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Monday, September 26th, 2016 11:51

Taking place not that long after The Winter Long, it starts with some complications. These generate more complications, when Toby ends up being sent as the diplomatic emissary from Mists to Silences (the kingdom bordering Mists to the north), to try to avert the war that Silences just declared. There's, thankfully, a three-day grace period before hostilities begin, so there's a sliver of time trying to fix things before things go war-shaped.

Main problems being that Toby is perhaps not the most diplomatic person around. And Silences is very traditional, in that they really do not like changelings, or fae with animal traits. Or a whole slew of things that are exemplified by Toby and gang.

This is a series I liked at the first read and it holds up to re-reading remarkably well.
Monday, September 26th, 2016 00:50
1. The ants got better for a bit but then SO MUCH WORSE, so I finally tried the suggestion of putting the catfood plates in a dish of water and it seems to be working. Also has the bonus of catching 95% of food scraps in the water, making for less cleanup. (Molly likes to stick her hand in the food and eat off her hand, which is super cute but doesn't work particularly well with cat paws, so a lot of food gets outside of the bowl.)

2. It was hot today and supposed to be even hotter tomorrow, but then is supposed to drop pretty dramatically in a day or so, so I'm really hopeful this is just one last heat spell and not the start of a super hot autumn like last year.

3. The second half of the week is going to be sooooo busy, but at least I get tomorrow off. I'm looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing.

4. Look at this sweet sleepy Chloe.

Sunday, September 25th, 2016 23:31
Vague-yet-true: a taste of something longed for and hoped for is often enough to soothe the aching spirit.
Sunday, September 25th, 2016 16:23
Sunday: A day of catching up and chores.

Monday: We tried a new format for group meetings at work. This was a brainstorming session in an attempt to identify possible collaborations. Somehow I had ended up in charge of it (on the theme of links between Verification, Planning and Learning). I think it went OK, though discussion did flag in a couple of places. I'm not sure if it will lead to anything though, at least based on the crickets that have responded to the follow up email. B. went to York in part because he was examining a PHD on Tuesday but also to see various family members so they could wish him a happy birthday.

Tuesday: Met with boss and another RA to brainstorm a new approach to a paper we have spent a year failing to get published. Celebrated B's birthday with steak and wine. Between us G and I gave him a Queen bass guitar book, a screwdriver and a roleplaying book (courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] philmophlegm and the excellent Shop on the Borderlands). He seemed pleased.

Wednesday: Y9 Introduction Evening at the school. These events are desperately dull, though at least this year we were spared the Internet Safety talk (do not allow your child anywhere near a screen for more than an hour per day) in favour of "useful twitter accounts you should follow". G will only be allowed to take 9.5 GCSEs - I predict much agonising.

Thursday: Considered spending the day working on various papers, but instead continued to wrestle with debugging an implementation of a planning algorithm, with which I have been wrestling for some time. I will need to get to the papers next week.

Friday: Got my hair cut. Played with LEGO Robots. Decamped the family to Oxford to celebrate my mother's 80th.

Saturday: Took my mother out for High Tea to celebrate her birthday.
Sunday, September 25th, 2016 10:39
I spent my weekend doing basically nothing (well, talking about Black Sails and colonialism with [tumblr.com profile] zorana on chat, and then talking about Black Sails and various kinks in a tragically aborted phone conversation with [personal profile] tevere and then talking about Black Sails and pirate tropes with J on the phone - there was a lot of talking about that show with friends who are also in Asia.)

But work is making me feel gross these days - my boss has introduced drastic changes and no one knows what it will mean yet, really, but it's entirely possible I and my entire team have been de facto demoted, which sucks, and I already feel like responsibilities are being taken away from me and people are talking about quitting, and there's so much gossip and backstabbing and everyone being uncertain and looking out for themselves and trash talking quietly in dark corners and just... ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Such a gross working environment and not much prospect of things ending well, and my back is still fucked up and leaving this job is still not an option and it's just... worrying and gross. :/ I've gotten so used to the independence I enjoy, to mostly setting my own schedule.

Anyway, between this and the anxiety about moving and the new apartment and the hellishly busy week that's coming up, I slept very little last night. I mean I stayed at my parents' for the weekend, which meant I had to get up before 6am to have any prayer of getting to work in less than an hour, and I didn't go to sleep early enough and then couldn't really fall asleep properly, and well. Today I am a barely animated corpse at work, and my ability to handle the complex grossness is even lower, and my appetite is all screwed up due to lack of sleep, and well.

This morning after getting to work dressed like a clown (not really, but in my own internal estimation) from the tidbits of things I have at my parents' I drove to [personal profile] roga's and showered and changed and read fic for like 10 minutes and felt altogether more human when I came back to work. But still just... too exhausted to handle the day.

Anyway, I spent the weekend immersed in Black Sails. I haven't had the luxury of downloading TV and movies in months (moooooooonths) since I lost my computer upon moving out of my previous apartment, but being at my parents' and them having an essentially "disposable" machine (my dad reformats that PC every few months anyway) meant I could download ALL THE SEASONS and watch in luxurious high quality on my ipad screen instead of streaming the episodes (especially inconvenient considering I like to skip past bits a lot).

Anyway, I've now watched all of S2 and S3 and now I'm going back to watch select bits of S1, lol. I have to say, S3 is probably the most competently written and DEFINITELY the most competently made season (wow some parts of it were BREATHTAKINGLY directed and shot - I completely understand now why most of the people I know IRL who watched this show are fellow film school grads), as demonstrated by the fact that it managed to hold my interest despite having maybe 10% of the gay that S2 did. (This show's politics are still atrocious though and I can only avoid getting angry at it by focusing entirely on the pretty.)

spoilers for canonically queer pirates )
Sunday, September 25th, 2016 01:01
1. One of my favorite former co-workers stopped by the store today and we got to chat for a bit. He'll be there three days next week, too, to help with a small remodelling project that's going on. (He still works for the company, just a different location.)

2. I managed to get a fair bit of translating done today, including finishing up the last of the "must do" stuff for this month. (I hope to still get a couple more things finished, but the major ones are done.)

3. The kitties were sooooo cute this morning. Chloe often likes to sit on the bathroom counter and watch "kitty TV" as we call it (aka looking out the window at birdies and such), but this morning they were both sitting there together. ♥

Saturday, September 24th, 2016 21:49
I've updated the online reading list for my Fantasy and Science Fiction class at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

Some random statistics might be interesting. I kept track of them for my own purposes, and then I had too much fun with pivot tables, so I'm sharing some of my results. Keep in mind these are often guesses on my part, because I only needed rough numbers, and I could be wrong.Many stats! )
Saturday, September 24th, 2016 19:11
things are not going to calm down any time soon. in fact, they are likely to calm up.
.parental units get here tuesday, and are staying for three weeks.
.high holidays are imminent.
.also in three weeks i am going to maryland for training for a week.
.i've got like 5 trials in the next 2 weeks. more on the horizon.
.thursday's cases involved one gun swab and four right gloves. next month i'll do the four left gloves. idek.
.i earned my yellow belt at karate, so i'm going to be in the real adult classes. which are later than the white belt classes.
.we're all waiting for the governor to sign a new law that is going to put everyone at work into a tailspin.

and again pondering a tattoo. same thing i've been pondering this whole time. which is a good sign, i think, that i've not changed my mind about the what or the where. i'm just not sure on the if.
Saturday, September 24th, 2016 13:36
I thought I would make a list of my favorite Geek Feminism Blog posts, since it's a bit hard to find some of the great older posts there. I omitted my own posts as well as most cross-posts. (Excluding cross-posts excluded some of my favorite posts, alas, but I wanted to focus on content originally published on the GF blog.)


Why We Document, by Mary Gardiner. "But what makes it worth it for me is that when people are scratching their heads over why women would avoid such a revolutionarily free environment like Free Software development, did maybe something bad actually happen, that women have answers."

Questioning the Merit of Meritocracy, by Skud.


But Women Are an Advanced Social Skill, by Mary Gardiner.

Is requiring Open Source experience sexist?, by Mary Gardiner.

Self-confidence tricks, by Terri Oda.

Geek feminism as opposed to mainstream feminism?, by Mary Gardiner.

How to Appear Incompetent in One Easy Step, by Amber Baldet.

When You Are the Expert in the Room, by Mary Gardiner.

Meritocracy? Might want to re-think how you define merit., by Terri Oda. "It’s not the intelligence of the group members that matters; it’s their social sensitivity."

"Why don't you just hit him?, by Mary Gardiner. "Harassment is not a private matter between harasser and victim, and it’s not the victim’s job to put a stop to it."

Letting down my entire gender, by Terri Oda. "You feel like changing the world rests in your hands, and you let the world down because you had to say no. You had to quit. You had to hide."


On competence, confidence, pernicious socialization, recursion, and tricking yourself, by Sumana Harihareswara. "It’s as though my goalposts came on casters to make them easier to move"

Impostor syndrome and hiring power, by Mary Gardiner.

in memory of nina reiser, by mizchalmers

Geeks as bullied and bullies, by Mary Gardiner

Online harassment as a daily hazard: when trolls feed themselves, by Mary Gardiner.

On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events, by Skud. 'I didn’t quit because I couldn’t handle the technology, or because I had a baby, but because I had become fundamentally disenchanted with a “community” (please imagine me doing sarcastic air quotes) that supports the kind of abuse I’ve experienced and treats most human-related problems — from harassment to accessibility to the infinite variety of names people use (ahem ahem Google Plus) — as “too hard”.'


What she really said: Fighting sexist jokes the geeky way!, by Jessamyn Smith.

How I Got 50% Women Speakers at My Tech Conference, by Courtney Stanton.

I take it we aren’t cute enough for you?, by Mary Gardiner. "I want to get this out in the open: people love to support geek girls, they are considerably more ambivalent about supporting geek women."

Pipeline Guilt, by Jessamyn Fairfield. "It’s a heavy burden to want to be the best example for women in your field, at the expense of your own happiness. And it’s easy to hear about the leaky pipeline and see it as prescriptive, implying that individual women have to choose to stay in the pipeline in order to help solve the problem."

How do you look for jobs in an industry known for biases against women?, by Terri Oda.


Dear male allies: your sexism looks a bit like my racism, by mizchalmers. "Here’s what I want to tell you, dear male allies. It is such a relief. Listening to other peoples’ voices? Is incredibly moving, and humbling, and endlessly interesting. Shutting the hell up while I do it? God, how I love the sound of not-my-own-voice. Going into battle against racists and so forth? So much easier, now that I have a faint clue what’s actually going on."

Book Club: Three times a Geek Feminist walked away from Omelas (and two times she didn’t), by mizchalmers. "Now I think the best we can do is practise vigilance. To watch out for people who might be locking children in rooms. And to refrain from locking children in rooms ourselves."

Tech confidence vs. tech competence, by Alex. "This is in stark contrast to communities where tech competence is valued above all else: where people feel they have to hide their mistakes. In such settings we routinely observe low volunteering rates from people in marginalised groups, with low retention from beginning volunteers, because people are too scared to ask for help or too scared to admit that they don’t know how things work."


It is easier now that I look like a guy, by Fortister. "Instead of spending my weekend hacking open source I spend my weekend figuring out how to defend the notion of my humanity."

Dropping the F bomb, by Skud. "Women in tech groups are not necessarily feminist. Some actively work against feminist ideals."

Saturday, September 24th, 2016 01:02
1. I stayed up late poking at iTunes for no reason and now I'm super tired but at least I can sleep in tomorrow!

2. I had to go to other markets today and do price comparisons (boring and time-consuming) but at Nijiya they had some super tasty seaweed & sesame oil potato chips, so that made it kind of worth it. (And I have to go back tomorrow because I totally forgot to get one important price, but that means I can buy another bag of chips, so...)

3. This silly Chloe playing in her fortress of catitude.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 18:17
[personal profile] littlebutfierce is hosting a love meme. This is the sort where comments are screened and approved, and pronouns are requested. (I tend to be hesitant to nominate others for auto-screened love memes, because screening means that the person who leaves the comment gets notifications, and I believe that unscreening in a thread you've subscribed to does not generate notifications.)

My thread is unscreened and may be replied to.
Friday, September 23rd, 2016 12:39
I have what I believe to be a great recipe for pulled pork. The first time I made it, it came out AMAZING, everything you believe pulled pork ought to be. Tender and juicy and tasty and...yeah it was awesome.

Anyway so I made it again and burnt the heck out of it--my fault.

Then I made it again and it was just so dry, like on the verge of burning. Was I doing something wrong? Why had the pulled pork gods forsaken me?

So today I am making it again, but this time I am going to WATCH IT LIKE A HAWK and add liquid if it seems necessary. You will not foil me this time, pulled pork! You will be delicious or WATCH OUT.
Friday, September 23rd, 2016 00:55
1. I slept in and had a nice relaxing day!

2. I did not manage to get as much translating and stuff done as I'd hoped to, but I still got a good amount done, including finishing up another chapter of something, which always feels good.

3. I have sweet kitties! Like this one!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 17:53
I may be active on IRC at other times this coming week, but these are the dates and times I'm fairly sure I can commit to being open to conversation.

The medium that I've chosen for scheduling office hours is a site called Sign Up Genius. It is pretty easy to use in my experience, and all of my kids' teachers use it for conferences, parties and such. You don't have to have an account on the site to sign up for time slots, which is pretty great - just give them your email address. They will send you a confirmation and a reminder, and nothing else. But if for whatever reason you have trouble claiming a time slot using that site, you can also comment here and I can take care of it for you.

I am only doing signups for a week at a time, because that's about how far in advance I can be fairly confident of my availability. Each week will start on Friday, and I'll post the signups for the following week on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Each signup slot is scheduled to run 90 minutes, but since they're non-adjacent, it's OK if we need to go longer. Anything Dreamwidth-related is fair game: we can talk about code you're writing, code you want to write but don't know how to proceed, code someone else wrote, or things that don't involve code at all (I hear such things exist). My only request is that you don't take more than two slots in a single week, to make sure there is enough of my time to go around. Of course, you're still welcome to catch me on IRC at other times if I seem to be around, and PMs are open 24/7. :)

Here's the link for my available meeting times for the seven-day period starting September 23:

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 22:02
I said last week might be the last of the weekly updates, but nope, here's another five reviews since then.

What are you currently reading? For funsies, the latest issue of Meanjin. For work, both Getting Medieval and The Style of Gestures.

What have you finished lately?

The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction by Frank Kermode

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, to be a white dude in academia in the 1960s. Ideas are interesting, but wow. If I went around making sweeping claims like that I'd be kicked out on my arse quick smart.

And yet. It's super useful to me. Someone else has already made the sweeping claims!

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to ConformWhy Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Huh. I enjoyed this, but it wasn't quite what I expected. Much of it was not 'flaming challenges' at all, but introspective commentary. There were some very interesting aspects - more essays by women than I expected, for instance. Gina de Vriews' 'Girls' was an outstanding example of those.

Some of the personal essays were just really striking - Harris Kornstein's 'I tell you what I want, what I really really want' stood out in that regard. Overall, the book expressed a sense that the gay/queer community has lost something - its embracing of sex, perhaps, or diversity, or perversion, or non-normative chosen family, or, or - in the decades since the AIDS crisis began.

I was also very interested by Ezra RedEagle Whitman's essay 'Straightening the Shawl', on being Native American and gay, and on not identifying as Two Spirit.

On the other hand, there were essays like Francisco Ibáñez Carrasco's 'Rehab for the Unrepentant', which really bothered me. It was a genuinely interesting essay on the author's casual sex relationships with straight (ish), macho men. But it also spoke without any qualms, as if this wasn't a *problem* at all nor something that affected his view of his regular partner (unlike, say, his qualms about the man's closeting and the man's fear of AIDs), of said partner's habit of 'bashing trannies' and beating his wife. Like... Okay. You're happy to be this guy's safety valve on toxic masculinity, fine. But you've gotta at least THINK, sometimes, about what you're condoning when you take his late-night calls about beating up women.

Epistemology of the ClosetEpistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really have no idea what to say about this. It was simultaneously immensely interesting, remarkably motivating, and completely baffling. Under no circumstances could I produce a précis of its argument, but I suspect I will be returning to it anyway.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so into this. Our Heroine's slowly revealing trope-tastic identity is doing it for me.

I was also really impressed with the fate of the romance plot. I had resigned myself to Twue Wuv, and I was going to enjoy it, but this is better.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, growing up on a steady diet of Tamora Pierce and Anne McCaffrey, with occasional Ann Marston for seasoning gave me some very bullet proof trope-kinks.

And this series is SO GOOD FOR ME. So good.

Plus it's well-plotted and well-paced and the new characters introduced or fleshed out in this book are really interesting. I do wish it didn't keep being the women who die, though.

I am really, really into the vicious ambitious witches (say THAT three times fast) and the terrible personality flaw of empathy the heir is hiding.

What will you read next? For fiction funsies, the next Throne of Glass book. When I'm finished with Meanjin, I have 'Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics' to be getting on with.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 19:06
* He is, but he’s in disguise

* He was injured due to fighting his friends and relations while in disguise

* He was in such a hurry to get to where he was supposed to be that he lost his sword along the way, and is too ashamed to show up

* He got in a boat with a dead girl and they floated so far down the river they got lost

* He had a fight with Guinevere

* Bors had a proxy fight with Guinevere on Lancelot’s behalf

* Guinevere had a proxy fight with all Lancelot's relatives, and they're all banned from court

* Gawain, being a complete numbskull and apparently the only person in England unaware of Lancelot's undying passion for Guinevere, misconstrued the Astolat situation, and then told Guinevere about it, leading to Guinevere having a fight with Lancelot and/or all his relatives

* He went mad and forgot he’s Lancelot

* He killed all his horses in his haste to get to where he ought to be, and is now late

* He fell out a window while perving on Guinevere

* He’s having a sleepover with a hermit

* He was on his way home from the sleepover with the hermit and he got shot in the butt by a lady out hunting

* He fell into a pit

* He’s stuck in a tower and there’s a princess with an axe who won’t let him out until he gives her a kiss

* He disappeared suddenly, ‘as he was wont to do’

* He did any of the above things and people assumed he just disappeared suddenly, ‘as he was wont to do’
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 10:03
[archiveofourown.org profile] asleepsheep has translated a drabble of mine into Chinese! The original is Tarrying, Jeeves/Wooster, pining; the translation is here. Such a pleasure to see it in translation (even if I can't read it).
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 09:23
I'm home today after spending the morning Adulting--you will all be glad to know I got a foot X-ray (three in fact). This will rule out a hairline fracture and also allow me to self-refer to a podiatrist with evidence/information in hand, according to my GP. Disappointingly, the form that says "are you REALLY not pregnant? REALLY?" did not have "lesbian" as one of the check-boxes. I went with "no male sexual partner."

Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah. So I've been poked and prodded and measured today; blood draw & EKG too! Thus the morning can pretty much be considered Ruined for going to the office, thus I am home, thus the to-do list.

boring listy things. )
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 10:43

Again with the Toby. This is #8 in the series, seeing the return of a character presumed dead, some information on the Torquills, the Luidaeg, and some historical information in Oleander de Merelands.

We also get to know Toby's backstory a bit better.

Quite enjoyable, I would say.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 01:32
1. I had a long day at work (eleven-ish hours) and pretty much did nothing but internet and watch some TV when I got home, so I'm really looking forward to my day off tomorrow.

2. Maybe a gross thing to be happy about, but Molly hadn't pooped in two or three days and I was getting worried, because I am always worried about these kitties' health after what happened with Heidi, but she finally did a big poop this morning and now I can at least stop worrying about that. :p

3. I had a really tasty salad for dinner.

4. I got some really cute pics of Chloe tonight.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 09:53
So, this happened earlier this week, and it was so all-consuming for about 24 hours that I couldn't find a way to write about it (where would I find a font big enough?!) and then it simply became weirdly irrelevant, a reality that was behind me, and I became consumed the anxiety over how things would go, and it was all too complicated and long to record here.

So: I HAVE FOUND A PLACE TO LIVE! I've signed a lease and everything!

It's the same place I talked about a few entries ago - thank you so, so much to everyone who offered their advice regarding the noise. I was too much a ball of stress to reply, but I read every single comment and it meant a lot to me.

Everything about the move is currently a source of anxiety for me - will it really be close enough to work not to fuck up my back? Are there traffic issues I'm not aware of despite my research? Will the noise ruin my life after all? What will living with a dude and an extrovert be like? What if there's parking issues I'm not aware of?

Everything is stressful and terrible lol. I mean, moving is stressful regardless, losing your apartment is stressful, living without your stuff for months is stressful. It's weird because I've been waiting to sign a lease like that will be the moment of deliverance, but in reality, moving will mean the start of an inherently stressful adjustment period, so. I mean it's definitely an improvement! I'm beyond thrilled to finally have a place! But it's just... weird how an entirely new set of worries has been introduced into my life.

Anyway, it's really happening! I will stop living in [personal profile] roga's guest room! Honestly after the clusterfuck of last year, I wasn't certain it would work out any better this time. BUT IT DID! I am amazed.

Next weekend and the week after it will therefore look like this:
* Friday + Saturday: moving. (Good luck to me to sleep on either of those nights.)
* Sunday (holiday): Rosh HaShana, my parents are hosting an all-day family event
* Monday (holiday): My friend who emigrated to Canada is back and coming to visit me!
* Tuesday (holiday): two other friends from out of town will be in Tel Aviv so I'll try to host them in my new apartment!
* Wednesday: Only going to work! Woo, "free" day!
* Thursday: work, followed by taking a train up north for a birthday party that starts at 7pm. Chances of coming back before midnight are slim to none.
* Friday (weekend): boss' boss' daughter's wedding, starts at noon, at a place that's at least a 50 minute drive away from my new apartment.

So it's gonna be uhhhh... busy. My goal for this weekend therefore is to do as little as possible. Gonna try to perfect my wet noodle impression.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 23:45
Noah has aggressive lymphoma and the vet thinks six months *with* chemo, which we won't put him through because he's terrified of the vet and of being in the car and because chemo for cats is a scrap shoot anyway. So we're going to go with prednisone and painkillers and all the high calorie food he'll eat and treats and all the scritches, and let him go once the painkillers stop working.

Poor fucked up space cadet kitty.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 22:33
I've been really withdrawing into myself lately. I apologise for the fact that some of you haven't heard from me for a long, long time.

I need to come out of my shell again.

In the meantime, hi. I'm still here and still around. Obviously not journalling like I used to, and I miss everybody. How are you all?

Things that have changed since I last wrote anything in here:
  • I'm back to using Linux full-time. (Specifically, Gentoo Linux.) This came about because through some bad judgements on my part, Windows 7 started bluescreening on boot and I couldn't recover from it. Instead of reinstalling Windows 7 and having to set my environment back up again, I decided to switch back to Linux.

    I did this because I've been telling myself for a while that once the time comes to move off Windows 7, I'd want to move to Linux rather than use Windows 8 or 10. (Especially Windows 10... but that's a topic for another post.) This was probably the best time to do so, since although I *could* go back to Windows 7, it's quickly on its way to becoming unsupported, and general Linux support is just getting better.

    Rambling about Gentoo, and Linux distributions in general. )

  • I've been making a lot of music with SunVox lately. It's a great program which combines tracking with modular synthesis. In that sense it's kinda like Jeskola Buzz, except that I never actually used Buzz back in the day as it needed more CPU power than I had at the time, if I remember correctly.

    Like a lot of creative stuff I do, most of my tunes done using it are a work in progress that I'm not ready to release to a wider audience yet. Hopefully at some point I can release stuff, though. I'm getting pretty close on one song in particular.

  • ...you know, I can't think of much else right now. :/

How has everybody else been?
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 09:45
There's a story going round that Lenovo have signed an agreement with Microsoft that prevents installing free operating systems. This is sensationalist, untrue and distracts from a genuine problem.

The background is straightforward. Intel platforms allow the storage to be configured in two different ways - "standard" (normal AHCI on SATA systems, normal NVMe on NVMe systems) or "RAID". "RAID" mode is typically just changing the PCI IDs so that the normal drivers won't bind, ensuring that drivers that support the software RAID mode are used. Intel have not submitted any patches to Linux to support the "RAID" mode.

In this specific case, Lenovo's firmware defaults to "RAID" mode and doesn't allow you to change that. Since Linux has no support for the hardware when configured this way, you can't install Linux (distribution installers will boot, but won't find any storage device to install the OS to).

Why would Lenovo do this? I don't know for sure, but it's potentially related to something I've written about before - recent Intel hardware needs special setup for good power management. The storage driver that Microsoft ship doesn't do that setup. The Intel-provided driver does. "RAID" mode prevents the Microsoft driver from binding and forces the user to use the Intel driver, which means they get the correct power management configuration, battery life is better and the machine doesn't melt.

(Why not offer the option to disable it? A user who does would end up with a machine that doesn't boot, and if they managed to figure that out they'd have worse power management. That increases support costs. For a consumer device, why would you want to? The number of people buying these laptops to run anything other than Windows is miniscule)

Things are somewhat obfuscated due to a statement from a Lenovo rep:This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft. It's unclear what this is meant to mean. Microsoft could be insisting that Signature Edition systems ship in "RAID" mode in order to ensure that users get a good power management experience. Or it could be a misunderstanding regarding UEFI Secure Boot - Microsoft do require that Secure Boot be enabled on all Windows 10 systems, but (a) the user must be able to manage the key database and (b) there are several free operating systems that support UEFI Secure Boot and have appropriate signatures. Neither interpretation indicates that there's a deliberate attempt to prevent users from installing their choice of operating system.

The real problem here is that Intel do very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware - we still have no information from Intel on how to configure systems to ensure good power management, we have no support for storage devices in "RAID" mode and we have no indication that this is going to get better in future. If Intel had provided that support, this issue would never have occurred. Rather than be angry at Lenovo, let's put pressure on Intel to provide support for their hardware.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 03:02
Things which have happened recently, an incomplete list:

Saturday the 10th: Seanan book party, where I hung out with [personal profile] afuna beforehand, attended cheerfully with [personal profile] tiferet and [livejournal.com profile] geekhyena, and then had dinner with [personal profile] tiferet after. I hastened myself home after that, as there were many details about my post-surgery recovery that suddenly needed discussing with a friend.

Sunday the 11th: The LF's 20th birthday! Hooray!
Went over to [personal profile] quartzpebble's for dinner, gossip, and general funtimes. I washed some dishes while [personal profile] quartzpebble prepped dinner. There was gossip. Later, we played with makeup.

Saturday the 17th: [livejournal.com profile] theferrett book party, where I was late because BART was fucked up (construction on the train tracks between my station and downtown SF), but Fun Was Had. I ran into W, and realized that a) I had not been introduced to her husband, and b) I was already nodding-acquainted with him from previous events, many of them Seanan events. (He's the well-dressed guy with the neatly-wrapped long hair.) I caught her up on Major Life Events. I chatted with people! I said hello to [livejournal.com profile] theferrett; yay meeting people From The Internet! There was afterparty planned. We went to the same place that Tif and I had gone to the week previous. I wound up at The Fun Table, and met someone named Flitter and renewed my acquaintance with Z, who turned out to have some hobbies that I had not heretofore been aware of.

Sunday the 18th: some very nice conversation with a friend, and a certain amount of wrestling with technology to make it do what we wanted.

Called Purple to check if dinner was a possibility; he had been running errands and staying home, and therefore dinner was not a great idea. I am fairly sure I got teased about my surgical recovery process.
Called Darkside to check in on things. Darkside has Opinions about Certain People, and they're not terribly printable, either. We also had a cheerfully smutty discussion in which he teased me about my surgical recovery. Darkside is the greatest.
Poked [personal profile] sithjawa about Matters Esoteric, in case Things Get Weird, Again. Also some other parties.


It turns out that when the topic of a 3D-printed, glow-in-the-dark clitoris comes up in IRC, you're going to get pinged, if the person who finds it is [personal profile] kaberett, and you and they have been engaging in This Sort of Thing As A Hobby for ... five years, now? Hilarity ensued.

Also in Matters Esoteric, it turns out that while I may be Somewhat Rusty, I still have a decent enough understanding of structure and purpose to take a rather baroque and Ceremonial sort of thing, inquire politely into local concepts, and hopefully deliver a viable alternative.

Instead of going to the happy hour I'd considered, I had dinner with Purple. Also with phone and phone's kid, who's now in Year 10 (Australian); we can use bad language in front of him because he's been in an Aussie boarding school and those will corrupt you right quick. He appears to be one of the local student techies, and thus following along quite firmly in the old man's path. He is one of the people who is *visibly* techie, so people keep poking him for tech help. He needs an apprentice. (He apparently already has one.)

Having been introduced to phone's favorite little place on California Avenue earlier in the summer by me, Purple now has it on the regular rotation. We're both in favor.

I spent a little less time chatting in the parking lot with Purple than I otherwise might have, and went home in a good mood that was somewhat marred by technology fail. (First, the cell signal was eaten by 280. Then, the watch-based dialer failed to load. *Then*, the headset had disconnected from the phone when the return call came. And once I had rebooted the headset, the watch dialer didn't do the thing again, either.)

But then I was home, and technology-related fail was less of a thing.

Some links:

Fiction; contains some nice fun excessively controlling parental "love".

A perennial bit of ... inspiration, I guess?
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 01:12
1. It's so muggy today and just feels gross even though it's not that hot, but thankfully the humidity is supposed to drop pretty dramatically in the next few days.

2. Carla got her ticket and is coming back next Thursday!

3. Look at this sweet Molly with the furry paws!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 01:57
Zinnias, alyssum, hydrangeas, and a sunflower for @stretchherwings. Glad today went well!
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 07:05
Fifteen years ago today, I made my first entry in this journal (at LiveJournal at the time). It was my 35th birthday (which makes today my 50th). Some changes:

Read more... )

My life right now is hard in different ways from before, but it's also joyful in the same ways, and peaceful in about equal measure. I like who I am. I like the people I surround myself with for the most part. Onward!
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 00:05
1. It really sucked having to wake up early and go to Orange County this morning in rush hour traffic! But I really enjoyed catching up with my former co-workers afterwards. I wish they weren't so far away! :(

2. I was super tired today and didn't really get a lot done after I got home, but I did do a good bit of translating and finished up some work stuff that was due today.

3. I also posted manga! That was a total surprise as I'd forgotten I'd sent that chapter out for typesetting over a week ago. :p

4. I got a whole slew of cute Chloe pics today. She was just posing all over the place.

Monday, September 19th, 2016 19:30
Since the last chapter was technically supposed to be August's update, you get a second chapter of Love Buzz this month!

Title: Love Buzz
Author: Shimura Takako
Publisher: Young King
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 3 volumes, complete
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Heterophobia Fansubs
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Five years ago, pro wrestler Fuji Kaoru disappeared one day before a match. Now she shows up at her old gym out of the blue, with a five-year-old daughter in tow. But not everyone is willing to welcome her back with open arms.

Chapter Summary: Kaoru's first fight after her return.

Chapter 5: Back in the Ring
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 00:46
Tonight's #sunset over the Longfellow. #cambridge #boston #aftertherain
Monday, September 19th, 2016 17:35
Adult Film Site XHamster Buys Alexis Arquette Sex Tape, Immediately Destroys All Copies, by Don Crothers for Inquisitr (2016-09-18). Good.

White Woman at Her ‘Most Authentic’ When Appropriating Other Cultures, by Taryn Englehart for Reductress (2016-03-08).

To find Hillary Clinton likable, we must learn to view women as complex beings, by Caroline Siede for Boingboing (2016-09-15). "So why is Clinton critiqued for raising her voice like Sanders, speaking hard truths like Biden, and making an awkward Pokémon Go reference we almost certainly would have dubbed a “dad joke” had Kaine said it? Why do we find their flaws likable and Clinton’s flaws off-putting? Why isn't she seen as America's awkward aunt or nerdy stepmom?"

26 Things Emotionally Strong People Do, by Jeremy Radin (2016-08-25). "Emotionally Strong people have four emotions: strong, abundance, no I am not having a panic attack I’m just tired from being so busy manifesting what I am blessed about every day, and hashtag."

The lasting impact of white teachers who mispronounce minority student names, by Clare McLaughlin for Quartz (2016-09-07). '...it’s okay to make an error, “but it is not okay to ignore the mistake or not learn from it.”'

All 314 Bruce Springsteen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best, by Caryn Rose for Vulture (2016-09-13). I feel personally attacked by this list in all sorts of ways, but I enjoyed reading it.

Mansplaining: how not to talk to female Nasa astronauts, by Laura Bates for the Guardian (2016-09-13). "In the meantime, here is a good rule of thumb for overenthusiastic men on Twitter to follow: if she’s wearing a Nasa spacesuit, take a minute to consider whether you really want to tell her how to do her job."

Why You Shouldn’t Label People “Low Performers”, by Ryan W. Quinn for the Harvard Business Review (2016-09-14). In general, labeling is a cognitive distortion. In specific, this article talks about why labeling employees as "good" or "bad" workers undermines an organization.

The Collective Gaslighting of the Trigger Warning Debate, by Miri (Brute Reason) for The Orbit (2016-09-13). "If people are telling you that they are trying to engage with trauma-related material and you insist that they’re actually saying that they want to avoid it–or literally ban it from being taught–you are gaslighting them. You are insisting that you know better than they do what’s inside their own heads. You are pretending that they said something other than what they actually said, making them doubt their own thoughts and words."

Real Talk: Women in Tech and Money, by Cate Huston (2016-09-15). "...if you know that part your career is likely to be over within ten years, you (if you are sensible) factor that into your financial planning. Looking at the data, it makes sense for women in tech to do the same."
Monday, September 19th, 2016 12:26
- Beautiful warm/crisp fall day. I have been taking hourly walks outside for my 250 steps.

- Yummy roast beef sandwich from leftover roast beef & gravy, plus parmesan cheese

- I did RAship work and was seen to do RAship work by those who hired me

- Working on research--it's time consuming and there's probably a better way but I am making progress

- The cats' new humongous fancy cat tree has shipped! It will (by all accounts) get here on Friday, so I can build it on the weekend. They don't even know how awesome it's gonna be. SO AWESOME, is the answer

- L is a little guy! He got a push-bike from Cousin J and is just ecstatic about it. cut for pic )

Now back to work
Monday, September 19th, 2016 18:27
What good, exciting things happened to you last week? What are you looking forward to this week? It can be one thing or many things, something big or small - especially the small things, they don't get enough credit.
If you are uncomfortable commenting publicly, you can leave an anonymous comment instead which will stay screened, and I have turned off Captchas.

♥ Used my vanilla liqueur to bake a fluffy moist sheet cake and it is so delicious! And right now I'm preparing cheesecake. Both are for the trans group meeting this week.
Book Fair! I'm very excited.
♥ I bought some flower-patterned Doc Martens on Ebay that sadly didn't fit me that well, but I could pass them on to a friend!
♥ I've reached a level on Midnight Castle where the special challenges are, well, not easy but they are much more doable for me. In the last one, I got a pretty achievement - a mermaid avatar with blue hair. I like mermaids!
♥ I'm almost through Season One of BoJack Horseman and it's much better than I expected it to be. It's so nice to finally have a series to watch again!
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 00:12
If you haven't unsubscribed from my journal because of my inactivity, and you have dimly wondered from time to time what's up, let me assure you that I'm very much alive. I have a to-do item that I keep postponing, to update my Dreamwidth profile and to make a substantive post.

I've moved to a new continent and gotten married. I'm still working remotely at my job in the States, but I also just found out today that I'll have an honorary visiting title at a uni where I'm living: a nice gig with all the perquisites and none of the obligations.

Internet service at my home despite my best efforts is still pretty sad. It's going to be much better when I go on campus and use the uni network, but I probably won't be writing Dreamwidth posts on campus. Maybe I'll draft them at home and post them when I go in.

My life is full and very happy, and I'm not sure how often I'll be posting on Dreamwidth. I'm hoping to write more, and maybe I'll find that writing more will mean writing more everywhere. We'll see.

At least I hope to be able to check in on Dreamwidth from time to time to see how my friends and acquaintances are doing, and sometimes to comment on their posts.

Because of my decision at the time when I joined Dreamwidth to make my identity transparent, I probably won't be posting here about my family or about specific other people whose privacy I want to protect.

If you have questions for me, please let me know, and I'll answer what I can. I'm glad that Dreamwidth is still going strong.
Sunday, September 18th, 2016 23:37
1. I actually managed to get out of work after only about eight hours. Miracle!

2. Although I have to go down to Irvine tomorrow (and early in the morning, blech), I made plans to stop in Costa Mesa on my way back and see my two former co-workers who are now down in that area.

3. There were ants when I got home tonight, but I seem to have dealt with them. Hopefully I don't come home to the same thing tomorrow, seeing as I will definitely have to leave the cat food plates out when I leave, since they won't have time to finish eating before I go. :-/

4. Looks like Carla might be coming home next week!

5. Look at this sweet, innocent baby!

Sunday, September 18th, 2016 21:53

“May my fists unite all! One day we’ll be as one!”

Sunday, September 18th, 2016 19:57
I have been having Computer Trouble (TM), end result of which is I bought a Lenovo Yoga and the Mac Experiment period of my life will be over once I get the damn thing back, unrepaired, from the shop and copy my files off it.


Meanwhile, I have cooked a delicious food. Serious Eats' Takeout Kung Pao Chicken, only I used cashews instead of peanuts.

I don't think I've ever eaten Kung Pao, either authentic or westernised, but it still tastes like the essence of chinese takeaway, which is precisely what I desired from it. (If I wanted authentic I'd go and PAY for it. I genuinely LIKE the white-people-friendly staples of takeaway chinese, possibly because I am a White People.)

A++ would recommend.
Sunday, September 18th, 2016 14:40
Sunday: Wedding Anniversary. Slightly marred by B. deciding he was too heavy to eat, drink and be merry. However since neither of us wanted to cancel the restaurant reservation we went along to a new-ish establishment on the Curry Mile with a contemporary look. Fortunately portion sizes were small so B. didn't suffer too much, particularly since he steered clear of the rice and naan bread.

Monday: My first violin lesson since we went to the Lake District. Went pretty well considering.

Tuesday: Got hideously wet in the thunderstorm that started just as I left Oxford Road Station to cycle home. By the time I reached the house I might just as well have jumped in a swimming pool. It took my shoes three days to dry out. The roof in the spare room had leaked (as is its wont) - fortunately B. had been home and able to strategically place buckets. G.'s piano teacher very sensibly cancelled.

Wednesday: Visited a school in Oldham to do a Lego Rovers sessions for years 1 and 2. I was a little concerned since I don't normally work with this age group and I was worried that the concepts might be a little complicated. I dropped most of the programming bits and I think they understood most of what I was saying, but their attention span was definitely a problem

Thursday: B. went to Madrid. I spent the day debugging code.

Friday: Day also spent debugging code. Foolishly updated phone to iOS 10 with pausing to question whether this was a good idea.

Saturday: 24:49 in the Park Run (5 seconds faster than last week) but could not find the play button in my iPhone's music app (this eventually was revealed to be because it had deleted most of my music and needed to be resynced with all my playlists). Then I went to the Science Museum for a session in which they teamed scientists up with poets in order to produce poems for performance at Manchester Science Festival in an event called Experimental Words. I was teamed up with Ciaran Hodgers and spent about an hour telling him all about implementing ethics in autonomous systems (I think I may have overloaded him a bit). He's going to have a think and see what he comes up with which may, or may not, involve both of us on stage.
Sunday, September 18th, 2016 09:18
This weekend was the first really lovely weekend I've had in... ages and ages. On Friday I went on a 10 hour trip to Jerusalem with [personal profile] roga and two other people, and we walked around the Old City, visited both places I knew well and places that were entirely new to me (the Old City is nifty like that). Also we visited another friend and her German Sheppard, so between that and a delicious lunch my day was made. I also skipped an extended family thing, which was SUCH a correct and powerful decision. I feel like I'm always letting myself get dragged into last minute extended family stuff instead of resting or doing things I actually want to do, and saying no this one time, and being supported by my parents in saying no, was so refreshing and so wonderful.

On Saturday I lounged around at my parents' and then went to the beach, and it was so great. I let myself not worry too much about anything - the thesis, the apartment, my health, writing - and just pretend I had nothing but time to burn. I had roadside ice cream and my favorite tea and I watched garbage television, and it was just... so, so great. I can't remember the last time I had a weekend that combined carefree relaxation and being social and traveling.

Today is going to be long and exhausting (I literally drove to work while the moon was still visible in the sky, around 6am, and I'll still be doing gross stressful things at 10pm), and there's been some dramatic news at work (basically I and a few other people have been passed over for promotions, which sucks), but instead of talking about any of that, I'll just babble senselessly for a bit about Black Sails, a show I expected to be 94% garbage and turned out to be only 89% garbage, lol, so I still strongly do not recommend it unless you have my particular narrative kinks, in which watching clips and bits might be fun.

only tangentially about Black Sails, mostly about my pirate feels )
Sunday, September 18th, 2016 01:39
1. Long, busy day, but I got a lot done at least.

2. I'm glad I can sleep in tomorrow, since I've somehow managed to stay up until almost 1:30... :-/ (I need to make sure I get to bed early tomorrow, though, because even though Monday is my day off, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning and have to be up at 6:30 in order to get there in time as it's kind of far away.)

3. My cake from imzy came in the mail today! I had wondered how that was going to work, and apparently it's sent in a jar. Very cute! Not the best cake I've had, but it's free cake, so yay.

4. Tumblr actually managed to post my pic today, huzzah! (It's been having trouble crossposting from instagram the past couple days. I don't think it's a problem on instagram's side, since it crossposts perfectly fine to facebook and twitter and flickr.)

I never tire of these Molly in the curtains pics! She's so cute! She just loves her curtain hidey-hole so much!

Saturday, September 17th, 2016 20:50
Watched "Where No Man Has Gone Before" on the wall with the new projector! OMG!


Massively shiny velour shirts!

Cannot remember how my perceptions must have changed from watching this till age 10 on a tiny black and white TV. Maybe saw color stills and just... in my mind my memories of it are in color! But they can't have been.

They carry around little stacks of what look exactly like bright colored 1990s floppy disks. Kirk has some on the bridge on the edge of his command chair, and they have them in sick bay, and everyone has their own stacks in different colors in the conference room. They have sort of built in ipads in the desk.

I adore the giant lithium power packs!

The psychiatrist, Dr. Dehner, is wearing pants. Yay, pants! Hilarious space purse on a big strap. The doctor (not McCoy yet) has both a giant leather space briefcase and a leather tool box on a strap.

The scene where Kelso gets strangled by the giant cable really was familiar. Once the cable started to move I remembered being impressed by that scene when I was fairly small.

It did not seem to occur to Dr. Dehner (even though I kept screaming it to her) that it was up to her and her mighty ESP equipped womb to bear the entire new race of Esper gods! It didn't occur to Kirk either!

Everyone is very into the constant racist aggressions on Spock! I know that only gets worse, too.

Can't wait to rewatch the whole original series... in order.... well rough order anyway.
Saturday, September 17th, 2016 15:13
Deeply exhausted. Pep talking myself and asking zond7 to tell me reassuring things.
Last week I made the call at work to delay the release and then things got a bit better and caught up, and were looking good. But then Thurs. early afternoon this big old security issue drama unfolded (not really a drama, but oddly hooked into existing drama situation). Other stuff kept popping up in demanding ways. I did feel kind of happy that my friend is now running some things in another department, and I was able to support her reasonbly well and am also just like so glad she is incredibly capable and a good leader for that area. I also said no to many other things/teams who wanted a thing that is impossible.

Yesterday was long and draining. I had to wake up this morning and work a bunch. Then MORE things came up. I wrote a half assed email to deal with the more things, and cced people so that if it is overly half assed, one of them will correct it. (Also, so that the others who are newer can know the sort of thing you should do, even if my email isn't the best example of its kind).

Went to the cafe with Milo and caught pokemons and had a bagel and I finished the 3rd draft of one more poem. Then he went off to catch the bus to his dance class. (Popping..... he is learning a lot)

I tried to work further on the translation and kept realizing I was just staring off into space.

Then as I looked at what was left realized I left out 2 solid pages of a dense prose poem right near the end. It is about Nixon and Elvis, Vietnam and probably also about pinochet somehow. Fuck!!!!! OK. deep breaths!

Grocery shopped and got extra groceries for my friend. I am worried about him.

Exchanged messages with Mars woman who came up to me in the restaurant last night and we agreed to meet some time soon. Maybe I will have a nice local poet friend? I need poets to babble with.

I felt sort of despairing but then came home to lie in the sun in the flowery back patio with zond7 and the cat. I also sat on the side path and did some very minor weeding and watered the plants. All like, 100 times what I was able to do even a week ago!

But my overwhelming feeling is of sadness and failure like, "I should be able to crank at this translation for at least half a day.... if not all day... like 8 hours of work". Despite all evidence to the contrary that I have never, ever done this and have max 3 hours translating/poeting in me at the best of times.

Something about it being 1pm and you realize you have nothing left of energy!

I am resting and enjoying the day! I am nurturing myself and being nice to myself and I get to live in this nice place. Not beating myself up for not finishing the translation project.

I would like to ship the work stuff and have some feeling of relief, and I'd like to not have this book hanging over me. 10 more pages or thereabouts.

I emailed the editor what I have so far (just past the long airplane poem). Oh, god! I hope he doesn't hate it! It all feels kind of clumsy and in my usual M.O. I know it would take me ANOTHER YEAR at this pace to feel happy with it. At least 6 months. I need to look at 1 poem per day and like, meditate on them and let them cook. Also i have so many questions and uncertain bits. Oh, my god.

Super hoping I dont have to get together & ship another build at work (not inherently hard, but hard because it is the weekend and it's a process across several teams). now, on the other hand, I am proud both that I called the delay when I thought we needed it, and that I am capable of hustling (and getting everyone else to hustle, i hope only when necessary.)

I may have it in me to cook some dinner.... Actually that is amazing as a week ago I could not stand up to brush my teeth....

I think I am also having some withdrawal emotions/shakiness from the prednisone (day 2 off of it completely)
Saturday, September 17th, 2016 01:51
1. I was at work until about 8:30 (went in this morning at nine) due to sudden onset plumbing problems, but at the rate it was taking, I was expecting to maybe have to stay after the store closed, so I'm just glad they were able to get it fixed when they did. (For values of fixed; they have to come back Monday to take some parts in for repair, but at least water is not leaking everywhere now.)

2. I posted more manga! And I actually got a little translating done tonight, too. Wish I'd gotten more, but oh well. Tomorrow for sure.

3. Since I had a long day and it's payday, I got Thai for dinner and now I have lots of tasty leftovers, too.

4. I love this picture of Chloe in the window. They are so big for that window, but they still love it.

Saturday, September 17th, 2016 02:48
I consider it a win that I can flag thoughts and file them under "No, noooooo, you really shouldn't say that" before they leak out of my mouth.