Linux Presentations, Gaming Updates

2017-Apr-24, Monday 21:33
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[personal profile] tcpip
Gave introductory Linux and HPC day-courses at University of Melbourne last Thursday and Friday, followed by a presentation at Linux Users of Victoria the following day on Compiling from Source in Linux. The former courses had a particularly high-ratio of staff, rather than the usual collection of postgraduate researchers. Regardless the feedback was equally positive. The presentation to LUV was quite challenging, as I quickly realised however the single talk could easily be several, and as a result I touched upon several items (compilation options, makefiles, autotools and other autobuild systems, environment modules, etc). Nevertheless the post-presentation discussion was excellent; Rodney B., asked whether I had used material from other courses. When I revealed I had not he described the presentation as "embarrassingly good" - which I suppose is positive. At times like these I can have the conceit that I might actually be reasonably good at this HPC Training racket.

After LUV attended the monthly RPG Review movie night at The Astor. It was a monster-themed double with Kong: Skull Island, followed by the 1970 Hammer film, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth. The former was fairly good, a rather fun combination of King Kong and Apocalypse Now. The latter was absolutely terrible, with the one redeeming feature of the film being carried out in a constructed language. On related popular culture matters played GURPS Middle-Earth the following day and our party of do-gooders successfully defeated the evil sapient trees built by a mad druid. Apropos had some pretty regular sales from the RPG Review in the past couple of weeks, and am reminded that both the RPG Review journal is due, along with Papers & Paychecks.

The 36 was fun!

2017-Apr-24, Monday 09:12
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Probably my last LJ crosspost. Probably my last LJ entry.

5 biplanes fly over Mt Eliza 
A rainbow kisses the paddlesteamer Decoy

A dolphin surfaces near the Narrows and Old Swan Brewery.

#36photo #36photo2007

I should be writing...

2017-Apr-23, Sunday 00:39
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
But I'm not, because this story is HARD and I'd rather look at chickens playing the piano on the internet.

(I'm at least halfway through the story, but it doesn't have much dialogue, and writing stories with minimum dialogue is the pits, I tell you.)

So instead I'm going to lurk around on Dreamwidth and write about random things.

Random thing one:  I'm singing in an opera concert next week, and it's totally nuts.  It's called 'A Journey through the History of Opera', and has been made more fun by the fact that we only got most of the music on Friday and the concert is next Wednesday.  The first half is fairly normal, and gives me the opportunity to sing a duet with a truly gorgeous countertenor (and I do not use the words 'gorgeous' and 'countertenor' in the same sentence lightly).  So that's lovely. 

The second half, on the other hand, is bonkers.  Somehow, our Dear Director found an opera written in 2007 by a chap called Viktor Fortin about Franz Jägerstätter, who was recently canonised as a saint and martyr of the Catholic church for refusing to fight for Hitler.  We are doing three movements from this opera.

So it's super cheerful.  And super atonal, because it was written in 2007, and is about Hitler. (Hitler is being sung by the counter-tenor.  I am amused to note that there was absolute agreement between all altos and tenors present that this is the appropriate choice and no more than countertenors deserve, really, since they steal all our solos.  Since he is a very nice counter-tenor, and really deserves all the solos, it seems rather cruel in this instance, but we can see where the composer was coming from.) 

Also, it's in an Austrian dialect.  And there is lots of weird spoken word stuff in Austrian dialect, mostly spoken by me pretending to be three different children.  Yay.  Though this is still better than having to sing the alleged music.

You might think that this is a hard act to follow, and it is. We're following it with Gilbert and Sullivan, specifically a duet and an ensemble piece from Iolanthe.  Wings optional, though I'm hoping very much that I can find some.  I'm trying to work out whether this choice is unbelievably terrible or secret genius.

Also, because I'm now the lone soprano in this group, I'm doing no fewer than three love duets.  Despite the super-short hair which I feel ought to qualify me for trouser roles.  This is a little uncomfortable, because I am not a huggy person with men I don't know well.  And two of my are with the tenor, and while he has a lovely voice, and we don't get along *badly* exactly, I always feel as though he finds me annoying, and also, I can never tell whether he is joking or not, which is uncomfortable.  Definitely not someone I'd be hugging or fake-kissing in the normal way of things. The third duet is with the counter-tenor, which is awkward in a slightly different way, because I have a little bit of a crush on his beautiful, beautiful voice.  Fortunately, that particular duet is probably more hand-holdy rather than fake-kissy, but still. 

Naturally, I am not doing any duets with the bass, with whom I get along very comfortably and could hug without any feelings of awkwardness whatsoever.  Or even with the alto, which would also be fine.

Still, at least it isn't weird 21st century Hitler opera.

Let's see, what else?  I've been reading and reviewing lots of books for the Smart Bitches RITA review challenge, and they should start turning up online soon.  I also had a rather poorly-written (mid-grants season) review published at BookThingo, and they'd like me to do more reviewing for them and have offered to send me free books for this purpose.  I may also be doing some writing for another blog but that's still all under discussion.  It would be a lot of fun if they decided they wanted me, however. 

I may possibly be aiming for some sort of record for the number of blogs I am writing myself or freelancing for.

I haven't got a lot else done this week.  I'm still ridiculously tired, post grants and Easter, I guess, though I'm at the point where my brain likes to start listing all the terminal illnesses for which tiredness might be a symptom.  My brain is a real positive thinker.

I really do need to get back to politics blogging, but haven't had the energy. 

I think that's enough for now.

Breakfast with Danese, blockchain book.

2017-Apr-22, Saturday 12:36
reddragdiva: (stress relief)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

Danese Cooper swung through London as she periodically does, so we met for breakfast at Gail's and I got a pancake. Grumbles about how people are a problem, bragging about children and (step-)grandchildren.

Still trudging through the book-shaped albatross. Looked at the site on Danese's phone and went "FUCK," it looks like a web page for ants. So I'll be installing a WordPress on that today then. Yet again doing the thing I tell everyone else not to, i.e. self-hosting WordPress. Bah.

The cover is the big blocker right now. I know what I want now, big block "business book" lettering and a coupla Sergio Aragones style silhouettes. Main blocker is my complete lack of artistic talent.

Also, I posted a rough draft of the Bitfinex section to Reddit /r/buttcoin and ... Mark Karpelès of Mt. Gox bought me Reddit Gold. :-O

rosefox: Lots of hearts with lines connecting them and the caption "Love begets love". (love (expanded))
[personal profile] rosefox
[personal profile] jasra posted this copy-and-paste support meme:

My door is always open. The house is usually half clean. Coffee/Tea could be on in minutes, and the chairs are a comfy place of peace and non-judgment. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. It's no good suffering in silence. There is always food in the fridge, coffee/tea in the cupboard, and a listening ear or shoulder to cry on. I will always be here & you are always welcome!!

If you want to, could at least one friend please copy and re-post (not share)? I'm trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening! We need more love ūüíõ

My version:

If we are friends, my home is always open to you for a hug, a chat, a cat to pet, a cuppa, a meal, or a couch to crash on for a night or two. Stairs and cats and baby mean my space won't be accessible to everyone, but we will all do our very best to be welcoming and supportive in every other way.

If you have been harmed or kicked out of your home and need a safe place to go, I will gladly provide that safe place or help you find another one.

I'm always up late. (Always.) If you need someone to talk to late at night, call or text or DM/PM me.

My spoons and time can be pretty limited. But I care a lot about helping other people, and will always do as much as I can. And you can count on me to be clear and compassionate when setting boundaries, so you never have to worry whether you're being a bother or intruding or taking resources I don't have to spare.

Feel free to post and share your own version if you're able to help others who are in need. ūüíö
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

I haven't read this one as many times as maybe I should. There's some stylistic weirdness (it's written in second-person, which is to some extent, "gaming", although perhaps more the text adventures of days gone by than modern 1st/3rd megapolygon wossnames), which lingers in my memory as an initial hurdle. It's quite OK once you're reading, though. At least I find it so.

First in a series of two (so far) Scottish near-future police procedurals.

All in all, not a bad read. I should see if I have the second one in electronic or paper form.

Formalized mathematics

2017-Apr-21, Friday 17:09
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
Now reading Freek Wiedijk's comparison of seventeen computational proof assistant systems: (1) HOL, (2) Mizar, (3) PVS, (4) Coq, (5) Otter/Ivy, (6) Isabelle/Isar, (7) Alfa/Agda, (8) ACL2, (9) PhoX, (10) IMPS, (11) Metamath, (12) Theorema, (13) Lego, (14) Nuprl, (15) ő©mega, (16) B method, and (17) Minlog.

Safely home!

2017-Apr-20, Thursday 12:54
azurelunatic: (Pacifica)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So I went to Tacoma for a week, to visit my primary partner. It was a very nice visit and everyone had fun!

I flew out Monday the 10th, marred by some lateness from the previous plane arriving, but I had a very lovely chat with my seatmate and gave her some info on self-taught programming for her teenage son who is very good with computers and might be interested in programming if he doesn't go the heart surgeon route. (He is whip-smart, autistic, and interested in planes. And computers. And being a heart surgeon.) Upon seeing my partner, I kissed them hello straight off and then we loaded everything into the car and headed for the next stop (taking time to update the local branch of the polycule on what was up).

My partner met my sister, yay!

There were cheesecake-related shenanigans.

I got to meet my partner's co-workers, and see them at work in one of the more rewarding aspects of their job -- plus some of the stuff that goes into making that happen.

I got to meet some long-time internet friends in person ([ profile] tygerr & wife), see Ex Mrs. Shawn #1, see [personal profile] vlion and wife and kid. Stories were told. I got to meet [personal profile] rynia and their wife and another friend, plus my metamour, and the people whose couch my partner will be occupying for the next little bit. And I got to meet the people whose spare room my partner and their cat are currently in. Plus see a few bandmates. And a few of my sister's bandmates. And my metamour's mother and brothers. SO MANY PEOPLE.

Very good times were had by all. We listen to some of the same podcasts, and our philosophies of laundry are compatible. The food choices worked out. [personal profile] norabombay and I bat around some thoughts on alpha/beta/omega dynamics as they are seen in fanfic, and basically you'd need some hardcore preparation for an omega heat. You'd want frozen burritos or something that are super quick to fix, a room with a nice comfortable bed, and a fuckton of lube and such. Water bottles for bed. You know.


Despite some concerns, we did not get told that we were disturbing other guests. We may have been doing it wrong.


I left on Monday. I did most of my weeping and clinging on Sunday night. I'm adjusting to life back home, but with a part of my head that I didn't realize had been quite so on-edge now purring quietly to itself.

We'd sort of wanted an oasis of calm with just the two of us. Instead, we got the edge of a crisis, as my partner's hosts had been told that it was renovation time and they needed to find a new place. And my partner had various things at work on four of the weekdays. Plus I wanted to meet people while I was there, and show off my partner. So it wasn't just the two of us alone with no worries, it was commuting and work and locating moving boxes and all sorts of little things.

Our emotions and our physical interactions had been growing wildly out of step. It's one thing to spend comfortable time in each other's virtual presence, swearing at traffic or grumbling about an essay or something. It's another to actually touch each other. I had been a little worried: would I push them away in the middle of the night? Would I be able to fall asleep with their skin touching me? As it turned out, if I tiptoed out of bed in the middle of the night to pee, they'd wrap back around me when I came in, and when they got out of bed with their alarm on a workday, I'd grumble something sleepy at the loss of their touch.

When I was an impressionable teenager, I read some MSR portal fantasy with soulbonding, where some form of magic had bound Mulder and Scully tightly to each other; in the early bits of the fic, the space between them decreased, so they needed to be in physical contact at all times. (This was down to some malfunction, and the bond was fixed later on.) But in the beginning, as the bond strengthened, the physical distance decreased.

But that's ... kind of not where things go.

Given the opportunity, my partner and I will snuggle up into each other. We're both a little short on skin-to-skin contact, so I will likely as not have my hand grasping their shirt collar, fingers tucked against their neck. But it doesn't hurt to let go. It's not a problem of scarcity. If they let go, they will come back and hold me again. If I let go, I will come back and curl around them. There's a security. They are a fixed point. My anchor. My love.
Parted from me and never parted; never and always touching and touched.

Valediction Tramper, Valedictions Rodents

2017-Apr-20, Thursday 19:16
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[personal profile] tcpip
My surprise at Tramper rat still being alive at our return to NZ proved to be short-lived. The following morning his body was still so prior to work I buried him in the backyard and planted forget-me-nots. At 33 months (82.5 rat years) Tramper was the last of his trio, the largest and oldest of the group. In his younger days he was certainly the leader and most forward of the pack, gregarious and gentle. As he aged, he slowly accumulated various health problems; a foot infection, a mammary tumour, and glaucoma. He lived through these with a high degree of adaptability. Whilst wary of anthropmorphising, I cannot help but think that he kept himself alive for a few extra days to ensure his farewells.

Thus ends some fifteen years of having rats as animal companions. The entry point was a few years prior whilst living with Glenn K., in Richmond where his rat Spit befriended me. Following my return from Timor-Leste I've lived with Harlequin and Montebanc, then Vagabond and Rogue, Ragamaffin and Scoundrel, Calamity, Mischief, and Trouble, Rascal, Nomad, and Riff-Raff, Tricky and Naughty (the mothers of P, P, & P), Lucky, Picador, Pierrot, and Prankster, and finally, Scamper, Rover, and Tramper - this is along with looking after Bambi and Suki for a neighbour.

For the uninitiated the rat may seem a strange choice of companion. They have bad press, as bearers of diseases (true), dirty (false), cunning (true), and selfish (false). For those in the know, they are intelligent, they are social, they have memory and reasoning and - from a combination of these factors - are surprisingly moral creatures, exhibiting empathy, guilt, and altruism. I have learned a great deal from them, and perhaps a little about myself as I have done my best to care for them. I hope I have contributed in some small amount to their comfort. I have not lost interest in the creatures but my own life-plans do not allow at this stage for their limited lifespans. So, in parting, I raise a salute to these heroic creatures.

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Don't know if I've reread this before, so this may genuinely be the second read.

It's, let's say, a "late-Heinlein pastiche", including, but not limited to, oversexed fembots with nipples that go spung (for plot-relevant reasons, no less).

We're in a post-humanity solar system, filled with a variety of robots, who are now all that's left of the heritage of Earth (having a completely crashed biosystem on the main planet, no human seen for at least one, maybe multiple, centuries, that sort of "left of").

When the novel start, we find our main viewpoint character Freya on one of the balconies of an upper-Venus-atmosphere flyer thing, contemplating the wisdom of letting gravity take over, since after all what meaning is there for a sexbot when she was manufactured after the last human was already gone?

Turns out, yes, there's a good many reasons to not let gravity take over.

Is it readable? Yes, on the balance. But probably not without knowing some of the specifics on which it riffs, which may or may not be what you want to internalise, but if you already had, there's worse.

It does set the scene for Neptune's Brood though, so might be worth reading just for taht (not sure it's 100% necessary, though).

That was nice

2017-Apr-19, Wednesday 22:34
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
 Rob and I had a lovely 23rd Wedding anniversary today. We saw Skull Island, surveyed the 36 route for the photowalk on Sunday, and got together with the fannish meet up at the Old Shanghai and later Whisk with old and new friends. Lovely.
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
 I've been using DW as my prime journal site for a time, with LJ as the back up.

What with the stupidity in Russia and my soon to close LJ I've been thinking. What about all of the other people's comments over the years?
Is there a way of bringing them across or something, or will they be blown away when I Press The LJ Button to expunge it?

In less serious news, I and Rob are going to the Old Shanghai/San Churro's this evening, it's the tradition after Swancon for a post con meetup.  I don't know whether any one else is - Swancon may or may not have posted on Facebook, (don't make me go there) but not much communication anywhere else. Rob has posted some nice photos on Google Plus where you won't get popups in your face wanting you to sign up.

I had a lovely Swancon 42. The hotel worked a lot better than I was expecting, the staff were great and excited and very helpful.

The test of writing and drawing for each day was successful. 

The program was very interesting, I marked several to go to, but really, if I want to go to panels I should just keep away from the gaming room. 
I did get to a couple. I would've really liked to go to some, but oh well, there's always next year.

The guests were lovely. The crowd was good.

It didn't seem crowded, but people were distributed across several floors on different sides of the hotel.

Thank you committee!

Rats and NZ Adventures

2017-Apr-18, Tuesday 23:29
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Firstly, I want to thank everyone on LJ, DW, G+, and FB who expressed their condolences with the passing of Rover the rat last week. It touched me deeply that so many of you, nearly all who have spent no time in his company, saw fit to respond to my little eulogy. I make apologies for not responding to all the wishes in person, as I have been away in New Zealand with limited Internet access - and the screen to my laptop has been damaged - and have only just returned tonight, to discover that the old, blind, and cancer-ridden Tramper rat is surprisingly still with us and have managed to eat all the food that had been left out for him.

Read more... )

So that was a six-day holiday; it was a pretty busy affair with a lot packed in. My previous three trips to NZ have been largely work based so it was good to get around a bit more and finally see a part of the country that I hitherto had not been to. One nice discovery during the trip was learning that my application to attend the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt has been approved. That will be the next trip.

Good night Swancon 42

2017-Apr-17, Monday 23:54
leecetheartist: Default dragon icon, only upside down! (topsyturvy)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Actually went to a really panel today -the history of the Perth Observatory, which was very interesting.


April the Amigurumi Giraffe

2017-Apr-17, Monday 13:03
terriko: (Default)
[personal profile] terriko
This is crossposted from, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I made this one for a co-worker and very awesome lady who’s expecting to give birth Real Soon Now. With the whole internet waiting for April the Giraffe to give birth, a giraffe seemed like an extra-appropriate baby gift. Since the gift has been gifted and the giraffe has given birth, now’s the time for a blog post!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

Pattern: Gigi Giraf. You might recognize this one, as I’ve made it before, and used it as a base for a moose I made for another colleague some time ago. It’s a great pattern!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

Yarn: Be Sweet Bamboo for the base colour. I love using this yarn. It’s so very soft, shiny, and it’s got a neat and very subtle tonal going that really works for giving some depth to the amigurumi. I immediately bought most of the colours for my next few amigurumi projects. If you’re local to me, Black Sheep at Orenco has it, and it’s worth trying!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

The brown is Nova Plus Four Seasons Cotton. This is a nice soft cotton made of many tiny strands. I love how it feels when crocheted up, but it was a bit easy to split while I was working with it unless I wound it up a bit as it went.

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

I love the little tail. ūüôā

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

I should have taken some more in-progress photos, but here’s one more before it got its spots!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

(no subject)

2017-Apr-17, Monday 15:07
splodgenoodles: (Default)
[personal profile] splodgenoodles
Another wafty day chez moi. Consider these posts to be placeholders. A reminder that I do still exist.

Although sometimes I don't know if it's better to quietly disappear until health returns or to continue being present. Disappear, and it might be that when/if you come back, no one will remember who you are. Stay present, and you might be able to do it only in such limited capacity that people have no sense of you anyway.

I'm really enjoying Words With Friends, it seems to be the one brain-thing I'm capable of these days. I fantasize about doing other things, but too many steps are required.

I have a pathology nurse coming around tomorrow morning to collect blood for tests for everything, I anticipate no surprises. Then I have homecare, which will be nice. Later in the day a Nice Young Lass(TM) will be coming by to see if she's the right person to help me out one or two hours a week. This isn't government funded, I'm paying for it myself. I want my fish tended, among other things.

I am really hoping that on Wednesday I am well enough to go to the birthday dinner of a very dear friend. I'll be sad if I can't go. I resigned myself to a solitary Easter, but this might be pushing it.

But I guess I've been here before.

Rolling with the punches.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Been a while since I read this. It's rather godo reading, but one thing leaves me puzzled, what do tibias have to do with arms? Anyway, Irene is a Librarian (yep, taht capital letter is definitely required), working for The Library (again, required), a library existing between the worlds, where time does not really pass, in some sense.

She has been given what sounds like a simple mission, go to a specified alternate and recover a book. No more, no less. Shouldn't be a problem, no?

All in all, excellent reading.

some context

2017-Apr-16, Sunday 14:43
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
The context of the thinking about definite descriptions and free logic might put you off, or it might excite you. I think you can ignore the context and focus on the technical questions if you prefer.

The context is a line of thinking about the ontological argument in Anselm's Proslogion 2 that I've been pursuing since the late seventies. Since '83, a lot of the thinking and writing has been done in conversation with Ed Zalta.

It's going to be interesting to figure out how to typeset these entries. A while back I suggested that we allow MathJax on DW, but I don't think that was done. Folk who are typesetting technical stuff in your journals, how are you doing it?

definite descriptions

2017-Apr-16, Sunday 14:34
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
Most of the authorities agree that adding a term-forming operator to a language to represent definite descriptions ought to be a conservative extension. There seems to be an interesting argument that can be captured in a language with descriptions but not in a language without. So this is now being investigated. (This is joint work with Ed Zalta of Stanford, and I hope to start presenting preliminary thoughts soon in the Adelaide Logic Seminar. If it's not a wind egg, I'll probably say something about it at the AAL meeting in July.)
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
It occurs to me that if I begin discussing philosophical and logical work in progress in this journal, then I probably need to remove the creative commons statements from my profile, because of my obligations to publishers, academic institutions, and collaborators.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about this.

Edited to add: I just looked at my profile, and saw that I had already made this change.

utterly technical logic stuff

2017-Apr-15, Saturday 16:28
peoppenheimer: A photo of Paul Oppenheimer at the Australasian Association of Philosophy meeting. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
Is anyone on dw interested in hearing about utterly technical logic stuff that I'm trying to figure out?


2017-Apr-15, Saturday 16:36
splodgenoodles: (Default)
[personal profile] splodgenoodles
My thanks to the person who gifted me a paid account for 12 months.

Unexpected and lovely.

Good Friday

2017-Apr-15, Saturday 13:38
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Yesterday started with a Good Friday service at Wesley.  Alistair always does beautiful liturgy (which is not something one can normally say of the Uniting Church - it's great at social justice, but suspicious of anything that might be papist, like choir anthems in Latin, or liturgy), and he had done so again - the cross was draped in black, and he had the full set of readings from St John's description of Christ's Passion, interspersed with some of the really lovely old hymns.  The prayers at the cross were interspersed with verses from 'O sacred head sore wounded'.  I sang 'Erbarme Dich', which went particularly well - somehow it was very easy to pour emotion into it this time, and my legs were shaking by the time I sat down again. 

A lovely service all round, and particularly ideal for me, because between the Bach and the reading of St John in English, I was nicely primed for the afternoon and the singing of St John in German (because, of course, the JohannesPassion is precisely the same text that had been read in the morning).

The Passion itself went very well.  It's a very intense piece to sing on a lot of levels - purely intellectually, you really need to focus very intently for the entire time, because while the choir is not singing all the time, most of the entries are lightning quick, and you have to pick your note from something the soloist just sang - and if you don't get your note, then God help you, because Bach certainly won't - the choruses, especially those when the crowd is calling for Christ's crucifiction, are lightning fast, very full of (harsh) words, and quite fugal and chromatic. 

And of course, it's a very intense, dramatic, emotional piece, too - Bach is very good at alternating St John's text with solos that respond emotionally to the work as only baroque German theologians can (the aria where Christ's bleeding back is compared to the rainbow is a good example of just how visceral and weird these arias are), and chorales that are essentially the congregational/theological response to what is going on.  By the time you get to the final chorale, you are quite spent.

It was fun singing a piece like this at the recital centre, and with such a huge choir, too.  We barely fit on the stage - when we went up for the first sound check I had an oboist so close that my music was virtually resting on his head - after some rearrangement, I wound up with a flautist nearly in my lap - not quite as close as the oboist had been, but close enough that I could read her music quite comfortably.  So the soprano arias with flute obbligato became for me flute arias with soprano accompaniment.  And it was a very exciting place to be sitting in the opening movement, where the oboes and flutes have these fantastic clashes which set up the first half of the Passion.  I must say, I have a new appreciation for flutes, now.  My school used to offer flute lessons to all and sundry, so I grew up hearing a lot of bad flute-playing and assuming I didn't much like the flute. It turns out that I quite like the flute when it is being played by someone who knows what they are doing! 

It was also interesting just hanging out behind the woodwind sections and seeing who was doubling what - the flutes were hanging out with the tenors more often than I expected.  We also were nicely close to the cellist who was doing all the continuo, and to the bassoon and double basses, which made the 'wohins' in the 'Eilt, eilt' aria much easier than they had been before.  Of course, it was then hard work not to be distracted by the excitement of watching and listening to the woodwinds...

But yeah, by the end, I was pretty exhausted.  We went home for fish and chips and Jesus Christ Superstar, which is my traditional Good Friday viewing, but interestingly, it doesn't go with Bach anywhere near as well as it goes with a Catholic vigil, and I wound up switching to the commentary track.  Even then, my head was too full of Bach to really engage with it.

And now it is holy Saturday.  Tonight, I will be singing the Easter Vigil at St Joseph's, and tomorrow, I will be singing Easter Day at Wesley.   Interestingly, I have now done all my alto singing for this week - it's soprano from here.  Evidently, alto is the language of sorrow, and soprano that of rejoicing!  And I have a lamb tagine in the slow cooker, smelling amazing, and ready for a late dinner after the vigil, because technically, it's Easter at that point. 

But really, my head is all Bach at present.  It's always hard to turn from Good Friday into Easter Sunday - I find that there isn't enough time for the emotional turnaround.  I wonder if it will be different this year?  It feels like it ought to be, but I don't know in which direction...
rbarclay: (stinkefinger)
[personal profile] rbarclay
My eyesight was never the best, but holding pretty steady at -1/-1.25 or thereabouts. 20 years ago I got glasses, but couldn't really wear them because after a couple minutes I got all cross-eyed and started seeing double. Well, at least as long as I was really concentrating (extremely visually oriented tasks such as driving or cinema) it was no problem, but just walking around was.
But, well, no real trouble, as with just -1/-1.25 life without glasses is perfectly doable.

2 years ago, whilst watching the telly one evening, I suddenly had large bright coloured spots (kaleidoscope-like) splattered all over my right eye. Went to the eye doc the next day, got told this was just stress-related (an "eye migraine") and to get new glasses and that was it. The spots went away after a couple days, but I had the impression that for my right eye contrast was extremely heightened (like when you turn the contrast on a computer monitor all the way up). To the doc again, got told it should go away on its own, and to give it time.

Well, nowadays I have trouble reading unless I close my right eye. And since my right eye is the dominant one this creates a problem. So to a different eye doc.

Conclusio: the spots were a symptom of fluid-filled bubbles somewhere under the anterior chamber ("2 layers down from the cornea"). Yes, probably stress-related, and usually no problem. In my case, though, they were in the worst possible position (right smack in the middle), and they left scars. Which won't go away, and can't be treated as they're not on/with the cornea but way farther down. Combine that with normal age-related deteriorating eyesight and, well, no fun at all.

Got new glasses again, and with those it's obvious that it's not a contrast problem - I can see the spots where everything's wobbly.

So that's that, then

2017-Apr-14, Friday 11:32
cdybedahl: (Default)
[personal profile] cdybedahl
After fifteenish years I've deleted my Livejournal account. The latest change of ToS that mandated homophobia was way too much. So, since just getting the heck out of there didn't feel like enough of a protest, I also paid for an account here. Even though I actually don't need any of the paid features.

2017 - #38, "Lock In", John Scalzi

2017-Apr-14, Friday 09:10
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

This is an interesting book in many ways, discussing a whole slew of important themes. It also has one of the most deliciously hidden twists (well, it's not really a twist, it's well-known what it is, and all that), but it's one of those things that are better to know after you've read it for the first time.

That aside, we're basically along for a ride with newly-minted FBI Agent Chris Shane, during the very first week on the job. It is hopefully not a week that is a sign of times to come, but as these things are, nobody really knows.

All in all, a pretty good read. I think I appreciated the book more the second time, which is perhaps not always the case with re-reads.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Latest novel out of the Scalzi compound As far as I can tell, it's not connected to anything else that Scalzi has written before (apart from sharing an author, publisher and language, that is). Is it good? Yes, I would say that it is. I wanted to continue reading and I was wanting to know what happens next. There were some characters I sympathised with, and some I quite disliked, although I think that was intentional.

It is the best Scalzi book I've read? No, it isn't. It's also not the worst. I suspect it's "above median", but I have not taken the time to sit down and do the sums and comparisons.

Swancon 42 T minus 1 day.

2017-Apr-12, Wednesday 21:26
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist

T-1 Day

Yes, the artwork really is that big, it's not an exaggeration!

Music, religion, hair, and a story

2017-Apr-12, Wednesday 15:58
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I'm nearly at the halfway point of my Holy Week Musical Marathon.  Last night was the first orchestral rehearsal, which went quite well, though also very late.  We have Andrew Goodwin as our Evangelist again, so there was much swooning in the alto section.  He really has an angelic voice - very pure and effortless, but with great depth of emotion.  And he is very still when he sings, so the music just seems to come through him.

(And it doesn't hurt at all that he is rather good-looking.  At least, I think he is.  Would he be without that voice?  It's hard to tell.  And it probably doesn't matter.)

On the way home, one of the sopranos confided to me that last time we did the JohannesPassion it didn't go very well.  "Of course," she added, "It didn't help that someone in the audience died, and the conductor kept going." (Our conductor is not, in fact, a callous or uncaring person - but he had his back to the audience, and thus had no idea why the choir had suddenly lost the ability to remember any of their entries.)

I don't even know how to respond to that one.  Except that that's a whole new level of things to worry about at choir concerts.  And – as a performer, what on earth *should* you do in such a situation?  (It sounds like the people near him were providing first aid and carried him out to the foyer and called an ambulance, so it's not as though anyone was behaving badly, but what a situation to be in!)

Sunday was the Palm Sunday service, which usually starts with a procession outside from the local school.  Alas, the weather was extremely stormy and cold, and the priest, I think with a suitable regard for the health of his elderly congregation, decided to hold the procession in the foyer, where it lacked atmosphere but did at least have central heating.  Not so in the choir loft - our final hymn asked what we would do without Christ our Lord, and informed us that we would be cold and hungry and thirsty.  The choir, which had been there since 8am and hadn't had breakfast, which was shivering in a very cold draft, and which was feeling rather desperate for coffee, nearly lost it - we ARE cold and hungry and thirsty! - but most of us managed to sing.  (Very fast, because the service was running overtime and the organist decided to pick up the pace...)

My Division at work is hosting the next Institute social gathering on May 10th.  I suggested a Eurovision theme (because I have learned from experience that scientists will leap at the flimsiest shadow of an excuse to play dress ups), and this suggestion has been picked up with TERRIFYING levels of enthusiasm.  I knew there were a few fellow Eurovision tragics around, but it seems like it's half the Institute.  We're going to be hiring a stage and projecting a series of Eurovision video clips onto a screen behind people, so that they can lip sync or karaoke.  And we're going to have a Green Room which will be a photobooth area.  And there will be *very* kitsch food, and one of my students has a Ukrainian girlfriend, so all the signage will be in English, French and Ukrainian and there will be Ukrainian food, too.

(Actually, it's all parties, cake and flowers, all the time in my Division.  My Centenary Games Sidekick and favourite PhD student (who is now a Postdoc) is leaving us to go to Germany; several more women are going on maternity leave, and we've had a few people in hospital.  I feel like my entire job is Eurovision parties, flowers, cake and cards right now.)

And a slightly odd thing.  In the last three weeks, I've had two people who I know only slightly approach me to ask extremely open-ended and sincere questions about religion.  My physio asked me, quite earnestly and very much as if she thought I knew the answer, how much of the Bible is true, which led to a very long conversation about translation and texts and history and culture and authorial intent and books that are in dialogue with each other.  And another young woman (from a conservative Christian background) asked me out of the blue how Christian I was, and then asked for my thoughts/guidance on some very personal matters, which she was trying to figure out in conjunction with a faith that says you aren't even supposed to be figuring that stuff out, just don't do it (mostly I just listened and was accepting and respectful, and noted that I definitely don't have all the answers, but that I don't think God cares about sex quite as much as fundamentalists do, and that getting these things wrong, whatever wrong looks like in this instance, doesn't make you irredeemable, either, though I didn't put it in quite those terms).  

The thing is... These are interesting questions to be asked.  And I'm very honoured to be asked them, even though I do not really feel qualified to answer them.  And I'm beginning to think I really do need to study theology at some point (in my copious spare time).  But I'm also wondering why I am the person who is being asked them.

My current best theory is that it's ... actually because of my hair?  Because that's about the only thing I can think of that has changed in the last three weeks that might be visible to someone who is making judgments about who to talk to about difficult things.  The short hair suits me (in fact I LOVE it on so many levels, and am almost certainly going to keep it short for the foreseeable future).  But I have a feeling that I am now looking accidentally lesbian, and people are putting that together with the fact that I sing in church choirs and going, hmm, she's religious, but she obviously can't be all that conservative, so maybe she's a good person to ask awkward questions about religion. 

Or is that a ridiculous stretch?

I mean, it could be a coincidence.  Or it could just be that super-short hair also codes not-conservative (though I would have thought that purple, pink, red and blue hair would have a similar effect).  It's just strange.  (I hasten to add that I also have no problem with presenting as – whatever I am currently presenting as.  But I'm a bit bemused by it.  I'd love to know what signals I'm actually sending.)

Anyway.  I have no idea what to do with any of that.  It's a thing.  It's a strange thing.

But I do kind of like getting to have those conversations.  

I can't think of much else that's happened recently.  It's really been all singing and Eurovision and strangely intense conversations.

Oh, I did write another story, though - more LeBruns.  They seem to be my go-to stories at present, and they are a lot of fun to write.  This one is called Olifant, and is for Mairie de Saint-Ouen.

And I might be about to have another writing/blogging gig with some friends, but more on that when it eventuates (clearly, I need to be doing more blogging, she says, laughing hollowly.).

Also, I still don't know what to do with LiveJournal.  I can't cross-post without logging in and agreeing to those Terms of Service, and I really don't want to do so.  So it's limbo for now.  I'll think about it after Easter, I suppose.

Valedictions Rover Rat

2017-Apr-12, Wednesday 10:00
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Rover the Rat unexpectedly died last night, almost certainly of a heart attack. He had been his usual very active self the previous day, and had just enjoyed a plate of food. However I was worried as he seemed a little tired when I put him to sleep last night. This morning he was but a dead rat, and joins the cadavers of many others that are in our small garden. Having reached the age of 29 months (72.5 in rat years), I really expected to be spending several more months in his company on the basis of his alertness and activity. But it is not to be.

From his troika, Rover was the youngest and smallest of the set and was originally quite shy, albeit full of a energy and a sense of adventure. He soon came to appreciate the company of the human members of the colony, encouraged by an extraordinary appetite that correlated with his energy. Never much of a lap rat (he was too active!) he lived a life of playful happiness and would delight getting himself lost in the foliage of our garden. I guess his sudden demise spares him of the slowness of age which I imagine would have been frustrating to him. Now there is only old Tramper, the eldest of the group and the last of the rodent colony. He certainly doesn't have much longer himself, and that will be the end of the rats.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

From a gameplay perspective, every one of Mass Effect’s missions is¬†cut-and-copied:

  • You travel to a location where:
  • You fight a group of alien beings, OR:
  • You¬†search for a place where you can press a button.

If you’re super-lucky, sometimes you combine the two! ¬†You press a button, and then fight people! ¬†Or when the fighting is done, you get to look for¬†a button!

The excitement never ends in Mass Effect.

The only thing that¬†stops Mass Effect from being endlessly repetitive is the narrative wrapper. ¬†Quite literally, “story” is the sole difference between missions – and, largely, it works. ¬†¬†Because let’s say¬†the three missions are:

  • An innocent girl has wandered out into the desert and been kidnapped by slavers.
  • An evil scientist is formulating¬†a new plague, and you must track him down to his lab to stop him.
  • Mysterious monsters have awakened and¬†are threatening a small frontier town.

All three of those missions are perfectly identical gamewise Рyou go to a set location and kill alien beings.  Yet the feel for each of them is subtly different solely because of who you talked to in order to get the mission!

Furthermore, your emotional reward is often skewed by the mission. ¬†Let’s say that you chose “an¬†innocent girl¬†has been kidnapped by slavers” mission. ¬†You find out when you get there that the slavers have¬†turned her into a monstrous techno-beast, and you must kill her. ¬†From a gameplay perspective, hey, you fought another monster and got your XP for finishing the mission. ¬†It’s the exact same procedure as every other mission. ¬†But chances are you now feel bad. ¬†Maybe you’re more willing to take on missions destroying these slavers.

What fascinates me is that how these games become¬†pure storytelling. ¬†They are literally the most inexpensive way of making the game better! ¬†I mean, BioWare could have spent money on setpiece battles – places where you’re battling on a plummeting airbase, or the rain makes visibility¬†dim and the ground slippery, or created unique¬†enemies for each location.

Yet instead, they resorted to a trick literally as old as cavemen.  We used to sit around fires and, with nothing more than a voice, tell crazy stories about the gods.  Story is the cheapest entertainment we have, because our imaginations will fill in so many details.

And BioWare, in a cost-saving mechanism, uses story to make the same “go here, kill things” quest into a hundred different emotional shades. ¬†Because sometimes you’re going¬†there to kill things because your friend is in trouble. ¬†Sometimes you’re going there to kill things to get to the treasure. ¬†Sometimes you’re going there to kill things for revenge against those evil¬†slavers.

Without that story, nobody would play Mass Effect. ¬†Other games that focus more on gameplay do the actual gaming¬†better – I’m told that Overwatch has practically no story, but¬†Blizzard has focused on making the game deep and rewarding for those who invest hours into it. ¬†Not so with Mass Effect, alas;¬†I’m now a 57th-level tech, and I’ve been¬†using the same three powers to sleepwalk my way through¬†battles for at least 30 levels. ¬†(Overload, Incinerate, Remnant VI.) ¬†There is zero need to change up my tactics, or indeed, to learn any new ones.

And let’s be honest: Mass Effect Andromeda is one of the weakest BioWare games because you don’t even get to make any choices that matter to the story. ¬†In previous Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, you could make decisions¬†that alienated your teammates to the point where some of them would no longer work with you. ¬†Your decisions determined who among your companions lived or died, and¬†who ruled which empire, and which species survived. ¬†ME:A, alas, has minimized that influence to the point where¬†literally everything you say to your companions will make them love you more – if you’re snarky, they love snark! ¬†If you’re a romantic adventurer, they love adventuring! ¬†There’s now¬†no decisions that will lead to you being unloved by all¬†(which is, I think, why Mass Effect 2 is BioWare’s high point).

But even stripped of choice within the larger story setting, I play these repetitive missions because, well,¬†BioWare’s always got a new story twist to make me go, “Okay, what happens?” ¬†As does Bethesda. ¬†I think the reason I’m drawn to these games is because essentially, you take away the story and there is no game worth playing.

Every mission has me as a writer going, “Oh. ¬†That’s another spin¬†you can put on an identical set of events.” ¬†Mass Effect is all about shading, all about nuance, all about that wrapper we put on the same old grind to liven it up.

Stripped bare, Mass Effect: Andromeda might not be a good game. ¬†But it’s a good example of the power of storytelling. ¬†And while I wish we had a new BioWare game that combined the two effectively, it’s proof that¬†tons of people will prioritize¬†storytelling over game play any day.


Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

2017 - #36, "Cold Days", Jim Butcher

2017-Apr-11, Tuesday 08:04
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Two books after the previous one I finished. Chickens come home and roost. We learn many new things, Harry gets a new job, Molly and Karrin have new friends. Some serious shit happens, echoes of which reverberate throughout Dresdenverse.

All in all, eminently readable.
rosefox: A mouse in a doorman's uniform holding a door open for another mouse. (welcome)
[personal profile] rosefox
I have disabled crossposting to LiveJournal and am in the process of making all my posts there private. (That doesn't work on custom filters, but if you delete a filter, it effectively makes filtered posts private. If you do want to delete all your entries, here's a Selenium script that runs in Firefox, courtesy of [personal profile] xtina.) For the moment I'm not deleting my account, but I will no longer post or comment there. I agreed to the TOS only so that I could retrieve my content. I will not make more content for them to run ads against or judge by horrible anti-queer laws. If they delete it, then they delete it.

Welcome, new folks! If you're just moving here from LJ, some tips:

1) Claim your LJ handle so that comments that you made on LJ are attributed to your DW when they're imported. Your OpenID URL is the URL of your old journal, I believe you'll need to be able to log into LJ to do this, so if you've deleted your account, you'll need to temporarily undelete it, and it might not work if you haven't agreed to the LJ TOS (*spit*).

2) Look for your old LJ friends in this post on [community profile] 2017revival and the comments. You can also post a personal ad to [community profile] 2017revival or read the ones posted there if you want to make new friends.

Also, if you were mad enough to delete or mothball your LJ account over anti-queer provisions, please take a moment to support Russian LGBT Network, which does very valuable work. Right now they're running an emergency hotline for people endangered by the anti-gay purges happening in Chechnya. If you can donate, please do (perhaps the amount you would have put toward your next LJ paid account renewal). If you can't, please signal-boost.

oh hello old world

2017-Apr-10, Monday 19:21
reddragdiva: (gosh!)
[personal profile] reddragdiva
I'm here and not over there. Hello to everyone coming here from there! I post here extremely rarely, basically when I remember. It's mostly Facebook and Tumblr of late.

Um, I'm still trying to finish this bloody book before the entire contents are outdated. Suggestions welcomed for the next one, I suspect having multiple things to procrastinate on may help.

It was Madness!

2017-Apr-10, Monday 23:21
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
But it's late, Wabacon and the wedding have been, we had food poisoning, we're okay now, Madness and Caravana Sun were great, will talk more on them later, and Swancon Is Coming.

So, teeth and bed.

Madness were on the lawn at the Fremantle Arts Centre, lovely night, lovely venue, excellent support band. Must go to bed but if you're a Madness fan get yourself a ticket if they're still available for tomorrow night. 

Goodbye LJ; hello again DW

2017-Apr-11, Tuesday 01:05
damien_wise: (Default)
[personal profile] damien_wise
Earlier tonight,  I nuked my LJ account.
I considered exporting all the old LJ content over here, but it seemed tedious and unnecessary, and sometimes you have to let go of old things from the past. I haven't used LJ much in the last few years, and so don't miss it. Many of the friends there -- I keep in touch with them by other means. That said, I'll try to drop-in here from time to time to see what's going on.
And, welcome to any other ethically-minded, recent evacuees from LJ.

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