Piano

Feb. 21st, 2017 10:34 am
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I’ve been learning the piano again, and it’s giving me a great deal of pleasure. I learned for a few years as a child, but gave up when it started getting difficult, and in the last five years or so I’ve periodically gone “I should learn to play again”, made enthusiastic attempts for a couple of weeks, and then gotten bored. About a year ago, when we were preparing for a couple of singthroughs at Ardgour-en-France, I volunteered to do the easy piano version accompaniment for a couple of the songs. It took a ridiculous amount of time to get these really quite simple pieces to a non-terrible standard, but it got me back into the habit of playing regularly again, and I’ve carried on ever since.

When I moved out to Northampton I had quite a lot of time to myself, so after a little while decided to treat myself to a cheap spare piano out here, and since then I’ve been playing a lot more, and recently started taking lessons again. I’m not someone who’s naturally musically talented, but it turns out that actually practicing a reasonable amount means you get better at a reasonable rate. Who knew? I’m preparing for my grade 5 now, and having a lot of fun with the pieces (not so much fun with the scales, of which there are many, but I do seem to find it easier to be disciplined about them than I did as a youngster).
simont: (Default)
[personal profile] simont

Over the weekend, I realised, extremely belatedly, that the expression language I designed for my free-software project spigot has a grammar bug. Specifically, it's a context-dependency analogous to the C typedef bug: the same expression can parse differently depending on whether a given identifier is currently defined to be a function or a variable, which means that you need to do your scope analysis in sync with the parse, so that you can know what set of definitions is currently in scope for the subexpression you're currently looking at.

confessions, lamentations, and parser theory )

Playing Poker with the big boys

Feb. 20th, 2017 02:36 pm
gerald_duck: (penelope)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
I've had this link sitting around for a couple of months. It's time I posted about it.

It's the fascinating story of the very unorthodox and varied life of one of the first female Poker players.

As well as being a fascinating story about an individual there's something else I observe: Poker and gambling in general have many faults, but Poker does at least offer people the chance to monetise others' prejudice against them.
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
This is technically a reread, but the first time was around eight years ago, and I could remember very little of it. I found the first half, where he sketches out his model of consciousness - very condensed, a disparate and competing set of “content-fixation events” in the brain, some of which get retained as speech acts or memories, some of which get discarded and forgotten, but lacking any central “meaner” or “observer” co-ordinating these individual elements, and the bit of the algorithm that feels from the inside like being conscious is content-fixation events that are about other content fixation events - quite hard and slow going, and as I was reading them, wondered whether my memory of having found the book illuminating and clear was inaccurate.

Then I got onto the second half, which started looking at specific examples, and suddenly everything became much clearer, and I polished it off in about a tenth the time the first half took me. There are still bits that I don’t quite understand, or at least can’t articulate, in particular what ‘aboutness’ means as a property of a content-fixation event, but in general the theory felt quite comfortable and intuitive by the end of the book.

One thought that came out of the book that I want to follow up on is that there’s a fallacy in thought experiments, which is common to philosophical zombies, Mary the colour scientist, and the ontological argument, which goes “I can imagine this phenomenon, and using the properties of the thing I have imagined, such and such a proposition must be true (or is impossible)”. The fallacy being that you can’t actually imagine it accurately. I’m curious how much this crop up elsewhere. It almost feels as though it undermines the very concept of thought-experiments - or at least relegates them to ways of generating ideas, but not of providing any further insights.

Sleep class!

Feb. 14th, 2017 12:45 am
azurelunatic: A pajama-clad small child uses a rainbow-striped cruciform parachute. From illustration of "Go the Fuck to Sleep". (insomnia)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So because not only do I have insomnia, I also suffer from it, the most-recent in the chain of moderately alarmed sleep-adjacent professionals (the neurologist at Deer Creek) referred me to the Improve Your Sleep! class, which has been eating my Monday evenings over the last month.

The main feature of this class, in the eyes of the neurologist and my counselor, has been the CBT aspect of it. Apparently the number one thing that cures insomnia is CBT. So everyone was hopeful. (I had specified to the neurologist that I would in fact be running anything suggested in the CBT past my Supervisor and my therapist. Which was a good call to have made.)

It turns out that when Guide Dog Aunt loaned me a book on sleep a few years ago, the one that pointed out that there was not in fact any moral value to any specific sleep schedule, and that instead of saying stuff like "I'm lazy because I sleep until noon", one should look at it in terms of "My most productive hours are in the evening, and I schedule my life in a way that suits my sleep schedule" -- that general tool of re-framing the guilt and fear around sleep is in fact the very CBT that this class relies on. So, unfortunately, the CBT that I had hoped would be new information was not, in fact, new information at all. The book specifically addressed Negative Sleep Thoughts. The class then expanded the concepts of re-framing runaway negative thought chains in a better light, which is also a Fishmum trick that I've been teaching my little fishies and my partner...

The other main leg of this class is meditation and the relaxation response. I believe that I can trace my habit of meditative breathing in particular to the summer when I read ... some Heinlein book or other ... and thought that taking up meditation would be a grand idea. The latest that could have been was 1996. Then I formally took up meditation (and learned all of the techniques discussed in the meditation unit of this class) in 2001-ish, when I went to DeVry to get a degree in Holistic Massage join a coven. So depending how you slice it, I've been familiar with, and practicing, meditation for anywhere from fifteen to twenty years.

The main new information I got out of the class, in fact, was that sleep-maintenance insomnia was recently discovered to be associated with a sleep-time body temperature that has not dropped as it ought to for that part of the night. And I do, in fact, routinely overheat while attempting to sleep. Which means that if I'm in bed and even slightly think that I might not get to sleep soonish, I should immediately go and get the ice pack, and not try to be a hero.

Also, low doses of sedating antidepressants are also used as sleep medications. The instructor was down on this practice, because antidepressants are only good for people with depression. FUNNY THING, THAT.

Pretty much all the rest of the class was review, and (due to my internets research) I was often in possession of more detailed information than the instructor. I came to feel that I could probably have taught the class myself, given the curriculum.

The first class was pleasant enough. I think there were about ten of us. One woman came in late, and borrowed a pen from me. We had a pleasant chat while she was waiting for her husband to pick her up. She's sleep-deprived to the point that she can't safely drive, and caretaking for her autistic son has done a number on her sleep schedule and ability to stay asleep.

I reviewed the materials in the packets for the four weeks. The second week, the cognitive re-framing, was going to be hard, since the materials blithely suggested that "most people" could get away with abbreviated amounts of sleep with nothing more terrible than a loss of creativity and a bad mood. Pro tip: when your patient reports very bad effects ) tied to as little as one night of abbreviated sleep while under stressful circumstances (and the current Republican administration is nothing if not stressful circumstances) telling the patient that everything is probably going to be okay if they blow sunshine up their own ass is life-threateningly bad advice. So I realized that I had better sit next to the door in case I had to step out of the room.

During the second class, the instructor was trying to impress upon us the way that a poorly timed nap can fuck up your sleep schedule pretty badly. My friend said that this was going to be a problem for her: you put her in the car (as a passenger) and she passes out pretty much instantly.

"It should be easy to stay awake in the car!" said the instructor.

"It's hard."

"Well, life is hard."

At this juncture, I decided that the most constructive action I could take was going to be going and sitting in the hall for a bit (and angrily texting my partner). I came back in after about five minutes.

Later in the evening, the instructor planned to lead us through more meditation/relaxation, to include the rest of the class period. I abruptly realized that I did not actually feel that making myself vulnerable to and in front of this instructor was a good idea, and grabbed my stuff and left the building.

In the third class, I sat by the door. (My friend did not show up for this class, or the following week.) When the meditation/relaxation section arrived, I popped both headphones in and proceeded to listen to podcasts, and only emerged when that bit was done. At the end of class, I asked the instructor about the bits in the next one, saying without explanation that I would not be taking part in the relaxation exercise, and would likely leave the room. He said when the long one would be, and there would be another short one later.

In the fourth class (tonight), I sat by the door, and took a chair with me when I popped out for the duration of the exercise. The instructor came and fetched me when it was done. And I did other things for the short one.

I did ask, this time, what he recommended to keep you awake when the sleep pressure is high but it's a bad time for a nap. And if there were resources on being a millennial and not having a whole house to work with in terms of keeping stress out of your bedroom. (Do something loud. And, probably, somewhere.) I asked about next steps. He recommended the meditation class, or the anxiety class. "That really doesn't seem to be a recommendation geared for someone who has been practicing meditation for fifteen years," I said, smiling aggressively.

He recommended tai chi.

"That's really rather along the same lines," I said, still smiling.

There was a class evaluation form, which asked about how much we learned from the class, and how helpful it was. It was ... not.

So I'll be asking my GP, my counselor, and my psychiatrist about next steps, then. Now that I've taken this miserable class so they'll take me seriously.

I have... not been around much

Feb. 13th, 2017 02:36 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
In the "posting or commenting" sense, though I am reading; nonetheless: as I'm on the mass spec for the next two days, any questions/curiosities/discussions? No guarantees about how rapidly or thoroughly I'll reply...

State of the Sebastian

Feb. 13th, 2017 11:27 am
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Gosh, has it really been more than six months since I last did one of these? It's been quite an eventful few months as well.

I am largely continuing to react to the giant trashcan fire that is UK and US politics by burying my head in the sand and not thinking about it, although I am guiltily conscious that I'm only able to do this from the top of giant pile of privilege that I'm sitting on. I need to make space to give some thought to what I should actually be doing about this, but that's a whole separate post, and in this one I shall concentrate on the personal.

The big exciting news is that we just bought a house. As it turns out, it's the place we'd had an offer accepted on nearly a year ago, but thought it had fallen through. It unfell in October, and after a fairly moderate amount of faff in the house-buying scheme of things we completed a couple of weeks ago. We've got the current flat until the 6th March, so we're taking the opportunity to get some minor bits of work done whilst it's empty, but we'll be moving in soon. I am very excited! Amongst the things that I'm excited about are having a bigger kitchen, and a proper dining room, and enough social space that hosting dinner parties and cocktail parties and readthroughs becomes much less logistically faffy; having a proper spare room so that we can put people up; Ramesh having a room that's big enough for him, so we can both share each other's space; being able to set up a home gym just the way I want it; getting a cat; having a permanent home, rather than somewhere I'm expecting to leave in a couple of years; never ever having to move house ever again; not having to move furniture around every time someone want to switch from using the dining table to using the piano; having double glazing, so Ramesh is consistently warm enough, and hopefully catches fewer colds; exploring the restaurants and cafes and shops of Green Lanes. Yes, many exciting and pleasing things.

Work is bobbing along reasonably enough. I'm currently working at the University of Northampton, doing much the same stuff I've been doing for the last few years, but no longer working for a raging narcissist makes it far more enjoyable. I've got a little flat out here where I stay Monday-Wednesday nights, and then work from home on Fridays, and although I'd rather be living at home full time , for some reason a 3/4 split feels far less arduous than a 4/3 one was (and Ramesh seems to find the same), so I think it's reasonably sustainable. Since I moved out here I've had a couple of interviews for interim positions at the 'next stage of my career' level, and although I didn't get either of them, in both cases it was close enough that I'm now feeling a lot more confident that something else will come up that means I'll be able to make that step without having to go back into permanent employment.

Health is mostly good. I've not been exercising as much as I'd have liked over the winter, because cold and wet and running don't mix that well, and the combination of some persistent tension in my shoulder, plus the logistics of living in two places has limited how much strength training I've been doing. But it's warming up now, and I'm seeing a physiotherapist tomorrow, which will hopefully lead to some progress on the shoulder, and I'll get a decent gym set up in the new house before long.

Relationship stuff is great. Ramesh & I celebrate our eighth anniversary this week, and I continue to be astonished by how lucky I am to be with him. He brings me delight and excitement and warmth and security; he's kind and clever and considerate and interesting; he goes out of his way to make me happy, and always notices and appreciates it when I make an effort to be good to him; he listens to me and makes me feel safe showing my vulnerability to him, and he opens up and trusts me with his in turn; even when we have conflicts to work through, he comes at it constructively and kindly and charitably, and then when we've reached an agreement of how to handle it he follows through. And if that weren't bounteous overflow of joy enough, I managed to spend time with all three of my FWBs in the last couple of months, all of whom remain charming and delicious. I do sometimes think it would be nice to have a secondary partner, someone I saw more than a handful of times a year, but without the commitment of lives entwined. But I don't want it enough to seek out new people, and my social life is shaped such that I rarely meet them through happenstance, so unless something changes, I think that will remain an occasional idle thought.

Code push imminent!

Feb. 12th, 2017 11:07 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We're about to pull the lever on tonight's code push! I'll update this post when it's finished. For a reminder of what to expect, check the previous post for the list of changes.

Update: All done! Comment here if you notice any issues that need our attention.

Code Tour: 02/02/17 - 02/12/17

Feb. 12th, 2017 11:53 pm
momijizukamori: Grey tabby cat with paws on keyboard and mouse. The text reads 'code cat is on the job', lolcats-style (CODE CAT)
[personal profile] momijizukamori posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
11 items on this second half of the code tour, all by [staff profile] karzilla, Wielder of the Code Machete.

Read more... )
azurelunatic: White capslock text on black background: AS OF 0700 GMT, OPERATIONS HAS DECLARED CASE *CAPSLOCK*. (case capslock)
[personal profile] azurelunatic posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
[personal profile] momijizukamori and I split this chunk of code tour, so here we go with the first half. This tour is for code being pushed tonight (assuming that between The Crud for one of the folks, and a power outage for another, everything's going to be good to go) so that everyone needs to hang on tighter (in order to keep from being thrown to the wolves).

17 items in this half of the code tour, brought to you by: long-time volunteer [github.com profile] LivredOr returning, relatively new and delightful [github.com profile] srukle, very busy DevCom [github.com profile] kareila (aka [staff profile] karzilla), our own [github.com profile] zorkian ([staff profile] mark), and the amazing [github.com profile] rshatch DID I MENTION THE FACELIFT OF THE IMAGE HOSTING OMG WE HAVE IMAGE HOSTING.

On to the tour!

Read more... )

[food] Marmalade!

Feb. 12th, 2017 09:53 pm
kaberett: Photograph of clementine with perplexed face drawn on. (clementine)
[personal profile] kaberett
I ran out of marmalade. It is Seville orange season. I looked at the box of Seville oranges, and noted it was rather cheaper than a single jar of my normal marmalade.

... A decided to enable me.

... well that's a thing that happened.

I've ended up with ~6 jars of tawny clementine-Seville marmalade, and ~4 jars of Seville-with-Gran-Marnier marmalade. RECIPE AND NOTES BELOW, very lightly adapted from the instructions on the box of oranges.

Read more... )
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (Default)
[personal profile] such_heights
Stayin' Alive
by [personal profile] such_heights
fandom: Galavant
music: The Bee Gees
content notes: none
summary: King Richard is, implausibly, staying alive.
download: 24MB zipped .avi
notes: For [personal profile] valoise for this year's Festivids! This was super fun to make. :D Original festivids post. On tumblr.

embed and lyrics )
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Aulis is the chef's development table at Fera, where they have a menu which is more experimental and changeable than the main restaurant, and is where they try out and showcase new ideas. With the exception of the first amuse bouche (which was rather bland, and an unfortunate note to start on) it was consistently very good, without ever reaching "this is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth" moments of rapture.

There were three courses that stood out as particularly highlights to me. First was the taco where both the taco itself and the filling were primarily made of celeriac, with flakes of cured egg yolk on top. Secondly the venison, momentarily blow-torched but almost a tatare, served with beetroot that had been dehydrated and then rehyrdrated with beetroot and blackcurrant juice (amazingly intensely flavoured, with a distinctive and pleasing texture), and a sorrel sauce, which tasted as vividly green as it looked. And finally the calcot onions (somewhere between a spring onion and a baby leek) with tiny mushrooms, mushroom goop (technical term, that), and grated truffles. I'm a simple creature, and it's not hard to please me if you cover a dish in fresh truffle, but this was an especially good use of the ingredient, with just enough sharpness from the onion to balance the rich warmth of the mushroom and truffle.
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
Hello! Your friendly neighbourhood Dreamhack admin here.

I've updated the version of Locale::Country that the Dreamhack machine uses - we were on 3.25, and we're now on 3.42.

I also installed the Log::Log4perl module, as it's now being used by the codebase. This should make update-db.pl work again!

If there are any issues (related to these or otherwise), please comment and let me know!
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 9pm PST / 12am EST / 5am UTC on either Sunday, Feb 12 or Monday, Feb 13, depending on whether you live east or west of midnight. (Time is an illusion anyway, right?)

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:

  • HTTPS Everywhere beta! Users can opt-in to have all Dreamwidth content automatically served over HTTPS. We'll post the instructions for this after the feature goes live.

  • New and improved design for the file management pages, which we were hiding from you because we were so embarrassed about them before. Thanks to [personal profile] momijizukamori for making them prettier and more functional!

  • Backend fixes to resolve problems using the aforementioned file management pages. (Did I already mention the embarrassment?)

  • At long last, international character support for journal search! Our systems guru [personal profile] alierak finally cracked this long-standing bug.

  • Support index page converted to Foundation styling, for your mobile viewing pleasure.

  • For users of the Practicality style: color properties now sort properly in the customization wizard.

  • For users of the Drifting style: the QuickReply box will now appear in the appropriate location, instead of wandering off somewhere unexpected.

  • Improved handling of word break (<wbr>) elements in user entries.

  • Allow embeds from: Facebook, CNN, 4shared.com, playmoss.com, onedrive.com, jsfiddle.net, scratch.mit.edu


We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!

Dear Equinox Vidder

Feb. 10th, 2017 11:43 pm
such_heights: the enterprise orbits a planet, text reads 'boldly go' (trek: boldy go [427])
[personal profile] such_heights
Hello! I'm SO excited that you're going to make a vid in one of my very favourite fandoms, and you really can't go wrong. Doctor Who and Star Trek are all-time shows of my heart and I've been super into Mass Effect lately, so this is all very thrilling. Some details below but please prioritise what will be fun for you to vid over matching very specifically what I've suggested, they're just some ideas if you'd like them.

<3

Doctor Who | Mass Effect | DS9 | Star Trek IV )

Sharing some of the mush

Feb. 10th, 2017 12:29 pm
sunflowerinrain: Singing at the National Railway Museum (Default)
[personal profile] sunflowerinrain
It's a shame that much of the publicity and fuss about the work of people in entertainment (including fiction authors) comes when they have died. There's quite a bit going on about Terry Pratchett (though I think more could be made of his campaign to protect Librarians and orangutans). Presumably more of his books will be made into films and radio-plays. I hope the latter, though if films of books are made with love and care they can be worth watching.

I was wondering which books would make the best films. Soul Music, already a graphic film, would work. I can think of a few actor-musicians as Imp Y Celyn (Buddy Holly the harpist).

How about Witches Abroad (one of my favourites, the book which clarified my distaste of fairy tales)? Some of the story is rather horribly topical.

Then I wondered who would play Greebo in human form. If only it had been done a few years ago, Antonio Banderas would have been perfect.

Who would you cast as Greebo?

Relationship meme

Feb. 9th, 2017 07:51 pm
such_heights: a blonde woman smiling brightly (parks and rec: leslie [smile])
[personal profile] such_heights
Because [personal profile] happydork and I are nerds, we saw this on our reading lists and went 'ooh, let's fill it out separately and post and compare results!'. So here we are. Her answers here.

Who's oldest? K, by nearly five years
Who was interested? Haha, K had to ask me out twice! The first time was super vague and I thought it was a fannish friend dinner, and afterwards she had to email again and be like 'again? but a for real date this time' and I went 'ohhhh'.
Same high school? Nope, different cities.
Worst temper? We're both pretty chill, but K probably gets more cranky.
More social? Me, the extrovert one.
Hardest working? K, probably
Most stubborn? K
Who makes the most mess? Also K, the first time I saw her room was an eye-opener!
Wakes up first? Ideally both of us would basically sleep forever, though K was kind of a morning person until I dragged her into my bad habits.
Who cooks the most? K does almost all the cooking, she's a hero.
Who cries more? Hahahahahah me.
Who is the better singer? Me, or at least I sing in front of people sometimes.
Hogs the remote? We're so bad at TV lately, neither of us.
Better driver? God, one of these days one of us really has to learn to drive! /o\
Better cook? K
Smartest? K
More romantic? I'm more into traditionally romantic gestures, but on the other hand one time K basically moved house for us while I slept and it was the greatest thing anyone has ever done for me probably.
How long have you been together? 4 years dating, 18 months married. N'aw.

Relationship meme post!

Feb. 9th, 2017 07:33 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
[personal profile] such_heights isn't allowed to read mine until she's done hers.

18 relationship questions )

You can compare and contrast with Amy's answers!