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elisem July 13 2014, 22:22

ArtLog: a tease of names (the Sunday mostly-earrings edition)

not earrings:

"And Up She Went"
"Delicate Engineering"


"Alien Ice Cream"
"Another Message in a Bottle"
"Antique Water Magic"
"Ask the Sand"
"At the Tip of the World"
"Atomic Mambo"
"Butterfly Surprise Party"
"Coming Home"
"Elf Truth"
"Greeting the Visitor: a Book of Customs"
"How to Talk to Friendly Monsters"
"Memory Day"
"Nostalgia Is Not What It Used To Be"
"Plenty of Fish in the Sky, He Said"
"Preternatural Calendar"
"Three Promises and a Question"
"Under a Different Sky"
"When She Fell In Love With Science"
"The Whisper Poet"
"The Xenobiologist Retires"
"Yesterday's Sea Is in the Sky"
beckyzoole July 13 2014, 19:26

State of the Becky

It's all a mix of ups and downs.

I started working last month for a local manufacturer as an IT Business Analyst. I like the people, I like the company. I've learned an enormous amount about Lean Manufacturing processes and analysis. I'm good at my job; I get to work a little with SQL again, yay!

I'm moving at the end of the month, going to be rooming with an old acquaintance who's not in town a lot. I'll have a lot more usable space than I do now and the price is right.

Physically, I started the summer in better shape than I've been in years. I've lost over 50 pounds. I've been taking care of neglected aspects of my health, like my chronic mild anemia -- it's seriously amazing how much of a difference prescription iron supplements make.

But... With the new job, there's been Too Much Sitting. Haven't gained any weight but my back and leg muscles are not happy. I need to take the time to exercise, which would help with the loose skin, too. I am still fat, would probably need to lose another 50 pounds to shake off that social stigma.

I've been trying to date. So far, I've found a handful of people who seem both interesting and attractive. Unfortunately, every one of them is either over 500 miles away or is just not interested in me! I've got a couple of old friends here in St Louis who I've gone out with. Fun times, but no spark. bbwoof suits me so well; it's very hard to find someone just like him, only better able to stick with a commitment over the rough patches. The more I see what other fish are in the sea, the more I want my old fish back.

Read the relationship whining...Collapse )

Financially, I have enough to live on. I'm able to save 10% of my income, and also start to pay down debts. Still need to buy a car, can't keep driving alataristarion 's car forever. Not looking forward to the increased expenses, though.

I don't know how long this job is going to last. Although I think I'm beneficial for the company, I'm not sure my employer thinks so. The job I interviewed for is not exactly what they hired me to do and I feel like I'm getting mixed messages. They brought me in not an employee but as an independent contractor. This means higher taxes and absolutely no benefits and no job security. If I didn't like the work or the company, I'd shrug that off and spend my free time looking for the next thing... But I do like it there.

I've billed less than half the hours I've worked. That's partially because I don't think it's right as a consultant to bill for training, set-up, and administrative tasks; so I haven't charged for all that self-education on Lean Mfg, learning how to use their ERP, refreshing my memory on tricky formulas, etc. And I don't want to go over the budget for this project, which includes only 100 hours of my time.

Wise, or foolish? I don't know. I know that by taking more time to get to know the company and the problem they want me to solve, I'm producing much better results than if I'd slammed this out in two weeks with generic, superficial knowledge. I'm OK with the cash flow. Frankly, the little bit of SQL and VBA development I get to do is so much fun that I'd do it for free.

Biggest problem with work, really, is that I tend to avoid potential conflict and rejection by withdrawing. So I find myself using "I'm working from home today" as an excuse to avoid coming in and perhaps being told not to come back. Stupid, I know, because they could just email me and tell me that. Also stupid because they'd probably like my work better if they saw me diligently plugging away. But I have to convince my subconscious of that!
angrybluedildo July 13 2014, 19:03

My tweets

  • Sat, 20:44: Ugh, and my computer chooses this time to go unresponsive and now applying updates.
  • Sat, 21:24: git pull, pit bull. Very different creatures.
  • Sat, 21:58: RT @0xabad1dea: there's a bird outside that sounds just like a hard drive suddenly cutting off and spinning down. This bird is not my friend
  • Sat, 22:01: RT @jdub: 14 years later, Y2K bug hits 118 to 121 year old men with a warning to sign up for the draft. http://t.co/9VqRcpfH3G /ping @Colvi
  • Sat, 22:20: @PebbleBucks App crashed, push any button?
  • Sun, 00:40: Me: "NOTIFICATIONS ARE A THING" Autocorrect: "NOT IF I CABBAGE ARE A THING" D: *doesn't realize this is autocorrect because me*
  • Sun, 00:45: RT @eassumption: @azurelunatic as I said once, the difference is that usually, a pit bull gives you some warning before it fucks you up.
  • Sun, 01:03: My fitbit #Fitstats for 7/12/2014: 2,333 steps and 1 miles traveled. http://t.co/gFMrr7qBz6
  • Sun, 11:31: RT @thefourthvine: @twwings @j00j this explains why militaries all over the world choose spandex for their combat fatigues, though.
  • Sun, 12:00: RT @zorkian: TIL that "privilege" literally means "private law". When you put it that way, it sounds a lot more sinister, doesn't it? Well:…
james_nicoll July 13 2014, 18:50

Because My Tears are Delicious to You 7: The Stars in Shroud by Gregory Benford

A note: bracketed numbers preceded by p like this [p30] indicate a page in the August 1979 Berkley mass market paperback. Numbers not preceded by a p like this [0] indicate a footnote, except where I forgot to go back and add a p to page number references.

I've never read the first draft of this – back when Now & Then Books was at 103 Queen South, Harry had a copy on the shelves for years and yet I was never quite inspired to pick it up. Perhaps this is because there were other books I wanted more but I think it's because I knew Deeper Than Darkness was the earlier version of Stars in Shroud, a version that its author thought needed a rewrite and Stars is, sadly, full of interesting nuggets that are embedded in a crap sandwich. Read more...Collapse )

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.
ursulav July 13 2014, 16:00

Pelagic Birding

So Tina and I got up at the crack of godawful a few days ago and went on a boat off Cape Hatteras, and by "off" I mean "off the continental shelf." There are birds that only live over very deep water, nesting on tiny rocky islands and never coming to shore. To see them, you need a boat.

It was a very small boat. The channel out is heavily silted and dredging is becoming difficult, so you can only go in and out at high tide. Out we went, five birders, the captain, and the biologist, for a twelve-hour tour.

So, while I don't THINK I get seasick, I figured I should take a Dramamine as a preemptive measure, which would have been a great idea, except for the bit where it turns out that Dramamine puts me to sleep, so I dozed off repeatedly. I came to whenever the other birders yelled "GREAT SHEARWATER!" though, so I didn't miss any birds.

I confess to you now, O readers, that even I, who love birds more than is considered normal, am not entirely convinced that we were looking at different species of birds. The difference between a Wilson's Storm-Petrel and a Band-Rumped Storm Petrel is--I quote--"It holds its wings a little crooked and its flight is more assured." (Bear in mind this bird is going by you at a good clip, while a block of frozen chum is dragged behind the boat to bring in the birds for a free meal.) And the Leach's Storm-Petrel is wildly different, at "It's a little bit bigger and the tail is slightly forked on some of them."

Nevertheless, I shall trust in the experts and say that I acquired seven new bird species for the life list, and Tina got six, so it was a good trip. Also, when we ran out of birds (it was pretty slow, owing to the recent hurricane) the biologist hauled up some sargassum, the floating seaweed-like algae that's found out there. There was the teeniest little Sargassum Frogfish on it, no bigger than the tip of my pinkie, and he was very small and grumpy with perfectly wee little flippers. He will grow up to be a palm-sized voracious cannibal! It was adorable.

Then we drove back home--six hours!--and I fell down and became unconscious for a good number of hours.

Today, getting work done. I have not gotten work done for some days now and am beginning to feel adrift.
dduane July 13 2014, 15:04

Writing Q&A: Creation, self-esteem, and the urge to run your own work down


(via anartificialaspidistra:)

Hi Diane, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Read the YW books, Wounded Sky, and eventually the Door Into… books staring when I was a kid back in the 80s. Someday I’ll take a picture of the Hello Kitty notebook I owned circa 1984 where I wrote both Ed the shark’s name and Sherlock Holmes’ name surrounded by hearts. I was totally willing to marry either one of them. ;D

Anyway, when I started looking for more Sherlock stories after the BBC show premiered I got into reading fanfic, and eventually the amazing art on Tumblr. It was great to see someone whose books I’d always loved was right in there as a fan too.

Reading someone’s tags today, I noticed the latest example of something that makes my heart hurt a little every time I see it. The art (it was a short Sherlock comic strip) was great! Well laid out, engagingly drawn, funny, entertaining, etc. But the artist’s tags were all about how terrible it was. How she couldn’t write, how she couldn’t draw, etc. I know how hard it is to put your work (of any kind) out there and just let it speak for itself, but the prevalence of young girls making something amazing and then sharing it by saying “here’s this thing I did. It’s probably terrible,” just kills me. I can’t count how many posts I’ve seen people tag or comment that their art or they themselves are “trash”. I mean, I get that they’re self deprecating for comic effect, but…

I don’t know. Maybe learning to not put down your work before someone else gets a chance to is just something that has to be grown out of, but I also wonder if more of us older women should be saying something. I’d love to see girls say “here’s this thing I made [full stop]” if it still seems too hard to say “here’s this thing I made; I’m proud of it.” Just not tearing themselves down would make a world of difference, I think.

I guess I’m just curious if you have any thoughts to add. Thanks again for writing such enjoyable stories and building such cool worlds! May you live long and prosper.

First of all: thanks for the nice words. It's always nice to know I'm getting the job done.

Re the self-esteem problem as regards talking about one's work: I see a lot of this from girl creators too. (Yet also from the boys, until they gradually knuckle under or get pushed under the surface of the whole patriarchal never-say-anything-that-might-make-you-seem-weak crap, and get it institutionalized out of them.)

Part of the problem is that the creation of art (or indeed anything else useful) is unnerving business, because you're essentially making the invisible visible: making something out of nothing -- and even that phrase is culturally loaded. ("Don't make something out of nothing!": a classic putdown for overreaction.) Yet making Something out of Nothing is also, as it happens, what Gods do. (The classic western-culture version of this: Deity moves over the surface of the empty void, says, "Hmm. Light..." and bang! Light.)

So creation routinely frightens those who who do it -- because the actual process of mastery of art takes a long time, and in the meanwhile you may frequently feel like you're riding the tiger, only half in control, while your grip on the tiger's ears is always threatening to slip. And creation frightens more badly those who don't do it (not that you'll ever easily get them to admit that), because they see you making Something out of Nothing and that's not normal. Everybody gets a little freaked as a result, and it's probably no surprise that the responses to the act of creation by both creators and spectators can get skewed -- reactions based on fear not routinely being the healthiest ones.

(Adding a cut here, since more discussion and a brief how-to course in auctorial esteem lies below. Also, "pieces of shit"...)
Read more...Collapse )
siderea July 13 2014, 05:29

[gastronomy] Chicken math

Today I bought a pack of skinless chicken thighs thinking they were boneless, but they weren't. So I decided to use my mistake for science, and find out how much bone and other non-meat bits there are, by weight in chicken thighs.

The pack was "2.70 lbs" which is 43.2 oz. I paid $1.99/lb for it.

When I was done deboning it, I had a sack of bones that my kitchen scale says is 11.5 oz.

43.2 - 11.5 = 31.7, or just a hair under 2 lbs. So the ratio of bone to meat was 0.7:2, and the fraction of bone in the pack was 0.7/2.7 or 25.9%. About a quarter of the pack, by weight, was inedible.

So in reality, I paid ($1.99*2.7)/2 per lb for actual meat, which works out to $2.68.

Conclusion: the real per lb cost of bone-in chicken thighs is what it says on the package times a factor of 1.35 (i.e add a third). Or put another way, the amount of meat in the package is 3/4th the weight on the label.

Paying $2.50 for boneless is more cost-effective than buying $1.99 for bone-in.
siderea July 12 2014, 19:52

[humor, lit?] Do the Hugos have a "Best Spam" category? (Ïa!)

My attention was arrested by a spam caught in my spam-trap (not making any of this up), that hailed the reader "Ave". *blink* That is one well educated spam! Alas, the rest of it was not also in Latin[*] -- I had to open it, of course.

Actually what is says is:
Ave dear Trystan
Shared joy is a double joy, shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
May be that is why we are looking here for each other?
I need you to share every moment of my life with you [URL REDACTED]
I am kind, sincere, modest, romantic and believe in love and devotion. I like housekeeping, knitting, sewing, traveling, listening to music, growing flowers.
My! Somebody's trolling for genre-unaware goths.

I say genre-unaware because the URL I've redacted? Was at a domain (deliberately not sharing the TLD here) "ftagn".

Yeah. Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope. Ahahahahaha, nope.

Reminds me of. [Seriously NSFW]

[* Low hanging fruit, guys, somebody get on that.]
angrybluedildo July 12 2014, 19:03

My tweets

  • Sat, 00:02: My fitbit #Fitstats for 7/11/2014: 4,154 steps and 1.8 miles traveled. http://t.co/gFMrr7qBz6
  • Sat, 02:37: Azz: "C'est la vie." Purple: "La vie." Purple: "That's life." Azz: "La vie." Purple: "THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS!"
  • Sat, 11:21: Two phonecalls to fucking PayPal and a humiliating flood of tears later, at least my alternate address is in the process of verification.
  • Sat, 11:26: am not going to even dare today to get worse. Have already: thrown up, got hives, paypal gave D wrong address, call disconnected, cried.
  • Sat, 11:27: There are many more bad things which could still happen, but maybe if I stay in bed today, they'll happen tomorrow instead.
  • Sat, 11:44: RT @jswatz: "Are you gay?" Obama asked. "Only when I have sex." "Bump me." Great moment behind the fist bump at Franklin's http://t.co/PzX
james_nicoll July 12 2014, 14:38

Is this just my bad memory?

I know why their MZB tribute got quietly forget-rayed but I could have sworn tor.com had an except from The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma and that the Fiction Affliction for science fiction this month had an Adrian Tchaikovsky book but I cannot find them now. Is it just my crap memory or do tor.com entries evolve with time?


Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.
shiv5468 July 12 2014, 08:08

apparently temporary tattoos are a thing

which i spent some time looking at on the internet to see if there was one that would allow me to tread on the names of my enemies.


which there isn't but there are peacocks and feathers and birds and stuff i can use to decorate my shoes.


the very exemplar of irony is a temporary tattoo with the name of your loved one and the word always.


sensible though.


and then there was nail art and i am very taken with the Egyptian stuff so i could do gold nails with the eye of horus.


and then i discovered nail armour. so you can turn your nails into proper claws. omg wants. as a teenager i used to have very ornate nails but i rather lost the habit once i started having to type a lot at work.


i miss being ornate.


its time to buy some new shoes

trobadora July 11 2014, 19:24

The Incredible Hulk

The other day, I finally watched The Incredible Hulk. It was the only one of the Marvel films I hadn't seen, and ... well. I can't say I'd missed anything. It was very uninspired and never for a moment managed to actually make me care about any of its characters, even though it was about a million times better than the previous Hulk film, which I had seen.

(In fact, I saw that one back when it came out, and its badness impressed itself on me so much that it took me until now to watch the sequel, despite having mercifully repressed any actual memory of the film itself.)

Anyway, watching this only made it even clearer how amazing Mark Ruffalo's performance was - he brought Bruce Banner to life for me in a way this never did. But it wasn't just Ruffalo, of course; the script makes a huge difference as well. The Avengers manages to make the Hulk more threatening with a few lines from Bruce than this entire film does with all its emerging-from-the-smoke and smashing and whatnot. Also, it felt at times as if the script writer had had his sense of humour surgically removed - there was no wit to any of it, and superhero movies should be witty, dammit.

(I also think that bringing in Abomination and basically making the Hulk the underdog in a fight to make him more sympathetic - or whatever the thought was - was the wrong choice, but that's neither here nor there.)

I'm really looking forward to more Ruffalo!Banner ...
angrybluedildo July 11 2014, 19:03

My tweets

  • Thu, 12:27: RT @leeflower: I wrote a thing about why codes of conduct are helpful even for small communities with minimal governance: http://t.co/L1LGn
  • Thu, 14:37: The Randomizer is very assiduously practicing not pulling things out of his ass. So proud of him.
  • Fri, 01:04: My fitbit #Fitstats for 7/10/2014: 6,199 steps and 2.7 miles traveled. http://t.co/gFMrr7qBz6
  • Fri, 01:06: Endearing things which have been said to me recently: "popd" ... "oops... you're not a shell..." #AzureLsInTrouble
  • Fri, 01:13: (and I must admit that if I'd known what directory I was supposed to be, I would have said that instead of laughing.) #AzureLsInTrouble
  • Fri, 01:43: Photo: shadetastic: you can have FOUR This is … sort of what a conversation between my Overlady and me... http://t.co/01ZWW2Z5K8
  • Fri, 02:00: Past-self left an LJ note: "tries very hard to be comprehensible. often fails." I like past-self's sense of humor & agree about that user.
  • Fri, 10:52: @apraxial Lockbox should have arrived before you get there. <3

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