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29 · non-binary (they/them) · neurodiverse · spoonie · queer femme · NSO & trainee zebra · polyamorous · burned-out activist · geek.



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May. 26th, 2017 03:23 pm

Well that's an obnoxious form of SEO

[personal profile] swaldman
It looks as though the creator of this site has trawled through the source for MATLAB's built-in functions and created an empty forum topic for each error message, to as to snare people to search for the error....
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miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... the Manchester thing hit me pretty hard, and then yesterday I had a migraine to the extent where I could just about manage twitter on night mode in a darkened room but not much else.

So if I missed anything important, I'm sorry xx
May. 26th, 2017 01:01 pm

Music meme: day 1 of 30

liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait and a bunch of other people are doing a 30 day music meme, and it's really interesting to see people's choices! In some ways music isn't a big part of my life, so I might struggle with this one, and anyway I'm not going to commit to posting every day for 30 consecutive days, but I thought I'd give it a go.

The first is A song you like with a colour in the title, so I went for White winter hymnal by Fleet Foxes. I don't always love the kind of very blurry musical style that Fleet Foxes go for, but I got really fond of this song a few years back and it's one that always raises a smile when it comes on shuffle.

People are generally linking to YouTube, and I'd never actually seen the accompanying video for this one before. It's kind of a cool claymation thing, so I'm glad I searched it up.

Embedded video )
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May. 26th, 2017 09:26 am

30 Day Music Meme day 12

ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

When I was 12, Everything I do (I do it for you) was number one for 16 weeks. Everyone was talking about Bryan Adams. So I listened to everything he'd released at that point, and that's why even though I was wee at the time it was released, it's going into the pre-teen slot. Imagine a lonely, depressed 12 year old in a 3 bed semi in a small town. Then I heard this, and it was like all the hope in the world wrapped up in one small Canadian.

The Best Was Yet To Come by Bryan Adams.
May. 25th, 2017 09:26 pm

Languages redux

ysobel: (learning german)
[personal profile] ysobel
Tried poking at French on duolingo ... and then realized it would mess up any Spanish attempts (or the Spanish attempts would much up French) because they look similar and sound so different, and I had a moment of "je suis, tu eres, il/elle/es est" (bad jumble of french and Spanish with a soupçon of German). So ... for now I go back to German for Duolingo purposes, and refresh Spanish grammar/vocab through other sites. (I am currently tempted by https://www.rocketlanguages.com/ which is paid, but I will probably get over that temptation and just stick to free resources.)

I did realize why I suddenly had urges to go do other languages, Greek or French or whatnot, rather than continuing with German. It's because the words aren't sticking right now. It's not difficult vocabulary -- z.b. Ort, Kneipe, Bezirk, Grundstück, Umgebung, Unterkünfte -- but I can't remember the words or their meanings at all. Each time it's like I'm seeing the word for the first time, and by the time it comes up again I've dropped it again.

Which is, um. Frustrating. And makes me want to avoid it. And to some extent repetition is the key to learning things like this, but it's hard to repeat things you can't hold on to.

I kind of wish I could just download language knowledge into my brain.
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Last night we went to Manderley again the theatre in Leeds to see The Play That Goes Wrong. It was funny to the extent that my stomach hurts from laughing so hard this morning. I very much recommend it if you are in need of an evening of jollity - and who isn't, these days?

I think my favourite character was the corpse (no, really), but it was a close run thing between him and the stage-hand-who-ends-up-getting-roped-into-the-play, or the corpse's brother, whose layers of performance were very impressive - acting a bad actor who plays up to a large audience excellently.

The recalcitrant set, of course, is a character in it's own right. Whoever designed it is a genius. Bits alternately fall off or unexpectedly don't fall off; doors swing open or fail to open, depending on what they are not supposed to do, etc. The timing of all these things is vital, and it was absolutely spot on every time, right down to the small spoiler ) at the end.

The po-faced actor/director-playing-the-inspector's small spoiler ) He reminded me of nothing so much as my English teacher at school, who used to sweat blood pushing recalcitrant children into the school play, and inevitably things went wrong as they do in these situations.

The one note of caution I would sound is that it doesn't pass Bechdel. There are two female characters, but they don't talk to each other at all (although at one point they talk over each other and small spoiler )). There's no real reason why the Butler, or the Sound Engineer, or even the Inspector couldn't be women, they just... aren't. This is a bit of a contrast from the Agatha Christie plays which this is clearly riffing off, which are always scrupulously gender balanced...

That was the only thing that really bothered me, though. Otherwise I had an excellent time, the performances were good, the stage set was excellent, and the comic timing was first rate. If you get the chance, go see this, particularly if you've already seen and are familiar with The Mousetrap, to which there are many many refernces. Also, you need to get in there ten minutes or so early. No spoilers, but it's worth it.
May. 25th, 2017 08:06 am

(no subject)

ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

A song you never get tired of. I was looking for something with a lot of range, to keep my interest up. Something a bit meaty, by a band I love. So I give you Astronomy by the Brain Surgeons. It was actually written for Blue Öyster Cult but is one of the BÖC songs that the Brain Surgeons, formed by Al Bouchard after leaving BÖC, kept playing. Al is now in a Blue Öyster Cult/Alice Cooper covers bande, Blue Coupe, with Dennis Dunaway from Alice Cooper.

May. 24th, 2017 11:48 am

So very subtle, brain

ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
I started to suspect part of my fatigue and brain fog problem right now may be a UTI -- no pain, very few of the usual symptoms, but cloudy pee that smells funny is not a good sign -- and I've been wondering if I should message my doctor and see if I can get tested and, assuming I do have one, get on antibiotics. I don’t like taking antibiotics, but I’ve suspected possible UTI for at least a week and it’s not going away on its own, and it’s probably not a good idea to let an infection go untreated just because it’s not painful.

Then last night I had a dream where I took Monkey to a specialized vet because -- and my subconscious is being super subtle here -- I had two weeks earlier taken her to my regular vet, who thought she had a UTI but there were two tests and one said yes and one said no so they weren’t sure but suggested I go to this other place, but I waited until after I got back from a week-long trip that included going to some sort of conference; and the new vet was yelling at me about how I needed to take better care of my cat, I should have canceled the trip and brought her in right away, blah blah blah.

No cats were harmed in the making of this dream, but, like I said: subtle. I wonder what it means...

(Called my doctor’s office, which was a hassle and a half -- partly because I don’t have most of the typical UTI symptoms like pain or burning or urgency, partly because they kept wanting me to make an appointment and I kept having to say “I am disabled and can’t give a urine sample at the doctor’s office, she’s going to want a urine test anyway so I should do that first, I’m fine with making an appointment but I want to get the urine test done first yes I fucking well ‘have trouble walking’ I am in a fucking wheelchair and can’t fucking use regular toilets what the fuck (paraphrased; I didn’t swear), my doctor is familiar with my circumstances please just send her a message” -- it would have been less work to message her myself (“suspect uti, please order test”) but that doesn’t always get seen the same day. We shall see what happens.)

#

In other news: For all that I am way behind on making the yarny stuff I want to make, I find myself wanting to make a small stuffed bunny for someone I’ve never met. (I don’t remember if I posted here or not about the 11 year old girl with FOP that was in ICU because of complications of parainfluenza and FOP-created scoliosis, and she had to be intubated, which can cause FOP issues but was kind of a Hail Mary as it was? She’s still in the PICU and will be for a while, but she’s doing better; got extubated yesterday and is on bipap, and in much better shape, though there’s still a long way to go. I asked her mom what her favorite animal and color are (bunnies/turkeys and pink/purple respectively) because I just … I don’t know, want to do something for her. And a crocheted pink bunny seems doable?)
May. 24th, 2017 12:37 pm

Reading Wednesday 24/05

liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: The hundred trillion stories in your head, a bio of Ramón y Cajal by Benjamin Ehrlich. (Contains some detail of Ramón y Cajal's rather grim childhood.)

Currently reading: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Partly because it's Hugo nominated, and partly because [personal profile] jack was excited to talk about it so I've borrowed his copy. I'm halfway through and enjoying it a lot; it's a bit like a somewhat grimmer version of Leckie's Ancillary books. It has too much gory detail of war and torture for my preferences but it's also a really engaging story.

Up next: Quite possibly Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, since I'd like to read at least the Hugo novels in time for Worldcon.
May. 24th, 2017 11:16 am

I <3 brainy punks

ceb: (absinthe)
[personal profile] ceb
My favourite Basque horrorpunk band, Los Carniceros del Norte, have made a covers album where all the songs are translated into Spanish. Exhibit A: _Cuchillos de Fuego_ by Johnny Cash: https://loscarniceros.bandcamp.com/track/cuchillos-de-fuego-johnny-cash-cover

Hoping this makes someone else's day as much as it made mine.

(entire album here: https://loscarniceros.bandcamp.com/album/kaskeria )

If you need your day made in Québécois French instead, here's a different brainy punk/psychobilly band (The Brains, appropriately enough, and they can make your day in English and North American Spanish too): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLwin5O6nxc

NB do not try to make your day with French-French punk, it works very poorly.
May. 24th, 2017 11:00 am

The Blood is the Life for 24-05-2017

miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

10: a song that makes you sad.

My uncle had this song at his funeral. I gather Lemmy maybe did too? but my uncle died first, and besides, he was a good uncle. To give some idea of his personality, he demanded Fire by Arthur Brown for the end, when the curtains close. He fixed things, and he took life lightly, and the world is a better place for having had him in it.

I give you Jollity Farm by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is a book about swords. It is pretty much just about swords and swordsmanship, through history and in the modern day. I don't think I cam say much else about it, apart from possibly "there are some things that Hank Reinhardt say about some swords that I do not agree 100% with".
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May. 23rd, 2017 06:21 pm

Costs of rail privatisation

damerell: (trains)
[personal profile] damerell
I've been meaning to write this for a while, but I just got blocked on Twitter by the editor of Rail magazine for pointing it out (!), so now seems like a good time. If there is some reason I am laughably wrong, now's the time to point it out.

Fairly often, when renationalisation of the railways is discussed, a neat little pie chart turns up showing some small percentage of income goes on TOC profits (here is an example: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/images/structure/css/fact-about-fare-2014.jpg - this one discusses fare income, but as far as I can make out from http://www.orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/24149/uk-rail-industry-financial-information-2015-16.pdf today's figure of 1.9% does reflect the distribution of all income. I don't know why Network Rail can't replace their pie chart with one based on more recent figures...)

As far as I know this is true, but what pops up next is the assertion that only that small percentage is to be saved by renationalising the railways. That seems to be totally untrue, as a bit of a peek at the other slices of the pie chart will reveal.

First of all, there's a much bigger chunk (11% in 2014, 7% now) marked "leasing trains". Do the rolling stock companies (ROSCOs), which were of course created out of British Rail, make a profit? You bet they do. Their surplus is about 20%, so there's another 1.4% right there.

Secondly, there's "interest payments and other costs". There was a bit here about how the TOCs are probably hiding some profits via (say) borrowing money from associated companies in countries with less corporation tax, but as far as I can make out all the interest payments are made by Network Rail. There is a pretence that Network Rail is not just a bit of the government, and that compels it to borrow money at a higher interest rate than the government would.

(However, the ROSCOs may well be posting an artificially low surplus, either through such tax avoidance or via the private equity practice of buying an asset with a loan secured on that asset. That would represent yet more profit that doesn't show up on the pie chart.)

Then we have staffing costs (25% of the pie chart). Fragmenting the railway has added untold layers of bureaucracy; the ROSCOs have staff to deal with leasing the trains to the TOCs and the TOCs have staff to deal with leasing the trains from the ROSCOs. The TOCs have staff to deal with Network Rail and Network Rail has staff to deal with the TOCs - a lot, because a train cannot simply be delayed now without a careful apportioning of the costs arising from that delay. A vast management tree is essentially duplicated across 20-odd TOCs (yes, it would be a bit bigger in a company the size of BR, but there wouldn't be 20 of it). It's hard to obtain any decent estimate of this (I would be intrigued to see figures on the relative number of officebound staff employed by BR and the current system, but I suspect they are well hidden) but it's hard to suppose it's too small a proportion of that 25% to show up.

So I think two things are true; the proportion of the railways' income that is lost to the structures of privatisation certainly is not 1.9% - it must be at least as high as 3.3% if we add the ROSCOs' profits in - and there is every reason to suppose it is considerably higher, even if it is hard to know exactly how much.
May. 23rd, 2017 02:11 pm

Hamilton-adjacent shows

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
There are two things coming up I want to see, and would like to encourage friends to come see with me. I'm not quite at "buy a ticket to something fun" today, but I'd like to get there.  Please comment / message / email me if you're interested in coming too, ideally by this weekend.

Show one:
The Southwark Playhouse is putting on Working, a musical with songs by "Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor". So obviously Lin-Manuel's contribution is among lots of other people's, but the musical blurb itself sounds interesting: based on a book of "interviews with the American workforce" and "a strikingly dynamic and contemporary look at what it is to work and what it is to be a musical".  Also I like the theatre's access information page which seems a better effort than most and would therefore like to Turn Up And Support This Kind Of Thing.

I'm looking at going to the 3pm show on Saturday 10th June.  This is both my least-busy Saturday during the run, and immediately after my exams.  Tickets £25 / £20.


Show two:
There is a touring professional production of Bring It On, the cheerleader musical, which I saw a local amateur production of recently. I am considering either:
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 23rd September, at the Milton Keynes Theatre
  • 2:30pm show on Saturday 14th October, at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Both of them are do-able as a day trip from Cambridge by public transport.  I lean slightly toward the Wimbledon one because that's by train not coach, but I could be persuadable to either.  (Both is probably overambitious).  Tickets are between £43 and £57.50, plus a transaction fee (because of course there is).


Also, I'm looking longingly at an amateur production of In The Heights in Birmingham 14-15 July, but as I'm running a child's birthday party on 16th July I don't think it's going to happen.

(yes, I am mildly obsessive about Seeing All The Things related to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I also kind of like the idea of aspiring to a lifestyle of travelling the country seeing musicals ...)
May. 23rd, 2017 01:45 pm

Jew-ish

liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
This weekend I went to another Jewish-Muslim interfaith event. I was not exactly the main target audience, which was mainly people whose actual job is religious education. I did get to meet some Somali Bravanese Muslims, an ethnic minority from Somalia via Kenya whom I hadn't encountered before.

Anyway we had some very interesting discussions, including around the use of language. Some of the Muslim participants said they didn't like what I had thought of as an otherwise neutral older spelling, Moslem. They said they associate that spelling and pronunciation with people like Donald Trump, and I can see that people who haven't bothered to update their language might well be assumed to be hostile. I don't particularly need to change my own language choices since I have been using the modern spelling anyway, but it's useful to note.

Then of course the conversation turned to the Jewish side, and the somewhat fraught issue of what we should be called. is 'Jew' a slur? )
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