zeborah: On the shoulders of giants: zebra on a giraffe (science)
I detoured on my long commute home to the doctor's to pick up a script, except I forgot they close at 6pm instead of 7pm on a Friday. So to lift my spirits in preparation to resume the arduous journey, I stopped at a cafe, and while I was paying for my cheese scroll my old church minister came in (and it's just a couple of days before she's heading overseas for three months at that) and we had a quick catch up. And I know, Christchurch is a small world, and I know, statistics, but there's still something about these incidents: that today was the day I went to the doctor's, that I happened to work late, that I just missed a connection, that I decided on food, and decided on that cafe in particular, and meanwhile she had her own series of incidents leading her there. It's just kind of amazing that our life is made up of a series of incidents, even if that's kind of the definition of life.

Also, nearly home now, the bus shelter had a box full of books (and photo frames and crockery and VHS tapes) someone was sharing with the world. I grabbed a couple of Nancy Drews because I never read them when I was a girl and I feel like I should have instead of or at least as well as all the boy-protag equivalents. And then I was thinking how no-one used to do this - leave boxes of books at the bus shelter - until I did it with a box of BookCrossing books a while after the quakes. And if this is the legacy I leave to the world, it's not a terrible one.

And also, for anyone not on Twitter or who missed it there, I'm crowdsourcing some data collection for a research project into open access and conference papers. (It basically involves googling for 2000 conferences. A couple is somewhat fun, twenty is doable, 200 is a nightmare, 2000 is a half-year's RSI-inducing work. So ideally I'd get a thousand people to do a couple each.) A bunch of people retweeted and a couple did a couple, but then tonight I noticed a good colleague-friend had done a whole pile. So I'm still going to have to be obnoxious in prodding all my acquaintance (prod, prod) but I think it will validate my decision to go this way instead of to give up and work with a less ambitious dataset. And it is going to be an awesome dataset.

(Oh by the way apropos of nothing, does anyone want to spend 10 minutes googling to Do Great Science?)
zeborah: It's not that hard. A dalmatian could do it. (Criminal Minds)
I won't say where it is, for Reasons, but it's recently shifted to being a wee video advert that you play and halfway through a banner in the video tells you what to type in. (There appear to be other options for accessibility, I haven't tried them.)

The thing that makes it easy is that the videos are clearly from sponsors. And which you get shown clearly depends on your region. And clearly in my region, there's only one sponsor and it is Tui Beer, and that's the answer to the captcha 50% of the time I've been on this site. The other 50% of the time it's a short slogan they've picked which I forget because it's been a week or so since I got it.

Doesn't matter, anyway. Because theoretically, if I could program this sort of thing, I could program a bot to go in and download All The Content by just trying "Tui Beer" over and over
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries today has ALL THE FEELS, omg. I'm going to have to mop my face before I head off to work.
  • Criminal Minds and White Collar are very much going downhill; Elementary isn't bad; Once Upon a Time is currently the best thing on. Around town there are billboards dubbing it "Damsels in Charge" which is exactly what I love about it, and portraying Emma in leather armour that actually covers her entire torso even if it does leave her upper arms worryingly bare.
  • The neighbour has finally scythed mowed their lawn jungle. Hopefully this will reduce the number of biddybids I have to pick out of Boots' fur with sneak attacks.
  • Being an adult means when you run out of milk you can melt some icecream onto your cereal for breakfast instead.
  • Freezing cheese totally (and totally predictably) borks its structural integrity.
  • My plums are almost finished; grapes and peaches seem to be coming along nicely.
  • I've been making lots of curtains and doing lots of baking while watching lots of West Wing. I think it's a phase? Also doing bits of coding and fanfic and other writing and adding to my "Awesome projects it'd be fun to do if I had infinite time and parallel selves" list.
zeborah: It's not that hard. A dalmatian could do it. (Criminal Minds)
For the one or two people on my flist who watch Criminal Minds and therefore don't actually need the spoiler cut:

Spoilers for Criminal Minds  )
zeborah: Zebra with mop and text: Clean all the things! (housework)
Have set comments to "registered accounts only"; will set it back to open in a few days time when the spammers have gone elsewhere.
zeborah: I found this humerus (humorous)
I guess this is what happens when you kill all the people who created the world
and then take over in their place
there is no transition meeting
no one tells you these things

(from Better Myths which is fantastically funny; generally it has language which is problematic in multiple arenas, but this one's fairly good)

In unrelated news, rewriting my CV keeps giving me fantastic revelatory ideas for new (professional) blog posts. Well, technically one came from staring out the bus window at the Beams of Hope, but I was meant to be rewriting my CV at the time, so that kinda counts.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Thank you all!

I also have a free invite link to Kiva if you get in really quick - I think they're going to run out soon: http://kiva.org/invitedby/deborah2989. This lends you US$25-worth of electrons to lend to someone somewhere as part of a microloan scheme. Repayments will go back to Kiva, who are clearly hoping you'll get hooked on the fun of it as I have.

(Yes I also know microlending has issues. I think Kiva does fairly well avoiding many of these but no doubt opinions vary.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Because my skin can't bear the touch of iron. I break out in itchy bumps that ooze pus. This is annoying as it seriously cuts down on the number of my few bits of jewelery (and my prettiest hair thing) I can wear.

In other news, should I apply for a job in Kazakhstan? I think I won't, but so tempting. I just wish they had the salary range up there so I could prove to myself that I couldn't afford to keep paying my mortgage on it. The fact that Kazakh is agglutinative and has seven cases and I know from Mongolian that vowel harmony is not as fun in practice as in theory and I rather suspect that the evidentiary verb ending system is most probably the same, though it'd still be cool to try -- is, you see, not helping.

(It does help that I had a good week at work.)

I have patches of snow in my garden that are very nearly a week old.

I have a doubly static kitty. She's curled in the sun not going anywhere, and her fur crackles if I try to stroke her.

I have an iPad borrowed from work to work on for work purposes, so can testify that Angry Birds is astoundingly addictive.

And I have a need of recipes that make use of stale bread. So far I can:
  1. dice and freeze for croutons
  2. toast (but I don't eat much toast - oh wait, it could be the best excuse ever for spaghetti on toast. Guess what I'm having for lunch in ten seconds time?)
  3. dice and mix with all the leftovers and some milk in a casserole dish. This turned out surprisingly good considering the diversity of the leftovers, but not so good that I'm likely to make it on a regular basis.
The bread doesn't go stale that quickly, it's just I'm only one person. Actually it's remarkably long-living. If it was store-bread I'd joke about preservatives, but I made it myself so I've no idea why it takes a week to be properly stale and never goes mouldy. I keep it wrapped in a teatowel on top of the fridge (so the cat can't get at it) -- this is the extent of my bread-preservation efforts.
zeborah: Helen Clark telling an MP: Diddums. (diddums)
Have had a bit of a cold - not a horrible one, just a "Yeah, not inflicting this on anyone else" one. Day 3 and I'm much better, just tired in the chest (asthma never helps) and bored.

The choices include: watch DVDs, read books, empty the chemical toilet, maybe do some writing.

I really ought to do some writing sometime. I want to get started soon on my Sky Falling Down story and have been pondering it some more. To the point that last night I woke in a panic because my leadlight windows weren't covered and if the sun rose then I'd die of sunburn. (By contrast, the aftershock that woke me a bit later was rather ho-hum.) On the whole I preferred my Monday night lucid dreams about the Tardis coming to visit.

I've even resorted to poking at Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" which is a highly exploitative scheme in which companies (not all of whom are spammers or plagiarists - there's the occasional charity or website usability test) pay a pittance for you to do tasks for them. Like, US$1 for 20 minutes' work is one of the better deals I found. (Note that the time allotted is the time after which your attempt expires so you can't wander away for a coffee break.) Also if you live outside the US you can only get the money in the form of an Amazon voucher. So if you want to get rich really really slow, or if you're really really bored, then Mechanical Turk is the scheme for you.
zeborah: Zebra and lion hugging (cat)
This morning Boots was still eating very little but was a lot perkier about it: wandering around a little and sitting, rather than staying it one spot with her chin to the ground for hours on end. On the strength of that I decided not to take her to the vet, though I did stay home watching her rather than go anywhere.

This afternoon/evening she perked up even more and ate a bunch more super-nommy glop and even a little bit of kibble. (At one point she even asked for kibble; she just got tired of it quickly and decided she'd rather have some more super-nommy glop instead.) When a chunk of lamb mince fell off my plate she practically pounced on it and fought a valiant fight against the fact that it was still very hot from being cooked; that now vanquished, she's sitting watching me eat the rest, very attentively.

Have made power-off images for my Pocketbook and read an old F&SF epub I'd had sitting around.

Chores today included: washing laundry, washing cat carrier, and emptying chemloo. All water sourced from the drippings of my leaky tap (which also provides water for my kettle and washing dishes). I really will get onto a plumber soon, but in the meantime it relieves my guilt a bit that I'm getting increasingly efficient at using the waste.

Attempted to book online for someone to come mow my lawns, but the company's upgraded the website and now it doesn't work in Firefox or Safari on Mac.

What else was today? Ah, yes, Doctor Who. You know, while under urgency due to the earthquake, our government passed a copyright amendment that provides for your internet to be cut off if three accusations of downloading infringing material from a file sharing site are sustained against you. (You see how vital this legislation is to Christchurch's recovery, of course.) The bill as passed plugs a few outrageous holes pointed out in the #blackout campaign a year or two ago that kept it from being passed back then, but keeps this same outrageous premise. So there's not much I can say about Doctor Who. At least not in public.

In general, feeling much less stressed with Boots improving. If I keep sleeping 10-12 hours a night I might be able to cope with going back to work next week...
zeborah: Irony means what we point to when we say: That's not ironic. (irony)
Inspired by a conversation my siblings and I had a month or so back:

Someone said sorry on the internet

Modified from Duty Calls (aka "Someone is wrong on the internet") under its CC-BY-NC-2.5 license; itself licensed CC-BY-NC (New Zealand 3.0).
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Fortunately I didn't have to use it on the toilet! I had a heat-light thing in a recessed unit in my bathroom ceiling and whenever I tried to change the bulb it'd just turn and turn in my hand and never come out. Then Dad came over and tried and it did the same thing, and he said that the professionals have a suction thing that they push on and just turn that, and I said "I have a suction thing!" And I brought out the toilet plunger, and he pushed it on and turned it and lo, the lightbulb came down!

--

Then I came around to my parents' house for a sister's birthday and my Mum was talking about having a lot of bad poems and some good ones and trying to work out how to get more good ones. So I said "Write more bad ones." ...I keep meaning to do this with my own writing.

--

And then I came and talked with my sisters and I learned of knowyourmeme.com which I'm hoping is not quite as addictive as TV Tropes.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
1. I was reading thefourthvine's review of The Naked Time on my laptop on the bus, and

2. I looked up to see another passenger offering some change to someone struggling to pay his fare. Aw, people are so awesome! I want to edit a newspaper that's all about random acts of kindness. It'd be kind of trite, but then the existing community newspapers are all pretty trite too, and my newspaper would be a happy trite.

3. A shop I walked past has a vivid-on-corrugated-cardboard sign up saying "The Power Shop does not no where Rob's Radios has gone." Okay, obviously someone was pretty frustrated when they wrote that and that spelling is a bit sad-making, but it still made me giggle.

4. Antti-Juhani's done some big tweaks to Verbosify (RSS w00t!), and then I did some small tweaks.

And then I broke it. <looks shifty> That's okay, it's pretty much my job to break things on that site, and I'm sure it'll all be just fine when Antti-Juhani wakes up in the morning and reads all my bug reports. Hyvää huomenta, Antti-Juhani!
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Rainbow)
But not here. For the interest of people who are interested in this sort of thing, I've just posted the first of what's to be a regular linkdump on the Outer Alliance blog. Focused on the intersection of LGBT and speculative fiction, but also including much that is either one or the other.

(Suggestions of links for next week's dump are always welcome.)

And if you're interested in this sort of thing, there's lots of other interesting stuff on the Outer Alliance blog.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
The camera is being troublesome but if it fails I'll steal some of my sister's photos instead.

Bye all!
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
It turns out there's a right way and a wrong way of offering unsolicited advice and help to random strangers.

Some weeks ago, someone solicitously advised me that I oughtn't to use my laptop at my bus-stop in the evenings in this part of town. I said I was happy taking the risk. At which, much offended that I wasn't taking his advice, he said huffily, "Well, I hope nothing bad happens to you." I may not have sounded terribly sincere when I returned the good wishes word for word to him. As soon as someone invents lolcat videos, this scene gets tagged with "Chivalry: ur doin it wrong".

And probably around about the same time, I read a conversation on the interweb about respecting a woman's "no" instead of asking again and again on the assumption that she's just playing hard to get. In frustration some guy announced, "Okay, ladies: if I ask you out and you say no, that's it: I won't ask you out again!" At which I blinked and thought, "...Um, this is supposed to abash us? If only everyone did that as a matter of course!"

(I think he was operating under the assumption that only men can ask women out. If that were true, then his only asking once means that a woman only has that one chance to say yes or no, so his taking her no at face value when she means yes would be a disaster. But it's not true. She can say no, and see him turning away, and if she wants she can run after him and say, "Actually yes." Or if she means no but changes her mind an hour, day, week, year later, she can phone him up and say, "Hey, if you're still interested, would you like to go out with me?" And then the ball's in his court again.)

So, bearing in mind this pattern where someone makes an offer, is refused courteously enough, and responds to the refusal with anger or cajoling or the like...

Last night I was walking down the street from one bus stop, where the bus was 18 minutes late, to another, which has a telepathic doodacky that tells you when the next bus is coming. I was glancing behind myself as I went in case the bus overtook me on the way, and as I did this a car full of young guys pulled up alongside me. I prepared for wolf-whistles. Conversation ensued:

Driver: "Hey, d'you need a ride somewhere?"

Me: "Nah, I'm good, thanks."

Driver: "Okay!"

And he cheerfully did a U-ie and drove off; and I blinked a couple of times and walked cheerfully on to my bus stop.

"No, thanks."

"Okay!"

It was that simple.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Rainbow)
without having actually read the original studies:

1. Listening to sexist humour makes people act in a more sexist way than listening either to non-sexist humour or to sexist statements.

2. Being powerless impairs cognitive functioning -- allowing -isms and other hierarchies to be self-perpetuating.

(IIRC, one of these was via Figleaf and the other via Bitchy Jones. OTOH I'm not entirely all here this week so I may be wrong. OTGH they're both good blogs anyway.)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
...which has been sitting at the bottom of my lunchbag for a few days getting bruised. This (plus contrast with pickles) makes it very sweet -- and also just a little, ah, 'fizzy'.

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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