Fighting monsters is easy...

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:45 am
seawasp: (Default)
[personal profile] seawasp
... compared to going to high school (again!) for Holly Owen in Chapter 14 of Princess Holy Aura

Update.

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:12 am
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
Fred has her surgery tomorrow.
Fingers crossed.

She's told the kids she needs to have an operation in hospital and won't be around. Her mum is staying with her in Dulwich. I have the kids over this weekend and from Thursday next. It's all been a bit hectic, and, as with our separation, we've kept the kids in the dark about stuff. Who knew that parenting entailed such subterfuge and moral equivocation? But it seems that some information is best kept on a "need to know" basis, as we protect the kids from stuff they may not need to know if everything works out fine.

Stage 1 (b). Radical surgery and a lymph-node-ectomy, and maybe some radio and chemo. They got it early, thank the gods. Madame of course is caught in the bureaucratic void between private patients and the NHS. They don't talk much to each other. Paperwork isn't shared. Stuff can slip between the cracks. And it's just more hassle when she doesn't need it.

Anyway, I'll know more in the next few days.

Off tomorrow!

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:43 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
On my grand and crazy choral adventure through Europe.  So you won't be seeing a lot of me here, though I will undoubtedly be all over Facebook like a rash.  Incidentally, it turns out that I'm in Paris for the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, which is very exciting, and means that I have been madly signing up to free exhibitions and tours of all sorts of things.  I shall report back when I can.

I finished up work on Friday, but have been running around like a madwoman ever since, because what with everyone around me having horrible health scares or worse this year, I'm beginning to feel a bit morbid about my trip and wanted to see everyone before I left just in case I died while overseas.

Yeah, that's the inside of my brain right now.  It does not sleep.  Sleep is for the weak!  (Or for the plane.)

I also have apparently decided that I am only allowed to ignore the postal survey if I have written EVERY IMAGINABLE POLITICS BLOG POST before I leave.  So in addition to the one from last week, I wrote an epic piece yesterday fact-checking one of those long lists about all the ways countries lost their religious freedom after achieving marriage equality (hint: they really didn't. Also, some people are really paranoid about gender fluidity), and I'm working on four more pieces which will publish at various points while I'm away and after I come back.   Because I'm nuts.

Oh, and I posted my vote back on Monday, because that's rather more important than just writing endless essays...

For a different flavour of nuttiness, we're doing the Global Challenge at work this year, and our team is called 'one small step for science', which pretty much mandates an astronaut theme – and so on Saturday, I led my team on our first big group walk to the planetarium.  We met in Brunswick, at Handsome Her, a café that has achieved peak Brunswick by being vegan, environmentally sensitive (glass straws, no disposable cups or serviettes, free compost out the back for your garden) and feminist (men have to pay an 18% surcharge, which is donated to a women's shelter, and the walls are covered with vulva-themed art.  Except in the bathrooms, which have a menstruation art theme.  It's quite... something.).  Also hipster - every item on the menu has about twenty different elements, including things like charcoal brioche buns, smoked avocado and strawberry baobab ice cream.  Oh, and also all menu items are named for feminist icons.  And there are four kinds of non-dairy milk available for your coffee.

It's hilarious.  The food's pretty good, too.

Anyway, having stuffed ourselves silly on vegan yummies, we embarked on our journey, which quickly turned into a bit of a death march because everyone had arrived late, which meant we hit Brunch Peak Hour, which meant we left late, which meant we had just over 2 hours in which to walk the 12 km to the planetarium before our show started.  Ouch.

We started by walking along the Capital City trail, through Royal Park, until we met Flemington Bridge. Which we hadn't been expecting to meet, but evidently we got onto the wrong trail in Royal Park.  Fortunately this was, if anything, a short cut. Then we wandered through the streets of Kensington, and along a rather pretty path between houses and gardens with rather farm like fences that made us feel as though we were being herded like cattle - we were on the site of the old abbatoir, as it turned out!

Next we walked along the Maribyrnong River for a while, past the glorious golden Buddha statue, and then sadly left it behind us to walk along a rather busy road and under the Westgate Bridge. We had to take a slight shortcut at this point, which was a pity, because we missed a nice little footbridge out over the water.

Finally, we reached the planetarium - five minutes before our show was due to start!  We rushed in, and got to watch a gorgeous show about stars and how they work, which had really spectacular artwork - they would visualise the star as it would look, then stylise it into an art-deco / stained glass sort of design, and it was just stunning.  This was followed by a guided tour of the night sky over Melbourne in September, which referenced the indigenous constellations, and was really fantastic.  Finally, we got a special extra video about the Cassini mission to Saturn, which had of course ended the night before.  So that was really a nice touch, and we all walked out resolving to do some actual star-watching at a later challenge date.

And then we caught the ferry home, because if you can catch the ferry, you must catch the ferry.  That is the rule.

It was spectacular, and fun, and I got 26,700 steps and hurt all over for two days.  But it was worth it.

And this is me signing off for now - I have politics blog posts to write and a bag to pack.  See you next month!

Happy feet

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:00 am
abomvubuso: (Beach fun! ♥)
[personal profile] abomvubuso
Beautiful Boulders Beach, Simonstown showing off...


Arrrrr!

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:13 am
leecetheartist: Default green dragon head, with eyepatch, parrot and Arrr! "Pieces of 8!" (Pirate)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
What be your favourite pirate movie?

If ye can't be makin' up yer mind,  pick a couple.

I can't be decidin' between Captain Blood and  The Pirates band of misfits at this very moment. 

Top ten most influential: Movies 2

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:46 pm
garote: (Default)
[personal profile] garote

As a writing exercise, I've chosen the ten books, albums, movies, and games that were most important in defining me as a person, and challenged myself to explain why. With the movies, I'm going chronologically, and this is number 3.

Ghostbusters (1984)

I was eight years old when this movie came out. I already loved all things Halloween, and a mashup of ghosts with sci-fi contraptions and nerdy jokes was perfect for me. The visual effects were great too, and it set the template for what I thought ghosts should be like: Gassy neon light shows, drifting around doing their own thing. If you got in their way they would attack at you. Then if you didn't run away, something awful and mysterious would happen and you'd never be seen again. So basically, ghosts were like elephants. Except they were more colorful, and made less noise going through a wall.

Also, scientists were fun, and could act like total weirdos as long as they got their work done. That weirdness got injected into my own life as pile of catchphrases, like, "Dogs and cats, living together; mass hysteria!" and "There is no [insert random thing here], only Zuul!" and "I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! LET'S DO IT!" and of course, "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES." And so many others. My friends and I swapped these around endlessly until they were part of our grammar. There were also quotes that I didn't get until much later. I was in my 30's before I really understood, "You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I worked in the private sector. They expect results!" And now I find it hilarious that Louis invited all his work clients to a party and called it a "promotional expense."

The music was fantastic too. I bought the soundtrack on cassette and played it on the living room stereo, and danced and rolled around on the carpet. My favorites were the "Ghostbusters Main Theme", and then "Dana's Theme" which immediately followed it.

Ah yes, and Sigourney Weaver was in this movie, and I immediately liked her. Not because her character got possessed by a demon and acted all vampy - which I found incomprehensible as an eight-year-old - but because she projected a sort of comfortable maturity. Looking back, I have to say that if she knew what she was doing as an actor - which she probably did - it was very smart to take what was really a "damsel in distress" and "love interest" role and rearrange it to say "I'm perfectly fine on my own and I have my shit together, but circumstances made me reach out to these Ghostbuster guys, and Peter is a goofball but I am allowing myself to be charmed by him because he is being a gentleman at the same time." Some other actress could have taken her scenes and lines, and been flirty and jumpy and clingy, and then just swooned into Peter's arms at the end of the film, but Sigourney chose to deliver something else, and it managed to show how her character might honestly be attracted to someone like Peter in the first place, and vice-versa.

So, take that over to me, the preteen goofball in the audience: Here's a classy lady who might actually want to be your girlfriend some day. Wow!

My crush on her got a huge boost, of course, when I saw Aliens two years later.

So why was this movie so influential to me, aside from the endless quoting? Why is Ghostbusters on this list, when Return Of The Jedi (which came out just the year before) didn't make it? Mostly because of a statement it makes with its characters.

This movie came out in 1984, the same year that "Revenge Of The Nerds" was in theaters. It's hard to understand now, but back in 1984 "nerds" were actually seen as a minority group that needed some kind of "revenge." How the times have changed! Ghostbusters made a different statement to nerds: It's not you versus "jocks". It's not you versus anyone. If you don't feel like you "fit in", don't worry about it. Stick with your friends, feed your obsessions, and try to have fun -- because you can be aggressively weird and still command respect when your weirdness makes you very good at your job.

That was the key idea. Even if I wasn't going to save New York City from an apocalypse, I could still find some way to make my weirder nature useful, whether that took the form of being a hardcore scientist like Egon, an excited collaborator like Ray, a steady hand like Winston, or a goofball like Peter. Like the Ghostbusters, my friends were an ensemble of nerds, and perhaps the future could be bright for us... Or at least better than the confusion and sense of rejection we felt from most other kids our age. This movie whispered to me that perhaps our "revenge" for suffering as nerdy kids could be to thrive as nerdy adults.

Also, when someone asks you, if you're a god, you say YES !!!

Went to Charlie's funeral today...

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
Lots of folk there. Chaps from the Popes sent messages. Lots of musos, folk from Upland Road, and friends and rellies from all around.

We'd talked about putting a band together last year. Instead I moved out to my flat, and Charlie, who was only fifty-three, found he had Cancer. He fought against it, of course. He is survived by his wife and son. May their grief be short, and their memories everlasting.

Also saw someone else pertinent to my life has died. Pertinent to all of our lives, actually.

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/18/soviet-officer-who-averted-cold-war-nuclear-disaster-dies-aged-77


Honour to Lt Col Stanislav Petrov, and to his memory, and to his shared humanity.

A query from a self-published pundit.

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
reddragdiva: (party)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

My Bitcoin pundit career is going great guns! I got to go on BBC Newsnight and call cryptocurrency garbage. Don't ever buy into cryptos, btw, they're a car crash. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Soooo I just got a note inviting me to speak at a seminar, about why blokechain is pants, to a small number of people who have money. I'm gonna charge for my time of course, but I can sell books there. Which means physical paperbacks I bring in a box.

Now, one of the great things about this self-publishing racket in TYOOL 2017 is 0 capital expenditure. Has anyone here done this, or anything like it? Was it worth it? Did you end up with a box of books under your bed forever?

The books are $3.03 each to print, but all author copies come from America (because Createspace is dumb), at some ruinous shipping rate to the UK. Assuming Kindle and CreateSpace pay promptly I'll have a pile of money on September 30, but I sorta don't right now.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to approach this? Doing a talk with a box of nonfiction books - good idea, bad idea, no idea?

(I'll no doubt do a pile of flyers for people who haven't got cash on them right there. Who carries cash in the UK these days? Less people than you might think.)

History of Felton

Sep. 17th, 1998 10:18 pm
garote: (conan pc)
[personal profile] garote

From an email archive, transferred across a dozen computers. Written by my friend Jeremy:


I was lately given the assignment to write a brief history of Felton. Many weeks passed and I've produced nothing but fifty pages of notes, so I decided to write up a few brief paragraphs which outlined the history, so I could stuff my notes into it. I was in a very bad mood this morning when I wrote it.

History of a Useless Hole in the Wall

Named After A Second-Rate Lawyer

Um. Might as well begin at the beginning.

The Portola expedition, and stuff, in 1769. They found a parrot in a valley and called it the Pajaro. Then, uh, they travelled some more.

And they crossed the river on St. Lawrence day that year, which happened to be October 17th. So they named the river the San Lorenzo. Coincidentally, this was the same day that the Loma Prieta Earthquake would strike the area, oh, let's see, 100, 200, ... Um, 89 minus 69 ... 220 years later.

So then. A bunch of crap happened in between 1769 and 1843, the upshot of which was the following: a bastard named Isaac Graham moved his sawmill to the Zayante area, at the intersection of the San Lorenzo and something else I can't remember now, because I'm not really interested in this subject.

Anyway, at some point after this, a jerk named Edward Stanly put his head together with Graham's and they set up a town plan. Stanly decided on some absurd whim to name it after his stupid lawyer, Mr. Felton, who was never much use to him otherwise.

This asshole had been all through the senate and congress and all that. He really got around like a good frickin' citizen. Who cares? I rhetorically ask. Not me. This guy, at least, was a good parent, we can surmise this from the evidence of Katharine Felton, the feminist and social worker. That's more than we can say for most second-rate lawyers.

Well, a lot of shit went down in this new town. There were lime kilns, and a railroad, and plenty logging. Mostly they fucked themselves over by the end of World War One in 1918 due to overlogging. Serve the stupid greedy fuckers right! After a period of decline, during which the town capitalized on its natural beauties to lure tourists, the town became a dump of sorts for people who had better-paying jobs in overcrowded, inhuman, smoggy,crappy, crime-ridden, disgusting San Jose, only a half hour's drive away!

Also the usual suspects cropped up: businesses and institutions like schools, a library, a coupla grocery stores and an office supply store which marked everything up by a couple thousand percent just because the people couldn't get their paper anywhere else. You know. Places which thrive everywhere people clot like tainted blood.

And that's the history of this stupid town. The End.

Ticky Yessy Postie

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:57 am
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Last week the postal survey for the Australian Marriage Law alteration yes/no arrived.
I opened it, ticked yes and took it to the mailbox that night.
I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn't.
I'd be guessing most of my readers would be in favour of marriage equality.
Let's support this push for equality so that bigotry, hatred and oppression can take a back step for once.
Let's get in there and let people have the same legal rights.
Let's give the economy one heck of a shot in the arm.

Do this
!


(Edited for a momentary lack of yellow and phrased it betterer)

linux user

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:56 pm
srukle: (Default)
[personal profile] srukle
The average Linux user should just admit they're actually an x11 user in denial.

Lacuna Coil: Delirium

Sep. 15th, 2017 06:00 pm
abomvubuso: (Over the Edge)
[personal profile] abomvubuso


janewilliams20: (Default)
[personal profile] janewilliams20
Message passed to me by Catherine Biddle. Brian was rushed to Southampton General Hospital this morning, after having a heart attack while driving home from work. He has a dislocated and fractured hip, a bruised liver, a few broken ribs and some fractures to the spine and leg bruising. When we last spoke, he was going into theatre.
At the moment, Catherine and Dawn are with him. Transport for today is being provided by a family friend, who is also looking after the two younger children.
Brian is expected to be in intensive care for a few days at least, and visiting will be very limited. Please contact Dawn to arrange it, but not today - tomorrow at the earliest. Please do NOT just show up at either house or hospital, that stresses Dawn out, as we know, and she has more than enough stress at the moment.
Dawn may be able to post more detail tonight, but no promises.


Life lived in dot points

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:45 pm
fred_mouse: Mummified mouse (dead)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I haven't had spare energy for a lot of things lately, in particular for blogging. I've a short term contract, in which I'm attempting to debug some code, which is going somewhat slowly (the first bit was a trivially short piece of code that turned out to have a single wrong command buried in it, but it took some sorting out how that command differed from what it ought have been). Other than that, over the weekend (including Friday night) I
  • Briefly went to work Friday drinks; I think I know everyone's names...
  • Friday dinner at Han's cafe; stupidly ended up ordering a fish dish that came battered. Ate it anyway; stomach sore Saturday, but no emotional meltdown. Will continue minimising gluten, but nice to know that a slip up isn't always a disaster.
  • Went to see Totoro on the big screen at Innaloo on Friday night (with artisanat and friend S)
  • Slept in Saturday, because youngest was in Sydney, and thus did not have training*
  • Went to dance, despite really not wanting to. Entire class was focused on how to push one's heel forward correctly (battement tendu, battement long, fondu, some other things I've forgotten). Hips are Very! Sore! today. Turns out that I have sufficient flexibility in my toes that 'tuck your little toes under' is a cheat for me, so that I don't actually stretch where I should -- everyone else has to stretch to do that.
  • Crafternoon. Finished the border on a blanket that has been abandoned for some time (crochet, all the pink variegated yarns). Sewed in the ends. Now it just needs blocking. Watched the first episode of Outlander, because I had it queued up and ready to go when ariaflame arrived, and they were happy to watch as well.
  • Attended the evening part of a friend's 40th birthday festivities; cocktail bar, I am the kind of person who drinks scotch and dry when cocktails are on offer.
  • Went to a marriage equality rally**. Am very quietly grumpy at all the people calling it 'same sex marriage'. Went and was nice to one of the people standing at the side wearing t-shirts saying something like 'Libs and Nats for marriage equality', to make sure that they got positive feedback for being at an event where they could well be a long way off the political beliefs of the majority
  • Met up with a number of people at said rally; six of us went in to Claisebrook for lunch. Tasty lunch, although not convinced that either of the options were good for me. All were gluten free though (and the pasta was v. nice; risotto was a bit richer than I was expecting).
  • Came home, lay down, failed to achieve anything. I have to go to work tomorrow, but ow, I really really don't want to. Hurts a lot.

    * team came fourth of seven; youngest got to very briefly catch up with a few family members, and delivered some gifts that have been mooching around the house since last December
    ** with artisanat and middlest. Eldest was fast asleep and grunted at the idea of getting out of the house to make it in to the city for 10am

Long day!

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:46 am
azurelunatic: Polyamory infinite hearts, in a polymer-like grid (polymer)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Breakfast with partner and metamour Leopard Girl.

Seanan McGuire event in Silverdale. We brought tribute, and were briefly Seanan's favorite. (Diet Dr Pepper and candy corn. Seanan is a being of predictable tastes.)

Mini muffin tin quest!

Partner made a note they should chat with our mutual friend in London about stuff. Hooray, viable communities.

Dinner for the extended polycule, with many dishes thanks to Trader Joe's. (Rice, orange chicken with extra zesty sauce but no carrots since we ran out, BBQ pork buns, pot stickers, spring rolls, and green beans. The rice and green beans weren't pre-packaged, and I do a little customization to the chicken by adding orange peel and scallions. The gyoza and bao steam over the rice, and the spring rolls could bake with the chicken. The green beans start frozen and get gently fried with seasonings. Usually it's butter and Montreal steak seasoning, but Stray Puppy Girl is very lactose intolerant, and Leopard Girl dislikes red pepper. So I went for sesame oil, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, ginger, a packet of soy sauce that needed using, and the excess teriyaki sauce from the other night. It turned out well. To my immense gratification, my partner really likes all the iterations of the green beans that I have made so far. Generally they disappear immediately.)

Club night. Without going into excessive detail, one of the groups near the people I was with were having a hilarious time, and kept setting each other off giggling. That prompted our group to giggle. The glee was infectious.

Everyone is spending the night. We hauled the camping pads out of the alleged guest room (it is currently not in a state for guests as my textiles have exploded all over it) and they're set up next to the futon in case it turns from cozy to crowded in the middle of the night. Things are well set up for breakfast, and there should be cheesecake at some point (thus the mini muffin tins).

A win for the white beasts

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:34 am
airiefairie: (Default)
[personal profile] airiefairie
Snow Leopards No Longer Considered “Endangered"

It is now thought that there are at least 4,000 adult snow leopards still prowling the peaks of the Himalayas, meaning that the felines no longer meet the criteria set by the IUCN for “endangered status”. While this is clearly good news, the conservationists involved have warned that this does not mean that the cats are doing well or face no threats. They are still declining, just not as rapidly as we once thought.
garote: (Default)
[personal profile] garote

This is a classic "dynamic programming" problem that job applicants in the software industry are sometimes given. The problem is this:

Given a staircase with n steps, how many different ways can you climb it, assuming that your stride is large enough to take steps 1, 2, or 3 at a time?

The solution that people pursue most easily is the recursive solution, looking something like this:

var steps = 14;
var solution = possibilities(steps, 1) +
			possibilities(steps, 2) + possibilities(steps, 3);

function possibilities(remaining, thisStride) {
	remaining -= thisStride;
	if (remaining < 0) { return 0; }
	if (remaining == 0) { return 1; }
	return possibilities(remaining, 1) +
		possibilities(remaining, 2) + possibilities(remaining, 3);
}

(This is JavaScript by the way.)

But, there is another way to find the answer, that runs in linear time -- that is, for a given value of n, the program takes around n iterations to find the answer. It involves keeping track of the last several values calculated in the loop, and it looks something like this:

var steps = 14;
var solution = stepCombinations(steps);

function stepCombinations(g) {
	var pattern = [-1,0,0,1];
	if (g < 1) { return 0; }
	var iter = 0;
	var total = 0;
	while (iter < g) {
		total = (total * 2) - (pattern[iter % 4]);
		pattern[iter % 4] = total;
		iter++;
	}
	return total;
}

The ten dollar question is: Why does this second method work?

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