Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

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: Women and Performance Reviews

I’ve seen this link about how women fare in performance reviews going around, and people have been focusing on the fact that women get tone policed.
What I haven’t seen mentioned: women score more negatively in performance reviews in all ways.

58.9% of men’s reviews contained critical feedback, while an overwhelming 87.9% of the reviews received by women did.

This ties into raises, bonuses, and promotions, obviously.
For what it’s worth, I don’t recall ever being called abrasive in a performance review.

: Delia Derbyshire, Overlooked Musician and Composer

Delia Derbyshire wrote some of, and played all of, one of the most famous—and earliest widely-known—pieces of electronic music ever. Not only that, she did so before the advent of the first commercially-available synthesizer.

(Brian Hodgson composed the tardis sound.)
She was a kid in Coventry during WW2, hearing all the weird and haunting sounds of air raids and all-clear signals.
Decca Records told her that they did not employ women in their recording studios. So she joined the BBC. Delia said, “I was told in no uncertain terms that the BBC does not employ composers.”
Seeing the footage about her contributions to the Doctor Who theme was really the highlight of the Doctor Who Experience. As a Torchwood fan (and not really a Doctor Who fan), I felt left out for the most part.
There’s a great page about the history of the theme song.

On first hearing it Grainer was tickled pink: “Did I really write this?” he asked. “Most of it,” replied Derbyshire.

Yet, even though Grainer wanted Derbyshire to receive credit and a share of the royalties, it didn’t happen that way due to BBC red tape (no doubt assisted by the fact that Delia was female). Thus, she became uncredited and without royalties for something that has been heard by millions of people.
Bitter, she left the industry, became an alcoholic, and later developed breast cancer. Though she did get back into electronic music in the 90s, toward the end of her life, she died of kidney failure in 2001.
I find it curious that the BBC created an exhibit for her in the Doctor Who Experience—but still never managed to correct the credits or royalty situation.
If you’d like to learn more about her, here’s a bunch of YouTube links, but you probably want to start with Sculptress of Sound
Her name was Delia Derbyshire, and she loved listening to thunderstorms.

: In Light of the Recent Wiscon Meltdown…

Natalie Luhrs has the linkfest about the fallout from Jim Frenkel’s appearance at this year’s Wiscon after last year’s harassment complaints that went, well, apparently nowhere.
I know a lot of bay area locals go to Wiscon, and that’s had quite the ironic problem set, recently. I typically haven’t gone because I’d rather go to a local con and spend my travel $ elsewhere.
Here’s a review of this year’s BayCon by Carrie Sessarego of SBTB. I was delighted to be on panels with her. She’s thoughtful and smart, and extremely well-read.
So, just a thought: come to BayCon next year. The theme is Women of Wonder.

: Model View Culture / Bigger Issues

Elizabeth Spiers’s article about the magazine and its founder Shanley Kane has a great quote relevant to the art vs. artist debate of yore:

But important work gets done every day by flawed people, sometimes even by assholes. No one should be more aware of that than people who work in the tech industry, where many of the vaunted innovators and revolutionaries were not warm, fuzzy people. Ultimately, they’re judged by their work.

If you’re in tech—or interested in tech or diversity issues in tech—Model View Culture is a superb magazine that has no analog.

  1. It talks about how perks can divide people. Been there, done that. Especially when you’re at some doughnut event and they’ve forgotten to cater to the vegan and the celiac. Again.
  2. It talks about acquaintance rape by a coworker.
  3. It has great pieces like this one by Rachel Chalmers on why not to raise venture capital.

Going Beyond Assholes

When I made the Traitor to the Mens t-shirts, I got a note about American Apparel. I’d known about the sexist advertising, but not about how awful the CEO was (he’s still awful, he’s just gotten resigned). Their shirts being produced in the US was important to me for various reasons, including knowing that labor standards and business practices were, at least in theory, up to US standards.
This human slavery story comes out of Thailand’s shrimp industry.
And this story about Scientology’s drydock bill also has, at its heart, human slavery. In short, Curaçao’s drydock was using slave labor from Cuba, people Cuba sent over to do work to pay down Cuba’s drydock bill. They worked under horrific conditions. (The electrocution story reminds me of the tale of Kendrick Moxon, one of Scientology’s attorneys, and his Sea Org daughter who died of electrocution.)
One of my concerns is knowing that I’m doing less harm, and that means knowing more about where things come from and how they’re produced/delivered. And sometimes, there’s a bunch of crappy choices.
You might think that t-shirt made in Nicaragua or Honduras is better because it’s not made by American Apparel.
You know what? Nicaragua has an appalling lack of infrastructure. Many Nicaraguans work part of the year in Costa Rica due to lack of opportunity. As our tour guide said:

We cannot even bag plantains.

So imagine, if you will, given that they don’t have the factory capability to bag plantains, how it is that they’re able to make t-shirts for shirt.woot (among others) but can’t even bag plantains, one of their major crops.
Nicaragua’s the only country I’ve been to where the TV’s world weather pointedly excludes the US and Canada from its list of world cities. They are angry with us and, frankly, they have good reason to be.
It’s not that I don’t want to do business with Nicaragua. To the contrary. I’ve been there twice (short trips, granted). It’s just that, given what I know, I don’t inherently trust that any business has manufacturing in Nicaragua has Nicaraguan infrastructure interests as a design goal.
As Rick has pointed out more than once, “How do you know the company you’re not boycotting isn’t worse?”
Like, you know, Nestlé, and its chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, who doesn’t believe human beings have a right to water. Corporations buying up water rights in poor countries is an enormous global human rights issue.
Here, have a list of Nestlé brands for your boycott needs. I’m happy to say that none of my regular brands are on that list. \o/
Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the bigger picture because some bad things in front of us seem like the “worst thing ever.” They’re bad, but there are worse things, and I think we need to keep perspective on that.

The Response on the Delany/NAMBLA Stuff Wasn’t What I Expected

No comments on my post, and few on Will’s. None on the LJ repost. None on Tumblr.
Apart from a few people, mostly not in sf/f, being horrified, mostly on facebook.
I get this tweet:

@deirdresm i wish you wouldn’t promote WS. he’s a doxxer, racist sexist abuser, and has hurt a lot of victims of abuse.

— Ann Somerville (@ann_somerville) July 11, 2014

…which leads to a long conversation ending in…

@Cecily_Kane @deirdresm forget it. she’s not interested unless it’s her hobby horse. other victims can go fish

— Ann Somerville (@ann_somerville) July 12, 2014

Hobby. Horse.
Let me pull a quote out from Samuel Delany’s writing about sex with children:

Finally a composite score is reached, and the “seriousness” of the infraction judged accordingly. The consent of a seven-, eight-, or nine-year old is not the same thing as the consent of a seventeen- or eighteen-year old. And the “consent” of a three, four, and five year old means much less—especially if it’s negative. But it must count for something, otherwise you are just saying the child is not human and has no feelings or agency whatsoever—which, in itself, is abusive and counter-intuitive. And, I would maintain, immoral when another possibility presents itself.

Delany’s commented on Will’s post. He stands by what he wrote.
Is that really okay with everyone?

: My #YesAllWomen Tweets

Because when I said no, I was raped. Conceding to the assault (rather than fighting) kept me out of the hospital. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Later, found out my rapist had raped someone else. She fought. I hadn’t seen her (before my attack) because of cracked ribs. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being asked in a job interview, “Are you related to Rick Moen?” Froze, because I knew any real answer would cost me the job. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Context on that last: they were Daniel J. Bernstein fans, and he has issues with my husband. My relatives should not be factored into whether or not I get a job. It was an illegal question, and I’ll call out the company: IronPort.

Re: I did not get the job. Being related (or married) to someone should not be a factor in hiring. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Knowing that posting a critique of (likely unintentional) sexism of a company’s site would cost me jobs. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

As a handicapped female employee, I feared speaking out about Apple while I worked there. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being asked in an interview, “How do you feel about working on a team of all men?” Used to it, I’m a programmer. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being offered a lesser job that paid half as much because I’m female. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Trying to walk home from a pub at night and being pursued by a guy in a car who wanted sex favors. No cell phones then. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Turning down the advances of the too-eager guy in the social group. Later find out he’s gotten a criminal record for creeping. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being on a team of 38 people and the only female software engineer (of ~30). #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Feeling like a software engineering team is overwhelmingly female. After counting, you realize it’s still only a third. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

To be ignored in deference to my husband all around the world (I’ve visited 91 countries). #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Seeing a line of women in front of a store in Taroudant, Morocco. Écrivan Publique. Scribe. Insufficient education for women. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Enrolling in wood shop & was asked why a woman would want to take shop. I’d already made bushings for fighter aircraft. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being told that women couldn’t possibly be good software engineers. I’d already had code (and an experiment) run in space. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Best friend was locked out from her apartment when her boyfriend had a hooker in there. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being told I couldn’t take more advanced math in school because there was no one to teach the next level next year. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Would a boy have gotten the same response?

Being told that I was “too fat” when in fact I had so little body fat that I was anorexic. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Because my husband (then bf) felt safe walking around his old neighborhood at night; I didn’t. Too many drunk people clubbing. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Because someone revealed in an interview that I was interesting because I’d fill a quota. Not because of my skills. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Asking about parenting plans are illegal, but being asked interview questions that danced around my plans for time off. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Hearing from a recruiter, time and time again, over decades, that a company hired a man instead of you. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Forgot the one that’s plagued me the most! Told over & over that men don’t like smart women. For my safety, I should play dumb. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Oh yeah. reporting harassment. I have a story about that, too. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Rick and I didn’t believe that a man we knew slightly killed his wife. Hans Reiser is a murderer. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Some other tweets I retweeted:

For every rape of a WW, 5 go unreported. For BW, the ratio is 1:15. #YesALLWomen #YesALLWhiteWomen

— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) May 27, 2014

Because a female driven YA novel will be pushed as blame for a man’s murder before his own misogyny. #YesAllWomen

— Kayleigh Anne (@Ceilidhann) May 24, 2014

Do not. suggest. violent men. see sex workers. We already deal with outrageous levels of violence. We’re not your garbage collectors.

— Quirky Adorkable (@LoriAdorable) May 25, 2014

@deirdresm This is exactly why we feel the creating a National Girls in Science Day is so important.

— Dr. Faye Abood (@DrFayeAbood) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen because when I say I don’t want kids, people tell me I will change my mind. You don’t hear people saying that to men.

— Lauren Grace Guillot (@LaurenGracy) May 27, 2014

#yesallwomen because the correct answer is actually never and no not okay ever

— Jackie Ball (@Jackierball1) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen because when online dating, women are afraid of meeting a rapist or being killed. Men are afraid of meeting someone fat.

— sylvia (@sparklystuff) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen Because we don’t report sexual harassment in the workplace for fear of being fired.

— Christina Hernandez (@XtinaHernandez) May 27, 2014

Not directly related, but timely:

If you go to bed with a book you’re never going to bed alone.

— Pam van Hylckama (@BookaliciousPam) May 27, 2014

Last, this one made me laugh.

“Alpha male” sounds like everyone would be better waiting until the beta and production releases come around.

— Les Orchard (@lmorchard) May 25, 2014

: An Apology to Cheerleaders

[![© István Hájas -](/images/2014/05/Fotolia_44428177_S_crop.jpg)](/images/2014/05/Fotolia_44428177_S_crop.jpg)[© István Hájas –](

As someone who was a band geek, I have to say that I was one of those who looked down on cheerleaders—and vice-versa. I was envious of how pretty they were, envious of the attention they got, and I thought my own skills on musical instruments were More Important. You know, petty how teenagers are petty.
I was wrong, of course, and I’ve learned to really respect the very real skills that cheerleaders (and people doing physical things rather than cerebral skills) have.
All the impure thoughts I’ve had about cheerleaders or cheerleading over the years? I’m sorry. I was reacting in my teens based on my own hatred about society’s messages about cultural expectations about women, and not considering that maybe some women really enjoyed cheerleading. It should be fun and joyous.
And paid well.
The working conditions for NFL cheerleaders are horrific, especially when compared with the opportunities for men in the field. > But even as collective bargaining has caused players’ salaries to skyrocket, cheerleaders are still treated with the expendability of borrowed college students. Of the 26 teams that employ cheerleaders, only Seattle publicly advertises that it pays its squad an hourly minimum wage.

No one should have to endure such conditions.
What conditions?

“far weirder indignities (including elaborate rules about how to wash their vaginas..)”

The world is stranger—and far more horrible—than I give it credit for sometimes.

What I’d Have Expected Cheerleaders to Be Paid

I know a lot of people who watch games specifically for the halftime segments, who love the cheerleaders, and they’re paid how much?
If you’d asked me how much I expected them to be paid, I’d probably have guessed the median full-time salary for women, which translates to $36,380 a year (using the lowest woman median from last year). I’d have considered that a bare minimum, especially given the amount of money teams rake in, and how cheerleaders are used to boost a team’s image.
And before you tell me that they only work part of the year, they work just as long (and just as hard) as the star athletes.
We simply don’t value their skills as much, mostly because it’s a glamour job done by women.
And that is truly unfortunate.

: Using My Powers for Good

Four months ago, I posted this commentary and critique of Box’s “Working at Box” page.
It got back to me that it created quite a stir, but I hadn’t checked back on the page recently. I have noticed incoming links to that blog post, so I wondered what was up.
Credit where due, Box has revised the underlying page.
Thank you! Nice improvement.

: Baen, Heinlein, and Me

I’m a (very minor) Baen author. I’m embarrassed by this. Honestly, I couldn’t read the whole thing. I got to this pair of sentences and bounced out:

Of course we all read Heinlein and have an opinion about his work. How can you be a fan and not?

Easy peasy. Life is short.
I don’t like Heinlein’s work, generally speaking.
His female characters were, well, not believable female characters to me. On the other hand, as Rick pointed out when I had wound up to quite a rant one day: Heinlein wrote female main (and major) characters at a point in time when few other people did. So, credit where it’s due. He tried. Maybe not very hard, but he tried at a time when few others even bothered.
All the Heinlein stories that I do like are neatly collected into this anthology. “The Man Who Traveled in Elephants” and “And He Built a Crooked House,” for example.
What I dislike even more than some of Heinlein’s stuff is some Heinlein fans. My least favorite group to interact with in fandom is The Heinlein Society. Why?
Because when I told them that I didn’t want to have single-author panels for next year’s convention, they went to the chair of a convention I was attending to get her to help them lobby me (in person, live) to change my policy. After that, I never wanted to speak to them again. Never got an apology, either.
I don’t believe in single-author panels for two reasons:

  1. Panels should be about conversations that expand the audience’s appreciation about a topic. Single-author panels only appeal to big fans of that particular author, and thus have a more-limiting maximum audience than a broader topic.
  2. I consider it disrespectful to the Writer Guest of Honor to have single-author panels that aren’t about the WGoH’s own work. (In the case of someone like Scalzi, including a discussion of Heinlein influences in Scalzi’s work would be a two-author panel, but I’d be okay with that kind of thing, sure.)

One of the things various Heinlein fans have said to me over the years is that Heinlein wrote about his wife Virginia, usually followed by something like therefore he must understand women.
My usual response to that is, “So she married her rapist?” Somehow the topic always drops after that. Mind you, she only married the “good” rapist. IMHO, for a much better book with some Friday-esque themes in it (and without that problematic ending), Paulo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl is a far better book.
Let’s just say there are reasons that BASFA occasionally auctions off a used copy of Friday, someone drives over it or otherwise abuses it, then it gets re-donated to be re-auctioned. Maybe it’s time to scour the local used bookstores for a fresh copy.

: The Linux Goth Slut Incident of 1999

I happened to be looking at the Geek Feminism Wiki timeline today, partly because I was catching up on Ashe Dryden’s site and she links to the geek feminism wiki’s timeline.
I was a bit miffed because the “Linux Goth Slut” incident links to a piece by Annalee Newitz that compliments my husband, and I suddenly felt erased.
Then I went back to the original post, and I remembered why I wasn’t credited: I posted it anonymously. For good reason, as it turns out (the events in this link not yet having occurred).
The woman, known as “Doris,” is (and was) a friend of mine and my husband’s (though, at the time of the incident, March 1999, my husband and I had only been dating for a couple of weeks). I remember posting the long screed while at the Coffeenet of olde. I also remember having made a long-time friend from the fallout.
Why did I post it? Because, even though the writer had sent it to several people (from his work email account, during typical working hours), she had received a copy forwarded, through several people. In other words, it was getting around more than her resumé. I was easily able to obtain my own copy.
This was costing her potential jobs due to the ridicule and slut-shaming, and she was really angry about it. I posted it with her blessing.
The text? What you might expect if Mr. Wide-Eyed Vanilla Sexist Dude visited, say, Tiffany Reisz’s titular character from The Siren. Only if Nora was a techie instead of an erotica author.
I honestly think my favorite paragraph of his whole letter is this one, though:

So I let her in… she strips down and before you know it, I have a [deleted] goth slut on top of me.. only… she was asking me .. ARRGHH!!! LINUX QUESTIONS!!!! “What’s your favorite part of the install?” blah blah.. blah…

It did cost the writer his job, so there’s that.
Doris? Don’t ever change who you are. You are, as always, a unique and wonderful person. Like me, a bit too industrial strength for some, but it’s a feature, not a bug.

: Writing Word Count

You wondered when I’d post about writing, didn’t you?

I wouldn’t let you down.

1500+ words today, though not on fiction. More later on that topic.

: One down

Finished a new short short tonight and it’s off to its first market. Wish it luck! It’s not really my usual kind of story (as if I have something typical that I write), and it may already be too late for that market. But, one can always hope!

: The Updated Word Count

The article I was working on at the end of July is currently on hiatus, waiting for next week when I can get back to it. The paper I’d finished a draft of in mid-July has been put on indefinite hold. It’s not that I don’t think it’s salvageable, it’s just not something I can work with within the given time constraints, especially since it relies on other people giving it a thumbs-up.

Thus, everything else I was in the middle of is currently in a logjam while I write a new paper. Said new paper is currently up to 1,447 words.

Go, me!

: Ye Old Article Word Count

As of last night, word count was 1679 words. On the home stretch!

: Article Update

1109 words total. It’s feeling like around 2000 words now.

: Article writing

650 words written on an article I’d been stalling on. Go, me!

: Today's Progress at Work

Managed to get all the references sorted out and a good chunk of writing done as well.

$ wc -w paper.xml
4266 paper.xml

I worked on it for a while, but there were a lot of other projects to be done at work as well.

: Done for Tonight

$ wc -w paper.xml
3486 paper.xml

Must. Sleep.

: Coming right along…

$ wc -w paper.xml
2978 paper.xml

..though it’s shaping up slower than I’d intended.

: Word Count Politics

I realize that word counts are more problematic than one might think, but I finally have a good example of machine word counts that differ significantly.

$ wc paper.xml
171 2212 15400 paper.xml

So, 15,400 characters and 2212 words.

BBEdit, however, reports 15,400 characters, 2509 words, and 351 lines. The last is pointedly wrong, since it shows 171 that wc does.

But why a difference of almost 300 words (> 10%) in the word count proper? Granted, I’m using an ancient version of BBEdit, but hey, it should still work.

Peculiarly, the new version of BBEdit shows 2409 words. Hmm.

: Enough for today

$ wc -w paper.xml
2024 paper.xml

Time for sleep. I’ll have to finish it tomorrow.

: Paper work

$ wc -w paper.xml
1654 paper.xml

Well, it’s coming along, but slower than I’d hoped. I’m expecting the final paper to be in the 4000 word range. Alas, I need to have it finished by Monday and edited no later than Tuesday.

Wish me luck!

: 1279

1279 words written before going home and collapsing. Go, me!

: 577 Words and Counting….

…on my paper that I need a draft complete by the 12th. I figured out
last night that it’ll probably be in the 5-8000 word range.

: Stick a fork in Chapter 3!

I still think I’m missing that which seemed blaringly obvious the other night, but, well, it’s 2659 words and that’s as long as it’s going to be for a while.

I’d just rather not have a Doh! moment about it after I send the mss. off.

: Chapter 3 Progress

Went out to Denny’s to get a writing spell done and got Chapter 3 up to 2015 words. I realized that in the prior sketch (I can’t even really call it a draft), this chapter had a logic hole so large that I could have flown an aircraft carrier through it. Given, of course, that aircraft carriers could fly. 🙂

: Stick a fork in Chapter 1

3447 words.

    3447 df-chap-01.txt
     389 df-chap-02.txt
    1139 df-chap-03.txt
     368 df-chap-05.txt
     523 df-chap-07.txt
    5866 total

: Lunch Writer

Finally got some uninterrupted time to work on Chapter 1. Yesterday was pretty fragmented.

New word count is 3310, which is coming along nicely. I keep twiddling with what was written before. I sitll think it’s a bit lean, and I’m having problems figuring out how to carry on some conversations without seeming too repetitive, but other than that, I’m happy with its progress.

Good novel, here’s a biscuit.

: Sunday Wrapup

Even though it’s 2 a.m. on Monday, I feel pretty much everything I did was on Sunday.

What I’ve accomplished:

Deep Fried Chapter 1 now stands at 3132 words. I fixed some logic errors in it, which was pretty cool. 🙂

The bigger win, though was in writing the first draft of my abstract for a technical paper, which required researching the required format, reading up on other papers I’d downloaded, and writing a grand total of 86 words. Given that I could have had a 100-word abstract, I’ll re-proof it in the morning and send it out.

I have a couple of packages to send off tomorrow, and I also have the day off. The day will be spent mostly on getting the abstract polished and a few stories in the mail. Right now, I’m not quite sure how many I’ve got out — it’s been that hectic lately. Only my database knows for sure. 🙂