dreamshark: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamshark
I'm sure I am not the only person whose favorite pictures of themselves were taken by Dave Romm. This one from 1990 is IMHO the absolutely best picture ever taken of me. Thanks, DavE.'

On digging of ditches

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:01 am
brooksmoses: (Default)
[personal profile] brooksmoses
There are a couple of young men (from a local plumbing company) in my front yard digging a ditch -- or approximately so; it might be more accurately described as an enlongated hole to access a sewer pipe that needs replacing.

They've been at it for a couple of hours, and have made vastly more progress than I was able to make in quite a few hours of manual digging. Part of this is that they've got a small electric jackhammer, but it's clear that a fair bit of this is simply that they're better at it than I was.

Which just goes to show that "unskilled labor" involves skills too.


Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Dwarf Mongoose_8

It can be very hard to positively identify certain animals, particularly insects. For example, with dragonflies, you have to know the colour and patternings on their body, but you sometimes also have to know general size, where they’re located, and the time of the year you saw them.

Of course, it helps if they’re also not partially inside of a mongoose.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

NY Times Critics Pick Movies

Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:25 am
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Ain't none.

-- Of Possible Interest --

Review: In ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle,’ the Natty Spies Are Back

Director Matthew Vaughn
Writers Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn Stars Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum, Edward Holcroft
Rating R
Running Time 2h 21m
Genres Action, Adventure, Comedy

The first Kingsman film was mildly entertaining. It appears that the second has added cannibalism, and killed 'entertaining.'

Review: ‘Victoria and Abdul,’ a Royal Friendship in a Nest of Vipers

Directed by Stephen Frears Biography, Drama, History PG-13 1h 52m
Director Stephen Frears
Writer Lee Hall
Stars Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar
Rating PG-13
Running Time 1h 52m
Genres Biography, Drama, History

If you luv BBC costume dramas and have always wanted to see Judi Dench eat like a pig, this is probably your last best hope. (She's 82.)

Review: ‘Loving Vincent’ Paints van Gogh in His Own Images

Directors Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Writers Jacek Dehnel, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Stars Douglas Booth, Josh Burdett, Holly Earl, Robin Hodges, Chris O'Dowd
Rating PG-13
Running Time 1h 34m
Genres Animation, Biography, Crime, Drama

Andean Bear

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Andean Bear

Andean bear wondering if he can get away with selling “Asteroid and Meteor Insurance” and refusing to pay out for claims on the basis that those were all actually meteorites.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

graphic novel book group

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:10 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I went to Graphic Novel book group once before, to discuss Bitch Planet, when the group leader, Cameron, happened not to be there. He was there today. I don't think I'll be going back.

Maybe he would be diluted in a larger group? There were only four of us. And neither I nor the other two guys, whom I know from SF book group, are very good at grabbing the talking stick. Still Cameron seemed weirdly controlling. I think more than half the time was just Cameron talking, and he didn't leave spaces where other people could start talking if they wanted to; he'd call on us, like, "What did you think of it? Was there anything else that you liked?" And whenever anyone spoke up without being called on he'd say something like, "Yes, go ahead." He'd actually interrupt a person who was speaking in order to give them permission to speak. When he said he was a history teacher I thought, that explains it.


Sep. 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?

Dept. of This I Believe

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:47 pm
kaffyr: (Deficiency weekly)
[personal profile] kaffyr
You Know ...

Sitting in front of a screen, fighting codeine-generated nausea and an increasingly bleak mood, listening to Steely Dan warble about crossing one's old man back in Oregon, pleading with an unseen authority figure, "don't take me alive" ...

... is not necessarily a shining example of emotional hygiene. 

Perhaps it's time to go to bed. 

Yes, I know it's only 7:50 p.m. 


More about my Dreamwidth Style Woes

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:44 pm
dreamshark: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamshark
Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but my experience is that pretty much every one of Dreamwidth's "featured styles" is now broken in terms of being able to display very large images in such a way that they are viewable within the frame. I didn't try them all, but I tried about a dozen of them and the only two that worked were Ivory Alcea (the one that [personal profile] guppiecat suggested) and another one by the same designer called Starflower.

Customizing journal styles on Dreamwidth is not straightforward. I sort of half-figured out how to do it once before, and ended up with a customized version of Blue by Wiring for Motion. That's the one that abruptly stopped resizing large images and became unusable. I'm curious what other people are using and if large image display is working for you. Customizing styles is so freaking cryptic on this platform that I would guess most people are using whatever was the default when they signed up. But maybe I'm just stupid and everybody else finds it easy and obvious.

After trying style after style and finding them all broken, I switched to Ivory Alcea, but really hated the layout  (no sidebars, just a series of ungainly horizontal boxes with way too much useless white space around them). Then I realized that you can start with any style and then change the layout to one of 7 pre-configured sets of boxes, almost all of which I liked better than the "no sidebar" choices. That made Ivory Alcea more or less okay and took only a few minutes. What took 2 or 3 additional hours was figuring out how to tweak the various "modules," move them around on the page, and get rid of the ones I didn't want. So now I've got a format I actually like better than the one I had before. But I am not a fan of the editing procedure, to put it mildly. 

However, I now know more about it than I did before. So if anyone else wants to, say, use one of the pre-configured styles but rearrange/add/delete some of the optional features, I might be able to help.

Game Review: Overlord

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:07 am
green_knight: (Skyrim)
[personal profile] green_knight
[expanded from the review I posted on Steam]

Review and Discussion )

Bonus review-let: Forced.

Forced, Gamification of Games, Player vs. Designer )

So, yeah. I am learning something about gaming, game design, or myself from every game I play, and I am glad I seem to have broken through the mountain of shame (OMG, so much stuff I've never played, best never look at them) and guilt (OMG, so much wasted money). I no longer feel compelled to 'give every game a fair chance' just because I once spent money on it. (Frequently, in bundle deals, I did not even set out to buy all of the games.)

Overall, I spend less than £5/month on games and, overall, I enjoy gaming. I'm not going to get the same amount of fun out of every game, but if I can average a couple of hours of fun for every £5 I pay, that's actually not bad value for money.

Salmon Crested Cockatoo

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Salmon Crested Cockatoo_7

“They put high fructose corn syrup in everything these days!”

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

English suites no. 1

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:55 pm
calimac: (Haydn)
[personal profile] calimac
This has been Gustav Holst's birthday, as the radio announcer kindly informed me, so it's as good a time as any to use a Holst work to launch a musical project I've been mulling for some time, which is a series of pleasant, mostly modern, suites, first by English composers and then branching out.

This is probably the best-known one I'll be presenting in the entire series, Holst's St. Paul's Suite. It's played by a student orchestra from Poland, which might account for the unusual sonority. The players are all female, appropriately, as Holst wrote the work for the students of the St. Paul's Girls' School, where he taught music for many years.

Like many of the suites to come, it's in four movements vaguely replicating sonata form, and the finale, as with many of Holst's best works, incorporates a sturdy old English folk tune.

Talapoin Monkey

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Talapoin Monkey_1

The zoo called this a “talapoin”, but there are two species of talapoins, the Angolan and the Gabon. Not knowing what made them different, I went a-searchin and came across the following claim:

“Unlike the related Angolan talapoin, the Gabon talapoin has flesh-coloured (not blackish) ears and facial skin.” (from The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals, by way of Wikipedia)

Now maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the ears and facial skin or any monkey, whatever they look, would be flesh-coloured.

Crayola’s got a lot to answer for.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

oh Hillary

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:25 am
calimac: (Default)
[personal profile] calimac
In the airport, waiting for my flight out, I wandered into the bookstore to see what there was to read, and saw the newly-released Hillary Clinton memoir, What Happened (this was last Thursday, and the official publication had been that Tuesday).

Excellent. This was my chance to register my vote against those who had been declaring that she should keep silent and disappear. So I bought a copy, and read it on the trip. Now B. has it.

Anyone who says that the author blames everyone but herself hasn't read the book. She takes on a full measure of responsibility and owns up to some specific mistakes, as well as to some decisions that might have been mistakes or not (like not calling out Trump when he stalked her onstage), because who knows how it would have come out if she'd done differently?

But, you know, 'it takes a village' and Comey and the feckless media deserve their share of blame too. (And if defeating Trump should have been a slam dunk, then why couldn't Jeb, Mario, Ted, or any of the rest of that gang do it? Especially after all the pleadings to suspend the rules and do it?) In fact, the only people whom Clinton doesn't blame at all are her staffers.

Which points to the problem with the book, which is that, while Clinton may be willing to own up to having committed faults, I don't think she really understands what they are. Too much of her defense consists of demonstrating that she tried hard, as if that amounted to doing a good job (the "A for effort as a final grade" fallacy). Nor does she seem to be able to think of appropriate sound bites to respond to attacks. She was flustered by the quoting out of context of the "putting coal miners out of work" line, so why didn't she respond by putting it back in context by simply repeating the next line of the original speech, which amounted to therefore we must take care of these people?

Like the policy wonk she is, Clinton spends a lot of the book diving into specifics of proposals, which is fine; but, like Obama too often, she lacks aspiration, stars to steer by, goals that may be unreachable but that at least you aim for. That's what gives people hope, and gives them the energy to work for the lesser, practical goals that are actually achievable. Bernie Sanders understands this, and that's what generated enthusiasm. Electing a woman shatters a barrier but isn't a substitute for this.

There'll be plenty of time to move on to the next thing. But as historians, we need to understand where we've been and how we got there. This is a start.

Sun Bear

Sep. 21st, 2017 02:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Sun Bear_3

That feeling when you finally build up the energy to go climbing only to run out of tree.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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