a sad day

Apr. 24th, 2017 08:15 pm
such_heights: a hand cupping a candle (stock: candle)
[personal profile] such_heights
My dad passed away in his sleep last night, at the hospice where he's been receiving extraordinary palliative care for terminal cancer and resulting paralysis since late last year. He was 59.

I visited him a few times over the weekend. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who as a family on Saturday night, and yesterday we sat and chatted and I held his hand and told him I loved him. I knew that might be the last time I saw him. These things do provide some comfort in an awful time.

My dad was a generous, hard working, and amazingly positive person and I know he touched a lot of people's lives. I'm so proud to be his daughter. He lived his life with tremendous gusto, creative spirit and an eclectic range of hobbies and interests. I've lost a parent, a mentor, and most of all a friend. I feel very lucky to know just how much he loved me and how he proud he was of me, as exemplified in the speech he gave at my wedding, which I have on video to keep forever.
[syndicated profile] chris_boyle_feed

Posted by Chris Boyle

I've been learning the guitar for about 9 months, so thought it was time to ramble about how that's going.

I started on a cheap acoustic from a charity shop, learning almost entirely from Yousician, and given that this is the first time I've put serious effort into a string instrument in this millennium, I'm pretty pleased with my progress: level 7 on the app, which is about halfway through their course. That means all the cowboy chords, hammer-ons & pull-offs, slides, fingerpicking, and I'm just starting to look at movable chords (and soon the dreaded barres).

I now play a Yamaha SLG200S, ostensibly to be quieter for the neighbours (at which it mostly succeeds, though the "silent" name is a lie), but really because I'm a sucker for a fancy new toy and fell in love with it the moment I tried it. Essentially it's an electric, that with a turn of a dial will sound convincingly similar to an acoustic (at least to my ears), or anywhere in between. It's quite light, and will take a pair of headphones directly, which is really convenient... until I want to get the guitar sound into the app, and both that and the backing track into my ears, and don't want to have a flat battery in the middle of practise, at which point the cabling situation gets a bit less straightforward.

Guitar, tablet, headphones and mains connected together by 6 different cables

In particular, why do neither the adapter nor the Yousician app have a pass-through option to mix the guitar input into the output? And there are still some AA batteries I can't get rid of in that adapter. But hey, it works. :-) I should note that while Yousician does also run on Linux (at which point a typical sound card's line-in loopback will simplify things), it will not play most of the third-party songs with backing tracks that people have uploaded. I got a vague reply from support implying they don't want to distribute certain codecs which perhaps aren't freely available on Linux/Unity.

Before I get much further I thought I should spend a bit more time with actual humans who play the guitar, so I'm about to start an evening class. I don't know any more about the course than that page says, but it's cheap, certainly compared to any other guitar tuition, and convenient, so I thought why not. The idea of playing in front of a room full of strangers is only slightly terrifying, and less so since I took the guitar out to a park with Emma-Ben at the weekend (I was, among other things, playing Playing In The Park in the park).

But all in all, it feels like it's come together remarkably quickly: I can now do a not-too-awful rendition of a lot of songs I actually enjoy, across a range of styles, on an instrument that's at least somewhat portable and very well suited to casually making music with friends. Those aren't things that previous instruments have given me to this extent, and it doesn't feel like I've had to put in very much work to get there. I mean — and I say this with the greatest of love — you can get quite a long way just with three chords. So if you see a guitar in a charity shop for not much money, and wonder if it's worth carefully carrying it home and putting in a bit of time: yes. Very much yes.

happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
Friends. I held a seder yesterday. It was amazing. I want to tell you all about it. At great length. If you like, you can skip to the bottom where there are adorable photos.

Cut for many words and some photos )

Forgive us our Trespassers

Apr. 23rd, 2017 06:35 pm
hairyears: (Default)
[personal profile] hairyears
Tomorrow we celebrate the anniversary of The Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, in which hundreds of Ramblers and other members of the public forced their way past gamekeepers to hike on the moors and peaks of Derbyshire in 1932.

I have many reasons to be thankful that they did, having walked upon those very hills myself; and on others, which were long fenced off against the public as the playgrounds of a privileged few.

Some of the original Trespassers were imprisoned, and I do not doubt that they would suffer harsher treatment if they tried such acts of civil disobedience today.

So, a question for the legally-minded Journallers who read this: what would the Trespassers be charged with today? And what would be their fate if any of them could not prove their cizenship, or looked ever such a little bit foreign?

Would my long-lapsed membership of the Ramblers Association, and my evident sympathy for their aims - I have led a ramble myself! - turn out to be a liability? Worse, perhaps, than the social consequences that arise when I reveal my ability to hold a lengthy conversation about 1980's hiking socks?

Snippets

Apr. 23rd, 2017 04:25 pm
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Yesterday I went to Walsingham for the wedding of Fr Daniel and his lovely bride Elise. It was a beautiful service, presided over by the Revd Canon Stephen Gallagher, Elise's father, and with a sermon from +Philip North which was both moving and highly entertaining. The music was exquisite - the ordinary was William Walton's Missa Brevis, which I'd not heard before, and sounded beautiful but also very hard! It was marvellous to spend some time in Walsingham, and I somehow managed to come away from the shrine shop without buying any tat, and only one book.

As Fr Daniel had other places to be this morning, we had a visiting celebrant today, and since she had enough on her plate getting to grips with an unfamiliar ceremonial, I was asked to step in as cantor for the Alleluia. I'd had enough warning about this that I was able to ask CN to turn half my piano lesson the previous week into a singing refresher, and that helped me feel a lot more confident. Despite being frightfully anxious, I think I did a pretty decent job, and I might ask about possibly doing it more regularly, so I can work on getting over my nerves.

We continue to settle in to the new house. We still lack a functioning dishwasher, and have slightly more furniture in the spare room than we actually need, but apart from that we've done all the urgent jobs, and are starting to move on to the longer term nice-to-haves. Today I put together a new standing desk, which I'm hoping will have the twofold effect of being good for my back and shoulder tension, and discouraging me from wasting too much time hitting refresh on social media.

A quick update for the newly-risen

Apr. 23rd, 2017 11:27 am
hairyears: (Default)
[personal profile] hairyears
A quick 'Hello' to everyone who's deleted their LJ and migrated to Dreamwidth!

It seems that DW has become more active, and I hope that it gains the critical mass to stay this way.

For those of you who have reanimated their LJ/DW after a few years, I am still a bit geeky, still noodling spreadsheets on a trading floor in London (but maybe elsewhere in a year or so), still writing Limericks (only, now getting prizes for it), still practising Aikido (quite a bit), and still, well... Me. Only more so.

...If you're catching up from a few years ago, I am married to the lovely [personal profile] ewt ('Ewtikins' on LJ but please don't go there, we both have people on our social graph who really don't need your clicks adding to the continuing construction of antisocial network graphs by hostile actors), wheezing a bit (London's pollution is geting to me), and extending my range of terrible puns into Franglais.

If you're catching up from a few days ago, I'm back from Eastercon, where I took part in the most enjoyable panel of my life - on the future of Artificial Intelligence - and I wonder, in retrospect, whether I ended up dominating a discussion among people who know a bit more about it than I do. Also, I am very, very sorry about *that* remark in the Dead Dog party, on the subject of Hadrians wall, the Picts, and tinned food.

[tiny linkspam]

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:56 am
kaberett: Reflections of a bare tree in river ice in Stockholm somehow end up clad in light. (tree-of-light)
[personal profile] kaberett
wildeabandon: Champage bottle and flutes (champagne)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
One of the things I find most difficult about not drinking is missing out on celebratory Champagne, so over the last few weeks I have been sampling every non-alcoholic fizz I can lay my hands on, in the hope of finding a suitable substitute. I tried twelve that could generously be called wine, as well as a couple that were definitely-not-wine which came in a wine bottle. The latter two were Lloberetta, a perfectly pleasant fizzy passion fruit drink, and Cloudem Blue, a truly absurd concoction which is bright cyan with iridescent swirls, and tastes of pure e-numbers. There’s definitely a place for it as a ridiculous party drink, but it’s not the Champagne substitute I was looking for.

The majority of the wine-like options fell into two categories. Most of them were about as sweet as your average rosé, which is far too sugary for my tastes. I found it less off-putting in the one that actually was a rosé, because it wasn’t so out of place, but it still wouldn’t be something I’d like to drink regularly. A couple of the others were actually dry enough, doing a passable impression of an inferior Cava, but neither of them was terribly pleasant - they had the distinct carbonic sharpness of a wine made with the soda method and lacking any complexity to distract from it.

Of the remaining three wines, one was a red, which, well, wasn’t the worst sparkling red I’ve tried, but there is a reason that nobody makes them, and that is that they are universally terrible. On Easter Sunday I opened a bottle of Differente Aromatic Cuvée, which was dramatically better than any of the other ones I’d tried. It was also more expensive than the actual vintage Champagne that everyone else was drinking. And whilst it was good, it wasn’t that good, and certainly not worth shelling out thirty quid a bottle for on a regular basis.

There was one wine left to try though, which had been out of stock the first time I ordered, appropriately named Win Sparkling, because ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. It’s still very slightly sweeter than would be perfect, but well within acceptable parameters - on a par with a typical Prosecco, but with more of the biscuity notes that I’d associate with a Champagne. If money were no object I’d still prefer the Differente, which I'll probably treat myself to on special occasions, but the Win comes in at less than a quarter the price, and is very nearly as good.

Safely home!

Apr. 20th, 2017 12:54 pm
azurelunatic: (Pacifica)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So I went to Tacoma for a week, to visit my primary partner. It was a very nice visit and everyone had fun!

I flew out Monday the 10th, marred by some lateness from the previous plane arriving, but I had a very lovely chat with my seatmate and gave her some info on self-taught programming for her teenage son who is very good with computers and might be interested in programming if he doesn't go the heart surgeon route. (He is whip-smart, autistic, and interested in planes. And computers. And being a heart surgeon.) Upon seeing my partner, I kissed them hello straight off and then we loaded everything into the car and headed for the next stop (taking time to update the local branch of the polycule on what was up).

My partner met my sister, yay!

There were cheesecake-related shenanigans.

I got to meet my partner's co-workers, and see them at work in one of the more rewarding aspects of their job -- plus some of the stuff that goes into making that happen.

I got to meet some long-time internet friends in person ([livejournal.com profile] tygerr & wife), see Ex Mrs. Shawn #1, see [personal profile] vlion and wife and kid. Stories were told. I got to meet [personal profile] rynia and their wife and another friend, plus my metamour, and the people whose couch my partner will be occupying for the next little bit. And I got to meet the people whose spare room my partner and their cat are currently in. Plus see a few bandmates. And a few of my sister's bandmates. And my metamour's mother and brothers. SO MANY PEOPLE.

Very good times were had by all. We listen to some of the same podcasts, and our philosophies of laundry are compatible. The food choices worked out. [personal profile] norabombay and I bat around some thoughts on alpha/beta/omega dynamics as they are seen in fanfic, and basically you'd need some hardcore preparation for an omega heat. You'd want frozen burritos or something that are super quick to fix, a room with a nice comfortable bed, and a fuckton of lube and such. Water bottles for bed. You know.

^_^

Despite some concerns, we did not get told that we were disturbing other guests. We may have been doing it wrong.

^_^

I left on Monday. I did most of my weeping and clinging on Sunday night. I'm adjusting to life back home, but with a part of my head that I didn't realize had been quite so on-edge now purring quietly to itself.

We'd sort of wanted an oasis of calm with just the two of us. Instead, we got the edge of a crisis, as my partner's hosts had been told that it was renovation time and they needed to find a new place. And my partner had various things at work on four of the weekdays. Plus I wanted to meet people while I was there, and show off my partner. So it wasn't just the two of us alone with no worries, it was commuting and work and locating moving boxes and all sorts of little things.

Our emotions and our physical interactions had been growing wildly out of step. It's one thing to spend comfortable time in each other's virtual presence, swearing at traffic or grumbling about an essay or something. It's another to actually touch each other. I had been a little worried: would I push them away in the middle of the night? Would I be able to fall asleep with their skin touching me? As it turned out, if I tiptoed out of bed in the middle of the night to pee, they'd wrap back around me when I came in, and when they got out of bed with their alarm on a workday, I'd grumble something sleepy at the loss of their touch.

When I was an impressionable teenager, I read some MSR portal fantasy with soulbonding, where some form of magic had bound Mulder and Scully tightly to each other; in the early bits of the fic, the space between them decreased, so they needed to be in physical contact at all times. (This was down to some malfunction, and the bond was fixed later on.) But in the beginning, as the bond strengthened, the physical distance decreased.

But that's ... kind of not where things go.

Given the opportunity, my partner and I will snuggle up into each other. We're both a little short on skin-to-skin contact, so I will likely as not have my hand grasping their shirt collar, fingers tucked against their neck. But it doesn't hurt to let go. It's not a problem of scarcity. If they let go, they will come back and hold me again. If I let go, I will come back and curl around them. There's a security. They are a fixed point. My anchor. My love.
Parted from me and never parted; never and always touching and touched.

Easter Weekend

Apr. 20th, 2017 07:17 am
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I continue to be in that slightly weird place emotionally, where everything in my life is awesome and keeps getting better, but I have this nagging conciousness of the world descending into madness, and don't quite know how to incorporate the two. I'm intending to do some campaigning for the upcoming election, probably in the nearest Lib/Con marginal, but concievably for Labour if that looks like it might have more impact for the anyone-but-Tory cause.

After the Watch, my Easter weekend continued well. I was nearly late for the Easter Vigil because I was making an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve my crucifix from the massage parlour where I'd lost it earlier in the day. Fortunately I made it just in time, and they called later to say that they'd found it, so I picked it up on Tuesday, which I think you can call a happy ending.

I was a little bit grumpy towards the start of the Vigil, partly because it's at the wrong time (dusk rather than dawn) and in the wrong order (with the new fire preceeding the readings rather than coming afterwards), and partly because the children were more than usually rambunctious, but of course all that got swept away as the fanfare sounded and the Allelulias rang, and I was filled with joy in the Risen Lord.

There was another Mass on Sunday morning, after which I set off home for the Feast, which we were hosting this year. I was really pleased with all of my courses. As a starter I did chargrilled courgettes in a mint dressing with olive tapenade and crumbled feta. The fish course was scallops and black pudding with caramelised red onion (or sushi for the vegetarians - teriyaki mushroom & tamago chirashi and avocado & watermelon nigiri). But I think best of all was the pudding, which was rhubarb and yuzu posset. I reckon when you're on course seven of a nine course meal, and told that the only criticism is that there should have been more of it, you must be doing something right!

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Apr. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!

[done] Dreamhack maintenance reminder

Apr. 19th, 2017 09:31 am
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
As mentioned in my last post, I will be taking the Dreamhack server down for maintenance in 30 minutes! I'll edit this post once it starts and again when it's back up.

10:04am BST: I have restricted logins to admins and am beginning the maintenance now. This will involve a reboot and some diagnostics before opening it back up.

10:58am BST: The maintenance is done, and logins are unrestricted again!
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Hi all,

I'm going to need to schedule some maintenance for the Dreamhack server as I've just discovered that the quota settings haven't taken effect. I'm therefore going to schedule maintenance for Wednesday 2017-04-19, 10am BST (5am EDT, 2am PDT) (about 36 hours from now) for up to 2 hours. (It shouldn't actually take that long, but I'm reserving it just in case.)

This maintenance will involve a reboot of the Dreamhack server. I will also be restricting logins until the maintenance is done, as the nature of the maintenance means that it will need as little data modification done as possible.

I'll post again once the maintenance starts, and edit that post when it ends.

(no subject)

Apr. 16th, 2017 07:08 pm
sebastienne: My default icon: I'm a fat white person with short dark hair, looking over my glasses. (Default)
[personal profile] sebastienne
A few months ago, I was in a show.

Ever since I've been been thinking of one particular translation, sung one particular way - there's no way to sate this earworm by looking up a recording, it doesn't exist.

So I'm posting the lyrics here; not even sure why.

Solomon Song )

And that's it. Maybe the 'bittersweet' doesn't come across without the music, but it's got inside my head somehow, like it's trying to tell me something important and I haven't figured out what yet.

Doctor Who 10x01: The Pilot

Apr. 16th, 2017 07:26 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
So, me and Doctor Who broke up a few years ago. We had a good run — I loved Old Who when I was a kid (Aaaaace!!! The Five Doctors! The Brigadier!) and I deeply adored the first few seasons of New Who, but S6 and I didn’t get along, and so near the end of 2011 we decided we were better off going our separate ways.

This is a bit awk, as my wife and the show are still deeply in love, but we make it work. It helped that she and I only really met at the start of 2013, so I’d had plenty of time to get over the worst of the breakup.

It’s now 2017, Bill is on the scene, and I’ve decided to tentatively dip a toe back in…

Doctor Who 10x01: The Pilot -- contains spoilers and mixed feelings )

Dreamhack applications are now open!

Apr. 16th, 2017 10:19 am
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Apologies again for the delay on this - Dreamhack applications are now officially open again!

As I explained in my previous post (which you should read if you haven't already - there's a lot of info in there), anybody who wants a Dreamhack should apply through this form, even if you already had one before. I will, as a one-time thing, email everybody who had an account before to let them know that the service is back up and that they'll need to re-apply.

My apologies once again for the delay! If you find any issues with the service, please feel free to let me know.

DW 10x01 aka HI BILL HI ILU

Apr. 15th, 2017 10:03 pm
such_heights: the twelfth doctor post-regeneration (who: twelve [brand new])
[personal profile] such_heights
The blanketfort of squee is back again! A side note that while anyone coming back to the fold is wonderful and welcomed, comments like 'Bill is so much better than [other companion I didn't like]' are not in the spirit of the blanketfort.

spoilers! )

[food] Matar paneer

Apr. 15th, 2017 02:26 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
The recipe I use by default, which I am rewriting here so that the tweaks I make are included and it's all in the order I want to do things.

Read more... )