Making connections

Apr. 27th, 2017 10:07 pm
aris_tgd: Shadow ships, "We could tangle spiders in the webs you weave." (Tangle Spiders Shadows)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
1. I've been reading a bit, I downloaded the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (set in the same universe as Six of Crows) to learn a bit more about the in-universe backstory. And, um... well, it's definitely earlier work. It reads a lot like the Valdemar novels. That's not necessarily a bad thing, they're chatty and fast-moving, but boy are they full of heterosexual feelings and all the pretty boys want are heroine but she's so conflicted and initially so mousy-looking and... well. There's also a lot of digging into "how does magic work" which I disliked so much in the Valdemar universe. On the other hand, they're light and entertaining and I like some of the characters an awful lot (Nikolai, honestly, is my favorite at the moment.) It does not have the awesome characterization and sense of purpose that made Six of Crows so good, so I am looking forward to finishing the last book in the trilogy and moving on to the 6oC sequel.

2. One of my facebook friends posted about how he didn't understand how Ocean's Eleven could make Danny Ocean the protagonist without spending any time setting up how it's morally okay for him to rob the mark, and I'm thinking... have you ever seen a movie? It just made me remember how much I like heist movies. And con movies. Man, I want to watch Focus again.

3. My desktop's media hard drive died. I bought a new one with some of my tax refund, but I still need to install it and see if I can recover any of my data. If I can't, I may cry. I haven't been sleeping very well and right now I'm only dealing with the thought of perhaps losing all that media forever by suppressing my feelings.

4. I had a really upsetting conversation with one of my coworkers, not because he's a bad guy but because I had to be doing the mental dance of "Wait... are you actually not a good guy? Do I have to reign in all of my opinions around you?" He was really startled to find out how upsetting I found the whole conversation and really apologetic when I told him, but ugh. Man, sometimes I miss my old coworkers. Not because they were all terrific (some of them were, but not all) but because I knew who I could and couldn't talk about things with. Don't talk about movies with D, because she thought that Crash was a great movie, loves The Expendables, and hated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Talk about politics with M, because she's great and well-read and thoughtful even if snarky. Et cetera. Learning about a whole new ecosystem of people while we're all under stress and all competing for the same positions is hard.

5. Chatted with my professors about lab joining and everything is tentatively going well, though obviously nothing can be settled any time soon. I think I would love to join either the lab I'm in now or the lab I was just in, but there's the question of who has room and which student is a good fit. And that won't get resolved until we get nearer the end of the term.

6. No, YOU'RE number six.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
TFW you calculate that the Venus Equilateral Relay Station probably had decades if not more than a century's worth of breathable air for the 3000 people on board.

Perseids Watch 2017

Apr. 26th, 2017 03:51 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Come watch the Perseid Meteor shower in rural darkness near New Dundee. This year, the often spectacular Perseids peak from late Saturday, August 12 to early Sunday, August 13, which is to say “conveniently on the weekend instead of the middle of a work-week.”
Read more... )

life stuff

Apr. 23rd, 2017 04:57 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
I'm still nomadic in housing. Since leaving a friend's free basement, I've stayed in a downtown hotel, near Oak Grove (tip: prefer Malden Center), a Cambridge co-op, Orient Heights (a bit too quiet), and now in JP. I sample a range of housing as well as neighborhoods, from "motels have more character" to "totally decorated in plants and Buddha statues". In May I'll be by Malden for a month; be nice to stay somewhere long enough to make it worth buying olive oil.

Job progresses. Friday not so much: I put in some USB sticks, wanting to extract my VM image. Two of these I know worked in this laptop before. But one never became visible, the other had most of its structure missing. I tried rebooting... and the Windows laptop refused to reboot. "Required device not available". My co-workers had never seen that before, though some people on the Internet had. Unclear why it happened. My boss had been diligent in saving and labeling stuff, and was able to launch a repair process, though I had to make a trip to Braintree. (Too suburban for me.)

I can say proudly that the only thing at risk was a tool to work with; I've been good at ending the workday with no information uniquely on my laptop.

Entertainment: slowly re-reading Hodgell. Wikipedia pages on Catullus and Ovid, and linked pages on various forms of rhetoric. Watching episodes of Ghost Stories (the black comedy anime dub) with people.

Four years ago today

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:35 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A very thin, very dirty stray cat turned up at Jasmine's condo complex, asking for food and shelter.

Saturday night's alright

Apr. 22nd, 2017 03:28 pm
aris_tgd: Sinclair and Sakai, "Time for a moment." (Time for a moment)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Well, it's not Saturday night yet--thank goodness, I have a lot of grading to do--but I did finish Six of Crows and it's another CLIFFHANGER! ARGH!

I just need to stop buying books by new authors. This is getting expensive.

Also there are a bunch of preview chapters for other books in here. I'm a good chunk of the way into Shadow and Bone and still haven't hit the end of the file. Grumble mutter. I usually avoid reading preview chapters in ebooks but my kobo won't mark something read unless I skip to the end of the file and there are like two hundred pages in here.

I know, complaining about more book? Seriously? But I'd like to move my brain to something else now, please.

*adds more books to basket*

The design on the covers for Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are awesome, I must say.

Took a quick look at the LJ side

Apr. 22nd, 2017 04:01 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Porn spam has rocketed up to 35% of comments.

US air marshalls

Apr. 22nd, 2017 02:37 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
"Someone forgets their gun" isn't that newsworthy; people make mistakes. This article is more interesting for the other terrifying information it includes:
"newly hired air marshals do not currently receive on-the-job training"
"Although it has an $835 million budget, agents cover less than 1% of US domestic and international flights"
"A CNN report in 2015 exposed the long hours, chaotic schedules and use of drugs and alcohol among federal air marshals"
"obtained a now-classified study commissioned by the TSA that revealed 75% of air marshals flying domestic missions were sleep-deficient"

I like that 'now-classified' bit. "Oh god, they found problems. Let's classify it so people can't see!" This is also part of why it's hard to take "leaked classified information" as an inherent civic sin.

I have the sad

Apr. 22nd, 2017 02:23 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
By checking the dates of successive Strange Horizon counts, I see the trend is for the release date to be later than the one before. I was hoping for April but mid-May may be more reasonable.
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
One possible categorization of train stations:

* You emerge, and are immediately in a business district or otherwise interesting area. Examples: Central, Harvard, Porter, and Davis Squares on the Boston Red Line, along with Charles/MGH and Quincy Center; Kimball on the Chicago Brown Line; almost any downtown station, at least in a healthy downtown during the workday; Maverick, Orient Heights, and Beachmont on the Boston Blue Line.

* You emerge, in a parking lot or bus station or other thing that involves a fair bit more walking, but at least can see where to go toward something interesting. Examples: Fields Corner on the Boston Red Line, where you're at a long bus stop but can spy businesses; Assembly on the Boston Orange Line, where I think you'll have to walk a block but you can see the TOD from the station; maybe Wellington, where IIRC you have to walk through a big parking garage to the TOD, but there might be signs telling you to go.

* You emerge, and see no reason not to turn around and catch another train somewhere else. Examples: some Jamaica Plain Boston Orange Line stops, where you come out to a bridge surrounded by traffic; some stops on the south branch of Chicago's Blue Line, where the train runs in a freeway median, and you come out onto an overpass, and there's nothing around; Braintree on Boston's Red Line, where after two minutes on a ramp I still hadn't even left the station yet, and couldn't see anything but giant boxy buildings; I suspect Malden Center on Boston Orange, where you're not far from Malden's center but I'm not sure you'd see it; likewise Sullivan Square on Boston Orange, where the most interesting part I know of is hidden over a rise.

Note that can include "there is stuff but you don't see it" and "there's pretty much nothing around, for real."


Apr. 22nd, 2017 01:12 am
aris_tgd: Whitestar crashing, "And when you fall as Lucifer fell, you fall in flame" (Whitestar Lucifer Fall)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
It Friday.

I have a bunch of grading to do this weekend. It's fine, I can manage, but it's work. Blah.

I went shoe shopping with one of my housemates today, which was a delight. I wound up buying probably more shoes than I needed, but I am hoping they will give me enough joy that it will be worth it. Especially the ones which look more professional. (They were on clearance, so I did not wind up paying that much per pair. I was looking for black zip-up booties and bought one pair of slip ons and two pairs of lace-up wingtip booties because I am weak to wingtips. I'm not very good at sticking to a plan. To be fair, the one pair of booties that matched my specifications pinched my arches and made it uncomfortable to walk.)

I started reading Leight Bardugo's Six of Crows and it's charming so far. I mean, everyone in it is a mixture of sympathetic and unsympathetic and the worldbuilding is charming, and I'm interested to see how the heist plot goes. I like heists!

It's also Friday Five, brought to you by [community profile] thefridayfive:

1. Do you like traveling or are you counting the minutes until the transporter is perfected? I enjoy driving long distances, strangely enough, and I would probably enjoy train travel, but I hate airplanes. I just wish that travel was less expensive. I really wouldn't mind the indignity, but the fact that I'm paying my eyeteeth for the indignity is awful. And paying extra eyeteeth to avoid any indignity is an outrage.

For extra hilarity, I was pricing train tickets today. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. In the USA, planes take a tenth of the time and cost less money than taking the train to any destination. It's ridiculous.

2. If you could visit any country in the world right now, where would you go? Eeesh, good question. I've wanted to visit Iceland for a while, but really the major drumbeat in my mind is "As far from the T-45 administration as possible." So, uh, Antarctica? That's not really a country, and it's 24 hour darkness right now, but sign me up!

3. What is your favorite form of travel? Realistically, driving. Unrealistically, I'd love to try a long train trip with a real cabin, or maybe a boat. Even more unrealistically, a tesseract.

4. What is the longest vacation/holiday that you’ve ever been on? My family took a couple weeks to visit Israel when I was still in high school, and I think that's still the winner. We also used to drive out to Arizona/New Mexico over winter breaks. Now when I have that much time off it's time for a staycation.

5. Would you travel for a living? Like, if someone paid me to keep moving? That covered my expenses? Sure, I'd love to see more places. The internet makes it much easier to keep in touch with people, tons of my friends are folks I only see online any more. And there are tons of places in the world I want to see.

Old Movie Question

Apr. 21st, 2017 03:18 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Does anyone remember an old movie about an out of control rocket (or maybe plane -- I have not seen the film since I was a kid) that incinerates everything it passes over? I remember one scene in particular, where a family making a snowman gets evaporated. Any idea what movie it was?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
f I organized a Perseids viewing party, would people be interested? The peak this year happens to fall Aug 12 > 13, which is to say Saturday to Sunday. I know of two or three possible venues I could try to book.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 22

Would you be interested in attending Waterloo Region Perseids partyParty

View Answers

2 (9.1%)

5 (22.7%)

Yes, but only as a pretext for fleeing the US
7 (31.8%)

Some other option (see comments)
3 (13.6%)

I would like to complain about this poll
5 (22.7%)

My Mage character's super-power

Apr. 19th, 2017 11:04 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Is money. Stacks and stacks of it....

Just finished The Dark Forest

Apr. 18th, 2017 08:05 pm
aris_tgd: Jon Snow "Now, gods, stand up for bastards." (Jon stand up for bastards)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Whew! That was a rush. Well done.

Some spoilery thoughts under here. )

does anyone know

Apr. 18th, 2017 08:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Why sometimes DW's recent comments shows subject lines and sometimes does not?

free to a good home

Apr. 18th, 2017 02:29 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Story idea: while on public assistance, welfare recipients are denied the use of their colour vision, as well as their senses of smell and taste.


Apr. 17th, 2017 03:18 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Back in the olden days, GRT frowned mightily on the idea that people might try to shop in mid trip, so transfers could only be used to go from one bus to another.

The only time I used the route 9 was when I lived at Party Central, from fall 1980 to .... early summer 1981.


Apr. 17th, 2017 12:18 am
aris_tgd: Sarah Chambers, Cleric (Sarah Chambers cleric)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Spent most of today filing taxes and fighting off Mystery Feelingbadness, which could have been due to something dodgy that I ate. Not the best. But, taxes filed, I have money coming, and in fact I got to write off moving expenses which makes me feel slightly better about overpaying for that lousy experience.

I also read a bit more of The Dark Forest which remains a delight.

Well. I reread over more of my statistical mechanics book, which was good, and I answered some student questions, and ugh, I just realized I promised to be at my lab earlyish tomorrow--*checks* at least it's not until 11, because not feeling so good is not a pleasant experience. I need to be doing some actual science down there but if I feel like this tomorrow it might not be happening. There were other tasks I would have liked to have done this weekend, mostly involving more shopping and more studying, but c'est la vie.

Also, I'm almost 30 episodes into Critical Role. That's almost a third of the way in! Wow! (*groan*.)

Even I could tell

Apr. 16th, 2017 10:12 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The Monster of the Week was a stalker with a crush and I'm pretty oblivious to that sort of thing.


Apr. 16th, 2017 12:15 am
aris_tgd: (shell beach)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
So this has been a rough couple of weeks. Let's look at what I've been reading and watching:

Critical Role: Up to episode 26. The team has to deal with the consequences of killing an old lady sorcerer who was trying to run away from a fight, and also attacking the guests of their patron who turned out to be evil. Awkwardness and roleplay! It's been fun. Lots of feels.

Books: I read through a bunch of novels. Ashes of Honor and Chimes at Midnight, the next two Toby Daye books: good, though she's doing a different thing that annoys me: feature creep. My friend N. calls it being slathered in Destiny. )

I'm also in the middle of The Dark Forest, the next book in the Three-Body Problem trilogy. It's really good! I'm not sure I like it as much as Three-Body Problem? It's interesting in different ways, but it's again grappling with questions of how people organize and get motivated and produce meaningful work against existential crisis. Um. There are aliens. It's pretty cool. Different translator, so it feels a little different, but it's still a really neat book.

Blanking on a name

Apr. 16th, 2017 12:50 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
British author, active in 1960s and 1970s (I think), wrote a thriller series. Lead character might have had a doctorate.



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