WtNV, episodes 51-54

Sep. 23rd, 2014 06:05 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Episode 51, "Rumbling": I completely forgot the existence of this episode until I was checking a list for titles. On skimming the transcript . . . yeah, no wonder I forgot it, though it has an extremely cute Carlos/Cecil moment at the end.

Episode 52, "The Retirement of Pamela Winchell": we were asked at the LonCon panel who our favorite character was, and she was the first one to come to my mind (besides Cecil, I mean). So this was great.

Episode 53, "The September Monologues": I was thoroughly unimpressed with the middle one as a character, and the voice that Steve Carlsberg's actor uses makes my ears itch.

Episode 54, "A Carnival Comes to Town": (spoilers) )

And hey, a weather by a band I knew already! We'd seen PigPen Theatre Co.'s "The Old Man and The Old Moon" (NYT review) on a trip to NYC a few years ago. It was generally charming but I spent every minute that the female character was onstage thinking (a) this guy is doing a very nice job of playing an old woman but (b) could they really not have found a single female actor to guest in this role, even if they didn't want to have her be in their company/band?

Food trucks and Snake Lake

Sep. 23rd, 2014 02:04 pm
mmegaera: (Much Ado in Montana)
[personal profile] mmegaera

A week ago Saturday, having read about something that sounded fun, I headed off to Cheney Stadium, home of the local farm team (the Tacoma Rainiers, part of the Seattle Mariners), to my first-ever food truck event. I paid my parking fee and strolled in.

I’d never been inside a baseball stadium before (I’m a football fan — baseball never did much for me), let alone out on the field. I think that was at least half the charm. A band was playing on a stage set up in the outfield, and the food trucks were strung out like beads on a string around the edge of the field. People strolled around and lolled on the grass and sat in the bleachers, their hands full of food. It all smelled wonderful.

I wound up with the best (and biggest) gyro I’ve ever eaten, and a dish of self-serve (pay by the ounce) frozen yogurt, but while the food was good, the ambiance was just plain fun.

After a while, I decided I needed to walk off my rather large lunch, so I went across the street to the Tacoma Nature Center at Snake Lake. Now, understand, the reason it’s called Snake Lake is its shape, not its inhabitants. I’ve walked there any number of times, and I’ve never seen a snake there.


It’s quite the amazing little place to find in the heart of a city the size of Tacoma. The trail is two miles round trip, and tunnels through untamed woods where animals have a chance to hide from all the development.

The trail, outbound.  This always makes me think of where Frodo and company hid from the Black Riders in the first LotR movie.
The trail, outbound. This always makes me think of where Frodo and company hid from the Black Riders in the first LotR movie.
Most of Snake Lake is hidden under vegetation, which is better for the wildlife.
Most of Snake Lake is hidden under vegetation, which is better for the wildlife.

One end does butt up against the U.S. 16 freeway, but the noise sounds more like wind through the trees than anything else, and the perspective is — different.

An interesting perspective on the freeway.
An interesting perspective on the freeway.
Sorry about the lack of focus on the trail sign.
Sorry about the lack of focus on the trail sign.
The bridge at the freeway end of the trail.
The bridge at the freeway end of the trail.
Another view of hidden Snake Lake.
Another view of hidden Snake Lake.

And on the uphill side on the way back, common plants like salal make carpets on the ground, and not-so-common plants like madrona shed their bark to show russet-colored wood.

The trail back on the uphill side.
The trail back on the uphill side.
Salal.  When my uncle was a young man growing up in Oregon, he used to pick salal and sell it to local florists as filler for bouquets.
Salal. When my uncle was a young man growing up in Oregon, he used to pick salal and sell it to local florists as filler for bouquets.
Madrona peeling its bark in an artistic manner, next to a Douglas fir.
Madrona peeling its bark in an artistic manner, next to a Douglas fir.

The list of plants and animals found here is quite extensive, considering how close people press in all around this park. And it’s a great place to walk on a hot day, because the trail is almost completely in the shade!

It's amazing what lives and thrives in this little oasis in the heart of the city.
It’s amazing what lives and thrives in this little oasis in the heart of the city.

Mirrored from Repeating History.


Sep. 23rd, 2014 08:56 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
Way back in January I promised [personal profile] lethargic_man that I'd talk about which bits of the High Holy Day liturgy make me cry, and I didn't get round to it at all. And now the festival season has come round again and my head is in the machzor, the special prayer book for this time of year. So I might as well finally answer that question from months back!

detailed liturgy discussion )

Also this year I'm going to preach on the Haftarah, the reading from the Prophets, Isaiah 57–58. Partly inspired by this really excellent sermon by a Christian friend of mine, in fact.

And now I should really go and finish learning the liturgy, instead of sitting here crying over the poetic bits.

Hear that whistle blow

Sep. 23rd, 2014 08:25 pm
oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

I was very intrigued by [personal profile] wychwood's long and chewy post about Paul du Gay's In Praise of Bureaucracy: Weber, Organisation, Ethics but but my mind has been snagging on the following all day and I am trying to get the thoughts out of my head and into semi-coherent (still jetlagged) words.

[personal profile] wychwood summarises part of the argument thus:

According to the book, Weber argued that people lived their lives in entirely separate spheres - the work self and the family self and the self out shopping have no overlap or contact between them, they are independent.... [W]hen du Gay looks at it in more detail later on, it seems like some of the argument is actually about ideals - people should be different at work, or, rather, bureaucrats shouldn't allow their personal opinions and ideas to affect the way they discharge their duties. Weber says you can protest policies to your superiors; you can push for change and disagree with how things are. But once your bosses confirm that the rules are the rules, it's your job to enforce them as though you believed in them implicitly. I'm not sure where that leaves whistleblowers - they're going against that ethos, but I think they're often right to do so. On the other hand, I find it hard to generate a rational morality which allows for whistleblowers without also allowing the kind of intrusion of personal morality that I do disagree with, such as pharmacists who refuse to dispense contraception or KKK members in the police force pushing a racist agenda.
It seemed to me that there is a moral distinction between whistleblowers and people who use their position within a system to pursue an agenda conformable with their own interests which is not just about the intrusion of purely private morality.

For me, there is a huge chasm here between openness and hypocrisy. The whistleblower may already have raised concerns with their line management and got an unsatisfactory response (and in cases of whistleblowing, what is going on may not merely be ethically dubious but actually illegal). The person who is supposed to be acting in a neutral and evenhanded manner but is inflicting their own agenda is probably not taking up their objections to the higher levels in the organisation and may, in fact, be doing this entirely covertly or in collusion with a group of like-minded individuals within the institution.

This recalled to me that somewhere in one of volumes of Doris Lessing's Children of Violence sequence, she contrasts two women active in the affairs of the capital of 'Zambesia', the fictional counterpart of Rhodesia: Mrs van der Meerwe, the progressive activist, and Mrs Maynard, married to one of the most influential men in the local establishment. Lessing points out that the dangerous subversive perceived as aiming at the destruction of all the white colonial settlers hold dear operates transparently and in the open; she makes no secret of what she is up to. Mrs Maynard, however, operates by gossip and backstairs influence and indirect moves.

The whistleblower is making a public statement and potentially facing adverse consequences. The other side of the equation is being sneaky and underhanded. If you see public morality as being about society, the whistleblower is accepting a responsibility to the wider public sphere beyond their institution.

There are also ways of balancing private and public morality: I think of Gerald Gardiner (who became Lord Chancellor under the Wilson government) who refused elevation to the bench until after the abolition of the death penalty, as he had strong views against this. (I concede that this is not the sort of option open to everybody.)

As an archivist, I am obliged (within the limits of e.g. the law on data protection) to make the archives in my care available to all researchers; I cannot refuse access on the grounds that a particular researcher is a frothing sensationalist conspiracy theorist.

However, what I can do when the frothing conspiracy theorist publishes their sensationalist theory is point out their tearing of material from its context and embedding it in a morass of unexamined assumptions (the dangerous procession from 'could have' via 'would have' 'must have' to 'did').

The Entire Chicken

Sep. 23rd, 2014 12:06 pm
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx

  • Milwaukee has (division-race-wise) joined the choir invisible, and the possible wild card matchups are intriguing.

  • Peter Van Buren (TomDispatch via AlterNet) explains the historical situation of Iraq and why the United States should have refused to have anything whatsoever to do with it. Which reminded me that the late Steve Gilliard had written about military history and Iraq and extensively quoted gjohnsit of Daily Kos, who wrote:

    The first trick to learning from history is not to learn the wrong thing from history. For instance, Bush and the rest of the pro-war, right-wing liked to reference Neville Chamberlain before WWII as reasons to invade Iraq (and now, Iran). The Republicans are right to compare WWII and Iraq, but not for the reasons they think.
    If the Republicans weren't so ignorant about history they would have compared Yugoslavia to Iraq. No, not Yugoslavia in the 1990's. I'm talking about Yugoslavia during WWII.

    Like Iraq, Yugoslavia was artifically put together by the victorious allies after WWI, and combined several ethnic groups that had long, hostile relationships. They managed to live together for decades until Hitler decided that he didn't like their current government in April, 1941. Hitler invaded for no other reason than he wanted "regime change". Yugoslavia's army collapsed quickly. However, that was mearly the beginning.

    Hitler did not have enough troops available to contain any outbreak of ethnic strife, and Yugoslavia decended into civil war.

    In Croatia [in 1941] the indeginous fascist regime set about a policy of "racial purification" that went beyond even Nazi practices. Minority groups such as Jews and Gypsies were to be eliminated as were the Serbs: it was declared that one-third of the Serbian population would be deported, one-third converted to Roman Catholicism, and one third liquidated.
    - Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition

    In the end, three times as many people died in Yugoslavia during WWII as died in the Yugoslavian civil war in the 1990's. The trigger was the overthrow of the government without the military force to enforce its will on an ethnically diverse people. Republicans learned the wrong lesson from history. Saddam Hussein wasn't Hitler. Saddam was King Peter II.

    Well, not really. But you get the idea.

  • Together for 72 years, married this month. Is your marriage threatened yet?

  • See if this sounds familiar:

    We are better, we are more entitled, we are different or at least less interested in the people around us, or the tribes or nations around us, because we’re worthier than they are. Our people are the prettiest, our language is the most musical, our clothes are the most stylish. And these people are barbarians or at the very best civilized but crude. We are deserving of resources just as I, as the individual, am deserving of the raise, or deserving of the job or deserving of the hottest girl at the party because I’m better than the other guys around me.

    It's an article on narcissism, individual and tribal. (Sarah Gray interviews Jeffrey Kluger for Salon, excerpted in AlterNet.)
  • Also, happy birthday to Bruce Springsteen and Augustus (Octavian) Caesar.

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2014 01:18 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Simple game: pick the square with the different color. I only got to level 23, but I'm going to try it at home with my theoretically much nicer monitor.

‘Around the Web’

Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:58 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Back in the ’90s, free weekly “alternative” newspapers were taking off, and sometimes doing a far better job than the establishment dailies at raking the muck and holding local governments accountable. Once in a while I’d read an impressive bit of substantial investigative journalism in an alt-weekly and I’d briefly think that this was a hopeful sign for the future of journalism.

But those longer pieces always jumped to the back, and the back half of those alt-weeklies was usually 20 pages of ads for phone-sex lines. It seemed unlikely that the future of reformist journalism could be sustainable if its funding was so heavily dependent on 976-WANK.

IndapoFor one thing, the values of those advertisers seemed to contradict the vaguely progressive values of the editorial side, which meant one or the other must be failing to reach its intended audience. And, for another thing, the whole phone-sex biz seemed to me to be a bubble industry that couldn’t last. I thought it was like bottled water — who’s gonna pay for something they could already do for free on their own? (I admit, I was wrong about bottled water, too.)

I get that same sinking feeling whenever I encounter those omnipresent “Around the Web” clickbait ads featuring freak-show celebrity gossip and dubious weight-loss elixirs. It can be jarring and weird to see those ads here on Patheos, where you scroll to the bottom of some lovely piece of devotional writing by someone like Morgan Guyton or Ellen Painter Dollar only to find a block of teaser-links to bottom-feeder sites promising slideshows of things like the “25 Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies.”

But it’s even more depressing when you’re reading some enterprising piece of actual journalism at one of the many sites trying to find a new model for that and you encounter that same hideous “Around the Web” ad and realize they’re depending on the same dubious revenue stream the rest of us are.

On the other hand, this isn’t new.

Look at a newspaper from 100 years ago and you’ll realize that lurid freak-shows and quack remedies have always helped to fund the business of journalism. Whatever value real reporting and real journalism has had to offer, it’s always been propped up, in part, by snake-oil and side-boobery.

The craft of journalism has always seemed on the verge of being overthrown or undermined by the business side of the ledger. Yet somehow it’s survived, so far. It outlived the snake-oil salesmen and the phone-sex bubble, and somehow, perhaps, it will outlive the “29 Plastic Surgery Mishaps” clickbait too.

As Tom Stoppard wrote of the theater, “The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.” But …

“Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”


“I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2014 11:48 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
I play a bingo game on Facebook, in which each bingo room has a theme, usually a location. Each room also has a set of 12 or so items to collect (by making bingoes on special cards or a couple of other ways, including trading them with other players). These items are related to the theme of that particular room, usually landmarks or cultural items; for example, the Tokyo room had a kaiju and sushi amongst its collectibles.

Which leads to a conversation like this, from the chat window in the Rio room:

ICFP 2014 Notes, Day 3

Sep. 23rd, 2014 09:14 am
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
These notes are about Wednesday, September 3.

The first talk I went to was Carlo Angiuli's talk on homotopical patch theory. I understood very little about the actual new work in the talk, but I'm very glad to finally have at least a vague sense of what homotopy type theory is about (though I no longer remember how much of that came from the talk, and how much came from talking to Carlo and to Ed Kmett the day before :) I was about to write down my hand-wavy summary of what I think it's about, but I realized it's too hand-wavy to even write down. But, I want to read more about it, and if you're curious, so can you!

The next talk I went to was Niki Vazou's talk on refinement types for Haskell. Refinement types are cool, but sadly, I lost the thread (totally my fault in this case) somewhere after Vazou said something about using refinement types to prove termination for themselves. At that point, I wrote down an outraged little comment on my notepad that ended with a note to myself to read the paper. The other thing about this talk that I noted, which I hate to mention -- but really, what I hate is that it's even noteworthy at all -- is that during the Q&A period, a woman asked a question at a talk given by a different woman. This was the 10th ICFP I've attended, and I'm pretty sure this was the first time I've seen that happen at ICFP.

Then I missed most of Conor McBride's talk "How To Keep Your Neighbors in order" indirectly due to listening to Ed tell his (edited, I'm sure) life story. If you get the chance, you should ask Ed his life story; he may be the closest person to a character in a Hunter S. Thompson book who you're likely to meet at a computer science conference.

Next (for me) was Simon Marlow's talk "There is no Fork: an Abstraction for Efficient, Concurrent, and Concise Data Access", which was probably the best talk title of ICFP 2014. Simon talked about his work on Haxl, motivated by wanting an implicitly concurrent language for fetching data incrementally and lazily. This reminded me a bit of what I overheard when I was working on Rust about Servo's incremental layout, but I don't remember it well enough to know if that's a red herring or not. I'll be interested to read the paper and see if there's any comparison with Erlang, as well.

Jeremy Gibbons began his talk "Folding Domain-Specific Languages: Deep and Shallow Embeddings by saying that his co-author Nicolas Wu couldn't be there because "he has taken delivery of a new baby". Which was funny, but possibly took someone else out of the picture a bit ;) The talk was helpful to me since I spent four years at Portland State hearing people talking about deep and shallow embeddings without knowing what that meant, and now I do. Deep embeddings are syntax-driven and shallow embeddings are semantics-driven (unless it's the opposite); in a shallow embedding, operations are functions in the host language and in a deep embedding, operations are types in the host language (ditto). It's a similar dichotomy to the expression problem. I wrote in my notes "Somehow you can turn context-sensitive interpretations into compositional ones (read the paper)". At that point, I was literally too tired to stand up, so I'm just pleased with myself for having remembered this much!

Doctor visit - ankle report

Sep. 23rd, 2014 08:22 am
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Exhausted even getting there. Totally running on fumes. Dr. F. was very nice, as always. I talked about being in mid-flareup and my ankles especially losing function and being extremely painful.

I am back to wearing the walking boots, but it is difficult to get around the house or stand up (or sit up, really, for long) even with the boots on. I am also wearing the night boots. They are sort of intense but they clearly work. I can't tolerate them all night.

He said I should be in the ankle boots for at least 6-8 weeks. Bummer. Ankles are slow. Mine never healed up but I thought since they were feeling a bit better and I was driving, walking with a full stride and pushing off with my foot properly, that maybe they would get better. Then I told him that I worry it is my fault. But since it seems like an over all joint pain flare up that is probably silly. He said it is autoimmune and not my fault. I still feel like it is my fault even if that is irrational.

Dr. F. said my ankle MRIs from last fall showed damage. I think the ankles got a bit eclipsed by my stomach issues in the late fall and I was also switching doctors. So I heard about one ankle but not the other and no one including me really followed up. The MRIs showed moderate achilles tendinosis and posterior tibial tenosynovitis. The right ankle has some longitudinal tears. Cysts at the insertion point (achilles) And cysts in the heel bone.

I felt some odd relief that there is outside confirmation that there is a problem other than my saying that I am in horrible pain and can't walk right. I worry about the cysts in the bone. Shouldn't they do something about them or like check on them? Can they be fixed? Could this be the cause of some of my pain? Should they MRI it again and see what's going on? Can I get the nitroglycerin patches that they say have a promising chance of actually healing tendinosis damage?

Dr. F. is referring me to an orthopedist who specializes in ankles and he apologized for not following up earlier and was super nice.

We talked about pain and sleep. He advised me to keep on with the tramadol and tylenol and not be shy about just taking it all day. He gave me gabapentin for night time which I can take with ambien, from 300 - 900 mg to help with pain and waking up at night. Also, lidocaine patches which I've never had before. The lidoderm patches are rad. I cut up two of them and plastered them on my ankles, wrists (by the thumb -- always super painful for me) and the horrible spot on the outside of my right calf where I seem to have some nerve damage (peroneal nerve) Lidoderm is awesome.

He didn't know that ankle stuff like this is associated with seronegative arthritis (along with sacroiliac issues). I promised to send him some review papers.

I got much better sleep last night and am going to be working from bed for as long as I can manage it today.

Fluctuating between Mostly OK and small bouts of terrified crying. At least I know this time around how to manage. Also, I went to Vienna in the snow by myself in a manual chair with these fucking boots. So I can go to colombia and mexico in them too. I will give MozFest a miss though, sadly.

I am crying with frustration over losing driving, which I was enjoying. I drove across town to Dogpatch and went to some cafes to work a couple of weeks ago by myself and enjoyed it a lot. I drove with my friend Eileen 5 minutes away to my storage space and we worked on stuff. And I drove me and Danny and the kids to Fort Funston (15 min drive with no traffic) which was lovely. And I drove the first 20 minutes or so of going to Monterey with my dad, and then the stretch over Highway 17 in the dark because he was freaking out and I have driven it a hundred times even if it was years ago, so I am blase about 17 in the dark. I was very much enjoying driving by myself with loud music going all around me. The 80s and punk/ska CDs were the best along with the twee/pop/punk stuff like Los Campesinos. OK. I now can't even drive it across the street to repark it. There is no way. So I'm sad. It feels worth saving the car though. In 6 months Milo can do drivers ed and get his learners permit as he will be 15. Then he can drive me places. Aw yeah.

Glad I got to drive a bit and that I went to the beach with Val and also that I did the whale watching (which is the thing I keep blaming myself for along with driving, but i thought maybe the whale watching boat ride loosened up a lot of things/scar tissue...But I'm glad anyway)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
While some may complain that a republic with so many issues troubling it - a huge population breeding wildly out of control*, profound economic chasms, crumbling infrastructure - should spend its limited funds on such an endeavour, I think this is an impressive achievement.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Literary gentrification is not a simple matter of famous literary authors – who, coincidentally, tend to be straight, white men – cherrypicking SFFnal tropes and declaring them cleansed of genre, transcendent of but inspired by: it is as much a question of whose writing we deem capable of having this effect as one of which writers strive to have this effect, in that however much one tries to transcend, one cannot actually achieve it – or be told that such achievement has, in fact, occurred, regardless of intention – without a critical audience to argue, or even assume, that this is the case.


Sep. 23rd, 2014 06:57 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Also we got home & Mr. E asked "how was dinner?" & I said "it was nice!" & Mom said "IT WAS AN ORDEAL." Has it just been too long since she hung out with small kids? Or would most people not count a dinner outing where the baby throws up, the kid knocks over the neighbors' water, and the parent, despite her best efforts, is moved once to loudly state "Mother. FUCKER." as a success? I can't remember anymore. :( Relatively speaking, it went well!

Enough is enough

Sep. 23rd, 2014 07:08 am
supergee: (boobies)
[personal profile] supergee
Snopes: Woman with three breasts story is false.

[poem] And so the seasons

Sep. 23rd, 2014 10:49 am
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
How is it that so very great a gift
can be as fragile, tiny, tenuous as this:
this sun-bleached bird skull, feather-light,
caught in protecting nets emplaced
from June til autumn (dawn til dusk).
Nearby: a poised and outspread wing,
tenacity of tenderness made flesh.
Unwieldy metaphor, perhaps, and yet--
and yet. O best belov'd: take flight.

(It is the lightness of your embrace
that will let me go adrift.
-- Meg Bateman)


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