hilarita: casting my stoat (stoat)
[personal profile] hilarita
...as a member of the Lib Dems.

tl;dr - Conference is a pretty excellent place, provided that, unlike me, you have more social skills than a dead hermit.

Quite a lot of Conference is for the srs activist and/or candidate for some kind of political office. There is a fuckton of training, if that's your sort of thing.

However, they've also put quite a lot of effort into general activities, and activities for newbies. Sadly, some of those activities clashed with Important Brexitty debates (which was a bit of a problem this year, because of the number of new people who'd joined specifically because we're one of the less fuckwitted parties over Brexit*). Also, some of these were in the evening, by which time my energy had buggered off somewhere and was having a little lie down. 8/10, would work better for those people who aren't snooze stoats.

They're also encouraging of having new people speak at Conference, which was extremely good. They were very keen to put new members to good use. I found the info on how to fill in Speaker's Cards and so on very useful. 9/10 (I'm docking one point because I'd dearly love there to be a web form, not a pdf or a piece of paper.)

The debates were generally very well run - there's a clear protocol, and people follow it. Most of the motions seemed well-chosen; I'm grateful for those people who've blogged about the process involved with choosing motions and amendments - it really helped me to work out what was going on. 9/10

OK, you get some points for having a Conference app. But you lose several points for the navigation system. Sorry. 5/10, must try harder.

And I'm incredibly glad that I got to take part in Lib Dem policy making, because, as a member, I got a vote! I could turn up, and vote on motions! It's almost like it's a democracy or something! 10/10

So - good Conference. I'm not sure I'll go again, because I'm almost totally incapable of spontaneously talking to people (I can respond when people come up to me, but this is generally insufficient for these kinds of events). Also, just being around so many people (lovely though the people were that I spoke to) was very draining. I've spent most of the past 48hrs on the sofa, with the Internet and computer games (and my partner). Fortunately, this Conference was at a time when I could roll it into my annual leave, so I have time to recover. It didn't really help that Bournemouth and my asthma don't mix well, especially with a hotel on East Cliff. I'd prefer flatter cities for Conference.

I'd like to be more involved with LD policy making, but preferably from my sofa, where I don't have to go anywhere and pretend that I can pass for a reasonably sociable human being.

* We're still being rather incoherent, split, and downright confused about how to present our extremely strong support for the EU, because every so often people whinge But The Will Of The Peeeeople... We're managing to clear the low bar set by the Conservatives and Labour, but frankly, toddlers can step over that bar nine times out of ten.

Reading Wednesday

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:35 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I've read: short fiction
Actually read this week:Some of the backlog (all DSF):

What I've read: long fiction

Banishment by M.C. Beaton, which is the first of six apparently-fluffy Regency romances about six beautiful sisters and a malevolent stately home, recommended as a Yuletide fandom (thanks [personal profile] ceb for the pointer!)  This one was indeed the promised fast, lighthearted read, in which the family lose their beautiful stately home and much of their wealth, and (some of them) begin to learn Important Lessons About Not Being Awful To Other People.  And the first of the beautiful daughters finds true love, etc.  The remaining five in the series are now on their way so I can find out just how malevolent the house gets ...

Bike light design

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:12 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
For a while I had the impression my back bike light remembered whether it was on or not when you removed and replaced the battery. And I wondered how that worked. A push-button that moved a physical toggle between three positions seemed implausible. But so did some tiny bit of persistent memory. My best guess is that there was a capacitor which held charge for a short time.

Now, I think I was completely wrong. I think that when you put the battery in, it *always* comes on. I just assumed that it would usually be off and didn't actually check that was true. So I got the impression it was lit *sometimes* on battery-connect, and connected that to the state it had before the battery was removed.

Wow, it's really easy to manufacture evidence for something even when you think you're avoiding that.

Presumably the "power on lit" is so that loose connections don't turn it off. OTOH, that would mean if it has a loose connection when it's being carried about, it might come on and drain the battery. Or maybe no-one thought about it and this just happened to be the case. Or maybe there's a regulation? I don't know.

Book stoats

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:37 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Apparently, when on holiday with less internet, I read books.

Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee (2017)
The second in the series. Once again, really, really horrific things are happening (mostly off-screen). Our main character from the first novel isn't our POV - we see them through others' eyes. It does quite a good job of misdirecting us, doing some very interesting plotting and politics and stuff. I don't think it's quite as good as its predecessor, but it's a pretty damn good book

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (2017. Novella)
Our protagonist is called "Murderbot"! It's great. Main story of conspiracies, survival, with a side order of AIs, augmented humans and personhood. Murderbot is a fantastic character to get to know.

The Last Good Man, Linda Nagata (2017)
Near-future thriller, looking at the way robots and drones are taking over military operations. Also, usual military morality stuff (when is shooting the shit out of things and/or people justified? what should you do when your people are captured by The Enemy (TM)). It's a pretty good example of the genre, if you like that kind of thing (which I do).

The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (2017)
Set in South Africa. Proper SFF (with robots, AIs, and demigods coming to fuck your shit up). Comes with a mild caution that I can't comment on how sensitively the relevant cultural stuff with the demigods was handled - the (non-South African) author mentions sensitivity readers, so I'm going to guess it's not terrible :) . I found it very striking, quite gory, and I do look forward to seeing other stuff by them, though possibly not just before bedtime.

Undertow, Elizabeth Bear (2017)
I think this was probably the best of the things I read while away (the charms of the Murderbot not aside). It contains aliens, big business, exploitation, probability, and some fantastic world-building. Complex, full of compelling detail, and I don't want to spoil the plot, because bits of it are really interesting.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, Theodora Goss (2017)
This is quite a good novel of the "let's stick Sherlock Holmes into anything set in the late 19th century" genre. It also draws on the early SF novels of that century, with the first character we meet being Dr Jekyll's daughter. It's generally fun, aware of its genre, but - pedants beware - there are 21st-century colloquialisms in the asides in the writing and Americanisms in the speech of 19th century Londoners. Including Sherlock Holmes. This means I can't wholeheartedly recommend it, because it's just Wrong.

I'm also very nearly through a re-read of Ann Leckie's Ancillary series (what would Fleet Captain Breq do?), and am looking forward to Leckie's new novel later this year.

Books

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:16 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
I read a book today which I really liked, but I can't find online. It's called The Princess And The Broken Heart revised by Smaul the Troll. It's almost a Sleeping Beauty retelling and almost a Snow White retelling. I love that genre and this one has another trait that I love - it doesn't assume anyone is irredeemable. Consider this statement about the evil stepmother queen 'Now, Leonora was not born cruel, and she had never been mean, but she had taken up a terrible way of thinking that consumed her like a fire'. The copy I picked up feels like it has a bit missing, because it talks about puzzles that the reader solved, and there weren't any that I noticed, but apart from that, it's a lovely story about love and change.

But autumn is upon us and I am feeling better enough that I've caught up to my Goodreads challenge of the year (which is just the same as last year rounded up, and I was a couple of books behind, having got loads ahead in the spring).

I also noticed that two years ago, I read a lot of dross that I picked up in the library, and last year I read mostly recommendations and it went a lot better, and this year I've read almost entirely recommendations and presents, and have enjoyed a lot more. I think I've been too busy reading random stuff that wasn't very enjoyable to listen to you lot.

So, here's my question - what's a book that 'everyone's read' that you would recommend? Imagine I've been living under a rock for the last ten years.

My contribution is 'The Bray House' by Eilís Ní Dhuibhne . It's Irish post apocalyptic fiction, and it's super popular in Ireland, the sort of book you find in guesthouses &c throughout the land. It's also brilliant.

Wednesday Media Consumption Roundup

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:22 pm
mousetrappling: Photo of me wearing tinsel as a feather boa (Default)
[personal profile] mousetrappling

Books

Fiction: still reading Neal Stephenson's "Reamde", a bit over halfway now. I think there's a vague feeling that it's pulling back together rather than opening out now, but nowhere near the endgame yet.

Non-fiction: still reading Gerald Harriss's "Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461" - more about the church (as institution) and monasteries in particular this time. Which never quite recovered from the Black Death to their previous levels of population, might almost say that the monastic way of life was in decline.

Maps: 200BCE-500AD - the rise of Christianity and the decline of Rome. China also falls to pieces over this period. And the first empires in South America arise (Tiwanaku & Wari). Madagascar got settled by Indonesians, which I hadn't realised, and New Zealand is still uninhabited.

Listening

Podcasts: ep 28-33 of Renaissance English History podcast. Mostly been bios of this person or that who was significant during the period, still interesting, but still the least favourite of the ones I'm keeping listening to (so OK but not great).

Sunday podcast: ep 7 & 8 of Our Man in the Middle East - build up to 9/11, the previous career of Osama bin Laden and the buildup of reasons for the US & UK to invade Iraq a second time.

Music: while running I've mostly listened to 80s compilations.

Watching

ep 3 of Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South - Mississippi & Louisiana. A good series overall, kept the tone light but didn't feel shallow.

ep 2 of The World's Busiest Cities - Mexico City this time, most of the sprawl is self-built by people just arriving and putting up a house where they found space.

ep 1 & 2 of Dangerous Borders: A Journey Across India & Pakistan - two British journalists, whose families are from the Punjab, making parallel journeys along the border region. Different tone to the other stuff I recorded about Partition, this has a focus on what the countries are like now, what life is like now, and so it rather more upbeat overall. Without sugarcoating the realities of both present & past.

Best Album 2017: Meet the Mercury Prize Shortlist & Mercury Music Prize: Best Album of the Year 2017 - I wasn't that keen on the shortlist, a lot felt bland or if not bland then not interesting enough to investigate further. The interview snippets put me off some of the bands too. For me the stand out act was Kate Tempest, tho I also quite liked the performance from Stormzy. But it was Sampha who won it and he was in the bland category.

Indie Classics at the BBC - one of the Beebs music programmes that strings together various bits of live footage they have in a theme, with facts subtitled over them. The theme here was earlier indie music, it ended with Happy Mondays & the Stone Roses, and was fun to watch. Wasn't just the obvious bands or tracks.

Lunches

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
On Wednesdays we are out all day, so I make packed lunches. Except tomorrow, because this evening I put a bunch of stuff on the table (including a roast chicken and a bowl of boiled eggs) and the children made their own.

Judith has chicken, carrot sticks, dried mango, rice cakes, crisps, mini cinnamon rolls and jelly. Andreas has eggs, carrot sticks, dried mango, bread (plain), fruit winder, crisps and jelly. It'll do. (I've got sushi rice, eggs, chicken, mixed chopped veg and hummous, some mixed dried fruit and jelly.) We'll all drink water.


In other news we watched Toast, the autobiography of Nigel Slater, yesterday. It actually just covers the first half of the book, his childhood, and I was touched by how sympathetically it portrayed even the people he didn't really like, I'd recommend it whether or not you read the book.

Departure

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:38 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
I've never left a job before. I spent my 20s as a contract researcher, and when my project came to an end, I just... didn't work in that lab any more. So I didn't know how to give notice, how to do the tax paperwork, it was all completely new to me. Also, the people I've been working closely with for the past eight years were all actually sad to see me go and wanted to mark the rite of passage. That was new to me too, in a mostly touching but slightly bittersweet way.

last days )

I started my new job the following Monday. I need to work out how much I should talk about that in detail here; for one thing it's looking to involve somewhat more blogging and social media presence as my professional persona than the old job did. Also I am still adjusting to living in Cambridge full time, which is probably another post, and I'm up to my eyes preparing for the High Holy Days beginning on Wednesday, so I am going to stick with posting about leaving rather than about arriving for now.

English usage

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
Note: food eaten between supper and breakfast is incorrectly referred to as a midnight snack. The correct term is "dark lunch".

In which I play with the cool kids.

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:48 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
This summer I have spent a lot of time wandering around Europe with my family, and a small amount of time playing with exciting people, but they were particularly exciting people. [personal profile] forestofglory visited, for example, and we had Friday night dinner and talking.

Then there was Bärli's parent's 40th anniversary. Bärli's family are so lovely. At one point there was a bit of a clash of understanding between Bärli's mother and Andreas, and both of them said to me they were worried the other would think they didn't respect them. But it was OK. And the whole family is so lovely and welcomign to us.

This weekend was [profile] huskyteer's birthday. Huskyteer is one of those people who is just so cool I can't imagine why they'd want to talk to me, but of course, also cool enough that they don't even think like that. Anyway, I can't think of a better person to introduce me to my first complete James Bond film (which I greatly enjoyed).

Now it is back to term, and I am doing so much! Band twice a week and karate, and Wednesday home ed stuff, and playdates. Remember how a year ago I was grumbling about never having time for me? Well, my people arranged it so I could, and it's wonderful. Thank you my people! I get two whole hours of cycling by myself, plus band (it's 10 miles away and I get a lift to Friday band but cycle on Sunday).

Rest of life round up:
Eating: sausage ragu with rice, made by the lovely [personal profile] jack
Reading: Just finished 'In My Own Time' by Nina Bawden, her autobiography, which is rather lovely. Her respect and love for the people around her really shines through, and she seems like such a nice person.
Playing: Argo. Not my cup of tea. Littles were playing Stratego, which I also can't get my head around, so I'm glad they have each other to play with.
Watching: Pororo. Cute Korean penguin and friend.
cjwatson: (Default)
[personal profile] cjwatson

is mise bó
tá mé an-caoin
léigh mé an dán
ar idirlíon
nuair is mian leat
canaim amhrán
fanaim rómhall
lím an t-arán

for the confused )

Fitbit goal check

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:26 pm

TG Lurgan, amhráin as Gaeilge

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:16 pm
cjwatson: (Default)
[personal profile] cjwatson

Coláiste Lurgan (Lurgan College) is an Irish-language summer school in Connemara; it has a musical project called TG Lurgan which does lots of brilliant translated covers. Here are a couple, worth watching even if you have little or no Irish 'cause they're obviously having such a good time with it!

videos )

(I'd run across them before, but [twitter.com profile] eyebrowsofpower reminded me of them today.)

My Who Do You Think You Are? moment

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:25 pm
sparrowsion: (home page portrait)
[personal profile] sparrowsion
Or, Who The F*** Are You? as we call it. Specifically, Lisa Hammond and "why her paternal grandfather Harry Hammond never spoke about his experiences in World War II". Well, my paternal grandfather never spoke about his experiences in World War II either, but at least we knew he'd been taken POW in Italy and was ultimately liberated by the Americans, so I was curious to hear this story.

Turns Hammond too had been taken prisoner in Italy, and almost certainly was suffering from PTSD as a result of his experiences in the POW & labour camps. And the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine (which [personal profile] 1ngi takes for her genealogical research) had some hints for chasing up similar stories.

So, well, I had to do that. And this is what I learned.

My grandfather was with the 2nd Battalion of the North Staffs during the Battle of Anzio. Anzio, if you've not heard of it before, was probably the biggest Allied cock-up of the war. From the small, personal perspective, the 2nd North Staffs were at the forefront and lost 323 men capturing a ridge which they were unable to hold because their ammunition supply was exhausted.

"Unable to hold" means many were taken prisoner. I don't know how many, but I'm guessing from the list which includes my grandfather's name that it was at least 50. That would be about half the battalion taken out in one day.

I don't know what happened to my grandfather in the immediate aftermath—that's going to take a lot more digging to try and find records. But I do know that he wound up in Altengrabow along with 60,000 other POWs. And that leads to the one piece of information I'd had passed down which is missing from these accounts: at the end, the Commandandt, having arranged for the Americans to evacuate the camp, took his own men and departed the scene.

I'm sure my grandfather was traumatised by his experiences in the camps, just as Harry Hammond was. But more traumatic, I feel, would have been that day on the Italian coast when so many of his comrades fell.

Packing

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:16 pm
hooloovoo_42: (Default)
[personal profile] hooloovoo_42
I have a list.  I have heaps.  I have packing cubes.  Somehow I have to combine all of these and make sure I don't forget anything.

I am going to be spending 11 days doing sailing, swimming, windsurfing, cycling and possibly stuff like yoga.  I've packed a lot of PE and swimming kit.  I have not yet packed the non PE type stuff and I'm wondering just how respectable I need to look when I'm not sailing, swimming, windsurfing or cycling.

Tomorrow I shall try and get it all into my luggage.  

I need to not forget the suncream, which is not currently on the list.

The only not so bright spot in all of this is the 5.40am departure from Gatwick.  I'm really not a morning person.  

jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Removing code is good! But everywhere I've worked has had a "pile of makefiles" build system, which have invariably had problems when you remove a file, because the .d files are still hanging around, and make chokes on a source file because it doesn't have the headers it needed last time, even though they're actually not necessary to actually build the file.

And it's a matter of culture whether it's "when you check out code, you often need to make clean or make undepend somewhere to get it to compile" or "when you check in code, you need to find a workaround to make it build cleanly even if you've removed files".

Do people with more recent build tools than "make" avoid this problem?

However, after thinking it through carefully I eventually decided on one of the ways to makefiles cope with this correctly.

The trick

You still do "-include $(OBJ_FILES:%.c=%.d)" or equivalent.

But when you produce a .d file with gcc (usually as a side effect of producing a .o file via -MMD), add an extra line at the end of the recipe, a perl script which edits the .d file in-place and replaces each "filename.o: header1.h header2.h..." with "filename.o $(wildcard: header1.h header2.h...)"

That way, if any dependency has *changed* a rebuild is forced as normal. But only dependencies that actually exist become dependencies within the makefile. (Deleting a header file doesn't trigger a rebuild, but it doesn't with the old system either since the .o file already exists.)

I can share the exact script if anyone wants to see.

Pictures

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:12 pm
hooloovoo_42: (Default)
[personal profile] hooloovoo_42
In the last few days, I have looked at getting on for 500 slides.  I've finally found the box that has me as a tiny baby in.  There are far more pics of Bro as a small and I was beginning to get a complex.  

There are probably more somewhere, but I think there are about 800 in total including the 2 boxes I've had sitting on my desk for some years.  I need to work out whether we want prints of any of them.  I also need to get them back into some better order.  I know that there are some from different sets in separate boxes, which need to be reunited with the rest of their own series.  At least cataloguing them means it's easier to resort them.

This is in addition to the approximately 1200 b&w negatives that date from about 1948 - 1968.

I recognise some people and can guess at others, but there are a few who I have no idea about - mostly university and TA related pics.  It's very interesting to see the photos of Very Small Us with Granny & Grandpa. 

Yuletide nominations

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:40 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I nominated for Yuletide. After lots of "how could I possibly choose", I decided that I might as well pick three works I liked and thought would make good fic, and not feel like I had to pick the BEST three. I can probably dredge up more obscure things I loved, and would really love to see fic from, but I find it hard to bring to mind things I've not thought of for ages.

There's lots of things I love, things like webcomics and webfiction which might deserve attention. I eventually chose three I thought would make good stories.

Elements (experiments in character design), the tarot-like cards showing a character for each chemical element. They're just so pretty, each looks like it tells a story. I was sad the physical cards seemed to be sold out and never for sale. They were nominated two years ago, and I was sad to see not last year.

And two webcomics, Leftover Soup (from Tailsteak, the author of the awesome 1/0, ooh, maybe I should submit that instead), and YAFGC (Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, like Oglaf, very not safe for work, but sort of in a surprisingly wholesome way).

Did other people manage to nominate things?

I am also basking in the disconcertingly competent assumption that, I expect to be able to, just get a story done, without a whole lot of putting it off. I'm not at all used to signing up to something with a deadline and not assuming I'll panic but it's worth it!

I looked at my notes from last year for "what might I be interested in nominating next year". It was mostly the same sorts of things. Although one was, "Steven Universe, if it doesn't exceed the limit of number of works", I guess that must have happened now :) Although I find it really hard to predict. I went to look up Vorkosigan, the universe I was surprised was still eligible when I wrote for it two years ago, and it looks like there's more than a 1000 fics on ao3 from before that, am I misremembering how eligibility/search works?

Short Fic Recs: Nollevas and More!

Sep. 14th, 2017 02:03 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
So I’ve been back from my trip for a bit. I did read a serval novellas while traveling though I wish I could have read even more. And since I’ve been back I’ve found some time to read a few more things online. So I have many recs to share with you all. I hope you enjoy!

A Portrait of the Desert in Personages of Power by Rose Lemberg Part I Part II Audio So I bit of had trouble getting into this and keeping the characters straight. Probable didn't help that I was jettlaged. However once I got into it I really enjoyed it. Some very beautiful writing, interesting characters and cool world building. It definitely nice to learn more about how magic works in the Birdverse. Also the main character is non-binary so worth checking out if you are looking for more representation. (content note: sadomasochism)

Humanity for Beginners by Faith Mudge (Not free) This cute and fun f/f werewolf romance is set at a British bed and breakfast which means lots of fun cooking details. Also features found family.

Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold (not free) The most recent installment of Bujolds Penric novella, but takes place before the two volumes published before it. A fun mystery featuring lots of cool magic. I think it would stand alone well.

“Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live” by Sacha Lamb This story featuring a romance between two trans boys is super cute! Avi the title character is Jewish, and I liked how he struggled with not being able to do all the Jewish things he wanted. (I’ve been their it’s hard to be Jewish without a community)

“Across Pack Ice, a Fire” By Marissa Lingen As I’ve said many times before I love Marissa Lingen’s attention to the details of everyday life which really make this story about power and revenge shine.

Have you been reading any short fiction recently?

Bushed

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:53 pm
hooloovoo_42: (Default)
[personal profile] hooloovoo_42
I've been sleeping better recently, which means I'm generally much livelier and not so grumpy during the day.  But the way the nights are drawing in means my hibernation genes are kicking in.  I got home from Jado around 8.30, ate my McDeadthings, hung up the laundry, got changed and flopped on the sofa to read email and listen to Jo Wiley.  It's not 10pm yet, but I'm ready to hit the hay.

I should be doing things like sorting travel insurance and currency, but I think I'm going to go to bed and play on my tablet for a while, then get some kip.   

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