Getting older

Feb. 23rd, 2019 01:09 pm
ludy: an arched window inmy old house (arch)
[personal profile] ludy
Because i'm in my 40's i keep having conversations about how things i think of as fairly recent actually happened 20 odd years ago.
I'm sure every generation has their own version of this.
But what made me really gasp was Dad telling me that the first time he flew (he went to Germany to work on a Community Project between A-levels and University) it was in a propeller plane...

(no subject)

Feb. 23rd, 2019 01:01 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
Yesterday i went to see a bunch of lovely people to celebrate the very lovely [personal profile] skibbley's birthday.

But unfortunately the last minute venue has a nightmare of (very) loud music, wierd lighting and poor signage.
Does anyone have any recommendations for sensorily friendly places to hang out?
(This was London but it would be useful to know about options in other places too)

Ten years!

Feb. 19th, 2019 10:29 am
wildeabandon: me kissing my beloved boy (pretty boys kissing)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
This Saturday was the tenth anniversary of me asking [personal profile] obandsoller to be my "It's Complicated" on Facebook. Ten years! There's a part of me that can't quite believe anyone could put up with me for that long, but when I'm not being self-deprecating, I know that actually we're really good together, and that both of us have done the work to make that happen. There are many things I love about him - how thoughtful and observant he is, the way he appreciates art and words and games and brings things out of them that I'd never notice, his engagement with the world and his passion for justice, his playfulness, his stylishness... I could go on.

But alongside that, there's a lot I really love about the relationship, which is a slightly different thing. I love how safe and secure it makes me feel - the absolute bone deep certainty that he will always be on my side, helping me up when I screw up, and cheering me on when I try to do difficult things. I love how affectionate we are, constantly cuddling and nibbling and reaching out and squeezing each others hands. I love that we like each other very much, and that we tell each other, and why. I love that we do little things for one another - he rubs my neck and shoulders when they're tense, and I bring him tea in the mornings. I love that even when we argue, which doesn't happen all that often, we both try really hard to do so constructively even when we're feeling frustrated, and that we continue to affirm our affection even as we argue. We are both lucky to have such a wonderful partnership, but it isn't just luck, and I think we can both be justly proud of what we've built together.

We celebrated our anniversary with a romantic meal at home - much like the weekend we first got together.

Photos of food and us looking adorable behind the cut )

(no subject)

Feb. 16th, 2019 08:45 pm
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
I'm doing terribly at posting here, and there's so much to post about. Got home from Budapest late Sunday and been sickish to sick since. Last night a breathe right nasal strip came in handy for breathing, but I've not figured out how to blow a nose with it.

Dad's now on 24 hr surveillance again, and of course Stepmother has told me nothing and I texted the nurselady and nothing.

I also suddenly remembered that I was going to send adaptive tableware and plates and mugs and stuff but had totally forgotten because that conversation had been right before I left for the airport after the last trip and I've pretty much been running since.

Carefirst killed my insurance at the end of January. A payment hadn't gone through somehow to correct a wrong autopay and they didn't bother to make any attempt to reach me after midmonth; my attempt to pay was after midmonth. After calls to them on Wed and Thur they did finally send me a termination notice yesterday. I am less than happy. I have since secured "insurance" but it's not in fact anything like what I was told it is, and I have many more calls to make on Monday.

I'm missing a whole bunch of stuff this weekend I would have liked to do because sick, and it's especially annoying in that I'm not /all that/ sick.

I started to watch Fahrenheit 11/9 . . . and I just can't.

TBH, I fully expect that man to be reelected.

Weird behaviour from an external disk

Feb. 16th, 2019 09:52 pm
rhialto: Me under a waterfall (Default)
[personal profile] rhialto
Recently I bought a new external disk (for doing backups on). [1]

When I got it I started with zeroing it out completely, as a simple test that it is actually working. This went with a nice speed (something like 60-80 MB/s). This speed is probably limited by the USB connection, not the actual disk speed.

Then I started to make the actual first backup onto it. That went very strangely: at first it too went at decent speed (it doesn't reach peak speeds if you copy small files of course), but at some point, it became slow. As in between 5 and 6 MB/s slow. The speed was very consistent. iostat showed me it was doing 85 or 86 transfers of 64 KB per second... steadily even when writing big files.

So I tried the disk with another computer and a different operating system. Also slow! (albeit about 8 MB/s or so).

We had a second disk of this type at hand that wasn't in use yet. So I tried making the backup on that one. I think I did not zero it out beforehand. Maybe that is important, but it seems the only difference in what I did. This second disk was plenty fast.

So I sent back the first disk, and ordered an identical one from a different shop. With the third disk I did the same things as with the first.... and it too became slow. I think it was later in the backup process, though. And while keeping an eye on the speed, it managed to go fast for 10 seconds or so, while I was watching, and then it became slow again.

This is so weird! I can believe that one disk is broken in some difficult to understand way, but two? The problem can't be the computer or its operating system, since the problem didn't vary with that. So the only thing I can think of is some weird firmware bug in the drive, that for some reason decides to start throttling the write speed...


I think I'll have to send this one back too, and order a "desk model" of the same size... I have several of those in different sizes and they are all fine (so far).

[1] It is a Western Digital 4 TB USB-3 2,5" disk. They call it "Elements" and "portable". The model number (from its SMART info) is WDC WD40 NMZW-11GZ6S1. Weirdly it is sold as model WDBU6Y0040BBK-WESN, and that is on the outside of the packaging. This is the case for all 3 of the disks.

Friday Five: Groceries

Feb. 16th, 2019 01:01 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack

1. Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?

No. Now, with two people in the house, we cook often enough it might be worth planning in advance, but just playing it by ear is working well enough. I used to do less proper cooking, when I didn't think about it at all, I only ever really bought things that kept, and treated each meal separately.

2. Do you make up a shopping list and stick to it when shopping?

There's not really a thing about sticking to it. I've been fortunate not to have to worry deeply about sticking for a budget, but I've also never really excitement to buy unusual things, so I don't usually have a big desire to buy other things (I mean, unless there's like books :)), I just want to get it done, so I don't need to make an effort to stick to a list.

I used to just usually buy the same staples. At some point I started keeping a list on my smartphone which was very convenient. Now we finally found a grocery list app we could both share which had been very convenient.

3. What is one thing that you always buy, but never put down on a list?

Nothing exciting, but things we need to refresh most often, like milk or bread, I usually have an idea if we have enough and just buy it, the list is more for things to buy "in the next few days".

4. Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?

I can't think of anything specific, but things like flour, vanilla, jam that we only use every so often, I always forget if we have already.

5. Do you get your groceries delivered?

That would probably be more convenient but I keep not getting round to it. I used to not because I was out almost every evening and didn't know when I'd be in to get deliveries. I work right buy large tesco so I usually shop one small batch at a time at lunchtime.

(no subject)

Feb. 15th, 2019 08:51 am
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
I have so much to post about, from interfusion to the trip to being pretty useless since the trip to being sick, and speaking of that last I'd like to go back to sleep but I managed to spill emergen-c on my bed.

I hear there's a confessional going on somewhere on dreamwidth...

Quiet week / Friday Five

Feb. 15th, 2019 12:16 pm
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
It's been a relatively uneventful week. Last weekend [personal profile] smhwpf came over so I could show him how I do the church bookkeeping, which he is very nobly taking off my hands, and on Sunday evening we had our monthly "House Date Night", and played Dominion, of which we very egalitarianly* won one game each. I went to another rehearsal of the university choir, which feels like it's going quite well. In particular, when the director made us get all mixed up and stand with the other parts, I was a lot more able to hold to the tenor line without following the people next to me than I expected to be.

On Thursday I took myself to the cinema to see All Is True, a heavily fictionalised biopic about Shakespeare's later life. It's got fairly variable reviews, and I think that's probably fair - the plot is a bit meandering, and some of the characters are a bit two-dimensional, but there's some stellar acting, and I very much appreciated the bi representation.

Friday Five on grocery shopping
1. Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?
Read more... )

Rationalist views on food

Feb. 15th, 2019 12:41 am
ilzolende: drawing of me, framed with L10a140 link (Default)
[personal profile] ilzolende
small brain Uneducated: Food is for people who aren't in the middle of a coding project or too tired to cook or what have you.
normal brain Contrarian: Actually, you should remember to eat about three meals a day, reasonably spaced, so your energy levels don't drop too much.
glowing brain Meta-contrarian: Have you heard about the cognitive benefits of fasting?

I'm on team "every time people tell me they are having a productivity problem, I ask them when they've last eaten food and slept and such, and lo and behold, this is often a pretty valuable question for me to have asked".


Feb. 14th, 2019 04:29 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
According to my phone's auto-suggestions:

Roses are you doing?
Violets are a few days.
Sugar is a bit of a worry,
And you are not the intended recipient.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've blogged about this ages ago, but apparently I never made myself understood.

Imagine you have a few characters, probably lovable misfits, a tough one, a hacker, a disguise artist, etc. The GM is adjudicating something simple and in theme, say the hacker needs to bypass an electronic keypad and then the tough one needs to spring through the door and take down half a dozen guards.

Traditional resolution mechanics, used commonly in all of simulationist games, tactical games, and lightweight narrative-focused games, go something like:

* Decide how hard each of those are for a typical human
* Each character gets a bonus for how much better than a typical human they are
* Then you resolve it.

It's important that the players and GM all have a similar idea how difficult these things actually are for the players, or they'll get into an argument about the resolution. But in truth... most of them will have watched a LOT of movies about tough ones who take down rooms full of guards, and never ever seen it in real life. So when you get to the "estimate difficulty" part, it's easier to estimate "for the tough one, taking out six surprised and lightly armed guards is of moderate difficulty" than to estimate "for a typical human, is this challenging? extreme? superhuman? something else?"

I'm considering an alternative, something like:

* Look at the obstacle as described by the GM
* Look at the character's ability
* Adjudicate "OK, for your specific character, that's easy/medium/hard/nigh-impossible", and roll a die that says "you succeed on an easy/medium/hard/impossible" challenge.

If you have a simulationist system, the traditional method is almost necessary. It's also a lot more practical if you have lots of different small bonuses, because adding those to the player's achievement is easier than subtracting them from the difficulty. But outside those situations, in theory, that system has some advantages: the GM doesn't need to model the characters abilities, just how hard the situation is; it means players usually get big numbers or lots of dice which is fun. But I'm not sure I actually believe those.

In practice, in creating a fun experience, the GM probably has a better idea of "I want to provide the players with this much of a challenge" than of "I want the situation to be this challenging in the abstract". Especially if there's modifiers being thrown around, it's easy for a "choose a difficulty, and then the players get bonuses" model to end up with "whoops, the player can just always/never succeed at this".

For instance, the players try to bribe a guard. Everyone expects that to happen in heroic fantasy all the time, so the GM gives it a fairly low difficulty. Now the players want to disguise themselves as laundry attendants to escape the castle. The GM does the same thing. But it turns out there's a mechanic for bribing but not disguise, or vice versa, so the players get a whacking great bonus to one of them and not the other, despite both being what you'd expect from the genre. It means the GM and player's instinctive knowledge of what the characters can do can work against them if the mechanics don't perfectly line up.

But with the new system, appropriate difficulties happen automatically if people forget themselves, but you can still calculate them in detail when you feel the need. The GM can always just assume that as long as the hacker does the hacking and the tough one does the bruising, most challenges will be "medium", but they can throw an "easy" or "hard" in there if they want. And if they DO want to make things more objective they can use a rule-of-thumb of "for every notch above typical human you are, you reduce the difficulty by one level" without wiring it into the rules of the universe.

What are the advantages of that system?

One is, as I said, it's easier to adjudicate difficulty on the fly if everyone has a good idea what the characters can do but not what a normal human can do.

Also, if characters want to work outside their specialities it also works better. Maybe "jumping a gap", anyone can try even if only the athlete can be assumed to succeed, but "picking a lock" you can't do at all unless you know. Most systems force you to pick one or the other of those for all possible tasks (or choose two possible levels, as with DnD's "take 10/take 20" system and restrictions on some skills without training). In this system, the GM can adjudicate on the fly what obviously makes sense in the situation at hand, even if it means some tasks which are medium for the hacker are hard for other characters and some are impossible. Whereas with a traditional resolution, if two different players want to try the same thing, it's easy to have the results break everyone's expectation of what the characters can achieve.

And, it implicitly puts the variance under the GM's command, not only the mean. If one character has a special ability that makes routine something that is usually far out of the reach of other characters, the flavour might still suggest that they some of those tasks are easy and some are hard for them. In a traditional resolution mechanic, you *also* need to make sure those difficulties are out of reach of other characters, except for the times they actually should be able to do it with sufficient effort. With the new system, you can simply assign difficulties for the character with the special ability, and worry about the other characters only if they try something like that.

I'm not sure if there's actually any use for this system, but thinking it through helped me think how abilities and difficulties work.

And I'm still confused by the responses I got when I talked about this before, which were mostly, "If you think that, you should try FUDGE" which I mean, sure, a popular widely used system probably is a lot better than one person's random idea, but it seems so irrelevant, since FUDGE uses exactly the same traditional resolution order as DnD, so I wasn't sure what they were trying to say.

(no subject)

Feb. 11th, 2019 04:46 pm
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
I looked through the TV and movie offerings on the plane, and perhaps I should have slept, but instead when I saw they had Boys Don't Cry, I realized it was 20 years old, and decided to watch it, as I had only vague memories of the movie other than that it was difficult and had won awards.

This was perhaps not my best decision. I'd seen it in the theatres and remembered that it was brutal in the end. I'd forgotten just how slow the rest of the movie is, how much one wants to, so many times, say to Brandon 'omg no, don't do that.'

After, I was curious as to whether Hilary Swank had name power before she was cast - spent some time reading the imdb extras, including that the other young women in the film had all also auditioned for the role. Wondered what the reaction would be now to Swank. Read wikipedia on what differed between real life and the movie, and one of the major things that did was that Lana actually sued the studio over implying a) that she continued the relationship on learning and b) that she was at the murder scene. Also read a 20 years later response by the original village voice writer.

maybe i'll look for the links later.

tired. today's been pretty useless. might ge getting sick.

It's weird to be home. I don't fit.


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Paul Crowley

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