Automated birthday greetings

Jun. 28th, 2015 12:40 pm
rmc28: (destructive)
[personal profile] rmc28
To senior management at Subway, La Redoute, Confused.com and anyone else whose automated birthday greeting I've yet to receive:

It doesn't actually make me feel warmly towards the company, you know. It makes me think "ew, creepy! why have you got my date of birth? go away!"

In some years, where I've made less fuss about my birthday, the automated greetings underlined how few genuine birthday greetings I've had from friends and family and actively made me feel sad.  (note - this is emphatically not a request for birthday greetings from my circle, lovely as you all are - it's just some years I make no fuss and I get little fuss made of me and that's fine.  It was the creepy automated emails that made me sad, not other people.)

If I take up the free Subway cookie, presumably they will conclude that this is a successful marketing strategy and keep doing it.  So I think not.

Sunday 28 June 2015

Jun. 28th, 2015 09:31 pm
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

We’ve had our used moving boxes picked up, and we’ve returned my overdue library books from Glebe. We’ve hung the pictures we haven’t seen in three years because the previous place didn’t have hooks. There’s things we aren’t on top of (at least two lights need electrical work) but on the basics we really are moved in now.

We had our housewarming party last weekend. That and my then-missing photos hard drive motivated the bulk of the box unpacking. I like to occasionally have parties and invite a huge number of people that I know. In lieu of culling the guest list, I give fairly short notice. We live in a short street, which made it easy to invite the new neighbours too. It fell on the solstice. I used to have solstice barbecues up at Balls Head Reserve and heat mulled wine in a pot on the electric barbecues in the dark. Not since V was born. But since the housewarming was on June 21, we made mulled wine in the crockpot and had heated party pies and sausage rolls. The latter used to be a welcome treat on dive boats, served with mugs of instant soup, restoring our body temperature between dives.

The next two weeks are school holidays, which will be less of a contrast for V than they were for us. He’s spending the two weeks in his usual after school care provider, in their full day vacation care program. They do a lot of excursions and activities and generally contribute to the school holiday crowding in public places. We’re visiting my family for a weekend but not otherwise going away because we’re going to the snow in September (if there is snow this year). For a while my life will be mainly house things.

We aren’t far from an adult education centre, so I’d like to enrol in a few courses over the next couple of years. Music, studio photography… And I’m excited about the possibilities of a house I can change over time. The biggest project I can imagine is getting the back courtyard substantially redesigned. There’s a lot of small stuff that can go before that though. I’ve even joined Pinterest to track inspiration; I’m reminded that in my Wikimania keynote in 2012 the issue of women using Pinterest rather than editing Wikipedia came up once or twice, which now seems mostly odd, since one is an encyclopedia and the other is a visual inspiration bookmarking site. Probably my “find interesting pictures of courtyards” moments will not overlap terribly much with my “find sources for recent Australian crimes” moments.

Six short stories

Jun. 28th, 2015 12:16 am
rmc28: (books2010)
[personal profile] rmc28
I'm reading slightly faster than I'm writing up short stories (but only slightly), and I'm still figuring out how to write about them.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
This is the first short story paid for by Kameron Hurley’s Patreon (so for now you have to be a patron there to read it, minimum cost approx $1 every two months, though hopefully this one will get sold somewhere with a wider audience).
It is weird and interesting milSF: told by a soldier who’s part of a cohort that are literally turned into light and “beamed” into position to fight the war, and as the story unfolds you learn more and more about the war and the enemy and the effect of making people into this kind of weapon.


Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (Third Sound Remix) by E. Catherine Tobler
A mysterious sound is disturbing a worker on a helium mining station orbiting Jupiter. I really liked the imagery of Jupiter in this:
“The red spot spun itself out in our sixth year, the storm succumbing to another that is the colors of Earth’s seas: teal and turquoise, indigo and lapis. Sometimes, when the sunlight angles across, the storm shines like a great opal, cracked with orange lightning.”
But I got a bit lost in the mystery and still don’t feel quite clear about what was going on, especially in the second half of the story, even after reading it through a couple of times.


Trigger by Courtney Alameda
A "modern vampire hunting" short story with an exceptional young woman repeatedly facing a big scary monster vampire culminating in a motorbike chase across San Francisco. I quite enjoyed it but it felt like it was part of a longer story; in the comments I discovered it was a prequel to a young adult novel, Shutter.


By Degrees and Dilatory Time by S. L. Huang
A young man gets new cyborg eyes and adapts to them; that’s basically the entire plot, in a fine sf tradition of what-if stories. I thought it was done well.


Nine Thousand Hours by Iona Sharma
A fantasy story about a magical accident taking all the words out of the world, but also about home and how people change.


…And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes by Scott Alexander
A fun exploration of a set of possible superpowers, with an ending that surprised me, in a good way.

Emotional day

Jun. 26th, 2015 10:27 pm
rmc28: (smile)
[personal profile] rmc28
It's about 34 years since I first met my great-uncle Theo and his partner Bob Olsen in California.
It's about 26 years since Theo died.
It's about 16 years since I met Bob for the second time, shortly after which he also died.
It's about 10 years since Canada made same-sex marriage legal.
And just over a year since England and Wales did too.  (7 months for Scotland, and Northern Ireland still doesn't ...)
Just a few weeks ago I was crying over the photos and stories of Irish people going #hometovote, and with joy over the result.

I grew up knowing that a same-sex couple was part of my family, that they were loved and valued.  I don't know if they wanted to be married; I do know they didn't get a choice.

There's still work to do; but today I was in tears of happiness again.  Some of my favourite images behind the cut.
Read more... )
It's my birthday on Sunday; this is a great present, world.  Thank you :-)

Hooray for modern medicine

Jun. 25th, 2015 03:47 pm
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
In the last day and a half I've gone from it being incredibly painful to swallow water, to being able to eat solids with only mild discomfort.  Yay penicillin!    And cheap manufacture of generic painkillers, and a doctor who says "can you take ibuprofen? and paracetamol? and codeine?  Good, take all of them."

I'm assuming that pre-penicillin (and in the awful future of antibiotic-resistant bacteria), I would basically hope to keep getting enough fluids in to survive while my immune system eventually got around to dealing with the bugs?

Between the penicillin, the painkillers and the baseline level of supplements and antihistamines I already take, I'm taking over 20 pills a day, and I had to write out a schedule today because I was losing the ability to track what should go in when.  Not sure whether to blame the drugs, the other drugs, or the battle for supremacy in my throat, but I'm quite spaced out and falling asleep at no notice.

Reading Wednesday

Jun. 24th, 2015 07:40 pm
rmc28: (books2010)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I've read

I haven't been reading many books lately.  I have been reading my way through the archives of A Girl and Her Fed, by the author K B Spangler, recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon .  I've also been thoroughly enjoying the ongoing adventures of [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan and her circle of actors, musicians, and scientists (not to mention the wombatt).

Otherwise, I put down Two's Company by Jill Mansell because I was temporarily annoyed by it, and expect I will pick it up again when I am feeling less easily annoyed.

I started reading Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan, which was a library book I picked up as the first of a trilogy; it's set in Hong Kong and has some really interesting magic/mythology going on, but it turns out it's the first of a sequel trilogy and I was failing to keep up with who was who, so I took it back to the library and have requested the first of the previous trilogy to see if I can make any more sense of it.

I read Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James, which was exactly what I wanted the day of a migraine (delightfully farcical period romances with a lot of strong female friendships in them) and am now in a queue for the next in the series to work its way out of the library system.


What I'm reading
I started getting horribly ill yesterday evening, with what turns out to be strep throat, so I have been comforting myself with a reread of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  Which has its issues but remains one of the most sympathetic depictions I've read of sex work & BDSM.  And also the heroine repeatedly achieves things by being clever and sympathetic and understanding of others (as well as hot and good in bed).


What I'll read next
Chances are high it will be the next two sequels to Kushiel's Dart :-)  But I might be radical and read either Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu or The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison as well.

Hey Nikki Haley.

Jun. 22nd, 2015 04:10 pm
brainwane: Photo of my head, with hair longish for me (pro)
[personal profile] brainwane
From one Indian-American woman to another.

I saw your statement. I know it takes the South Carolina legislature to take that Confederate flag down and you can't legally just do it yourself, and I'm glad you've now stated that the government ought to take it down. I know you cried after the murders; I did too.

We Indian-Americans get a bit of crap here in the US, but if you and I have a sense of proportion and perspective, we look at other people of color and we see how very much better off we are than Native Americans, Latin@s, African-Americans, and the descendants of most other nonwhite immigrants. Middle-class professional Indian-Americans get exoticized in ways that often help us. As long as they don't think we're Muslims, white people here basically trust us and think we're hardworking and smart. You and I benefit from that whole model minority stereotype. Hell, I think one reason the white and Asian guys in the computer science major at UC Berkeley didn't scorn my technical competence and interests was because I'm Indian. Maybe one stereotype partially offset another.

You and I have integrated really thoroughly into white society. And basically we benefit from the fact that a lot of white people's racism doesn't focus on us. So we should use that privilege to stand in solidarity with the victims of racism.

You and I are in community together. We have some shared experiences, and some shared privileges. How do we use them to protect those who are hurting? I make my own personal efforts in my spheres -- my neighborhood, my workplaces, my volunteer communities -- to mentor and protect people with less privilege than me. Not just in the wake of this murder of your constituents, but for months and years afterward, how will you use your privilege to fight racism?

I don't know enough about your state and your black constituents to speak with authority about how you could best stand in solidarity with them and against racism. (The flag's an open wound, of course; you knew that already, and if I had to bet, I'd bet you started trying, last week, to get that thing taken down, holding private meetings about it so everyone can save face. As I was writing this, you spoke out against the flag, finally; I'm glad you did that.) Yes, there's a political price you would have to pay with the white establishment if they started perceiving you as pro-black. You may have started paying that price, now, coming out against the flag. I hope that, nonetheless, you will use your power as governor and your privilege in the racial hierarchy to advance the work of black activists in your state. The flag fight is a start, not an end. This work will take courage and stamina. I offer you my best wishes.

Triumph of capitalism

Jun. 18th, 2015 08:40 pm
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (half-marathon)
[personal profile] rmc28
Thanks to ebay and globalisation I now have a long-sleeved running top printed with the Winter Soldier arm and uniform, so I can look even sillier/geekier while out running.

Sadly it remains too warm for me to actually wear it for running.  I'm sure I can rely on the English weather to change that before too long.

An open letter to spiders

Jun. 18th, 2015 07:52 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
Dear spiders,

I fear I must refer you to the stipulations of our de facto treaty. I, the human party, have refrained from killing you or purposefully disturbing your webs, even if you are creepy and have too many legs. However, given the recent intrusion by fat black houseflies, I should like to enquire as to why you are not carrying out your obligations under the treaty by catching and eating them.

Yours,

David.

Chapter 16: Silverweed

Jun. 16th, 2015 10:30 pm
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
[personal profile] rmc28
'Well done,' said Hazel, as Dandelion ended.



[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.]




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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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