I’d become. It was alien — and antithetical — to the person I wanted to be. It wasn’t a problem Scientology could solve, but it was one they could create.
I have a story, though, one that’s far more interesting than I’ve been letting on. (For those of you who know the details that I’ve only told trusted people face-to-face for the past 20 years, I ask that you keep my confidence just this little while longer.)
Back in the day of the ScienoSitter, when Scientology secretly installed internet filtering software on Scientologists’ computers under the guise of letting them build their own pro-Scientology web sites, “Deirdre” was one of the banned terms. Web pages with my name in them were secretly unavailable. Some of those web sites still exist; Robin Rowand, who got me into Scientology (along with her husband) still has hers up.
I’m. Just. That. Awesome.
My story is also related to the reason that XKCD 386 is my license plate.

So. My question: is that a book you’d be interested in reading?
I wrote the rest of this post July 2, 2010, after a visit to where I’d been staff for several years, back when we decided to go visit the old stomping grounds for grins. Yeah, we punked them.


Talk about your surreal. Friend of mine and I headed down to Tustin to the grand old corner of Irvine and Red Hill to see how the old place (where we’d both worked) was.
First of all, the parking lot is really ratty. These people, if they want to sell that building, need to make it less of an albatross. Paint was peeling all over and it almost looked like it hadn’t been painted at all since I was there last in 1990.
When I walked in the entrance nearest reception, two people were standing there and one asked what I needed (very friendly, though) and led me to one place. I said I didn’t know if I was declared a suppressive person, I’d emailed ahead of time (by a day), and I was coming in to find out my status. You think this might make them unfriendly, but it didn’t. After all, one of the steps to being recovered is paying $BIGBUCKS and there I was on Thursday morning, almost as if I knew that stats were collected on Thursday at 2 and they could use the income.
So we got led to the “special people” reception, who then led us to Ethics reception. Unfortunately, the Ethics Officer was busy, so we had to wait in the special ethics reception (yes, so far I’ve been in three reception areas within a span of 10 minutes. Such is Scientology — everyone’s busy sending people places to wait.)
Someone popped in, looked at me, did a double-take and said, “You’re….” As soon as I heard the voice, I recognized her. She’d not aged well, looked quite wrinkled, and her hair had gone from jet black to light grey, but I had worked with her for 8 years, just not closely.
“Deirdre.”
“Wow, I haven’t seen you in a long time.” So we chat for a while.
This is repeated twice again with other people, the final person being the guy who now runs the place, Ed Dearborn. He was in his early 20s when he joined staff there, meaning he’s now somewhere between mid-40s and maybe as old as 50 (I can’t quite remember how long we worked together).
The Ethics Officer came out, she was a cute 20-something, obviously someone I’d never met except perhaps in infancy, and was very polite. I wrote down my name, my old post, my dates of employment, and my senior’s name and dates of employment. She went away for a loooooooong time (30-45 minutes, it seemed like), and then came back with a single sheet of paper.
“Your ethics file is not here.” That must have saved 2-3″ in a filing cabinet. 🙂 “There is, however, a note that you were declared, but I have no copy of that declare.” Later, I thought: they aren’t cleared for my level of suppression. Probably literally.
The piece of paper was my old boss’s suppressive person declare, a scant one page long. Now I’ve read some really lurid ones of these, including specific sex acts, and all kinds of details that were mostly fabricated, running on for pages and pages.
I felt kind of sad for my friend — he was accused of exactly one thing, which he apparently did do, and nothing else, making it seem like he was insufficiently important for a lurid declare, nor was it probably credible that he’d actually done anything lurid. He’s one of those steadfast kinds of people, though. Very nice guy.
After that, we went to a location Google maps told us was Scientology in Santa Ana — a warehouse of unknown purpose, and the new “Ideal Org” building in downtown Santa Ana had a water disconnect notice (for $1400+ for an empty building, no less). The notice had been there for three weeks, apparently unnoticed by anyone at the org.
Speaking of the Ideal Org campaign — essentially, each org, even those that own their buildings clear (as Orange County has in the past), was too ratty, and thus there’s a campaign to raise money to get historic buildings, glossy interiors, and this is funded by fundraising from affluent Scientologists. The highest contributors are called, get this, “humanitarians.” That will explain one of the photos in the set below.
Note: April 1 2015, I’ll finish reposting the photos later today, but here’s the “humanitarian” one.
Guess they have no humanitarians.

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Why We Don't Sail Carnival

17 December 2013

It’s not because of the poop cruise.

It’s not because of the Concordia.

Yet it’s indirectly related to both those things.

Here’s an example. Seabourn had two small ships, carrying 112 passengers. Seabourn was sold to Carnival, and those small ships were replaced with three larger ships with more than double the tonnage carrying 208 passengers. That’s not a bad size.

Except those three ships are now being replaced with 32,000 ton ships that carry 450 passengers. So, a periodic doubling of passenger capacity and a concomitant loss of intimacy.

Seabourn’s original two ships are now owned and operated by SeaDream. We love them. Sure, it’d be nice to have something a bit bigger, but their ships are really great, though designed before good wheelchair-friendly designs came out. (As a mobility-impaired person, it’s a bit challenging at times, but I manage just fine.)

When we first arrived on SeaDream, they knew our names, knew I needed gluten-free food, and so on. On our second cruise, most of the crew was the same, and they all remembered us. You can’t get that kind of intimacy on a large ship, and every time Carnival goes through another iteration, it’s to make things bigger.

Another point about gluten-free food and SeaDream: they mark every menu with what is gluten-free and what is not. They are very careful with it; I’ve never gotten sick from food aboard. Their food is truly world class.

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E-Book Royalty Calcumatic: Have Suggestions?

16 December 2013

I have an e-book royalty calcumatic that needs some TLC, which I’m about to do.

However, since it is one of my more popular pages, I thought I’d ask in case someone needed something I hadn’t thought of.

Selling Off Your Own Site

Back when I wrote the Calcumatic, there were reasons I didn’t include the option of selling off one’s own site. However, there are now good tools to do so. For example, Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin that does all the heavy lifting. There are add-ons for cost, but the basic setup is for PayPal, and is free (apart from the cost of using PayPal).

Here’s a quick-and-dirty comparison of the existing options. (I may need to tweak this data.)

[fancy_table] | Sales Source | Revenue per 1000 sales for $2.99 book | |---|---| | Amazon Select (not combineable with other options) | $2093 | | Amazon KDP | $1046 | | iBooks | $1046 (requires ISBN) | | Nook | $1046 | | Easy Digital Downloads + PayPal or ZenCart + PayPal | **$2603** | \[/fancy\_table\]

There are other options for selling off your site, like various shopping cart programs, some of which have ongoing monthly costs.

The Monthly Cost Problem

Because I’m trying to do something back-of-the-envelope, ongoing monthly costs really affect the way the bottom line is calculated. Then you’d have to calculate what percentage of those sales are from the site and over what time period in order to figure out effective revenue.

Catch is, most e-books sell under 200 copies, meaning: it probably isn’t cost effective to commit to anything with ongoing costs.

Unless some of you think that’s useful, I probably won’t bother with it for now.

What Else Would You Like?

I’m interested in other options I may have overlooked that you might be interested in. Suggestions?

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Oh, Pitcairn

15 December 2013

Sometime when I wasn’t looking, Crystal updated our itinerary for Pitcairn with the following: “No organized shore excursions are planned on Pitcairn Island, as guests will not proceed ashore.”

Well, that sucks.

It’s one of the remotest settlements on earth, remnants of the Mutiny on the Bounty crew. I was wondering how 900+ guests (plus all the crew) would manage to go ashore on an island that has no harbour (or airport or, for that matter, cars) and only 50 inhabitants.

On the other hand, they will bring their longboats out and do some trade, so it’s still possible that something cool will come of it all.

However, as this affects one of the perks of my So You Want to Travel the World Indiegogo campaign, I’ve unfortunately had to remove the Virtual Pitcairn offering. It’s possible I’ll be able to add some modified version of the offering given that we will be there.

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Pacific Ocean Country/Territory Visit Difficulty, Easiest to Hardest (from San Francisco)

14 December 2013

Note: difficulty is partly ranked by which can easily be reached via Star Alliance carriers vs. not as I’m a Star Alliance flyer and this is a list for my own purposes. Country & Territory list is taken from here.

Easy (non-stops)

  • Hawaiians Islands (nonstop from SFO)

    (been)

  • New Zealand (AKL nonstop from SFO)

    (been)

  • Australia (SYD nonstop from SFO)

    (been)

Next easiest (1-stops)

A Simple Matter of Flights (2+ stops)

Other Logistics Entirely

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On Privilege and Normalcy

14 December 2013

(Repost of something I wrote on LiveJournal in 2010)

A while ago, Jay Lake talked about his privilege in his cancer treatment, and it got me to thinking about my privilege in a number of contexts.

I’m white, and that comes with power in our culture, but it’s not that that makes my own set of privileges interesting, at least I don’t think so.

Without further ado:

  1. My parents, grandparents, and so forth, went to college. My mother has documented family members going to college as far back as the 1400s. My great-grandfather had three doctorates, one of them an M.D. So I never had to struggle with family to get a better education. It was expected.
  2. Not only did my father work in the sciences when I was born, so did my mother. Not only that, my mother appeared in a science textbook in the 1950s, as though that were perfectly normal. More to the point, I was raised thinking this were normal and common, and that is a very odd privilege indeed.

    My Mother in The World of Science, © 1958

  3. My parents worked at an atom smasher:

    Where My Parents Worked, late 1950s

    Later, my dad worked in aerospace. He worked on one of the Viking Lander projects (his specialty was mass specs, and the GCMS project was affectionately known as the “Green-colored Martian sniffer”). An early project where I worked for him was measuring the helium line of the sun. Later, he won a NASA prize for his work on the TOMS (ozone-mapping mass spec) project.

  4. While I certainly know people who know more decorated scientists than I’ve met personally, especially as an adult, the fact that I’d met any as a child is a form of privilege. (My father taught the Feynman course on physics as a grad student, just as one example, and was asked to write part of the handouts for it.)
  5. When I was a teenager, my father suggested I take a programming class. After I finished it, he asked me if I wanted to do programming — that’s how I got started on my career. He thought, correctly, that I would enjoy it, and his urging me to take classes like that was partly motivated by the fact that he didn’t enjoy programming that much but did have programming work that needed to be done. So it wasn’t just a class, it was the beginning of 35 years of work (so far) in the industry.

    It was a long, long time before I met another female software engineer; I’ve never worked on a team that was even majority female. In many cases, I’ve been the only woman with a group of a handful to more than 30 male software engineers.

  6. Even when I wanted to be a musician, both my parents were willing to support that choice if and only if I got adequate education for a plan B. I got lured in by the consistent money in programming and for quite a while resented that I’d gone that way, but later came to peace with it after a summer off busking in Ireland. It met enough of the music goal that I was able to move on with my life. This is not to say that I don’t burn out occasionally — I have.
  7. After my mom remarried, we always had a plane and a boat, and tended to travel places. I got to see a lot of places that other people just don’t. San Clemente Island while it was being shelled in a military exercise, for example.San Miguel Island, where a ton of stuff floating in from Japan landed on the long beach, and its odd caliche forest:

  8. I didn’t realize how odd my upbringing was until I was in college and we were asked to write about our mother’s cooking, and most people wrote about white kitchens and poultry. Here’s an excerpt from my piece:

By far my favorite sea dish was the one I usually got to prepare–abalone. Abalone clings very hard to rocks and has to be pried not only off the rock but out of its shell. Once out, it doesn’t have the decency to just sit there and behave. No, it has to crawl all over. Abalone is inherently tough, so I would pound it with a meat tenderizer as it crawled across the cutting board. I’d stop wailing on it with the metal tenderizer and watch it to see if it had stopped moving, but it would curl up its edges and slide away.
So it’s hard for me to remember that some people have to fight to attend even two-year college, hard for me to remember that some people fight with their family about careers in the sciences and so on. It’s just so normal for me.

Then again, I grew up thinking radioactive hazard signs were normal, too….

So, yeah, I’m the weird kid, but I come by it honestly.

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