Activity, and the lack therof...

Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:38 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
Wednesday evening's radio club committee meeting was about as interesting as you might expect, but at least it didn't last as long as usual. I was home very shortly after 10pm, and got an early night.

I was awake quite early on Thursday. The morning's Morse practice went a lot better than it's gone in quite a while. Only one word caused me trouble. However, after it was over, much of the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle, energy-wise. A bit of stuff got done, but much less than might have been.

I spent a little more time tidying on Friday, but again ran short of energy and motivation before I got very far. It's still at the "things get messier before they get tidier" stage.

In the evening, however, there was gaming. At young A's request we played 7 Wonders, and Phil won. It was a short enough game that I was home before 10:30pm.

It rained overnight, and it has also been raining randomly and heavily at intervals all day. I have done a bit more tidying. I've also spent a bit of time trying to catch SOTA activators on the radio, Radio conditions ruminations )

Edit 7 hours later: Well, quite a bit of stuff has found itself a home in the workshop or the boiler cupboard, and there's a lot less on the floor now. There's further to go, but much less far than there was this morning.

Tomorrow there's an NMC rehearsal.

A Fine Man...Like Jordin K

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:52 pm
gorgeousgary: (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousgary
How better to remember Jordin Kare than with a title that parodies a line from one of his parodies...

I'm not sure when I first met Jordin. Probably Confrancisco in 1993, where I first met a lot of the California filkers. (Most notably Kathy Mar, leading me the next year to drive up to a small con outside Toronto where she was GOH. But that's another story.)

My favorite memory of Jordin was his debut of "Heart of the Apple Lisa" during his Interfilk Guest concert at ConCertino in 1995. Which, being in Westborough, MA, was right in the heart of Fred Small territory. Given that and the number of computer scientists in filk, the titters from the audience started almost immediately. When he hit the first chorus, you could literally hear the wave of laughter roll from the front row to the back of the room. I was seated about 2/3 of the way back, with a clear sightline to the rear doors into the ballroom. As Jordin continued and the gales of hysterical laughter began to crescendo, I could see people running in from the hallway to find out what was happening.

And the topper? Mary Kay had been worried how the song would be received and thought the jokes might be too esoteric. For a con a few miles from the famed stretch of MA Route 128 known as "America's Technology Highway", home to the offices of IBM, DEC and Honeywell, HP, DG, and--sorry, different filker.

My second favorite memory came while waiting to board a flight at Dulles. I was sitting facing the concourse, watching people walk by, as one does. I saw someone who looked like Jordin walk by. I didn't get up immediately; I first thought it couldn't be Jordin, he lives in Seattle. A minute or two passed, and I became more convinced it really was Jordin. I got up, started to walk down the concourse, got about two gates, and saw Mary Kay sitting near the end of a row of seats. I went over and started chatting, and of course Jordin returned from his perambulations shortly thereafter. Turns out they'd been overseas at an astrophysics conference and were connecting back through Dulles. He'd actually won a significant award at that conference, making me the first filker other than Mary Kay to hear the good news.

Jordin leaves us a long legacy of original songs from the heartbreaking ("Waverider") to the anthemic ("Fire in the Sky"), parodies ("Psi Nought", "Dawson's Concom", "Unified Field Theory"), Les Barker recitations, Off Centaur recordings and songbooks, and drawers full of punny T-shirts. He will be missed.


Jul. 19th, 2017 12:09 pm
sweetmusic_27: A biohazard symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sweetmusic_27
Last week I telephoned our San Diego Comicon hotel to make sure my name was on the reservation and that Seanan's was spelled correctly.

Today, after landing and a cab, and an alarming phone call from the mobility scooter rental place asking when I was going to pick it up (it got sorted out and they delivered the scooter promptly) I went up to the desk... and they wouldn't check me in. Because my name wasn't on the godamned reservation. I checked my bag, sat down, and cried. I got maybe four hours of sleep last night and chock-full airplanes are not calming to me.

I got myself together and had a Slim Jim and a granola bar, used a wet wipe on my face and hands, and felt a little better. A lady came up to me. "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but I saw you crying a little while ago. Is everything okay?"

I explained what had happened and that I was mostly just tired, having anticipated a nap upon arrival.

"Do you have something to eat?"

"Yes, I have a bag of snacks, thank you so much." I squeezed her hand.

Little glimmers of hope and caring when you're feeing low are priceless. It will be my privilege to try to pass it on in a convention where so many can get swept by the wayside.

Caturday, with lots of kittens

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:45 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Lots of kittens in the Kitten Room today! Four black ones and a tabby with white! Two of the black kittens, Fox and Jag, were playing like crazy, and batting at me as I was trying to fill out the form on their cage.


Sunshine was allowed out of her cage and wanted to get out of the room as well. A new cat is named Freud (above), and he is indeed a joy. He was very friendly with both Virginia and me.

Cat cushion

Ce n'est pas un chat. I kept looking at that cushion and thinking it was a sleeping cat, or maybe a tribble.

Two weeks ago, I talked to Virginia about getting scratched by cats, and Ladyslipper immediately scratched her. Last week I said I hadn't been scratched myself yet at the shelter, and this week Ladyslipper put an end to that record as I was cleaning a shelf next to her. I'd better be careful not to give her any more ideas.

Joni Mitchell was adopted. I hope her temperament is better in a home where she isn't surrounded by lots of other cats in close quarters.

Tweets, Bubbles and Bleeps

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:29 pm
hrrunka: A small radio transceiver (morse)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I tackled the waterlilies in the pond on Monday morning before my morning shower. What I really need to do, but will have to leave 'til they've died back for the winter, is to reduce the root-stock by about 80%, and fix the remaining root-stock to something seriously heavy. Trouble is, by the time the season's good for doing that to the plant, it's also a whole lot colder, and paddling in the pond when the temperature's in single digits isn't that much fun...

I was distracted for quite a bit of the rest of the day by the astronomical society committee's ideas for adding social media links to the society's website. I compromised by experimenting a bit with Twitter, which might do enough to distract some of the committee, but not, I fear, the ones wedded to Facebook.

On Tuesday I was a bit distracted by Ingress, which took almost 48 hours to increment my "Max Time Portal Held" stat from 149 to 150 days. I'd figured the counter should have rolled over some time on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon I was wondering whether the portal it was referring to was not the one I thought it was referring to, and that the mystery other portal had been taken down some time Monday morning without my noticing or being alerted. It turned out that Ingress just has a very flexible definition of "day".

On Tuesday evening there was a talk about Morse Code at the nearer of the two radio clubs I attend regularly. The meeting was well-attended, and folk seemed to enjoy it. As the talk was aimed more at those who've never used Morse, I found most of the actual Morse a bit slow, but maybe it will spark some interest.

There was a bit of a thunderstorm overnight. I didn't properly wake up for it, but I was aware enough of it going on that I didn't sleep all that well, either. I've been feeling the effects all day. This evening there's a committee meeting for the other radio club, so I expect I'll end up having an afternoon nap before that.

A Hugo recommendation for next year

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:29 pm
filkerdave: (science fiction)
[personal profile] filkerdave

The truly wonderful What Football Will be Like in 17776 has finished so now's a great time to sit down and read it.

It's a lovely little SF piece. Be warned that you'll need to watch videos and animations as well as reading text. It's worth it, though.
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

It turns out that there's no Music AH for Worldcon 75.

I mean, on one level, I'm not shedding any tears over screwups with the convention after they booted me (and the way it was done). But on the other hand, my friends are going to miss out on a lot of the activity they enjoy at the convention because there's nobody put it together.

Complicated feelings.
sraun: first picture of ziggy (Shih Tzu Ziggy)
[personal profile] sraun
He stopped eating overnight Friday / Saturday. He ate over half his dinner Friday, and has been pretty much ignoring any food since then. We put scrambled egg - a real delicacy! - in his mouth on Saturday, and he just let it fall on the floor and ignored then. Since then, any food we put in front of him might get sniffed at, and then he turns his head away.

I'll be calling the vet as soon as possible after they open at 7:30am, and seeing when we can get him in.

A Continuing Theme...

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:21 am
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I woke up on Friday morning to an unusual noise, which turned out to the CPU fan on my main mail-handling machine complaining, so the day's "you weren't expecting this this, but..." activity involved replacing that CPU fan. The machine is now running noticeably more quietly, so I guess that fan had been slowly getting louder for quite a while.

On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend, and we played Carcassonne: The City.Phil was not quite as awake as usual, and I got lucky, and ended up ahead at the end of the game, by one single point.

On Saturday I took a look at the weather forecast, and grabbed my scruffy Driza-Bone coat as well as my grubby leather hat before heading for London Bridge. At Borough Market I met up with a number of other folk, and then went off with a "something sweet" mission. The day's "you weren't expecting this..." moment came I just after I got back to the meeting point, when a stranger with a camera asked whether he could photograph my hat. Once all the shoppers had emerged from Borough Market we re-gathered in the space next to City Hall for our picnic. It was a good gathering, with plenty of catching-up chat. The weather could have been better, but the drizzle never got quite heavy enough to cause serious trouble. We got to see Tower Bridge raised (to allow the Thames Barge "Gladys" to come through). Afterwards I went onto H.M.S. Belfast to have a quick look at the Bridge Wireless Office, and to talk to the folk running the amateur station that day. By the time I got home I was quite tired, and I went to bed relatively early.

I woke up at my usual Sunday time when the radio came on at about a quarter to nine. I caught the radio club's Sunday morning Net, then spent much of the rest of the morning dozing, and got very little done. A friend dropped by at around tea time, and we spent an hour and a bit chatting. After he left I watered the garden, and noticed that the heavy rock that had been keeping the water lilies in place in the pond had been tipped off. Looking back through webcam images, it seems to have been displaced last night, but it was too late in the day for me to consider putting it back in place, so I guess I'll just have to find time for that another day.

Achievement Unlocked: Terrible Twos

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:17 pm
gorgeousgary: (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousgary
Yes, Sam turned two on Thursday. Hard to believe it was only two years ago (today in fact) we were holding this tiny, not even 7-pound baby in our arms. In just 24 short months he's become an adorably cute, constantly moving (except when napping or sleeping), babbling, chaos-causing whirlwind of a toddler.

Our lucky boy has had an entire week of birthday celebrations. The festivities started last weekend when my dad and stepmom flew back up for a visit. We had a quick meal Sunday night and a birthday dinner Tuesday night. (Marred only by the string on his balloon breaking as I was bringing it and him in from the car after dinner. Goodbye balloon!) We also brought mini-cupcakes to day care on Thursday for his teachers to give out to his classmates.

Today we threw a 2nd birthday party for him. Sheryl's parents are in town for the weekend, my mom came over, and our friends Jen and Steve (and their little one) and Cat and Jason (and their not-so-little one) joined us for the festivities. We'd intended a bit larger of a gathering, but a combination of illness, deaths in the family, and vacations meant a bunch of folks couldn't make it. Still, Sam got a bunch of presents, there was cake, brownies, fruit and other goodies, Nova got pettins and scritchies, and much fun was had by all.

(Speaking of cake, we learned our lesson from last year's party and only ordered a quarter-sheet. We still have leftover cake, but nowhere near as much as last year!)

Tomorrow I am hoping I can take Sam to the pool. It was on the agenda for last Sunday, but I realized there were far too many errands that we needed to run, plus dinner out, so the pool was deemed expendable. Tomorrow should be a much more relaxed day; our only commitment is our usual food shopping.

Galaxy on the Internet Archive

Jul. 14th, 2017 07:27 pm
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Loads of issues of Galaxy magazine are now available for free viewing on the Internet Archive. The first thing I found when browsing through was Ray Bradbury's "The Fireman."

SoundCloud alert

Jul. 13th, 2017 04:55 pm
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
SoundCloud may be on the verge of collapse. Make sure you have copies of any files you've uploaded there, so you don't get caught by surprise.

Plans? They'll only change...

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:50 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I woke up a little late on Monday morning to find some messages from my sister and from my sister-in-law awaiting my attention.

My sister's concerned a load of stuff my mother and I had sent in her direction a couple of weeks previously. She was having difficulty extracting them from Aussie Customs. They wanted each item individually valued. I spent a while working through old figures, and eventually came up with something apparently satisfactory. The process did rather swallow half the day, though.

My sister-in-law's message concerned the cancellation of my nephew's overnight flight from Budapest. It seems the pilot had been on the bright end of a laser pointer that had been shone at the plane as it landed, and wasn't permitted to fly the plane back to London immediately. The flight was, therefore, delayed by about 16 hours, and my nephew missed his connecting flight to Nairobi. I collected him from Gatwick on Monday evening.

The rest of Monday evening was swallowed by an astronomical society committee meeting. I'm not a committee member, but as I look after the website, I was asked to attend to advise (or whatever).

On Tuesday morning I took my car down to the garage for its annual service. I walked all the way home, taking advantage of the cooler weather to visit quite a few Ingress portals I'd not visited in a while. It started to rain just after I got home. My nephew woke up at about noon. We has lunch. Then, it having stopped raining, I walked back to the garage to collect my car, and then we went on a short shopping expedition. In the evening we went to a pub nearby for a steak and a pint. When we came home it was raining.

It was still raining early on Wednesday morning when we loaded up the car and headed for Heathrow. The roads were wet, and the drive there took about two hours. My drive home took a rather more reasonable hour ans a quarter, and I was home by about 10am. I spent at least half the rest of the morning asleep, and quite a bit of the afternoon working on this month's radio club newsletter.

This morning I was awake in time for the usual Thursday morning Morse practice broadcast, and mostly managed a bit better than last week, but I was still a long way off my best. Once that was over I took my car to have a couple of well-worn tyres replaced, and spent a while visiting Ingress portals while that was being done. Since I got home I've been getting on with other un-planned stuff, like upgrading the OS on my laptop.

I've not made the progress I'd hoped to make in the workshop this week, but I have just managed to keep up with Duolingo.

Caturday: Come to the Sunshine

Jul. 12th, 2017 04:16 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Sorry I'm later than usual posting this today. I had a root canal this afternoon. Then I stopped at Memories in Kingston for ice cream (mandatory post-dental work therapy). Then a cat ran across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on the brake and there was no bump, but it was frighteningly close.

But anyway, cat shelter. Sunshine is still there. So is Joni Mitchell. They make practically a cliché, some might say a racist one: The sweet, friendly white cat and the nasty black one. Joni was sitting on top of Sunshine's cage most of the time. While Virginia was taking care of Sunshine's cage, Joni took a swipe at her and scratched her forehead. Yes, two scratches in two weeks. Virginia put an inverted, empty litter box over Joni so she could finish; Joni seemed quite happy with the arrangement. It came crashing down to the floor about half an hour later.

There was a somewhat feral kitten named Donovan. He's already signed up for adoption. I think he'll come around once he's in a good home.

Cyan is still there. A very nice cat, but has special dietary needs. I'm sure he'll be adopted. Bongo is still there too. I really like him. Both of those cats are huge.

Kyoshi escaped while we were cleaning her cage and hid under it. We needed some staff assistance to get her out and back into her cage.

There was a cat that appeared to have front thumbs in the main room. Cue "Cats with Thumbs" (ttto "Cows with Guns").

Leavin' on a jet plane

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:46 pm
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

I'm off to the wilds of Jackson, WY!

Working remotely until the end of the month so I can spend time with my girlfriend (who lives there).

We have a diagnosis on Ziggy

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:10 am
sraun: first picture of ziggy (Shih Tzu Ziggy)
[personal profile] sraun
It's not Addison's. It's third-degree {something something} - I think the second word was arrhythmia?

Basically, his nerves are not communicating well enough with his heart to tell it to fire.

The treatment is a pacemaker. That's not in the cards. The veterinary cardiologist gives him maybe a month left to live.

I'm an Old Geek

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:23 pm
[personal profile] tigertoy
I watched Gremlins at movie night at a friend's last night. (I imagine I'm the only person anywhere who hasn't seen it yet, but this is hardly a spoiler.) I laughed my ass off at the Robbie the Robot cameo. Nobody else got it.

Mixed feelings

Jul. 11th, 2017 02:59 pm
filkerdave: (h2g2)
[personal profile] filkerdave

I just wrote a check, filled out a ballot, and sent in my vote for the 2019 Worldcon site selection. On one level it's good. I mean, I'm a Friend of the Dublin in 2019 bid, and they're the only bid so they're likely to win. I'm hoping that'll mean I just have a membership when they win.


I'm doing this by mail. I'm not going to be in Helsinki to cast my ballot in person.


Math and Physics (from XKCD)

Jul. 10th, 2017 02:07 pm
[personal profile] tigertoy
Today's XKCD:


My comment: If you can't do the math you don't know the subject. If you don't understand it intuitively without resorting to the math, you don't really understand the subject. So basically nobody understands modern physics.


Jul. 10th, 2017 12:36 pm
[personal profile] tigertoy
I was taking my walk this morning, and I started humming a couple of bars. They seemed familiar, I was sure they were from something I knew, but I couldn't place it. So I tried to see where they would go to see if it helped me remember what it was. Soon I had a tune. It was simple and repetitive but it was catchy. I repeated it a bunch of times as I walked along in the hope I wouldn't forget it. It may be from something else but I still can't place it.

I started to improvise some silly lyrics. And they seemed to come together into a song. I got home and wrote down the lyrics and started to file down some rough edges, and here they are.

Oh it's a butter
A happy butter
Do do do doot do do do
He's looking for
A happy flower
Doot doot do do do do
And if he finds
A girl butter
Do do do doot do do do
Then they will make
Next year's butters
Do do do doot do do do

And their eggs
Survive the cold, etc.
That's how it's been
Since days of old, etc.
The cycle turns
Goes on and on, etc.
For that is how
Life's will is done, etc.

And there's a bird
A happy bird
And he sings
His happy song
And he feeds
His wee fledlings
Til they can learn
To fly down south

And they return
After the cold
That's how it's been
Since days of old.
The cycle turns
Goes on and on
For that is how
Life's will is done.

Life evolves
Along comes man
Who makes the world
Fit to his plan
He tames the fire
He tames the wolves
He plows the fields
He tromps the roads

He build canals
He burns the coal
Not how it's been
Since days of old
The cycle breaks
It can't go on
And who will know
This song's been sung?

(hum first half of verse)
(fading out)
The cycle turned
Went on and on
It was the way
Life willed it done

I don't know what's happening to me. I don't write songs. I hope I don't forget the tune, since I don't have any meaningful way to record it.


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