Response to Dual Pursuits

The “Hands Arts for Humans” (HA4H) livestream has started encouraging daily writing exercises. Common prompts are being shared. This has actually motivated/inspired me, so yay! See M’s Patreon or Vi’s Patreon if hand arts sound good to you. We also hang out on a Discord now.

in response to prompts on Dual Pursuits (secret art for secret audiences),
from Anne West’s "Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work"



Something about NASA—bureacracy? All-consuming meetings? lent itself to secret work. Everybody has doodles in their meeting notes. Some are better than others. But the boringest meetings demanded a secret society, for which we made songs of fires lit by hovering spacecraft and haikus about drunken moose season, and imagined unholy chimeras whose constituent animals followed the pattern 50% A, 50% B, and 50% C.

Oddly, I can find a wiki entry about me, and I know I participated in the haikus, but I can’t remember what I actually wrote (if any of it survives; I don’t have my e-mail archives from the job anymore, and lots of the haikus came out of rolling e-mail threads).

A fuckton is a unit of mass roughly equivalent to 13 metric tons, give or take a few fuckpounds. It is considered a mainstay of the Powerpoint Engineering Measurement System (PEMS).

[http://bacliffexplorationsociety.org/wiki/index.php?title=Fuckton]



Also while at NASA, I left a memorial for my recently-diseased cat, Shia, in RPOP (the software I was in charge of). I hid it where I assumed that no one would look: the About page, with all the contributor’s names. And by “hid” I mean it was set off differently than all the other text and probably the most prominent thing on that screen.

It didn’t get found for almost two years. By that time I had already announced my stop date and was wrapping up documentation for RPOP. During a long-running (months and months of all-morning meetings every Monday) review of the software as part of the handoff, my NASA customer (since I was a contractor), we happened to see it in the code and he reacted with such…resignation. Not anger, which he was capable of, or disappointment… I wish I could remember what he said. It was something like “I guess you can do whatever” but less accusatory.

That version of RPOP (v8.03) actually got used aboard the ISS about a month later and was visible in the public webcasts of the SpaceX DM-1 mission. I spent the night monitoring it in a backroom of mission control with a lot of my work friends, chugging coughdrops because I was getting sick.

This site and many of its prior incarnations are basically secret work, despite being public. It’s easy when you don’t have audiences otherwise, which I mostly don’t (aside from Hack n Slash, which is itself niche in its space).



I have one erotic written work on DeviantArt that has been read like, six times. Not even tempted to link it here; I put out a link once somewhere with an appropriate audience. It’s weird how much shame and secrecy I have built up around that part of my life, despite it being formative in its way. It’s one of the few things I’m worried will get me rejected and isolated—despite being out as a trans lesbian.

I’ll admit to it being set in the Star Trek universe, but all that it really mentions are starships, transporters, holodecks, and ensigns. Without those it could be anything.

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