Thankful Friday

Feb. 24th, 2017 07:45 pm
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)
[personal profile] mdlbear

So, today (Thursday, for sufficiently large values of day), I am grateful for:

  • Colleen being home from the hospital, where she has been since Tuesday with a severe infection;
  • the fact that she simply forgot that she hadn't retrieved her wallet from the safe, rather than (as she thought) losing it somewhere;
  • an annual review that went much better than I expected;
  • a new review process that focuses more on forward-looking strengths and growth paths than on past performance or lack thereof;
  • a project just this side of launch, with all my parts of it completed and working (a thing that no doubt made my review better);
  • downsizing, which lets me see how little I actually need;
  • a purring therapy cat;
  • a format that keeps bullet points without subjects or verbs from looking like sentence fragments.

of space and song

Feb. 24th, 2017 03:52 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
On Wednesday I finally got the home office area set up. Now I can work from home with an actual monitor and keyboard and trackball and standing-desk, rather than laptop on couch/bed.

It's all in acceptable shape, but only just. I'll need to drag in another mat or two to stand on, to get the desk to the right height. My Mac keyboard has lost the use of the S key and spacebar, but I've got a Windows keyboard which works well enough for now. The real problem is that Microsoft hasn't updated the Mac software for my trackball in several years, and it won't talk to the latest version of macOS. So the trackball works, but the buttons are ALL WRONG. I've found a couple of potential workarounds but they looked more involved than I wanted to get on Wednesday afternoon. Sometime next week, I expect.

The office is actually the back of the second bedroom. It's got yellow walls that desperately need some art hung, the (two? three?) TUCKER'S OFFICE boxen need to be unpacked onto desk / bookcase, and there's some other miscellaneous /stuff/ that needs sorted or scooted or something. But the window's nice (though glare is problematic in the afternoon) and it's good to start to feel like there's a space that's mine again. The 'office' in the New West place was that, more or less, but it was dim and stuffy and caught a lot of dust from the dryer vent. This room is substantially nicer, if more cramped.

There are things about this apartment that frustrate and irritate me: the laundromat-style laundry, the dining room being a little narrower than we'd thought, the kitchen in general. Overall, though, it's not so bad. It'll do for now.



I am also now the proud owner of a bass guitar (Freeway 4) and an amp. My friend Chani's partner had been talking about selling his bass and amp for, o, months now, and it's sort of been at the back of my mind since then.

I think I have this idea that it'll be faster to pick up bass than it has been for viola, or that I'll be more readily able to find places/people to play bass with than viola, or something. This of course all depends on me finding my way to the alternate universe where I have enough time to learn not one but two instruments.

I'm also looking into an ear-training app for the phone, for commutes and such. And perhaps some actual formalised music theory learning, instead of the ad-hoc bits Tegen's been teaching me.

I'm not sure why music's becoming more of a focus than fiction-writing. Maybe it's that I understand how to get better at music, or that I'm more comfortable with not being very good. There's something in there about smashing awful pots, too. With music I'm learning a skill; writing feels more like creating a work. And yes, I do know that there's a hell of a lot of skill inherent in writing, skill that improves with practice, but I've not figured out how to feel comfortable practicing my skills in fiction.

Or maybe it's as simple as music being what's pulling me right now. Being more interested in accessing a space without words.

It's not like I can make rent (well, "mortgage payment," which sounds even worse despite being a smaller number) on either of those activities in any case. So in that sense it doesn't really matter which it is, as long as I'm having fun with it.

As always, we shall see.

Bicycling in February

Feb. 24th, 2017 03:44 pm
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
With record high temperatures for these dates in New Hampshire, I went out on my bike yesterday and today. Yesterday I went to the Kingston Library and took out Ant-Man. I watched it as far as the point where he first puts the suit on and shrinks, and I wasn't very impressed up to that point. A movie without any characters I can admire doesn't impress me much. (Dr. Pym might qualify, but so far he hasn't done much.) I hope it gets better from there.

Today I went to the Plaistow library, which is actually closer (5.5 miles, against 7 miles for Kingston) and did some work. On the way back, it was so warm that I stuffed my jacket into my backpack.

I'm back in my home office now, which is downright warm from the sunlight.

The advancing attack on democracy

Feb. 24th, 2017 03:29 pm
thnidu: 13 horizontal stripes, blue and white; 50 stars in the same layout as US flag, red on white and white on blue. By me. (Glory Variation #1)
[personal profile] thnidu
From Daily Kos. H/t John Davis.

Bannon Admits Trump's Cabinet Nominees Were Selected To Destroy Their Agencies.
Feb 23, 2017 4:27pm EST

At CPAC today Stephen Bannon, the Chief Advisor and intellectual heft behind the Twittering infant that sits in the Oval Office, provided a little glimpse of the future he has planned for all of us.

In the clearest explanation for why nearly all of Trump’s cabinet choices are known mostly for despising and attacking the very Federal agencies they’ve been designated to lead, Bannon explained—in very clear language--that they weren't appointed to lead these agencies, but to destroy them:

Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.

“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”

Hold your nose and read more )

Click headline for story.

(Edited 2017.02.24, 17:00 EST = UTC-T, to link CPAC, add new tag and change title.
And again at 18:11. This is not the destruction of democracy if we defend it!)



In the Far East

Feb. 24th, 2017 05:18 pm
aunty_marion: Heaps of blue cats (Smokey Mountain Cats)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
Well, fairly far to the East side of London, anyway. E11. Cat-sitting. Cat has so far been importunate (there's a surprise, not) on the subject of a) treats, b) fuzzles and c) dinner. She's had all three. I have had two choccy biccies and (so far) half a mug of coffee. You can tell who's boss round here. I'll have my own dinner in an hour or so, having had a share of popcorn chicken and chips at the pub in King's Cross with the knitters. There are chicken escalopes or steaks or something in the fridge that should be in the freezer, so I'll eat those first.

I won't be doing much over the weekend - out tomorrow to Tesco for a newspaper & possibly more milk, some knitting, and I have a proofing/editing job to look at. Oh, my life is so busy. *Yawn*

The Qi You Save May Be Your Own...

Feb. 24th, 2017 11:53 am
chrysilla: (bb accounts)
[personal profile] chrysilla
Wondering if quitting my dayjob for a lower paying work-from home thing (creative + patreon, or freelance research etc) would be better or worse in the long run.

Given research about EBV without a doctor's guidance thus far (urgh), it seems largely the virus gets reactivated by stress. But ... how much stress? One really bad day? A sinus infection? A constant low drone of stress? Furthermore, many people seem to do better at managing it (or curing, according to some anecdotal accounts, meh) on various clean/elimination diets plus daily vitamin supplements and/or occasional vitamin megadoses during active-virus time. And none of that is ever covered by insurance. So... if I quit my dayjob, would I need less expensive healthcare? Or would it only help for a short while, like with everything else I've ever tried, and the virus will just reactivate itself again for no clear reason?

breaking it down )

So... very much a gamble. Could pay off, might blow up in my face.

What I really want right now is to just get an EBV *reprieve*, even if just for a few months to a year. Then I can get my creative stuff off the ground and see whether or not I even *could* make enough $$ from it to quit my dayjob, and then I can make a plan to move from one to the other a bit less jarringly. Or the +ment bonus from having those projects work out could sustain me enough for the dayjob.

I think most ppl who would tell me to quit my job without much forethought probably have waaaay more health privelidge than I do. Meh.

<3 Chrysilla

Font with roots in Hell

Feb. 24th, 2017 09:11 am
supergee: (Max Headroom)
[personal profile] supergee
Hating Comic Sans Is Ableist. Amusingly enough, I learned about this on Facebook, which makes everyone use a Helvetica Anorexica that many of us find uglier and harder to read that Comic Sans.
supergee: (reclining)
[personal profile] supergee
Mae Jemison wants more women and minorities in science.

Thanx to File 770

QotD

Feb. 24th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Myth: Racism declines as time passes
 Reality: Racism fluidly adjusts to prevailing political and economic interests"

  -- Khaled Beydoun, 2017-02-16

sorcyress: Just a picture of my eye (Me-Eye)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Okay, so, there’s a movement tomorrow to do a witchy spell at the stroke of midnight. Specifically to bind 45, to prevent him from doing any (more) damage to any living human or creature or thing.

I am not a witch. I am not remotely Wiccan. I don't...do spells, not formalized spells, certainly not spells created by other people.

(I have cast-prayed before, on very rare occasion. I quietly lay altars and speak to my goddesses and send the energy out I can and ask for the guidance I need. I regular-pray damn near every night --if you've ever heard me recite the star-wish song1 and then fall silent for a moment, gazing at the sky, you've witnessed it.)

However. However. I am not a witch and probably never will be (though Sir PTerry has a better sales pitch than anything else I've ever seen or heard). But I'm not doing anything else at midnight tomorrow, and I actually have all the components. So much of humanity rests on belief, maybe if I can help add to this one, it'll do some good.

(And even though I'm not twenty-six and mad as hell anymore, I'm still a witchka and will probably never drop the diminutive for myself. Witchka, little witch, it just feels _right_.)

Anyways, you can find the ritual I'm planning to use here, in case that's of interest to you. I've dug through my tarot decks and have all five towers2 charging on my altar3.

Hey, it's more fun than sleeping anyways.

~Sor
MOOP!

1: You know this one. It begins with declarations of light and bright, and then an oft-modified line about the number of stars I've seen that night.

2: Well, okay, technically it's four towers and XVI: (In)Dependance from my hand-drawn major arcana. Which I should *really* scan and post, and even more really finish sometime. I drew it like three-four years ago at this point, and I was surprised looking through it by how much I still like it and relate to it. I renamed a lot of cards though. I don't feel the slightest bit about it, the whole point of tarot is to use it to focus myself.

3: I have an altar now, bytheway. I set it up originally at the Sanctuary, but I actually made a point of moving it when I moved, and maintaining it. I don't do a lot with it, but the big rule is that Nothing Goes On That Shelf Ever unless it's part of the altar stuff. Which is like nine tenths rocks, because boy, do I have a weird and complicated and important relationship with rocks that I should talk about sometime.

I'd post pictures, but you know. Matthew 6:5-6. ;)


Edit: On further contemplation, I'm not going to perform this --see comment thread with Keshwyn on DW.

One of the best songs ever

Feb. 23rd, 2017 09:43 pm
thnidu: a G-clef crossed with a lightning bolt (clef)
[personal profile] thnidu
Somebody to Love
Jefferson Airplane on American Bandstand, 1967
YouTube 2:57

Real Estate And Other Madness

Feb. 23rd, 2017 01:38 pm
tkingfisher: (Default)
[personal profile] tkingfisher


So as some of you know, recently I got a movie option on one of my books. And, after rather a long wrangling, they paid me.

This was not a life-changing sum of money, sad to say (although if they actually made the movie, it would be!) but it was money that I hadn't already earmarked to go somewhere. I hadn't ever counted on getting it because Hollywood is fickle. It was kind of like getting a tax return, except that as a freelancer, I haven't seen a tax return since approximately 2004, so I'm not actually sure what that's like.

So they paid me and I paid off my credit card and gave some money to charity and paid the taxes on it and then I stared at what was left for awhile, and thought "I should do something with this. If I just sit on it, I'll eventually fritter it away on car repairs and vet bills and whatnot. I should do...something."

The problem here is that I have basically everything I want. I have cheap needs. Two hundred bucks for a ton of fieldstone will keep me occupied for weeks. I have video games I haven't beat and books I haven't read. The truck is in good shape. Now that Gir has passed this mortal coil, my monthly vet bills have plummeted. (The vet claims that now that his records are out of the system, their computer runs faster, too.)

I am a nervous soul when it comes to money. My financial advisor at the bank had to forbid me from putting all my money in my sock and shoving it under the bed. Stocks are Right Out. But oh god, what if there's hyper inflation and suddenly my money is worth nothing? THE SOCK CANNOT SAVE ME THEN. What can I do that won't just go away if there's a recession? 

And very, very belatedly, it occurred to me that I could maybe buy a piece of land. Not a house! I don't want a house! Houses mean renters and other people and foolishness. But I live in the country. And I live in a county where dirt is, frankly, dirt cheap. And people sell chunks of it sometimes. And then you have dirt with an address.

I thought "Can I do this? Am I allowed? Can I just buy a piece of land and it just...sits there? And maybe someday twenty years from now when I can't handle stairs and a big house anymore, I put a doublewide on it? Is that a thing real people do?"

I asked Kevin. He confirmed this was a thing that real people did and was not a completely batshit use of a windfall. He added that I could also potentially sell that land in twenty years and make a profit. I had to go lay down for a few minutes with a cold cloth over my eyes.

I selected a realtor by virtue of driving down the street and finding one with an open sign and went in. The pleasant older woman there, who looked more like a children's author than I ever will, listened to me blurt out my thoughts.

"Is this a thing people do?" I asked her at the end. "Is this nuts?"

"No," she said. "I mean, it's not nuts. Yes, people do this."

I stared at her, probably much like Ernie the hound when he is faced with something outside his experience.

"It's fine," she added. "Let's look at some listings."

And that is how we wound up tromping through the woods this morning, looking at a multi-acre lot so cheap that I assumed it would be on fire while I was looking at it. There is a house from 1900 that will require the services of a man with a bulldozer and perhaps a priest. The lot would need a well dug, and if I wanted to actually live there, it would need various other things done, but none of them are urgent. It could just...sit there.

"Why is it so cheap?" I said, baffled. "And why has it been on the market so long?" I was assuming that the house was probably made of asbestos held together with lead paint, with a meth lab in the basement, but up close, no self-respecting meth maker would have set up shop there. There was a toilet and a privet tree on the front deck. Nevertheless, even with having to save for house demolition and lead paint disposal, I could probably make it work without breaking the bank. The bank might even help.

The realtor explained that it was not the best neighborhood. I looked at the neighborhood somewhat blankly. There was an abandoned house on one side, a couple of ramshackle farmhouses on the others, and a pasture full of goats. Was it the goats?

The realtor said it was not the goats.

It occurred to me, after some delicate hinting, followed by indelicate hinting, followed by pointing, that perhaps my notion of what a low-income rural area looks like has been colored by living, in the past, in low-income rural areas. People paying top dollar for lots in my county are usually going into a subdivision. We're a bedroom community for the Research Triangle. These people don't go out to a goat pasture with a ruined trailer on its side and say "AHHH, COUNTRY LIFE!"

"But once the trees leaf out, you can't even see the goats," I said. "Or the trailer."

The realtor gazed briefly at the sky.

"And I could--Oooohh! A dog skull!"

"You see," said the realtor, as I flicked pine needles of my new skull, "the things you want are...unusual."

"I shall name you Skull-Bob," I said to the skull.

"Annnnnway," said the realtor, "I'll talk to the selling agent and see if I can find anything more out about it. But I think this might actually be a good fit for you, since you're looking long-term and not to move right away."

"And this isn't nuts? I'm not missing huge red flags?"

"No, for the price and the neighborhood and the fact somebody probably subdivided out a family plot, this is actually all pretty normal."

"...Do I get to keep the skull?"

"You get to keep the skull," she said.

"Woo!"

And now of course I am seized with doubt and wondering if this is all utterly mad and a horrible waste of unexpected money, but our area is on course to gentrify with the new development that went in and I have no illusions about saving the house or anything and...still, I'm thinking, am I allowed to do this? Do real people buy land? Real people who aren't, like, rich people?

Is this okay?
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
Richard Stallman ordered a button from me-- the top half had blue writing on white which said BLUE LIES MATTER*, the bottom half had black writing on yellow "Prosecute Perjury", and the whole thing had a red ring around the edge to make it more eye-catching.

What could possibly go wrong?

He wore it to Boskone, and several people saw it as being about lies from Democrats.

I considered redoing it with "Prosecute Police Perjury". However, most police lies aren't in court and therefore aren't committing perjury.

Please discuss this at DW/LJ, not on Facebook.


*read it carefully, there's a gotcha

Thoughts on Reactive Systems

Feb. 23rd, 2017 10:04 am
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

This one's just for the programmers/architects, and mainly for the experienced ones: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Building Reactive Systems.

The more you're used to building traditional Tomcat-plus-RDBMS applications, the weirder you're going to find this, but it's well worth reading and absorbing. It describes a few of the assumptions underlying modern, scalable, so-called "reactive" architectures, each of which gores one of the traditional sacred cows you're probably used to. What it all boils down to is that it's entirely possible to build seriously efficient, seriously scalable online services -- you just have to change a lot of well-worn habits.

(Querki is built around all of this stuff, except that I still have some blocking I/O in the MySQL code; replacing that with a better approach such as Slick is becoming an increasingly high priority.)

And this reminds me: among other things, it links to the paper Life Beyond Distributed Transactions. If you're playing at the Senior Software Engineer or above level, this is one of the most important papers of recent years, and you should read it if you haven't already done so. It was the paper that finally demonstrated that the emperor has no clothes: that the traditional transaction-oriented model of data processing doesn't scale well, and that you need better approaches if you're going to compete in the modern world.

For all that it calls itself "An Apostate's Opinion", it has become something like the new gospel. It has inspired enormous ferment and evolution over the past decade, and led to radically new architectures (such as the event-sourced approach that Querki is now mostly built on). If you are doing architecture for systems that are intended to scale, you need to understand this stuff in order to understand how the industry is evolving...

Good candidate

Feb. 23rd, 2017 08:53 am
supergee: (thumb)
[personal profile] supergee
When the morons said that President Obama is a Muslim, Keith Ellison was one reason I wasn’t scared. Ellison for DNC Chair!

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Joshua Kronengold

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