February 2014

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 19:34
I am doing a lot! Too much! Yet not enough.

Since Zond7 left Monday night I have suddenly degenerated from my smug routine, forget to eat meals, and there is laundry everywhere. somehow instead of writing extra poetry and living in a nice neat environment I have entered odd workaholic and not taking care of myself mode.

Weird! Instructive!

I think it is also the tramadol and extra coffee. Must fix that tomorrow.

Tea only after 1 cup of coffee, and no tramadol after .. umm..... 1pm?

I wrote to the EFF as i said i would, yesterday i did a fun zine reading thing at DU, I worked quite hard, went to all the meetings ever fucking invented, and hacked some portals whicih was super relaxing and fun, and grocery shopped.

i read from a funny old zine and a section from a newish poem that i think is nearly done.

Cannot do enough at work to feel like i'm on top of things or truly competent. HOw to limit things????? why do i keep on taking more responsiblity?

i do not want to burn out.

also i went to 2 doctor appointments which while not specially stressful or hard, and i went in a cab, were still stressful and hard.

i miss zond7 quite a lot!

i think i need to strictly enforce some hours off even if i can't take a whole day ... which i don't feel that i can....
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 18:09
It's going to take me a while before I'm used to Wednesday being my day off! I keep being surprised at the reading posts all over my flist...

What are you currently reading?
Still rereading Scott Pilgrim. It's still great!

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, I'm on the final volume of Scott Pilgrim, so I'll have to choose something soon, but I don't know what! I can almost guarantee it will be a manga, though. Oh wait, I do have two issues of Ms Marvel on my harddrive so I should probably read those.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 17:53
Straight Punch by Monique Polak
Straight Punch
by Monique Polak

When Tessa gets caught leaving one too many graffiti tags, she finds herself kicked out of school and sent to "New Directions" a last-chance school for troubled teens with an impressive boxing program. Unfortunately, Tessa hates violence and isn't sure how she'll ever fit in given that most of the kids have situations much more dire than her own, but she's not getting out of this.

The backdrop of Montréal (a city with more than a little street art) works well for this coming of age story. I chose to read this while visiting the city, so the setting felt rich to me in ways that it might not have if I'd read it at another time. I was expecting more boxing out of Straight Punch, but actually the thing that struck me most about this were the moments you were seeing the world through Tessa's artist eyes.

I agree that it does feel a little "after school special with troubled teens" but the messages about standing up for what's right and what matters aren't any less true for having been told a thousand times. This book is perhaps better for teens than jaded adult readers, but it's still a nice little story about a teenager finding her inner strengths.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 18:35
This poll is based on a conversation with a family member of mine.

I'd also like to note that when I say "inconvenient food allergy" I mostly mean "inconvenient to the person who has it because they have to question everything that goes in their mouth and isn't that a pain in the butt?"

This poll is not intended to cover issues of vegetarian or vegan family members or guests, Paleo family members or guests, or people who are just picky eaters. This is an allergy poll. Assume the guest or family member will suffer very negative consequences ranging from "tied to the bathroom in a bad way for the next 24" up to anaphylactic shock and/or death if they are exposed to something that they are allergic or sensitive to. Allergies are different from lifestyle choices, thank you.

Poll #15270 Open table
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 10

You are throwing a dinner party. This means that you have selected your guests and invited them because you want to have a party. This is not a holiday but an optional event that you are hosting because it pleases you. One of your guests has an unusual food allergy like strawberries, MSG, or Brazil nuts. As the host, which do you consider to be the appropriate response?

Cook around it. It's easy enough to make a dinner for 6 without that ingredient.
10 (100.0%)

Use the ingredient but warn your guest.
0 (0.0%)

Expect the guest to bring their own food.
0 (0.0%)

You are throwing a dinner party. This means that you have selected your guests and invited them because you want to have a party. This is not a holiday but an optional event that you are hosting because it pleases you. One of your guests has a major and somewhat inconvenient food allergy like gluten sensitivity/allergy, soy sensitivity/allergy, or nightshade sensitivity/allergy. As the host, which do you consider to be the appropriate response?

Cook around it. It's tougher, but you did invite these guests.
10 (100.0%)

Use the ingredient but warn your guest.
0 (0.0%)

Expect the guest to bring their own food.
0 (0.0%)

You are hosting a major holiday dinner or party for your family. You probably didn't have much of a choice in who to invite or your hosting duties. One of your family members has an unusual food allergy like strawberries, MSG, or Brazil nuts. As the host, which do you consider to be the appropriate response?

Cook around it. You're clever and can modify recipes if need be.
9 (90.0%)

Use the ingredient but warn your family members.
1 (10.0%)

Expect your family members to bring their own food.
0 (0.0%)

You are hosting a major holiday dinner or party for your family. You probably didn't have much of a choice in who to invite or your hosting duties. One of your family members has a major and somewhat inconvenient food allergy like gluten sensitivity/allergy, soy sensitivity/allergy, or nightshade sensitivity/allergy. As the host, which do you consider to be the appropriate response?

Cook around it. You're clever and can modify recipes if need be.
8 (80.0%)

Use the ingredient but warn your family members.
2 (20.0%)

Expect your family members to bring their own food.
0 (0.0%)

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 00:09
Apparently this week I am pondering the construction of the idea of "muse" instead of working on my transfer report.

In particular I am wondering about how other people have conceptualised their relationships with real flesh-and-blood human beings they consider muses; presence/absence, the form of inspiration, and so on, and so forth. I think there is an essay trying to happen, but in order to tease out the details I rather suspect I need to expose myself to a wider range of viewpoints.

Suggestions and discussion in comments very much appreciated.

eta "museum" is "a seat or shrine of the Muses"!!!!
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 18:18
I really dig on gamification for learning and self-improvement. I've got 3 sites right now which are rocking my world, and I feel like I'm keeping up with progressing various areas because one is really fun (HabitRPG), one has an incredible, supportive community (Fitocracy), and one is something that's important to me career-wise (Duolingo), as well as using multiple tactics for language learning (I want to say their reward system is great, but it's too stingy for my tastes). (I'm switterbeet on all of those btw, feel free to add me if you like/use any of them! Friends is fun. ^^)

Before all this, I actually did a lot of it myself with a spreadsheet, after stealing the idea of daily points from a friend. It helped me keep track of how I was progressing because sometimes when you're practicing something day to day, there's little /sense/ of forward movement. And that's not really motivating. But the tiny bits of practice are necessary lest you start to lose what you've gained.

Luckily the world seems really keen on this tactic right now and there's all sorts of gamified applications and websites to play around with, so I don't have to make my own anymore. :P

There is a big part of me which wishes I could implement this for my dad right now, though. He is an impatient, gets-frustrated quickly sort. He's started to make more rapid improvements after some medical tweaks he's had lately but still. I brought a calendar down when I visited the one time, and wrote all his milestones on it. "Woke up", "trach mask off", "called [my mom]! for the first time"*, "8 hours off ventilator!" etc etc etc. And I guess it is just me being slightly obsessive/control freaky, but I don't think anyone has kept up with it, and I feel like it might actually help him. :/ I don't know. Probably a lot of that is me just being unable to do much.

I tried getting him and my mom into Fitocracy awhile ago, in a blatant gambit to get them to get a bit healthier, but alas it wasn't to be. But now, still playing around on the site a bit, I just feel like something like that, or daily points, or charts he can see might help him out. I know he can be a bit vain, and loves being able to brag about stuff, so a tangible record for him just seems like it'd be awesome.

I'll be trying again once he's at home and working on physio and stuff there at least.

*funny story there, she was actually on her way to see him at the time, and so he just left a really garbled wheezy message. She said if she had gotten it without seeing him she would have assumed it was a random obscene phone call. XD

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 22:24
I met a friend from school today, and during one of our usual 5-hours-of-talking-and-tea marathons we of course at some point started discussed a bunch of mutual acquaintances.

meeeemories [tw: body issues, graphic descriptions of sexual acts] )
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 15:56
Bright as yellow. #nofilter
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 11:36
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/RL6uDj at April 23, 2014 at 04:30AM
copperbadge: eruvadhril replied to your post:Answers About Kindereggs Hey, Sam, tell us about how...

eruvadhril replied to your post:Answers About Kindereggs

Hey, Sam, tell us about how you used to make bootleg hooch under your sink in college!

WELL I’LL TELL YOU, all you really need to make alcohol is yeast, sugar, and fruit juice. When I was doing some research in some old newspapers, I came across a recipe for “dorm wine” — you mix yeast and sugar in the bottom of a large jug, then add fruit juice concentrate and fill the jug with water (I used a 2-liter soda bottle). You tape a balloon over the mouth of the jug to prevent bugs and dust getting in but to allow for gas expansion as everything ferments, and after about two weeks, when the balloons have deflated, you have decent but nigh-undrinkable alcohol.

The key to making it drinkable is to age it in the fridge for at least a few weeks; the longer it ages the better it tastes. I made “apple jack” and “red wine” this way. It was pretty mellow, probably not any higher alcohol content than most beer, but if you’re 19 and can’t buy booze yet, a couple of bucks for a 2-L of beer isn’t bad.

If you’re concerned about someone noticing what you’re buying, get flour and stuff and pretend you’re going to try making bread with the yeast. (Get baking powder as well, and make pancakes.)
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 20:12
People here may remember that during 2012 I was regularly posting pictures of Everest (Sagarmatha/Chomolungma) and its 2012 climbing season as a metaphor for the final push to finish my PhD.

I doubt I'll ever so much as see the mountain, but nevertheless having appropriated it as a metaphor for my own decidedly non-life threatening and unrelated personal enterprise, I acknowledge and mourn the deaths of 16 men on April 18:

Mingma Nuru Sherpa
Dorji Sherpa
Ang Tshiri Sherpa
Nima Sherpa
Phurba Ongyal Sherpa
Lakpa Tenjing Sherpa
Chhiring Ongchu Sherpa
Dorjee Khatri
Then Dorjee Sherpa
Phur Temba Sherpa
Pasang Karma Sherpa
Asman Tamang
Tenzing Chottar Sherpa
Ankaji Sherpa
Pem Tenji Sherpa
Ash Bahadur Gurung

(Per Nepali report and Alan Arnette.)

China Tibet Himalaya
Photo by Bernard Goldbach

More from synedochic and Jon Krakauer.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 03:03
I haven't quite psyched myself up to dust off my DW code yet, although my outstanding vgifts code did get committed, and I'm pleased about that. I still have quite a few other branches dangling, though, and some of them just need testing, which means updating my dev environment. Ugh.

In the meantime, I've been spending my time lately writing lightweight webapps using the Perl Dancer framework. I love how little code it requires to get a simple idea up and running, with no "dev environment" at all. Since the web service is built in, I don't have to fuss around with Apache, and it's very easy to attach the Perl debugger if things begin to act weird.

One of my Dancer projects is on Github: Clean All The Things, a tool for tracking housework task status. When I first started that project, it was just a command line script and a database file, but it has gradually grown in complexity. I'm very pleased with how it's turned out, though.

I love using Template Toolkit. I love how it separates the page display logic from the rest of the code, but is still powerful enough to handle concepts like FOREACH. I love that I can edit a page template and reload my browser to see the changes without having to restart the web server. I love how each call to render a template passes its own little package of variables to use, so I don't have to worry about scoping. I don't think I'll ever want to write web pages any other way again.

I do still bump up against occasional quirks, though. Today I was writing a page that used hardcoded hash keys of the form "foo.2a" and TT interpreted that as "foo.2" followed by an unexpected token "a". I had to write it as foo.${'2a'} before it could understand me.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have been writing code lately, and I'll try to transition back into coding for Dreamwidth after I finish my current pet project.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 00:53
Today my manager was Out, and I used the 1:1 time shoving things into boxes, and reconciling papers with computers, and pulling things out of closets.

I popped by the desktop office with two briefcases full of ancient Latitude mumblety-something versions. Poor long-suffering Chip. Then I returned with a third briefcase, because there was really nowhere else to put it.

As part of this whole exercise, various things are being put out for salvage, such as the tablecloths of bad mojo, and a whole bunch of random swag. People from the team were coming up to me the whole day, asking whether I had any left. The vultures claimed it all, very quickly.

Transporting an array of coffee syrup bottles coherently is less fun than you might imagine. This is complicated by the need for everything to be in boxes -- if I thought I could get away with it, I would have left it intact and just carried it across and down myself. But probably not, no. So all the syrups went in one box. I top each box with my email address, just in case the external labeling fails and I have an orphaned box found somewhere.

So there was the matter of getting the syrup pumps out of the bottles. This involved unscrewing, draining, rinsing, and being careful about angles. I had a little more coffee than usual due to using up the drained syrup.

One of the bottles was the ill-favoured cherry-lime. I left that in the traditional free-stuff place.

I got the notice that I was accepted in to the transition pilot for the leap from Exchange 2007 to 2013. In the absence of my Overlady, I had to check her inbox to make sure she'd got the same message (because we go as a unit). In said inbox, I found a question from the PM on the other end of my block. So I hit the database again, and shook it until candy fell out, and this time I was careful to reply as myself and not as my Overlady. So another PM is learning where the information comes from.

One of the mover guys came past my cube and asked was I going to use all those boxes. Yes. Yes, I was.

The PM down the corner is not sure when she's moving, but she thinks it's soon. She is also going to be out of the state next week sometime. This may interact poorly. I bequeathed her two of my boxes -- when I run out, I can request more, but if she's going to be out of the office, she has a limited time window for packing.

The large metal rooster goes in the box before the lava lamp.

I saw JD checking in vaguely near where I was at, and called to ask if he needed a ride home. He allowed as how that might be good. Various communications later, I made my escape and headed in the direction of dinner. (Purple was delighted to learn of a place that did Mongolian beef in the general area, but was staying Somewhat Later.) I joined JD and his hiking buddy. Om nom nom beef.

When I headed out from work, the cherry-lime syrup bottle was still as I'd left it.

I had forgotten how very much I dislike driving and parking near Castro Street in Mountain View. It is not my favorite thing. Fortunately, parking garage. Fortunately, legs.

Then I drove JD home. Yay!

The Starbucks near my friendly neighborhood Trader Joe's is open hella late. I got a cookie. Then I came home and finished up my step count while detangling and re-braiding my hair.
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 06:56
It's time for today's picture of Ginny draped over my knee and laptop being painfully cute. Earlier she unplugged my monitor cord. With her chin.
Read more... )
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 23:32
Oh thank god, today was a good day. I'm at work, with my most difficult client--but after a month straight of an ongoing pitched battle, I have finally won the Yes There Are Rules And You Are Going To Follow Them fight. So today we managed a lovely dinner and outing where we had no meltdowns or big acts of rulebreaking, no rocks were thrown at people or seagulls, and my shoulders were not tuned like piano wires before bedtime even rolled around. Tonight after bedtime I even got some work in on a job application for a posting that closes this week!

Also: Sometimes I fret over some flaw or infelicity in my appearance, the kind of thing someone would notice only if they scrutinized me closely. And on Monday, I got a haircut and lost a foot of hair, so now my hair ends in a long bob that does the flippy thing framing my face an inch above my shoulders. No one in my life has commented on it. So this is a reminder to me when I get all super self-conscious: I notice these things way more than other people do.

(I do like my hair, tho. ^_^)

Oh hey, have I ever defined neg-stimming for people? That's, "negative self-stimulation" as in "deliberately going out and looking for things that will make you feel bad or upset." For example: I can't deal with gore and violent injury. And yet, every so often I go read about serial killers on Wikipedia with some kind of sick fascination, clicking more links even as I rock with disgusted revulsion. I also used to read things like anon memes where people were talking about how fans like me were totally horrible, which fed my fear that people in my life secretly hated me.

Neg-stimming is kind of like the traumatic repetition compulsion. "I will do the bad thing again, and this time I will do it right!" Which is how you wind up being sucked into yet another argument with someone you know is toxic, or volunteering for a situation which will provably push you past your limits. A lot of the time the idea is, "If I were only braver/stronger/tougher, this would work!" instead of just walking away and coming up on the problem later from a totally different angle.

Then there is also, of course, just the pleasure of brainweasels being able to croon, "Yesss. I was right. My overclocked worries were good worries. Look how validating this is. I are a smart weasel." It feels kind of satisfying and necessary, despite the big DON'T FEED THE BRAINWEASELS signs, and the fact that it is neither.

So I'm not saying neg-stimming is bad. One of my healthy, adaptive coping mechanisms has always been finding out just how bad my worst-case scenario would be, so it's not some great unknown. ("Okay, so, if I fail this course I won't get my tuition back, but I will be able to re-register and try again four more times...") It's just something to be aware of: "Am I neg-stimming, or does this serve a useful purpose?"

Then, without judging or blaming yourself, you can learn to disengage and go do something else that's less brain-killing, even if no more enlightening. I'm a fan of Candy Crush, myself.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 21:41
Yay, glasses are fixable for not-much-money (the dude at the Pearle took pity on me and rung them up as a different repair) and since the frames are still made, they're just ordering a new pair of the same frames and popping the existing lenses into them. Shouldn't be too long.

...mind you, until then I have to wear my old ones, but still.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 17:49
Previously unread

YA urban fantasy, I think. I can't say much about it without giving it all away, but there are things happening, consequences and assorted stuff like that. On the whole, I approve.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 10:36
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 16:22
Oh my god it's been a long time since I've fallen head first into a fic like I did into this one. I had to take several breaks while reading because MY FACE HURT FROM SMILING.

the bones of what you believe (21623 words) by hawksjolras
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Brandon Bollig/Brandon Saad/Andrew Shaw, Brandon Bollig/Brandon Saad, Brandon Saad/Andrew Shaw, Brandon Bollig/Andrew Shaw
Summary: Brandon kneels because it’s what he’s supposed to do. It’s part of being a rookie, it’s part of belonging, it’s part of hockey.

Full disclosure: the reason I read this fic so quickly after it was posted (despite the characters not normally interesting me) is because the author contacted me a while ago to say that they'd read my Tyler Seguin/Jaime Benn kneeling AU fic and were writing their own fic set in that verse and then told me when it was finished and posted. (I WAS SO EXCITED! This is such a great AU concept and I want MOAR PEOPLE to play with it! I actually think hockey in UNIQUELY suited for this particular AU and wish to see it fully explored.)

This story's protagonist is not actually a super touchy-feely person with a giant fondness for praise kink, but I, as a touchy-feely person with a giant fondness for praise kink, certainly felt like it was WRITTEN FOR ME.

This story has SO MUCH HUGGING. And PRAISE. and KINDNESS. And people taking care of each other in small but significant ways. IT IS EVERYTHING I'VE EVER WANTED. For future reference: THIS IS HOW I LIKE MY PRAISE KINK. So, so, so awesome oh my god. UGH I want ONE BILLION STORIES set in this kneeling AU jesus fuck.

I just. At every juncture this story did not disappoint. It treats its characters with such respect and nuance and shows power exchange dynamics in SUCH A GREAT WAY (where people are different things to each other depending on where they are, in what context, what room, which day, what mood) and just. SO MANY FAVORITE MOMENTS. It was like a gentle deconstruction of so many tropes I've been longing to see properly deconstructed.

Anyway, go, read, enjoy, leave feedback, write me more of this.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 02:17
What can I say about today?

Work & lunch & stuff. )

The guest speaker was Ken Thompson. Everyone was very excited. It was an interview with one of the senior dudes, who had a compilation of prepared questions. It was great fun to listen to.

At one point, it transpired that Ken had brought something for show-and-tell, in case things got slow. It was an Enigma machine. We were duly impressed. He told the story of how he had come by it (lost the coin flip, but later inherited it) and the other fellow held it up so we all could see. Ooo.

Eventually they opened up the floor for questions. Ever since he'd mentioned Berkeley specifically by name, my brain had been going down the breaking-things path. (The story of my father vs. the variable speed card reader goes here.) As I listened and grabbed the occasional picture, I thought about what the best question might be. What about the most expensive thing he had broken?

Some questions later, it solidified in my mind, and I caught the attention of the guy with the microphone. I held it carefully as Ken answered the previous question (and handed it back to the guy who'd asked the previous question when he needed to clarify, because some things just need amplification). And soon enough it was my turn.

The question I asked was shaped a little like this: Breaking things can often be a significant part of a computer person's life. Could he talk a little bit about some of the more interesting times he tried to break something, broke something, or almost broke something?

I noticed absently that my voice, amplified and re-broadcast over the speakers, was clear, full of humor, and without raspiness or hesitation. It was a reasonably nice voice. Apparently I've been coming to terms with it.

The question was wildly popular; as I sat back, my #cupcake compatriots congratulated me on an excellent question. He settled in to give us context and then a hell of a story. I will do my best to relate it; I've been poking around to see if there's a better version up online elsewhere somewhere. However! There were no few times that he'd in fact had written permission to fuck all sorts of shit up, and in one particular workplace, they'd been in the habit of leaving little easter eggs for him inside the hospital mainframe, with taunting messages to the effect that he could never get this one. And in his pursuit of this particular one, he had managed to de-couple the login function from the password file that it was supposed to check, with the result that there would be no more logins. And he couldn't get them back together. (Appropriate noises from the audience.) However! He had two terminals open. And he was still logged in over there. And he managed to discern that he could make the login program check for a password against the terminal. And he did. And he was back in. And hooooooo boy the stuff he could get into. And after that, this trick was in his arsenal.

There were more questions, and more answers. Read more... )
Monday, April 21st, 2014 23:35
1. Sales in my departments are doing so good compared to last year that when the vice president of the company came by today, he asked my manager what we were doing that they were so high when other stores were struggling to even reach 100% (I'm at about 120% right now).

2. I'm glad I work at a grocery store, since unless I walk, I can't even go to the store now because while I have a bike, I have no lock for it! (I should order one from Amazon or something, I guess. Bleh. Anyone have recs for U-lock type locks?)

3. The weather's so nice right now. Looks like it will stay that way for the rest of the week, at least (I didn't look at the extended forecast at all).
Monday, April 21st, 2014 22:23
...The bridge of my glasses just snapped while I was cleaning them o.O

Mutter. On the one hand, I have both contact lenses and my old pair of glasses to fall back on. On the other hand, the contact lenses don't have the astigmatism correction and the old glasses are a slightly weaker prescription and aren't the high-def lenses. (And boy, let me tell you, if you're considering the high-def lenses when you get your next pair, if you spend any time at all staring at a screen, do it. I was wondering if I was really imagining the difference, until I put on the old pair and went ...oh, right.)

I put on the old glasses. I realized that wearing them would mean spending the next eight hours with a screaming headache bumping into things. I put in the lenses. I will now spend the next eight hours thinking the world has gone unexpectedly two-dimensional, but it's better than the migraines, at least?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 02:28
I think the reason there's an entire societal mess around "I am sorry" ("I recognise that I have done you a wrong and accept culpability" versus "wow, this situation is absolute shite and I wish to express commiserations") is in part because "I regret" has become old-fashioned/lawyerspeak. Thoughts? Not an exact mapping, but I think there is something there.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 01:25
In... nine hours' time I am giving a talk to a bunch of 11yos about why geology is awesome. Consequently I have just finished putting together a presentation, and I am going to find it easier to type my notes on what to say for each slide into this box than I would do to put it anywhere else. I suspect it is pitched entirely wrong but um I am out of cope for doing anything else.

In related news, I Will Never Leave This Basement Again, But Maybe I Am Finally Getting Data?

Slide notes )
Monday, April 21st, 2014 12:13
 I have roommates for the convention itself (Thurs-Sun night) but I'll be flying in on Wednesday and not leaving until Tuesday morning.  Does anyone have space/need a roommate for either Wednesday or Monday night?  I'm fine with the floor or a cot.
Monday, April 21st, 2014 17:41
Previously unread.

A short story collection, trying to determine, once and forever, which are the better mythical entities, zombies or unicorns. There are multiple shorts, trying to make the point one way or another. The answer is, of course either "neither" or "both". Personally I am rather over the whole "zombie" thing and think unicorns are sneaky, totalitarian stomp-machines secretly trying to kill us all. So, nah, neither is my preferred mythical entity.

On the other hand, the collection is pretty good reading. So, if you care about the whole debate, one way or another, or if you don't, it may be worth picking this up.
Monday, April 21st, 2014 10:05
The Concourse Hotel is undergoing some renovations. We've created an all-hotel edition of eCube to let you know what's changing.
Monday, April 21st, 2014 14:10
I deal incredibly badly with people apologising to me for the wrong thing (i.e. not the thing I'm upset about), and I think I have worked out why: (1) it substitutes their judgment of the situation for my own*, and (2) it is frequently used to shut down any attempt to discuss the actual issue.

I've got enough history with (2) to cause problems in and of itself; combined with my Other History with respect to people treating me like I'm incompetent (and especially treating me like I'm incompetent when they don't have sufficient knowledge/information to make that call) and the interactions of that with (1), everything sort of explodes.

* which is a shitty, agency-denying baseline to start an apology from...
Monday, April 21st, 2014 11:55
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1i6WiQe at April 21, 2014 at 04:30AM
tomhiddlesismyspiritanimal: anyankaleigh: baddiebey: this...



this is like my fave joke

okay that shit was good.
Monday, April 21st, 2014 04:33
It's storytime with mama rahaeli: I think we've got a legacy 'feature' that can be removed, but I'm not 100% sure. Read the background and try to convince me one way or the other.

The situation as it is now: If you try to post to your journal with a time before your most recent entry, you are prevented from doing so.

(The check is in cgi-bin/LJ/Protocol.pm, lines 1323-1327; the error is "You have an entry which was posted at $u->{'newesteventtime'}, but you're trying to post an entry before this. Please check the date and time of both entries. If the other entry is set in the future on purpose, edit that entry to use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option. Otherwise, use the \"Don't show on Reading Pages\" option for this entry instead.")

This check was added in the LJ days (I'm not sure when, because the web gateway to LJ's source is down right now and I can't look up the history, but it was very early in my tenure so I want to say 2002 or so) to prevent a very common problem with people's computer clocks being set wrong. It was a horrible support burden (leading to dozens if not more support requests per day): someone's computer battery would be dying and their clock was set wrong because of it, or their clock would just be set a year or two off. Because entries in personal journals are displayed on the Recent Entries page by the time they're dated, not by the time the server received the post, a post dated 1970-01-01 would disappear completely: the person would post it, it would display on Recent Entries behind every other post they'd ever made, and they wouldn't be able to find it when they loaded their journal to see it so they would assume it hadn't been posted at all.

(This is not a problem in communities: to avoid the problem with having posters from many timezones, communities show all entries ordered by server time, not by user-supplied time.)

The fix definitely helped that problem, but it introduced the opposite problem (someone who posts once with an accidental date of 2038-01-01 then has to do some farting around with the backdating flag) and the whole concept of backdating in general is very hard to explain to people. It also, for us, causes issues with emailed-in posts: when someone emails a post to the site, it's posted with the timestamp in UTC (aka, DW server time), which then causes problems if someone wants to post within the 'window' of their timezone offset. (This is what made me start this post: I emailed in today's stupid kitten pic, which got a timestamp of 2014-04-21 0500 UTC, then I tried to post a second entry at 2014-04-21 0421 EDT and got the error. I've opened an issue for applying timezone offsets to emailed-in posts, but there's still the wider question to address.)

My gut instinct is that this check may have been necessary in 2002 (or whenever) when very few people had self-correcting clocks, but now it's 2014 and I don't think there's a single operating system out there that doesn't ship with the "update from timeservers" checkbox checked. I think the few people who will have disabled that auto-time-correction will be used to things behaving weirdly for them if their clock is hella off, and any potential support burden will be alleviated by the lack of having to support questions like "I posted an entry in 2020 to future-date it and now I can't update without errors".

So, discuss:

1) Do people think we can safely remove the "are you trying to post in the past" check?

2a) If not, should we switch to using system time for the "are you trying to post in the past" check? (IE, go by "time the entry was received by DW" rather than "time the user specifies for their post".)

2b) If yes, which of the two options should we take:

2b1) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, but otherwise leave things as-is, so that entries on a personal journal's Recent Entries page are still displayed in the order they're dated, not the order they were posted;

2b2) Eliminate all future-date/past-date checks when updating, and switch to treating personal journals like communities, in which entries are displayed in strict order they're posted regardless of date specified by the user.

(I can make up some examples if people are confused about the distinction.)

I think we should get rid of the check, and we should otherwise leave things as-is (so: yes to 1, and of the two, option 2b1) but I am willing to entertain arguments in any direction. Convince me!
Monday, April 21st, 2014 05:26
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Monday, April 21st, 2014 04:29
Why did nobody tell me until just now that Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer are starring in a HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart? OMG.
Monday, April 21st, 2014 02:00
Cat, there is no way that can be comfortable. (she's draped half over my knee, half on the desk, sound asleep and snoring a little.)
Read more... )
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 22:59
1. I had a nice, relaxing day off. I slept in until around 9.30 (that's late for me now!), made a delicious brunch of scrambled eggs, hash browns, and arabiki sausage, and then spent the day watching old Simpsons episodes and working on manga.

2. Finally, finally, FINALLY, I got a new chapter of Gunjo posted! I really thought I'd never be able to continue with this one, so it's pretty exciting.

3. The other day I beat a level of Candy Crush I'd been stuck on for months. I'd pretty much given up on ever getting past it and really wasn't playing the game much anymore. Then all of a sudden I beat it! And now the game is fun again! (Until I get stuck on another level forever...)
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 22:05

Title: Gunjo
Original Title: 群青 (Gunjou)
Author: Nakamura Ching
Publisher: Ikki Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 3 volumes, complete
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Maar + HappyScans! + Kotonoha
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Out of desperation, a woman asks an old high school friend to kill her abusive husband for her. The friend, having long been in love with this woman, does it, and now they are on the run from the law.

Chapter Summary: Having thrown away all their money when they decided to turn themselves in, the two women now find themselves in an even worse situation after changing their minds and running away from the cops. It's a cold, rainy night and they can't seem to find so much as a bench with an overhang under which to rest.

Chapter 11
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 22:11
Perfume sniff notes! 9 BPAL scents: Rogue, The Rose, Dragon's Tears, Bastet, Tzadikim Nistarim, Sea of Glass, Djinn, Euphrosyne, Omen.

9 scent reviews )
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 19:39
I picked up a Panasonic BDT-230 a couple of months ago. Then I discovered that even though it appeared fairly straightforward to make it DVD region free (I have a large pile of PAL region 2 DVDs), the US models refuse to play back PAL content. We live in an era of software-defined functionality. While Panasonic could have designed a separate hardware SKU with a hard block on PAL output, that would seem like unnecessary expense. So, playing with the firmware seemed like a reasonable start.

Panasonic provide a nice download site for firmware updates, so I grabbed the most recent and set to work. Binwalk found a squashfs filesystem, which was a good sign. Less good was the block at the end of the firmware with "RSA" written around it in large letters. The simple approach of hacking the firmware, building a new image and flashing it to the device didn't appear likely to work.

Which left dealing with the installed software. The BDT-230 is based on a Mediatek chipset, and like most (all?) Mediatek systems runs a large binary called "bdpprog" that spawns about eleventy billion threads and does pretty much everything. Runnings strings over that showed, well, rather a lot, but most promisingly included a reference to "/mnt/sda1/vudu/vudu.sh". Other references to /mnt/sda1 made it pretty clear that it was the mount point for USB mass storage. There were a couple of other constraints that had to be satisfied, but soon attempting to run Vudu was actually setting a blank root password and launching telnetd.

/acfg/config_file_global.txt was the next stop. This is a set of tokens and values with useful looking names like "IDX_GB_PTT_COUNTRYCODE". I tried changing the values, but unfortunately made a poor guess - on next reboot, the player had reset itself to DVD region 5, Blu Ray region C and was talking to me in Russian. More inconveniently, the Vudu icon had vanished and I couldn't launch a shell any more.

But where there's one obvious mechanism for running arbitrary code, there's probably another. /usr/local/bin/browser.sh contained the wonderful line:
export LD_PRELOAD=/mnt/sda1/bbb/libSegFault.so
, so then it was just a matter of building a library that hooked open() and launched inetd and dropping that into the right place, and then opening the browser.

This time I set the country code correctly, rebooted and now I can actually watch Monkey Dust again. Hurrah! But, at the same time, concerning. This software has been written without any concern for security, and it listens on the network by default. If it took me this little time to find two entirely independent ways to run arbitrary code on the device, it doesn't seem like a stretch to believe that there are probably other vulnerabilities that can be exploited with less need for physical access.

The depressing part of this is that there's no reason to believe that Panasonic are especially bad here - especially since a large number of vendors are shipping much the same Mediatek code, and so probably have similar (if not identical) issues. The future is made up of network-connected appliances that are using your electricity to mine somebody else's Dogecoin. Our nightmarish dystopia may be stranger than expected.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 23:24
Previously unread.

This book seems to hover in the narrow crack between the noir detective, the police procedural and the milSF.

We have roughly two primary viewpoint characters (there is a third we see only briefly as one), one is a disillusioned cop, with a drinking problem and a slide downwards. The other is the XO of a water ship plying its trade in the Belt, finding ice asteroids to mine ice from.

Then things start going strange and weird, in a distinctly odd way. Not helped by our XO's habit of releasing anything that could possibly be interpreted as incriminating on the open airwaves.

On the whole, I enjoyed it, even if both of the main characters make me go "argh, spend another 10-20 seconds thinking, damnit!"
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 22:18
These greens are even tastier than they look. Garlic+chili oil #ftw.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 20:45
Ducked out in their Easter and Marathon finery.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 17:34
Interestingly, this is one of the relatively few things my father got right in bringing us up - for values of "right" that do not include "actually expressing it well or compassionately", in that he tended to phrase it not as "intent isn't magic" but "intent doesn't matter".

I think this plays into some of what I've been working through. To use the treading-on-toes example, how badly something affects me has two components: the direct physical effect ("someone trod on my toe") and my emotional response ("and I'd repeatedly told this specific person that it's currently broken, and trusted them to be careful of that" has very different impact to "and they're a stranger on the tube").

Intent can't fix the direct damage (it isn't magic), but can be taken into account in modulating the emotional response of the person suffering it (intent can matter). However, whether it matters and how much it matters is entirely up to the person damaged: it does not automatically absolve the person who caused the damage.

It's about agency and respect and all that good stuff.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 09:33

I had a cup of coffee today. First one since Ash Wednesday and strangely enough, there was an Easter Miracle. My half&half hadn't gone bad. I was very grateful, because I'd been jonesing for a cup for weeks now and you know what?

It's not as good as I remember.

A lot of things are like that. You give them up, hoping to make room for something else in your life and when you can get back to them? Not as awesome as you remember.

(Of course, some of the coffee problem could be that there were little floating bits of half&half in the coffee, but that's ruining my metaphor.)

I made room for something else this Lent and I'm not sure if I want to edge it over for something else that I'd left behind.

Resurrexit vere! Воистину воскрес!