October 19th, 2017
flick: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] flick at 04:01pm on 19/10/2017 under ,
We went to see a horse this afternoon. He was a very sweet lad, owned by a teenage girl who's too busy with GCSEs.

The only thing that I didn't quite like was that he wanted to run off in canter: he came back ok when I asked him too, but he had a stronger bit than I'd like which makes me worry what he'd be like with a gentler one. (He wasn't very keen on standing still, either, but then I realised that he was only being fidgety when he was by some plastic in a partly-built drainage ditch next to the school, and later found out that it was only put there yesterday so actually he was doing amazingly well with it!)

Unfortunately, it turns out that he doesn't like men much: dad had mentioned that he wasn't too keen, and when Mike got on him he started getting nervous, which made Mike nervous, which made the horse more nervous, which.... He didn't actually do anything dangerous, but he also wouldn't do what he was being asked to.

Ah well. We will find something eventually, right?

Jo's doing much better now that she's got a t-shirt on and can't scratch. Back to the vet tomorrow to have the stitches out, and then soon she'll be able to have proper walks (we hope: she's getting a bit bouncy)!
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 07:41am on 19/10/2017 under
Last night, I bolted out of a dead sleep at a little after 11 because the landline was ringing. I run downstairs, but let it go to the answering machine, which is basically a reflex at this point. No message.

I then look at my phone, because grabbing that when I wake up in the middle of the night is absolutely a reflex (though the Pip sleeps much, much better these days!) . . . and it was me. The cell had someone dialed the landline. [*]

I post this story elsewhere, and literally seconds later, I get the punchline )

[*] On reflection, it wasn't that late, so I think I fell asleep with the phone still on in my hand and touched it enough to keep the screen awake, until eventually I randomly dialed home. I checked, I hadn't made any other outgoing calls, at least.
October 18th, 2017
jack: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jack at 09:37pm on 18/10/2017 under , , ,
Spoilers )
jack: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jack at 01:34pm on 18/10/2017 under
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 08:05am on 18/10/2017 under ,
SteelyKid made teddy-bear-pipe-cleaner swaps [*] for her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony last night, which she was justly proud of because she'd figured out a better way to make them that didn't involve cutting up the pipe cleaners, and she distributed them by running up to people, sticking out her full hands, and saying, "Bears!"

Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.

Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.

[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.
October 17th, 2017
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
posted by [personal profile] vatine at 08:05pm on 17/10/2017 under
Reread.

Fourth book in McKenna's Tales of Einarinn series. It takes place simultaneous to book #3, With Ryshad as primary viewpoint character (and two or maybe three other characters as secondary POV characters). As usual, the primary POV is written in first person and the other POVs are written in third person, which works really well for me, as a reader.

Anyway, a most pleasant read. I would hesitantly recommend starting at the beginning of the series, there's a fair chunk of background, but it may be enough to sort-of catch up in this volume?
baratron: (angry)
posted by [personal profile] baratron at 08:15am on 17/10/2017 under , , ,
Our plumbing is being evil, for the fifth or sixth time since we moved into this house in 2004. When our house was built, it didn't have an internal bathroom. There are remains of an outhouse in our back garden. So the bathroom was, at some point, retrofitted and its plumbing has never worked quite right.

It's been showing signs of distress for a few days now, doing that thing it does of not draining properly. We flush the toilet or run water in the sink, and the bath goes GLUG GLUG GLUG. Not good. However, yesterday when I flushed the toilet, some of the er, effluent ended up in the bath. Which is about as delightful as it sounds.

Richard did a full day at work then stayed up quite literally all night clearing the downpipe with a high pressure hose, and only went to bed at 7.30 am. He is my hero! The poor bugger couldn't eat anything until 6.30 am because he was too nauseated, and I have left Emergency Laundry running overnight else he wouldn't have any trousers to wear to work (and it's too cold to go in shorts).

The problem is not completely fixed since although the downpipe is now cleared, water running through it is not reaching the sewer. As the problem occurs on our property, Thames Water won't help, so we will have to find a professional and (probably) claim on our insurance. Does anyone have the faintest idea how to do this? I mean, regarding claiming on the insurance, we probably just have to find the policy document and ring the insurers with the policy number and details of the work which needs to be done. But where on earth do we find a good professional plumber who handles drains and sewers? Do we ask the insurance company to recommend someone?

To add further complication, our back garden will probably have to be dug up, and it is currently a jungle. I'm hoping my parents might be available in the next few days to get it cleared, although that involves Dealing With My Parents.
Mood:: 'blah' blah
October 16th, 2017
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 10:18pm on 16/10/2017 under
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 08:16pm on 16/10/2017 under ,
Sexual violence against women and girls is endemic. There's an absolute mountain of evidence that this is the case, from the experiences of my friends to any number of posts on social media to rigorous studies. A big part of the reason I decided to identify as a feminist is because women are routinely denied bodily autonomy and feminism seems to be the only political movement that cares about this.

links and personal observations about sexual violence against women )

I absolutely believe everybody else's experiences, people I know and strangers writing brave, brave columns and blog posts. I am just a total outlier, and I really shouldn't be. So I'm signal boosting others' accounts, because I know that I needed to be made aware of the scale of the problem, and perhaps some other people reading this could also use the information.
location: Pumbedita House, Cambridge, UK
Mood:: 'weird' weird
davemerrill: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] davemerrill at 11:59am on 16/10/2017
We got some wind last night! We were up near Woodbridge doing some trail walking and Islington was closed, we got routed through a neighborhood and we saw branches down, fences down, a tree down in the road and residents all standing around in the sun because the power was out. Most people treated the intersections as four way stops, as they should. We dodged the rain, the sun came out on our walk, we got home and we hadn't lost power but we'd lost internet, as something had happened to the supplier that supplies internet to our provider. So I got some drawing done and we watched the Spider-Man movie, which was a perfectly fine super hero movie. Not too full of easter eggs, a little overlong, nicely acted... not the best film of the year, which is what I've seen people say, but for a super hero movie it was fine.

Saturday I put the new Let's Anime up, we took a bunch of stuff to the thrift store, I bought a cooler fan for the PC, we did some walking, I put the new fan in the PC, I swapped the exhaust fan for another exhaust fan, the PC runs a LOT quieter now, thank goodness. We watched the original William Castle "13 Ghosts" which isn't as good as "The Tingler" or "House On Haunted Hill", mostly because those films have Vincent Price and this one doesn't. It does have Margaret Hamilton, though, who is always great.

We actually dropped a lot of stuff at the thrifts on both Saturday and Sunday. I keep uncovering clothes I haven't worn in years or duplicate sets of wrenches or computer speakers we don't need or books I haven't touched; I think we've taken a bag or two to various drop off places every weekend since AWA. I'm at the point where the frustration of "too much junk" is stronger than the satisfaction of "look at all the stuff I have."

Friday after work I changed clothes and we went out to Kensington Market to see Donald and David for their 50th birthday. It's amazing to think that I spent most of my 20s getting home from work on Friday and immediately heading right back out to meet friends somewhere - these days it's a real struggle to do anything but relax on weeknights. I don't have the energy level I did when I was 22. On the other hand, I'm not driving to and from Athens every weekend, and I have an actual job, not the low-paying part-time nonsense jobs I had when I was in school. It evens out, I guess.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait at 01:39pm on 16/10/2017 under
Finished a languishing application for an audio transcription job. Not sure whether I'll get it or not, but at least it's done now. Applied (successfully) for a website testing job. Both of these are self-employed, no guarantees that I'd get actual work from them but worth a try. Boggled at the adverts for 'work from home' jobs many of which are prison officers.
jack: (Default)
You know that weird feeling where your tests sometimes pass and sometimes don't, and you eventually realise they're not deterministic? But it took a while to notice because you kept changing things to debug the failing tests and only slowly realised that every "whether it succeeded or not" change didn't follow changing the code?

In this case, there were some failing tests and I was trying to debug some of them, and the result was the same every time, but only when I ran a failing test by itself and it passed did I realise that the tests weren't actually independent. They weren't actually non-deterministic in that the same combination of tests always had the same result, but I hadn't realised what was going on.

And in fact, I'd not validated the initial state of some tests enough, or I would have noticed that what was going wrong was not what the test *did* but what it started with.

I was doing something like, there was some code that loaded a module which contained data for the game -- initial room layout, rules for how-objects-interact, etc. And I didn't *intend* to change that module. Because I'm used to C or C++ header files, I'd forgotten that could be possible. But when I created a room based on the initial data, I copied it without remembering to make sure I was actually *copying* all the relevant sub-objects. And then when you move stuff around the room, that (apparently) moved stuff around in the original copy in the initialisation data module.

And then some other test fails because everything has moved around.

Once I realised, I tested a workaround using deepcopy, but I need to check the one or two places where I need a real copy and implement one there instead.

Writing a game makes me think about copying objects a lot more than any other sort of programming I've done.
bugshaw: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bugshaw at 10:36am on 16/10/2017
The Treehouse film I made last summer is premiering at St Neots Film Festival on Wed 8 Nov!
http://stneotsfilmfestival.co.uk/
I'll be going along with my big Film Premiere coat :-)
It will be made public on vimeo the next day and I can post it here if anyone's interested.

Dish Life (short with children being stem cells in petri dish) has made New York Times' Ten Things To Do In NYC This Week list (For Children section) - the director and scientist are over there now and having a great time.
venta: (Default)
Every year, a bunch of ChrisC's university friends rent a big house and go away for the weekend.

Which caused a little consternation for us )

So there was some panicking, and ChrisC and I churned out a 50-question "nostalgia" quiz. Note: the target demographic for this is quiz is emphatically people who were born in the mid 70's, and grew up in the UK. Anyone else is very possibly going to struggle.

Hell yeah, I'd like a 90s nostalgia quiz... )
October 15th, 2017
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rmc28 at 10:39pm on 15/10/2017 under
numbers )
hilarita: otter hanging onto the sides of a mesh fence, waiting for food (hungry)
posted by [personal profile] hilarita at 08:13pm on 15/10/2017 under
The Big Meow, Diane Duane

That woman can turn me inside out, and make me grateful for the experience. I nearly cried when reading this over lunch at work. It's in the same universe as her Young Wizards series, but focused on feline wizards (it's the third in that series, all of which are now available in a portable electron format). I love the character growth, the description of cats, the love of the Universe and so on. This also has a strong 1940s Hollywood thing going on, which I suspect is wonderful if you have interest in it, but for me was just sort of background noise.
flick: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] flick at 06:43pm on 15/10/2017
Is it just me that's feeling faintly worried about the whole Harvey Weinstein thing?

It does, very much, sound as though the man is thoroughly unpleasant, and will in the fullness of time be prosecuted and convicted for the things that he's being accused of.

But he's been thrown out of BAFTA and the Academy Whose Full Name I Forget, and they're talking about stripping him of his honours, when that hasn't yet happened.

What about that innocent until proven guilty thing? Look at the whole Bramall / Brittan thing: it seems unlikely, but what if the outcome of this is the same?
flick: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] flick at 05:57pm on 15/10/2017 under
We took Jo to the vet this afternoon, for a check up and to get the lab results.

The nipple is healing beautifully, but she has managed to get a bit of an infection in the wound on her side, so now she has antibiotics. We're carrying on with Pooch Corset for another day, after which it will hopefully have dried up and we can switch to a t-shirt instead to let it get more air while still being a bit protected. She's going back on Friday to have the stitches out, unless something else happens before then. Although it's not healing quite as well as the vet would like, it is knitting together ok, so it shouldn't be a problem as long as we can stop her from getting at it.

The lab results were about the best we were hoping for: the lumps did have (cancerous) mast cells, but the one on the nipple is definitely low-grade and the one on her side probably is as well (based on the type of lump it was, as it wasn't possible to test it properly. There is a test that will give more definitive results, but it's £200: we're thinking about it). On the down side, best practice is to remove 10mm of skin all around a mast cell tumour, and they didn't do that much at the time; opening her back up is an option but I don't think we're going to do it.

The vet did suggest an option of doing an ultrasound scan all over her abdomen, to look for signs that it's spread internally, but she wasn't really pushing us to do it given that the chest x-rays were clear. T'internet also tells me that lymph node biopsies are also an option, which I might mention when we're there next week.

So, she's doing ok from this time around, and we're probably just going to carry on as usual, running to the vet whenever we find any kind of lump on her.
davemerrill: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] davemerrill at 12:31pm on 15/10/2017 under
by the way Dreamwidth users, when I made the switch to Dreamwidth, I ported over the "classic anime" community from Livejournal. If you're interested in Japanese animation circa 1960-1990, you might enjoy this group.

Well, I'll be honest, so far the group has been me posting Let's Anime links. It would be great if we could get some other people in there doing some chatting about them Japanese cartoons. Come on by.

https://classic-anime.dreamwidth.org/
baratron: (boots)
Had my appointment with the Pain Management consultant at Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon on Friday. This is a posh private hospital, yet I got an NHS-funded appointment there. I am not complaining.

As you may remember, I have arthritis in my spine which causes all sorts of weird and "interesting" neurological effects. The actual patch of inflammation is tiny, and yet it presses on a nerve severely enough that I have a permanent numb "dead" spot in my left leg, plus additional events of screaming agony.

So every year or so, I get injections into my spine of a long-acting steroid and painkiller combination. They are called facet joint injections and I've had them done 3 times before. It counts as minor surgery because it has to be done under X-ray, since it would be Very Bad if the needle gets in the wrong place. But once I've recovered from the bruising, I have a lot less pain and a bit more mobility.

The first and third times, it was done by the consultant that I have my face-to-face appointments with and it helped for about 6 months. The second time I had it done, it was a different doctor who was in a hurry and didn't listen when I told her that my Large Arse requires two shots of the anaesthetic in order for the needle to get deep enough. So it only helped for about 3 months.

I am so glad my GP found out I could see the same specialist at a different hospital. Kingston Hospital has good medical staff but appalling organisation and/or administrative staff (not sure which), and the wait times there are horrendous. I am in no doubt that if I'd gone to Kingston, it would have been 6 months or more just for the first appointment, and then a further 4 months before the treatment. This other hospital is a train + bus ride away rather than a short walk, but I only had to wait 6 weeks to see the doctor, and then another 6 weeks for the treatment. It's scheduled for 1st December.
Mood:: 'cheerful' cheerful

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