More foraging

Aug. 30th, 2014 09:46 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Hops drying:

Today, we had another try at the Minnis, and were more successful: a quarter kilo of blackberries (Mike is crap at blackberrying. He gets bored too quickly), half a kilo of elderberries (gone in the freezer, to make another batch of the cordial when it's cold enough to want a nice hot spiced drink after walking the dog), and apples:

There are not nearly so many apples this year as last, but we got two big bags. The tiny ones will go for juice, the pink ones will probably be preped for crumble and frozen. The big green ones are pretty much the entirety of the remaining crop from our two, elderly trees (less a few damaged ones that have gone to the horses). I got about half that amount a week or so ago, and now there are just a few manky ones that I'll leave for the birds and insects.

We're certainly not going to be able to do what we did last year when we went to the Minnis and filled three or four bags-for-life in fifteen minutes.

(I am currently basically obsessed with my birthday present, Ni No Kuni, hence haven't been about much. Nearly at the final boss, though, so normal service soon.)

World wanderer

Aug. 30th, 2014 04:02 pm
the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
[personal profile] the_siobhan
I have now eaten Mexican food in Zurich and Croatian food in Berlin. And have discovered the awesomeness of Nocino in Ticino.

Globe trotting is all about the food after all.

Gentle Readers: harmless phantoms

Aug. 29th, 2014 12:53 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Gentle Readers
a newsletter made for sharing
volume 1, number 20
25th August 2014: harmless phantoms
What I’ve been up to

It's been three months! This is the last issue of volume 1, and next week volume 2 begins: it'll be more of the same, except that I'm adding reviews of some of the children's books I've loved in my life. I'll be collecting the twenty issues of volume 1 together in a printed book, which I'll be emailing you about when it's ready.

This week has been busy but uneventful, which I wish was a less common mixture, but it was good to drop into Manchester during the Pride festival. I apologise for this issue being late: I had it all prepared, and then there was a server problem, and then I found I'd lost one of the sections completely, so it had to be rewritten. Never mind: you have it now!

A poem of mine


My talent (or my curse) is getting lost:
my routes are recondite and esoteric.
Perverted turns on every road I crossed
have dogged my feet from Dover up to Berwick.
My move to London only served to show
what fearful feast of foolishness was mine:
I lost my way from Tower Hill to Bow,
and rode the wrong way round the Circle Line.
In nameless London lanes I wandered then
whose tales belied my tattered A to Z,
and even now, in memory again
I plod despairing, Barking in my head,
still losing track of who and where I am,
silent, upon a street in Dagenham.

(Notes: the title is a reference to Keats's sonnet On First Looking into Chapman's Homer. "A to Z" is a standard book of London streetmaps.)


A picture
On-sweet bathroom

Something wonderful

In the poem above, I mentioned Berwick-upon-Tweed, or Berwick for short, which rhymes with Derek. Berwick is the most northerly town in England, two miles from the Scottish border. It stands at the mouth of the river Tweed, which divides Scotland from England in those parts, but Berwick is on the Scottish bank: for quite a bit of its history it was a very southerly town in Scotland instead. The town's football team still plays in the Scottish leagues instead of the English. Berwick has been in English hands since 1482, though given next month's referendum I'm not going to guess how long that will last.

As befits such a frontier town, it's impressively fortified, and the castle and ramparts are well worth seeing. But today I particularly wanted to tell you about the story of its war with Russia.

Fans of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, and anyone who had to learn The Charge of the Light Brigade at school, will remember the Crimean War, a conflict which remained an infamous example of pointless waste of life until at least 1914. Now, because Berwick had changed hands between England and Scotland several times, it was once the rule that legal documents would mention both countries as "England, Scotland, and Berwick-upon-Tweed" to be on the safe side. And the story goes that when Britain declared war on Russia in 1853, it was in the name of England, Scotland, and Berwick-upon-Tweed, but the peace treaty in 1856 forgot to include Berwick, so this small town remained technically at war with Russia for over a century.

In fact, the tale is untrue: Berwick wasn't mentioned in the declaration of war, as far as I know, though I admit I haven't been able to trace a copy-- can any of you do any better? But such is the power of story that in 1966, with the Cold War becoming ever more tense, the town council decided that something had to be done about the problem. So the London correspondent of Pravda, one Oleg Orestov, travelled the 350 miles up to Berwick for peace talks, so that everyone could be sure that Berwick was not at war with the USSR. The mayor told Mr Orestov, "Please tell the Russian people through your newspaper that they can sleep peacefully in their beds."

Something from someone else

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at , and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. Love and peace to you all.

WordPress, video.

Aug. 30th, 2014 12:34 pm
ideological_cuddle: (Default)
[personal profile] ideological_cuddle
So I built a WordPress plugin, and the experience didn't entirely suck. Hopefully whatever flaws might be in it are related to the various WordPress API calls rather than to my own stupidity.

(It's also the first thing I've ever been able to release as open source software, though it is not in itself terribly useful unless you also have our proprietary video player.)

It's based in large part on the [video] shortcode stuff in the WordPress core, providing a way to use OzPlayer in place of MediaElement.js for video. It removes the [video] shortcode and replaces it with this version so in the first instance you can simply drop this in and all your videos will work.

Of course part of the reason to use our player rather than anything else is the support for audio descriptions and the fancy transcript tool, so there are additional shortcode arguments required to point at that data. But you can use it as-is too.

OzPlayer is free for not-for-profit organisations, and we're running a promotion at the moment where commercial/government organisations can have a perpetual license for free, including the first year of maintenance (support and updates). After that first year we charge: the price at the moment is $1000/pa.

"The world could end today"

Aug. 29th, 2014 07:57 pm
rosefox: Me hugging a giant teddy bear, very sad. (sad)
[personal profile] rosefox
With shock and great sorrow, [ profile] ladyjax reports that [ profile] deluxvivens/[ profile] deluxtoo has died.

I think she'd be astonished that I wept for her the way I did. We weren't close friends. But I admired her tremendously, and learned a great deal from her, and was always glad when I got the chance to chat with her or read her words. She was the embodiment of defiance, full of warmth for those who earned her friendship, often surprisingly patient with the clumsy but well-intentioned, and unstintingly scornful of fools. She loved Black American culture and history and shared her knowledge widely, along with her extensive collection of photos and videos of sexy men of color--and she may have played up her thirst for manflesh, but she was very serious about celebrating those men as a way of fighting back against stereotypes that demonized them. It was one of the most splendid marriages of the personal and political that I've ever seen. She was a Black NDN, fiercely proud of her Native heritage, and powerfully outspoken in support of indigenous peoples everywhere. She was a Brooklynite with roots all the way down to bedrock.

I always thought we'd find a way to get together someday for a stroll and a drink in Brooklyn, or a movie full of hot shirtless guys. I was looking forward to teasing her about being seen in the company of a white gentrifier and what that would do to her street cred. I'm really sad that that won't ever happen now.

The world is a better place for having had her in it.

T-1 day to vacation

Aug. 29th, 2014 03:26 pm
silentq: (post via email)
[personal profile] silentq
I'm checked in for my flight tomorrow and have the last batch of food in the dehydrator at home right now (I thought the overnight soup would be the last batch, but it dried down to barely over 1 serving so I put in most of the leftovers this morning - it was thicker so should yield more). I did my laundry last night and am done all the shopping I need to do here - I have to hit up a store in Jackson to get white gas and matches/lighter and maybe bear spray (kinda sorta don't want to mess with it though they're advising hikers to carry it) since I can't fly with them. Though I do need to stop at the grocery store for another pack of ziplock bags tonight since I got very precise about individually bagged meals. I "just" have to pack tonight, which will probably involve lots of hopping on and off the scale while holding my pack and reminding myself that every additional pound at sea level is going to really suck at 10k feet.

In the spirit of letting someone know where I'll be at all times (since I'm going solo):
Read more... )

I keep having little moments of "omg what are you doing???", especially when I read reports of bear activity or a hiker falling in the northern part of the park. This is definitely a go big or go home first solo expedition, it'll be an adventure. :-) At least the weather forecast looks a bit nicer for next week: no rain after Sunday, highs of 20C, lows of 3C, and oh, look, nothing over 20kph for wind forecasts. *happy dance* :-) Still bringing rain and snow gear of course though. The web cams are looking good, though not really pointing where I'll be. Oh, here we go, this has a view of the top of the gondola/tram where I'll be starting.


Aug. 29th, 2014 07:57 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Fizz and home made peach juice: yum!

(Yesterday, I made edlerberry and blackberry cordial, with cinnamon and cloves. Also tasty, but I think more of a drink to have with hot water than with fizz.)

Speaking of bakers...

Aug. 29th, 2014 08:59 am
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
I'm quite surprised that no-one has mentioned anything anywhere I can see about how close Iain Watters is to my name.

I don't watch Great British Bake Off, but even I realise that he's just become reality-show-famous...
rosefox: Me staring off into the sunset. (wistful)
[personal profile] rosefox
I was feeling sad today. I tried listening to Information Society's Don't Be Afraid*, which used to be my go-to for "having a bad day and want to wallow", and I realized I am just not depressed enough to ride that ride.

* Well, technically it's Kurt Harland's solo album, but he released it under the band name for reasons I will never entirely understand.

If you're not familiar with the album, it is a nonstop parade of horrible lunatic depressive misery. Do not click here if you're susceptible to graphic depictions of mental illness. ) It doesn't need a PARENTAL ADVISORY sticker so much as a TRIGGER WARNING sticker, for the album as a whole and for each individual song.

I used to play it on constant repeat. It was the narration of everything in my head. It made perfect sense. It was so comforting to know that someone else felt the way I felt. I wasn't experiencing actual visual hallucinations, but the rest was true, bone-deep true.

Upon reflection, I suspect I was rather more messed up than I realized at the time--and I knew I was fairly messed up.

Just a little bit, I miss how wonderful it felt to get that soothing reassurance that I wasn't alone, to know that someone really got it at a time when everyone else just sort of looked confused or worried whenever I tried to explain what was going on in my brain. That was a good feeling, and obviously I really needed some good feelings at the time. But on the whole, I'd rather be too sane to listen to it, and getting my good feelings from actually feeling good rather than from knowing I wasn't alone in feeling indescribably awful.

So yay for not being that messed up anymore, I guess. It's just weird to have healed too much to listen to music that used to speak to me so deeply. I listen to it now and even as I can recite the lyrics from memory, it's like... overhearing two people having a conversation that has nothing to do with me.
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Spent Saturday with [ profile] uke with a long lunch and conversations over music, economics, politics, and especially food. It was a delightful afternoon. We first met virtually on livejournal many years ago on a epic troll post in 2003 where a person allegedly cooked up their dead pet rabbit creating a dish that looked remarkably like chicken (I wish I could still find it - I seem to recall I first made contact with [ profile] ninjalicious on the same thread). When he and family moved to Melbourne the opportunity to catch up was available and we done so a couple of times. This Saturday will be the day spent with [ profile] hathhalla and [ profile] ser_pounce on another cheesequest, followed by [ profile] usekh's birthday celebrations.

This week at work has been pretty hectic, not helped by a day off sick on Wednesday (damn food poisoning from a dodgy mussel at a favoured restaurant). It's our ISO 9001 re-certification audit and whilst we have a very mature system that has excellent document and revision control and basically ticks all the boxes for what is required, it is still less than a perfect implementation, and sometimes I don't think buy-in to the advantages of quality assurance is as high as it could be from section managers. At the same time have been working on a new project management framework for the company, preparing for my paper at eResearch Australasia, and apparently also to act as an organiser for a two-day OpenStack workshop immediately beforehand. This is, of course, in addition the usual operations work.

Two good rpg sessions this week; the first was on Sunday where I ran a session of Werewolf Yugoslav Wars which included an encounter with the bizarre mini-state of Western Bosnia run by its cult-like leader Fikret Abdić. Last night was the conclusion of the British Cyprus tangent story from our Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep game, which involved the dangers of incompetent faux cultists who acquire "the wrong books". In both cases reality offers a sufficiently strange place to add to a fiction. Last night was also the last session for our Eclipse Phase GM, Martin T., who is moving to Brisbane to make use of his qualifications in aeronautics. He'll be missed having provided many memorable sessions and characters to our group.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
Recently, a nine-year-old girl was handed a Uzi at a shooting range (with her parents' permission), lost control of the gun, and killed the instructor.

There's a lot of consensus that an Uzi takes more strength than a nine-year-old is likely to have, and the instructor wasn't paying enough attention or standing in the right place.

Aside from arguing about guns, I suggest that the accident was a result of people not knowing enough physics-- not thinking about what the recoil of a gun compared to the strength of the shooter *means*, but this is something which could start to be taught fairly young, possibly even before age nine.

Any thoughts about what would be included in such a course?


Aug. 27th, 2014 05:39 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Today, I have:
- picked 2.2kg of sloes, mostly from our field but a few from the bush at the end of the road, currently in the freezer (because, really, why would you faff about pricking each one with a pin when you can just do that instead?) awaiting combination with four bottles of gin to give six bottles of sloe gin;
- picked just over a kilo of blackberries, mostly from the woods (have also noted the bushes with lots of nearly-ripe ones!), which are in the freezer in four different bags;
- set two bowls of peaches (picked up by Mike in town for £1.50, and really needing to be sold that cheaply) to juicing;
- harvested most of the hop flowers, taken off the leaves, made a few stems into a little wreath and put the lot on the airer to dry;
- checked that our existing hop plant, which we found in the bee garden this year, didn't have any flowers: must be a male;
- planted the Canterbury Bells that the woman from the top of the hill left by the gate for me (she'd promised me some as they started to die back; as I came back from blackberrying, she said "I hope that the ducks won't have eaten them" but I was able to reassure her that they're not all that into plants); and
- got generally scratched, stung and pricked all over my arms and hands: short sleeves not the best idea when picking sloes....

I made the first batch of juice from out apples a few days ago: it's a wee bit sour for me, and the apples took forever to cook down so it's also a bit watery, but later ones should be better. The apples are noticably bigger than last year, from having been thinned out a few months ago. We did go up to the Minnis a few days ago, but the wilder apples there weren't ready for picking.

Oh, and ridden, mucked out and poo picked. We had a bedding delivery today: the pallet is currently by the gate, and Mike's just said "How about if we go and move the bedding into the tack room now?"

Cambridge flat

Aug. 27th, 2014 04:03 pm
pseudomonas: "Cambridge" in London Underground roundel (cam)
[personal profile] pseudomonas
So, does anyone know anyone who might be interested in renting a nice two-bedroom (or one-bedroom, one-study) flat off Histon Road in Cambridge from about the end of September/beginning of October? (I'd much rather let to a friend or friend-of-friend, and I'd rather not have to deal with any Bastard Letting Agencies).
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Brief pause in the stream of Dresden Files re-reads. Now I am reading the first two (this and The Fractal Prince, as-yet unread) in Rajaniemi's Jean le Flambeur series).

Imagine, if you will, a highly technological future, where on one hand you have a bunch of uploaded people ceaselessly duplicating themselves in silico and running their minds on a compute substrate in orbit way outside the asteroid belt. And also a whole bunch of people running in what is considered the most privacy-aware human (well, technically post-human) society in the Solar System.

Welcome to a wonderful world of implications, mysteries, unintended and intended consequences and a fair chunk of crypto theory hidden in fiction.

It's a damned good read, but I am still noticing new things and I get more and more disturbed, every time I read it.Maybe you want to be disturbed too? It might be good for you...
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

All the things Dresden did through his life have finally caught up with him.

I won't say anything else.

2014 - #98, "Changes", Jim Butcher

Aug. 27th, 2014 10:59 am
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Another book that starts with something deeply unexpected. Susan Rodriguez, Dresden's amore of years past, turns up. Then she goes all "our daughter is in peril" on him.

And then shit starts cascading, in a fecal avalanche of disgusting proportions. In a way that leaves Dresden very surprised towards the end.

2014 - #97, "Turn Coat", Jim Butcher

Aug. 27th, 2014 10:55 am
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Any day that starts with someone who's spent years following your every action, in the hopes of catching you doing something wrong, so he can separate your head from your body, using a sword that can cut through spells (as well as flesh) turning up at your door is not a good day. Especially if they're bloody, injured and claim to be on the lam from the White Council, on whose behalf he was watching you and hoping to kill you.

But, that's pretty much what happens to Dresden in the first chapter of Turn Coat and it doesn't slow down after that. Quite a few things that happen will have further reprecussions for young Dresden.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Re-read (and catch-up).

Dresden learns, again, that making deals with the Faerie frequently turns out not as you would suspect. Mab strong-arms him into protectingGentleman Johnny Marcone, Chicago ganster extraordinaire (you're definitely beyond ordinary if you're a signatory to the Unseelie Accords).

Even better, Summer is after his behind. This is, not entirely surprising, absolutely no fun at all. But, for some reason, Queen Titania is bearing a grudge, imagine that...