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On love and sexual desire

Soundtrack: Skullcrusher Mountain (with lyrics)

After seeing a review of it, I just watched again the first episode of Lupin III. with an eye on how sex and love are represented. To my eyes, they seem to be shown as mutually exclusive: the evil boss sexual appetites have Fujiko tied up and (childishly) "raped". Lupin's love of Fujiko is shown as self-sacrifice, with him ending up in Zenigata's cuffs, with him enduring her betrayal. In the end, Lupin's sexual desire for Fujiko seems to turn her again into a disadvantaged position, as the instrument of "rape" of the evil boss comes back into play.

In all the literature that I remember as I grew up, there has been love and there has been sexual desire. Love was wishing for the other person to be well, sexual desire was wishing for oneself to be well.

For some reason, in most of the literature there seemed to be an implicit rule saying that two people cannot both be well at the same time. Love meant being soulless and devoting oneself to the other person entirely, and suffering from it. Sexual desire meant reducing the other person as an object of one's own pleasure, and (usually she) would suffer from it.

Sometimes two people loved each other and wished for both to be well at the same time, and were usually torn away by circumstances, or had to suffer and sacrifice a lot so that they could be together, or one of them would die, for extra drama. What being together meant, was usually not covered in the story, and tended to happen during that "happily ever after" that usually starts where the book or film ends.

Yet, I find that sex is a wonderful way for two people to be both happy at the same time, where I can desire my happiness and the other person's happiness, and where each feeling, each desire, each move contributes to both. In pleasing myself I please the other; in pleasing the other I please myself.

Is there a romantic story where the lovers do not just feel love, but also they long for, they desire each other? Where that desire is shown not by hitting the partner in the head with a club and dragging them to wake up tied up in a secret lair, but by inviting their partner to come closer, kissing them, holding them tight to their body, caressing them, discovering what gives them pleasure, opening up for them to play, each person riding their own, the other's, and their shared desire?

I cannot think of one. It sounds like I'll have to write one.

With my own life.

Posted Tue Jul 22 17:40:36 2014 Tags:


I've recently spent a lot of effort trying to find, recover, reconnect, embrace, strengthen and grow my inner child, my actual identity, what I'm comfortable being. Now I figure that I feel abused when I perceive an assault against my identity.

I'm ok having had to study a shallow moralistic piece of literature at school. Having been expected to like it and embrace it, that feels like abuse.

I'm ok being told I made a mistake. Being humiliated for it, feels like abuse.

I'm ok being suggested how to avoid making a mistake. But being expected to promptly follow the advice and change my life accordingly, that feels like abuse.

Someone offers help in cleaning my house? Fine. Someone barges in, takes over my personal space and reshapes it as they see fit? That feels like abuse.

If I'm sad, a hug's great. If the hug comes with a surprise grope at my bottom, that feels like abuse. I would not be bothered about the sexual assault, but about the denial of my current state of mind. The denial of feelings. Forget who you are, how you feel, and just be my sexual object. When it begins to deny my identity, then it starts feeling like abuse.

Being taught that "when you love a person, you must..." feels like abuse.

Being expected to have sex and like it at another person's whim, regardless of my real feelings, feels like abuse.

Being expected to like to have sex, or not like to have sex, regardless of my real feelings, feels like abuse.

The concept of "marital duty" feels like abuse. Two people who are expected to demand and provide sex, just because they are married, regardless of what they actually feel or need.

The concept of "training your boyfriend" sounds to me like nonconsensual manipulation. Like Abuse.

A lot of dating advice? Abuse. Abuse. Abuse.

A relationship based on me faking my identity, in order to keep another person close to me who wouldn't be otherwise, sounds to me like a relationship based on mutual abuse.

Why do we even have the concept of love potions in our culture, in our fairy tales?

"For your own good", abuse. Luckily, there are alternatives.

Being called "nice boobies" when you want to be called "Elizabeth", feels to me like abuse.

Being called "geek" when you want to be called "Enrico", feels to me like abuse.

Being called a stereotype when I want to be recognised as an individual, feels like abuse. When I grow up in an environment where that is the accepted way of addressing people, and so I learn to do the same, then I feel abused and I'm taught to abuse.

I think I had some pretty abusive role models when I grew up.

Being asked to do something I don't want to? Fine. Telling me off because I do not like it? Abuse.

Despising me because I like something another person doesn't? Abuse.

Despising me because I don't like something another person likes? Abuse.

As a kid I quickly had to learn to figure out what a person liked or disliked, and pretend accordingly. To this day, I still have a problem answering the simple question "what would you like to do today?"

It feels like abuse when my identity is denied. When I cannot make mistakes. When I cannot be vulnerable. When I have to be happy. When I have to be sad. When I have to care. When I must not care. When it doesn't matter how I feel, who I am, but I just have to feel something, like something, be something.

For my own good. Because someone else knows better. Because "that's the thing you do". Because.

When I was a kid, I felt very uncomfortable when going to a carnival or to a theme park, because I felt an expectation to enjoy it, regardles of what I was really feeling. An effort was made to make me happy so I had to. It was a place where I was not free to have my own mood. Abuse.

The doctor would touch, knock, hit, tell me to do this or that, but would never ask me how I was feeling. He would tell me how I was feeling, and he must have been right. Abuse.

There was lots of abuse against my identity in my growing up. I had to learn to blend in to protect myself. I had to learn to please. I had to pretend I liked it all. I got good at pretending.

In order to be accepted as a person I needed to pretend to be someone else. And the person that ended up being accepted was not me.

In "A Wizard from Earthsea", Ged turns into a falcon to run away, but stays a falcon for too long, and forgets how to be a person again. The wizard Ogion turns him back by recognising him, accepting him, and speaking only one word: Ged's name.

I feel abused when I'm taken away from my identity, my feelings, my needs. I could even do that to myself, out of frustration, out of despair, out of habit.

I have started to recognise the moments when I'm not feeling abused, the people who accept me for what I am, there and then, who allow me to exist without judging me. I have started to accept all other moments as likely abuse attempts, and emotionally deal with them accordingly.

I have started to become conscious of when I'm abusing myself (this has been an interesting read), and stop, and ask myself why.

Posted Sat Jun 21 14:38:12 2014 Tags:

Fear of losing

If I am afraid of breaking my laptop, then I may leave it at home, and it will be as if I didn't have a laptop.

If I am afraid of losing faith, then I may closely follow the dictates of the church. I will be keeping the church's faith, but not mine.

If I am afraid of losing my children, they may have to run away from me to be free to grow into adults.

If I am afraid of losing my inner child, then I might not expose it to the world, and so my inner child will never live. I will just be a box, a mask of what the world expects from me, that shelters and cages the Me that would like to live.

If I am afraid of losing you, then I may get obsessed with preserving the beautiful image I have of you. I may stop seeing, experiencing you as you live, think, grow. I may become afraid of your depth, of your being different each day, of your being alive. I may end up with cherishing a perfect image of you in my head, while you will have become a stranger to me.

I am really asking when I can accept answers.

I am really living when I can accept myself.

I am really loving when I can accept you.

Posted Mon Jun 16 09:21:52 2014 Tags:


We like perfection.

Perfection is the ultimate achievement, there is nothing beyond.

Perfection is fully understood. It is not going to change, it is fact, we can rely upon it.

Perfection is final. Perfection is death.

Ideas can be perfect, and perfect ideas are easy to understand.

Perfect ideas are final and unchangeable. Perfect ideas are hard to correct, hard to refute.

Perfect ideas spread easily. They are helpful. They shed light on a little corner of our world, give it shape. They bring stability. They can be relied upon. Perfect ideas make good memes.

Perfect ideas are shared standards through which we act, interact, coordinate, cooperate. They don't change, so they are a solid base for habits, that make a bit of our life a little easier.

That we should not kill, is a perfect idea. So is racism. So are the ten commandments, so, for many, is love.

Thanks Lynoure for saying the right thing at the right time.

Posted Wed Jun 4 22:53:37 2014 Tags:

When I said "I love you"

All people ever say is: thank you (a celebration of life) and please (an opportunity to make life more wonderful). Marshall Rosenberg

I have said "I love you" many times in my life, and many times I have failed to say it, because, for me, it is not an easy thing to say.

It is not easy when I have no idea what the other person will make of it: will they be frightened? Will they feel awkward around me afterwards? Will they disappear from my life?

But do I know what I myself mean when I say it?

I have said "I love you" because I thought you somehow expected it of me. "please, consider me worth of you".

I have said "I love you" to beg for affection. "please, love me back".

I have said "I love you" because I was grateful to you for existing in my life. "thank you".

I now understand why it has not been easy for me to say "I love you" when I was feeling, or imagining, that I had to say it.

I now understand why I have sometimes made myself awkward, as I was begging.

I now understand why, when I said "I love you" out of gratitude, when I said it to celebrate that you exist in my life, that's when I felt no trouble, no fear, and when I felt that my words really were fitting with what I was feeling and what I was wanting to say.

Posted Mon Jun 2 10:18:56 2014 Tags:

Wheezy for industrial software development

I'm helping with setting up a wheezy-based toolchain for industrial automation.

The basic requirements are: live-build, C++11, Qt 5.3, and a frozen internal wheezy mirror.


A good part of a day's work was lost because of #749734 and possibly #628779. Mirror rebuild is still ongoing, and fingers crossed.

This is Italy, and you can't simply download 21Gb of debs just to see how it goes.


Stable toolchains for C++11 now exist and have gained fast adoption. It makes sense, since given what is in C++11 it is unthinkable to start a new C++ project with the old standard nowadays.

C++11 is supported by g++ 4.8+ or clang 3.3+. None of them is available on wheezy or wheezy-backports.

Backports exist of g++ 4.8 only for Ubuntu 12.04, but they are uninstallable on wheezy due at least to a different libc6. I tried rebuilding g++4.8 on wheezy but quickly gave up.

clang 3.3 has a build dependency on g++ 4.8. LOL.

However, LLVM provides an APT repository with their most recent compiler, and it works, too. C++11 problem solved!

Qt 5.3

Qt 5.3 is needed because of the range of platforms it can target. There is no wheezy backport that I can find.

I cannot simply get it from Qt's Download page and install it, since we need it packaged, to build live ISOs with it.

I'm attempting to backport the packages from experimental to wheezy.

Here are its build dependencies:

libxcb-1.10 (needed by qt5)

Building this is reasonably straightforward.

libxkbcommon 0.4.0 (needed by qt5)

The version from jessie builds fine on wheezy, provided you remove --fail-missing from the dh_install invocation.

libicu 52.1 (needed by harfbuzz)

The jessie packages build on wheezy, provided that mentions of clang are deleted from source/, since it fails to build with clang 3.5 (the one currently available for wheezy on


Backporting this is a bloodbath: the Debian packages from jessie depend on a forest of gobject hipsterisms of doom, all unavailable on wheezy. I gave up.

qt 5.3

qtbase-opensource-src-5.3.0+dfsg can be made to build with an embedded version of harfbuzz, with just this change:

diff -Naur a/debian/control a/debian/control
--- a/debian/control    2014-05-20 18:48:27.000000000 +0200
+++ b/debian/control    2014-05-29 17:45:31.037215786 +0200
@@ -28,7 +28,6 @@
-               libharfbuzz-dev,
diff -Naur a/debian/rules b/debian/rules
--- a/debian/rules  2014-05-18 01:56:37.000000000 +0200
+++ b/debian/rules  2014-05-29 17:45:25.738634371 +0200
@@ -108,7 +108,6 @@
                -plugin-sql-tds \
                -system-sqlite \
                -platform $(platform_arg) \
-               -system-harfbuzz \
                -system-zlib \
                -system-libpng \
                -system-libjpeg \

(thanks Lisandro Damián Nicanor Pérez Meyer for helping me there!)

There are probably going to be further steps in the Qt5 toolchain.

Actually, let's try prebuilt binaries

The next day with a fresh mind we realised that it is preferable to reduce our tampering with the original wheezy to a minimum. Our current plan is to use wheezy's original Qt and Qt-using packages, and use Qt's prebuilt binaries in /opt for all our custom software.

We run Qt's installer, tarred the result, and wrapped it in a Debian package like this:

$ cat debian/rules
#!/usr/bin/make -f


    dh $@

    sed -re 's/@QT_VERSION@/$(QT_VERSION)/g' >

    # Download and untar the prebuild Qt5 binaries
    install -d -o root -g root -m 0755 debian/our-qt5-sdk/opt/Qt
    curl http://localserver/Qt$(QT_VERSION).tar.xz | xz -d | tar -C debian/our-qt5-sdk/opt -xf -
    # Move the runtime part to our-qt5
    install -d -o root -g root -m 0755 debian/our-qt5/opt/Qt
    mv debian/our-qt5-sdk/opt/Qt/$(QT_VERSION) debian/our-qt5/opt/Qt/
    # Makes dpkg-shlibdeps work on packages built with Qt from /opt
    # Hack. Don't try this at home. Don't ever do this unless you
    # know what you are doing. This voids your warranty. If you
    # know what you are doing, you won't do this.
    find debian/our-qt5/opt/Qt/$(QT_VERSION)/gcc_64/lib -maxdepth 1 -type f -name "lib*.so*" \
        | sed -re 's,^.+/(lib[^.]+)\.so.+$$,\1 5 our-qt5 (>= $(QT_VERSION)),' > debian/our-qt5.shlibs

$ cat
export PATH := /opt/Qt/@QT_VERSION@/gcc_64/bin:$(PATH)
export QMAKESPEC=/opt/Qt/@QT_VERSION@/gcc_64/mkspecs/linux-clang/

To build one of our packages using Qt5.3 and clang, we just add this to its debian/rules:

include /usr/share/our-qt5/

Wrap up

We got the dependencies sorted. Hopefully the mirror will rebuild itself tonight and tomorrow we can resume working on our custom live system.

Posted Thu May 29 18:05:17 2014 Tags:

On responsibilities

I feel like in my Debian projects I have two roles: the person with the responsibility of making the project happen, and the person who does the work to make it happen.

As the person responsible for the project, I need to keep track of vision, goals, milestones, status. To make announcements, find contributors, motivate them, deal with users and bug reports, maintain documentation, digest feedback.

As the person who does the work to make it happen, I need quiet time, I need to study technology, design code, write unit tests, merge patches, code, code, code, ask around about deployment information, more code.

I have a hard time doing both things at the same time: the first engages my social skills and extroversion, requires low-latency interaction, and acting when outside things happen. The second engages my technical skills and introversion, requires quiet uninterrupted periods of flow, and acting when inspiration strikes. I never managed to make good use of "gift bugs" or "minions": I often found the phrase "it's easier for me to do than to explain it" sadly relevant. Now I understand that it's not because of the objective difficulty of explaining or doing things, nor about the value of doing or of involving people. It's about switching from one kind of workflow to another. If I rephrase that as "it's easier for me to stay in flux and fix it, than to switch my entire attitude to ask for help".

Of course this does not scale: we've all been saying it since I can remember.

Looking at the situation from the point of view of those two roles, however, I now wonder if those two roles shouldn't really require two people. In other worlds they are: the project managers, taking responsibility for making the project happen, and the software designers, artists, and all other kind of artisans doing the work to make it happen.

Of course I don't want the kind of project manager that shifts responsibilities to artisans, does nothing and takes the credit for the project: not in paid work, not in Debian.

Project management is something else.

I would be interested instead in having the kind of project manager that takes responsibility for the project, checks how the artisans are doing and communicates what is happening to the rest of the world, deals with the community, motivates more people to help, test, try, use, give feedback on things as they happen. A project manager / community manager.

So that while I'm flux there is someone who tags bugs as "gift", mentors people to find code and documentation, and remembers to write an announcement if I implemented three cool things in a row and I'm already busy working on the fourth.

So that I don't write cool ideas in my todo list where nobody can read them, but I can share them to a mailing list where someone picks up a relevant one and finds someone to make it happen while I'm busy refactoring old code that only I can understand.

So that if I say "sorry, paid work calls, I won't be able to work on this project for a month", I'll be able to completely forget about that project for a whole month, without leaving the community out there to die.

That's an interesting job for non-uploading DDs: please take over my projects. Let's share a vision, and team up to make it happen. Give me the freedom of being the craftsman I enjoy being, and take away from me those responsibilities that I've never asked for.

The worst project managers are those that never asked to be one, but were promoted to it. Let's not repeat that mistake in Debian.

A good part of the credits for this post go to Francesca Ciceri, for the discussions we had on our way back from MiniDebConf Barcelona 2014.

P.S. I'm seeing how a non-uploading DD could be in the Maintainer field for one or more packages, with uploading DDs being, well, uploaders. Food for thought.

Posted Tue Mar 18 16:58:58 2014 Tags:

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