I have to say though, giving up reading Facebook was the best idea I've had since dumping the Evil Ex. The news about their "experiments" on users broke shortly after I abandoned the place and it explained an awful lot about the lift in outlook I've experienced ever since. Good riddance to 'em and fuck Zuckerberg completely.
I feel like I haven't posted much outside of book lists for a while, and I rationalize that as not wanting to repeat, "I went to work. I worked like a dog. I came home exhausted. There are mouse turds on my stove." five times a week. But it's not like I haven't done other things - shit, I went to Switzerland! I went to Germany! I went to New Orleans. I went to see Nick Cave and Stiff Little Fingers. I just haven't written about it.
Maybe it's like when you have a bad breakup and you decide you don't want to date for a couple of months after? I dunno.
One thing that is certain is that I will not be NaDruWriNing on the actual date - this weekend is just too damn busy. So on the side of Lake Erie it is. Maybe that will pull some kind of a cork out.
Assorted maths. Light on the theory (but it's a pop-sci type book) but quite interesting on the whole.
If you like maths and/or Simpsons (or Futurama, trhere's maths in that as well, who would have known) this may well be an interesting read.
Dishwasher guy was first, and then drain guy. This was pretty good timing, as it turned out: some poking about by drain guy revealed a pipe with an opening for his pokey stick in the porch, but the first few times he tried it came out of the dishwasher drain rather than the sink. Still, he managed to get it sorted pretty quickly and headed on his way. While I was in the house seeing what was going on ("Is there a problem? Why did he leave so quickly?"), horse girl arrived, with an older friend, and we showed her Baby for a bit. Dishwasher guy decided that it was the circuit board, not the heater, and went away to order a new one: three to five days.
We tacked Baby up and I tasked Mike with taking GB back up to the field, so that he could watch while we were riding. A few minutes later, Mike lead Baby out to the school while I caught GB and took him to the field.
Baby obliged me with a lovely canter, first time, in the good direction, and a less good one the second time in the bad one. Embarrassingly for everyone, horse girl (who retrains difficult horses for a living) couldn't get him to canter for her. It was generally agreed that he's got a lovely nature and beautiful paces but was a bit green. We suggested that they bring her other half down to try it out (possibly with one of her horses as well, so that they could try a little hack), so we'll see what comes of it.
Still, at least my sink works, now. And Mike knows how to fix it if it blocks up again (although he's also bought things that you stick down the plug holes to continuously release enzymes, which should help stop it from happening again).
And Esme's hiccups have stopped.
But as a good data-driven person, wouldn't it be nice to have numbers rather than just handwaving? In the absence of a good public dataset, I scraped Hacker Slide to get just over two months of data in the form of hourly snapshots of stories, their age, their score and their position. I then applied a trivial test:
- If the story is younger than any other story
- and the story has a higher score than that other story
- and the story has a worse ranking than that other story
- and at least one of these two stories is on the front page
(note: "penalised" can have several meanings. It may be due to explicit flagging, or it may be due to an automated system deciding that the story is controversial or appears to be supported by a voting ring. There may be other reasons. I haven't attempted to separate them, because for my purposes it doesn't matter. The algorithm is discussed here.)
Now, ideally I'd classify my dataset based on manual analysis and classification of stories, but I'm lazy (see ) and so just tried some keyword analysis:
A few things to note:
- Lots of stories are penalised. Of the front page stories in my dataset, I count 3240 stories that have some kind of penalty applied, against 2848 that don't. The default seems to be that some kind of detection will kick in.
- Stories containing keywords that suggest they refer to issues around social justice appear more likely to be penalised than stories that refer to technical matters
- There are other topics that are also disproportionately likely to be penalised. That's interesting, but not really relevant - I'm not necessarily arguing that social issues are penalised out of an active desire to make them go away, merely that the existing ranking system tends to result in it happening anyway.
This clearly isn't an especially rigorous analysis, and in future I hope to do a better job. But for now the evidence appears consistent with my innate prejudice - the Hacker News ranking algorithm tends to penalise stories that address social issues. An interesting next step would be to attempt to infer whether the reasons for the penalties are similar between different categories of penalised stories, but I'm not sure how practical that is with the publicly available data.
(Raw data is here, penalised stories are here, unpenalised stories are here)
 Moving to San Francisco has resulted in it making more sense, but really that just makes me even more depressed.
 Ha ha like fuck my PhD's in biology
 Perhaps stories about startups tend to get penalised because of voter ring detection from people trying to promote their startup, while stories about social issues tend to get penalised because of controversy detection?
Unless your politics includes an agenda you want a government to put into action, it isn't politics. It's just whining. Fortunately, this kind of whining isn't done by politicians, but by "theorists" of various ilks.
This morning, while I was riding, Mike got some interesting news of a possible deal between Next Door and TWWOTV, which might mean we could buy a few more acres of land next to our field. This would be incredibly convenient, but I'm not holding my breath on either side actually going through with it; instead, I've been talking to Mrs Farmer, who rents a field from the people at the top of the hill that we could use relatively conveniently.
GB seemed better a couple of days ago, and then a bit worse again today: I'm just playing that one by ear and keeping it very gentle for him. This woman's coming to look at Baby this afternoon, so I shall be riding him later for her to look at. I'm not greatly looking forward to that, as my shoulder and, now, back are still very sore, but we'll do what we can. Physio tomorrow. Waa.
We've still not heard from the drain guy who's supposed to be coming out to sort out the kitchen sink, which I'm unimpressed with: I think it's partly him being crap and partly the office being crap; they're chasing him. At least, hopefully, the dishwasher will get fixed this afternoon.
I'm not sleeping well, because of my back, so I'm knackered. At least the sun's come out today.
It's impossible to overstate how important free software is. A movement that began with a quest to work around a faulty printer is now our greatest defence against a world full of hostile actors. Without the ability to examine software, we can have no real faith that we haven't been put at risk by backdoors introduced through incompetence or malice. Without the freedom to modify software, we have no chance of updating it to deal with the new challenges that we face on a daily basis. Without the freedom to pass that modified software on to others, we are unable to help people who don't have the technical skills to protect themselves.
Free software isn't sufficient for building a trustworthy computing environment, one that not merely protects the user but respects the user. But it is necessary for that, and that's why I continue to evangelise on its behalf at every opportunity.
Free software has a problem. It's natural to write software to satisfy our own needs, but in doing so we write software that doesn't provide as much benefit to people who have different needs. We need to listen to others, improve our knowledge of their requirements and ensure that they are in a position to benefit from the freedoms we espouse. And that means building diverse communities, communities that are inclusive regardless of people's race, gender, sexuality or economic background. Free software that ends up designed primarily to meet the needs of well-off white men is a failure. We do not improve the world by ignoring the majority of people in it. To do that, we need to listen to others. And to do that, we need to ensure that our community is accessible to everybody.
That's not the case right now. We are a community that is disproportionately male, disproportionately white, disproportionately rich. This is made strikingly obvious by looking at the composition of the FSF board, a body made up entirely of white men. In joining the board, I have perpetuated this. I do not bring new experiences. I do not bring an understanding of an entirely different set of problems. I do not serve as an inspiration to groups currently under-represented in our communities. I am, in short, a hypocrite.
So why did I do it? Why have I joined an organisation whose founder I publicly criticised for making sexist jokes in a conference presentation? I'm afraid that my answer may not seem convincing, but in the end it boils down to feeling that I can make more of a difference from within than from outside. I am now in a position to ensure that the board never forgets to consider diversity when making decisions. I am in a position to advocate for programs that build us stronger, more representative communities. I am in a position to take responsibility for our failings and try to do better in future.
People can justifiably conclude that I'm making excuses, and I can make no argument against that other than to be asked to be judged by my actions. I hope to be able to look back at my time with the FSF and believe that I helped make a positive difference. But maybe this is hubris. Maybe I am just perpetuating the status quo. If so, I absolutely deserve criticism for my choices. We'll find out in a few years.
Wow, this has been a week. Or several. I’ve been quiet for a while because I’ve been buried by our house move. So anyway, movers were booked for last weekend. Sunday, to be specific. They showed up, tutted a lot, initially tried to refuse to take anything, then got told by their boss over the phone to get on with it. They didn’t have a big enough truck and complained that we didn’t have everything quite lined up just perfect tied up with ribbons and bows for them.
I have never dealt with such a huge bunch of wusses as regards movers. They were capable enough, actually very fast, once they got going, but oh my doG the whining. They moved a whole truck load, but it just amounted to 2/3rds of our stuff, practically speaking.
Anyway, cut to the present day. Three days later after many hours of sorting out and chucking of stuff, we are now at a point where we are more or less ready for the Wuss Crew to come over and move the rest of the stuff. Gina and I have done many car loads ourselves, moving things that they refused to move last time, like tripods, light stands, kitchen stuff. You know, anything not tied up neatly in a cardboard box with a freaking bow on it.
Gaah. My back hurts (old injury from excessive ATV driving in the Arctic, most likely), my shoulder hurts (this is its hobby, I think, nothing unusual). Oh and we found woodworm in some stuff that was stored in the rafters, so I’m chucking/abandoning anything made of wood that had been stored in there, including a few benches as well as a fairly substantial load of timber. I was going to move this, but I think I’ll gift it to the house owners toward their remodel — they can check it for beetles themselves if they want it.
Speaking of woodworm, if the little nasties are in things stored in the garage, they must be pretty much everywhere in the infrastructure of the house. Not to mention the vast colony of termites under the floor that have reduced the posts holding the house up to the diameter of a human thumb. The place really needs to be torn down and rebuilt, or it will be a death trap in a reasonable sized quake. We were pretty lucky in the last one, I think.
So much for my machine shop and lab. I’ll have to start over from scratch setting everything up, which will be a little frustrating, but I am kind of looking forward to doing some for-real woodworking. I’m intending making shelving for the shop, lab and house, benches for the lab and shop and probably a few pieces of random custom furniture. Any excuse for woodworking is good with me, however!
Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2
#DomesticBliss, #MoMBlog, #Musings
It's one of my favourite genres: gay teenagers in love. This one is set in a USAnian private expensive boarding school, and mentions A Separate Peace in the text itself, because of course it does.
Your Blue-Eyed Boys
The Work of Wings
Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho
Short stories, beautiful and magical and weird, set in England and in Malaysia and elsewhere. Also funny and touching.
I am up to season 2, episode er, 9?
Chuck Bass is so fucked up, I love him as a character (and am glad he is not a real person and is not like any real person I know).
His mother is a huge absence in the show, he's just built around her absence. In a show where the major characters all have mother issues, his is the greatest. Also he has a sprinkling of daddy issues on top.
But so very much mummy issues.
His mother isn't there and isn't there and until inside season 2 is not mentioned AT ALL and all his conversations with his father is them not talking about his mother and just about all his interactions with women (and most of his interactions at all) are about how he is unloveable since his mother never loved him.
I 'ship Chuck Bass and Blair very much, because they're both assholes who deserve each other, because they are actually friends, and also because
Blair also has deep mummy issues with a slight sprinkling of daddy issues on top. Blair always knew her Daddy loved her and she wasn't good enough for mummy, and she works, so hard, to be the perfect Upper-East-Side beautiful organised queen , to be finally worthy of her mother's love, to be good enough
And she was good enough for her father, she was absolutely sure of it, she was his perfect little girl and then a bigger girl but still perfect and then he left home for a man and now she will never be perfect and loved, her world collapsed and her certainty collapsed and she keeps going, she works harder than ever.
I like how Chuck Bass always has the ugliest clothes, like he has a sense of style that's just about being offensive,
He's thin enough and built enough and rich enough to look really good, and he keeps wearing really ugly things, a kind of constant sartorial 'fuck you'. Even when he was at his father's wedding, his bow-tie clashed with his button-hole and mis-coordinated with his pocket-square, constant off-balance, constant noise.
In season 1, even his hair was less flattering than it might be, he's just at 'there is no my best, my worst is all there is'.
I like how Chuck Bass is always seeking comfort from professionals, for money, and so far never once going to a psychiatist or psychologist or any kind of counselor. Just, preserving the power balance where he wants it, with him in power, even though he ~needs~ so much.
Nate Archibald is physically attractive and that's what he has. He is also rich and loved and fucked up. I get a current of abuse between Nate and his father, 'The Captain' Archibald, because the Captain treats Nate like a body, and like a thing he owns, but not as a person with a mind. Or maybe it's just the way The Captain looks at Nate when they go out running together.
No fic of them on the ao3, though.
The twenty-fifth issue of RPG Review has been released with concentration on Dungeons & Dragons for the release of the fifth edition of that game. I am particularly taken by the interview with Dr. Lewis Pulsipher. My own major contribution is an epic ten thousand word history of Dungeons & Dragons and its publishing companies. Played a particularly creepy episode of GURPS Middle-Earth on Sunday and have started a review of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach, which should be on rpg.net fairly soon.
Rocknerd activities for The Dwarf continue unabated. My review of Pop Crimes, the Rowland S. Howard tribute of friends and associates has been published, on Saturday with a mixed response. Tonight will be attending progressive metal supergroup, The Dream Theater who are playing at The Palais. My next desired gig is classic Australian punk band, Radio Birdman, however tickets (even for industry)_are extremely short to say the least.
Once it had kicked in a bit, I took public Twitter off my Tweetdeck screen, reconsidered and closed Tweetdeck altogether, opened up tiny_oasis* in its own window, and threw myself into getting work done. I blasted through my to-do list and thoroughly cleaned out my inbox. I got up and showered and dressed, and realized I hadn't eaten, and ate in front of the big window in X's room so I'd get a bit of sun, and went out to the store because five minutes outside is better than no time outside.
* tiny_oasis is a Twitter account run with a little script I
When X got home, they congratulated me on engaging my coping mechanisms. I blinked a bit. I hadn't even realized that was what I was doing. I didn't want to be anywhere near my emotions, which were a roiling sinkhole of awfulness, so I shut them away and did my best to live on a purely intellectual plane. That's not really sustainable long-term, but it got me through the day. That said, I was rather surprised that I got a lot done rather than just huddling under the blankets and playing Transport Empire until my arm fell off.
When I fell into misery at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013, there was a terrible tipping point night where I said, "Okay, this isn't just something I can bootstrap through. I need help." And as soon as I made that leap, I was researching therapists and going to my doctor and getting on Zoloft and self-caring to the max. I just had to recognize that it was time to run the mental health care programs. Today wasn't anything like on that scale, but more importantly, today I didn't need to consciously make the leap. I just started doing all the right things.
In mid-2013 I wrote up a depression symptom checklist (thanks again to X being perceptive and connecting a whole bunch of different things that I was, once again, thinking of as one-off things I could handle as they come up) and a list of self-care protocols. I'm doing just about everything on that self-care list already; things like working out and only working when it's work time have become daily habits. That's pretty awesome.
I'm feeling a lot better than I was this morning, and last night. I hope it lasts. If it doesn't, at least I have a good idea of what to do.
Here as everywhere else, context makes a big difference. Here's an example from my own life.
I'm male-bodied; people generally read me as a man. Earlier this year I went to a party in drag (and hey, I thought I looked rather fetching). I was walking down a busy street after dark, when someone in the shadows I couldn't quite see called out "Hello darling."
Ordinarily, I wouldn't hear that a threat. But I can tell you that in *that* context it was a moment of raw terror. All the recent newspaper stories of street assaults ran through my head. If he thinks I'm a woman, maybe he's going to assault me (hell, if he thinks I'm a man in drag, maybe he's going to assault me). By appearing female in public I had effectively painted a huge target on my back.
Now of course men get attacked in the street too. But you don't expect that sort of attack to begin with the attacker saying "hello". If someone had come up to me with a knife I'd have been terrified whether I was dressed as a woman or not. But "hello, darling" is often the start of a very different script, and I was someone who might plausibly be cast in that script in a very unpleasant role.
So I can attest to the terror it can cause when a stranger tries to greet you in the street.
I am so tightly wound you could run a watch off me at triple speed.
All I can think about is getting out of town again somehow. The three of us were planning to go upstate this coming weekend, but the person who was going to catsit needs to rescue other cats from an unhappy situation (which is totally understandable—cats in need of rescue always come first) and no one else we know can do it, and J and X weren't nearly as enthusiastic about the going-upstate idea as I was. So we're going to take a day trip back to our old stomping grounds in Inwood and walk in Inwood Hill Park. And that will be lovely, absolutely. And I'll still get a quiet weekend with my spouses. And Sam-the-cat won't hate me for abandoning her two weekends in a row. And maybe it's for the best if I don't drive while my shoulder tendons feel like steel cables. But I want to be somewhere that isn't here in a really fundamental way and I suspect a day trip to Inwood isn't going to do much for that.
Everything this weekend reminded me of another place. The train came out of a tunnel and I simultaneously expected to see the suburbs outside of Melbourne and the countryside between Tokyo and Osaka. The golden autumn light felt like our last trip to London. I wanted to be anywhere, anywhere, anywhere else. I'm homesick in reverse.
I suspect this is one part tiredness (it was not the sort of vacation where I got to sleep in, though at least I mostly got to bed at reasonable-for-me hours) and one part community/social media stress (Tweetdeck with retweets turned off has made public Twitter usable for me again, which is wonderful, but the anxiety has not entirely gone away) and one part still working overtime and one additional part tiredness because I really am very tired.
Also I got allergy-triggered by fucking incompetent restaurateurs on Sunday, and I sailed through it with the sort of carefully constructed serenity that means I'm just putting off the panic attack until later when it's more convenient. So perhaps that would explain the pounding heart and wobbly feeling I'm having right now. It's not vertigo. I checked by looking at a fixed point, and there was no spinning or other visual disturbance. But I feel like I'm on a moored boat that's bobbing up and down on the tide.
X and I are going to Long Island for our elopeaversary in a few weeks. Maybe that will help. No socializing, no couch-surfing. Just us and a motel suite with a kitchenette. And a car, if we want, but we could get by without one if driving feels like more than I can handle.
Maybe I should have gone to London this summer. But when the might-have-been-in-London weeks happened I was so happy to be here! Also London doesn't feel far away enough at the moment. Japan and Australia hold more appeal. Especially Japan, because I wouldn't have to try to pay attention to what anyone is saying. It would be nearly as good as being somewhere entirely remote and disconnected from everything with no people around at all. Except X and J. I'm safe with them.
I do not like this feeling.
Well, taurine and sleep can only help, right? So I'll go do that, I guess, and see whether I feel any better tomorrow.
When I ran the dishwasher with the dinner plates in on Saturday night, they didn't get clean. Odd. I ran it again, and that time realised that it wasn't actually getting hot: it was doing a full cycle, but without heating the water. Not great timing, but there were at least plenty of people to help with the washing up!
But then the kitchen sink stopped draining on one side... and then it stopped draining on the other as well. So washing up after dinner last night involved carrying bowls of used water off to tip down the loo instead.
Plumber tomorrow, dishwasher repair man on Thursday.... Sigh. At least the dishwasher's from John Lewis, so it's under warranty still.
(Lovely visit other than that, although Jo is a bit unsettled and tired from having to be on guard all the time and sleeping on our bedroom floor instead of
For the first time in a couple of years I'm probably going to do Nanowrimo again. I spent a couple of weeks getting way ahead on work commitments, as I was expecting to spend October/November/December working on a big project. Big project will hopefully still materialise but hasn't yet, which in turn means that my work time is pretty empty, so I may as well do *something* with it.
I have also been doing a surprising amount of socialising, including a trip to Oxford to meet up with various folk, a couple of dinners with various friends I haven't seen in ages, drinks ditto, a visit to my sister, and yesterday, a very splendid party. Arranging social things is still a lot harder than it was pre-Leon (...obviously...) but in comparison to, say, a year or so ago it is much easier. Which is lovely.
I still miss climbing. I manage to go once or at most twice a month; it's still lots of fun but that's just not anything like the amount I should be doing to get any better. Maybe I should apply my "tiny changes" theory to this, but that warrants its own post.
I am slightly, superstitiously, scared to say this publicly, but Leon, over the last week or so, has been regularly sleeping 5-6 hours at a stretch after going to bed. This is the first time since he was born that he's done anything like that consistently. I don't think I'm entirely feeling the benefit of it yet, possibly because I can't bring myself to believe it / count on it yet. But this may yet mean that "being less exhausted" becomes a marginally more reasonable aim.
(He made up his first story the other day, too, albeit a pretty basic one*; and has suddenly got the hang of piggy-back rides; and grown about 2" overnight. Children are terrifying.)
* "Once upon a time there was a little Leon, with his mama, in the sling. Then they were very tired. So they went all the way home." He was, at the time, on my back in the sling and we were on the way home.