(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 11:49 pm
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
It's been a decent day. I spent a very long time talking about all sorts of stuff with a gal met in a coffee shop.

I spent time talking with someone from the Government Accountability Project, who knew my dad. I'll be setting up some way to donate to their whistleblower legal fund in his memory.

The head of the Administrative Law Judges referred to Dad as A Lion in the ALJ community. I asked if he knew him, and he said, "I never met him, but I've heard about him my whole career."

Over on FB I also created a fundraiser for the FSH society. It was that sort of muscular dystrophy that so limited Dad's last year.

Of course there was no need for it to be anywhere near so limited. Some was his stubbornness, some was Stepmother and the driveway, some was Billy's choices about the van she was looking at (it was cheap but deemed too old to go North, but it could have at least gone around town) and some was him needing to keep his legs up plus his chair being way less comfortable for him than the recliner.

I don't know if there was a lot more I could have accomplished for him, but I do wish I'd gotten a google assistant in there.

What's so hard is that there's so much that people with even more physical limitation can do with the right supports.

I just read an opinion piece by Paul Krugman about what the GOP is apparently okay with*, and the threat to democracy from not caring about a foreign power attacking our elections. I said in response on fb,
It might be a mercy that my father died before this became quite so clear.

I had a recurring argument with him during 2017, where I would try to get across the gravity of what I saw happening and he would insist that the institutions would hold and we would survive this. And sometimes I would get through, and he'd say maybe the institutions wouldn't hold. And it was heartbreaking, as though I had destroyed somebody's faith. I started avoiding those conversations.


Wish me luck on not being too bruised tomorrow. During my walk around the tidal basin I walked, fast, right into a branch.


* the Krugman piece )

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:41 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I went into work today to find out that my manager is taking three weeks off for family medical leave starting today. He didn't say anything about this to anyone yesterday.
I'm working on building a whole bunch of wrappers so software language A can call a big binary blob written in software language B. Last time I did this, it took me a week longer than I'd anticipated to get it working, for a large variety of reasons. (The API documentation was wrong, I didn't start asking for help or pointing out that I was going to have trouble meeting my deadline until I was right up against it, and the target hardware documentation was flat-out wrong about things like how to correctly power it.) So this time around I decided that I'd get it working before the "when are you going to have this done?" discussion even came up. I've figured out how to automate it, so I set that off and running and when it finished I emailed my manager that I had a good start on the software for our next project, that as of last Friday was my number one priority that nothing should distract me from.
He emailed me back almost immediately to ask me how an entirely different project, that was my highest priority last Wednesday, was going, and mentioned at the end of the email that he'd decided to cancel the project for which I was writing this software.
I turned to my coworker and said "hey, did you know your next hardware project has been cancelled?"
He sat there gaping like a fish for several seconds. I was all "I guess you didn't know either."

first world gardening problems

Apr. 23rd, 2019 04:10 pm
twoeleven: (outdoors)
[personal profile] twoeleven
sowing mixtures of wildflowers means i can't tell which seedlings are plants i want and which are weeds. the distinction is admittedly often small, but still...

last year's extremely wet weather means that i've got weeds everywhere in the lawn. i prefer to give them the personal touch, and individually rip them out by the roots, but i've had to break out the chemical weapons. fortunately, my test spraying indicates that the wild strawberries are susceptible to the stuff i tried, so i'll be able to finally get rid of the damned things. (the strawberries are pea-sized, the plants are weedy, and the neighborhood requires a grass lawn. thus they must die.)

my blueberry bushes have very few flowers. since flower set is determined by the previous year's weather, i'm guessing that they don't like dry followed by very wet.

most of the mason bees living in my bee house seem to be a native type, not the blueberry bees i bought. i'm not sure what to make of this now, but i'll take a look at the empty cocoons after the season. maybe leaving them in the garage to over-winter didn't work, though i'm baffled why that would be the case. on the other hand, it would be just tragic if my gardens support native pollinators (and doubtless a few hybrids from last year's bees).

Once again with the frog pee

Apr. 23rd, 2019 12:40 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Today's labs are supposed to be all about membrane transport across frog skin. Getting all the moving pieces set up has been a huge project. Ordeal. And then...we crashed and burned this morning.

I couldn't quite tell what the full cause was, but my instinct told me to just let the students go instead of making them fight with the instrumentation, so I did. So then there's always the worry that the decision was premature and we could have fixed things, and there went that learning opportunity.

But as I think it over, the thing is, we weren't detecting a sufficiently large charge difference or current across the frog membranes we're working with. I've now had time to revisit notes from trying this in Arizona, and that has confirmed my suspicion.

I'm still going to make the afternoon lab go through the whole setup process, as we will still learn a few things by doing so, and then we can test some other things out instead. But I'm going to have to run a few more tests before trying this lab again next year.

One of our biggest challenges this semester has been trying to adapt labs I did previously with bullfrogs, to much smaller spotted leopard frogs. I'd like to be able to keep using the spotted leopard frogs, but on the other hand we keep on being at the extreme low end of what our instrumentation can detect and measure.

Weki Meki to have a May comeback!

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:32 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian

Yay!  Weki Meki, one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) K-pop groups, will be having a comeback in May!  I can't wait to see and hear what they come up with this time!  (I'd been thinking recently that they were due for a comeback soon, and apparently I was right on track.)  Expect to see further updates on this here, as the agency teases us with photos and video clips to build up expectation before the big day.
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
I've got to confess to being rather surprised by this one.  BabySoul is a member of Lovelyz, and if you had asked me I wouldn't have guessed that any of the members of the group had a voice capable of pulling off a song like this.  Don't get me know - they all have decent voices, but they all seemed better suited for group work than for soloing.  At any rate. I'm pleased to have been mistaken.

The video is kind of unusual for K-pop videos, in that BabySoul doesn't appear in it at all.  Usually the opposite is true - the videos are so performer-centric that no other people appear.  It suited the song, though - I found myself wondering what the guy was waiting for.  Did he know she was coming back, or was he just hoping?  For that matter, is she coming back?  Once the English subtitles are available, I'll probably have a better idea, but for now all I've got is questions.

Also, if the comments to the video are accurate, BabySoul also wrote the song herself, so hats off to her for that.  (It could be my imagination, but K-pop idols writing their own songs seems to be becoming more common, particularly in solo and subgroup releases.)

(As for Lovelyz, their last comeback at "Lost N Found" on November 26 of last year, so they're due for a comeback but not overdue.)

brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Three new songs today, all of which I think are worthy of being song of the day.

First is "Fancy," the new song by Twice.  I think it's the best thing they've done since "What Is Love" - certainly the most memorable.  Even after listening to both of the other songs of the day, it's still stuck in my head.

Next us is "Beatiful" from Target.  They're a relatively new group, having debuted in January 2018, and they not as popular as Twice.  Still, they've got a good sound and it's fun to watch them dance.

And now for something completely different.  Son Dongwoon's "In the Silence" is heartfelt and touching.  If there's not at least one K-drama producer out there plotting how they're going to get this song into one of their shows, then an entire industry is sleeping on the job.

brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
When I feel like "why in the world am I trying to put on an arts festival" I need to reread this piece.

Korean ingredient substitution

Apr. 22nd, 2019 10:50 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
From Authentic Recipes from Korea by Injoo Chun.
  • Bamboo shoots:  If used canned bamboo shoots (as opposed to vacuum-packed), they should be drained, rinsed, and scalded in hot water before use.
  • Bracken (AKA fiddlehead ferns or fernbrake):  Substitute baby asparagus.
  • Chrysanthemum greens:  Substitute Chinese celery leaves or watercress.
  • Dried chestnuts:  "Dried chestnuts are sweeter than fresh roasted chestnuts.  They are sold in small cellophane packets and need to be rehydrated by soaking them in water for 30 to 40 minutes before use."
  • Dried pollack:  If you're substituting salt cod or another dried salted fish, slice the fish, soak it overnight, then squeeze dry to remove as much salt as possible.
  • Fish sauce:  If using Thai fish sauce, reduce the amount used by about 25%.  (Korean fish saucy is less salty and fishy.)
  • Korean watercress:  Substitute regular watercress of cilantro stems.
  • Leeks:  If using Asian leeks, slice and soak in cold water for 30 minutes before use.
  • Nashi pears:  Substitute other light yellow pears.  For marinates, regular pears may also be used.
  • Noodles
    • For wheat noodles (somyeon), substitute buckwheat noodles (soba), somen noodles, or angel hair pasta.
    • For fresh wheat noodles, substitute udon or ramen
  • Rice wine (makgeolli):  For cooking, substitute sake or Chinese rice wine.

Some of these sound kind of questionable, but they could prove useful in a pinch.  (Right now I'm fortunate to have a couple of Korean groceries nearby, so hopefully I won't find myself in a pinch often.)

The tip about fish sauce seems likely to be particularly useful - my regular grocery only carried Thai fish sauce.  (Once I finish the bottle that I have on hand, I'll probably see what's available at the Korean groceries.)

Interestingly, the one ingredient I was hoping they'd list a substitute for (shiso leaves AKA perilla leaves), there was no substitute listed, just a note that you should be able to find them at a Korean or Japanese grocery.

Logs and Wobble [rowing]

Apr. 22nd, 2019 09:27 am
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
I made it out rowing this morning!!!!

Six more lab reports left to grade today.

I wound up rowing in a 2x with another rower named K. Only, this time I had K sit in stroke seat and I sat in bow seat and steered. K has a nice, tall back which is something I want to emulate.

The spring current on the Hudson River is FIERCE. I mean, we were able to row upstream, but whenever we stopped, I had to keep an eye on the banks and bridge abutments because we were slipping downstream so fast. The whirlpools along the edge of the river were something else, too. Thankfully K knows the river really well and had lots of helpful pointers.

There was a ton of debris out. It isn't the sticks and logs that I can see that terrify me. It's the ones that I can't or don't see. We had maybe four bigger bumps but none of them appeared to do any major damage, thankfully.

I am still feeling pretty wobbly. I lost a lot of abdominal strength over the winter, especially over the last two months, when I wasn't able to train as much. It will come back but it's a tad frustrating at the moment. I just have to keep rowing. Sit up straight, self!

(no subject)

Apr. 21st, 2019 08:01 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I'm reupholstering the Spitfire seats. When I took one apart, amidst the half-wastebasket-quantity pile of broken-down foam, I also found a business card for a place that repaired MG's. The telephone number on the card was a seven-digit number, which probably means it was 1970's. There was also a 1974 penny in the seat.
Getting the seat cover off was a pain. There's a big piece of foam glued to the seat's steel tubing structure. It has a horizontal slit in the middle of it. There is a flap on the vinyl cover that goes through that slit and then clips to the frame further down, to hold the concave surface of the seat back against the foam. The clips are very easy to put on but extremely difficult to remove: they're like binder clips with tiny teeth that grip the fabric, only they have no little wire loops to remove them. They simply press on, but there is no simple way to remove them.
Similarly, the recliner function of the seat is controlled via a lever, and removing it to get the seat covering off was really difficult. Good thing I bought a gear puller years ago.

Nun dines with wyvern.

Apr. 21st, 2019 04:51 pm
sistawendy: (wtf laughing)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I had dinner with [profile] rigel_p, just the two of us, at a pretty good Indian place near Southcenter mall. She didn't make it up here at all over the winter holidays because she had pneumonia. (!) We talked SCIENCE and dating and Santa Fe and solar energy and my mom and her parents and a bunch of the people up here who she knows better than I do. Let's just say I'm glad no one else was sitting too close. She seems to be kicking ass and taking names in every aspect of life worth mentioning, to the point where I'm a little jealous of her - not for the first time. It was one of those dinners that I didn't want to end, even after I ran out of things to say.

And from the Dept. of People Observation, there was a table of four or five remarkably elegant-looking hijabi ladies there while we were there. I wonder if they noticed Rigel's now partly anime-colored hair - she's a boss lady now - and my Pride-and-stars-n-stripes leggings. There was hardly anyone there in a big restaurant on a Saturday night, and the food was right on. Puzzling.

Oh Easter

Apr. 21st, 2019 01:40 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Sometimes I am more strongly impacted by my Catholic upbringing than at other times. This year, with my dad's death in March, Easter has been frequently on my mind. While I don't interpret the Christian Bible as anything close to literal truth, I can see how aspects of it could have metaphorical value, and I appreciate thinking of this time of year and season from the standpoint of renewal. My father was a deeply spiritual man, and I know that he has found it challenging that he couldn't fully engage in dialogue about spirituality with his children. I still feel intellectually at odds with Christian religious beliefs, and that it would be disingenuous for me to act otherwise, so here I am.

Tangentially related, someone I know posted on Twitter about an interview from the radio program "On Being" that resonated with her, and that speaks about issues with Christianity's historical relationship to the environment as tied to colonialism:



I am grading lab reports this weekend. Working at a Catholic institution, I am mostly just feeling a strong sense of relief around Easter because it is providing me with much-needed time to catch up on things. I hope that in future years I will have more bandwidth for other things besides work and rowing politics.

so many sailor moons

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:20 pm
jeliza: custom avatar by hexdraws (Default)
[personal profile] jeliza
We went to SakuraCon today. We pretty much go just to cosplay, shop and costume watch at this point, the kids haven't mostly caught on to the idea of "panels" and such.

The costumes went well:

(I really need to either start carrying a real camera or get a phone with a decent camera.)

And I had Sean take a pic of me, as I was feeling like I actually looked like myself and also kinda good:
at sukuracon wearing lots of black

D got almost all the Kirby stuff he'd been hoping for, except for one thing where he decided he didn't want to give money to people who were also selling things he finds disgusting. D has STRONG OPINIONS about a lot of the hentai/hentai-adjacent stuff - I don't want to say puritanical, because it isn't sexy he objects to, just stuff he thinks is exploitative.  Even if I don't share some of those opinions, I'm hardly going to object to him voting with his dollars, as it were.

Also, this happened:

Fuckin' zombies.

Apr. 20th, 2019 08:22 am
sistawendy: (weirded out)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I dreamt that a bunch of zombies had me cornered with former co-worker B and some other dude, but there were some soldiers behind the zombies. I hit the dirt and started yelling for the soldiers to shoot. B said, "I'm afraid it's not that simple." Then he and the other dude ripped their own hearts out.

I woke up right after that. Was it the garlic in the Lonely Ingredient Beans that I had as a post-clubbing snack?
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
[personal profile] elainegrey
That was a dramatic end to a week. Phones went off with blaring noises at the end of the workday, warning of tornado threat. I executed our tornado plan with cats in carriers in the garden tub and Carrie on a leash with me in the most inner bathroom. Once i finally got a look at the radar i slowly let the pets have more room to roam. Christine came home and we watched the local extended coverage news, with a bit of eye rolling as the anchors scrolled through local social media and webcams to find images that looked scary.

I have pondered, on occasion, a trap door so we can get to the crawlspace from inside, and creating a small nook of comfort. Any motivation to actually follow through would be far more dystopian than tornadoes. I will get one of the crank powered radios in the bathroom though, along with treats for the pets.

Status of....

Dad -- as an engineer, he has constantly lectured us on stress damage to bridges, roller coasters, ferris wheels, and the like. This Thursday i noted how he argues for designing for the unexpected and pointed out he was not managing his and mom's help that way. He said, "You think i'm planning for the worst" when i suggested a strategy of spending more over this year with the expectation that Mom will be more able to care for her physical needs in a year. I replied that i did NOT think he was planning for the worst but for steady state -- he wasn't planning for the unexpected. When i left he said i'd given him something to think about. I called my sister and we agreed to hold off on the intervention this weekend to give him time to reflect.

Mom -- she showed me how she can stand and take three tiny steps -- giving dad a panic when he realized she was going forward with it without any knowledgeable supervision. It was lovely to see her stand up and move her leg but also telling: she's going to be in more danger before she gets out of danger. And her cognition is clearly impaired. Dad, by the end of the day, wants her to just stay still and not do anything so he doesn't have to be on alert. It's not fair to either of them. With their long relationship history, Dad asking Mom to stay still is like a starter's pistol at a race.

The Working Group -- Long weekend in Europe acts a barrier to a few logistical steps. I wanted to have the survey out, but feel stymied by the organizational wiki being frozen and the absence of an email we can use as a public address.

The Strategic Plan for the CTO -- this went well, and i think i had a good graphical interpretation of current state idea.

The Product Proposal -- the executive leadership team judges it on Monday. Depending on their decision, the CTO plan gets a general change in how i will advocate.

Lunch with Ladies -- the mayor from Meeting had suggested we get together for lunch and i accepted, and she also invited the Meeting Newsletter editor who lives nearby. The Mayor apparently knocked herself out with an antihistamine, leaving the editor and i to lunch together. The editor's husband had Alzheimer's, so she could comfortably discuss caregiver issues. She used to be a paper artist and is returning to that, so we had that pleasure to discuss. The Greek food was fine, and i bought Turkish coffee to make in the coffee pot my brother bought in Saudi Arabia.

Elephants -- mostly quiet but with some moments where they were on edge. Christine took care of them.

Reading -- a Maisie Dobbs novel was automatically checked out when my turn in line came up and i read that last night. I continue to appreciate the psychology despite what i expect is complete and utter anachronism. And i continue to appreciate a self aware main character who is not tortured or self destructive or miserable, but engages in self care. I also respect how she wraps up her projects: may it inspire me to be a little more responsible. I also read a 1991 novel An Owl Too Many by Charlotte MacLeod. I didn't know the date of the novel when i started, but i became curious. What kept the novel from being set in 1970? The environmentalism front and center would have been at home. The prudish university persident's wife seemed more at home closer to the 70s than the current. A coded notebook elicited a comment about computer code: that was the only appearance of a computer. No mobile or cell phones: my father had one in the 8Os. Ah, the series began in 1979. Well then.

The outside -- green green green. The cold snap this week didn't snap to a temperature that cause any harm. Thursday after work the seedlings in the greenhouse looked melted. I'll see soon if any revived. I forget what is planted in the trays but germination hasn't been rapid. I suspect some cases are just that it will take a long time. I am not impressed with my seed starting skills. Perhaps next year i will ensure i buy seed starting mix and perhaps fiddle more.

comfort food tv

Apr. 19th, 2019 11:00 pm
jeliza: custom avatar by hexdraws (Default)
[personal profile] jeliza
I've been using the food network's app to watch old seasons of various comforting shows, and wow, the early seasons of Good Eats were SUPER cheesy, but I am really enjoying them. I wish he still had the informational guests like the Nutritional Anthropologist or the CDC Food Safety guy, and some (but not all) of the side characters, like W the tool master.  Alton can be kind of a jerk, though. 

Chopped is also the most entertaining food show that does not usually make me hungry, it's just a fun watching experts create show, kind of like Project Runway (which is back on Bravo and back to being a show that focuses on designing clothes rather than manufactured reality contestant drama.)

I have watched all the seasons of Great British Bake-Off other than the ones you have to pirate enough for them to be near memorized, so I can no longer turn to them for comfort.

Steve Reich

Apr. 19th, 2019 01:05 pm
gfish: (Default)
[personal profile] gfish
Over the last year I've been dabbling with orchestral/classical/ugh-I-hate-naming-genres music. For the most part it still doesn't do a whole lot for me, but there have been some successes. I've become quite fond of The Rite of Spring, for instance. And I've ended up absolutely enamored with the minimalist composer Steve Reich. The irony of setting out to explore symphonic music and ending up focusing on the most minimal and restricted version of this is not lost on me, but some things are beyond my control.

Clapping Music was my introduction. The elegance and precision of it blew me away. Like most of his work, it feels like a finely crafted watch without any ornament or complication. Everything absolutely has to be the way it is, a piece of art utterly lacking in the contingent. I'm working on a design for a mechanical device to perform it, with hand-cranked cams that advance every 8th rotation.

I don't even understand how these performances are humanly possible.

Music for 18 Musicians is downright magical in its effects on me. I genuinely enjoy listening to it on its own, but it can also serve and a particularly valuable form of whitenoise -- I can crank it on headphones to drown out boring lunchroom conversation or pre-movie ads, and still be able to read dense texts! I'm very easily distracted by sensory input, so this is a glorious feature. I wouldn't have even thought it was theoretically possible for anything more aesthetically advanced that pure white noise.
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