So I fought the Crawl

Aug. 27th, 2016 04:52 pm
damerell: (POWDER)
[personal profile] damerell
I've been playing Crawl recently, which is a roguelike - like NetHack but worse.
And I won... )

Code tour, 23rd July--27th August

Aug. 23rd, 2016 01:18 pm
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Only one this time, but the fix is already live because oh my.

Issue 1851: add alert for email output dropping too far
Patch by: [ profile] alierak
Description: Yeah. Yeah. You know that bit where the entire site just... stopped sending e-mails for several days? And this meant nobody got any notifications about comments or support requests about the lack of notifications? And I, for one, saw a few people mention it but was up to my eyeballs in lab and therefore assumed Google had just greylisted Dreamwidth again so didn't actually sound any klaxons? YEAH. It turns out that it's possible, with how notifications get sent, that the connection can... drop... and... no... alerts... went off? So it's now the case that an alarm will start Very Noticeably Blaring if the site doesn't actually succeed in sending any e-mail for longer than 15 minutes. This might get refined, but at least the site won't faceplant into this particular failure mode for quite this long again.

1 total issue resolved
Contributors: [ profile] alierak
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
The Cartoon Guide to Economics, Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman (recommended by [ profile] philmophlegm)
I really enjoyed this. At first I thought it was a bit too simplistic and that I wasn’t going to learn anything from it, but although most of the microeconomics volume was revision of stuff that I’d done before, it was good for getting back up to speed quickly, and I actually learned quite a lot of new stuff from the macroeconomics volume.

L’Etranger, Albert Camus (recommended by [ profile] vyvyan)
I was trying to do all of my fiction reading in French for a while, so this was an obvious choice. I’d read it in translation many years ago, but could only remember the basic outline of the plot. I enjoyed the first half, but found the second half quite challenging and slow, right up until the end, when it hits really hard and everything slots into place.

Watchmen, Alan Moore
I recently treated myself to a Chromebook, mostly so I’d have something to read comics on without filling our flat with any more dead trees. This was a good way to start, but I’d like to come back to it sometime after I’ve read more actual superhero comics, so I have a better sense of what it's a critique of.

Transmetropolitan Volumes 1-3, Warren Ellis (recommended by [personal profile] hjdoom)
Gosh, Spider Jerusalem is compelling, isn't he. My first impression of the series is horrified fascination at how prescient it seems. I'm enjoying it a great deal.

Common Sense, Thomas Payne
I read this entirely because it’s referenced in a song in Hamilton. I didn’t really feel as though I got a lot out of it, but I guess at its time the ideas were more challenging. I might try The Rights of Man at some point and see if I get more from that.

Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
This is the book that inspired the musical that I’ve been obsessing over for the last couple of months. It did the thing that good biographies often do of reading like a novel much of the time, and despite being a bit of a brick I ripped through it fairly quickly, and now feel a lot more informed about the American Revolution than I was before. I think I’d quite like to read a Jefferson biography by someone sympathetic though, as I’m not sure how skewed my perspective of him is now.

Now reading: On Liberty, John Stuart Mill; the rest of Transmet; Economics by Begg and Vernesca

EdFest Reviews, Thursday

Aug. 27th, 2016 09:16 am
sebastienne: (notebook)
[personal profile] sebastienne
Children and Animals

Yeah, that link says nothing about what this show is, and that's really all we knew - it's by the same people as Callisto, in the slot right after, and featuring three of the same actors.

So no, I wasn't expecting to see a show that actually talked about and represented kink in a clear, joyful, complex-positive light. Not at lunchtime on a Thursday. Not in a show that had no actual sexual contact - I don't think there's even a kiss in it. Just an hour of energy, fear, roleplay, humour (so much humour, and kindness, even when people are being mean). The main characters were played by Cal and Tammy from Callisto (yes, my two favourites) and they are both just such phenomenal performers - maybe I could watch them read a phone book, I don't know. Looking forward to seeing Callisto again today!

A Luxury Cruise through the Horrifying Vacuum of Space

Another pair of performers I could watch doing pretty much anything, Sian & Zoe are alt comedians who did a lot with very little - minimalist props, a petite audience, a strange venue (I mean, it was a standard EdFringe room-conversion, but for some reason the windows were filled with mattresses wrapped in binbags and it was hotter than the surface of the sun. Despite these challenges, they brought joy and energy and the kind of surreal imagination and lateral thinking that reminds me of the Hitchikers Guide text adventure. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes sublime, always hilarious.

Mort, adapted by Tim Foster.

"So", I bounded up to these people as they flyered on the Royal Mile, "who's Tim Foster?"

A few words into their explanation, I cut them off: "so he's not Stephen Briggs, then? Good."

It was marvellous to see a Pratchett play with internally-coherent plot and good pacing. This was charming, had a Light-Entertainmenty feel, though I'm sticking to my interpretation that their Igneous Cutwell was not cross-casting, but was just a witch who'd realised she'd make more money if she set herself up as a wizard. And seeing fresh audiences laugh at jokes that have soothed me for twenty years - that will never get old.

Reefer Madness

This blew me out of my seat. I don't think this cast had a single weak link, I mean any one of them could have carried an entire musical; the intensity of all them working together, every performance a show-stealer, the tight band and the brilliant writing and the joyful chaotic choreography all pulled together perfectly to create the smoothest amateur musical I have ever seen. This would not have disappointed me on a West End stage (although then we'd probably lose the minimalist set and I'd probably not be able to sit in the front row and feel the actors' breath on my face). I liked this better than the film - and the film had Alan Cumming as the narrator. If I didn't already have evening tickets for the rest of my time here, I would DEFINITELY be seeing this again.

Trying to be fair-handed, can I think of any criticisms.. I wasn't always sure that the addition of throwaway pop culture references worked. They were funny - "you'll make Fred Astaire look like Boris Johnson!" but they did break the period immersion, and this is ultimately such a 1930s period piece that a sudden reference to Snapchat, while funny, felt to me like a reminder that this was an amateur show.

But that was the ONLY reminder. Reefer Madness is a whip-smart commentary on how White America reacts to things it doesn't understand; it's smart and sexy and fun and this production will stay with me for a long time.
azurelunatic: Prayer to the Bastard from Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I am gathering evidence for my qualifications as Wonder Admin. This includes my principles for group catering, and surely more. (Anybody know of anything I should include offhand? Or topics for more Admin Storytime with Azz?)

Dinner with Purple and Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly. Next week is first Friday, so next week I'll see less of Purple. This weekend is unlikely to be greatly sociable on Purple's part, as he's pretty zonked.

Purple was running late. I didn't run afoul of feetball traffic. We poked Purple gently about his phone. It had been a long week. Purple diverted the discussion to his couch. (On which he has sat naked, he points out. I continue to react convincingly.)

The sweet potato fries with the marshmallows and so forth were stared at as an abomination. We did not get them. We did not have silverware, either. I was best-positioned to stare down a server, so I did that. "Wedgie" in terms of food just sounds wrong.

I don't have dates for the next set of medical shenanigans, but the next round of appointment-giving is due to start next week. Somehow, and I'm not entirely clear on how, this turned into a discussion of how large a Yule tree I could actually become a stand for, assuming the Yule tree went where no Yule tree should go, and not considering the actual weight of the tree, just the size of the trunk.

Purple has commenced conveying greetings to a remote party, on the idea that the remote party is likely to remain present for quite some time. He also made some truly terribly filthy joke which I wish I could remember; I had to roll a will save against telling him I loved him for that. I'm sure he'll make it again at some point.

[personal profile] norabombay and I were talking about the literally years of training that goes into the generally-women's skill box towards taking good selfies. I was thinking about it on the drive to dinner, and because of the ubiquitous nature of Beauty Culture, one of the unacknowledged skills that most little girls learn is how to make a pretty face in a mirror.

There's all this time spent staring at your face in the mirror and making it do things, making horrible faces and faces of every emotion and looking at expressions from multiple angles to see which expression is best for what viewing angle. But because it's part of the general background noise of being groomed to become a woman in Beauty Culture, it's simultaneously assumed as a given, and the level of effort and hours consumed are dismissed as important, because of course it's not important, it's just vanity.

I have no idea what my genuine, first-reaction smile like I would have smiled as an un-self-conscious toddler would feel like, now.
I may still have it.
I may not.
I don't know.

I do know that my smile, the way I hold my mouth, the way I hold my face -- all of these are the result of extensive training and experimentation, all with the aim of either "being beautiful", or with the aim of not getting picked on at school, or the aim of Not Looking Funny, or getting Bugs to stop being a dick. (Bugs was the freshman year boyfriend who drummed on my head. Resting Bitch Face wasn't a thing when I was a freshman, or he would have told me that I had it. He did tell me that my neutral face looked cranky, or angry, or something, and that I should hold my face with a slight smile at all times, because that would make me look more pleasant. And to this day, my "neutral" face is not actually neutral. It is a very slight smile, to turn my natural frown into a straight line.)

So, yes, it should not in fact surprise me that when someone who has not been immersed in Beauty Culture since the age of knowing the difference between boys and girls goes to take a selfie, that maybe it doesn't come out so great.

Testing imzy crossposting

Aug. 26th, 2016 10:37 pm
such_heights: matt, karen and arthur hugging with matt making a smoochy face at arthur (who: matt/karen/arthur [smooch])
[personal profile] such_heights
So a new platform called Imzy has sprung up and is maybe a new fannish hub? I don't have particularly strong feelings about it, especially given that I'm perfectly happy on dreamwidth, but it does have a better framework for discussion than twitter or tumblr so if fandom wants to hang out there then I'm game.

I'm testing a feature whereby allegedly it will post to my blog there from my DW RSS feed (thanks to [personal profile] morgandawn for the tip).

If you want to check it out, you can request an invite from me here. I've got 50, so don't be shy.

eta: it crossposts a link to this post but not the body.

EdFest Reviews, Tuesday-Wednesday

Aug. 26th, 2016 08:18 am
sebastienne: (notebook)
[personal profile] sebastienne
I went to Edinburgh! In August, this means more theatre than anyone could see in a liftime. [personal profile] kaberett found us a ridiculously central flat right opposite Teviot / George Square, and (of course) I've been trying to see anything that goes anywhere near "queer, feminist burlesque" in its intent or execution.

Most of these reviews are spoilery.

Canon Warriors

A great start! A three-hander, new writing all about the premier feminist puppeteers (only feminist puppeteers) in Thanet (yes, UKIP Thanet). This was sweet and funny and warm and loving, but with a sharp core of realism; at the end, when Fleur has to choose between living a peripatetic lifestyle from beach hut to beach hut with her very unwell and sometimes-abusive girlfriend, or moving in with a Nice Guy From The Council while she gets her life in order... it's very clear that neither choice is freeedom, because that's not on the cards for her as a young queer woman who had to drop out of her degree. There's lots in here about the choices we make when the deck is stacked against us, and how even though we know we can never win, it's worth stating our truths anyway. It's about finding that sweet spot between valuing and centring others in loving, supportive community, and valuing and centring ourselves - while never entirely becoming Aidan who says, "maybe once I'm more established in this job, more secure, I can raise some ethical concerns [about making poor queer women homeless in December]".

Callisto: A Queer Epic

Now this feels like the find of the fringe. Four queer stories spanning centuries - feeling completely separate through character and costume, yet completely connected through how the evolve sparking off each other, scene to scene taking place in different time periods or in several at once. Domestic and intimate, and utterly epic, all at once. I fell, particularly, for Tammy Frazer; a women in 1970s Nebraska whose husband had brought home a porn film for them to watch together. We meet her after this, on her way to California in search of her impossible dream - she's fallen in love with Daisy Lou. It's set up as a tragedy - the sweet Nebraska girl drawn into the seedy underworld and the desires of unsavoury men - but that's not what happens! She holds her own throughout, constantly connecting with the women she meets in her sex work career; and right when you think it's at its inevitable nadir - the explosively violent man has her at gunpoint - Tammy and Daisy kill their abuser and Thelma-and-Louise off into the sunset.

I also fell hard for the furthest-future of the four narratives. Before this I'd have said it's impossible to do good sci-fi on stage, impossible not to evoke at least a little of the b-movie... but as Cal the AI and Lorn (the last of the 'big brains') struggle to complete The Bliss in time - with their language playwright-evolved across hundreds of years to be strange and ambiguous and yet SO EVOCATIVE - I started to sense what was actually possible with stage sci-fi. I need more of this. Luckily I'm seeing Callisto again tomorrow.

Strong Female Character

Oh, I wanted to love this so much! A one-woman stand-up-show about action movies, with a strong feminist angle? Count me in! And when I got into the stuffy little attic room and saw that audience of ten, and heard the totally autobiographical tone of the show ("and when I was six my favourite action hero was..."), I realised how much this had in common with the Vaudevillainy concept that I'd cooked up with [personal profile] deathbyshinies. And as she took the audience from "don't we all love action movies? we're all in-group here!" to "but sometimes they don't teach us great things about women, do they? haha those action movie men, what cads" to "so here's how my sexual assault happened because of male entitlement directly learned from these films" to "but these films have also helped me to reclaim a powerful sense of self as I've come to terms with my identity as a survivor" I felt like I was seeing a masterclass in how to get any random action movie fan to come on a journey of feminist discovery.

So it was such such SUCH a shame that her show, with all its focus on the importance of education, choice, and bodily autonomy, managed to fall down so badly on actually embodying those ideals. Between the flippant references to her dad's job performing surgery on intersex infants (weirdly gender-essentialist and erasing of trans experience, even while she described her own childhood experience of "feeling like she must really be a boy", then briefly and insultingly underscored with "I'm not meaning to make light of this, it's a serious thing, so difficult for the parents") and the sudden unwarned-for shift into graphic accounts of her sexual assault, it felt like she hadn't actually learned the lessons she was trying to teach. Like her show was SO focussed on taking a middle-aged male action movie fan on a feminist journey, that she'd overlooked the possibility that her audience might actually include people who weren't middle-aged dyadic cis men who've never experienced sexual violence.

I left this so conflicted, thinking round and round how maybe it just wasn't possible for her to appropriately impact her target audience (the men whose entitlement she was trying to shatter), without retraumatising people who are more like her. It's shoved me RIGHT up in front of the question I was trying to avoid wrestling with towards the end days of Lashings - is it ACTUALLY possible to "comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable" with the same piece of art? To REALLY achieve both goals without sacrificing on one of them? This theme and thought will come up again and again in the reviews that follow...


This won't have disturbed anyone comfortable, but by the gods did it comfort the disturbed. Raw, honest, monologue-driven group account of gender and power. A little bit "A-level drama derived piece" in form and staging, but interspersed with charming "alternative student comedy" sketches so that the whole felt somehow more than the sum of its parts. Also, as I now believe that all plays should, it ended with a Kate Bush dance party to which the entire audience was invited. This play was like getting a hug from the really earnest but well-meaning bits of Tumblr.


In glorious contrast to Pussyfooting - which flitted around all sorts of issues around gender and power without ever really settling on a 'core message' (because how can you, with gender) - Cuncrete had one thing to say and said it. Loudly. For an hour. With drag kings and punk rock and a concrete mixer.

Like, imagine if The Dykeness had Arts Council funding. So many of the beats of one of our sets were in this show, but it was tight and focused beyond our wildest dreams.

In Cuncrete, Archibald Tactful and the Great White Males (a banker, a Lord, and a working-class-boy-done-good-who-proves-anyone-can-be-almost-as-good-as-the-rest-of-use-honestly) formed a band and sang about brutalist architecture, Thatcherism and giant concrete dicks. Maybe it was more performance art than a punk gig, but even so, the audience's titters of laughter, their polite and erudite attention, rubbed me wrong -- there should have been shouting and spitting and spilling of beer. I wanted this to be a punk gig - then the lack of narrative or structure wouldn't have mattered. If we could just all have been all-in, it could have been the most raw-throated cathartic night of my life. "YEAH! BRUTALIZZUMMMMM!" But as it was, it was a skilfully delivered hour of intellectual pleasure - "haha, yes I caught that JG Ballard reference too" - which just stopped short of actually letting me ROCK OUT.

(Yes, you read the subject line right - this is just the first two days of my week at the fringe. More reviews to follow...)

Priorities in security

Aug. 25th, 2016 08:02 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
I read this tweet a couple of weeks ago:

and it got me thinking. Security research is often derided as unnecessary stunt hacking, proving insecurity in things that are sufficiently niche or in ways that involve sufficient effort that the realistic probability of any individual being targeted is near zero. Fixing these issues is basically defending you against nation states (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) will probably just find some other way) and, uh, security researchers (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) see (a)).

Unfortunately, this may be insufficient. As basically anyone who's spent any time anywhere near the security industry will testify, many security researchers are not the nicest people. Some of them will end up as abusive partners, and they'll have both the ability and desire to keep track of their partners and ex-partners. As designers and implementers, we owe it to these people to make software as secure as we can rather than assuming that a certain level of adversary is unstoppable. "Can a state-level actor break this" may be something we can legitimately write off. "Can a security expert continue reading their ex-partner's email" shouldn't be.

People who should know better

Aug. 25th, 2016 02:25 pm
gerald_duck: (unimpressed)
[personal profile] gerald_duck
Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
Those who can't teach, examine.
Those who can't examine, run examination boards.
Those who can't run examination boards, run trade associations.

Or so it seems.

As a new policy, pupils who fail to get a C or better in maths or English GCSEs are expected to re-take the exams. This is the first year of such re-sits, with 380,000 consequent entries. This has contributed in a fall in maths and English grades amongst those sitting GCSEs aged 17 or over.

Mark Dawe of the AELP has said: "Surely this is evidence enough that hitting students over the head with the same form of learning and assessment is not the way forward".

Er… no, no it is not! All it shows is that pupils who have done badly still do worse than average if they try again. What's matters is how much improvement those pupils achieve and, more importantly, what effect that has on their prospects.

The Ballad of Purple's Cell Signal

Aug. 25th, 2016 01:07 am
azurelunatic: Cordless phone showing a heart.  (phone)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Purple has a flip-phone that's about ... 5? 6? years old now. It charges off MiniUSB (not MicroUSB). Every now and then someone calls him "Captain Kirk" for using it. This tends to result in some parking lot improv.

Every now and then someone suggests to Purple that because he is a software engineer in the tech industry, perhaps he should be getting with a smartphone. Purple has a standard rant prepared for this occasion. The gist of it is:

Purple has a home phone. Purple has a work phone. When you find a smartphone plan that costs $100 a year, come tell him about it. Meanwhile, Purple is over here with his prepaid flip phone, which works perfectly well at getting him calls and texts while he is out and about; while he is out and about he is also not likely to need to be emailed, because he's generally driving or at dinner or in some other situation where really, you should not need email. (Also, in recent years he has added an iPad to his set of gear, and you often don't need a second portable computing machine at that point.)

Now, that's been the situation for nearly as long as I've known Purple. It's something that I've come to accept and even like about him.

Over the past months and weeks, Purple has noticed that his signal has become patchy. His noble little cellphone (which often does fun tricks like leaving the screen light on, which chews through battery, or failing to charge for some reason, or occasionally even pocket-dialing) has been getting signal in fewer places. First he noticed he wasn't getting it reliably inside his office anymore. (That chewed up battery.) Then there were other spots of spotty service. At some point, his prepaid cell outfit gently pointed out that his little old phone was 2G only, and the 2G network around these parts is going away. Soon. Now. And maybe you should get a new phone, bro.

I would describe myself as a procrastinator.
I would describe Purple as the kind of procrastinator who will cheerfully spend 15 minutes every week and a half to twice a week (depending on temperature) using a cigarette lighter plug portable air compressor to refill his slow-leaking tire, for over a year, rather than making the appointment to get the tire fixed or replaced. (I cannot throw too many stones. He knows where a lot of my stuff is hidden, too.)

Purple has allowed as how he will probably need to get himself a new prepaid flip phone that uses a slightly more modern cell network, and maybe takes a charger that more people are likely to have on them. He allows as how he may continue to put this off.

Last Friday at the ex-co-worker-crowd dinner, Purple invited his old friend GG (and her husband) as well as Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly and me. I texted Purple to let him know that I was running about 10 minutes late. I arrived to find that he hadn't got my text, as he'd no signal in the restaurant. Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly arrived somewhat after me. She'd become delayed in some event-related fuckery on 101. She'd tried to call Purple!

GG proceeded to give Purple a hard time about his Luddite refusal to have a smartphone, pointing out that Purple is a well-paid engineer who can afford a fucking smartphone and a data plan. GG does this sort of thing, it turns out -- gives Purple a hard time about things. And Purple continues to be his cheerfully procrastinatory and stubborn self.

I learned long ago that when Purple took a hard stance about something, that I was wasting everyone's time if I kept arguing about it, and the way to get around it was to accept his viewpoint and let him get around to it in his own time. Possibly by setting a good example by way of my own anti-procrastination efforts. Occasionally by saying "Eh, maybe you should get on that thing?" but not when he'd just been ranting about it.

Tonight I was halfway to dinner when I realized that I hadn't let Purple know that after we'd agreed on a time and place, I'd poked our mutual friend phone (whose favorite lunch spot it was) to let him know that we were convening for dinner and he'd be welcome. I thought about texting (hands-free, wheeee!) but realized: Purple wouldn't get that text. Anyway, I wasn't sure whether phone would be able to make it. So, we might as well see if he showed up...

I eventually remembered to text phone to let him know where we were sitting. He and his boyfriend showed up quite promptly thereafter, and we took a bit bigger table, and had a lovely time.

I may inquire gently with Purple, tomorrow, when he thinks he's going to actually get that new flip phone. 💜💜💜☎️🙄😘

ugh, writing is hard

Aug. 24th, 2016 11:33 pm
such_heights: stag patronus (hp: prongs)
[personal profile] such_heights
I read this blog post by Emma Newman today: When just write is not enough, which talks about how fear and anxiety can stop you from creating.

Ah, I thought. That sounds about right. At some point a few years ago, writing went from fun to scary. I'm scared that if I write something and post it, people who I like and admire will secretly think it's not very good and judge me accordingly. I don't even know, brains are terrible, I'm pretty sure that all my friends don't secretly think I'm a horrible writer and think less of me as a person. Oddly, this doesn't seem to affect my vidding at all, just fiction.

So that's been a helpful realisation today! How I go from here to actually writing again I'm not sure, but it's a good step. (A couple of wonderfully kind comments recently on the AO3 have certainly helped too, and if anyone felt moved to tell me something they like about something I've written, it would not go amiss.)

Question thread #44

Aug. 24th, 2016 01:54 am
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.

On relating to art

Aug. 23rd, 2016 11:52 am
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
I have very clear memories of my ten-year-old self being immensely, deeply unimpressed by Rothko and Mondrian. I was very angry about why this constituted "art"; my definition of art explicitly excluded square canvases painted a single colour.

My ten-year-old self is gently unimpressed every time I stop dead in front of a six-foot-square matte black canvas in an art gallery, wonderstruck, and go "hmm, yes, isn't it fascinating what's being done here, isn't this good."

I am nursing a theory that the main differences between me-then and me-now are:
  1. I'm no longer in a situation where my autism is actively decried, and have internalised that it's okay for particular colours or shapes to make me happy, just because, and (as a superset, really)
  2. I've started believing that it's okay for me to have and experience emotions full stop (and am sufficiently well medicated that I can and do).

Which means that, over the past few years, I've stopped interpreting modern and especially abstract art as, fundamentally, threats: I've stopped responding automatically with defensive suspicion and fury to forms of art that (crudely!) exist to make me feel things.

There is nuance to this, of course. Seeing the Barbara Hepworth exhibit at the Tate Britain, the (possible? probable?) reasons for my emotional response clicked into place when I read that a lot of her more abstract work was in response to or in dialogue with her feelings of being cradled by landscape, and particularly by the Lake District and by Cornwall; all of a sudden it was obvious to me that the sense of home-and-safety-and-familiarity I get off those sculptures is, in fact, the same sense of awe and belonging and recognition I get staring out to sea or feeling dwarfed on valley floors or what-have-you.

That was followed up by another visit to the Tate Britain, one day I wound up in the right area of London with some time to kill, where what I'd intended to do was poke my nose into some of the public galleries. I saw War Damaged Musical Instruments advertised on the website and ignored it -- and then stopped dead in the middle of the hall it occupied, the moment I got there, and spent twenty minutes sat there crying.

One of the things I've been gently sad about for quite a long time is that I'm a classically-trained musician who is mostly very, very bad at listening to classical music unless it's something I've played or am preparing to play, such that I'm listening as a technical study. (I think I've talked before about mostly relating to music as either a technical study or a vehicle for lyrics, but if not I can give it a go.) I'm starting to think it might be time to have another go.
azurelunatic: Prayer to the Bastard from Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls (bastard)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
  1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth? I was not in the room where it first happened, but I was in the room where it continued to happen, after [staff profile] denise and [staff profile] mark announced Hypothetical Journal. Therefore I was so there. [identity profile] is userid 50, although I waited a little longer before actually creating my permanent journal, in case something needed doing, testing-wise.

  2. Why did you choose your journal name? There was a punk band name generator on back in 1997-ish. There were a number of silly names that I wrote down, but this was the one that magnetized me. It compelled me, even though I was hesitant to commit for a few years.

  3. Do you crosspost? Why or why not? "Somebody That I Used To Know" is my song for LiveJournal. "I don't want to live that way." (Yes. I do have to treat them like a stranger.) I do not crosspost, but I did set up a syndicated feed for the public entries there, for the ease of my friends who still live there.

  4. What do you do online when you're not on DW? Reading fanfiction, email, Twitter, IRC, ICB, various other forms of instant message. Sometimes clicky-games. Writing, though that can be offline as well. Work, too. Many of my previous jobs have been heavily computer, if not 100% online.

  5. How about when you're not on the computer? Housework, spending time with family and friends, reading books, the portions of work which are not computer-enabled. Errands. The odd walk.

  6. What do you wish people who read your journal knew about you? I'm fairly social for an introvert, but at the end of the day that's who I am. This means layers and layers of self-protection against exposure to too many people.

  7. What is your favorite community on Dreamwidth? Lately it's been [community profile] awesomeers, actually. A daily-ish reminder that I am still doing things, even when they seem small.

  8. What community do you wish was more active? I miss the regular screaming in [community profile] capslock_dreamwidth.

  9. Are there two people on your reading list that you think should meet? I was just running an encircling meme! [personal profile] sithjawa and [personal profile] silveradept should meet, though.

  10. Tell me about your default icon. My default icon shifts like the Aurora Borealis in the solar winds. Right now it's the Bastard's Prayer, from Lois McMaster Bujold's Five Gods universe, and it goes like this: "And the Bastard grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts: the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle, the feather at the pivot point, the pebble at the mountain's peak, the kiss in despair, the one right word. In darkness, understanding." As soon as I met the Bastard, I knew that I was one of Theirs. They are the god of the out-of-season and weird, and while Bujold defaults to "Him", I feel rather strongly that the Bastard's gender cannot be encompassed by normal measure.

  11. What features do you think Dreamwidth should have that it doesn't currently? This is a difficult one for me too, because when I think of one it goes into [site community profile] dw_suggestions. More work on the API and image hosting would be awesome of course!

  12. What do you consider the five most "telling" interests from the list on your profile?

    • the bullhorn of viola swamp: This is the magical item from Hogwarts which I would pull out of the Sorting Hat.

    • center for talented youth: Nerd Camp, which I adored. This probably says a lot about my childhood.

    • fishmumming the unfishmummable: While I wouldn't claim to have a "maternal instinct" as such, at some point I became the most likely grown-up in the room. Unless [personal profile] synecdochic is in the room, at which point I revert to being the one most likely to cause an item to be added to the local equivalent of Skippy's List.

    • magick: extra k and all.

    • [unicode goes here]: I wouldn't be me if I didn't test systems that I'm trying to use by also trying to break them. (Hold my flower.) I also have an enthusiastically frilly and/or sentimental side which is well-represented by the odd flower.

  13. Do you have any unique interests on your user profile? What are they? How'd they get there? I've got a bunch. They mostly got there as the result of bizarre injokes and references, some of which I have already forgotten.

  14. Did you have a gateway fandom? Still in it? Why or why not? Is there a community for it on DW? It was, technically, Star Trek. The animated series. As novelized by Alan Dean Foster. Or perhaps it was Pern. Dragonsong got me hooked on science fiction and fantasy. Star Trek introduced me to other people who liked the same things I did. Slightly different gateways. There are various Star Trek-related communities about. I haven't sought after Pern-based community, though I hear there are excellent angry feminist rants available in other parts of the internet. And I do love me some angry feminist ranting.

  15. What's your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination? I don't believe I have a fannish obsession at the moment. Generally, though, the common themes when I dive deep into something tends to be that there are a lot of things to be discovered and delighted over. ... Or yelled about. I've had projects at work which qualified as obsessions where there was more yelling than delight. Still a lot of things to discover. So, infinite discovery with strong emotion, perhaps?

  16. What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about? I ... did not walk into any stationary objects on the night of June 23rd??? I mean ... the most recent thing that I am delighted with has been the removal of my murderous uterus, but I've had the chance to post about that. So ... *hands*

  17. How many people on your reading list do you know IRL? I stopped counting about 25% through the list and had already hit 30-ish, just with the people I have met at least once in person that I could think of, not including the people I have never met in person but who have become a part of my life. A lot.

  18. What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy? It turns out that with an appropriate and sufficiently tight filter, I will talk about a lot of things on Dreamwidth. But there are a lot of things I won't talk about in public. Other people's business, mainly.

  19. Any questions from the audience? Do feel free!

  20. Yes, but what are your thoughts on yaoi? The format isn't my thing, but being queer means that m/m romance is My People, even though one might argue that people who look like me are not fully represented in it.

  21. What's your favorite thing about Dreamwidth? I'm going to say what I said elsewhere: the conferences. I feel that some of the loveliest and luckiest moments in my recent life have been at conferences where People From Dreamwidth were about.
kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
[personal profile] kaberett
Wheelchair physics -- deliberately designed to be generally accessible and written by a physicist in collaboration with a wheelchair user. Links onward to a more in-depth PDF, which is probably something to read after I've slept...
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
... because I have just made P read it, and then we stayed up til 1am talking about it, and I haven't talked about it here yet because Too Many Feelings, which I will now attempt to sketch.

(Spoilers within!)

Read more... )

Nine Worlds 2016 -- some notes

Aug. 18th, 2016 10:03 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
I had such a lovely Nine Worlds! :) Good friends, fascinating panels, general awesomeness.

Many many notes )
such_heights: children flying from a cliff (default [trufflehog])
[personal profile] such_heights
Cheap Thrills
by [personal profile] such_heights
fandom: Ghostbusters (2016)
music: Sia ft. Sean Paul
content notes: none
summary: Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
download: 30MB zipped .mp4
notes: Made from trailer footage. For [personal profile] happydork <3 also on tumblr // AO3

embed and lyrics )

The ordinary joys of dinner.

Aug. 17th, 2016 11:43 pm
azurelunatic: Prayer to the Bastard from Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Friday was the usual dinner out with Purple and Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly. I had no idea where I wanted to go, just that it shouldn't be too far. Purple picked a place not too far from old-work.

The timing worked out such that when it was time to actually leave, there was a conversation that I was in the middle of that I didn't want to just bail on. But the other party to the conversation was aware of my schedule, and adamant that I should not miss dinner on their account.

We wound up talking on the phone. It was a good conversation, running the full course from the usual sort of daily grievances we discuss, to the sublimely silly. By the time I hit the parking lot (and got pinned in the car for a few minutes as the van next to me loaded up their kids) I was giggling again, and went in to see Purple with a silly smile.

I was a little spacey through dinner, partly as the result of nice conversation, and partly because I was still just very tired and quiet and didn't have very many things to say about Game of Thrones.

Purple and I chatted in the parking lot, as is the custom. I headdesked at him some. He was encouraging, and just enough of a sarcastic bastard.

Sunday was the birthday, I believe the 30th, of one of the guys from the ghost team. Most of them are based in and around Palo Alto, so many of their dinner meetups are on a half-hour's notice, which is not quite enough time for me to get from schlubbing around the house to out the door, let alone from Pacifica to Palo Alto.

This time, there was early notice, so I found something comfortable and set out at the appointed time. It was a place I hadn't been before. The tiny parking lot was overfilled, and there was nowhere to go but back out onto the main drag; you couldn't go on the back street and circle around. So I found street parking, and jaywalked over just in time to encounter four of the other five of us who were coming.

Three of them are roommates, which can often be entertaining. 2/3 of the table was playing Pokémon Go. Mr. P and I were the holdouts.

One of the themes of the night was scallops. The guys enjoy their seafood. They also enjoy their steak. One of the guys had been debating whether it would be scallops or dessert. "Scallop cheesecake!" I contributed, cheerfully.

The concept was not well-received.

One of the guys is apparently notorious amongst the crew for eating at approximately the same rate as Zeno said that Achilles chased the tortoise. Except he would have started off as the tortoise. This had the effect of slightly delaying dessert for everyone else. By the time he was in fact ready to order, all of the good-natured chirping from the table caused him to say "Cheesesteak" instead of "cheesecake". Hilarity was the order of the moment.

I ... may have a mild crush on Mr. P. He is a very quiet geekfolk who appears amiable and with a wicked sense of humor when he has something to say.

I got to talk with Dawn on the drive home from that dinner. It was good to catch up with her. I had a few things to say about a situation that one of my friends is in. They were ... not especially good things. It was good to have that conversation, too.

Neither Purple nor I were quite feeling the dinner thing Monday, so we decided to retry on Tuesday.

Reading Wednesday

Aug. 17th, 2016 02:59 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Read: I read some Seanan short fiction: Threnody for for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World - which is just so perfectly sad, and In Little Stars - which was a reasonably addition to the Toby Daye universe. Both are from her Patreon, I don't know if/when there will be general availability

Reading: Trekonomics. Because I'm a GIANT NERD... and I'm not ashamed. Economics requires fewer currently utterly impossible things than physics, and this seems to largely be an optimistic book about how post-scarcity economics could be really good because humans are basically decent people. I've not finished reading it yet.