June 25th, 2017
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
tcpip: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tcpip at 07:57am on 25/06/2017 under , ,
Last day in Frankfurt caught up with Nia A., from the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre to discuss the developments of HPC training in Europe and possible collaboration between Australia and PRACE. Afterwards we had some time to spare so took the opportunity to visit the Museum für Kommunikation which had a exhibition on the Golden Ratio and an amusing installation art piece of sheep made from 1980s telephones. This was followed by a lengthy visit to the massive Städel Museum which holds a mighty collection of late gothic, renaissance, baroque, modern, and contemporary artworks, including greats such as Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, Monet, Degas, Picasso, etc.

The following day was the journey from Frankfurt to Paris with what was meant to be an easy four-hour trip, turned into an eight-hour epic with various delays due to severe storms in Germany. To their great credit the rail staff did a remarkable job at re-routing everyone to arrive at their destinations with a minimum of delay. Eventually arriving at the quite charming Hôtel De La Paix, we had sufficient time before the late sunset to catch a meal and make a visit to Champ de Mars and a certain awful tower (as French artists and intellectuals called it at the time). Actually, it's not that awful at all (except for inspiring a rush of phallic envy, and does accord some fine views apparently. It reminds me a lot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which, in the scheme of things, is of a similiar time and period.

Yesterday visited Versailles, home of the palace and gardens, the stuff that generates revolutions. The former had excessive queues, so spent the day meandering around the latter and city itself, including a visit to the Royal Stables (still with a fine collection of horses) and Musée Lambinet, which included a fine collection of revolutionary-era objects and paintings. As an oddity for the day at the old antiques market found an extremely good condition of United States Live by Laurie Anderson, something I've wanted to add to my collection for some time.
Music:: United States Live, Laurie Anderson
location: Paris
Mood:: 'awake' awake
June 24th, 2017
elf: Silhoette of autumn scene; one glitch sitting on a park bench, another leaping in the air (Glitch - Autumn Day)
This gets interesting, because "reminds me of summertime" often has nothing to do with the contents of the song. I spent a good portion of my preteen and early teen summers in Arkansas, so there are a swarm of country & bluegrass songs that I think of as "summery" because that's when I heard them. But those aren't the only ones I think of as "summertime" songs.

Cotton Jenny | I'm Gonna Hire a Wino | Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire) | Delta Dawn | Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time | Cruel Summer | Stay Young | Good Vibrations | Nobody | Boys of Summer

And one I associate with summer both because of how I first heard it and the contents )Meme list
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)

I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and

Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.

And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.

See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)

And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.

Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?

A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature

colorblue: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] colorblue at 09:03am on 24/06/2017
On the Philando Castile shooting and the police in the US:




From The Daily Kos.

Read more... )
kareila: a sea turtle with the text "all the way DOWN" (turtle)
posted by [personal profile] kareila at 07:02am on 24/06/2017 under , , , , ,
Continuing to have trouble setting aside time to focus on work with the kids home for the summer.

After taking my mom to her doctor appointment and subsequent errands on Tuesday, I spent most of Wednesday through Friday sick in bed with a fever and sore throat, but no other obvious symptoms. Now I'm finally feeling better, and Robby has decided that since Tropical Storm Cindy's gift of some ridiculous number of inches of soaking rain will prevent him from doing his usual maintenance out at our church this weekend, this is the best time to disrupt the downstairs living area and try to finish constructing Connor's loft bed.

If I didn't have to take the kids to swim lessons today, I'd probably flee to the library and try to get some serious work done. Maybe that strategy will work next weekend, if I can find someplace to go that isn't closed for the holiday.

In other news, Steam is having their annual sale and I've discovered that most of their older LEGO games (pre-Marvel) are PC-only. I really wanted to put the Harry Potter games on my laptop so that I could play them without broadcasting them to the rest of the household. There's also a PC game that Connor wants that is too resource intensive for his poor old gaming PC. But I read on Twitter last night that Starship Titanic is on Steam for $1.49, so I'll get that if nothing else. I've been wanting to play it again ever since I saw Passengers.

I'm also realizing how much cheaper and easier to find the PlayStation 4 is compared to the Nintendo Switch, and that's probably also the better platform to choose if I want to play Kingdom Hearts 3, assuming it ever gets released.
Mood:: 'awake' awake
June 23rd, 2017
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 07:57pm on 23/06/2017 under , , , ,

Well, not literally.

But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.

And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.

Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.

And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.

*Wibble*

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 10:32am on 23/06/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bessemerprocess and [personal profile] libskrat!
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
For this one, I also have a swarm to choose from. Probably not as many as color-songs, though; I like lots of songs with numbers in the chorus but not in the titles. I think I'm going to bypass the entire Schoolhouse Rock set (I like all of them, but especially Zero My Hero, Figure Eight, and Little Twelvetoes) and try to stick to "mainstream" songs, or at least, songs intended to be standalones rather than part of something else. (Mainstream's in quotes because I have some filk here; if you don't know what they are, they'd be hard to track down.)

Christmas at Ground Zero | One Tin Soldier | Two of Us | Threes | Wind's Four Quarters | Five Years | Six Days on the Road | Seven Year Ache | 867-5309 | 9 to 5 | At Seventeen | 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover | '65 Love Affair | 88 Lines about 44 Women | 99 Luftballons ...

Wow, there's a lot of mopey in that list. I should pick something that's a bit more perky.
One bouncy cheerful number song, coming up. )
June 22nd, 2017
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jesse_the_k at 02:11pm on 22/06/2017 under ,
on twitter & FB...but I'd rather do it here.

I made this card at
http://myfreebingocards.com
Then I download others' cards, use a photo editor to check off shared interests, and repost.

Jesse the Kingo card

Jesse the Kingo card described )
marina: (scifi janelle)
posted by [personal profile] marina at 05:41pm on 22/06/2017 under
Life is good right now, and I want to record that, before I probably lose my apartment in the next few months, as I do every year for the past 5 years. Probably in some spectacular last minute clusterfuck, as has happened in 2 out of those 5 years.

Anyway, I'm still reading Ninefox Gambit and enjoying it a lot. My health is better. Not "healthy person" better, but definitely better than it's been in say, two years. I'm going to London soon, which is so, so exciting.

The thesis has been... awful, but awful in the usual academic-grind sort of way.

This morning my maternal grandmother's youngest sister died. I couldn't make it to the funeral, but weekend plans (mostly thesis plans) will have to be altered to go grieve with family. Her granddaughter just got married a few weeks ago.

I'm sad, even though I didn't spend a lot of time with her in recent years, since my grandparents died and we stopped celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries as big family events.

My grandmother was 12 when she and her sisters and her mom and her grandma and two of her female cousins were all living in a Nazi concentration camp. This sister, the youngest, remembers that time the least, but she was old enough then to help with the missions, where their mom would send them out in pairs to try and escape the camp illegally and get food and supplies in the nearby village.

Every outing meant risk of capture and death, so the girls always went in pairs with a cousin, not a sister. My great-grandmother wanted to ensure that she could never be blamed for putting her own children ahead of her nieces.

Anyway, it's a sad day. My own grandmother in New York just got out of a 3 month stay at the hospital, and I'm grappling with the fact that it's very likely I'll never see her again.

The sun is shining, and there are flowers outside, and I still have a bed and a kitchen and a closet that are entirely my own. I suppose that's something.
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 09:40am on 22/06/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] woldy!
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
Really? Just one? I have a whole rainbow of songs I like with colors in the title: Crimson and Clover | Orange Crush | Big Yellow Taxi | Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine | Crystal Blue Persuasion | Purple People Eater | Lavender's Blue ...and then we get to colors not in the official rainbow set... Bad Bad Leroy Brown | Whiter Shade of Pale | Touch of Grey | Black Hole Sun | Pink Shoe Laces | Sister Golden Hair | Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

Gah. Have to pick just one.

I'm going with pirates. )
June 21st, 2017
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
posted by [personal profile] elf at 11:29pm on 21/06/2017 under , , ,
Stealing this from [personal profile] kshandra. I decided I should blog more, and telling myself to blog more about Important And Interesting Things isn't working, so I should try one of those "blog every day" things. (I've never done well at them.) This time, I picked something easy and fun instead of something that requires Deep Thought that I usually don't have by the end of my workday.

So: 30 days of songs, which are likely to be YouTube embeds (but maybe not, because I have a great love for a lot of filk that's never made it to YouTube); some are likely to get a lot of commentary, and others are likely to be "here it is, end of the day... um, have a music thing."

SUMMER SOLSTICE JAM PARTY BEGINS NOW.

List of Songs to Post Later )
Music:: Misc 80s One-Hit Wonders
kareila: Sora outlined in silhouette against a heart shaped moon (kh2)
posted by [personal profile] kareila at 02:36pm on 21/06/2017 under ,
I've written several times over the years about how much my kids and I enjoy playing LEGO video games, especially the franchise tie-ins, and I appreciate being able to go back and read those older entries and see how that relationship has evolved as the years have gone by. In particular, it struck me that once upon a time I wrote about how Connor would join me in two-player mode on the Wii, but Will never joined in, although he liked to watch and advise us, and would play the mobile versions of the game on the DS or the iPad.

Well, that has officially changed. After assisting me in various areas of the first Harry Potter game over the past couple of weeks, today Will started a solo playthrough of the second Harry Potter game.

The original LEGO Star Wars, the game that started it all, came out the same year he was born, in 2005. So I feel like my love of these games and the lives of my kids are entwined, in a sense. All these years later, I consider the Harry Potter games to be my favorites, so it's a bit surprising to me to realize that I only completed the second Harry Potter game once, although I've played through the first one four times now. I wish they would release a remastered combined game for the Wii U like they did for the PS4.

As near as I can figure, I own all of the LEGO franchise tie-in games except for Indiana Jones 2 and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. I even repurchased for the Wii the ones I originally played on the Playstation 2. I haven't completed the more recent ones, though, since I got distracted by the introduction of LEGO Dimensions.

This is the first summer in a while that I can remember not having a new LEGO game to play. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2, which appears to feature the Guardians of the Galaxy, has been announced for later this year, but it will require me to purchase a newer console, so we're probably getting a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. Connor's already asked for one anyway.

Just for fun, I made a chronological table for the various franchise games - not including the LEGO Movie Videogame, LEGO City Undercover, or LEGO Dimensions and its various expansions.

Read more... )
Mood:: 'okay' okay
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posted by [personal profile] badgerbag at 09:25am on 21/06/2017
I was thinking last night of fads. In the 70s I had an official "Pet Rock" which I loved. The manual on care and training of Pet Rocks was very amusingly written (at least to my 7 year old mind). Pet Rocks were particularly great at learning to "stay" and "play dead". It came in a little carton full of straw with the manual and I think, a leash.

My dad was a good model for how to gently enjoy human absurdity and I remember him being super entertained by the pet rock and playing along with it super well.
thistleingrey: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] thistleingrey at 07:37am on 21/06/2017 under
I have read, a bit: Lee's Ninefox Gambit (edged past midpoint), the very opening of Cleeves's White Nights, most of a cookbook. There is one book post, but it ought to wait till after the post for Gambit, which was begun first. Less fog than two weeks ago.

Current reading: two of those aren't finished, and I'd like to clear enough fog to finish them. I do not like this thing whereby my mind slides off reading with each retry.
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)

What I read

Finished Binti. Reminded me a bit of other things I have read over my sff reading life, but well-done, may well go for the next one.

Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth (2017). Okay, everybody mentions the hippos, but isn't it, underneath that, a combination western/caper tale where an unlikely team is brought together and has its own tensions besides the issues with what it has to do? (not that that isn't a good armature). Enjoyable, but ended abruptly and cliffhangingly, and is the new thing (see Binti above) of issuing novellas which are only the beginning of a longer story arc the new allotrope of serialised fiction? (but hey, it worked for Middlemarch, though at least Ms Evans indicated that it was an ongoing story.)

Dana Stabenow, Bad Blood (2013). Not quite as good as the last one I read, I think, but ended with A Thing that makes me want to go on to the next quite shortly to see how that pans out for Kate Shugak.

Two short pieces of Barbara Hambly's 'Further Adventures': Hazard (2017) (Sunwolf and Starhawk) and Elsewhere (2017) (Darwath).

Picked up in booksale, Arthur Ransome, Missee Lee (1941). I remembered very little about this, even though I later discovered I already had a copy on my shelves. I don't think it was ever among my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons books; but I've found, on re-reads of these books, that somehow they do not do for me what they did in youth - something about the style? I don't know. Also, early C20th rendering of Chinglish, sigh.

On the go

Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences (2015). I was considerably off these when they were turning Lynley's Epic Manpain up to 11, but this one was very cheap in a charity shop and promised mostly Havers. And really, do we not want more of the scruffy maverick with constant disciplinary issues who is also a woman? - the 'top brass not pleased' is massive at the beginning of this one. Okay, it's got a standard E George riff on 'all unhappy families are different in baroquely complicated ways, and there are no happy families' (the misery handed on is not so much a coastal shelf as the Mariana Trench), but I have stuck with it, though have just been irked that over 500 pages into the narrative they are only just looking into how anyone might have got hold of the somewhat unusual toxic substance involved.

Also, on the ereader, because I don't want to tote around a damn great fat paperback, from the romance bundle, Ivory Lei, How to Wed an Earl (2013) - not got very far, but seems as, 'be betrothed in infancy by respective parents' is how...

Up next

Well, in another charity shop found the preceding volume by Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act (2013), which, I daresay, will reveal what got Havers into the deepest of disgrace and quite possibly the depths of depression, but I'm not sure I really want to commit to going straight on to another of these. Or maybe the next Stabenow in the series.

Or I could look through my tbr piles, actual and virtual.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 10:09am on 21/06/2017
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adrian_turtle!

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