September 2nd, 2015
lordultimus: (Default)
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
posted by [personal profile] snarp at 05:32pm on 2015-09-02 under , , ,
posted by [syndicated profile] stonekettle_feed at 01:06pm on 2015-09-02

Posted by Jim Wright

Like anybody else, I have bills to pay.

I have a mortgage and a kid in college and the cat needs to eat.

As Stonekettle Station has increased in popularity, it takes up more and more of my time to do proper research and analysis, write the content you come here for, and manage the site, commenting, and the associated social media feeds.

And when I’m doing that, I’m not writing novels or short stories or paying copy.

That said, as a number of folks have noted, I’ve been a little light on posting here lately. This is for several reasons mostly having to do with travel and real world issues. I’ve got a number of things going on my life at present which require a significant amount of my time. It’s nothing horrible, don’t panic and please don’t write to ask. I appreciate your concern, but not everything I do is public domain. It’s simply that a number of things happened all at once which require my attention in priority over writing this blog, the mundane details of which don’t need to be shared publicly – though they will likely become fodder for future articles and projects. That’s the best part about being a writer, everything is grist for the mill (too bad it’s not likewise tax deductible). The situation should be resolved shortly and I’ll be back to publishing at least one in-depth essay each week along with some shorter pieces.

Now, based on my business model, every once in a while I need to run a donation drive. 

 

I don’t like this.

 

I don’t like asking for money.

Ideally, I write an article and if you like it enough, you’ll kick in.  And thankfully, you do so often enough that I can survive doing this. I’ll never get rich doing it, but it beats writing advertising jingles or flipping burgers. That is going to become even more important to me as my business model evolves. More on that later.

But as I said, every once in a while I have to run a donation campaign. I refuse to do it more than once a year. And it makes me very uncomfortable to say, hey, give me money and, you know, maybe I’ll write something you like later. Don’t get me wrong, you toss the coins and I’ll dance like a monkey in a shiny silver vest, sure, but I’ve been thinking about this and I’d like you to get more. So here’s what I’ve come up with:

As many of you know, I’m also an artist.

I turn trees into things, sometimes firewood but usually stuff more like this:


Redwood 9

Redwood 3Redwood 7

Redwood 11

 

This is a beautiful piece of California redwood. When I acquired it, there were a number of naturally occurring cracks on one side caused by drying. Now, normally a turner (someone who works on a lathe) would cut the piece down to solid wood and throw the flawed part away. But redwood in this size is expensive and increasingly difficult to acquire and I really didn’t want to throw any of it away.

So the flaws became features.

The cracks were filled with resin and stabilized to hold the wood together while it was being worked on the lathe. Then after turning the bowl was hand carved with a variety of tools to highlight the natural features and give the piece character. It’s 12” in diameter and finished with walnut oil and soft wood wax which gives it a deep luster and complex finish.  It’s food safe, suitable for nuts or hard candies, but it is probably better suited as an art piece for display.

It is signed via laser-etch on the bottom:
 

Redwood 6


Typically my artwork sells so fast I can’t keep up with it (how terrible right? Every artist should have such problems). This piece is different. I’ve had this piece available for sale for a while now on my Etsy store, but it hasn’t sold because it’s simply too expensive.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

- Donations of $50 or more:

Anybody who donates $50 or more during the month of September 2015 will be put in the running to win this piece.

- Donations of less than $50:

Anybody who donates between $1 and $49 during the month of September will be eligible to win a handmade customized laser-engraved pen in the same style I recently made for a number of famous writers at the World Science Fiction Convention (Sasquan) in Spokane, Washington.  I will randomly select TWO winners in this category. Winners will be able to specify what they want engraved on the pen within certain limitations (you can only fit so much on a pen barrel folks).

Worldcon Pens

 

Additionally, the three winners will each (if they so desire) suggest a topic for an in-depth essay on current events and I will write it for publication here on Stonekettle Station.

Winners will be selected October 1st.



To donate, click on the “Donation” button on the upper right side of this screen and follow the directions.

Note: Those of you who already donate via an automatic monthly payment, you’ll be entered automatically in the drawing. 

 

Thank you.

snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
I stayed up most of last night working on writing a Tumblr client from scratch in Ruby.

I know I'm just duplicating other people's work here! But I had the energy/focus for coding for once, and decided that re-learning Ruby via the process of making myself a personal Tumblr client was an appropriate expression of my frustration with life. Life and Tumblr.

Dreamwidth, please fix up and document your API, so I can make this thing work for crossposting eventually.
lireavue: A red-haired woman in a black dress, playing violin while leaves swirl around her. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lireavue at 12:52pm on 2015-09-02 under ,
Русский язык )

C spent last night trying to fix the server again, which would've been fine had he remembered a) to close it up b) to give me my fucking monitor back and c) to actually do his share of chores. He remembered none of these things, leaving me tired and pissed off come morning, and I found it easier to decamp to laptop and couch than to deal with putting the side back on (so the cat can't climb in and electrocute herself/murder the tech) and crawling around on the floor. Bending over is still, shall we say, bad, and I'm running on 800/1000 ibuprofen/Tylenol again, which is probably courtesy of the miserable night's sleep. I slept in a bed! I did not sleep WELL. If this heat wave had had the decency to fucking hold off until the weekend, when C leaves next, I could possibly have survived it because having the whole bed to toss and turn in means there's usually a side where the sheets are cool. As it is, whenever it finally breaks, I expect to spend a good 12 hours crashed.

Did get a bunch of music brainstormed for the nostalgia portion of the minicast, no thanks to having dug around for the oldies station of my childhood, which has gone the way of "what do you mean, playing music, let's just talk for an hour."

Ugh I just want to sleeeeeep. I am so glad I didn't plan a major project start this week but I want my brain back.
kittydesade: (under construction (nopejr))
posted by [personal profile] kittydesade at 10:43am on 2015-09-02
MUA HA HA HA HA I HAVE FINISHED ALL OF MY ARROW NOTES THEY ARE DONE DONE DONE and now I just need to print them out and label them and tab them all and highlight and index them. *sobs* And I have an episode and a half to go on The Flash, but that can happen tonight after capoeira.

We've gotten to the point where I'm separating my to-do list into Before DragonCon and After DragonCon. I'm actually surprised it took me this long. And I just took stock of my notes for the Arrow panel. They're 100+ pages. I really, really, really do overprepare don't I. Of course I do. And that's not even full Murderboarding, that's maybe half-sized Murderboarding. I may be able to print it out before I hit the bus station. I think I will. I hope.

At this point I'm only vaguely sure I'll be able to do anything at capoeira, and on the other hand at least at this point it feels like it's just too many adrenaline peaks and crashes, which is not a good reason to cancel capoeira for me at least. It'll help me focus, all I really have to do before bed is finish packing all my electronics and/or set them out to charge where I'll remember to pack them later, and finish the Flash and maybe finish some of the code tasks, what I don't get done at work. It'll be okay. Pay bills! I also need to pay bills tomorrow. That goes on the list.

Rotating To-Do List )

Arrow:
The Flash:
posted by [syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed at 07:28pm on 2015-09-02

https://www.crowdrise.com/dubsmashwars

To the Death!

Interesting that in another topic, the Muppets are pumping Clark Gregg for information when ... well, watch Team Carter's video!

phi: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] phi at 04:17pm on 2015-09-02
Hey. So, I have a new address. I emailed people who have sent me snail mail in the recent past, but I fear I may have missed somebody. So who here wants or needs my mailing address?
elf: AO3: So awesome, even the logo is celebrating (with logo with party hat) (Celebrating AO3)
posted by [personal profile] elf at 01:13pm on 2015-09-02 under , ,
As part of early prep for Yuletide, [personal profile] morbane brought up leaving comments, and someone mentioned the list would make a good bingo card. I added a few options and made myself a card.
fanart 2 fics in a fandom where each is from a different Yuletide subcollection a fic in a fandom you’ve previously offered a fic you've bookmarked a fic in a fandom you don't normally read
a fic in a fandom you mean to request this Yuletide a fic in a Yuletide Madness collection (any) every fic in a series the first fic you read in a fandom a work that has two of your favourite tags
a fic with 5 or more "additional" tags 10+ comments in a week THINK ABOUT COMMENTING a fic in a fandom you mean to offer this Yuletide a fic tagged gen
2+ responses to the same prompt a fic with multiple chapters a work by someone who's given you a kudos or a comment a fic from Yuletide 2014 a fic tagged with Misses Clause challenge
comment in a fandom where there are fewer than 10 fics a fic you've already commented on a WIP a fic tagged f/f comment in an exchange that isn't Yuletide
posted by [syndicated profile] ursulav_feed at 07:22pm on 2015-09-02
For those who don't follow my Twitter, I am rapidly developing a minor succulent addiction. There are so many. And they are so pretty. And they are sturdy.

And I went and bought a couple at the garden shop a few weeks ago, and when you go to repot those suckers, each one turns into like four because they come apart and each one is a whole plant.

Now I know why people do all those cute little sedum baskets and planters in birdhouses and whatnot. Because they've run out of pots.

This led to the following conversation:

ME: I'm gonna be in the studio punching drainage holes in stuff.
KEVIN: 'Kay.
ME: If you hear a scream, I missed!
KEVIN: ....sigh.

Posted by publiscrapleblog

Le voici, le kit du mois de septembre. Pour prolonger l'été, on vous a fait le kit parfait pour scraper vos photos de plage :

0 PBS-escale sur le sable 0 previewVous y trouverez les parties de Clin d'oeil design, Cocodou, Dady, Flolinette, Lady, Loulou et Pitiscrap.

Et en allant vous promener sur les sites de Clin d'oeil design, de Lady, de Loulou, de pitiscrap, et de Cytisia vous aurez des add-on. Que demander de plus ?

Ah... oui... Un diaporama pour se faire une meilleure idée :

 

 diaporama photos comboost

publiscrapleblog sur ComBoost

 

 

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith at 02:13pm on 2015-09-02 under , , , , , ,
 My partner Doug tipped me to this lovely video of a blue whale panting at the surface before a dive, recorded live while folks were talking about a marine sanctuary.  Yep, that project is a great big success, to the tune of the largest species known on Earth. \o/
solarbird: (sb-worldcon-cascadia)

I am reminded by comments that I never said what actually happened with “E Pluribus Hugo.” Somehow that part just escaped me.

It passed round one. Strongly. I had expected “4 of 6″ to have an easy time, and it barely cleared the majority hurdle. I had expected “E Pluribus Hugo” to be a real fight, and instead, we had a strong supermajority.

Now, it takes two WSFS Business Meetings to ratify anything. So our debate and vote was only round one. “E Pluribus Hugo” has now been sent to MidAmeriCon II, the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention and site of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting, for final ratification. It may be debated, modified only in small ways that do not change the overall structure, and rejected or ratified.

If it’s ratified, it takes effect immediately; the 2017 Hugo Awards nominations would be under this system. If rejected, well, it’s rejected, and dead. We’d have to start over.

So if you’re going to MidAmeriCon II in 2016, you’ll want to go to the business meetings. We’ll likely all be needed to get this through.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Mood:: 'calm' calm
azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (teddyborg)
posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic at 11:04am on 2015-09-02
When you think about stuff on the internet, where do you picture it being physically located? Even if you know it's not really how things work, is there a place you imagine websites and social media posts sitting before you look at them? If so, where is it?

A heavily air conditioned white room with large racks of equipment and a zillion cables and blinking lights. Some of the equipment is running programs that have been touched by people I know. The room is in a building that has one or two pieces of large construction equipment digging outside, ready to take down both of the redundant connections to the rest of the internet. There is an angry man with no cranial hair and a lot of tattoos with a mallet in a control booth, berating and occasionally beating people who interfere with those connections.


http://xkcd.com/1572/
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)

What I read

Heather Rose Jones, The Mystic Marriage (2015), which I thought rather stronger than its predecessor.

EF Benson, David Blaize (1916), which I read quite a long while ago and had on the e-reader. Really, really, BROMANTIC, with that trope of the idealised boy/young man fulfilling the same role as the Love of a Good Woman in reforming the bloke or turning him away from his potentially evil path. Query: within this particular trope, does the Ideal Figure of Chaste Manly Love have all the three-dimensionality of Irene Forsyte (i.e. NOT), and is it all about their part in someone else's redemptive journey? (or at least, that is the more interesting story.)

On the go

Susan Stinson, Spider in A Tree (2013), which I have been wanting to get to for a while, but had the whole Sekkrit Projekt reading thing going on. It's very good, and in some ways is reminding me of The Corner That Held Them, though I have a feeling that it speaks to a period of US history (and its cultural resonances) with which I am really, really unfamiliar.

E F Benson, David Blaize and the Blue Door (1918), about which, meh, and probably will not finish. O EFB, you are no Lewis Carroll, or even Mrs Molesworth. Also, how is it that David's father, who is a bumbling clergyman in the other two books about him, here appears to have a laboratory and be a scientist?

E F Benson, David At King's (1924) (very lately e-available). More bromance, no plot that I can discern, much hijinx with eccentric dons, etc etc.

Up Next

Well, Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown is not out in the UK until 10th, chiz, chiz, so I'm not sure what will be next.

***

In news appertaining to my own books, I think The Textbook must be being set on various upcoming uni courses, by the Amazon sales rankings of recent weeks: though it's a pity that some people are still buying the first edition...

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
malkingrey: ((default))
posted by [personal profile] malkingrey at 12:44pm on 2015-09-02
Star Cat Books in Bradford, VT, must pay its back rent (the long cold winter was hard on business.)  Small independent bookstores are a good thing.  Help keep this one alive.

(I fully understand the bookstore's problem, given that I only just finished paying off last winter's electric bill myself, and am still digging out from under all the other stuff that piled up while I was struggling to keep the power on and the internet flowing.)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 12:36pm on 2015-09-02 under
blueswan: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] blueswan at 10:12am on 2015-09-02
1. I have seen the season six opener for Lost Girl and I liked it.

2. I am doing a re-watch of Sense8. Let me babble a bit.

This re-watch with my tv buddy [personal profile] gingerpig, was such a good idea. It all makes so much more sense. Those instances of what I thought were out of sync voices and sounds are absolutely planned and make the game of connecting the characters ever so much more fun. Sense8 just makes me so happy.Sense8 lets loose a barrage of emotions, thrown to the viewer, who can choose to deal with them as they wish.

I choose to pick out the moments that give me joy. Here's a list in no particular order (cut for spoilers and massive amounts of youtube embedding )


3. Longmire returns on September 10th.

4. The Sentinel is being released on DVD this month.

5. [personal profile] gingerpig is coming for a visit. In less than three weeks she will be here.
telophase: (Default)
this is my anti-strobe gear:

elf: Strongbow from EQ Hidden Years (Facepalm)
posted by [personal profile] elf at 08:38am on 2015-09-02 under ,
All four of the major "digital assistant" programs--Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Now--have female voices. Google Now used to have a male British voice, but a while back, it switched to an American female, with no option to return. They want you to think of the programs as a person--and that hypothetical person is female.

Because when you're giving orders to an automaton that has no choice but to follow them to the best of its ability, it should code as female, right? Wouldn't want people thinking a baritone-voice Brooklyn accent would carry out your commands all day. Wouldn't want people giving commands to what sounds like a man who works as a California newscaster--myghods, they might get into the habit of giving orders to anyone who sounds like that!
princessofgeeks: (Default)
solarbird: (sb-worldcon-cascadia)
posted by [personal profile] solarbird at 08:30am on 2015-09-02 under ,

So last time, we were talking about the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting, and all the proposals and such that were brought forth. The main event, of course, was E Pluribus Hugo – an amendment to modify the Hugo voting system to reduce the disproportionate impact of slate voters.

As a reminder, let’s go over what happened: about 13%-15% of voters participated in a mass slate vote – with pretty good but not perfect discipline – to support a slate which was specifically political in intent. As a result, they captured all the nominations in several important categories.

All those categories ended up going to NO AWARD as fandom decided to punish the slate activists for violating several decades of “we won’t do this” consensus. It wasn’t that the exploit was unknown; it was merely that using it had been considered socially unacceptable. Thou shalt not campaign, thou shalt not form parties, and so on. And the reason is simple: one party vs. unorganised parties always wins, so competing parties always arise in response, and the value of such an award – an award which has become purely a political football – is exactly zero.

E Pluribus Hugo changes the system in such a way that it reduces slates to their strongest candidates relative to their percentage of the total popular vote. It does not eliminate slates entirely, though it does reduce their presence on the final ballot to match the percentage of people voting for them; it does not single them out for special treatment; most of all, it does not need to be told, “this is a slate, discount it.” That judgement call never happens. It’s purely the fallout of the math.

The way it works is simple. Each category is treated separately, just like now. Each WSFS member gets to nominate up to five works in category, just like now – in fact, nothing the WSFS nominator does changes.

Each of these ballots gets assigned one point, which is split across all works nominated. In a full ballot of five nominees, each work would have 0.2 points, as well as one vote each, from a member.

The point total and vote total of all the nominated works from all ballots are added up. Then, the two works with the fewest points are pitted against each other, and the one with fewer votes – the one for whom fewer people voted – is eliminated.

This is important, because the point total never eliminates an nominee. Getting fewer votes eliminates a nominee. Total votes received remains the final call.

Once a work is eliminated, it is stricken from all ballots, and we start over again. If you nominated five works originally, and one was eliminated, your ballot now has four nominees, and each of those have a higher point value than before – a quarter point (0.25) instead of a fifth of a point (0.20). And the same steps are run through again, exactly as before.

Wash, rinse, repeat, removing the weakest each time, until five nominees remain; that is your final slate.

What this does in practice is start pitting slate entries against each other roughly midway through the tallying process. Assuming they have even reasonable support, the strongest – the one with the most people voting for it, which implies out-of-slate support – will emerge. If the slate is sufficiently weak, none of them will emerge, but for practical purposes, the number of survivors will be roughly proportional to the percentage of popular vote actually received.

“But Solarbird,” I hear you cry, “This lets some nominations from slates get on the ballot!” True! But only in proportion to their actual popular support. And in the event of political slates, it means we do not have to go to the NO AWARD option to block them.

Let’s say the events of this year were repeated under this system; with statistical approximations of real data, we’re pretty sure one of the Puppy candidates probably would’ve made it onto the ballot in most of their categories. It would’ve been the strongest; the one with the most outside support.

And that’s okay. If it’s crap, it’ll finish last, maybe behind NO AWARD, maybe not. But there will be four other nominees, because they’ll have the percentage of the ballot that aligns with their actual bulk support.

The rest of the ballot will provide a diversity of choices. We won’t have another year of five NO AWARD votes.

(And if it’s actually good – great! That’s kind of the point. Vote for it.)

This makes opposition slates completely unnecessary. Opposition slates arise when they are the only way to get non-slate works onto a ballot. Under the current system, that outcome is inevitable. Under E Pluribus Hugo, even if you do get an opposition slate, well, okay, maybe they get one nominee on the ballot too. That leaves three for traditional candidates.

Slates are a lot of work. Politically-minded slates are just as much work, even when the mighty power of spite drives the engines. So if you can’t stick it to the Whoevers without literally becoming the entire show, if you can’t lock them all out, then even all the ressentiment in the world probably won’t drive you to continue. There’s too much work and too little reward. There’s simply no point to it.

The system isn’t even political. It’ll reduce, say, an accidental Doctor Who episode slate down to its proportion of the vote just as effectively. Let’s say 60% of WSFS fandom puts down basically the same five episodes of Doctor Who for Dramatic Presentation – Short Form. Right now, they own the entire ballot. Under E Pluribus Hugo, they own 60% of the ballot, and other works can be considered too.

Because that’s the brilliance of it. I said this before, but it’s really important, so I’m going to say it again:

E Pluribus Hugo doesn’t know about intentional slates. It doesn’t need to be told, “this is a slate.” Nobody has to make that call, because it doesn’t matter. It’s kind of like a normalisation function applied to nominations. There are no arguments over whether a pattern or voting is intentional or a plot or intent or political – a lot of identical ballots will be normalised to a first-order approximation of their actual popular support, regardless.

That’s why it’s so elegant, and that’s why it’s so genius. It doesn’t lock anybody out; it just stops campaigns from locking everyone else out, dramatically reducing their value vs. their labour and monetary cost, and eliminating the incentive for opposition parties.

For me, that is fair. For me, that is enough.

I hope that, for the honest flank of the Sad Puppies, it will also be enough. One self-identified Sad came up and voiced active support for E Pluribus Hugo during the business meeting. Those who actually believe in the mythical SJW VOTER CABAL – which was emphatically demonstrated not to exist by the events of this year, but stick with me – will know that E Pluribus Hugo would normalise this supposed SJW CABAL slate just as effectively.

Is it sad that we’ve reached a point where this sort of engineering is necessary? Eh, maybe. Probably, even. But it has driven fandom to create what even some opponents at the business meeting called a more perfect nominating system.

Yes, it’s tedious as all hell to do by hand, but it can be done. Yes, it’s more complicated – but not much. It’s only a little different than what we do for final voting and for site selection already.

Yes, it’s more work for the Hugo administrators. That’s the downside. But from what I was hearing at the business meeting, there are a good number of inefficiencies in the current tallying system. Fix those, and the extra complexity of this system sounds to me like a wash. Develop the right tools – which there is now incentive to do – and you’re maybe looking at an improvement.

Do this right, and everybody wins. Everybody wins.

We have a chance here not just to “plug this one hole,” as the E Pluribus Hugo authors like to say their amendment does. We have a chance to make this whole system just a little bit better along the way.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

 


This part of a series of posts on the Sad/Rabid Puppy candidate slate-based capture of the Hugo Awards, and resulting fallout.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Mood:: 'okay' okay
spiralsheep: A raven (spiralsheep Raven Logo)
- Most surreal news headline typo of the [random time period]: "Man found in dead road was 'wonderful' " (which my brain interprets as "a man who is full of wonder has been found on a road for the dead").

Junk sculpture croc, by Jacob Rock

- I know a hawk from a handsaw because I've only ever seen a handsaw hanging in midair in an art gallery whereas I've often seen hawks and falcons gliding through the air. Yesterday I was up on the hills at sunset and I saw a peregrine falcon laying on the strong updraft, with an occasional feather adjustment to steady itself in the air currents, nearby and a fraction below my eye level so I was looking down on its back. It stooped twice, although only for practice and not for prey (no peregrine with a decent hunting range is still hungry at sunset on a long summer's day, heh). Earlier I'd seen a brightly coloured and full-width double rainbow with supernumerary arcs inside the primary bow. It was a blessed evening.

Junk sculpture dog-ish, by Jacob Rock

- Health and safety, and indoor smoking bans: the builders next door have stuck up a sign saying "Fire Assembly Point" which is also where they congregate to set fire to their cigarettes. /amusing irony

One more junk-o-dile. )
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
Sorry to be so tardy in announcing this here.

Title: Pipeline
Vidder: Sumana Harihareswara ("brainwane")
Fandom: Multi (documentaries, movies, TV, comics, coding bootcamp ads, and more)
Music: "Blank Space", Taylor Swift
Length: 3 minutes, 11 seconds
Summary: The tech industry has a blank space, and is quite eager to write your name.
Content notes: Implied verbal/emotional abuse, a few seconds of very fast cutting around 1:50
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike (CC BY-SA)
Download: on Google Drive (165 MB high-res MP4, 23 MB low-res MP4, 98 MB AVI), or at Critical Commons with login (high- and low-res MP4 and WebM files)
Stream: at Critical Commons (choose View High Quality for best experience)
Subtitles file: http://www.harihareswara.net/vids/pipeline.srt

Premiered at WisCon 2015 (the vid party) in May.

More notes at my Dreamwidth.
baihu: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] baihu at 11:15pm on 2015-09-02 under ,


Exactly what it says on the tin.


Read more... )
adrian_turtle: stubborn little quilted turtle (Default)
posted by [personal profile] adrian_turtle at 11:01am on 2015-09-02
I just ran into Mr. Emphatic again. I said "Good morning," to him in the T station, without really looking at his face. And there was a shocked little pause before he said "Good morning," in a strangled sort of voice. I looked up, thinking he might be one of Oursin's people. Then I recognized him and fled up the stairs.

Oops.
naath: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] naath at 03:52pm on 2015-09-02 under
So I posted whilst away, but in no detail, because I was on my phone, I repeat those records here (so this is "read in the last three weeks"):

Read:

*Dune
that was interesting enough,but not so hugely interesting that I'm desperate to read any of the sequels. In particular it was very annoying the way people were demanding respect just because of who they are, without demonstrating any reason that you might respect them

Of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire:
*Late Eclipses
*One Salt Sea (contains mermaids, was reading when saw the little mermaid
statue)
*Ashes of Honour
*Chimes at Midnight
*The Winter Long
*Red Rose Chain (acquired from SF bookstore in Stockholm, lucky me)

Which is me completely caught up! Yay. Not much I can say about the later installments without spoiling the earlier. I find the writing seriously engaging and few of these took me more than 2 days (of vacation, so plenty of time to read) and all were very hard to put down. Now I need to read all the short-fiction... Predictably I love Tybalt best.

*The Philosopher Kings (afterword says author spent much time in Copenhagen
national museum was there when finished reading it) by Jo Walton
Sequel to the Just City, continues amazing.

*Chalion series by Bujold (all 3 novels and Penric's Demon).
I liked these, but not as much as I like Vorkosigan probably because there's less character-continuity between the books which makes them flow less well into each other.

Reading:
*Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
this is the latest InCryptid novel, which I waited to get until I could get a UK ebook. As with the previous it is very good although Riley is VERY ANNOYING and I want to thump him.

Next up:
I think the honest answer to this is "Shepherd's Crown" the last PTerry (*sniff*), although I have a whole bunch of stuff I've bought and not read yet to plow through so lots of choices.
telophase: (Default)

ugh

posted by [personal profile] telophase at 09:59am on 2015-09-02 under
They're supposed to be doing a fire-alarm system test this morning at 9:30. I have, in preparation, put in earplugs but they are driving me NUTS, and it is now 10 with no alarm test yet.And yet I know that the instant I take these damn things out, there's going to set the alarm off.

(No, I couldn't miss it--earplugs won't hide the noise completely, and there's also a STROBE in my office.)

eta: 10:30 we finally get the announcement that it will be happening...now to wait for that damn strobe...
naath: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] naath at 03:46pm on 2015-09-02
Died on this day in 1486 aged 80 Guy XIV de Laval (my toy,wikipedia). Father of Jeanne, who married Rene who was the father (by a different wife) of Margaret who married Henry VI. He was a companion of Joan of Arc.

Born on this day in 1243 to Richard de Clare and Maud de Lacy, Gilbert de Clare (my toy,wikipedia). Married Joan who was a daughter of Edward I. In April 1264, Gilbert de Clare led the massacre of the Jews at Canterbury. So I guess he was a vile sort of a person then. Also involved in a bunch of fighting over who got to be King.
musesfool: (it's good to be the queen)
I love summer (unlike most people I know, I don't cheer the advent of fall, because that means winter is on its way, and I loathe being cold more than almost anything), but this morning was the kind of hot and humid that meant sweating as soon as I stepped out of the shower. Sigh.

Wednesday reading:

What I've just finished
My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas, which I enjoyed but which didn't have nearly the heft or emotional conflict I was expecting. I did like the time Ying-Ying and Leighton spent together when they were both in disguise and didn't even know each other's names, but I felt like there either needed to be more adventure in the narrative present, or more emotional anguish about being together/not being together. Also, spoiler )

Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky, which contains two completed novels of a planned five, written during the German occupation of France, before the author was sent to Auschwitz, and preserved by her daughters, and not discovered/published until 1998. While the writing is amazing - clear-eyed, pitiless, and yet affectionately indulgent of a range of human foibles - I felt the overall omniscient narration really distanced me from caring too much about most of the characters, despite the terrible things that happen to them. On the one hand, if this really was a first draft, I am in awe of Ms. Nemirovsky's writing abilities, because once again, I must stress that the writing itself is amazing; on the other, the story of how it was written and later discovered is probably more interesting than anything that actually happens in the book. It's very episodic/slice-of-life, which I don't think is what I was expecting.

What I'm reading now
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which I'm enjoying, though maybe I'm a little disappointed that it's not actually about Mrs. Daubenay's school for magical girls and how they rise up against the strictures on women doing magic. I'm not that far in, so I'm going to try not to hold that against it. And who knows, maybe that is what will happen later!

What I'm reading next
The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett. I came to Discworld much later than a lot of you - I read Thief of Time randomly at some point, and never realized it was part of a series, and didn't think about it again until I saw how deeply Discworld references permeated fandom. So unlike most of you, when I began reading (about four or five years ago), I began with Tiffany Aching, and she may just be my favorite character of all, so despite my desire to still have some Discworld left to read, there's no way I'm not reading this one soon, even having spoiled myself for something that I figured was coming anyway. (I'll still have Raising Steam to read, though I understand that it is not very good; I didn't think Snuff was particularly good either, but I still enjoyed parts of it. And I haven't read The Lost Continent or Interesting Times either so...) Anyway! That is what I'm thinking right now.

***
Music:: and all will be revealed
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
theferrett: (Meazel)

Bear with me while I fog y’all up with nerdiness. But trust me. It comes back around to giving you a concept that might make your life a little easier.

(Assuming you don’t have this concept down already, in which case, hey, it’s like putting on that “Greatest Hits” album of old favorites.)

Anyway. Computers store data. If you give a business your name, they’re going to want your address. If you give a business your address, they’re going to want a phone number to call. If you give them a phone number to call, they’re going to want an email address to spam you…

And so on.

When computers store that data, they can store the number you gave them: 555-555-5555. That gets plunked down into the “phone number” field in their storage.

Or, if you lie and say you don’t have a phone, you’re a homeless man who will never contact them again, they will dutifully enter a blank space in that field. That means, definitively, “This customer does not have a phone number.”

Yet if you’re a comp-sci major, you’ll remember the third value that can go in that field:

NULL.

NULL means “We don’t know.”

Putting a NULL in the phone number means, “This customer might have a phone number, they might not, but we have no current way of knowing what it is.” A customer service rep might enter that if you didn’t answer all their questions, but they wanted to keep your address.

A “don’t know” is different than a “Doesn’t.” A customer rating a movie as “Haven’t seen” is actually different than a customer not having told us whether they’ve seen this movie or not. And if you’re doing queries of data, you often want to be able to look at what you don’t know.

And NULL “don’t-know” values get treated weirdly, particularly in math. What’s 2 + NULL? Well, if you turn that into 2 + “We don’t know”, the answer is obviously “We still don’t know” – which means that any equation that involves a NULL in it emerges as the mathematical equivalent of a shrug. We don’t know!

And the way this nerdery applies to ordinary life is that I said this on Twitter the other day:

“It’s always weird when total strangers tell me they’re disappointed in me. I only get worried when people I respect tell me I’ve fucked up.”

To which someone replied:

“Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean they don’t have a valid point.”

And I thought, “That’s potential NULL behavior.”

Admittedly, I phrased it wrong – I should have said “I only get worried when people I respect say they’re disappointed,” as the feedback of strangers can be of deep concern when they present valid reasons – but the mathematical point is that most people seem to think there’s only two ways to go:

1) The disappointment of these people I’ve never interacted with is something to be concerned about, or:
2) The disappointment of these people I’ve never interacted with *is not* something to be concerned about.

Me? I get by with a healthy dosage of NULL.

I don’t know these people. I cannot say whether their judgment is sound enough for me to be concerned about one way or the other by the withdrawal of their approval – at least not without research I’m not willing to do right now. I don’t have to cling to a binary judgment that this is good or bad – I can simply say UNKNOWN VALUE, and treat it as such.

NULLs are really handy in all sorts of places.

  • Is my ex-girlfriend a better person now? NULL. (I’m not willing to hang out with them and find out, but maybe they’ve improved. Who knows? They hurt me enough in the past that I’m unwilling to risk it.)
  • Is this person who said a dumb thing online truly as a bigot in every way? NULL. (They said one dumb thing, but everyone fucks up once in a while. Then again, maybe investigation would turn up a lot of other dumb things they’ve said that leads to a reasonable conclusion they *are* that bad. Yet with only one data point, all we can logically say is “They said this dumb thing for unknown reasons.”)
  • Is this blogger as good as they present themselves online? NULL. (As I know all too well, it’s easy to look good when you control the stage!)

And I think once you internalize a bit of NULL-ness, you relax as you realize that you don’t need to have a snap judgment on everything.

Fitting every unknown into a “yes” or “no” gets exhausting, anyway. You start to get attached to that answer. Once you’ve decided on your answer with your limited data, your mind starts to defend it, and then suddenly that unknown person who’s disappointed in you slots firmly into one category or another. If it turns out that someone who you’ve categorized as “not worth your time” starts following up with other good points, you fight the data (“This person’s saying things I respect!”) because you’ve come to a conclusion (“They’re not worth listening to!”) and everyone hates to be proven wrong.

Whereas with a NULL, I’m literally not saying whether the disappointment of someone I’ve never met is worthwhile or not. It could be either way. But I talk to a lot of strangers, and if I followed up on every unknown in my life, I’d never get anything done.

Leaving it unknown is fine. With the NULL, I can wait for further data to present itself, if it does, and then form other decisions from there.

Learn to love the NULL. You do not have to possess an answer for everything. And your life gets a lot easier when you realize, “Hey, I don’t know, and I may not necessarily have to know, and this ambiguous state is okay.”  You can free up a lot of cycles withholding judgment, enabling you more energy to go investigate the things that do matter deeply to you.

And you can do things without having to have a foregone conclusion. As I write this, is this a really obvious thing to say? Or is it something that might be of use to enough people that it’s worth publishing?

As I hit the submit button, my answer is NULL.  And that, too, is okay.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

copperbadge: (butler did it)
posted by [personal profile] copperbadge at 08:31am on 2015-09-02
It's been a very peculiar week so far, especially since it's only Wednesday. I was meant to be in Austin for most of the week, helping Mum recover from knee surgery, but due to various insurance issues that's had to be moved to October. So I've lived the past few days in a sort of surrealist alternate universe where I know I should be somewhere other than where I am, and originally planned accordingly. On the other hand, I now have all week in which to get my work done instead of having to cram it all in on Monday.

Mum's also annoyed that now I won't be visiting for my birthday, because I'll be in Austin two weeks later anyway for the new surgery date, so she's trying to arrange Birthday Things for me in Chicago. Which is nice of her, but I couldn't really care less, like, I have nothing against birthdays but I don't get nearly as stoked about them as she does. I fully expect 36 will be harder than 35 was; god knows 31 was much harder than 30. Having outlived both Jesus and Alexander the Great, I've set my sights on Napoleon, and I've got quite a stretch to go before I hit 51. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

She DID subsidize my yearly birthday trip to the Midnight Circus, a small indy circus in Chicago that does fundraisers for local parks in the summer, so that's nice. I suspect she will also be subsidizing dinner afterward.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep living my Twilight Zone Week and hoping that standing in a liminal space for this long has no lasting supernatural effects...
cereta: Cover of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots (do princesses wear hiking boots?)
posted by [syndicated profile] tillyandthebuttons_feed at 02:09pm on 2015-09-02

Posted by Tilly

Hello, Laura here today with a round up of your recent makes. As usual it’s been great to see what everyone has been making with Tilly and the Buttons patterns. Here are a few of our faves from the past few weeks...

Clemence skirt - instructions to make your own in Love at First Stitch

The Clemence skirt is really versatile as you draw the pattern yourself from simple rectangles! The instructions for the skirt are in Tilly's book, Love at First Stitch. Kidoan has made an above-the-knee version using a ice cream sprinkle printed fabric – yum! Rosie has chosen to make hers in a midi length which looks soooo stylish worn with a simple Breton top. We love!

Agnes top - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

Our current pattern obsession is the Agnes jersey top - it’s super versatile and the long sleeved version is perfect now the weather is cooling down. Jennifer has made a gorgeous striped version that could be worn with anything. Clare made the ruched sleeve version following our Learn to Sew Jersey Tops online workshop, which you can take from home. She sent us some feedback:

“I absolutely loved the online course. It was so helpful to have the videos to support the instructions. I would definitely recommend this format to anyone new to sewing as it is so straightforward. Also, I don't know anyone else who sews so it was really lovely to be part of a social/interactive course.”

Agnes top - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

Ama also made her striped Agnes top using our Learn to Sew Jersey Tops online workshop. She said,

“Some people told me I would need an overlocker to sew jersey. So I when I came across the online workshop to sew jersey on a regular sewing machine I decided to give it a go. In the videos, Tilly explains all techniques in detail. (Thank you, Tilly!) And all questions in the forum are answered quickly. It was also nice to see everyone's shared results. The Agnes top pattern is so versatile: you just want to make more and more tops!” 

Selmin has definitely caught the jersey sewing bug making an amazing collection of Agnes tops – very impressive!

Bettine dress - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

The Bettine dress is still proving extremely popular. Veronica looks very happy to be wearing her fun and colourful version - love this! Kirsty has chosen a lovely floral print that we think will also look great with tights and a cardi in the Autumn.

Arielle sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

We're dreaming of Arielle skirts in many colours at the moment. Katia’s mini version in navy blue twill looks great worn with a bright yellow top. Arleen made this pink Arielle in canvas from Birch Fabrics - beauuutiful.

Fifi camisole and shorts set - sewing pattern from Tilly and the Buttons

The Fifi camisole and shorts set is a great one for improving your sewing skills and learning some new techniques, such as sewing on the bias and creating a double-stitched narrow elasticated waistband. Ashley has added a special touch with some cream broderie anglaise trim while Claire has kept in classic using black and white polka dots. We love them both!

Megan dress - sewing pattern in Love at First Stitch

Rinkie has made a lovely Megan dress from Love at First Stitch in a pale baby blue – also we may have slight wallpaper envy! Annie looks great in her Megan dress made with a multi coloured, large polka dot print. You probably can't spot the empire waist seam as she's done a great job of pattern matching those spots.

Mimi sewing pattern - Love at First Stitch

Julia looks very sophisticated in her Mimi blouse from Love at First Stitch made in a gorgeous teal colour. We love Bonnie’s retro styling of her Mimi blouse, worn with some fab cats eye glasses.

Lilou sewing pattern - Love at First Stitch

Kertstin has made a gorgeous Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch lined with a floral printed fabric. Cat is showing how lovely the Lilou looks from the back by wearing her adorable baby pink version - we love those pleats!

Coco sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

And last but never least, we're starting to dream of cosy Coco tops and dresses for the colder weather that's slowly creeping in. Anne looks so snuggly in her Coco dress with patch pockets and funnel neck. We love the way Katia has styled her funnel neck Coco top, tucked into a high-waisted skirt.

As usual it was sooo hard to choose which of your many wonderful makes to include in this month's round up post, so please go and check out all the other amazing creations in our Maker Galleries on Pinterest.

If you've sewn something with one of our patterns, send us your best photo for the Maker Gallery - you tweet us, email us or send us a link through this page. You can also tag us on Instagram but best send it to us another way as well as we don't catch all our Instagram notifications before they disappear from our feed.

We can’t wait to see what you've been making!

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