October 2014

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Friday, October 24th, 2014 21:37
1. My work schedule is changing and I now have Mondays and Thursdays off instead of Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm really glad I was still (at least for now) able to keep the week divided pretty evenly (as evenly as you can get with a seven-day week), and although this means my next day off is pushed back a day, at least I'm working afternoons on Sundays so I can sleep in.

2. I can also sleep in tomorrow! Which I may need, considering I drank a lot of soda today. (I'm really tired right now, but that doesn't mean I'll actually be able to get to sleep, though I'm going to try.)

3. Today was my coworker's last day, so there was pizza at work. It's going to be weird without him there, though, as he's been working there since the store opened, same as me (and now we're down to only five people including me who have been there since the store opened).

4. We finished up watching Hataraku Maou-sama tonight, which made me want to get back to reading the books (I only read the first one before getting distracted by other stuff) and when I went to see how many there were now and saw that it was up to volume twelve, I was able to find the ones I was missing quite easily! (I still don't have volume twelve itself, but it was only released last month. I'm sure I'll be able to find it by the time I actually want to read it.)

5. Not only did I have pizza for lunch at work, but we got pizza for dinner, too. :D
Friday, October 24th, 2014 19:21
Not allowed to peck Purple with my long, dagger-like loon beak.
Friday, October 24th, 2014 20:15
Sarah, sitting and putting labels on the 150-odd vials of BPAL I decanted today: "You know, I don't think it was an unreasonable request."

Me, opening 200-some vials that I bought secondhand to sniff them and determine if I like them or not: "What?"

Sarah: "'One of these days I should find a perfume I can wear to work', I said. And here we are, somehow that having turned into 'try everything BPAL has ever made'..."

Me: ...Hello, have you MET ME? YOU KNEW IT WAS ON FIRE WHEN YOU LAID DOWN ON IT.

(She is so very tolerant of the fact that "....that escalated quickly" is my life motto.)
Friday, October 24th, 2014 22:15
NB. Spoilers more or less from the start here.

There is a tendency in a lot of adventure fiction, which I have complained about before, to assume that the correct course of action is always to save the one life in front of you, even if it condemns millions you can not see to death. I don't deny that there are interesting debates to be had and stories to be told around this dilemma especially since it is often framed as the certainty of one death weighed against the possibility of many. However the answer "save the person in front of you" has become so trite and well-worn that I am mostly irritated by such stories. Unless a show is deliberately being "dark" or "realistic" then it will always balk at having the hero deliberately take an innocent life*.

It doesn't help that, as a bonus prize for saving the life in front of you, the millions always get saved as well. In fact the whole dilemma ends up in stories as a somewhat tired device to present some kind of moral choice to our protagonist. We the audience (once you've seen a few of these stories) know it's a trick question - everyone is going to be fine. The hero, particularly if its the Doctor will find another way. It should be noted that [personal profile] ed_rex interprets the message as specifically anti-abortion. That's not my reading of the story, in part (as a commenter on his blog pointed out) because abortion isn't such a hot-button issue in the UK, but mostly because it was presented much more as a conflict between the many and the one than between the mother and the child. However, it is an interesting reading of the story.

More under the cut )

In spite of my rant above I didn't dislike the story, but the central moment that needed to be good to make it worth watching just irritated me and so I'm ultimately rather `meh' about the whole thing.

*It occurs to me that this is one of the reasons Torchwood:Children of Earth produced such intense reactions (I mean, apart from Ianto, obv.). Jack's sacrifice of an innocent was entirely out of place and deeply shocking in what was, despite all its "adult" trappings, an escapist show.
Friday, October 24th, 2014 14:44
Working working working. Decanting decanting decanting. The cooking tv shows I'm watching in the background are making me hungry.

Read more... )
Friday, October 24th, 2014 11:42

Went to the doctor. Got my bloodwork done. Or it's getting done, however it works. I was supposed to have a pap done at the same time but I couldn't face that today. Fortunately if I come back to the doctor's in 30 days, I can still get it billed as the same visit and therefore not pay for it. Hurrah for preventative care! I don't care who I have to cut, I'm never going without insurance again.

I went to Target afterwards and got a Crock Pot©. The little 2 quart one we've got isn't cutting the mustard anymore, so I just splurged and bought a real one for $20 that's 4.5 quarts (4.25L). It makes it easier to have food to eat when we get home from work if I just throw it in the Crock Pot. I also got a couple of other things we'd be needing but didn't have the money for - water filters, face wash (regular soap does not work on my facial skin. Thank you, psoriasis.) That sort of thing. The little things that are right above necessities like food, but right below luxuries like new sheets. (We have lots of sheets.)

I need to go renew my driver's license, but I don't want to because they'll want a new picture and I like the old one. Small problems.

It feels like Saturday but I know it's not, because I'm not at work! I have to work this Saturday at the football game, so I'm not exactly thrilled about spending the weekend before my birthday at work. I keep reminding myself it could be worse. Much, much worse.

Brain is ... functioning. My nurse practitioner asked how I was doing and I told her I was about 70% of where I'd like to be, but part of that is the drain from dealing with the idiots at work. Meds are staying the same, but I did get a packet to see if I could get one of them a bit less expensively. That would be nice.

There's a fall festival at the Methodist church I'm attending this Wednesday. I think I'm going to go. I would do the 5k as well, but I think if I did that I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. Stupid arthritis.

Friday, October 24th, 2014 15:44
Nigella Lawson on the topic (semi-steamed); entirely baked version involving TINY FREEZABLE RAMEKINS; if doing the thing of soaking the dates first, lots of people recommend tea and you want to use overbrewed rooibos; this is totally a thing you can do, self.

PS you -- The Pioneer Woman makes creme brulee look not entirely terrifying, Rasa Malaysia wants to be your misguided friend, the Graun is your spiritual home, and the Beeb wants you to have two recipes.
Friday, October 24th, 2014 11:52
  • At least some of my being terrified of writing for people other than myself (so - blog posts, technical writing, etc) is related to my dad's terrible thing of going "too slow!" at us whenever he asked us a question over dinner. Ergo I baulk and dig in my heels and refuse to write anything until the deadline's gone wooshing past because I'm too scared, and at least when it has gone wooshing past I am safe in the knowledge that I have disappointed people and can therefore can just get on with things (to some extent with a cocktail of sleep deprivation and adrenaline driving me forward). (Don't hesitate/it'll never push you forward/don't waste the time you've been given...) (There is a poem trying to happen about how I am living on time borrowed from my other selves.)
  • I look despairing when talking about TOG, and open and happy and secure when talking about P-the-no-longer-unethical or Awesome Ex-Housemate C. (And realised myself, somewhat wryly, that towards the end of our relationship I felt that I was without hope on the topic of Us; out the other side of that I find that I am not, in fact, as hopeless as might be good for me.)
  • Joking and current music fields aside, I'm pretty confident that I do love TOG in the knowledge of who and what he is, as opposed to an image of him disconnected from reality. I was very clear that I didn't expect that he would quit and that I loved him in that knowledge and belief; unfortunately nothing much has changed there except for developing a hard limit. Which makes not worrying about him difficult, alas, and means I have all these feelings that I need to work out what to do with.
  • I am all tangled up and sad & trying to carry other people's burdens all unasked at the moment; it's not good for me and I need to work out how to set them aside. Homework for the week was lots of breathing exercises (we know they work for me) and some focussing on the serenity prayer (at my own wry suggestion; counsellor said "Will that help?" and I replied "Well, it'll make me grin wryly, so yes, in a sense....").

Next session late Friday afternoon next week. Counsellor is once again attempting to charge me less money...
Friday, October 24th, 2014 08:05
via http://ift.tt/1znLCWo at October 24, 2014 at 03:00AM:

Twist the bones and bend the back Itch-it-a-cop-it-a-Mel-a-ka-mys-ti-caTrim him of his baby fat Itch-it-a-cop-it-a-Mel-a-ka-mys-ti-caGive him fur black as black

Just like This
Friday, October 24th, 2014 00:36
It turns out that I have some unprocessed emotions from the final months of LiveJournal volunteering. I found this out due to a superficially similar thing adjacent to me triggering those emotions last night. Once I identified it as both having tripped off some stored-up trauma, and also (thanks to a timely comment from [personal profile] sithjawa) affecting my man'chi, it was easier to cope.

Easier didn't mean actually easy. I still started out my morning in a right state. I was underslept a bit, so I was a bit woobly, and the main thing keeping me from hiding under somebody's desk with some fairly terrible raspberry vodka was that it would be unseemly. So I didn't do that. And then Fishie said something on Twitter which struck my funny bone, and I laughed a lot about it and then I was basically okay. And then my Overlady called me into her office for some advice and a pep talk, and that was good.

And then it was time for an A-Team training session on some in-house software made by the same team which makes my participant database tool. Of whom I have grown increasingly fond in contrast to the everloving helpdesk software, which is out-house. (Which also explains why I could not find anything online when searching up the name of the tool.) The thing is a front end for the awkward automated coupling of Mailman with arguments against certain fields in the company directory, via a nightly cronjob. The highlight was the awkward attempt to not explain boolean logic when explaining some of the less intuitive settings. The dev also wasn't sure quite what the Bugzilla category was for it.

I did catch the tail end of lunch with Purple, which irrationally pleased me (as he'd put off going to lunch as long as possible in order to possibly overlap with me, as I'd told him my schedule).

After that there was a team meeting. The grandmanager has returned.

Researcher Carmageddon was surprised to see me in early. He wasn't having the greatest of days either, due to having parked the previous evening inside what later became a crime scene due to the discovery of some explosives or something, just in time for him to not be able to drive in search of dinner. This did not start his morning off the best.

Later in the evening, I was poking at the mail tool to see what lists there were in the live version. Within about twenty minutes, I found myself raiding Bugzilla, because I'd discovered a bit of a little UI bug. This touched off a rediscovery of how strong a case of impostor syndrome I actually have, with concurrent pep talk from Purple. It is apparently patently obvious to anyone within looning distance of me how much delight I take in finding these things. The surprise to me this time was how easy the first one was to find. I do this. I'm good at this. I should stop being surprised that I'm good at this. It does help to have someone who knows exactly what kind of pressure cooker filled with dry ice DeVry was.

Tomorrow will be an utter zoo.

Tonight, I'm putting a few more touches on the costume. It's going to be very hot, but I think it's worth it.
Friday, October 24th, 2014 07:01
via http://ift.tt/1oArFak at October 24, 2014 at 02:00AM:
teacher: are there any classes you are struggling with?
me: the bourgeois
teacher: what
me: what
karl marx: nice
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 23:32
We stopped in the cheesecake shop this evening and I got a slice of green tea guava ube cheesecake. *_* It was so good! Green tea cheesecake with chunks of ube in it and a guava glaze on top. It's over $6 for one slice, so it's not somewhere we go often, but I definitely want to try and get that again at some point.

They had a lot of other stuff that sounded really good, too. I wish I could try more of them out! (But right now if I were going to splurge for another piece, I would definitely get more of this than try something else new...)
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 22:16
Wagner's Das Rheingold is playing at the opera in town this weekend. It's got good reviews and I'm kind of tempted to go just to, well, have seen it.

On the other hand my dad is on the Island for the next few days, so the timing may not work out in any event. I think it's going well? We're talking a bit more. Today we drove up to Lake Cowichan, which was beautiful as ever and sang to me and my shoulders unwound until we left.
Friday, October 24th, 2014 00:39
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Five-spice cider pork belly. After commuting through a Nor'easter both ways, the scent of this as I walked through the door was heavenly.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 15:11
At Las Vegas airport. The flight is scheduled to leave in 1.5 hours and arrive in Germany at 13 o'clock local time. I have lots of music, a good book (still reading Ancillary Justice) and three movies downloaded to my cell phone via Google Play Music. Still, I hope to sleep a bit on the first half of the flight to make the jet lag a bit more bearable.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 22:29
Is holding a place.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 09:31
From the SF3 board (WisCon's parent organization):
In response to member concerns, Piglet Evans has stated that she will not volunteer for Safety positions at WisCon in the future, and will recuse herself from handling reports of harassment or related matters in any other ConCom position. We further guarantee that she will be held to this. We thank Piglet for her cooperation, and for her years of service in many capacities.
Comments can be sent to SF3's Corresponding Secretary: sf3@wiscon.info
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 13:51
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Unsurprisingly, sold out of everything bagels by the time I got here. Next time!
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 13:22
post-tags: instagram, crosspost The opening menu for @bagelsaurus13.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 11:43
Previously unread.

This is the 4th (or 5th), I think in Priest's The Clockwork Century sequence. It primarily focus on Rector, the extremely red-haired chap who gives Zeke the route description to "inside the Wall" in Boneshaker.

It' sfull of "inside the Wall", intrigue, mystery and politics. All in all, a most pleasant read. I suspect it relies on having read quite a few of the prior works, for it to make massive sense, though.
Tags:
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 01:56
Thoughts on the recent Agents of SHIELD episode (2x05, "A Hen in the Wolf House"):

Spoilers! )
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 08:15
via http://ift.tt/1FGXUKg at October 23, 2014 at 03:00AM:
Some people who’ve been following me for a while probably have picked up that I love the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although all the political mechanisms behind his assassination are fascinating as well, especially because, y’know, it led to world war 1, the actual assassination story is my favorite. (Because it was so hilariously botched)

You guys probably already know it but GUESS WHAT I’M TELLING IT AGAIN. (Im not gonna source though ‘cause I’m lazy sorry) 

So, ahem. Story time. Gather round, children.

There’s this dude named Franz and he was heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne back in 1914. So he went to inspect some imperial troops in Boznia and Herzegovina, which were provinces of Austria-Hungary. This pissed off a bunch of Serbian nationalists, who thought the territories should be part of the Serbian nation.

But I don’t really care about that. What’s important was that Franz and his wife were in Sarajevo and a terrorist group called the Black Hand decided to off him.

So Franz and his wife are touring around this city in an open-topped car, doing their whole royal wave thing. The Black Hand actually sent six assassins after the Ferdinands, just to make absolutely sure they died. The first guy actually chickened out so he’s not really important. The second assassin comes up all “Yeah i’m gonna kill these guys” so he throws a grenade at the car and it BOUNCES OFF and although it injures some people nearby, the Ferdinands are completely fine. So the dude’s like “oh shit” so he takes a cyanide pill and throws himself into a river so he won’t be taken by the authorities.

Unfortunately for him, though, the cyanide pill was expired and the river was six inches deep so the police just pulled him out and took him off to jail. All the other assassins kinda just gave up and wandered off. One of the assassins, Gavrilo Princip, was like “well screw this, i’m hungry” so he left to get a sandwich.

He was in the middle of ordering said sandwich when he heard the sound of a car stalling behind him. Turns out the Ferdinand’s drivers had gotten messed up by the crowds and accidentally took a wrong turn and then stalled RIGHT NEXT TO PRINCIP. So of course Princip was like “what a crazy random happenstance” and shot them both and started world war one.

So yeah, that’s my favorite assassination story because it’s great.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 08:44
First, read these slides. Done? Good.

Hypervisors present a smaller attack surface than containers. This is somewhat mitigated in containers by using seccomp, selinux and restricting capabilities in order to reduce the number of kernel entry points that untrusted code can touch, but even so there is simply a greater quantity of privileged code available to untrusted apps in a container environment when compared to a hypervisor environment[1].

Does this mean containers provide reduced security? That's an arguable point. In the event of a new kernel vulnerability, container-based deployments merely need to upgrade the kernel on the host and restart all the containers. Full VMs need to upgrade the kernel in each individual image, which takes longer and may be delayed due to the additional disruption. In the event of a flaw in some remotely accessible code running in your image, an attacker's ability to cause further damage may be restricted by the existing seccomp and capabilities configuration in a container. They may be able to escalate to a more privileged user in a full VM.

I'm not really compelled by either of these arguments. Both argue that the security of your container is improved, but in almost all cases exploiting these vulnerabilities would require that an attacker already be able to run arbitrary code in your container. Many container deployments are task-specific rather than running a full system, and in that case your attacker is already able to compromise pretty much everything within the container. The argument's stronger in the Virtual Private Server case, but there you're trading that off against losing some other security features - sure, you're deploying seccomp, but you can't use selinux inside your container, because the policy isn't per-namespace[2].

So that seems like kind of a wash - there's maybe marginal increases in practical security for certain kinds of deployment, and perhaps marginal decreases for others. We end up coming back to the attack surface, and it seems inevitable that that's always going to be larger in container environments. The question is, does it matter? If the larger attack surface still only results in one more vulnerability per thousand years, you probably don't care. The aim isn't to get containers to the same level of security as hypervisors, it's to get them close enough that the difference doesn't matter.

I don't think we're there yet. Searching the kernel for bugs triggered by Trinity shows plenty of cases where the kernel screws up from unprivileged input[3]. A sufficiently strong seccomp policy plus tight restrictions on the ability of a container to touch /proc, /sys and /dev helps a lot here, but it's not full coverage. The presentation I linked to at the top of this post suggests using the grsec patches - these will tend to mitigate several (but not all) kernel vulnerabilities, but there's tradeoffs in (a) ease of management (having to build your own kernels) and (b) performance (several of the grsec options reduce performance).

But this isn't intended as a complaint. Or, rather, it is, just not about security. I suspect containers can be made sufficiently secure that the attack surface size doesn't matter. But who's going to do that work? As mentioned, modern container deployment tools make use of a number of kernel security features. But there's been something of a dearth of contributions from the companies who sell container-based services. Meaningful work here would include things like:

  • Strong auditing and aggressive fuzzing of containers under realistic configurations
  • Support for meaningful nesting of Linux Security Modules in namespaces
  • Introspection of container state and (more difficult) the host OS itself in order to identify compromises

These aren't easy jobs, but they're important, and I'm hoping that the lack of obvious development in areas like this is merely a symptom of the youth of the technology rather than a lack of meaningful desire to make things better. But until things improve, it's going to be far too easy to write containers off as a "convenient, cheap, secure: choose two" tradeoff. That's not a winning strategy.

[1] Companies using hypervisors! Audit your qemu setup to ensure that you're not providing more emulated hardware than necessary to your guests. If you're using KVM, ensure that you're using sVirt (either selinux or apparmor backed) in order to restrict qemu's privileges.
[2] There's apparently some support for loading per-namespace Apparmor policies, but that means that the process is no longer confined by the sVirt policy
[3] To be fair, last time I ran Trinity under Docker under a VM, it ended up killing my host. Glass houses, etc.
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 07:13
via http://ift.tt/1tiJBpS at October 23, 2014 at 02:00AM:
bedlamsbard:

darklyndsea:

libroslunae:

What do we love? LATIN

Why do we love it? PROBABLY BECAUSE THERE ARE OVER 30 WAYS TO SAY KILL

#well they’re not wrong#have I ever mentioned my favorite latin word?#it’s neco (necare necavi necatum)#it means kill#and in case you’re like ‘bed that’s not very interesting’#it’s my favorite latin word because the japanese word for cat is transliterated ‘neko’#so the latin word for kill and the japanese word for cat sound the same#NOW YOU KNOW#language#classics#latin (via Bedlamsbard)

Well, I’ll never be able to kill someone the same way again.

#now killing will make me feel warm and fuzzy (via darklyndsea)

But cats are warm and fuzzy killers! That’s what makes it so perfect. (If…you’re me…)
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 23:28
1. There is an amazing new live version of Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf.

2. We went down to the Promenade this afternoon to look at the new retina iMacs. The difference wasn't as immediately noticeable to me with a large screen as it is with a phone or tablet, but it definitely looks pretty spiffy.

3. We had Trader Joe's pumpkin ravioli tonight for dinner and it was so great! (Sadly, Irene didn't like it, but on the other hand, that means more for me!)

4. I went out to lunch with my mom today and went back to her house afterwards to help with her husband's computer, which turned out to be a much larger/more annoying job than I was expecting. BUT, since it ended up taking so long, she gave me $100 off next month's rent for helping out. (And I did get everything fixed, so yay.)
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 22:22
What are you currently reading?
Still reading the Levi backstory, Kuinaki Sentaku. I'm about halfway through the second (and final? I don't think it's ongoing) volume. I'm...enjoying it less than I thought it would? I mean, it's okay, but I just feel like it's not really doing anything. I had planned to read Before the Fall as well, but I wonder if the reason it feels like there's not much there is that Isayama didn't write it and so they can't really dig into anything interesting. If that's the case, Before the Fall will probably be the same...

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading the main story of SnK up through the most recent chapter and DAMN THIS IS GETTING SO GOOD.

What do you think you'll read next?
As I mentioned the other day, Irene's rewatch of Akira had me wanting to check out the manga, so I might read that next! Although last time I checked, my phone was pretty full, so I'm not sure that I've read and deleted enough stuff that was on there to have space... ^_^;; I should probably read more of what's already on there.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 23:33
A) I am job hunting in serious ways. This is scary and serious and awesome.

B) I do not exist on LinkedIn. Do I need to exist on LinkedIn?

C) Do you know of an amazing job for someone with fundraising, volunteer management, logistics, and event management experience? How about a position focused on worship and the work of sacred spaces? No geographic limits.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 18:19
We are many, many months out from WisCon and from when we start the active push for panel suggestions. So it seemed like a good time for the first of what will be monthly panel brainstorming posts.

This is a space where anyone can ask for help in crafting the title, description, and other details of a panel they want to submit. Let us know what you need, such as: making a kernel of an idea into a full-fleshed panel, help crafting an effective description, coming up with a punchy title, or finding fellow panelists so you can submit a pre-populated idea.

Anyone may take part. If you're good at descriptions, join in! If you're good with conceptualizing, join in!

It will make discussions easier if you put one panel idea per comment (make as many as you want) and then folks can reply below each in the thread.

There will be a new brainstorming panel each month until panel submissions close. Spread the word :)
Tags:
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 15:32
In job news, it turns out that hiring cycles for Quality Jobs™ are actually quite long. Jobs with December start-dates are calling for applicants now, which makes a short-notice "turn my life around and go somewhere to do something" type Hail Mary...interesting.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 20:09
The shot I was most pleased with from last trip in early October: three lilypads in a row, in different colours.


Another seven photos. )

And my absolute favourite shot, from the oak walk (where I was very excitable and very pleased by ALL THE OAKS), is light through oak leaves:
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 12:50
Dear White People is out, and I really want to talk about with people, and it's really good, so Americans, go see it (nationwide on October 24, major urban areas for now). Nothing in the trailers or in the title will set you up for the story it is, which follows four characters closely, so everyone else -- of any race -- plays a narrative role without rich development. It's an artistic style that works well for this framework and lets the film explore a lot of different ideas about blackness -- and though it's called Dear White People, it's more inward facing than that. The four main characters (black students at an elite, mostly white university) may be neogitating a white-run world but, as should happen in a story about young adults, the culmination of the story has them learning about themselves.

Anyway I bring this up because Colorlines ([syndicated profile] racewire_feed, great source, I recommended trying it out) linked to this interview with Naomi Ko, who has one of the roles I loved an wished had been more developed. (Mostly she's there to deliver one liners or horrified facial expressions.)

Ko is quick to point out that the same millennial qualities that make the generation so creative bleed over into a new type of racism, a subtler, less conscious kind. And no, don’t call it a “microaggression”—she hates that term because it downplays the fact that the acts are still aggressive and racist, regardless of whether the individual performing the act is aware of that fact or not
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 11:53

I am talking with our Ruby Herald to perhaps become her deputy. That's our Heraldic Submissions Herald. She asked if I would like to be her deputy and I thought about it very hard and I think I'm going to do it. I've been wanting to do a Kingdom Heraldic Office for a while and I figured this is probably the best way to do it! I thought about Obsidian, the Order of Precedence Herald, but that might be a big bite to take at first. My secret ambition is to be one of EACH Gemstone Herald.

Well, it's not such a secret now, but still. It's a dear ambition. And I think I can do it, if I can just get a toe hold. And this might be it.

Eeee.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 16:16
Reread.

This takes place almost immediately after Voyage of the Sable Keech and features primarily Orbus and Drooble. And an assortment of Prador, to round the cast out.

Other than that, it is pretty much your run of the mill Polity novel.
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 12:52
... to be titled "This didn't annoy me.", with possible subcategories of "this book only annoyed me a bit" and "this annoyed the shit out of me but to my bafflement I still appear to extremely impatient for the sequel to come out".

Brought to you by once again finding myself describing Max Gladstone as "not annoying", when it might be more informative to say "he's writing about trans stuff and recovery from serious injury stuff and he just keeps getting it right to the extent that I had to reread to be sure I'd correctly understood the entire lack of awful, and then I burst into tears on the celeriac".
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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 02:00
Settings > my device > language and input > google voice typing > settings > uncheck block offensive words.

Mother fucker.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 08:08
via http://ift.tt/1yjalXO at October 22, 2014 at 03:00AM:
sexhobolith:

Was just browsing frilly shirts on Amazon.

I laughed so hard I woke my husband who was sleeping two rooms over.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 07:05
via http://ift.tt/129ixzo at October 22, 2014 at 02:00AM:
shrooomieee:

Neither land nor women are territories of conquest
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 23:06
1. Day off tomorrow! I might go in to work for a couple hours, but I haven't decided for sure, and even if I do, it would be midday and I can still sleep in and have a lazy morning. :)

2. We got tasty burritos for dinner.

3. The other day Irene was watching Akira and it made me want to read the manga (I've never read it before, though I saw the movie several times back in the day). The only site I could find raws on uses a file hosting site that allows you to download one file every six hours, so it's been taking what feels like forever to get these, even though there are only six volumes, but I'm downloading the final volume right now, yay.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 16:59
The holiday is close to over. I am currently at the Grand Canyon, tomorrow we'll drive to Las Vegas and leave for the airport in the morning. Hopefully, Condor will not continue its strike...

Seattle and San Francisco were great, Redwood was stunning, as were Kings Canyon/Sequoia and Joshua Tree. The Red Rock Canyon State Park was really nice, especially for such a small area.

I must say, though, that I was underwhelmed by both Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Both were very "touristy" and with Yosemite we could really only see the Valley, which is stunning, but somehow my expectations were really high. And the Grand Canyon is beautiful and stunning and spectacular, but unless you can actually hike down it sort of feels like viewing a pretty picture, maybe? And way, way too touristy. We hiked a bit and that was nice, but nothing compared to hiking at Redwood or Joshua Tree.

Is this completely strange? Am I the only person not spiritually transformed by seeing the Grand Canyon?
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 23:27
As a species, we are dedicated
to post hoc rationalisation:
the tidying away of inconvenient emotion
the reduction of the self
to an ordered
             sequence
                     of steps.
If this, then that. Well, no:
everything happens for a reason.
The reason, though, does not come carved deep into stone
(every conceivable dictator
being characterised by sublime indifference):
but is rather what you make of it.
This is what it means to tell the story of your life:
to take your whys and somehow give them form.
This is the solid ground of poetry:
two roads diverged; think, two things, both at once:
and every meaning you create is true
or true enough for now. Is this about...?

Yes. Yes, it is.

If only for this moment, we
are mirrored mirror twins.
I only wish I'd any clue
along which lines I'd break.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 14:29
Apparently Mark Vorkosigan, Kareen Koudelka, and Ekaterin Vorsoisson are working for the modern entomophagy industry:

Many companies have arrived at the same conclusion as Six Foods – that it’s best not to confront consumers with insects too directly. That often involves processing and disguising the bugs, but it can also mean doing a little clever rebranding. Take waxworms, which live in beehives and eat honeycomb. By all accounts, they’re delicious: buttery, with a taste reminiscent of bacon. But the word ‘worm’ can be a deal-breaker for diners, so Six Foods has re-christened them ‘honey bugs’.


"Lovely grub: are insects the future of food?", Emily Anthes, Mosaic. 14 October 2014.
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 17:01
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Buttons buttons, rah rah rah


The first time I got to use a button machine, I was a kid. It was at the Ex (a fair with livestock, music, and a midway, not unlike state fairs in the US only with fewer deep-fried things), and I was kind of astounded by this giant button press because I’d never really thought about how a button was put together, let alone that this might be done by a human-powered machine.


Fast forward, years later, and one day it just occurs to me that as an adult with some income (not much; I was still a student) there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t just buy a button machine and make silly one-off buttons whenever I wanted.


Buttons! (Push button; receive bacon)


I’ve used them for costumes, for befriending random people off the internet who like snarky kitten commentary, for hanging out at abq maker faire and helping people make their own, and for anything else that might amuse me.


Since I sometimes bring the whole machine with me to places like quelab or abq mini maker faire, I often get asked about where I got it and how much it costs, so I figured I’d make myself a post that contained all the info so I can find it easily. This is that post!


The button machine


Here’s what my personal machine looks like:


The button machine


I have a 1.5 inch button machine. It has a visible “top” area of around 1.37 inches, with a bit more visible space wrapping around the edge of the button. The circles I cut are 1.87 inches wide.


Although I realize this listing won’t stay live forever, here’s a current listing equivalent package I bought. It’s the Tecre model 150 1.5inch button machine with 1000 button blanks, and as of this writing it costs $264 (although I think it might have been a bit less when I got it).


For when that link no longer works: The vendor is called “button boy” and goes by the username “politicsstinks” on ebay. Here’s a link to the ButtonBoy ebay store. The latest stuff I bought from them also recommended the ButtonBoy etsy store.


It’s a small machine although very heavy, but I did a lot of research and the Tecre machine seemed to be the best type of machine for my needs: It’s physically easy to use, hard to damage, reasonably well designed so that with a bit of adult supervision kids can make their own buttons. I went with the 1.5 inch size because it was large enough to have reasonably legible text or enough space to colour, but small enough to be cuter and easy to fit on a bag strap.


If I were to buy a second machine I’d probably go with the 1″ because I’d love to try the magnetic jewelery stuff they have now, but I expect I’d still want my 1.5 inch because visible text is important a lot of the time!


Recommended Accessories


Button punch


My number one recommendation is that if you’re going to do any larger runs of buttons, it’s worth investing in one of the button hole punches. Especially if you’re letting people colour their own buttons, it’s annoying to colour a teensy piece of paper, so I find it’s more pleasant to punch things out on the spot after the colouring is done rather than cutting the circles in advance. The punch is also great for using magazines or wrapping paper, like I did for these Christmas buttons (although I didn’t have the punch at the time so these were done by tracing circles with the mylar and cutting them out with scissors):


Christmas Buttons


Alternatives:


Scissors work just fine. Invest in a comfortable pair rather than doing like my sister and I did on our first big button run where we gave ourselves bruises cutting out 200 buttons by hand, though.


I do *not* recommend trying to use a a cheaper adjustable circular cutter from the craft store. I have one, and there’s a couple of problems with it:


1. The center has a point, which makes a teensy but noticeable hole in your design. I can feel this through the mylar cover on the finished button and it annoys me. I stuck a piece of rubber on it to compensate, but that just makes it more finicky.


2. It’s very hard to line up the design nicely (at least compared to a hole punch or scissors)


Basically, it turned out to be more annoying than drawing circles and cutting them out with scissors. The punch, however, is way better.


Some folk at my former hackerspace have pointed out that a cricut machine would be excellent for this, and probably the laser cutter would work as well. Both of these are a lot more expensive than a punch, but if you’ve got them, why not? The only downside is that neither is as convenient for on-the-fly button making using magazines or quite as convenient for maker faire purposes.


Paper Guillotine


If you’re printing 8.5×11 sheets of buttons to cut out, you may also want to invest in a paper guillotine. This is handy if you want to hand out smaller segments for kids to colour, and great if you’re using a button punch that can’t punch holes in the middle of a piece of paper.


Again, scissors work just as well, but when you’re spending all day making buttons, little things that make life easier like that are worth it. So once again, I recommend it if you find you’re doing a lot of buttons, but it’s not needed for small runs.


Inkscape


I’ve found inkscape to be the most consistently good tool for making buttons because it’s so easy to whip up a template (1.85in circle with inner 1.375in circle) and import things into it. It lets you do things like fit text to a path, trace bitmaps so they can be converted to fewer, easier to read colours, etc. It’s fast for duplicating buttons and laying them out as a sheet for printing, too. And it’s free software that runs on linux, mac, and windows, all of which I occasionally use to make buttons. http://inkscape.org/


Really, any drawing program will do, but I think Inkscape is particularly nice for letting you set sizes and fix alignments quickly and easily, so although I’m also reasonably capable a few other art tools (I use photoshop, for example, to do photography work), Inkscape is my tool of choice for buttons.


DSC_6775.JPG


Non-button things!


If you look through the Tecre catalog, you’ll notice that depending on the size of machine you have, you can make a few things that aren’t buttons. Not all of them are available for my size of machine; for example, some of the larger machines can be used for small hand mirrors and some of the smaller machines can be used for jewelery-buttons.


I’ve thus far tried the flat-backed magnets (the magnet goes inside the button) and the smaller split-ring keychains. Unfortunately, neither came with instructions so here’s some notes on what did and didn’t work for me:


Flat-backed Magnet instructions


The way the button machine works, you crimp the top half together, then you crimp the top onto the bottom. In the case of these magnet blanks, the magnet part goes with the bottom half (because the machine doesn’t have space for it in the top half die). It’s a nice strong magnet… which unfortunately means that it can pull the top half down if you’re too slow when you flip the machine around and crimp it the second time, and if it gets pulled out of alignment you get a messed up button. I messed up two before I figured out what was going on, and since then it’s been pretty easy to avoid the problem, but hopefully I can save someone else some annoyance.


I don’t know if this is true with other magnet backs, which may have less strong magnets, but if you’re having trouble it’s worth trying to go faster and see if it helps!


I am *very* pleased with the feel of the flat-backed magnets. They’re smooth and strangely pleasant to hold in a way that I was not expecting.


Short split key-ring instructions


In this case, the bottom half of the blank has a small hole in one side. You crimp the top and bottom together, then insert the keychain clip into this hole (note to self: take some pictures of this later).


Things to note:

1. The instructions I found online implied that you had to be super careful about how much you crimp. It seems like the version I have is pretty well designed to avoid this problem, because the bottom half has a slightly raised edge over where the hole is, and clamping the machine all the way down does not seem to squash the hole, so don’t be *too* nervous about getting it right.


2. While the clip can be inserted either way, if you insert it so the sticking up part of the clip faces the front of the bottom, the piece sits more flat relative to the back of the button.


All in all, I found the magnets harder than expected and the keychains easier.


Button jars, overflowing


Conclusion


When I bought the button machine, I really wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, but it’s turned out to be even more fun than I hoped. The highlight was probably that first big giveaway my sister and I did at the Cute With Chris show. When we walked down to the front to give out buttons before the show started, people actually cheered for us! And then we went around talking to each person at the show while they chose their designs, which was pretty neat.


But there’s been lots of fun stuff since then. In the past year alone, I’ve made buttons for open source projects (real and most desirable), given out slightly subversive buttons at defcon, made silly buttons for one-off jokes and IRC bots, watched literally hundreds of kids and adults make buttons with my machine, even wound up making some blank ones to serve as a temporary whiteboard-style expression-changing doll face for a friend’s guerrilla photography and crafting project!


It’s a bit of a weird hobby, but each button is so cheap that it’s one you can share with a lot of people! (At the current rate of blanks, each button costs me under 10 cents) And as someone who always enjoyed getting free stuff, it’s fun to be on the side of designing and giving! :)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 07:48
This is my new favorite Robert Frost poem.

We're singing the Randall Thompson setting, which really shades it perfectly.
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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 07:15
My new iPad is supposed to arrive at my door some time today. I got an email last night from Apple saying the refurb I ordered was no longer available, so they sent me a new one at no additional charge. In other words, I just got a brand new 32 GB LTE iPad mini 2 for the same price as a 16 GB WiFi iPad mini 3. *boggle*

Now I get to dither with myself over whether to start using it immediately or to put it under the Christmas tree.

Speaking of Christmas, there's a new Pentatonix holiday EP coming out today, and I can't decide whether to buy it immediately or let someone else have the chance to give it to me. Instant gratification is so tempting.

I found out yesterday that Guster is coming back to town next February! The presale tickets are supposed to go on sale today at noon. They're doing some sort of promotion where everyone who buys a concert ticket gets a free download of the new album when it drops in January. If I end up receiving 4 download codes, I'll try to pass the other three along.

Our chorus concert is finally upon us. I never did get a chance to audition for solo parts, because the director decided to just choose who he wanted. I can't complain though, because I probably would have made the same choices in his position. There is more than one piece that we've only rehearsed in full once, so I'm a bit nervous, but I really love the program. I'm going to try to insist that Robby bring the boys this year. I think they're old enough to behave themselves, and everything we're singing this time is in English.

I need to ask Heather's husband if he's still open to the idea of sitting with the kids on rehearsal nights so that Robby can join us next year for Carmina Burana. The women in the chorus outnumber the men two to one, so I know his voice would be a welcome addition. One of my high school friends is planning to join us for that as well. Should be fun!
Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 08:00
Ah, irony. Wearing a rather...butch outfit on the day I have an appointment with the gyn to place an IUD. I'm amused, anyway.
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