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Saturday, January 31st, 2015 07:27
OK, so it's the I'll post about things you suggest but at a time of my choosing meme. Catchy! Feel free to continue making suggestions, I'll probably get to them sometime this year.

Wait, you hate Lego? I hate Lego too, but that's because I remember the good old days of Lego. Tell me about hating Lego, please! [personal profile] starlady


OK then. (Fuckin' Lego.)

Some of this is simple childhood stuff, one of a number of things I've been saddled with because my parents parenting peculiarities included impatience — they didn't really like playing with us terribly much, I think, or at least not Lego — a desire to foster independence, and not having a lot of money. And then you combine that with my childhood perfectionism.

How this combined into Lego was: we got pretty cheap, small and boring kits. Like, "here is a small house" kind of thing. We also started getting them young, too young by a couple of years to have the fine motor skills, concentration span and executive function to build Lego. But, when you are a child perfectionist and you're, say, six (and I would have been six, because I remember what house this took place in and for much of the time I was a young child, we moved every year), you of course don't have the kind of perspective on things to think to yourself "I bet this will be fun in a couple of years when I have better fine motor skills, concentration span and executive function!" (I love the phrase 'executive function', I didn't learn it until I was about 30), you think "I suck at Lego, I can't build a house that looks just like the one on the box". And then your impatient independence-fostering parent of choice will advise you that this building stuff from the box thing is silly anyway, why not be creative?

And then you're a child perfectionist who can't make it look like it does on the box nor better than it looks on the box. Welp.

That's really my core Lego-hating experience, frankly. Lego bested me, so I don't like it. I've had some fun (that is, not-fun) trying to explain this to my husband, whose room at his parents house still contains the remnants of his twenty-ish fancy Lego sets: planes and helicopters and such, and who could always build something better than the box because he could always combine two fun kits into a helicopter fire engine (as he did for our son the last time we visited), and he also had an older sibling from whom to poach ideas.

The other part of hating Lego is that it's a really common gift for too-young kids. My son got a lot of it for his fourth birthday party a year ago. On that day, his sister was twenty three days old and people had decided to arm a distractible four year old with teeny tiny choke hazards to evenly scatter through our house? Gee thanks. In addition, he saw the pictures on the box, and he naturally wanted exactly what was on the box, so we painfully built it up for him (one kit took three adults about two hours), and then he'd play vigorously with it for about five seconds and he'd be crying because his new toy was in pieces and I'd be all "NOOOOOOOO LEGOOOOOOO." Not good.

I've actually come to terms with it a touch over the last year, as his concentration and, yes, executive function and whatnot come online a touch more and he's actually had some fun with it and can occasionally put it back together himself. But, yeah. I'm sure it's a good toy for eight to ten year olds whose parents can afford enough kits that they can afford to experiment and the result is fun. And maybe I need to come to terms, because Towers of Tomorrow is in town, and also I suspect that my husband's childhood Lego collection is moving here sooner or later.
Friday, January 30th, 2015 23:30
1. I finally used my $50 Christmas gift certificate from work to buy a fancy rice cooker! Well, to put towards a fancy rice cooker, since the cheapest one we have of the size/kind I want is $135. I was hoping to have another of the monthly employee gift certificates to use with it, too, as that would have taken off another $18, but due to a miscommunication, we still haven't received the December ones, and the Christmas gift certificates have to be used by the end of January, which is tomorrow, so... Anyway, I have yet to take it out of the box and set it up (not sure where it's going to go, which is one reason I've resisted getting one for so long), but I'm excited about it.

2. I probably won't sleep in very much if at all, but I'm glad to not have to set the alarm for three days in a row!

3. We've been watching so many old Simpsons episodes and realising just how much Phil Hartman was in them (almost every episode it seems!), which made us want to watch Newsradio. I'm always a bit hesitant to watch old shows that I loved because I'm never sure how they'll hold up, but we watched two episodes tonight and it was great! (Everyone looks so young, though, omg!)
Friday, January 30th, 2015 22:39
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Fire on the @mbta at DTX. At least half a dozen fire trucks here, plus cops and TSA officers. Chaos as everyone tries to commute around. #boston
Friday, January 30th, 2015 14:56
I am trying my damnedest to survive seminary; and every time I think I'm doing okay, I get an email from a prof saying, "Hey, you didn't do this right."

I am not surviving very well.
Friday, January 30th, 2015 14:54
How to remove bloodstains from almost any fabric:

1) Wet down the area with COLD water. (Always, always use cold water.)
2) Pour enough salt on the stain to make a thick paste. Scrub the paste into the stain with the tips of your fingers. Set aside.
3) Fill the sink/an appropriately sized tub with cold water. Pour in salt until the water hits saturation point. Hang the item so the stained part is dangling into the water.
4) After 3-4 hours, drain the sink/tub/etc and rinse the fabric, scrubbing it against itself or with the tips of your fingers. If the stain isn't entirely gone, you can usually get the rest of it with a mild soap and some scrubbing.

(This method gets the edges of the bloodstain, not just the center of the bloodstain: the salt denatures the proteins.)

Between
Friday, January 30th, 2015 19:38
1. Shameless plug: if you like murder mysteries and particularly Cambridge-University-based murder mysteries featuring preposterous shenanigans involving old manuscripts and devious flooding and university library stacks, and also if you want some viciously-observed academic politics, my problematic fave aunt's self-published her novel Scarlet Day, and it is fantastic. (I beta'd it and gave Some Feedback, on which basis I believe it has been improved. It also stars many of my Papa's gobsmacking anecdotes from his years working as a civil engineer for the Cornwall council; and similarly at least alludes to several of the family legends of the "and the only possible solution was to bury the jam at the bottom of the vegetable garden" variety.)

2. The NHM's Wildlife Photographer of the Year 50th anniversary exhibit is brilliant, I gather from browsing the subset of images available online. Fading Beauty by David Maitland is now my wallpaper (replacing my own shot of autumn leaves). A particular shoutout to the best Little Squid.

3. graze has introduced a new roast-giant-corn-and-sriracha-peas thing, and it is my new favourite snack and I wish to buy it by the kilogram.

4. POAST item the first: care package from [personal profile] littlebutfierce as part of a January gift exchange, feat. TEAL in forms various incl. glitter tape (!!!!), gel pen, thematically appropriate chocolate (??? some kind of WIZARD I swear), and -- yes, hurrah, aaaah <3

5. POAST item the second: [personal profile] shanaqui made me a dinosaur-and-volcanoes duvet cover that fits my super-king duvet. It is the best. ♥________♥

6. NOT-POAST item the third: [personal profile] khalinche has sent in my direction some unaccountably gorgeous beaded hair ornaments; I am going to attempt to get photographs!

7. My amazing housemate worked from home today in the interests of getting the estate agent to explain why precisely we had been sent a letter telling us our house was unacceptably schmutzig, recommending their professional cleaner to us as someone to spend money on (as some of you will have heard at length...). They came around; it turns out that they sent the letter at the landlord's request with no clear idea of the supposed problem, and struggled to find anything to point out to us as an issue. It sounds like they are enough on-side, which means I am massively less stressed.

8. ... housemate also made amazing enchiladas for dinner. <3

9. Putting away my laundry LIKE AN ADULT.

10. Newlementary! To watch Shortly iHope.
Friday, January 30th, 2015 02:42
Last night was the deadline for papers for a certain internal conference. Not the one I'm running, but the hella one that both lb and Purple were planning to submit papers for. lb submitted his in what must have been a sensible amount of time before the deadline. Up past the point we headed out of work last night (and I had occasion to explain Frank Chu very briefly in the parking lot, much to Purple's utter crogglement), Purple's conclusion was a succinct "(conclusion goes here)" sort of affair, which is more effective in a draft than in a submitted paper. I looked it over. I made a few comments, including a tentative go at a framework of a conclusion.

"$WORKNAME is fine, right?" Purple asked me. "For the paper?"

I reloaded the draft in the public folder of his server share and found my work-standardized legal name in the acknowledgements, tucked in with Mr. Bananas, his manager, lb, and a few other people. Yes, $WORKNAME is best because people can look me up by it. He got back online after getting home, and kept working on things.

It makes me quietly happy that I'm developing a few editing shorthand phrases that I can use with Purple. "Yoda" is one of them. Sometimes when he turns a sentence around, it turns out that he meant something entirely different than the first phrasing implied to me. Things like "it" and "this" sometimes have to get explicitly called, and sometimes, yep, different.

Azz: "Sounds good, Unit Test Jesus."
Purple: "I hope I don't find Unit Test Judas."

He got it submitted a comfortable hour-ish before deadline. By the end, I was able to say, "and it does not aesthetically offend me :)" He took that as the compliment it was meant as.

Azz: "unlike that combination of shirts :-P"
Purple: "that was the camel shirt with the fluorescent green shirt right?"
Azz: "yes"
Purple: "Shame I don't have purple pants"
Azz: "... ... ... you fucking eyetroll <3"

I took a long time to get to sleep last night, so I didn't wake up in time for the presentation I wanted to go to. (Purple, for his part, decided that he was going to wake up slowly reading, and then got a fifteen-minute alarm chime for the presentation, so he dialed in because there is no way to physically make it from his place to work in 15 minutes, and in any event he had been in bed at this point.) Then I had to refuel Vash, so that took longer.

Today I remembered to bring the sack of sawed-off pool noodles to work. I debated bringing one with me to lunch for Purple, but instead brought one to the conference meeting for the chairs. I gave it to Researcher Polka-Dot, and told her that it was a sawed-off pool noodle, and useful for keeping order. She was delighted, and toted it with her for the next three hours of meetings.

It was a long day full of meetings. I am really going to have to see if D16 is unoccupied before the team meetings, because going directly from the committee meeting upstairs to the team meeting is really a pain as it is at the opposite end of the building from the elevator. Since my knees and stairs shouldn't even be in the same sentence, you can imagine how well this goes. (Also, I tend to need the bathroom every hour because I drink a ridiculous amount of water to keep everything else happy, especially in meeting rooms which are overheating, which introduces more time between meetings.)

So today was the off-week for the team meeting, but our (gulp) acting director tracked down one of the higher-ups steering one of the products the team does a lot of work with, and he introduced himself and had some things to say, and the team had questions.

I am not freshly up on all the latest testing methods and also jargon, but the guy said a thing about a testing strategy which I had never heard of before. I wrote it down, resolved to google it later, and asked what his thoughts/familiarity with unit testing was. He had no thoughts, being zero familiar. I hoped that we had not just met Unit Test Judas.

After all that, the (fairly substantial) committee set off for the location where we are to hold the (small) internal conference. Since we were leaving from the ass-end of the building, we went down the stairs. That was two stairs today. I am bad at stairs. Madam Standards looked for me and waited for me to catch up. She is beginning to doubt the concept that I just ~*appear*~ everywhere. I explained the usual method.

Shenanigans resulted in some running around where Madam Standards went off with the people who were going UP the STEPS, despite her plan to walk back with me because she'd forgot her badge. Then she went back but by that time I'd already gone up in the elevator, then we were headed back but she wanted to scope out the power outlets, and so we went back...

By the end of all that, I'd exceeded my steps by a few hundred. I complained to Purple a bit. He was ... "helpful".

Now that I was back at my desk, I shared the hope that this guy is not Unit Test Judas. We all googled the test thing that he had mentioned. Purple, who knows more about testing ideologies than I do, declared that it wasn't quite even a buzzword, as one of the major requirements for a buzzword is buzz. This testing ideology had about as many other supporters besides the clickbait bingo bandits who have their writeup paywalled off as there are other plaintiffs in Frank Chu's labor dispute against the 12 Galaxies.

Eventually it was time to go. This time, I was the holdup -- I'd decided to go ahead and book the conference room we were planning for the green room. It didn't say it was restricted in the calendar system, so I set up an appointment. Then I got the rejection message -- it was restricted after all. Drat it. So I would have to file two tickets: one to ask for the room, and one to ask that the room be named to reflect its status (in accordance with the standards).

I filed the ticket to book the room. In doing so, I discovered that there were two ranks of tickyboxes, none of which were relevant to my needs in booking, but both of which were required, with no 'n/a' selection. So I would have to file a third ticket about that. Then, upon submitting, I saw that the terrible green UI showed up blank, although the terrible blue and white UI showed the details. Fourth ticket.

Again, I was still swearing when Purple came to retrieve me. I thanked him for being supportive and listening while I wrestled with the fucking thing. We headed out by way of the kitchen -- I had grabbed some toast and hot chocolate earlier, and had a plate and cup to drop in the dishes -- but the kitchen floor was being actively washed. I left the plate on a nearby table, as this was the lesser inconvenience.

He didn't see my car at first. "Where did you park?" "Near you." We rounded whatever it was that was blocking the view, and he saw the little white sedan in the space right next to his car, and he mused that he had in fact been in to work a little later than he'd planned on, due to the presentation that morning.

We chatted for a while in the parking lot.

Purple: "And the guy was -- what's-his-name, British, in a lot of romcoms..."
Azz: "...Alan Rickman?"
Purple: *doubles over laughing* "You're certainly watching different things than I am!"
Azz, slightly defensively: "The only British [male] actors I know are: Alan Rickman, Bendydick Cummerbund, Sir Ian, Sir Patrick... Oh! And John Cleese! Eric Idle! Eric-the-half-a-Bee!"
Purple, howling with laughter: "ERIC THE HALF A BEE IS NOT A REAL ACTOR. HE'S A BEE. HALF A BEE."

Somehow (via "Bad Touch") we got onto the time I sprayed myself in the face with glitter, twice, as a result of being too tired to play with physics.

We hugged goodnight. We still had a few words left. Then I bent over a bit, exposing the top of my head to him. He scritched me gently on the head, then told me I was weird. :)
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 22:42
1. Got my scanlations posted for the month, and with a couple days to spare! :D

2. I had a nice day off today. I didn't actually do much, because my arm was hurting a lot, but we took a little walk and watched a bunch of old Simpsons episodes and just had a relaxing day.

3. I got new shoes today. My old ones were really falling apart and have been for a long time, but I'm always resistant to getting new ones. Carla's folks gave me money for Christmas to get new shoes, though, so I felt I should probably follow through and not just use the money for other things (it's taken me this long to get over to the shoe store, though).

4. Speaking of Christmas, I also finally used my See's gift certificate from my mom and got myself a box of candy. (It's right by the shoe store!)
Friday, January 30th, 2015 00:57
(An aside: I sent my mother one of the bits of Rilke and the translation I massively disliked; she e-mailed back agreeing it was terrible and had a much better stab at it herself. We were duly scathing about the bit of the introduction that claimed that the Robert Frost quote - about poetry being the thing that is lost when a poem is translated - did not apply in this case. I can think of instances where it definitely doesn't, but...)

todo )

tada )

bonus tada for today because wow )
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 17:12
With Audrey on board as cleaner, we can hopefully start to catch up on this series. And I've already read up through volume seven, so I know how exciting those later chapters are and I want to get to them as soon as possible!



Title: Himegoto
Original Title: ヒメゴト~十九歳の制服~ (Himegoto~Juukyuu Sai no Seifuku~)
Author: Minenami Ryou
Publisher: Big Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 7 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Audrey + Krim
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: This is the story of three college freshmen with secrets: Yuki, aka Yoshiki, a boyish girl who gets off on wearing her old high school uniform skirt; Mikako, who acts innocent around her classmates, but at night pretends to be a 15-year-old and has sex for money; and finally there's Kaito, who's obsessed with Mikako to the point of dressing up like her.

Chapter Summary: Soaking wet from the sudden downpour, Mikako and Yoshiko rent a room in a love hotel to dry off...



Chapter 30: Love Hotel
Chapter 31: Separation
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 23:42






Dolorosa WIP

I said there would be real photos AND LO, THERE ARE. The armor is actually starting to look good and not like some terrible DBZ knock-off, though I still need to finish doing trim on the back and sides, and make the collar portion. Then… filling and sanding. So much filling and sanding.

Also, the laziest wig and make-up test - mostly I wanted to make sure the wig would hold its shape when I took it off the wig head. I have literally zero skin products on and am just naturally undead-looking, though the black doesn’t help.

My big goal was to try and get Katsucon costumes done by the end of my winter break, which was technically was Monday, though we had a snow day so actually today. Surprising nobody who actually knows me, I did not actually accomplish that (though I did pretty well). Project statuses:

Dolorosa
-sewing virtually done
-armor… half done?
-need to make horns

Wonderland Seishirou
-Everything done but the coat
-Coat is probably one day of work (goddamn gold trim everywhere)
-Decided I don’t really need the giant pocketwatch for Katsu because I don’t hate myself that much

Beforus Kanaya
-I have a bustle?
-And part of a skirt draft?

On the upside, I have a mock-up for Kanaya’s red skirt (for Anime Boston), and dyed a whole bunch of silk (for Anime Central stuff) and once I actually drape this dress I can reuse like 90% of the pattern for a dress for Teslacon.

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 18:12
still (STILL) have a headache. blood pressure is fine (because i've been taking meds daily). caffeine intake unchanged. water intake slightly increased. glasses prescription fundamentally the same (i.e. not enough to be causing problems). optic nerve has ... deposits? but at least it's not increased cerebrospinal fluid. i'm running out of ideas here that aren't dire.
Tags:
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 21:55
[personal profile] sebastienne is a rock star, okay. (This is literal as well as metaphorical, which is why it's my favourite way to describe them being incredible. I mean, in part it's just a lot of fun to explain to people that they're having a bath LIKE A ROCK STAR but! also!)

-- right, so, today I had a GP appointment about whether a PTSD diagnosis might be appropriate. Upshot: hurrah my GP is awesome.

More details. )

s. was brilliant about letting me hold their hand & Just Dealing With It when I went "um, I'm really sorry, I can't unpack, can you explain what I mean by and then facesfriend pulled a face and Dan Was In My House?" and then letting me drag them around the Natural History Museum (new stegosaurus! an entire minerals gallery I'd been oblivious to because it's sociology-of-minerals not the scientific collection!) to calm myself down and then letting me feed them such that I ate dinner - housemate is off having dinner with my boything tonight, eyeroll ;) - and. yes. things? things happened.

And I got home and wrote a first draft of the sodding conference abstract; it will need lots of reworking BUT I HAVE WORDS DOWN ON PAPER. I win.
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 17:50
We actually watched this before Genesis of the Daleks, I just forgot about it. How could I forget The Daemons?. I blame Christmas.

Anyway... )

I'm mostly nitpicking though. There is a great deal to like in The Daemons and it is almost a text-book case of how to invoke the idea that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic by showing the viewer how that works, rather than simply announcing something is technology and then having it behave just like magic.
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 13:58
I am so outraged by this. WHY. WHY AM I STILL SICK. With this useless fucking cold! I don't have a fever, just a haze over everything including my brain and my energy levels, ugh it's the worst :/

In other news - I continue to enjoy the fuck out of Empire.

no brain for meta, but spoilers ahead )
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 02:14
In knitting news: The Albatross is Off

I finally finished a pair of armwarmers that I had started years and years ago. :/ (Figure 1). I also finished a big piece of intarsia for another knitter which I had to frog and do over. Twice. Interesting, as I've never "co-knit" a piece with a person, but Kim's friend was making a cosplay piece for her, and the friend wasn't comfortable with intarsia, so I did that portion and returned it. 

I also found a huge, piece ruining error in an intarsia-intensive piece I'd been working on, and frogged that to the gods. I may start over some day, but it seems that every project I start with this nubby blue yarn is cursed. Letting it go for now felt good. 

Anyway, that left me finally free to find simple, inspiring projects that aren't weighing me down. There's not much yarn in my stash that I'm excited about anymore, but this blue wool-acrylic mix has been screaming my friend's name since I got it. So i'm making her a big ol' cowl. And it's just a joy to knit. It's complicated enough to be interesting, simple enough that I can watch ALL OF PORTLANDIA while working on it, and fuzzy to the touch. This picture doesn't do the colour justice. (Figure 2) But I'm totally falling in love with knitting again after some rough long-hauls.

I'm also starting a similar simple-easy-fun-to-make piece for myself.  This convertible balaclava/cowl, which is just what Ottawa ordered.

Finally, Kim's been working on a lot of knitting-accessories, and her knitting friend (who has already blessed me with many needles, magazines, and such!) apparently commissioned me a pirate/mermaid odds and ends bag, which I added to the dinosaur needle-keepers that Kim made me as a thank you for a favour I did her earlier. (Figure 3)  

Kim's friend then filled the bag with assorted cabling needles, yarn bobbins, and stitch markers and holders. These are the sorts of knitting niceties which I never allow myself the luxury of, because I can make do with elastic bands, stray pieces of yarn, bobby pins, and dpns. It's sort of nice to have "proper" tools for the job though. And Kim's friend, btw, has literally never met me. We just know each other through Kim, and Kim told her I like to knit. So we're friends on Ravelry, of course, but the generosity of a relative stranger is incredibly touching. 

(Also, Kim's making these things on demand, so if there is an interested knitter examples are here for needle keepers, and here for assorted bags. Contact the poster for info/orders.)

Figure 1
























Figure 2





































Figure 3

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 19:45
Hanging out in a coffeeshop, trying to hammer out the last few papers of the semester.

40% of my time: writing
25% of my time: staring at cute pics of trans dicks
20% of my time: Facebook
15% of my time: staring out the front window, hoping my car doesn't get towed

Rah, rah grad school.
Thursday, January 29th, 2015 00:39
Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, daß
sie nicht an deine rührt? Wie soll ich sie
hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?
Ach gerne möcht ich sie bei irgendwas
Vorlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen
an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die
nicht weiterschwingt, wenn deine Tiefen schwingen.
Doch alles, was uns anrührt, dich und mich,
nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich,
der aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht.
Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt?
Und welcher Geiger hat uns in der Hand?
O süßes Lied.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 12:27
Bad night, feeling very sick, sick to my stomach, reflux, and a weird strong headache that had increased over the day. Pain meds did not help the headache. It was so hard to fall asleep. like a horrible nightmare most of the night. I am not feeling well today, dizzy and sick and looking at the computer makes my head hurt. I tried to dial in to my 8:30 meeting and people's voices made me want to pass out.

Some sort of flu or virus I guess. Taking the day off. reading and dozing. I am missing the work I wanted to get done, swimming, and meeting up with people I wanted to see who are from out of town and also dropping by to see D. as she moves today from the nursing home to chuck's house. All on hold. I miss going to the office and swimming especially as I was looking forward to both.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 20:40
I really didn't remember much about The Lazarus Experiment going in, which is pretty odd given that it is clearly meant to be the lynchpin around which this season turns: the moment Martha is properly accepted as a companion, where her family become a part of the Doctor's life, and where the Saxon plot thread kicks into gear.

More under the cut )

For all that, the story still feels oddly throwaway. In season 2, I attributed the weakness of some of the episodes to the fact they had no real role to play in the larger story unfolding for the audience. Despite the fact that The Lazarus Experiment is anything but inconsequential to the larger narrative it still feels a little slight and I can't quite put my finger on why.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 13:35

Our corporation has this new health/wellbeing website that everyone has to use to get $10 off their insurance and the spouse's insurance (it's a way of making us all have blood tests and physicals every year). It has PEER CHALLENGES. None of my peers want to do it, though. It makes me a little sad that I'm the only one excited about making healthy choices and working out for ENDORPHINS. Endorphins are lovely.

On 2 February, I'm going back to Eagle Strong. I decided that I wouldn't go to the gym during January because that's when everybody's there doing New Year's Resolutions. Way too crowded. But February is coming up! So I can go back. My dad never likes the gym during January either, so I come by it honestly.

My Christmas presents from my sister Jenny are at the FedEx place, but I can't go pick them up because they have to be reshipped to a location that allows pickup. It's in transit right now. Fortunately, they didn't leave it at my door. I knew I should have stayed home late today! ;) It's 8.3lb/3.76kg! I can't wait to see what's in it!

Hmm. USM's webpage is down. I can't get to the Rec Sports page.

I have my phone to remind me of the measurement day in February! I'm kinda looking forward to it to see where I am after a month off of scheduled exercise.

I get new glasses today after work. After all the migraines and bad eye aches, I finally got to go to the eye doctor again last week. I went from one extreme to another and had to get new glasses. REMINDER TO SELF: Don't wear these in the Gulf of Mexico. They tend to get washed off your face and then you start searching for them and only find seaweed. It's not a good idea. Just don't do it.

We did finally get new servers in for the Micros system here at work - and now it has turned into an adventure. The annoying part of the adventure, though, not the fun part yet. I know I will look back on this as a learning experience, but right now it's just frustrating and aggravating. Things are supposed to work! Not have to go back and forth with firewalls!

Deep breathing. Remember your wireless printer at home that you get to play with. And eventually you'll get a laminator and can play with that too. Chore charts and lists that you can check off with wet erase markers. It's all going to be good. Things are going to work out.

(this fedex package is STILL in transit! I have no patience!)

I'm ready for the end of the day, I think. I have some excitement about getting new glasses and gaming with my friend Elise! We also have Jell-O to take to our friend Brandon who's getting his wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow. Jell-O is a great thing for that.

OH GAMING. Yeah, we started a new game with a new group. We're still doing Pathfinder's Reign of Winter with James, Tische and Brandon, but we are also playing a new D&D 3.5 game with Elise, her boyfriend Austin and their friend Matt. Or is it Will? It's one of the two. I keep getting him confused. Right now, we're trying to get through a gnoll mound (or gnoll knoll) where there might be a gnoll chieftain buried. In Reign of Winter, we did finally get to Baba Yaga's Dancing Hut! We even got inside! And had to promptly kill a bone golem left by the Queen of Irrisen.

I'm excited about taxes! And filling out the tax paper work and figuring out what Brent owes for being self employed and all that fun stuff. I can't wait. I just need his 1099-MISC form from Tim, his sort of boss. I'm not even terribly excited about getting a refund, since I don't know if I get a refund or not, since Brent hasn't had any taxes taken out of his money from Tim. Eeee. If I do get a refund, I'm buying a laminator. If I don't get a refund and don't have to pay much, I'm getting a laminator. Either way, I win!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 08:18
Reading: Just a murder mystery called Two Graves. There are a bunch of other things I'm ostensibly reading, but literally the only time I'm not too tired to read is during lunch at work.

Listening: I have a musical game I play with myself that I don't think I've talked about here. I'll put it under a cut to spare your reading list )

Watching: Hmm. Have I watched anything this week? I don't think so. New job, tired, etc. And James has a new game he's playing, so he'd rather play that than watch TV with me. So yeah, nothing, I think, unless you count (and I guess I should) watching my "videos that make me happy" playlist on YouTube, which I just created and which I'm really enjoying building. Recently added the Neil Patrick Harris opening of the 2013 Tony Awards. When he starts talking about inspiring young theater geeks, I lose it. Every. Time.

Playing: I uninstalled Two Dots and reinstalled it after I won the final level (which is currently 135, I think). Also still playing my other stuff. I really want a new puzzle game for android phones (hint, hint), but with the tired and all, haven't gotten around to it.
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 15:56
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Kids tobogganing down the snowpack at the foot of our street yesterday. #bosnow #latergram #blizzard2015
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 15:37
Previously unread, kindly donated by [personal profile] rbarclay.

This is the second witcher book I've read. On the whole, it's competently written fantasy, but there's a tiny something (and I am not sure what) that makes me less inclined to hunt down more of them. I had that feeling after the first one I ead. I have teh same feeling after having read one more.

Anyway. The good things is "a distinct voice", "believable characters" (including, but not limited to, a bisexual magician, although she seems to disappear about half-way through the book). It may simply be that there are Polish cultural conventions I am sufficiently unfamiliar with that their translation simply makes me go "huh".

If you haven't tried any of the Witcher books, I guess this is early enough that it would show you if it resonates well with you. Me, I'll read them if they land in my lap (as it were) but continue to not seek them out specifically (I did buy the first one myself, because I had heard good things about he series, so worth a try).
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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 12:23
Currently Reading: Working through HP7 in audiobook; slowly progressing through Alexis Wright's 'Carpentaria' (good, but Slow Literature) and picking up 'The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window And Disappeared' for some variety.

Recently Finished: Most recent, a bio of Barbara Baynton; a Dawn French novel; and a detective story with a protag who has dementia.

Reviews, mostly from early Jan:

Earthly Delights (Corinna Chapman, #1)Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was a very *fun* book. It features Corinna, a fat divorced gourmet baker who finds a junkie close to dead on her doorstep one morning and from there becomes involved in a quest to figure out who exactly is feeding almost-pure heroin to the vulnerable of Melbourne. Meanwhile, someone is leaving death threats about HARLOTS to al the women in Corinna's building.Along the way she semi-adopts a recovering junkie, discovers the bdsm scene, and shags an attractive and mysterious soup kitchen security guard.

What bugged me here was Daniel, a widower and ex-Israeli army turned detective. His characterisation, and the impact of his service time on his character, was not fully explored - it only comes up to, I think, make him more attractive? And it seems to work for Corinna, but in a completely uncritica way totally at odds with her thinking on everything else. He speaks of having shot down a young boy and compares 'such evil' to her, 'now such good', and Corinna just... preens. Congrats you're less evil than palestinian insurgent? What? It's just *not explored* and Corinna has no qualms or even real interest in the dubious ethics and mental gymnastics any serviceman has to engage in regardless of allegiance.

It bugged me all the more because the book was peppered with leftie bait - in-jokes about John Howard and the victorian government and whatnot. We're supposed to believe that Corinna has *no thoughts whatsoever* about the fact her new squeeze admits to having shot down young boys (a terrorist, he says, but Corinna has *no thoughts whatsoever* about the circumstances that lead to young terrorists, etc etc). I think I would have rathered Corinna articulate an explicitly pro-Israeli logic than just... not think about it at all. Urk. More on this topic, and on kink and gender )



Mateship With BirdsMateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This was a very bad book. It gets two stars for sparks of literary flair in places, but overall: blergh.

This is a book about masturbation and dairy farming. The birds are actually a pretty minor role, and the poems about the birds get dreadfully boring.

I have nothing against writing about masturbation or dairy farming. By and large I thought the cow-related passages in this book were pretty tight. The sex ones, though? UGH. This author is way too carried away by the fact that she's writing A Book About Sex. The sex and sexual reflection passages drag on, frequently without adding to character or plot. It's like everything pauses while we hear about some long-ago sex scene, or Harry's opinions on pubic hair, or whatever.

The book raises some difficult notions about consent and power: for instance, Harry is oblivious to the weird pressure he's putting on his teenage neighbour by providing long reminiscent 'sex ed'. That's creepy! We can tell the lad is creeped out! But the book *does nothing* with that - the boy fades into the distance, after a brief scene where he's a dick to his girlfriend and then bangs her. That's not a resolution! It's not even character development. The boy's mother is, rightly, angry at Harry; then abruptly changes tack when she needs Harry's help getting rid of a dead owl. I think there might have been supposed to be something there about needing a Man Around The House, but it's not *explored*. And the book ends with a real-time sex scene, far less explicit than the reminiscences, which is mostly physical description and *doesn't answer any of the character questions*. It's infuriating.

This is a crappy book. I am sorry, for the sake of the national literary dignity, that it won the inaugrual Stella Prize. I would like to sentence the author to a year's hard labour in the erotica mines, in the hope she learns how to write sex like any other character development opportunity.



Heavenly Pleasures (Corinna Chapman, #2)Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was also pretty fun! The circle of characters widened compared to 'Earthly Pleasures', and it was nice to see Jason (Corinna's teenage sidekick) developing in character and skills. I *really* liked the badass older lady character and her eventual Big Reveal. Rawww. Do not mess with scary old ladies.



Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I liked this book, I liked it a lot. It was odd coming to it *after* watching the show - the set-up is quite different. (And Dorothy's surname is given as Bryant, although by googling I see that's an error Greenwood wants retconned - i *thought* her name was Wiliams in the later book I read.)

One delightful discovery that had been ommitted from the show was special police constable Joan whasthername. I'd forgotten that there were special female police in the period. She's a bit-part but quite well characterised. Ten points.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 01:51
(linkdude has linked a thing where some straight person seems to be performing poutyface about having overheard some queerfolks blow off steam about "the straights" or whatevz, and is being all "LOOK IF YOU'N REALLY TRULY *WANT* ALLIES...". Channel has taken a digression or two. Highlights-involving-me with some context follow.)

Read more... )
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 01:21
04:22 Sunday, 25 January, 2015
This weekend is being much less exciting than last weekend. So far, I have: gone on a minor Costco run Friday night, slept, slept, gone out in semi-fruitless search of sourdough bread (the good sourdough at Sprouts vanishes quickly), and now re-indigoed my hair.


00:58 Wednesday, 28 January, 2015
Tuesday: didn't get as much sleep, slogged into work. Had a fascinating hallway chat with Mr. Wizard Beard, who has pruned his formerly glorious facial tresses back down to a reasonable inch or two of starting point. Lunch was nice even though the sandwich was uninspiring. Purple and the guys were talking about heat sinks. (A lot of times various of the guys will ask Purple to explain a thing. It's great.) I googled up illustrative pictures.

The Dean has made the jump from Extra Special Groundskeeper to HR (Parties Division). I think it's a good change for him. He wandered through on his way back from lunch. We are trying to pin down a date for the kickoff of the You Haven't Seen That?!?!? movie night series. On his way off, he made some casual reference to the contents of Blade Runner. I indicated confusion and unfamiliarity. "You haven't seen that?!!??!!" he asked, proving the relevance of the series title.

I do like taking notes on a nice large sheet of paper. I should make sure to do the Printout of Things for the 1:1 more often again, as it's a helpful framework. My manager said some reasonably encouraging things, even though they were not the sunny-day path. Also, some projects! Whee!

Among many other small items of the day, there was a fellow bemoaning the lack of jam in his building on [off-topic]. One of my unofficial duties is to make sure that random stuff that comes up in [off-topic] gets properly handled, so after mentioning that I had seen jam in my building (today, with no boom), I cracked open the user console for the helpdesk. After a few false starts, I selected the category most likely to correspond with jam tomorrow, even if there was no jam today.

"Jelly in [off-topic-guy's-building] invisible. Jelly in [ajlunatic's-building] visible. Please look into this." File on behalf of: remove ajlunatic, insert off-topic-guy, submit.

Watch confirmation page load. Look for link to ticket to add ajlunatic as cc. Realize that last week's overhaul of user-facing console removed the module containing the most recently filed ticket link from the left-hand side, perhaps because it was too fucking wide on a page with generally shittastic use of space. Realize that because some fuckhead thought all Facilities tickets (kitchen issues included) should be fucking private as all fuckery, I can't jump over to the terrible blue-and-white interface to add myself (or, well, grab the ticket number and whine to helpdesk).

Write up the newly fucking discovered goddamn bug involving the workflow of the fucking assistant, and file it the fuck against the goddamn system.

Call helpdesk. "Hi, I need to be added to a ticket I just filed on behalf of a colleague."
"No, I don't know the ticket number, and I can't find it, it's in Facilites."
"Let me spell his name."
Two minutes pass.
"No, it wasn't technical, it was in Facilities. Under Food & Drink, I think."
Another three minutes.
I spell my own user ID, and I am at last added to the ticket.

I am still cursing in IRC when Purple shows up to drag me away from the computer for the night. (My dad is much better about praise and constructive criticism.)
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 22:52
1. I'm feeling really excited and positive about my translation stuff. Not just the scanlations, but my lyrics site as well. I know I'll never get back to spending as much time on the lyrics site as I used to (and I don't really want to, because that would take time away from other things that are higher priorities), but I'm hoping to update at least once a month this year and I think I could make myself stick to that.

2. I discovered there's a knock-off Trivial Pursuit app called Trivia Crack and it's pretty fun! If any of you guys play it, please play with me! My username is torachan. (Or if you have me friended on Facebook and you sign in to the app with FB I should show up on there.)

3. We had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and they were super tasty!
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 23:20
First off, a status report on Gunjo and Himegoto:

Sorry Gunjo has been slow in coming! As I mentioned before, the last chapter I posted is the last of the raws I had from Kotonoha, so going forward I need to scan it myself, and things were just really busy over the holiday season at work so I didn't have time for it. I did start scanning the other day, though, and hope to finish the scanning phase of the next chapter this week. However, this next chapter is a hundred pages long. So...it's definitely not going to be out in February, but I'm aiming for March.

As for Himegoto, the wonderful Audrey has joined me as cleaner and she is really fast! So I'm very excited to announce that there will be two chapters of Himegoto this month and hopefully we'll be able to continue that pace going forward.

And now for Yasha, starting off volume six! We're nearly halfway through the series now, so things are really heating up. I hope you guys enjoy it!



Title: Yasha
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Genre: Shoujo
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.

Chapter Summary: In the chaos of Amamiya's failed experiment, Sei manages to slip away, but with Rin hot on his heels, will he actually be able to escape from the lab?


Chapter 27
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 23:30
I just took twenty stolen minutes, wrote an actual post with sentences, and caught up on answering some comments...the sleep debt is worth it; I needed that.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 21:58
I went back to work today, which means our vacation's really really over for real. Sigh! I'm glad to be home, but I'm not so keen on the slippery white stuff that keeps falling from the sky. This was a lot more pleasant:

small sailboats dragged up on the sands of a cove

More photos of our Auckland adventure can be found here. I used the Bonjournal app to keep my family up-to-date & it worked out really well. Nice, simple interface.

It really didn't take me too long to get through my work inbox, both the physical and electronic versions, which was better than I'd expected. Apparently, I missed a series of three or four retaliatory gang shootings while I was gone, which I'd say was a relief, except, well, that's a peculiar thing to be relieved about. But I'm trying to finish a major validation project, so I'm glad one of my coworkers is handling those homicides.

I mainlined the entirety of season 10 of Master Chef (the UK version) on the plane on the way back, so I am looking forward to a free weekend when I can try cooking some new things. Like fresh pasta. Especially ravioli. Maybe a thai dish, too. Not that I ever want to cook professionally, but I can't watch one of those competitions without wanting to at least branch out a little.

Off to bed now. Got to get back on a good work night schedule.
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 22:51
so I was talking to the boything the other day about how I am very definite that I want who only by moving can balance/only by balancing move as soon as I work out who to commission to do the lettering for me, and I'm very certain I want it on my bicep, and he was being a bit baffled about this until I explained that the reason to have it on my arm is wheelchair user. (And also erstwhile pianist/harpsichordist, but hey.)

Which got him to talking about wheels as symbology. And, whoops, now I apparently want the outline of a circle (medium-thick, dark ink; cannot decide just yet whether black or v dark blue) about the size of a 2p piece, on my spine just below the nape of my neck/shoulders. Because: wheels and movement and the Moon and choices and decision-making and going in circles (every five years or so/I look back on my life/and I have a good laugh) and a reminder to not try carrying the world on my shoulders.

This is sufficiently straightforward that I might in fact get it for my birthday (in that I don't have to worry about lettering etc). Because it is a thing that Feels Right, and is absolutely a thing about which I'll keep inventing more symbology as I go along.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 22:16
1. I do actively like getting up with dawn and being in work by 8am. If I could find a way to do that sustainably (given insomnia, fatigue, etc) then I'd be all over it. (Two days running this week; aiming to replicate tomorrow. Though, to be fair, I did come home very early this afternoon and then sleep. But -- I got labwork done before 9am, I taught for three hours, and I booked mass spec time. And I'm doing some more faff at home. Writing abstracts is haaard. I mean, actually I think formal writing is hard, but perhaps I will work out how to get past this, sigh.)

2. Facesfriend is great, though - I stayed over at theirs last night, and sometime in the wee hours they very gently woke me up enough for me to disentangle myself from the nightmare I was having (whimpery rather than screamy, thank goodness; once a year or so I wake myself up screaming, and I'm always very embarrassed about the disruption to other people) and then they coaxed me back to sleep and... gosh, that was nice.

3. Guiltknitting progresses apace. It was supposed to be done 18 months ago. I was stalled on it for all sorts of reasons, largely boiling down to "autism" (it became apparent I hadn't bought enough of the main colour; no more of that dye lot was to be had; I couldn't work out what on earth to do about this; and then for the primary gifting period largest smallcousin bought me some very tasteful yarn, some medium-tasteful yarn, and some yarn that um looks kind of like a sunset got overly excited and has a terrible hangover; the sunset yarn goes very well with the purple). I am unblocked and nearly halfway through the section I charted up. Weaving in the ends is going to be a pain and a half - why I thought learning to do intarsia with two strands no less in the context of double-knitting I have no idea but hey, it's working and legible, so.

4. I have acquired the rest of the Toby Daye books in paperback from eBay, to my immense frustration, because apparently it's impossible to buy the ebooks from anyone but Amazon in the UK, and my preferred UK booksellers aren't carrying the volumes I want, so... eBay. And in attempting to locate the short stories I have spoiled myself for something that was starting to really irritate me, so I can now read on secure in the knowledge that the characters are going to stop being so infuriatingly oblivious sometime soon (well, two books' time, but). (I am also feeling kind of guilty for spending money on books by white folk - [personal profile] calissa posted recently about diversity and reading; one of the ways I try to (1) ~broaden my horizons~ and (2) restrict my spending on books, in addition to "don't buy anything while the to-read pile on the ereader is greater than $number" [currently 25, previously 50], is to by-and-large avoid buying books by whitey? On the grounds that I get loaned lots of them and I can satisfy most of my desire-to-read-white-people via loans, so. AND ON THE OTHER HAND I am working super hard this month in lab terms, I'm helping teach a maths course which is a massive deal, I am a bit ill, paper books are good for reading in lab because not metal, and for all I'm finding them gently frustrating they are excellent brain-candy.)

5. I really do need to set up that review blog. Which in turn means that I need to get my act together to choose a CMS for my personal website, siiigh.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 19:33
The best that can be said for Time and the Rani is that it probably could have been worse. There are a few nice touches and it is mostly pointless and repetitive rather than embarrassingly bad. But in places it is embarrassingly bad, mostly it is, at best, pointless and repetitive and the science stinks to high heaven.

More under the cut )

At the end of the day, it has some interesting features but the bottom line is that it's really not very good.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 09:02
Read news, HN (which I do if i wake up in the night or very early) had tea and half a tramadol, slowly unstiffening. Knees and ankles bad in the way of post-airplane flight. I read a very excellent draft of an article or post by a friend and commented in potentially useful ways. She is admirable in her careful and nuanced construction of thoughts. What a pleasure to read. Also, a nice way to start the morning. I need more tea, and now to work email, 9:05am so it is not like I have shirked.

Not sure how things will play out at work this week. I would like to focus deeply and submit a patch! Must catch up with email, go to at least 2 meetings. So i could not until late afternoon. By then I may be in too much pain. Then Wed. morning a meeting and then physical therapy. So I really really want to try for this afternoon.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 08:04
I keep having to buy energy refills so he can keep watching.

Read more... )
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 02:23
Such wrangling with helpdesk. First the guy with the Fear & Loathing poster who fled the Monkey House had an entanglement with helpdesk.

Things I did not say to Helpdesk included: "Just because I write 'Dear Santa, I've been a very good Lunatic this year. Please send me a shiny new Macbook with all the trimmings! Here is a picture!' on the whiteboard, doesn't mean that Santa will have gotten the message; your ass is supposed to know how things are assigned to Logistics, and just because Chip wrote a Dear Logistics note in the ticket doesn't mean that they got it."

Things I did do: give Fear & Loathing some chocolate: some for him, some for Chip.

Lennon Glasses Guy is dabbling gently at bitcoin mining. I had some "helpful" ideas. Purple pointed out that the usual suspects for bitcoin mining are probably against all parts of the concept of a solar-and-bike-powered miner.

After lunch, a helpdesk guy had just pinged me about a particular contentious open ticket when a senior engineer commenced letting off steam about a known issue in IRC.

The helpdesk guy thought I was talking about another thing. I helped him see what I truly meant. He had thought I meant I couldn't see un-triaged tickets at all, which was wrong. What I meant was, if a person makes a ticket and adds me to the cc, I need to see it before it's triaged. He tried to make such a ticket and failed because that is not a thing helpdesk can do (it makes them triage first). I walked him through creating it like a normal user. He sounded shocked and hurt when the ticket he created didn't appear on my board.

He had to go rethink everything. Next, the very angry engineer. It was a known issue: helldesk notification emails were sending bad links.

Senior Engineer: WTF is with helldesk? I don't understand any part of it, and the link they gave me is 404-ing.
Azz: hang on, I'm chatting with helpdesk about another thing right now, but after that I will be right with you.
Senior Engineer: wtf wtf wtf do they even have QA?
Azz: *grimly* I think we're their QA.
Senior Engineer: *further detail about the 404 shenanigans*
Azz: Ugh, right, that one. I've CC-ed you on the ticket I've already filed, here is the ticket number, here is the link to the less-broken view of helldesk, and here is how you get back and forth.
Senior Engineer: I think you mean, *you're* their QA.
Senior Engineer: Thanks, this is a lot less broken. I'll bookmark that.

Much later, Researcher Polkadot said something hilarious in email. A crudely made animation ensued.

animated gif )

Later still, the guy who empties the bins came around. A brief but surreal chat about names ensued.

Purple was summoned. We headed out.

I do not know what the m2ma would say about off label uses for extra large finger cuffs, but they had best not have splinters.

Purple cannot have fruit punch on account of it punching back.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 04:20
Sprung the cash for winter bicycling gloves and batteries for bike lamps. Am I insane for thinking that biking 50 minutes to and from school in -30C is doable? We will find out.

It is 45 minutes by bus (not including wait times, but always including at least 15 minutes on foot anyway) and $2.50 each way, so biking will likely save me time, and definitely save me $.

Actually, looking at it that way, it will only take me 6 round trips to pay for the gloves and batteries. Geezo. (And with the ability to actually stop at places where I want to stop along the way [e.g. groceries, gym, pretty scenes] without burning my transfers and incurring another $2.50 penalty.)

This lunacy absolutely encouraged by stal--- er following [twitter.com profile] k8thek8 's new transit column, and her mention of the hashtag #VikingBiking. 

I'm planning on testing it out on a few shorter trips for groceries and to martial arts classes, and then doing the longer trip on a day I don't have to necessarily be on time, or even actually show up to school. 
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 00:11
1. It did start raining this evening, but we managed to grill in time!

2. A while back Carla bought a 12-pack of Mug rootbeer for me as I have been in a rootbeer mood a lot lately. But as it turns out, I don't really like the taste of Mug, and neither does she, so it's just been sitting there. But today we got some vanilla ice cream and had ice cream floats! At about half a can per float, that should last us for a while (longer than the ice cream).

3. I did a lot more faffing about reading stuff on the internet than I had wanted to today (to the point of making my arm hurt with all the scrolling!), but I did get some stuff done that needed to get done.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 01:26
My talk at this year's linux.conf.au was "When Your Codebase Is Nearly Old Enough To Vote": a case study of Dreamwidth and all the horrible horrible things we've found down there underneath the couch cushions, along with the lessons we've learned about when to rewrite them and when to leave them alone.

You can view the YouTube recording (sorry, no transcript), or check out the slides!
Monday, January 26th, 2015 22:47
I liked Salt Lake City and Park City both. I did a fair job of relaxing and not trying to do too much, slightly over the line but most of that was today (getting off the plane to go to ada's school play opening night, which was AMAZING.)

I had great food, 3 different really good hotels, nice people all around, got to see a little of the library, strange experience today of scootering around downtown Salt Lake City and, yay, went to hear an organ recital in the Tabernacle, which was truly great. Mormons weirded me out. I went into the geneology building.

Actually just crossing the street from the temple plaza to the geneology building was weird and hilarious and a good silly story. I was facing the building across a wide, completely empty street at a crosswalk and red light and don't walk sign. The lights on either side a block away were red and no cars were even visible. Across the street from me was a lineup of mormons with name tags, ladies in skirts and like big hair, and men in suits with flowers in buttonholes. It was as if they were in 50s shop windows. They were all staring at me like i was from Mars but with big smiles. I have to say my heart quailed as I realized I was about to jaywalk or jayscoot in front of these people. Do Mormons do a citizens arrest? So, I went across and they all burst into nervous laughter. I went to the median and thought perhaps we could leave it at that, but no, it had to be done right so I just kept going. We grinned at each other wildly. ONe of them stepped aside and made a remark, something like "Well, uh oh, you might just block our way or something!" (Which was weird because.... i am one person and they were like 10 and they were blocking the crosswalk ramp) False joviality! I laughed lightly while grinning (and considered dramtically taking off my hat to reveal troll doll crest; rejected as the right moment had passed before I thought of it, plus, not actually there to troll mormons, just wanted to cross street, so, unworthy) and went on to admire the Pioneer Cabin to collect myself (rattled!) and hack its portal(s).

Then peeked into the geneology place. A large imposing building with very ugly art inside. The greeters were perturbed but came at me with smiles and nametags. Sister something explained that I could go to watch a video then go to the computers and people would help me. I said I was pretty experienced in doing that kind of research and familiar with how to do geneology stuff online and what i wanted to know was what paper archives they have and what access people can have to them because I like history. She did not know but after some fumbling said that there were books and papers and things on other floors but would have to ask around. I didn't have time to stay so thanked her and went off to the GLORIOUS organ music.

Gershwin on an organ, meh. "Southern Song" ok, noted the blue note accurately done (impressive) but this compounded feeling of cultural appropriation/ruining done by Gershwin. and yet it was quite beautiful and dreamy. BUT. Toccata and fugue(s) A PLUS WOULD FUGUE AGAIN. holy shit! So great. The organist did a demo of the acoustics by dropping a pin 3 times onto the table and then a nail and then tearing a newspaper. My observation of the pin drop was that the pins were dropped onto a hollow wooden sounding box type of thing on top of the table. That is not quite cheating, it is fine, but, it was implied that they were just dropped onto the table...... Kind of cheating really. Wondered what the hell. Immense wealth of odd religious cult displayed. What if someone like, busted me for playing ingress in t heir plaza? What would it be like to flat out own like 4 city blocks for the your monumental architecture of your Thing, whatever it is? What even is their thing, wtf? I think my knowledge of mormons goes like this: Sherlock Holmes story. Pat Califia complaining about childhood. Abuse scandals. They wear particular underwear (garments). Feminist Mormon Housewives group blog (which was great when i was reading it). Oh, also, impression that it is odd, but mostly harmless, to think if you record everyone's family tree then you get their souls in your heaven. You know, weird, but, shrug....

Back in SF feeling the vast weight of wondering if Mormons will get me lifted off my shoulders.

Much more to say but must sleep. Must blog about things like, the movie itself, my amazing breakfasts, all the nice things about the hotels, mountains, things I wish I had gotten to do, the library, etc. etc. also ada's school musical which, highlight of everything, was great.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 00:22
Open Source Bridge talk proposals (and keynote nominations!) are open. Deadline is 11:59 PM PT (UTC-8:00) on March 7, 2015.

OSB is a great conference with a wide diversity of talks on all kinds of open-source related issues, not just programming! We will be going this year, and I'd love to have a bunch of people from DW giving talks. I will happily help you put yoru talk together. :)
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Monday, January 26th, 2015 21:55
Short, simple fix. Best kind.

Tag arrows now have their own CSS class "tagnav" to be manipulated at will. Go forth and stylate! Or don't. Up to you, really.
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Monday, January 26th, 2015 22:54
Noah is still skittish and scared of everything, but he missed us. He's splitting the difference by actually hanging out in my office, but hiding.

Read more... )
Monday, January 26th, 2015 21:54
Warnings for language and sentiments, obviously.

I am enough of a New Englander that "wicked redacted for the obvious ableist term )" has a unique connotation that I've never found a replacement for. I don't use that descriptor anymore, but I would love a replacement with the same connotations.

I wouldn't mind a replacement for "transphobic term for a group in which men predominate )." It doesn't have unique connotations, per se, but it is humorously snide in a way I enjoy. But all the the alternatives I've though of are also transphobic, because they all rely on synecdoche for the humor.

Otherwise usually when I'm looking for a replacement for a word I realize the connotation itself is one I'm trying to avoid, not just the term and its associations. Eg. when I wanted to replace racism and classism )

(Consider this a warning label that people might talk about similar problems in the comments.)
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 08:45
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

Over the last year, I finally joined the “listening to podcasts” bandwagon. It turns out that, like everyone else, I need a commute to up my podcast listening. My ‘commute’ is actually about 2km of walking around my suburb dropping off and picking up kids, but whatever.

Some of my regular podcasts:

Slate Money with Felix Salmon, Cathy O’Neil and Jordan Weissmann (and occasional guests). High finance and business, with occasional forays into gossip from finance journalism (Felix and Jordan) and quant-land (Cathy).

Sample episodes: The Davos Edition with Felix bringing gossip from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos and The “Smoking Up Behind the Bleachers” Edition talking about the creation of Big Weed and also Taylor Swift not streaming on Spotify. (Clearly, I tend to find finance less interesting than business.)

NPR Planet Money. I find NPR/This American Life house production style somehow strange, it’s really unlike, say, the ABC (Australian version) to the point where I have trouble with, say, 99% Invisible seeming a bit fake or overly polished. But Planet Money avoids the uncanny valley of radio, and apparently money is my thing as a podcast listener.

Sample episodes: Bell Wars about the multi-decade feud between the world’s two handbell manufacturers and We’re Short America in which they continue a tradition of making risky investments, dig up $400 or so and short the S&P 500 for educational purposes.

Galactic Suburbia with Tansy, Alex and Alisa talking speculative fiction and related media for about an hour and a half at a time. They have a weak spot in talking about the politics of speculative fiction because they’re often unwilling to name names (“sometimes bad things happen and I think we can agree that less bad things… would… generally speaking be… better”). Their strength is “culture consumed”: their informal reviews of what they’ve been reading and watching. They also do spoileriffic episodes when they talk about things they’ve all watched/read in huge detail.

Sample episodes: with a typical episode lasting ninety to one hundred and twenty minutes, and no formal scripting, episodes tend to be more variable. But a couple I’ve enjoyed most were Hugo Nominations 2014 and Episode 97: the Veronica Mars movie, which is quite a compliment when I’ve never seen any Veronica Mars, including the movie.

Law Report with Damien Carrick. This is an ABC radio show syndicated as a podcast, dealing with Australian legal issues or Australian perspectives on international legal issues.

Sample episodes: Lex Wotton speaks out about the death of Mulrunji and policing on Palm Island, after having his gag upheld for several years by the High Court. Very important for people interested in human rights in Australia. The problem with ‘Mr Big’ confessions, about the policing technique in which people are enticed to confess crimes to undercover police in the belief they are speaking with a senior crime figure.

Chat 10 Looks 3 with Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales. Gossip, literature and cooking with two very senior Australian women journalists. Sadly, they’ve only recorded five episodes and haven’t committed to doing any more ever.

Sample episodes: Episode 1 with Sales singing show tunes and discussion of the gendered idea of the “art monster” (the person consumed by art and cared for by a wife-cum-mother in every respect) and Episode 5 with Christmas baking and Leigh Sales’s total and complete disinterest in the beautiful birds that live in her yard.

Astronomy Cast with Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay. They do a little too much of the faux-clueless-host-listener-standin for me (although at least gender-wise it’s Fraser doing it and not Pamela), but, it’s friendly and high quality and ASTRONOMY. Right now they’re doing a series on living women astronomers, who, as usual, aren’t as well known as living men astronomers when their work is equally as good.

Sample episodes: Ep. 353: Seasons on Saturn pretty much single-handedly increased my interest in planetary astronomy to about the size of Saturn, and Ep. 360: Modern Women: Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a very interesting story featuring neutron stars, non-aggressive responses to institutional sexism (which I don’t think are better to be clear, but doesn’t mean Bell Burnell shouldn’t be heard), and male astronomers taking damage to their careers challenging institutional sexism. DID I MENTION NEUTRON STARS?

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Monday, January 26th, 2015 15:19
Someone posted to a mailing list I'm on about a scifi conference at Oral Roberts University ("Science, Faith, and the Imagination" - keynote speaker Orson Scott Card). I clicked through to "Experiencing Tulsa", whose second paragraph begins:

We are proud of our cultural diversity, and of the cultural activities that celebrate our part and our future.

Unfortunately, the next sentence is not:

In 2021 we will be commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa race riot, in which envious, racist white residents killed at least 39 of their black neighbors and destroyed the most prosperous black community in the United States.

And the list of key city attractions -- opera, ballet, the jazz district -- doesn't mention that, as a bonus, if you visit one of Tulsa's parks, you may well be standing on a mass grave.

The scifi conference is requesting submissions of short stories. Alt-history counts....