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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 13:34
 "No, we're not shooting that porno today." Me to [livejournal.com profile] themega5 
"Do the British have feelings?" "No, I think they have tea." [livejournal.com profile] _kommando_  and me exchange

Outside the first bit of rain, and then wormpocalypse on the ground. :(

It is so incredibly charmy when someone says "maths" instead of "math". 
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 13:27
All that bird watching wore her out.
Read more... )
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 07:26
The only thing less thrilling than Tax Day is having a dentist appointment on Tax Day.

I managed to finish e-filing on the afternoon of the 14th, after several days spent checking all the numbers TaxACT spit out, because on the first run it over-reported my state income by about $90,000 thanks to a glitch in how it transferred the information from my federal form 8949. OH OKAY THANKS.

When all was said and done, I owed less overall than I did last year, which was a relief, but with more state and less federal. When I went to authorize a direct debit from the state, the instructions said, "at least three days from the filing date, but no later than 4/15." So I put in 4/15, and it yelled at me about it not being three days out and wouldn't let me proceed until I changed it to 4/17. If the state comes after me for a late penalty, I will tell them to collect it from the TaxACT people.

At least they notified me that my state return was accepted. I didn't even get that satisfaction last year. Sheesh.

So after I got my teeth cleaned and ran a few errands, I came home to find Robby had completely dismantled the upstairs office so he could move things around, and I had a panic attack, because moving my stuff around without discussing it with me first is NOT OK. I like how the shelves are arranged now that he's done, but in the aftermath, it's even more egregious how much crap I have piled up there that I need to get rid of. I spent most of the evening boxing up the kids' outgrown clothes, which is NOT how I'd planned to spend my time.

Other things I need to do with the rest of my week include making uncomfortable phone calls, hemming my Easter outfit, and reading the comic books Mack lent me a few months ago. Hopefully next week will be less stressful. In the meantime, at least I have a Nickel Creek concert to look forward to tonight.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 12:34
We spread birdseed on the office windowsill. Birds get fed (and stop flying into the window as frequently), cats get entertained. there are 2 pigeons and 3 starlings on the other side of the sill right now.
Read more... )
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 11:30
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1ey2m3n at April 16, 2014 at 04:30AM
nolikereally: kickingshoes: against-stars: JUST LEAVE ME TO...




mixing dwarvish and elvish styles for tauriel’s outfit was a lot of fun! i’ll probably try to do an elvish wedding version at some point…


Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 02:28
It was a Tuesday.

I arrived at a vaguely reasonable hour, and then did vaguely reasonable things. There was the 1:1 with my manager, where the room got sort of awkwardly pre-empted by people somewhat higher up who were apparently hoping to just have a quiet cup of coffee together. (We were the ones who wound up outside because while I'm sufficiently faceblind and unfamiliar with the galaxy of changing people up top, my manager is neither.)

Crunch mode on that thing is done for the month, and other stuff has been juggled. Next I get to have fun with juggling schedules! Yay! We still haven't gotten final word on our destination in the new building. I have got boxes, though, so at least I can start with that.

Yet another of my teammates is getting married in the upcoming weeks, and according to her wishes, there will be no trips down to the duck (in every sense of the word) pond.

[personal profile] jd's Eurovision party has been scheduled! Yay!

In the lull between things, I am working on getting somewhat organized again. And thus I proceeded until my brain and body were both asking me why the fuck I was on about this again.

Given that it's been crunch mode and I've been tired, I've let my step count slip. I also let my laundry schedule slip some, resulting in today's arguably gaudy pairing of the bright magenta shirt and the undersea blue-green skirt. It goes! But it's not my raven-sober usual look. (The conversation that goes "Yeah, I've been letting all kinds of stuff slip. Just look at me!" "Huh?" "No, seriously, look at me." "Laundry?" "Yep." depends on a working knowledge of my usual style.)

"Color blocking" as a fashion, even when it doesn't make you look like a Frank Lloyd Wright (or Vasa) stained glass (in the bad way), introduces so many opportunities for someone to make an utter hash of their wardrobe. I'm talking Cecil Gershwin Palmer fanon bizarre. Purple and I got to talking about the possibilities inherent in cultivating a look which was deliberately that awful, so that someone looking at their wardrobe might go "YOU HAVE ALL KINDS OF THINGS WHICH GO TOGETHER WHY DON'T YOU EVER WEAR THEM AT THE SAME TIME!!" because that sort of thing amuses us. (This apropos of my wardrobe, in which you could find things which go together poorly, but you'd have to try on purpose.) (Though the off-light-blue cotton workplace fitness challenge shirt with the neck cut out which fits too tight in the tits over the really elegant black and silver lace skirt would probably do it, especially if I threw in a bright pink boa and the purple glitter clogs.)

There's a certain amount of geek-culture cred to being able to correctly name which series of Star Trek the only color block shirt I own (unintentionally) goes with. Somebody had to google it. *smug look*

The Stage Manager has been telling me I'm evil. This may have to do with the doughnuts (no one wanted the last half, it seems like), the peeps, or the jellybeans. I'm not sure which. He snagged the last of the blue peeps, so I opened the purple peeps. (The pink peeps are next.)

I had occasion to mention to someone that the other uncle-manager was kind of an intense guy, and had more than once made me feel really stupid from the questions he was asking me which I ought to have been able to answer, and my complete inability to say anything while so very suddenly on the spot that made any sense. One either gets used to that (or pushes back, which is probably a better strategy), or one does not. But this is a thing to be aware of when having dealings with him.

It was still light out when I started meeping and wobbling. I'm not used to that happening except on 2nd Thursdays.

It occurred to me in the shower that my current love/romance/partner/Very Important People type situation could be summed up with a simple diagram. Read more... )
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 08:13
via http://ift.tt/1h2vP0g at April 16, 2014 at 03:00AM:

☆ STAR WARS MEME | 9 Quotes - Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for… sister. So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side… then perhaps she will…

Except I think you’d have a harder time turning Leia (Skywalker) Organa than you would Luke.  Have you even heard of this woman, Vader?  She’s kinda….more stubborn than you used to be.  
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 07:01
Someone is grumpy about all the attention being paid to the upstart.
Read more... )
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 23:15
1. I posted more manga! Another new series! (Just what I needed, more new projects. :p But at least it's a collab, so...)

2. I have tomorrow off! I'm excited about that. If I keep this as my schedule, it will be my ideal type of schedule, with the days off as evenly distributed as they can be in a seven-day week.

3. It was really cloudy and overcast today and I was worried it might rain tomorrow, which I don't want because I need to go get my bike tire fixed and it will be enough of a pain lugging the bike around, much less in the rain. But I looked at the forecast and there seems to be no sign of rain? So I guess it's just overcast, which is fine with me because I do like overcast weather.

4. I got a free two liter of my favorite Ooi Ocha green tea today. There was a case that got pretty smashed in transit and the bottles were bashed up so the vendor gave us credit.

5. I went around and found a bunch of items that just do not sell at all (a couple pieces a month, if that) and have put them on sale to try and get rid of them. I don't want stuff taking up space if it's not selling and there's always plenty of other stuff I can find to fill the space (even if not all of that ends up selling well, at least I'd rather try new things and maybe find a few hits than just keep shelf after shelf of dead items).
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 22:51
I guess there was a shift in the weather or something because today my nose decided to run and not stop until there was nothing left, and it's actually kind of unpleasant. >.> They space between my eyes feels cold every time I breathe now.

I'm totally behind in all the squeeing I meant to do. I may not get back to it. If anyone wants to help me link to varied and interesting Captain America-related stuff on Dreamwidth, please do! Because I'm kind of overwhelmed with work and life and feelings.

(Today I got to tell my supervisor just how much the past month has sucked to explain why I've been so zombie-like lately. Well, I left off the cat because technically that was more than a month ago and, I don't know, it felt too vulnerable, or I was afraid she wouldn't empathize, or something? I've been thinking a lot about trust and what it means to trust people, because it's very fraught and uncertain. Trust can mean, "I'm taking a risk and hoping that you will take this fragile part of me and not smash it, which is totally within your power to do." Trust is hard.)

I really like having people around. This weekend I got to hang out lots with [personal profile] taennyn and [personal profile] gingerschnapps, and then a schoolfriend stopped over for Sunday night, and then on Monday I socialized with my roommates and their friends. I'm trying to seek out more people to talk to and email with and hang out around, within my limitations of energy and mental spoons. Currently accepting volunteers. :)

This week's work is much better than last week. This week is a kid who's pretty quiet and well-behaved--I've actually had to work to get him to express preferences instead of always deferring to me, or to have him opt to interact with me instead of playing on his own. He adores watching Batman cartoons on my Netflix account, so since he's a pretty weak reader, I'm gonna look into getting him superhero comics with a vocabulary suited for under 8. Since, well, I suspect part of his issue may be lack of motivation.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 21:59
Another collab with Kidu. We're going to alternate this with Baby, Kokoro no Mama ni! :)

Title: All Out!!
Author: Amase Shiori
Publisher: Morning Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 3 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Kidu's Scanlations
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Gion Kenji is short and perpetually pissed off about it. Iwashimizu Sumiaki is tall but timid. Although it's bullies that bring this unlikely pair together on the first day of high school, it's the rugby club that will make them friends.

Chapter 1: This Year's Freshmen Are Hilarious
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 02:28
Last slice of the hazelnut torte. #mine #vscocam
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 21:11
250g butter
250g sugar
3 eggs
50g sachet coconut cream powder
250g self-raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime

Mix together in the obvious order; bake at ~180degC until done. Fills a standard loaf tin nicely.

For an experiment designed to use up the sad citrus in the fridge, I am really pleased with this. To my astonishment it's great even without the lemon-lime-mint drizzle I was planning I kind of got distracted by the new Debian install on my main machine and forgot I was boiling syrup and it er
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 10:17
Good news, everybody! I had the morning set to teach junior highs and the afternoon set to mark first-years' essays, but then the teacher for my two grade seven classes said, "Well, they're still working on their scripts, so...how 'bout I supervise that, and you go do anything you need to do?"

I love going and doing things I need to do!

I am confronted with forty-odd essays in a stack; I think this warrants a trip to the cantina to get some tea. I have a nice big slice of home-made banana bread in my lunch, plus I think I can probably sneak into the grad students' teacher training and snag some awesomer lunch than I currently have. Bwahahaha, etc.

Goal for today: mark 20 essays (15 minutes per essay, five hours total).


17 / 42 essays read & commented. 40% done!
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 08:55
Anyone want to buy a $25 US iTunes gift card? I earned it from one of my survey sites, but I still have like $30 credit I haven't used... D:
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 14:34
Previously unread.

This is the second book in a YA fantasy series. It continues off shortly after the events in the first book, dials the tension (and to some extent the romance) up a couple of notches.

If anything, the one thing that I noticed was that it was a really fast read (and by "really fast", I mean "I started it yesterday morning" and "I was finished well before I arrived in the office this morning"; if this was how fast things normally get read, I'd probably be looking at order 270 books per year).

Nonetheless, a good read. I may or may not buy the sequel right now, I haven't quite decided.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 11:36
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1eDyxyO at April 15, 2014 at 04:30AM
Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011

Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2011
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 19:34
Just one thing for the record - the mysterious "call boxes" in the toilet stalls at work, previously identified? They are noise-makers, like the automatic running water noise cover in the hotel toilet. Except not automatic, you have to push the button and it plays a very scratchy loud recording of running water/white noise.

Not related to toilets, but the other experience to share today was playing tea roulette in the canteen at work. There are 3 tea dispensers in the cafeteria, right after you pay for your lunch. Each of them has 3 pairs of pink and blue buttons set at varing heights, and some extra buttons besides, all helpfully labled in Japanese. First button I tried yielded lukewarm water. Second button yielded alarmingly bright yellow tea. Sat down to lunch discovered it was chilled yellow tea. I vaguely guess jasimine, which I can barely tollerate hot. Decided to try again, though sad about wasting a cup of tea, but I couldn't drink it. Third attempt yielded a hot, very green tea. It, at least, was drinkable.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 19:30
Tuesday is the day of epic sobbing breakdown of tiredness, as soon as I was safely back in my hotel room.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 02:33
Another 2nd Thursday survived, despite the death of my work computer's hard drive. I came into work earlier than I otherwise might have on account of some research scheduling issues (I didn't know whether Researcher Sweatervest had all the information he needed, there was an early-ish study, and I was having troubles logging in from home, troubles which may have included an out of date password for the share drive) and while all that turned out to be unnecessary, it also let me get a good solid start on the last half of the notes. I powered through those notes and finished them! Whee!

THERE WERE DUCKLINGS BY THE DUCK POND. Everybody was pretty delighted by that. Apparently the ducks started out at the top of the hill but paraded down later. All the fun photos aren't shareable, alas. (As much as ducks in general horrify me, the babies are adorable.) (And just in time! Ducksies and taxies! <- this is a joke that only Tay and I will properly appreciate, because you had to be there, and "there" was our bathroom in the mid-90s with a billion little busy baby ducks.)

Read more... )
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 08:16
It is light outside when I wake up for early starts. It is light while I eat breakfast, when I walk over the road to the station. I sit on the District line with sunshine through the windows: it's above ground between home and work. There's some clematis and - a plant I know only as "abominable potato weed", sorry[1] - growing enthusiastically in a garden that backs onto the platforms.

Breakfast was apple-and-pear juice, a beautifully ripe satsuma, and a pear and hazelnut muffin made for me by CN Lester because of the boything.

I finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Engraved on the Eye (free collection of short stories; it's fantastic). I turned to [personal profile] alexconall's poetry collection Lavender Blue (and other poems) (also available for free), discovered it's dedicated to me, and promptly burst into happy tears on the tube at 7am.

I got in to work in good time, via the gingko coming out outside the Royal Albert Hall and a string of beautiful I-believe-military horses being trotted down Exhibition Road. I've started my columns, and so far they're running nicely. I'm wearing Fils de Dieu and continuing to adore it. I'm reading Audre Lorde's The Black Unicorn in lab, and it's fantastic.

Today is pretty brilliant so far.

[1] It's not Lycianthes rantonnetii or Solanum rantonnetti ("Royal Robe"). Hmm. Looks like this var. "blue potato bush", but none of the other photos for that search term are quite right - it's definitely got the pointier petals that point back upwards, and the flower clusters. - ah ha! Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', there we go. [ETA for interest -- my initial search term was "potato weed purple flowers" and that was the chain of results I followed to get an answer. :-) ]
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 00:16
1. I didn't get much translating done tonight, but I did get quite a few other things done.

2. I cooked dinner, which is something I haven't been doing enough of lately.

3. Lately I've been waking up before my alarm every day. I'm really hoping I can keep that up.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 07:14
via http://ift.tt/1p5HAgd at April 15, 2014 at 02:00AM:


clean bathroom tips

organize your closet

how to fix a leaky faucet

how to keep a clean kitchen

removing stains from your carpet


how to coupon

what to do when you can’t pay your bills

see if you’re paying too much for your cell phone bill

how to save money

How to Balance a Check Book

How to do Your Own Taxes


how to take care of yourself when you’re sick

things to bring to a doctor’s appointment

what to expect from your first gynecologist appointment

how to make a doctor’s appointment

how to pick a health insurance plan

a list of stress relievers

how to get free therapy

how to remove a splinter

how to avoid a hangover


what to do if you get pulled over by a cop

a list of hotlines in a crisis

things to keep in your car in case of an emergency

how to do the heimlich maneuver


recipes that take 30 minutes or less

Yummy apple thing

Brownie in a cup

Cookie in a cup

French bread pizza

Egg tacos

panera mac n cheese recipe

different salad recipes

harry potter recipes

healthy recipes

various cookie recipes

chocolate cupcakes w/ eggless cookie dough topping

s’mores pie 

nutella hot chocolate

peanut butter nutella swirl cookies

cookie in a mug

starbucks holiday drinks

fruit leathers 

brownie in a mug

how to make ramen 1000x better

eggless cookie dough (not to bake, just to eat)

make recipes using things you already have

how to put together a very fancy cheese plate 

make different flavored lemonades

various desert recipes

make tiny chocolate chip cookies

20 dishes every cook should know

learn how to make your own tea

Macaroni and cheese in a mug

Study snacks (2)

40 on-the-go breakfast recipes


what the hell is a mortgage?

first apartment essentials checklist

how to care for cacti and succulents

the care and keeping of plants 

Getting an apartment


time management

create a resume

find the right career

how to pick a major

how to avoid a hangover

how to interview for a job

how to stop procrastinating

How to write cover letters



Traveling for Cheap 

Travel Accessories

The Best Way to Pack a Suitcase

How To Read A Map

How to Apply For A Passport

How to Make A Travel Budget

Better You

read the news

leave your childhood traumas behind

how to quit smoking

how to get a book published

how to knit

how to use a polaroid camera

how to solve a rubik’s cube

how to stop biting your nails

how to stop procrastinating

how to stop skipping breakfast

how to stop micromanaging

how to stop avoiding asking for help

how to stop swearing constantly

how to stop being a pushover

learn another language

how to improve your self-esteem

how to sew

learn how to embroider

how to love yourself

learn how to do yoga

100 tips for life

learn how to make your own cards
Monday, April 14th, 2014 20:34
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 14th, 2014 18:52
Things the tiny corner shops just over the road from my flat carry, apparently routinely:
  • garlic Lurpak
  • a flavour of innocent fruit juice that neither of the enormous 24-hour supermarkets on my way home does
  • Kidderton Ash
  • Little Black Bomber (not wildly over the odds)
  • live yoghurt
  • Swedish crispbread
  • rose water (ditto at neither of the big supermarkets)
  • string
  • sink plungers

I am not entirely sure I understand London.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 16:31
I think my absolute-necessaries list for GPs is:
  • not actively prejudiced about LGBT+ folk
  • willing to respect that I'm a scientist with a strong background in pharmacology
  • willing to genuinely collaborate with me on my healthcare, with the levels of trust (both ways) that that implies
  • not phased by medically complex patients
... and basically I just wish there was a mechanism by which I could interview GPs in the same way that I interview prospective counsellors -- the key point, of course, being that I want an NHS GP and have a private counsellor. Also, I really miss my old gynae.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 21:58
Further observations on Hiroshima:

For some reason, some peoplee wear paper masks around and about. There were a rather lot in the Narita airport, and on the Narita to Hiroshima flight. I just attributed it to slightly tinfoil people being paranoid about public places. But people wore them to work too, and this is considered totally acceptable.

Shoes provided the crisis of the day. Apologies in advance, I am probably being culturaly insensitive, but sharing this as a day of being an Other. We arived at the plant, were NOT met by our hosts. Immediately inside the plant is rows of tiny lockers, and everyone is busily taking off their shoes and putting on other slip-on canvas shoes. There is a row of lockers for guests to put their shoes, but instead of availible canvas shoes, there is a small stack of pleather slippers: just a toe and a sole, and all of them massively too small for the menfolk in our party. So they gamely yet dantily pick their way over to the elevator, and go up to "R&D" at the top. It opens into a large, lovely lobby... with stairs up to the offices. Watching 7 grown men attempt to climb stairs in slippers was HILLARIOUS. It is the same challenge I have always had with backless shoes falling off, but they had ZERO practice, and kept dropping their shoes. Eventually we were able to secure canvas shoes for work.

Another observation about Japan, is they have excedingly complex toilets. I'm not even talking about the differences between the sitting toilets and the squatting toilets (haven't tried the later yet, but work provides both). The very simple toilets at work are basically standard flush, though there appears to be a call box posted in each stall... "press here for assistance"? The ones at the airport were slightly more complex, had a couple of dials on the side, and the flush knob hidden round the back. The one in my room has a whole LOT of buttons and dials on the side, apparently color coded boy/girl with not descriptive enough descriptions, and a few more besides, and as soon as you start to pee, a motion sensor starts running water into it, I guess so you don't have to hear it? There's a lot of motion sensors in Japan. I might be brave enough to try the buttons and levers later in the privancy of my own room where no one has to listen to me be surprised by attack water.

Tonight, though, we were taken by our hosts to a WAY over the top fancy dinner with 6 cougras, 9 glasses, and 35 pieces of silverware, french as interpreted by Japan. I might discuss the dinner later (suffice to say I have now tried foie gras), but this toilet had lights, and a butt warmer, and in addition to the rapidly becoming familiar array of dials and buttons on the side of the seat, an additional control panel on the wall with more features. I must admit to trying none of them, though between the fumbling through a very formal dinner and wiping my bum like a barbarian rather than submit to this toilet spa, I left the place feeling quite uncultured indeed.

And yes, I remember the lessons from our Japanese class - it is a show of hospitality, and also a bit of an obligation to be taken to such an outrageously over-the-top restaurant.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 11:37

So, this is the "slightly more cheerful" tale of doom, loss, horror and other depressing things that noetheless is a smidgen cheerier than Night & Demons.

I realised when I read this that I don't think I've read The Apocalypse Codex close in time to The Fuller Memorandum and, well, the implications implicate, as implications do.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 11:36
Previously unread.

Assorted shorts by David Drake. None of them cheery, all of them well-written. May well be worth a read. I will probably re-read it in some sort of future, but right at the moment, I prefer cheerier things (which will probably show exactly how dark this collection is, when you see the next entry).
Monday, April 14th, 2014 11:27
Previously unread.

Hm. Well... This felt almost exactly like the previous Robert Conroy book I read. A slight twist to a historic large-scale conflict, leading to an alt-hist large conflict, with the plucky Americans winning the day and our primary Plucky American Viewpoint Character winning the woman.

So, yeah, no, I wouldn't recommend this, unless it is close to a core interest for you. It isn't, for me, so I only ever accidentally get them through book bundles. But, I guess expanding one's horizons isn't specifically a bad thing.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 07:06
via http://ift.tt/1p1T5Fo at April 14, 2014 at 02:00AM:

I think it’d be rather exciting to meet a pirate.

#pirates of the caribbean was kind of a formative influence #and nothing about these movies so much as her—snarling selfish sea-hungry pirate king #sometimes I rewatch the first movie and laugh to myself about how little it understood her and will; how it tried to convince us #that will was the pirate because he was chasing after her; and pirates are obsessed with treasure #when elizabeth spends the first movie chasing freedom and the next two chasing him; chasing her freedom; chasing war; chasing the world #her wedding was interrupted and she held the man responsible at gunpoint until he gave her letters of pardon #she was mistaken for a sea goddess and accepted it without question; she led an army to war as though it were her due #and she did it all without ever apologizing for the lives she takes or the lies she tells and when she betrays sparrow with a kiss #he hisses ”pirate” because what else could she be

She has been and always will be a pirate.  
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 23:29
1. I finally got all the taxes filed! I've never left it till this late before, but there was just so much going on this year. Anyway, refunds are coming from the IRS, California, and Massachusetts, so yay.

2. I went in to work for a few hours this morning, so that means I'll get to have another short day sometime later in the week, too. :D

3. Bob's Burgers tonight was so awesome. Tina is a fan of a show called Equestranauts and goes to a con only to find it entirely filled with adult men in horse costumes who call themselves Equesticles. So yeah, basically a parody of bronies and it was so spot on. XD
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 21:43
MITRE gave a presentation on UEFI Secure Boot at SyScan earlier this month. You should read the the presentation and paper, because it's really very good.

It describes a couple of attacks. The first is that some platforms store their Secure Boot policy in a run time UEFI variable. UEFI variables are split into two broad categories - boot time and run time. Boot time variables can only be accessed while in boot services - the moment the bootloader or kernel calls ExitBootServices(), they're inaccessible. Some vendors chose to leave the variable containing firmware settings available during run time, presumably because it makes it easier to implement tools for modifying firmware settings at the OS level. Unfortunately, some vendors left bits of Secure Boot policy in this space. The naive approach would be to simply disable Secure Boot entirely, but that means that the OS would be able to detect that the system wasn't in a secure state[1]. A more subtle approach is to modify the policy, such that the firmware chooses not to verify the signatures on files stored on fixed media. Drop in a new bootloader and victory is ensured.

But that's not a beautiful approach. It depends on the firmware vendor having made that mistake. What if you could just rewrite arbitrary variables, even if they're only supposed to be accessible in boot services? Variables are all stored in flash, connected to the chipset's SPI controller. Allowing arbitrary access to that from the OS would make it straightforward to modify the variables, even if they're boot time-only. So, thankfully, the SPI controller has some control mechanisms. The first is that any attempt to enable the write-access bit will cause a System Management Interrupt, at which point the CPU should trap into System Management Mode and (if the write attempt isn't authorised) flip it back. The second is to disable access from the OS entirely - all writes have to take place in System Management Mode.

The MITRE results show that around 0.03% of modern machines enable the second option. That's unfortunate, but the first option should still be sufficient[2]. Except the first option requires on the SMI actually firing. And, conveniently, Intel's chipsets have a bit that allows you to disable all SMI sources[3], and then have another bit to disable further writes to the first bit. Except 40% of the machines MITRE tested didn't bother setting that lock bit. So you can just disable SMI generation, remove the write-protect bit on the SPI controller and then write to arbitrary variables, including the SecureBoot enable one.

This is, uh, obviously a problem. The good news is that this has been communicated to firmware and system vendors and it should be fixed in the future. The bad news is that a significant proportion of existing systems can probably have their Secure Boot implementation circumvented. This is pretty unsurprisingly - I suggested that the first few generations would be broken back in 2012. Security tends to be an iterative process, and changing a branch of the industry that's historically not had to care into one that forms the root of platform trust is a difficult process. As the MITRE paper says, UEFI Secure Boot will be a genuine improvement in security. It's just going to take us a little while to get to the point where the more obvious flaws have been worked out.

[1] Unless the malware was intelligent enough to hook GetVariable, detect a request for SecureBoot and then give a fake answer, but who would do that?
[2] Impressively, basically everyone enables that.
[3] Great for dealing with bugs caused by YOUR ENTIRE COMPUTER BEING INTERRUPTED BY ARBITRARY VENDOR CODE, except unfortunately it also probably disables chunks of thermal management and stops various other things from working as well.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 15:35
One of the weird, and frankly difficult, things about growing up and growing out is realizing that I do not like some of the people who like me. It is flattering to receive affection and attention and admiration, but it does not have to be mutual. No one--including me--is required to keep people around because of a perceived mutual relationship.

I guess the keyword there is "perceived".

Self, I give you permission to let those folks float along on their own paths provided you send them with blessing and well-wishes. Send love out.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 04:38
I did not know they drove on the left side of the road in Japan

It is as disorienting as expected to be completely unable to communicate. Though there was an interesting experience in the airport - I was refilling my water bottle in the airport, and BOTH people who used the other water fountain in the meantime were being baffled at how to turn it on - looked like they expected motion sensors instead of the usualy hit the button to make water go. I demonstrated without being able to say anything. Lots of pointing.

For all that I expected Tokyo to be a massive throng of people, the Narita airport didn't feel much bigger than Boise's. I guess it's further from Tokyo than I thought?

Another of the most disorienting things was going through Security Theater in Japan. We had to leave the "secure" area to do passports control/customs, then back through a tiny security checkpoint to the domestic flights area, that looked and felt like a bus station! And then acted like it - we jammed a little bus full of people, and drove out out to the tarmac to put them on the plane. Anyhow, all us americans are like, "can we bring drinks? Do we take off our shoes? And we all tried to give the security man who was checking tickets our passports, but he didn't want to see ID, just our tickets. Also, it was EXTREMELY well staffed - only two lines, but maybe 15 people working them.

Hiroshima is MUCH bigger than expected. Or maybe I should say more crowded. Buildings all cheek to cheek. And seeing it for the first time through a rainstorm probably didn't help experiences. It looks... I'm not sure, but no way am I walking around on the streets by myself at night. Scary.

Brains and circadian rythems are weird. After barely any sleep in 24 hrs of traveling, + 15 hrs time difference, I was SO exhausted. Expected to fall into bed at 9 and sleep straight through til my alarm. Instead, Brain poked me away at 1am saying, "get up lazybones! You never sleep this late" Been dozing off and on since then. It's dark, I'm tired... why won't my brain sleep???
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 19:01
Huh, apparently I haven't actually recced A Litany for Survival here, at least not any place I can find it readily? So let's start with that.

A Litany for Survival )

from Walking Our Boundaries

The sun is watery warm
our voices
seem too loud for this small yard
too tentative for women
so in love
the siding has come loose in spots
our footsteps hold this place
as our place
our joint decisions make the possible
I do not know when
we shall laugh again
but next week
we will spade up another plot
for this spring's seeding.

from Eulogy for Alvin Frost )
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 12:22
Finally, time for a real post, not a cross post with neat things I've found on tumblr! (Although some of them were really neat things.)

I've been very busy lately with ALL THE TEST PREP for Chemistry - we have the final exam comprising Chem 1 and Chem 2 in May and it's a standardised test, not one that the professors come up with, it's the ACS exam. Dr Booth has promised that we'll have a study guide for it, so that's that, at least. I don't remember much of Chem 1, I took that in .... 2005? Maybe? That was a while ago. I need to sit in the tutorial lab for a while and work on homework. I've got four homework chapters open and only two of them are finished. I need to finish these.

[personal profile] woggy has been helping me out with Physics. The fact that he remembers some of these formulas without looking really has me in awe. (And makes me miss my memory.) We've worked through quite a bit of the stuff, but now there's a test coming up on Wednesday and I have a study guide to work. At least Dr Vera gave me the answers this time - although not the work. We do have a review session on Tuesday for it, almost as soon as I get out of Evolution.

Speaking of Evolution, we're getting to the interesting parts of it. We've been discussing the fossil record and how it can be used to prove theories and the eras of time (we had a quiz on that!). Tuesday we're going to the Geology department and touring their collection of fossils. They just got a box in of Mississippian fossils and we're going to be the first non-geologists to see them at USM! That's kinda exciting.

History of Biology continues with the mostly online bit. We're just about to start Darwin. I have a couple of quizzes to do tonight for the chapter on Charles Darwin. I tend to do the quizzes in advance so I don't have to worry about them during the week.

We had Coronation last weekend. It was very entertaining! The Wicked Witch of 'That-a-Way' (played by Duchess Onora) came along and her Flying Monkey Minions (played by Duke Sir Camric, her husband and Baron Morgan, definitely not her husband) flung Poisonous poo at His Majesty Ashi and killed him. Then Her Majesty decided 'there was no place like home' and clicked her ruby red high heels three times.
After that, the Chivalry guarded the thrones and the crowns. People went up and declared how HRH Uther and Brigit were all that and a bag of chips. Then they came in and crowned themselves. Brigit got to crown herself! Uther didn't crown her! It was SO EXCITING. It all happened very fast.

We did lunch at Stonewall's, a BBQ joint in Poplarville. The event was held at King's Arrow Ranch, where Gulf Wars is held. Baron Morgan didn't show up at all to Herald's Point at Gulf Wars and he suggested we thank him for that. I told him that we had missed him, because he always brings the best heraldry to try and get passed! I wish I had a picture of his face when I said that. It was a mix of 'Really? They missed me!' and 'Best heraldry!'

It's a very small world, Hattiesburg is. Turns out one of the gentlemen who attended the business meeting and Coronation is one of Brent's friend's roommates!
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 12:14
Sometimes people ask me how long it takes to knit or draw something. (Like this imaginary turtle picture right here which I don't actually have a copy of because main computer is in the shop. ...I like saying "the shop".) And I have no real answer. Sometimes I will cobble together an estimate, but it's sheer conjecture.

If you're keeping track of time when creating something, you're doing it wrong, you know? Knitting and drawing, that's how I /lose/ time.

And each thing is different. Everytime I work on something I'm feeling different. I'm enthusiastic about a project, it flies by. I'm excited to give it to someone and I finish way ahead of their birthday. I'm bored and suffering from second-sock syndrome, and yes, it will be months before I'll put that damned thing on my foot. A person's favourite animal (my illustration mainstay these days) has fur? Well, that'll be awhile, hun.

This same person last night was talking about the difference between making something great and making something perfect, so I know she gets it though. :)
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 11:56
Lately, I feel like every day I wake up I spend the first two to three hours re-creating myself from scratch. I feel human, like me, who I am, when I'm done and I am happy. I'm not particularly upset or sad or much of anything before I do it. It just needs to get done. Everyday for some reason.

I miss certain people a lot. I wish I could talk to them. One is just missing. No signs of life and all my messages have gone unanswered. The other I care too much about to let them know I care, and even though it /sucks/ to not be able to communicate this, to not communicate at all, I don't want to fuck things up for anyone.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 11:38
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1nkEwIE at April 13, 2014 at 04:30AM
black-culture: Black and in Love

Black and in Love
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 03:07
So to touch back on a point I made earlier: my life has sucked, but it did not explode. Nothing as of yet in 2014 has topped the awful suckiness of Bert's death.

Oh the other hand, life is still super stressful and I'm struggling to get my days straight. I actually really want attention and people and company, though I'm super bad at asking for them (especially since this runs counter to almost every prior crisis in my life, when I wanted to be left alone) and it's hard to find the energy to seek company out. Or do social things I was intending to do, like link roundups or SCA meetings.

I did watch Game of Thrones tonight with people I live with, though. It's funny; I hang around people so geeky I sometimes have brainweasels telling me I'm not a real geek for not liking comic books or Star Trek or whatever; and then we watch GoT and I'm helping my roommates keep everyone straight and sort out the plot points and telling them which parts are worse than actual historical events, and which ones are actually cleaned up from history. (Renly Baratheon: LESS GAY than Edward II.) I may never have read a Star Words EU novel, but I do have my specialties.
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 08:22
via http://ift.tt/1kKB5Oe at April 13, 2014 at 03:00AM:

modern au → arya stark as an underground assassin in london

The months merged together, like a long flash of too bright light. When she went to sleep, curling inwards and giving herself over to the dreams, she felt it and when she woke the next morning, it was always to the taste of blood. There was a darkness gathering inside of her and when she held a gun it was closest, consuming her, taking away memories of Winterfell, her father’s voice, her brother’s smile. With a target in mind, it was easy to forget the gnawing in her stomach, to let everything in the world narrow down to a gun and the bullet that she controlled. The names gradually dwindled off of her list, she had a shorter prayer to recite at night, and the dizzy emptiness began to slip away - replaced by something harder, something stronger.

I would so read this.  
Sunday, April 13th, 2014 00:28
1. I woke up an hour early today so I decided to just go in to work early. That meant I got to come home early, too, so that was nice. :)

2. When I went out to get my bike this morning, the tire was flat. I couldn't see a nail or anything, though, so I hoped maybe just putting air in it would be all it needed, but while that was enough to get me to work, when I went out of the building on my lunch break, I saw the tire was completely flat again. :( So that sucks, as does the fact that the bike shop closest to my house is closed on Sundays, so I can't just take it in tomorrow, but on the bright side, I never did get around to putting my old bike out on the curb, so I have a backup bike to use in the meantime. (I might take my bike down to the shop where I bought it from tomorrow, because they're a big store and I know they're open on Sundays, but it's also further away and thus more of a hassle to get the bike there. But I'm off on Wednesday, so if nothing else I could take it up to the closer place then.)

3. It was pretty busy today and we are still so short-handed, but another new cashier started today (though there was no time to do any real training so all she could do was bag, but on the plus side, it was busy and we really needed people to help bagging) and we have a new produce manager starting tomorrow (I don't think I mentioned this, but our produce manager had a heart attack a few weeks ago and passed away), and the new stocker and cashier who both started earlier this week seem to be doing well and picking up on things quickly, so hopefully things will be better soon in that regard.

4. The macadamia nut Hershey Kisses were back in stock in our warehouse earlier this week, so I ordered a couple cases and put them on sale this weekend as part of our anniversary sale and this morning someone bought seventeen of them. O_o (Even on sale they are $4.99 a bag so that was like $85! A huge boost to my sales today!) There were only a few cases left in the warehouse, so I quickly transferred another two cases this morning.

5. I posted manga! And I might have some more to post tomorrow, too. :)