August 22nd, 2017
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
On the previously mentioned trip to Amsterdam, the bloke and I stayed on a canal barge in the Westerdok.

This was the much bigger cousin of the holiday barges that pootle up and down our Worcestershire canal. The main bulk of the hull served as the home of the bloke who ran the B&B. We were in the wheelhouse, overlooking the canal. The docks seem to serve as pretty much permanent moorings for the barges in this area. Each one had a small garden, and there was even a floating children’s play area.

It was surprisingly quiet given that the location is a mere 15 minute walk from Centraal Station. We could hear a distant roar of traffic, but mostly we heard the hangry cheeping of two adolescent coots and the occasional quack of a duck. We also found a great crested grebe nesting a few boats down. It was definitely brooding, as we never saw the nest unoccupied.

Urban great crested grebe nest
The nest itself was a rather wonderful construction, being a mix of urban rubbish and plant detritus, with a few hollyhocks artfully arranged around the edges. The grebe had two female mallard bodyguards, who immediately came to circle the nest at a careful distance, giving me the side-eye when I hopped down on to the dock from the pavement to take photos.

The barge proprietor tiptoed in every morning to leave us breakfast on the table next to the wheelhouse. It included a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, yoghurt, and hardboiled eggs nested in knitted cosies. Much as I wanted to sleep in, the prospect of getting that into my belly when I heard his footsteps got me out of bed pretty early both mornings. We received so much food at breakfast that we were able to make sandwiches from the bread and cheese to squirrel away for later. We ate these in the Vondelpark on the first day, and for supper on the second after the lunch at Rijks.

Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking around Amsterdam, we also indulged in a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a very belated birthday treat for me. We spent three and a half hours eating lunch at Rijks, which is next to the Rijksmuseum. The bloke had mentioned that it was my birthday when he made the booking. As a result, in addition to our pudding, I got a white chocolate candle with sorbet and a little message inside. We sampled both white and red wines, all by Dutch winemakers “from everywhere in the world” (e.g. New Zealand and South Africa).

Photos from Rijks behind the cut.

+++ )
Mood:: ticking things off the backlog
Music:: silence - the children are asleep

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

Yes, the Slave Trade was awful, an I am as much in agreement with that as any of the minority of people living in Bristol, who want the name of Colston Hall changed. However...

P. Collins

Who are these name changers? Are they Bristolians, born and bed here of Bristol families, educated in Bristol Schools, worked hard to buy their own houses, and pay council tax? How dare they come here from other cities and countries and tell us what to do?

also P. Collins
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
posted by [personal profile] alexseanchai at 05:32pm on 22/08/2017
Astronomers Without Borders eclipse glasses donation program

don't throw away your eclipse glasses! mail them to Astronomers Without Borders, or deliver them to the nearest organization (most likely a local school) collecting them for AWB, so that students in South America and Africa can safely watch the next eclipse!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
posted by [personal profile] staranise at 02:46pm on 22/08/2017
Yesterday afternoon I was in a weird mood--I thought I was going over to [personal profile] goshawk's house for an hour or so to cuddle with her cat and do some writing, but I ended up wanting to be alone to think and brood and sleep, and ended up skipping dinner and staying until ten PM. The cat was glad, since he's lonely without his human, but I'm still not quite sure what's up with me. Then I went home and ranted about the adults involved in the Indigo Children idea, which was very soothing.

I nailed today's job interview, or else I've never nailed anything in my life. I want the position desperately. But they said they'd take "a few weeks" to decide. Siiigh.

On the upside, Mom was able to afford to pay someone to come in and drywall my kitchen and bathroom. So yes, everything there is now covered in drywall dust, but once I clean it off I get to paint and make things look actually inhabited.
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upanddisappear: (Default)
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
posted by [personal profile] musesfool at 04:10pm on 22/08/2017 under
This morning I signed and initialed four copies of a contract, wrote a deposit check, and shoved it all into a FedEx envelope so it can arrive at the seller's attorney's office tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed that it goes better this time than it did the last.

L keeps saying she has a good feeling about this, but I had a good feeling about the other one right up until I didn't, so I am not doing any premature celebrating at this point. I mean, I think last time everything went so smoothly and I was basically carried along feeling incredulous and lucky and we saw how that worked out so. Back to cautious optimism and trying to manage expectations. And looking at potential furniture and paint colors, of course.

Gosh, the carpeting is so bad. I mean, first of all, I don't like carpeting but secondly, why white shag? why brown? These are not appealing (to me, and given that the apartment was still available when I got to it, to a lot of other people). If you are trying to sell your apartment, maybe make better aesthetic choices! Don't even get me started on the number of really terrible photos I've seen. I realize that taking pictures is a skill, so if you don't have it, find someone who does to take your pictures and then - protip! - upload them in the right orientation. I closed out of so many potential listings because the photos were a. terrible and b. rotated 90° counterclockwise, making them impossible to parse without a lot of neck craning. Don't do that!

I mean, re: the ugly carpeting: I'll have money left to rip it up and sand/polish/seal the wood floors beneath, but I've seen apartments in the same neighborhood and price range that already had that done, and they look so much nicer. *hands*

Anyway, now the seller just has to sign and we can officially be "in contract" and move on to the next step in the process.

*yawns*

I'm so sleepy. I want to go home. All day I've thought it was Wednesday and that I would be off work for 6 days (I'm taking Thurs/Fri/Mon/Tues off), but no, it's only Tuesday. Stupid Tuesday. Always the worst.

***
Music:: So honey last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him
Mood:: 'sleepy' sleepy


ngoziu:

Thanks to everyone who made their way to Flame Con 2017! Every reader I met was incredibly enthusiastic and positive, and as always, it’s an honor. Talking to you guys in person is my favorite part of conventions. A reader requested a sketch of Parse in their copy of Check, Please: Year Two so there you go! Parse says “thanks!”

My next conventions are STAPLE in Austin, TX Sept 9th & 10th and SPX in Bethesda, MD Sept 16th & 17th!

twitter | instagram | facebook

lovingboth: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lovingboth at 07:47pm on 22/08/2017
... as in you probably don't want to go where I'm going. With the latter, it's usually cloudy whenever anything interesting is happening, and with cloudy backup, they usually close.

Which is what my current choice, CrashPlan, is doing at least to consumers.

Grrr.

They are at least staying in business, so my current subscription will last until - with an extra 60 days - July next year.

The two options they're suggesting are

a) Migrating to what they used to call CrashPlan Pro and are now going to call CrashPlan for Small Business. With 75% off for the first year after the current sub expires, that is quite reasonable.. at first. It'll be cheaper (12 x $2.50 < $59.99) until it gets to 2019 when the price will be at least $120, i.e. double what I am currently paying.

b) Using Carbonite. Fuck off, for the reasons given in the earlier post.

Of the ones other people use, Backblaze still doesn't do Linux* and SpiderOak is still $129 annually if you have less than 1TB of data and HOW MUCH (in this case, $279 a year) if you have more (but not more than 5TB). Plus Amazon AWS are still doing a pricing scheme that makes it clear that they're not interested in consumers.

Annoyingly, Amazon Digital Music Storage wants you to install a Windows or Mac program to do the uploading for its '250,000 files for - I think - £22/year', so I am less tempted than I otherwise would be to see if it accepts really, really, really long metadata (the ID3v2 standard allows up to 256MB!) for .mp3 files :)

It does remind me that when Napster was a new thing, someone did a Windows program 'Wrapster' that made any file look like an .mp3 file so it could be shared. I wonder if there was ever a Linux equivalent? Or given that I'm pretty sure I have a copy, somewhere, I wonder if it works under WINE?

But without playing around like that, it's looking like I will go to CrashPlan Pro, but possibly only until 2019.

* And if CrashPlan are doing this, I would want to have a look at Backblaze's accounts before believing that they're not going to be next.
bethany_lauren: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] bethany_lauren at 02:01pm on 22/08/2017
penlessej: (Old Window)
posted by [personal profile] penlessej at 11:50am on 22/08/2017 under ,
Metric was without question my favourite band during high school. The sharp tongued and borderline non-sensical lyrics strung out by Emily Haines and her crew were the angst of my own youth. I am glad that they are still putting out great songs with their wonderful and unique sound. 

From their 2015 album titled Pagans in Vegas I give you Lie Lie Lie by Metric. And from their 2012 album titled Synthetica I have Youth Without Youth. Both are wonderful examples of Metric's undying sound.
 
location: Saanich, BC
Mood:: 'blah' blah
ffutures: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ffutures at 07:42pm on 22/08/2017 under
Ars Magica is probably the definitive game of medieval magic - one of these offers is a repeat, the other is all new:

Ars Magica 5 Bundle

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/ArsMagica5-2017

"The Bundle of Holding and Ars Magica go way back. We offered the current (Fifth) edition of the Ars Magica rulebook in our August 2013 Bundle of the Ages, a collection of historical RPGs, and in March 2014 we presented a collection of vintage ArM supplements that supported the earlier Fourth Edition (1996-2004). We admire Ars Magica hugely and regard it as one of the field's seminal designs. It was a harbinger of the acclaim awaiting both its designers, Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein-Hagen. We're proud to revive this large assortment from August 2014 supporting the current edition, which is widely regarded as the finest yet. (This is the third revival of this offer; the two previous revivals were May 2015 and February 2016. This third revival is a first, so to speak -- we've never revived the same offer three times.) The new companion collection of supplements, ArM5 Wizards & Power, has lots of additional material to expand any Mythic Europe saga. We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$125. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $55) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Ars Magica Fifth Edition: The complete, current 240-page rulebook.
  • Covenants (retail $15): The essential guide to help players improve the homes of their magi.
  • Houses of Hermes: True Lineages (retail $12): A detailed treatise on four powerful Houses of the Order of Hermes.
  • Apprentices (retail $7): Become a young student of the Art of Magic.
  • The Living Covenant: As a convenience to our customers, we present over two dozen free characters and setting files from the Atlas Games website, collected here in one handy 42-page booklet.
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Storyguide's Collection with five more titles worth an additional $70:
  • Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults and Societates(retail $15 each): The second and third treatises on the Hermetic Houses.
  • The Lion and the Lily (retail $15): The Normandy Tribunal sourcebook about the many active covenants in densely populated northern France.
  • The Broken Covenant of Calebais (retail $10): The first-ever ArM adventure, originally written by Mark Rein-Hagen and Jonathan Tweet, now updated for the current edition.
  • Tales of Mythic Europe: Nine short adventures that push your saga to the limits of Mythic Europe.

Ars Magica 5 Wizards and Power Bundle

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/ArM5WizardsPower

"This all-new companion offer presents all four Realms of Power supplements about the sources of magic in Mythic Europe, along with several sourcebooks about the Hermetic Tribunals in various regions from the Rhineland to Transylvania.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to these two offers' designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$105. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all three titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $45) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the first Realms of Power book (Magic) and two Tribunals -- Against the Dark (Transylvania) and The Sundered Eagle (Theban).

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $22.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with four more titles worth an additional $60,, including Guardians of the Forests (about the Rhine Tribunal, first of them all) and the remaining three Realms of Power books: The Divine, The Infernal, and Faerie.

At least one title will be added after launch: When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased that offer automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.

Ars Magica resources

Learn much more about Ars Magica Fifth Edition and get free downloads at the Atlas Games website. The Project Redcap wiki is the best starting point for fan resources. And check this RPG.net forum thread, "Let's Read Ars Magica Fifth Edition," and this RPG.net forum post by user cj.23 listing ArM resources. (That last one is in a topic called "Ars Magica Bundle of Holding -- do I want it?" You can answer that for yourself.)

 


If you're taken up the previous Ars Magica offer the Wizards and Power bundle is something you're likely to want. If not, I'd suggest trying Ars Magica first, then going for Wizards and Power if you find it useful. They're both running until September 11th so there's a little time to decide if you like it, but remember that prices will probably rise.

I'm not going to download this stuff because I don't really play fantasy RPGs any more, but if I did Ars Magica would be high on my list of possible systems, and the pricing looks pretty good. But as usual your mileage may vary.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 02:40pm on 22/08/2017
Are surrounded by cats used to other cats and thus not necessarily alarmed to see new ones. Ibid is content to sniff noses with the bolder of his new housemates, whereas I think Fig is affronted by their lack of timidity.

I still have not seen the orange kitten I was warned could be an issue. It's afraid of people but likes to tussle with older cats. I expect Ibid will like this and Fig will not.
white_hart: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] white_hart at 06:44pm on 22/08/2017 under , , ,
I spent my weekend staving off depression by immersing myself Caprice and Rondo, the seventh of Dorothy Dunnett's eight House of Niccolò novels, and only took until today to finish it because Scales of Gold scared me off sitting up late to finish Dorothy Dunnett novels and I forced myself to put it down at 81% complete on Sunday and 90% yesterday. I'm not completely sure that Dunnett-immersion is really a good long-term antidepressant, but in the short term it seems to have worked and I am feeling a bit better now anyway.

This volume takes Nicholas from Poland to Persia, via the Crimea, and then finally back to Bruges via a sojourn in Russia which echoes The Ringed Castle. Cut off from his friends and colleagues by the revelations that ended To Lie With Lions, he originally seems bent on self-destruction, but the events of this book build on his experiences in the desert and Iceland until, by the end, it truly feels as though he has grown up and is ready to begin building a life with roots, rather than seeing everything as a game to be played and won. The plot is typically twisty and compelling, the characters flawed and human and so very real, and I think I'm finally starting to understand why some people prefer the Niccolò books to the Lymond Chronicles. (I may even end up that way myself, although I might also just start re-reading Lymond and fall for him all over again.)

Caprice and Rondo resolves enough of the series' many subplots that I had a definite feel of approaching the end of the series; although it leaves some major plot threads unresolved, it felt as if enough had been tied up that the series could almost have ended there, and I do wonder if that was deliberate - Dunnett was 74 when it was published, and although she did manage to complete Gemini and publish it the year before she died, if this had been the last book it wouldn't have been an entirely unsatisfactory ending in the way ending with any of the previous three books would have.
posted by [syndicated profile] frugalcitygirl_feed at 05:41pm on 22/08/2017

Posted by admin

pexels-photo-346745

My closet looked so dull right now. If you can see it right now, you can see plain old shirt, a couple of black dresses tucked in the left side, some trousers and jeans which was bought from six years ago, two shoes which are worn out already, and some faded shorts and tank tops. I think I need to amp up my closet a little bit to spice up my mood on dressing up. What do you think? Actually, my friend, a stylist whose clients were some women entrepreneurs, says that yes, my closet and my place too, is a bit of a mess and boring place. She advised that aside from adding a few colorful things in my wardrobe, it is time to invest on accessotris—eartings, necklaces, scarves, sun glasses, timepieces, and even make-up. Well, I am done shopping about make-up last weekend and I am now thing to add a few accessories. I am shopping online too and my stylist friend I should buy a couple of wood watch from best wooden watches  seller she knows. I am just happy that I have a stylist friend who encourages me to dress up more and get inspired each day. After this one, I will shop jeans and coats!

conuly: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] conuly at 01:54pm on 22/08/2017
So, prior to the eclipse there were FAQs and news reports about people who didn't want to go out on the day of the eclipse - even before it started! - for fear that they'd go blind, or didn't want to walk their dog because the dog might go blind (not knowing not to look at the sky on eclipse day, of course) or not letting the kids out at all during recess because, you got it, they might freeze in place, stare at the sun, and go blind.

And then Trump looked at the sun without glasses. And everybody is throwing fits about what an idiot he is. I commented on one article that no, it's not likely you'll go blind if you just glance at the sun for a second*, and one person replied "but this isn't the sun, it's the eclipse!" like that's a winning argument. I mentioned to another, who claimed you couldn't see anything without the glasses until totality anyway that I'd been staring at the cloud cover impatiently before the peak, and when the clouds parted I'd gotten an unprotected glimpse of the sun and yes, I could see the bite of it - and that person went "Well, you do permanent damage at 20 seconds, so you might've been lucky". How long do they imagine it takes to see the sun when the clouds break and then look down again?

I think I've figured this out.

The rule is "You should not stare at the sun, even during an eclipse". This is a sensible rule that nobody has ever needed to tell anybody over the age of, say, six weeks. We don't stare at the sun. Even infants know better - if the sun shines in your eyes, you squint, put your hand up, and turn away. Aniamls are even smarter! No matter what happens, they don't need to be told.

But humans think we're cleverer than animals, and during an eclipse we sometimes break that rule and look at the sun because it's cool. And because the light seems dimmer, we can look longer. But it's not really dimmer - it's just as bright, it's just that some of it is blocked. So for the past year, we've had it drummed into our heads that you shouldn't look at the eclipse without glasses. Consequently, many people have internalized the rule as "You shouldn't stare at the sun, especially during an eclipse". But the sun isn't any more dangerous then. It's only our behavior that changes!

If you look for up to five seconds, you're probably fine, just like when you turn a corner and find yourself driving toward the sun. (Or look up at a flock of birds just as the clouds part and find the sun glaring in your eyes, or wake up with the sun in your eyes.) According to the only study on the subject, you're not likely to have visible damage unless you look for 15 seconds or longer... and even then, most patients improved with time.

So don't stare at the sun, but if you did catch a glimpse, whether on purpose or not, it's probably no more harmful than when you catch a glimpse of the sun on regular days.

(As for Trump, this was a dumb move, but not because of the potential eye damage. It was a dumb move because everybody and their dog, literally, knows better but he still did it on national TV. Doofus. And if he's getting any flak from it he probably blames the aide for calling attention to his behavior rather than his own foolish decision to do something everybody knows, from the very day they're born, not to do.)

* Turns out it was more like 30 seconds in his case, which is really way too long. Not that I give a fuck what that person does to his eyes.
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 06:38pm on 22/08/2017 under , ,

Spotted this the other day and then forgot to mention it:

Sex Festival in Tunbridge Wells.

Actually, not in Tunbridge Wells, which evokes images of orgiastic goings on in the Pantiles amidst a crowd of the local denizens being Disgusted.

In fact, in a wood nearby.

'People living in the area have expressed concern over noise, parking and decency': which is almost in the fine tradition of the inhabitants of Hampstead not minding so much about the actual cruising taking place at the famed gay cruising grounds of the Heath, but that they were leaving litter.

A local farmer reported 'Locals that hadn't bought tickets posed the biggest problem for event organisers, with hundreds of people trying to get in on the action'.

A man was found dead and a woman unconscious at the campsite this morning: while all the reports namecheck the festival, it sounds as if it was over by then. The report in the Telegraph suggests that it is possible that fumes from a barbecue were to blame, and the death is so far described as unexplained. But obviously, all reports are going to mention the kinky sex party.

asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
posted by [personal profile] asakiyume at 01:29pm on 22/08/2017 under , ,
Something you notice very quickly when you start reading Ninefox Gambit is the importance of the calendar. It’s the foundation stone of empire: things that subvert empire cause “calendrical rot,” and, conversely, things that cause calendrical rot are subversion, or, as the story terms it, heresy—like rebellion but even more rebellious.

This focus on calendars is a stroke of genius. Calendars **are** powerful mechanisms of cultural control. Think about how the international standard calendar for business and commerce is the Gregorian calendar, which ties its start date to Christianity. (People do use other calendars in various places and for various purposes, but the Gregorian calendar dominates for international exchange.) Less so now than in the past, but Sunday is designated a no-work day in accordance with that tradition. And think how the rest day figures for other calendars, too—the Jewish calendar or the Islamic calendar. If you don’t know the proper rest day, you can be in trouble—and this is even if you’re an outsider: things stop. And if you don’t stop—depending on the degree of observance—you might be punished. And if the community gradually moves away from this, it can be perceived by the more-faithful as cultural weakening. Calendrical rot is threatening!

The traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar that has complicated, intersecting base 10 and base 12 recurring features and indicates certain days as auspicious or inauspicious for various activities. When you combine it with geomantic principles (powers or traits related to compass directions—feng shui), which happens naturally, as feng shui is tied to the solstices and equinoxes, which are calendrical as well as astronomical occurrences, boom, that’s a whole lot of Chinese folk culture you’ve got—and, like the Chinese writing system, it spread to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

In Japan (and probably in other East Asian countries, but Japan’s the one I know about), magical powers were attributed to people who could advise on and manipulate the calendar—something that required some good math skills, what with those mixed number bases and various repeating units. If you’ve ever seen the film Onmyōji, you’ve seen the story of one famous example of such a person, Abe no Seimei. In Ninefox Gambit, this magic translates to the “exotic effects” that can be generated in war, relying on the calendar. These same effects don’t work if the calendar is subverted—beware calendrical rot!

There’s one notable instance in Ninefox Gambit in which the protagonist manipulates the heretics’ calendar to gain a tactical advantage—Buuuuuut I can’t spoil it.

This isn’t a review of the book—I have one of those at Goodreads, covering some of the same territory, but in less detail—it’s more of an appreciation of this one aspect of the book. It’s me saying “I SEE WHAT YOU DID HERE, YOON HA LEE! VERY CLEVER!”
Music:: Rebsie Fairholm: Round Window
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
posted by [personal profile] alexseanchai at 01:21pm on 22/08/2017
The blood bank emailed me: A+ donors needed. (Guess my blood type.) It has in fact been over eight weeks since I donated last.

Problem: I am fucking moving. I do not have enough physical cope as it is. Blood donation knocks me the fuck over!

Auuuuugh.

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