Music music music! Coming out band.

May. 23rd, 2015 04:42 pm
reddragdiva: (rocknerd)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

After fiddling with music for ages, [personal profile] arkady and I have declared ourselves a band: Diva Rose, 'cos that's who's in it. (I wanted "The Diva Show" but it's taken.) Need a moody photo or two.

Two tracks are finished and up on Soundcloud right now. Both are instrumentals, because neither of us can work out how to write a lyric (which is annoying for two people who identify as writers). Have at 'em, actionable critiques are most welcomed. Cheers to [livejournal.com profile] echo_echo and [livejournal.com profile] deathboy for encouragement, which hopefully they won't regret.

These were done with LMMS (the cheap'n'cheerful Woolworths guitar of disco) and a bit of finishing in Audacity.

Arkady is an excellent musician and singer. I am neither, but thirty years' record collecting leaves a lot of ideas sticking in one's head.

I have maybe ten fragments that are looking good (better than these, if I can finish them) and about two hundred that are sketches and faff. Next quest goal: finish things.

Saturday 23 May 2015

May. 23rd, 2015 10:38 pm
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

It’s been alternatively sunny and cloudy in our last week in our current house. Dark clouds gathered and thunder rumbled as we heard that second hand furniture buyers are booked up into June, and can’t come and help us with our nice wardrobes which we’d be sad to trash. The sun shone and birds sang when the friends we had over for dinner on Thursday turned out to be moving in the same week we are, only to an apartment with absolutely no storage whatsoever, and they would take our furniture from us. Little rainclouds descend every time some unreliable jerk from Gumtree fails to pick up stuff from our front porch. And so on.

Overall, at the moment we are proving to be a cheap way for other people to furnish. Earlier today two weedy young removalists came today and effortlessly hefted our sofa bed, bookcase and barbecue to Julia’s place. (I got to assume the risk of transporting the gas bottle for the barbecue; that they don’t do.) Our older bikes are off to Bikes For Humanity. Our largesse is getting down to a cheap white cupboard and some plastic outdoor chairs. Thank goodness.

Tonight the up and down reached amusing proportions. Because we will now have a cross-suburb childcare run to do, we’re considering buying a car again after several delightful years car-free, and tonight Andrew did our first test drive for a car on sale by a private seller. All went well with the drive, fortunately, well enough that we took the vehicle identification in order to run the standard checks. And so we sat in a McDonalds running the history checks… to discover that it had a write-off history. I guess there are situations where I’d buy a repaired write-off, maybe (although for the last couple of years that hasn’t even been a thing that’s possible to do in NSW) but buying from a private seller who didn’t disclose it isn’t one of those times. Then on the way home, A had such a nasty cough that we had to stop the car so that Andrew could take her out and hold her up so she’d stop sounding like she was choking on a fully grown pig. She was overtired and frantic and he had to fight her back into her carseat. Then we made it another couple of kilometres before I shut V’s window using the driver controls… right onto his hand, which he’d stuck out the window.

V’s hand is fine. A can still inhale. We don’t have a car that’s a undisclosed repaired write-off. Sunny day.

Reading Friday is running late

May. 22nd, 2015 10:38 pm
rmc28: (books2010)
[personal profile] rmc28
 What I've read
[more than usual in the last fortnight I have been sticking to light, predictable reads that I find comforting and escapist]

Much Ado About You
by Eloisa James
A new series of farcical historical romances, this time featuring four sisters (rather than the previous series, which was four friends).  I do like the friendships in these books probably at least as much as the romances.  I also like that the library has them all; they're definitely single-serving books for me.

Archangel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Second in the "Guild-Hunter" series about a vampire hunter and angels.  This was definitely a bit gorier and getting close to my personal tolerance for that; also to my tolerance for dominant asshole romance "heroes".  I still like the concept and the characters a lot though, and the library has the rest of the series.

Justice Calling
by Annie Bellet
This is a pretty short read (150 pages, but a couple of chapters of the next one are included, so it's rather less than that).  It's a fun urban fantasy: there's shapeshifters and a witch with a secret, and a big tough law enforcer, and peril and plot, and a bit of romance worked in.  It was more or less exactly what I wanted to read right now and I enjoyed it very much.  There are four more books in the series, and a sixth coming out next month; I'm restraining myself from buying the lot right now, but I will be getting them as I clear more of my ebook backlog.

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
This was a library book; I have about 2/3 of Jill Mansell's output on my shelves: contemporary romcoms with interesting people, complicated plots and happy endings, many of which are set in and around Bath, near where I grew up.  I haven't read one I disliked, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.   [I am still migrating my to-read pile into my room, and there are two more by her in it, so I have physically pulled them out to read shortly.]

What I'm reading
I'm part way through rereading Ancillary Sword, and then "T Kingfisher" (Ursula Vernon) released another fairy tale retelling this week, so I am also part way through Bryony and Roses and enjoying it very much.

What I'm reading next
I was sufficiently impressed by G Willow Wilson's defence of A-Force to buy the first issue digitally.  (Though ouch, individual comics on release week is an expensive way to do this hobby.)  I also want to carry on with Daredevil vol 1.
That pair of Jill Mansell books I just found.
Younger by Suzanne Munshower is next up in my ebook list

Photo circle shots

May. 22nd, 2015 09:08 am
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

I recently ran a “photo circle”, consisting of a small group of people sending prints of their own photographs to each other. It was a fun way to prod myself to take non-kid photos.

My four photos were:

Photo circle: sun in the eucalypts

I took Sun in the eucalypts in the late afternoon of Easter Sunday, as the sun was sinking behind the eucalypts at Centennial Park’s children’s bike track. I tried to take one with the sun shining through the trees but didn’t get the lens flare right. I like the contrast between the sunlit tree and the dark tree in this one. It feels springlike, for an autumn scene.

The other three are a very different type of weather shot, taken during Sydney’s extreme rainfall of late April and very early May:

Photo circle: rainstorm

This one has the most post-processing by far: it was originally shot in portrait and in colour. I was messing around with either fast or slow shutter speeds while it poured with rain at my house; I have a number of similar photos where spheres of water are suspended in the air. None of them quite work but I will continue to play with photographing rain with a fast shutter speed. In the meantime, the slow shutter speed here works well. I made the image monochrome in order to make the rain stand out more. In the original image the green tree and the rich brown fencing and brick rather detract from showing exactly how rainy it was.

Photo circle: Sydney rain storm

This was shot from Gunners’ Barracks in Mosman (a historical barracks, not an active one) as a sudden rainstorm rolled over Sydney Harbour. The view was good enough, but my lens not wide enough, to see it raining on parts of the harbour and not on other parts. All the obscurity of the city skyline in this shot is due to rain, not fog.

Photo circle: ferry in the rain

This is the same rainstorm as the above shot; they were taken very close together. It may not be immediately obvious, but the saturation on this shot is close to maximum in order to make the colours of the ferry come up at all. I was the most worried about this shot on the camera, it was very dim. It comes up better in print than on screen, too. The obscurity is again entirely due to the rain, and results in the illusion that there is only one vessel on Sydney Harbour. Even in weather like this, that’s far from true. I felt very lucky to capture this just before the ferry vanished into the rain too.

New vid: "Pipeline"

May. 23rd, 2015 10:35 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Title: Pipeline
Vidder: Sumana Harihareswara ("brainwane")
Fandom: Multi (documentaries, movies, TV, comics, coding bootcamp ads, and more)
Music: "Blank Space", Taylor Swift
Length: 3 minutes, 11 seconds
Summary: The tech industry has a blank space, and is quite eager to write your name.
Content notes: Implied verbal/emotional abuse, a few seconds of very fast cutting around 1:50
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike (CC BY-SA)
Download: on Google Drive (165 MB high-res MP4, 23 MB low-res MP4, 98 MB AVI), or at Critical Commons with login (high- and low-res MP4 and WebM files)
Stream: at Critical Commons (choose View High Quality for best experience)
Subtitles file: http://www.harihareswara.net/vids/pipeline.srt

Premiered just now at WisCon 2015 (the vid party).

Embedded video below:

Sources:
50 sources (28 video, 22 still) )


Thank you to my betas:


  • Skud
  • seekingferret
  • were_duck
  • Leonard Richardson
  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden
  • and others.

Feelings and interpretation:
You don't need to read this )
Making-of:
About 75 hours over 2 months )

This vid is under CC BY-SA and I hope people feel free to remix it, redistribute it, and otherwise enjoy it, as long as they attribute me as the vidder.

Nails and Cocktails, 5th September

May. 21st, 2015 08:07 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Darlings,

This time I shall remember to give advance warning to those of you who aren't on the book of face (or if you are on the book of face and haven't been invited then prod me, I'm sure it was just an oversight due to rubbish interface).  The next Nails and Cocktails afternoon will be on the 5th September.  Delicious cocktails, fabulous nail art, and splendid company; what's not to like!  Put it in your diaries now, and I'll post a reminder closer to the time.

S.
xx

Chapter 14: 'Like Trees In November'

May. 21st, 2015 12:38 pm
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
[personal profile] rmc28
The great burrow was less crowded than when they had left it.



[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]


Some vids I learned from

May. 23rd, 2015 10:32 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I started watching fanvids at WisCon 2009, thanks to Skud, and particularly loved a few, such as "What About", "Starships!" and its monochromatic remix, "Grapevine Fires", "Hey Ho", and "Us". Once I decided to make "Pipeline", I started rewatching and seeking out vids with a political message, multifandom/multisource vids, ambitious vids, and vids that used still photos, screencasts, comics, and similar material well. I took notes, sometimes brief and sometimes detailed, of lessons I took from those vids (especially particularly fine-grained "how do you do that" bits of technique). This feels like something to share.

With some arbitrary categorization for ease of skimming, here are some vids I learned from:

Using stills well
three vids )


Ambition
four and a half vids )


Multisource/multifandom
six vids )


Message
two vids )


Other

And of course I learned from a ton of other sources, like a ton of meta about vidding, and Tony Zhou's "Every Frame a Painting" video series, and the scores of vids I've watched over the years. Anyway, hope someone finds this of interest.

WisCon Schedule

May. 20th, 2015 02:55 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I'll be at WisCon starting tomorrow and leaving on Tuesday. I am scheduled to participate in these sessions:

  1. Imaginary Book Club, Fri, 4:00-5:15 pm in Conference 2. Five panelists discuss books that don't exist, improvising critiques and responses. I proposed this panel a few years ago (you can see video of its debut) and it has continued, which is cool!
  2. Lighthearted Shorthand Sans Fail, Sat, 8:30-9:45 am in Capitol A. What are your go-to phrasings to avoid sexism, ableism, etc. while getting your point across in casual conversation? I hope to walk out of this with some new vocabulary to replace bad habits.
  3. Vid Party, Saturday night 9:00 pm-Sun, 3:00 am in room 629. I am premiering a fanvid. Once it's premiered, I'll hit Post on blog posts to announce it publicly as well.
  4. Call Out Culture II: Follow-up to the Discussion Held at WisCon 38, Sun, 10:00-11:15 am in Senate A. Meta-discussion around discourse in social justice movements. I predict this session will be pretty intense.
  5. Vid Party Discussion, Sun, 1:00-2:15 pm in Assembly. We will discuss some of the vids shown at the vid party, and fan vids in general. This will be the first time I've engaged in public realtime conversation about fanvids. Before this panel I hope to publish some notes about what I learned from watching several vids that drew from multiple sources (including stills), made a political point, or were otherwise particularly ambitious. I'll probably reference those lessons during the panel.

I also proposed "What Does Feminist Tech Education Look Like?", "Impostor Syndrome Training Exercise", and "Entry Level Discussion Group", but am not a panelist or presenter for those sessions; I bet they'll be interesting, though, and you could do worse than to check them out. You can read Entry Level ahead of time for free online.

I look like the photo to the left. I am often bad with names, and will remember 5 minutes into our conversation that we had an awesome deep conversation three years prior. I apologize in advance.

If you are good at clothes, consider joining me at the Clothing Swap portion of the Gathering on Friday afternoon to help me find pieces that suit me. I'm introducing two old pals to WisCon and spending a lot of time with them (we live in different cities), and they're both white, so I might not be able to come to the People of Color dinner on Friday night. And sadly, The Floomp dance party on Saturday happens during the Vid Party so I probably can't attend that. I did buy a ticket for the Dessert Salon and will attend the Guest of Honor and Tiptree Award speeches on Sunday, and maybe you will be at my table!

One of my pals who's coming to WisCon is Beth Lerman, an artist who will be displaying and selling her work in the art show. Check it out!

Also I am open to doing a small room performance of my half-hour geeky stand-up comedy routine if several people ask for it. I don't know when or where it would be; Monday night would be easiest. Speak up in comments or some other medium if you'd be interested.


[Cross-posted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana]

On booking Advance rail tickets

May. 17th, 2015 02:10 pm
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Things I have learned with recent travel planning.

Virgin Trains East Coast release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Saturday 12w away.
First Great Western release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Wednesday 11w 4d away.

(No, this isn't documented anywhere I could find easily, this is me checking for Advance tickets every morning until my travel dates come up.)

Naturally, the journey where I want to travel out Friday and back Sunday is with the first, and the one where I'm travelling out Monday back Friday is with the second, so in both cases I have to wait a week between outward and return journeys being released.  Either I wait until both legs can be booked (and in my experience, the cheapest tickets WILL go in that week, if not on the first day), or I get the outward leg and spend a week hoping I haven't messed up and will be able to get the return leg ok.

I dropped my phone

May. 16th, 2015 08:41 am
rmc28: (destructive)
[personal profile] rmc28
It is not the first time I have dropped it, but this time I have caused a fairly spectacular spiderweb of cracks across the screen.  It still works and is useable but some of the cracks catch on my finger.

Fairphone's support center will fix it for a bit over 110 euros, plus postage to get it to them.  I am currently waiting for a cheaper fix to arrive, which is a stick-on screen protector from a third party, sized to fit Fairphones.  That should keep me going while I find £90 out of my spending-on-me budget, and decide if I want to fix this one or keep on saving for the next generation phone currently in design.

[my "destructive" icon seemed especially appropriate - yes that is me attempting to break a phone, approx 3.5 decades ago]

Changing my name on my railcard

May. 13th, 2015 07:15 pm
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
We have a Family and Friends Railcard, one of the flavours of discount cards for money off rail travel in the UK.  We've had one almost continuously since Charles was born, because buying him a ticket allowed us to use the railcard and thus get 1/3 off the adult tickets.  And I've had an online account to manage our railcard and renewing it.

The railcard online account system doesn't allow users to change their names on the account.  After an exchange of emails we established that the Railcard customer service team could change the name attached to my railcard account, but that I could never renew my railcard online again, and would have to ring up customer services every time. 

[One of the delights of the modern world for me is all the things I can sort out online without having to ring up anybody. I don't like ringing up strangers, or indeed talking on the phone to anyone much apart from my family and close friends.  I would much rather tell a computer what to do myself than talk to a stranger who is effectively doing the typing for me.]

Or I could "buy a card for someone else" and put my right name in.  Or I could create a new account with a different email address, and get the names right on that.

What I actually did was:
  1. Change the email address on the existing railcard account from my main email address to an old one I don't use any more, but can access.
  2. Set up a new account with my main email address.
  3. Put the right name on that account.
  4. Buy new railcard in plenty of time for my next booked train trip.

Seriously though, people who are building online services.  People change their names!  Build your system to accommodate that without making them jump through stupid hoops!  (Also note that the majority of people in this country who change their name are women - try not to be de facto sexist in your system design).

Happy things about today

May. 13th, 2015 06:27 pm
rmc28: (happy)
[personal profile] rmc28
I put my hair up in a French-plait for the first time in years.  20 months growing-out since the last time I cut it to 9mm.  Of course, some of it was falling out after the 25-min walk to work, and I redid it twice during the morning and then gave up and shoved it back into a ponytail instead.   But it was nice while it lasted.

Passport with the right name arrived!  (I had a letter last week with a query, which I put on one side to deal with After The Election.  The nice person from the passport office who had written the letter rang me to follow up before I had got round to writing back, and we were able to sort it out by phone.  This was all after office hours on a weekday evening.  I was impressed.)

Railcard with the right name arrived!  (This followed tedious faff which I shall write up separately.)

New sandals for Charles arrived!  (John Lewis were out of stock of the right size when we went shopping on Sunday, but put through the order online for me.)

I'm not sure which of Charles and me is the happiest right now.  But we're both pretty happy :-)

Monday 11 May 2015

May. 11th, 2015 09:42 pm
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

When I left you, I was hiding out in my hotel room in San Francisco feeling sad. I did end up having a perfectly nice time, that’s always part of travel too. A highlight was walking through the Mission and running into someone we knew, and then dinner at Bar Tartine. Oh, and chicken and margaritas at Zuni Cafe the following day.

It’s possible that I live to eat rather than eat to live.

It’s also possible that I’d leave the house a lot more if I didn’t have kids. Travel is my visit into a childfree world.

I also saw some sweet toy poodle puppies. I didn’t eat them.

I had fantasies of spending the Saturday driving out of San Francisco, but ended up spending the entire day in my very dark hotel room as well. No surprises there. I’d like to be the sort of person who flies to Canada, works really hard, flies to the US, works really hard, and then on her day off goes driving on unknown roads in search of wine, redwoods, beaches, or something like that. It turns out that after all that work travel I am the kind of person who huddles in a hotel room with a laptop. I regret nothing.

On the Sunday I walked up, I think, Octavia Street, quite quickly, or at least by Val’s measure. That was painful, but it turns out that walking up hills slowly is even more painful. Either that, or I’ve just grown tied of cajoling children up hills after all this time. Just think, I walked up a whole hill without having an argument with anyone and without anyone wanting me to carry them while I was already carrying their bag, nappies, toys, and/or bike. And then I sat up in Lafayette Park having surreal thoughts about what I would need to get done the next day in Sydney. Intercontinental travel is very implausible.

I increasingly find flying odd too. I was in the middle of a group of four on the way back, so I basically had a slumber party with three strange men, all of whom studiously ignored me, albeit one time with difficulty when I dropped a shoe on one man who had been sleeping up until that point. Of all the things you’d think to do imprisoned in a flying metal tube, would sleeping sandwiched between strangers and watching Captain America: The First Avenger while shoes rain down rise to the top of your list?

I arrived back in the pouring rain. The pilots warned us coming in that the wind was approaching 100km/hr, but, fortunately (apparently) right behind the runway. It seemed a smooth enough landing.

I had heard it was raining in Sydney and I should have thought more carefully about the source. When the guy in the electronics shop in San Francisco has heard about rain in Sydney, there’s quite some rain in Sydney. Not as much, and not as tragically, as in the Hunter Valley, but enough that rain blew through the taxi rank at the airport as people wrestled with their luggage to extract any coats they had.

You should know that I am burying the lede in all of this. As I wrote the last entry, Andrew was preparing our side of the contracts to buy a house, and the exchange of contracts took place the following day. At the moment it’s very strange and hard to cope with, as we have to do a lot of work (finance, removalists, getting rid of furniture, figuring out schools and such) without any of the pay-off of hanging pictures or having built-ins at long last or being free of our current rental and its endless mysterious water problems. I have dark memories of the fog we walked around in for weeks after we moved to this suburb. Not to mention decidedly mixed feelings about leaving the first suburb in Sydney where we’ve ever been on chatting terms with other adults as we go about our daily business.

Good things will come of this, in the medium term, and if we work for them. Now to face into the wind.

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Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Nebula. Member of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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