Author Archives: thematizer

“The Net”

Had a summer cold (this time, not COVID) so I logged off work early. Decided it was time to finally watch The Net, for irony value.
I’m not a huge Sandra Bullock fan, which is probably unfair because the only other two movies I’ve seen her in, Speed and Gravity, were really good. The Net was about what I expected. For a thriller, the action sequences, which involved a lot of aimless running (really, jogging) were not exactly fast-paced. I spent most of the first half hour trying to think of a good drinking game, the drink in this case being blue Powerade.

And then I hit upon it. The movie was made in 1995, but fashion, architecture and industrial design have changed so little since then that most of the scenes are indistinguishable from the present day. Newport cigarettes packaging remains the same. Even high-waisted jeans have made a comeback!

These were the only details I could find in 114 long minutes that looked out of place:

  • Cell phones with long antennae
  • CRT’s
  • 256k color depth
  • Seldane was on the market
  • Walkman headphones instead of wireless earbuds
  • Rainbow-colored Apple logo
  • Plot device hinges on a floppy disk

Granted I was mildly feverish, but there should have been more. It’s been almost 30 years.

Did the Internet stop time?

At the break of day

Woke up this morning at dawn, coughing. I’ve had COVID for a week — first time I ever tested positive for it. Blaming it on anemia running down my immune system, and an overnight trip to Seattle that I don’t regret at all. When I woke up, this song was in my head:

 

 

Like any song, the lyrics can be interpreted in many ways. One of the ways it can be interpreted is as a song about suicide. I take my dreams and waking intuitions seriously. This one reminded me of why I didn’t originally press charges against the man who raped me.

I was afraid he might commit suicide. He had spoken about his suicidal thoughts in a conversation we had in Cathedral Park on September, September 8. I took his words seriously.

What happened between us wasn’t violent. It was simply sex without consent. It happened very quickly. I was in a relationship with somebody else at the time. It made things complicated.

When I finally went to the police in March of this year, it was because of a pattern of break-ins, hacks, network anomalies, and odd occurrences over the last two years. I didn’t know for sure who was responsible, but I had a lot of circumstantial evidence that this individual had been monitoring my online activity over multiple channels. I knew he had shared confidential information about me without my consent. I did not feel safe in my home.

I have also filed a complaint with the California State Bar about this matter, because the individual in question is a lawyer licensed in that state. I received a detailed and prompt response, rejecting my complaint because my county district attorney had not yet filed charges but inviting me to appeal and submit further documents and evidence. After much indecision and waiting, I finally did so last week.

From here I have done about all I can do, working within the system. Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to draw on my personal experience to advocate for trauma survivors everywhere.

I made the decision this morning to password-protect the link to the individual’s voice confession and the accompanying transcript. All of the content is still there. The recording was made legally in the State of Oregon and I have every right to share it in the future as I see fit. But I am choosing not to. Because leaving this information up there and crawlable by search engines does not help me in any way. It only causes harm to him.

I am afraid of this person and I think they should receive justice under the law, but  I do not want them dead. That is not part of my code of ethics. That is not who I am.

What Was Project Eva?

I know some people who use GitHub’s Gist feature like a blog. I myself have only written one public Gist in my life. Here it is, first published on May 2, 2017:

https://gist.github.com/tessgadwa/47fedfaa053cb1d8f0b9d0aef82b565f

Project Eva was for a worthy cause — evangelizing open source.

I quote,

“The chief Gnostic error is to believe that the rest of the world can remain in Hell.”

“The world cannot survive half slave and half free.”

If the tone seems a little bombastic, bear in mind that I had recently left Christianity behind. Or to be more accurate, taken a several years hiatus. Considering that I once wrote a book on the topic, that was kind of a big step. It’s not surprising I looked to something else to fill the void.

Five years later, I believe that while FOSS is powerful both as a practice and an ideology, it is not the be-all and end-all of solutions, for three reasons:

  1. Security vulnerabilities.
  2. Decentralized systems tend to propagate and amplify bias.
  3. Difficult to make economically sustainable.

I have written at length about numbers two and three, and experienced number one firsthand. That is not my point today. I am not sure that every system needs to be open source, or that the model translates across disciplines to areas such as engineering or the arts. I am not sure that it doesn’t.

I am also in a different place theologically than I was a few years ago. What strikes me now are the similarities between the communitarian principles and values of FOSS, and those of early Christians. I would love to start a coding organization for people of faith — but it’s going to have to wait until my body recovers. Right now it’s all I can do to work and cook myself meals.

A Fist Raised, Weakly

Bruising from anemia due to fibroids

Bruising from anemia due to fibroids. It appeared out of nowhere this afternoon. I didn’t bump or hit my hand.

I wrote an article about living with fibroids. Please read it if you get a chance. It amazes me that 26 million women live with this serious illness, yet many people don’t know what they are. My best friend, whom I’ve known for 11 years, had never heard of them.

Bleeding is getting worse every day. It’s worse than it was when I first wrote the article. Based on the supplies I’m consuming, I’m losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 ml of blood per day. For perspective, typical blood lost during a menstrual cycle is 60 ml per week. This means I am losing blood at 5-7X the normal rate. And I am losing this much every week.

This alone won’t kill me. Human body has to lose 2.5 liters of blood to die directly from blood loss (anemia could theoretically produce heart failure at an earlier stage, but we won’t worry about that). If I keep drinking fluids, resting, and taking iron supplements I’ll be able to last until surgery. Whether it’s in 2 weeks or in 6 months. I’ll even be able to keep working at my current job.

What concerns me is that the rate of blood loss has accelerated dramatically. I have experienced  bleeding since Friday, April 22 of this year, on all but approximately 3 days. This past week has been by far the heaviest since Saturday, April 23 — the day after this “never-ending period” began.

So I ask myself, “what if it gets worse?”

Could I actually hemorrhage?

That can happen with miscarriages. How different is my condition?

What if I lose consciousness and never wake up? Could that happen?

Seems unlikely but not impossible. I’m still waiting for a referral to see a specialist. Realistically, I am ready for surgery — more ready than I was two weeks ago — but it will be several months at least before my life goes back to normal again. Had a Zoom call with my doctor this morning and he doesn’t have any clear idea how to stop or decrease the bleeding. We are just going to keep trying things while we wait for the procedure to get scheduled.

If I die before I wake, please know that the US health care system has some problems. But I am guessing you may already know that.

What else do you need to know?

An individual who is a prominent attorney wants me to keep silent. According to the federal FBI definition, he is guilty of the crime of rape.

More at https://rosecheval.wordpress.com

This man went to high school with the current U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. She looks a lot like me. It is possible they knew each other. It is also possible they have kept in touch.

From here you may draw your own conclusions.

Lucky Numbers

Just over 14 years ago, on July 7, 2007, my life changed forever. What happened?

A microburst.

7.7.7

In the space of fifteen minutes, an unusual weather pattern took down three trees in the backyard of our home in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of them landed on a neighbor’s truck.

It seemed like every other summer thunderstorm. We didn’t even lose power. Until we ventured outside and saw the damage. Until we talked to the neighbors. Who were not happy, to say the least.

I generally avoid trying to befriend or even casually get to know my neighbors, and these people were the reason why. They seemed like the ultimate cool couple: the guy was a musician (although he worked for a bank) and his wife was a freelance photographer. She had accompanied me on my regular restaurant review column, to Meskerem, the new Ethiopian place in town. We had hung out a little bit socially and I was hoping they would get to be our new “couple friends,” in our neighborhood, instead of a 40-minute freeway drive away, like my in-laws and most of the book club that formed our core social group.

She was livid at the demise of her pickup truck.

“You should have taken better care of your trees!” she told me.

What could I say? They were alive and healthy. Until they weren’t.

One of the unique features of the property, and one of the reasons we’d bought it, was the patch of forest at the back of the lot, bordering on a stream and a right-of-way. In theory, we could have built an artists’ studio or a mother-in-law apartment out there. In practice, we were happy to just let the woods be woods.

That was the last time I talked to those neighbors. After that, they built a spite fence (homemade, out of chicken wire) to divide our properties. I was left to deal with the insurance claim situation — and the expense and logistics of removing the debris. My husband was a busy corporate lawyer. I managed all of our finances, all of the taxes, all of the household issues — from ascertaining that the copper wire had been stolen out of our exterior HVAC units and getting it replaced to putting pressure on the Kingsdown Mattress Company to fulfill their warranty after documenting that our California King pillowtop mattress had sagged measurably in the middle (the dreaded “taco” effect).

I did all of this cheerfully, until 7/7/7.

I used to read a lot into the significance of that date.

Now, not so much.

The angry neighbors. My feelings of isolation and abandonment. My husband’s affair.

I wanted to believe that there was a higher purpose in our separation — that everything happened for a reason.

If you are a recruiter or a prospective employer, this is the reason that my Career in Tech didn’t really get started until Age 32. Up until that time, I was freelancing and homemaking — expecting to be a full-time mom, announcement in the next family holiday newsletter.

Sometimes plans don’t go as expected. I always thought there was beauty, meaning, and purpose behind that. Maybe there still is. I don’t know. Maybe my husband was meant to be with the woman he left me for. She was beautiful. Jet black hair. Trim physique. Yale Law School grad. A coworker. Also married. She lured him with a Margaret Atwood novel. My command of Dan Simmons and William Gibson could not compete.

The affair started a few months earlier, while they were traveling in Alabama together, on business. The hotel accidentally sent them the “couples package” — roses, wine, and chocolates — even though they were were staying in separate rooms.

Ten or eleven years ago I would have told you that everything happens for a reason. That I was destined to be an entrepreneur. Or raise children with somebody else. Now I really don’t believe in destiny — or if I do, it’s not the type that you can read from a three-digit sequence.

Now I think we find our meaning and purpose elsewhere. Namely, in how we react.

The wisdom to know what we can change and what we can’t. The courage to act if we can.

That’s the only meaning that endures, after the acid bath of time has stripped away the rest. I think somebody made that into a poem. I think they called it the Desiderata.