Pimping for a good cause...

Aug. 21st, 2017 01:55 am
reynardo: (Default)
[personal profile] reynardo
... as if there was ever any doubt about the Livejournal SSHG-Giftfest.

Here's their banner:

2017 banner 3


I'm a bit quiet because while I'm not *super* busy, it's enough that I'm having to husband the energy carefully. But you do get one pic of what I've been up to...

Clever fox skirt

Made for the world's most adorable velociraptor, and she loves it. And for once I've allowed enough space plus a little for her to grow into...

Fix all the things!

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:54 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I have the correct invoice for the Tour!  And I've paid it!  So I must be going to Europe soon!!  By the way, if you are reading this, and you are in Europe and would like to catch up, send me a message, and I'll let you know all my dates and where I will be, so we can give it a try.  Sadly, I won't be getting to England this time - I'm really only away for three weeks, and I'm spending the first 12 days of them racing around east Germany, Austria and Prague - but if you are able to pop across to the continent, I will be winding up in Paris, so that might work.

It's been a bit of a mad week.  My wrist is still causing me grief, and the exercises my physio gave me weren't helping (and with 4 repeats of a half hour routine every day, they would have had to help a lot and fast to be worth my while), and I felt that she wasn't really listening when I told her the issues I was having, so when she forgot to ring me to touch base, I decided not to bother following up.  Ghosting on one's physio is probably not the best move, but at this stage I know SO MANY wrist exercises and I think I'm really better off resting my wrist and trying those for a week or two and then trying someone new.

Despite this, I managed to write not one but two short stories for my Stories Under Paris site.  Basically, I had Chardon Lagache station, which clearly required a thistle-related story, and depending on how you translate gâche it means all sorts of things, ranging from 'trowel' to 'spoils'.  I had this plan to do a whole bunch of drabbles, but then I realised that one of the drabbles wanted to be a proper story about Sir Gareth of Orkney (also known as Sir Gareth Beaumains), who spent his first year at Camelot in the kitchens and was notably mild tempered, and thus clearly my sort of knight.  And then I realised that I had another story I could write about him crossing paths with the princess from Donkey Skin, because really, if any knight of the Round Table ought to be sympathetic to someone who was trying to escape the threat of incest, the mild-tempered brother of Mordred ought to be that knight.

So I wrote The Trowel and the Thistle: Two Lost Stories of Sir Gareth Beaumains, and I think they are both rather sweet, provided one ignores the fact that one starts with attempted incest and the other one has sort of got cannibalism in it.  (My choir friend told me that she thought I had found the blurred line of cannibalism, which is not a line I had ever wanted to blur, but there you go.)

Meanwhile, Australian politicians continue to turn out to be not quite Australian enough (there was a nice article today suggesting that actually, since New Zealand recently changed its laws regarding the rights of Australian citizens, nobody in Australia is eligible to sit in Parliament any more.  I don't think that this will fly, but it's a pleasing thought.).  I emailed my parents to check whether I was still the only person in the family who was eligible to sit in Parliament, and they said yes, and then Dad went to the Italian Embassy website and said, oh, actually, maybe not.  This is frustrating, because I was told when I was 18 that not only was I not Italian, but I couldn't even apply for citizenship without living in Italy for a year first, which was thoroughly annoying, since my brother, being under 18, got citizenship when Dad got back his.  Except that, oops, I was advised wrongly, and I've been Italian all along.  Which is really quite infuriating, because I would definitely have made some different decisions about where I was going to live long-term if I'd known this back then.

Also, apparently I can't become a member of parliament unless I renounce my Italian citizenship, even though I've never got any good use out of it.  But, on the bright side, I could compete in Eurovision for Italy, so I suppose that's a silver lining...

Work has been interesting this week.  One of my favourite postdocs came and asked me to join the Women In Science Parkville Precinct group, because apparently they have lots of brilliant ideas and very little ability to bring any of them to fruition, and she thinks that I can get them sorted out.  I had never thought of myself as someone who could do this, but yes, from what she is describing, I certainly could get them focused and pointed in the same direction, and it's an interesting opportunity, so I've said yes.  I'm going to regret this for sure.

In politics, oh Lord.  I'm finding it very hard to read Facebook and Dreamwidth at the moment, because there are so many posts that are saying 'You need to be doing something about the Nazis, yes, you, and if you are not, you are complicit', which make me feel terribly guilty because I am not currently doing anything specifically about Nazis, but that's mostly because I'm way over here in Australia, where we have our own horrible government doing terrible things, and I'm pretty sure I have to make that my priority.  I mean, I only have so many hours and resources, and we are in a very big glass house when it comes to racism in Australia, and I'd rather put my energies towards preventing home-grown racists here.  And I already feel guilty about not doing enough about that.  Feeling guilty about not stopping Nazis in the USA seems excessive.  And I know those posts are not necessarily directed at me, specifically, but my emotional brain inevitably reads them that way, because she already thinks that she is responsible for every single bad thing happening in the world that she is not actively fighting (which, realistically is everything), and it's all a bit much. 

It's tricky, because a lot of the people doing this sort of calling out are writing other important things that I think I really do need to be aware of and understand better (racism, for example, is something that I know is an issue everywhere, and it's something I rarely comment on because I don't feel educated enough to do so), so I don't want to mute them entirely.  But I don't know what I can do, and I'm feeling overwhelmed at present, with so many people around me suffering from awful things and wanting to support them, and our government determined to make everything worse.

I think it's a matter of sorting out useful guilt from useless guilt, which I can do to an extent on an intellectual level, but I'm kind of bad at emotionally.

I may have to give myself a social-media-free day once a week to clear my head.  I can't leave entirely, because it's how I promote the political action I *do* manage to do.  And the fun stuff, too.

Of course, all this stuff about how I should be putting my energies towards acting locally is less justifiable when I'm not doing enough about that, either, but I'm overwhelmed on that front, too.  How do people manage to support multiple causes at once?  How do people manage to survive at all?  It boggles the mind.

Anyway.  Right now, I'm kind of doing Marriage Equality stuff to the exclusion of all else, because it is directly affecting my friends, and because it might actually be something where I can be effective.  I wrote a post today updating people on how to register to vote, and also included a link farm for people who really needed to read something affirming and non-depressing about LGBTQI people right now.

So at least I've done that.  Still feeling guilty about refugees, of course.

I wish I could stop being politically aware.  It must be so nice.

Shards of Time

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:39 pm
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[personal profile] tcpip
It's been a strange and disruptive past few days, and one which I am at peace with a certain resilience to stich things together and still have the opportunity for other actions. Initially the most serious problem was the discovery early Tuesday morning that Spartan had crashed. I quickly diagnosed it as a networking issue; the home, project, and scratch directories had all been lost and along with it, every running job screamed and died. As others came on board and I fielded users, we eventually narrowed it down to what appears to be a bug in a Cisco switch that was sending duplicate packets. Congratulations are due to Nhat, NinjaDan, Linh, and Mark M., for their efforts here. Making good of the opportunity we restarted all the nodes with a kernel upgrade as well, which were intending to do anyway, and brought nearly all the partitions online. Overall the detection, investigation, and recovery took the better part of two days, and I cannot help but be impressed by how calm and smoothly the operations ran under such apparent disaster. Arguably the degree of panic in situations like this is an indication of experienced versus inexperienced sysadmins.



The following day went to the hospital to visit Rick and also to see the social worker and doctor to discuss his situation. I signed myself up to pay for his transitional care until VCAT approves my application to receive power of financial attorney in addition to medical attorney. Six months ago he was giving presentations on the admixture of modern humans with archiac hominids, and the peculiar differences between reptilian and mammalian brains. Now, due to rapid onset dementia, he doesn't know what suburb he'd lived in for the past thirty years, the fact he has a brother, or where he was born, and his vocabulary has been reduced to probably less than a dozen words. He'll be spending his days staring out the window or at the television in his room, and that's all there is to it. I'll visit his flat and see if there's any music for him, based on prior studies. It's terrible witnessing such a clever and diverse mind disappear so quickly.

There have been other activities in the past few days. I have preparing heavily for the Isocracy AGM on Wednesday evening which will be addressed by Kos Samaras, assistant state-secretary of the Victorian ALP, speaking on The Reawakening of the Working Class. My own latest written contribution to Isocracy in the past few days has been a piece of the advantages of proportional representation. On Wednesday night we caught up with old university science fiction friend and now Greens activist, Tom S. and friend to see the director's cut of Dark City, the noir SF film which still well holds over the years. Finally, to finish things off last night went to a meeting of Free Software Melbourne at Electron Workshop; whilst it was supposed to be a games night we were distracted by the presence of Margaret Gordon, a documentary maker who wanted to know more about this Linux thing.

A Sort of Apology.

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:13 pm
megpie71: AC Reno crouched over on the pavement, looking pained (bad day at work)
[personal profile] megpie71
I feel I owe everyone who's read anything I've written for the past week or so a rather profound and massive apology. Unfortunately, the best you're getting at the moment is an explanation.

Lengthy stuff under fold )

So, apologies for the rather frequent brainos I've been having over the past week. I will try to do better, but first I need to get my brain back...

Meditations on the Past Week or So

Aug. 14th, 2017 08:12 am
megpie71: AC Tifa Lockheart looking at camera, very determined (Pissed off)
[personal profile] megpie71
Am I odd because I tend to see things like the Damore memo (the "Google manifesto", the thing which got James Damore sacked from Google for creating an unfriendly work environment) and the Charlotteville terrorism as being manifestations of the same principle?

The principle being "The only Real Human Beings are white men".

As a woman (and a person with a disability) I tend to find this somewhat frightening. I find it more frightening when people treat all of this as some kind of intellectual exercise, rather than the very real attempt at dehumanisation, at objectification and at rationalisation for actual violence it is. As a woman who would have had to fight to have her very humanity recognised a century ago, I find this reversion to a perceived historical mean to be deeply frightening. I can't imagine how upsetting it must be for people of colour in the USA, and for indigenous people here in Australia to be seeing this.

We need to speak up. We need to speak out. We need to oppose this principle in all its manifestations - in the supposedly "civil" ones like the Damore "memo" (query: how "civil" is a multiple page ramble which boils down to "I am not willing to behave in a respectful way toward a large number of my co-workers and managers because I don't think they're Real Human Beings like me, and I strongly believe I shouldn't have to work alongside them"?); in the virulently obvious ones like the Charlotteville march. In all its manifestations, in every space (including the police forces, the public service, the private sector and the rhetoric of our politicians) we need to oppose this principle, because we have seen what happens when it is allowed to run free. We have seen it in so many different circumstances - in the extermination camps of Germany; in the slavery of the American South; in the so-called "off-shore processing" camps on Nauru and Manus Island; in the Intervention; in the massacres down through the ages; in the Trail of Tears; in all the little slings and arrows of colonialism, of racism, of sexism. We know this principle is socially toxic.

So why do we keep allowing people to spout it as though firstly, it's something new and radical, and secondly, as though it's a valid point of view?
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
The past couple of days have seen two of my proposed presentations accepted by two difference conferences. One is for eResearch Australasia on andragogical methods in teaching high performance computing, which I'll be helped by an HPC educator from Goethe University Frankfurt, and the second being the IEEE eScience conference in New Zealand on cluster-cloud architectures which I'll receive assistance from the HPC group at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. In addition, Friday was a particularly good workday as we held a workshop for about a dozen various HPC systadmins from around the university, as part of the massive upgrade to the Spartan system from being a relatively small and experimental system, to one of the most powerful in the world. I effectively have been given the coordinating role for this group and already several good ideas have come out the workshop for improvements and preparations as we integrate a six-rack GPU partition to our existing infrastructure. Apropos I am off to NCI in early September for their HPC course and will be taking the PRACE online supercomputing course to see how they do things.

Yesterday we visited [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce for our irregular CheeseQuest and the next chapter of Mice and Mystics, which was not at all successful for the noble rodents. Afterwards played game of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, which we prevented the destruction of the world with one turn to spare - it's notably a very quick game. On returning home completed a review of Hunter Planet which will soon be going into RPG Review. I've just been in contact with the original author about my ideas for rules revisions (most of which I tested over 25 yeares ago) and a new scenario implementing Peter Jackson's Bad Taste. I'm also currently writing a version of GURPS Autoduel to fit with the Mad Max series, all of which are contributions to the now late issue of RPG Review.

It is good to able to return to a moderately normal set of topics in life. Previous posts of deaths, funerals, and loss of cognitive functions have been quietly uspetting, despite a calm personal exterior. About twenty years ago a person, who didn't know me that well, was engaged in conversation about motivation and emotions. He used the phrase 'Still waters run deep' to describe me. I appreciated the accurate encapsulation, and indeed have tried cultivate that part of my character (not always successfully). As an obvious variation, I am certainly not the silent type and express my considered views with some abandon. But it is the considered views that I express. I will either ask a question if I don't know something or I will make proposition if I am fairly certain of something. It is part of my recognition (and I do lay claim to coining this phrase) that deeply considered convictions are better than deeply ingrained prejudices, even if the emotional response is the same.
wneleh: by Mirnell (Default)
[personal profile] wneleh posting in [community profile] as_others_see_us
Not exhaustive, but it's been that kind of summer...

HBO’s upcoming Confederate generated some recent refs. For The New York Times, Roxane Gay wrote I Don’t Want to Watch Slavery Fan Fiction. Emily Yahr wrote in The Washington Post that The backlash about the idea of “slavery fan fiction” was immediate, and many wondered what HBO was thinking — particularly because “Game of Thrones” has come under fire for its portrayals of race and violence. And, For Chicago Tribune, Nina Metz noted There are a number of reasons — thoughtful, well-researched reasons — why people are objecting to a premise that sounds like slavery fan fiction.

More Confederate-related refs )

In 'What would happen if Hamlet were a girl in the Internet age?' for The Washington Post, Celia Wren wrote that The Elsinore-prowling man in black becomes Elsie, an Internet-roaming teenage girl in black, in "To Tell My Story: A Hamlet Fan¬fic," an ingenious, if sometimes strenuously jokey, new play by Alexandra Petri. (Petri is a writer for the paper who’s produced more than her share of fanfic fanfic refs over the years.)

In a New Yorker review of Ben Blatt’s Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing, Dan Piepenbring wrote American writers of Harry Potter fan fiction are actually more liable to use “brilliant” than their British counterparts, who employ the word with native agility.

1D, Star Wars, Dah Bears, Wattpad )

Cosmoploitan’s Lilian Min wrote that This Jeopardy Love Story Is The Stuff of Fan Fiction.

From Ashley Eady for The Wrap: Bruce Willis ‘Death Wish’ Trailer Blasted as ‘Alt-Right Fan Fiction’.

Finally, The Macalope produced Wishful thinking: Alexa fan fiction for Macworld.

Dear Brain (IV)

Aug. 11th, 2017 02:58 pm
megpie71: AC Tifa Lockheart looking at camera, very determined (Give me the chocolate & nobody dies)
[personal profile] megpie71
Dear Brain,

Yes, okay, I was stupid today. This is not a reason to haul out the Failure Tapes and play them in full 3D and surround sound in the main auditorium of the Grand Ol' Embarrassing Recollection. Even if it were a reason to do so, we know, through extensive experimentation over the last forty-six years, hideous embarrassment and post-facto regret do not serve the same function as a time machine and make stupid things never have happened.

It will, however, make me feel very inclined toward things like opening up my own skull and removing you, piece by piece, using an ice cream scoop.

Extremely sincerely,

Meg

Friday

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:03 am
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Less than six weeks to Europe!  This would be even better if the invoice I was sent on Tuesday had been the correct invoice.  Since said invoice is meant to be paid by Sunday, and they haven't actually managed to send me the correct one yet, I'm feeling a little concerned...

(I have been informed that the deadline will be extended for me.  But I still would like to know how much everything will cost.  Between deductions for home stay, additions for one more night in Prague, additions for single-share, but a deduction for three nights of twin-share, and an addition for a later flight back, I really have no clue how much my final bill will be.  But I do know that one more night in Prague can't possibly be costing $621, so the bill I was sent was definitely not mine...)

Anyway.  Europe will be good.  And I now have a YELLOW suitcase (it's definitely YELLOW and not just yellow), and have ordered walking socks, and bought power adaptors and a neck pillow of a design that looks like it might not give me bachache, and next pay I shall replace my boots, which are beginning to be holier than needed.  (Nobody really wants religious boots.)

The concert music is well-chosen, I must say.  Duruflé's requiem, plus a lot of shorter pieces by Bruckner, Rossini and Bach, and a sequence of very short pieces by a contemporary Australian composer.  It's good music, and there's not a lot I couldn't sing creditably after two rehearsals.  Quite a bit of it I have sung before.  After two rehearsals.  After the extreme difficulty of the last two conferences, I'm pleased to see that the music I will be singing while jetlagged is, indeed, music I can sing in my sleep.

In other news, our government continues to be a toxic embarrassment.  Their latest idea is a non-compulsory, non-binding, postal vote on marriage equality, to be run not by our electoral commission, but by the bureau of statistics, alongside Australia post, over a period of two months, with no bar on abusive or false campaigning because the Australian public can apparently be trusted to be respectful and polite.

Here are some of the ways Australian politicians have been respectful and polite on this subject in the last 24 hours.

It's frankly disgusting – a way for Malcolm to cling to his Prime Ministership for just a little longer, and also to distract from the refugee situation.

I have some opinions about this.

I'm also wondering whether it would be a good idea or a patronising one to try to counter some of the nastiness headed in the direction of my GLBTQI friends over the coming months by finding and sharing a positive news story about GLBTQI people each day. 

And that's about all.  My wrist still hates me typing, which is a pain.  I'm a little depressed and feeling burned out at work.  And my next story can't decide whether it will be about artichokes or the Jacobite rebellion (the station in question has chardon in its name, which means thistle).  If I can make it about both, that would be fun, but I don't think that's where it is going.  

Another food picture!

Aug. 10th, 2017 03:24 am
acelightning: golden birthday cake with gold rose and tall gold candle (birthday cake)
[personal profile] acelightning
Here's a birthday cake I made recently (name defaced to protect the individual's privacy). It's a 6" round lemon-vanilla cheesecake with a very creamy texture, and a golden-white color from the eggs and cream; instead of the traditional cinnamon-graham-cracker crust, I use a very thin layer of spongecake, lightly flavored with cinnamon. It is decorated with a marzipan rose I made and then painted with edible golden "luster dust", a golden leaf to match, and a tall gold-colored candle. I used glittery black writing gel, but you can't see the glitter in the picture. And there is a border of buttercream icing rosettes around the bottom, because the edge of the spongecake didn't look neat.

Everybody said it was delicious, and they were right :-D

ETA: I swear it wasn't that blurry when I uploaded it! What did Dreamwidth do to my photo?!

Funerals of a Feather

Aug. 9th, 2017 11:18 pm
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Last day in Perth was dedicated to spending at Erica W.'s funeral at the Fremantle Cemetery. It was, of course, an opportunity for the living to catch up and express their sorrow at the loss of this marvellous and talented woman. There was, of course, humorous anecdotes, sound advice from the departed, and genuine outpourings of grief. I particularly feel for Lucas, her husband of the past seventeen years, who was very close to her in both the personal and professional sense. A sensitive soul in his own right, these must be very difficult days for him. The celebrant also mentioned that in several locations around the world smaller services were being held in her honour, a tribute to her scope and talent, and finished with a recommendation from the departed: Get weird!.

The day after my arrival in Melbourne was Lachlan's funeral at the Renowden Chapel at the Springvale Cemetery and Botanical Gardens (whoever thought of that combination had their head screwed on right). The inclusion of Lachlan's top-hat on the coffin was a particularly beautiful and sad feature. Again, almost in mirror form, included some frankly hilarious stories and reflection on those deeply honourable features of his personality. As Lachlan was in the habit of calling for birthday drinks, due in around a month, [livejournal.com profile] damien_wise and myself have stepped up to the task of organising one more celebration for this great individual.

It is a curious twist of the tyranny of distance and time that Erica W., and Lachlan S., never met each other. If they did, I am certain that they would have gotten along famously. With similar sensibilities, and quite clearly similar tastes in fashion, I have a mental image of Erica taking great delight in designing an outfit for Lachlan who, true to his style, would have worn it everywhere. I know there is a handful of people who knew both of them (including [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya). But I was the only one who was present at both departures. I feel like a curious trans-Nullabor bridge, a gregarious nature that has been blessed with the opportunity to know the spirits of two kindred individuals who should have met in life but never did.

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