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Sunday, March 16th, 2014
10:11 pm - Fuck you
Fuck you, IJ.

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Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
5:12 pm - LJ staff change
For those following along with who does what at LJ, please note the announcement in [info -] lj_support:

To the great grief of I think most of the support volunteer community, [info -] tupshin no longer works for LiveJournal.

Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments.

current mood: numb

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
6:59 pm - Redshirt: romance in Starfleet's chain of command
...or, how I learned to start worrying and distrust Mr. Spock.

On our way back from seeing [info -] sarahtales, Tif and I got into a discussion about the Spock/Uhura pairing in the new Star Trek movie, which disturbs her a whole lot more than it disturbs me.

Uhura already had assorted romantic liaisons, or references to them, in the original series, Tif pointed out, although they were not as blatantly pointed out as today's audiences might expect. And she and Mr. Spock were already pretty friendly.

We were both aware of the Star Trek Original Series production document that outlines a snippet of Very Bad Script involving the bridge crew facing certain death, with a number of obvious inaccuracies, such as "United States Starship", and asks the reader to point out the one flaw that makes this scene fatally wrong for the show. The problem is not in any of the errors of terminology, which could be fixed by any clueful editor with reference to the show's bible, but in Kirk embracing the pretty and terrified female junior officer on the bridge. Captain Kirk does not hug his junior officers.

I shrugged, and allowed as how I was not expecting the new thing to conform to the same things the old one enforced.

"Never mind that," she said (or words to that effect). "A relationship within a chain of command is a bad thing in any military organization ever."

My ears perked up, and she went on. "No one in the military in a position of command should ever be sleeping with someone below them in their chain of command," she said.

"Well, yes, harassment," I said.

"More than that," she said. "If the two of you have a fight, you need to not be in a position where you can then give them orders that get them killed."

I confess that my immediate mental reaction was "But Mr. Spock would never--", which reaction got immediately shouted down by the rest of my generally sane brain. Mr. Spock would never, check. Making an exception for someone who would "totally never", in an organization that, while perhaps not strictly military, still has a chain of command and the possibility for people getting killed, is a really quick way to get courts-martial and general insanity going on.

"So, if one party can tell the other party to go put on a red shirt and join the landing party, they need to not be in a relationship," I summed up, suddenly agreeing in every particular. Mr. Spock would never; we know Mr. Spock and trust him. That oughtn't to make it OK by Starfleet's rules.

My brain started to object, that Spock wasn't in a position to order Uhura into danger, then stopped, complete with the sound of ripping the needle off the record. "Spock is in my head having a complete mental breakdown right now, because his orders almost got Uhura killed," I told Tif. Spock, in his efforts to avoid impropriety, and the chaos and confusion of the sudden need to scramble as many starships to Vulcan as possible, totally had assigned Uhura to another starship than the one he would be taking. Whether or not he normally was in a position to give her orders, he had been just then, and it was only because she'd asked him what the hell was going on and insisted upon the Enterprise as she had earned that she survived.

I was not sure whether Spock was actually locked in his quarters throwing breakable objects, or whether he was locked in his quarters sitting very still and thinking of throwing breakable objects, but Spock had seen the implications of his actions -- that in his effort to protect Uhura, in his determination to never improperly issue her an order that could lead to her coming to harm -- that he had nearly killed her.

When Vulcans have a nervous breakdown, it's epic. I was distracted, and stopped thinking about looking for somewhere to have dinner. (We eventually turned around and hit up In & Out.)

We agreed -- I think -- that if they weren't in the same chain of command, they'd be an awfully great pairing. Alas.

I can suspend that to read fic about them, still. She can't. Now I understand why.

Redshirt Blues

Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments.

current mood: thoughtful

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Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
7:21 pm - LiveJournal (and other LJ-based) site PSA: "Bumping"
In which I explain that "bumping" does not work on LiveJournal, what effects various actions have, and how to refresh a topic again.

Apropos of [info - staff] denise's suggestion.

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009
5:59 pm - LJ Advisory Board Elections: voting
So if you have an LJ, that's been around long enough, and care who gets to have a few teleconferences, go vote.

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009
3:16 am - I've got a theory...
A friend posted a silly poll about the Mayan calendar, and its impending end as of 2012. It had options like "the world will end", "it will roll right over like an odometer" [edit: This is in fact the case], and "are you kidding? The world started ending years ago!"

A little lightbulb went flashy-flashy in my head. No, I wrote. None of those. (Well, actually, I ticked the poll-button saying that, but give a girl some dramatic license.)

No. The calendar is the Mayans' Y2K problem.

Computer programmers were aware of the Y2K problem well before it even happened (even at the time they were programming the things) but they thought, "Oh, it is such a long time until 2000; this is the 1970s. That's 30 whole years. Surely these programs we are writing now will not last until 2000. They will have plenty of time to rewrite them, and they will replace them like they do any worn-out equipment, and meanwhile, that is two whole bytes we could be using for something else, because memory is fiendishly expensive." (I recall my father telling me that he was involved in a Y2K argument at least two decades before Y2K.)

I am sure that some of the Mayan calendar engineers said, "Look at this, why do we need to write the calendar out further than 2012, which is stupidly far in the future? How much stone do you want us to use, anyway? And do you really want to pay rock-chippers to chip out another thousand years that our grandchildren's grandchildren won't even see? Talk to us about it in a few hundred years." Tragically, their culture then ebbed and was conquered before they could update their calendars.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009
2:02 am - LJ Advisory Board Elections: nominations round
It's going on until Friday the 19th. I pimped it out in my LJ with further commentary.

Check out the nominations.

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Monday, June 15th, 2009
1:41 pm - Iran's having a bit of a revolution right now, and all I can do is Twitter.
Quick recap: Iran had an election. The results of the election were ... dodgy, given that the favorite had many more supporters than there were votes counted for him. His supporters decided that a rally was in order. Government disinformation (rally is canceled, and so forth) was spread. People are communicating by any means possible there, including Twitter. All the information that the Western media is getting out of there is via the internet, via people there who are risking their lives to get it out on Twitter, on YouTube, through proxies, I believe occasionally by telephone? People there, like @StopAhmadi and @persiankiwi are acting as communications hubs with their friends, family, and contacts: tracking rumors, relaying information about where there are beatings, where there are shootings, where there are fires, whether people are taking in strangers stranded on the streets (yes).

A bit of history and some warnings.

Huffington Post liveblog coverage

Semi-organized live firehose: (selected twitter bloggers plus relevant keywords, updating live)

If anyone wants to wade through what I already shared today from Twitter, I have this morning's tweets archived already, thanks to [info -]wibbble, who tweaked the usual posting script to run twice today in case I overloaded it (and it was a good job he did, because it would have).

Right now activists are pleading with Twitter to postpone their maintenance, because people in range of the chaos are using it as part of their communications network, and Twitter going down would endanger their lives.

People following, my dears, please take time to see to your own needs as well. Tweeting and retweeting, you are a node passing packets, and the network heals itself if one node has to go down, so long as there's a network. This is the model the internet was built on. This is how it works.

current mood: blank

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12:29 am - LRN2INTERNET, dearest APA.
[00:21] Azz: My day is not complete without sending a cranky email to the APA.
[00:27] Azz: compare and contrast the section on "domain name extension" here: with and
[00:27] Azz: note that is the place that ICANN tells me is in charge of .org domains.
[00:28] Azz: in conclusion, the APA article can kiss my domain-atrix behind.

Yes, this is the American Psychological Association, mother of the APA Style, that I'm cranky with today.

Accessed 2009 06 15:
The domain name extension (in the preceding example, ".org") can help you determine the appropriateness of the source for your purpose. Different extensions are used depending on what entity hosts the site. For example, the extensions ".edu" and ".org" are for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations; ".gov" and ".mil" are used for government and military sites, respectively; and ".com" and ".biz" are used for commercial sites. Domain name extensions may also include a country code (e.g., ".ca" for Canada or ".nz" for New Zealand).


4. Can I register a .ORG domain name?
Yes. .ORG always has been -- and will continue to be -- an open and unrestricted domain. Anyone is allowed to register and use .ORG domain names.

.ORG is the home for millions of nonprofit Web sites, including charitable, artistic, scientific, personal, educational, social, cultural and religious sites.

.ORG sites are run by clubs, incorporated and unincorporated not-for-profit organizations, industry associations, families, individuals, schools, foundations, and more. Even for-profit companies have .ORG sites devoted to their noncommercial activities, such as charitable or volunteer programs.

Many noncommercial organizations conduct commerce to support their activities. Examples include clubs that raise funds, hospitals, noncommercial Web sites that run advertising to support their operations, etc.

7. I found a .ORG Web site that is commercial in nature. Is this allowed?
Yes. .ORG is an unrestricted top-level domain, and anyone can register.

8. Why isn't .ORG strictly limited to not-for-profits?
.ORG has been an open and unrestricted domain since it was created in the 1980s. It would be difficult, expensive and sometimes unfair to impose new restrictions. For example:
  • It would be difficult to determine what is a not-for-profit and what isn't. Every country has different laws and definitions about what a nonprofit is.
  • Verifying the site and credentials of every applicant around the world could multiply the cost and time for registering a .ORG domain name. Verification would require many staff people who read different languages and would slow down the registration process from minutes to weeks or months. PIR receives just $6 per year for each .ORG domain name, most of which goes to running and improving .ORG's infrastructure and technology.
  • Because .ORG has been unrestricted for so long, it would be unfair to take domain names away from people who registered them under old requirements.

Why do I care when someone is wrong on the internet? Because this is the APA. They are one of the definitive style sources that other organizations and educational institutions require in formatting academic papers. They are wrong on the internet and in print. People are using their wrong as an authoritative reference material. People are teaching their wrong to impressionable teenagers and non-technical adults.

It is irresponsible of the APA to imply that all .org websites are owned by non-profit organizations; it is irresponsible to imply that there is the same screening infrastructure in place for owners of .org domains that there is in place for .edu domains. This is not true. Anyone who has access to a credit card and telephone may lawfully purchase a .org domain name, and put whatever they like on it. The contents of .org domain websites are only as reliable and authoritative as the organization that owns the website. The sooner this myth gets busted in schools the better.

current mood: annoyed

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Sunday, June 14th, 2009
5:48 am - Wallpaper Meme
1) It's a meme. It spreads virally. If you wish to be infected, please carry on.
2) Why are you using it? Essay question.
3) Current wallpaper, not the wallpaper you had 30 seconds ago before you saw that there was a wallpaper meme going on.

My wallpaper:

blue striped wallpaper

This wallpaper is striped vertically in many different shades and tints of blue and white, with stripes of different widths and heights. The top is darker than the bottom on the right, and the bottom is darker than the top at the left. A frosted white complex fantasy on the topic of a fleur-de-lys adorns part of the upper left-hand quadrant, translucent and overlaying the stripes.

I came across this wallpaper on a Twitter-spammer. I promptly blocked them and stole their wallpaper. I love the color blue, as you can see from my username. I find the stripes restful to the eye and spirit, and the sprig of flowers and leaves is delightful. I've been using this for quite a while, and may continue to use it for a few years, because it's simple and pretty, and I don't like change all that much.

current music: "Bizarre Love Triangle", New Order

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Friday, June 5th, 2009
1:34 am - A good birthday!
My father called on the 3rd to wish me a happy birthday a bit early. Birthday wishes have been coming in all day for the past two days, and it makes me feel cherished. (My best friend even replied to an e-mail, which is not quite earth-shattering but certainly notable.) Wednesday night was a delightful small group birthday gathering with Star Trek, Love Songs, and many, many forms of dessert (including a somewhat shaken fruit tart like the 2005 one). (The night ended on a slightly scary note with a freaky BART stalker, but I got home safely.)

Very excitingly, I now share a birthday with not only my "twin" from elementary school, but also [info] - livejournal.comrizzo's new daughter! Congratulations!!

My aunt and I went to the farmers' market as is usual for Thursday mornings. I caught a bit of a nap while she collected lunch and stuff, then she picked me up and we headed for a little beach she'd found, dogs and all.

The beach had cellphone reception about as bad as my cellphone reception at home, so joining [info] - livejournal.comzarhooie's birthday songs on my voicemail was another message from my father.

We spread out towels and had sandwiches and lounged in the sun. We both had books. The dogs found their own entertainment. Deacon was mostly drooling on things. The poodle decided to say hello to everyone, and eventually found a golden retriever who was playing catchball with the sea, and there was much running around. Deacon knocked over the dog pop-up tent from the inside. He also got sand all over every wet part of his face, including the drool. He even found a dead seagull to roll in!

I got sand all over too, but happily not in places that no sand should be. My sunblock seemed to have been sufficient, so I am not toasted.

When we got back, my sister called! We chatted about this and that.

I didn't manage to get a call in to my best friend, and when I stopped saying that I'd have a moment later, it was too late. Ah well, there will be other days and other calls.

As always, this day is not wholly mine. I will never forget 1989. It has been 20 years now.

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Saturday, May 30th, 2009
8:22 pm - Hooray for books!
The local Barnes & Noble dug one of their four brand-new, not even shelved yet copies of The Demon's Lexicon out of the back for me (after doubtfully staring at me when I gave the title, inquiring whether it was spelled 'Dem-' or 'Daem-', checking the B section of the YA paperbacks, checking the B section of the YA hardbacks, and pretending not to notice me checking the R section of both just in case), and cheerfully offered that perhaps the author could do a signing there, until I regretfully informed them that [info] - livejournal.comsarahtales was actually overseas.

I may wait until JD has departed to begin reading, as he may not take kindly to assorted shrieks. I should also wait until normal daytime hours, as my upstairs neighbors can only be antagonized so much, and I fear this morning's Sausage Incident was enough for one month.

current music: Whatever's on JD's laptop

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Thursday, May 28th, 2009
12:42 am - Yeah, I've been there.
Something somewhere said reminded me of the meds battle.

So you're depressed, right, and you wind up on meds (for me it's St. John's Wort, for others it can be something else) and you take them and take them and one day you're just living your life and out of the blue you notice hey! you're happy! where did this come from? your life almost feels ... normal!

And you realize, looking back on it, how very much of your personal mental clutter you have worked your way through, that all of those things that bothered you back when you were unmedicated and unhappy, you know how to deal with those now, and things are really not as bad as they were.

So you drop the damn meds (or you taper them, if you're on the hard stuff; I hear brainbuzzes are not funtimes, and if it's the thing where your head zaps like you're turning on an oldschool monitor, then no not at all; I had those in high school) and maybe you convince yourself that you know, you were just going through a hard patch. You don't really need drugs to cope with real life. You were weak, but you can handle it just fine now that you have got all these shiny new skills.

And you sail along without the meds and you're doing just fine. And then either BAM! life hits you out of the fucking blue, and one of those situations comes up and you're down for the count! -- or maybe you're sailing along with each day not much different from the last, and you're living your life and out of the blue you realize that god damn you are MISERABLE -- or even that it's not quite that you're miserable, but you ... just can't seem to remember the last time it was that you were happy.

Maybe this isn't the first time.

And you pick up that bottle again, and you hate yourself a little, but you take them. Day in, day out. And gradually, life starts to sail on again, and the black cloud, or the gray fog, starts to lift. Or there's a way to climb out of the hole. And life is good again, until you realize that hey, perhaps you don't need those meds, since you're doing so well...

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
4:00 pm - On marriage
[info] - livejournal.comleora has a request, one that I fell down on:

Give marriage to the people, not the churches.

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9:53 am - California can stay.
Dailykos advises us to read page 36.

Proposition 8 reasonably must be interpreted in a limited fashion as eliminating only the right of same-sex couples to equal access to the designation of marriage, and as not otherwise affecting the constitutional right of those couples to establish an officially recognized family relationship.

If that's not a "fuck you, h8ers" from California's Supreme Court...

It's more slyly dismissive than "here's one in the eye", and will be crushing to the people who want it to be legally called "marriage". But from a human rights standpoint, oh yes baby. Oh yes.

current mood: satisfied

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
8:20 pm - Tokenism, cardboard, accidentally writing the other, and the pursuit of happiness.
(Or, How Harriet Is My Poster Child for Unintentional Diversity.)

I keep coming back to Harriet when these things come up, because she's transgendered and I wrote her, and she's simultaneously a fully realized character, and a background character; the story is not about her, but she's there and she's real and she's not just a one-note part. When I put her in, she was a he and he was an antagonist, and I expected that he would provide some real annoyance, some cheap laughs, and ultimately suffer a crushing set-down at the hands of my callous little protagonists.

I should have known better.

The book is halfway through a second draft, so things are still evolving and changing; I don't imagine that Harriet's character is going to be set in stone for those drafts; I'm still getting to know her and all the other characters. She's still not the protagonist of this story. She has her own story. This narrative that I'm telling is not hers, although she's a part of it.

I meant Harry to be the most irritating little son of a bitch you've ever met, but entirely innocently so. I drew on a number of fine, time-honored tropes: the social misfit, the funny-looking kid, the kid who smells of wet bed, the kid with the annoying voice, the kid with the imaginary friends, the kid who Completely Does Not Get social norms, and I packed them all into this one character who was designed to drive both of my protagonists up the wall, and then completely out of their tree.

And he did! He took on a life of his own. He was very effective at it, and the more I reached into his character to pull out new and more refined depths of obnoxiousness, the better I got to know him, and the more I got to like him, and the more I knew I could throw him at my protagonists, because they were developing a slow and simmering loathing for the little creep. It wasn't enough that he was a little wacky, no; he had to have developed a disconnect from actual reality, one that nothing and nobody could get through. It wasn't enough that one of my protagonists was unavoidably faced with him on a daily basis; no, I had to involve him in the life of the other, too, and interfere with both of them at the dance. Spoilers for an unpublished book. )

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Sunday, May 17th, 2009
12:48 pm - Memorable Cakes I Have Known
(from [info] - livejournal.comtheferrett's What is the best cake you've ever had? post, expanded somewhat)

Mama made almost all our cakes, from scratch. I wasn't even particularly aware that they sold cake mixes until much later. For the longest time, the traditional birthday cake was golden layer cake with white buttercream frosting, and/or whipped cream, and strawberries, until I expressed a preference for chocolate. Then it became chocolate cake (from the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder box) with chocolate buttercream frosting.

Mama's relationship with baking cakes was complex. They were always delicious, but sometimes they fell apart. There were superstitions about how to get a cake to come out right, including "It's just a home cake," said in the cake's presence before turning it out of the pan, as a home cake was almost always perfect, and a cake to take somewhere else often came out with craters. (One frosted them back together, put the nicest layer on top, and took it anyway.)

For one of the birthdays of my teenage years (this may have been 1996), Mama had the standard two-layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. As a joke, she had frosted it with white buttercream chicken tracks and a Hershey's kiss, because we had chickens (the batch of four Egyptian Fayoumi, teenaged) in the bathroom at the time.

We had been out all day at Suzuki Institute, and came home to see that the entryway was *trashed*, with chicken droppings all over, and the chickens sitting innocently in their box in the bathroom, with the netting pushed to the side. Who, them?

The wreckage proved to be mostly confined to the square of light from the bathroom door and a bit up the stairs. The cake was untouched, and was now doubly hilarious.

Another excellent cake was the Enterprise. It was huge, and kind of weird-shaped, and lumpy, and blueish where it should have been grey, but it was nonetheless awesome. My virtual aunt made it, although for whose event I can't recall anymore.

Mama made the wedding cake for my virtual uncle and his (now ex) wife. It was some lovely golden cake with wild Alaskan cranberries in it, the sour kind that leave you spoiled for any domestic cranberries ever, with cream cheese frosting and little garnishes of fresh cranberries. I decided then and there that screw bakery cakes, I wanted this at my own wedding.

Then there was The Year of the Two Birthday Cakes (2005, in point of fact).

Grandma was going to the nursing home, so we were cleaning out the ancestral home. This was around the same time as my birthday, and my family decided that a late celebration was in order. I went out with Dawn for breakfast the day that the celebration was planned, and while we were out, I decided I might as well pick up a cake.

Now, Guide Dog Aunt is notorious about health food fads and general clean living, so I decided that I'd go for as healthy as possible a cake, and picked a gorgeous tart covered with fresh fruit (and glistening with sugar syrup, as it turned out). We returned, cake borne proudly, just as my aunt returned, proudly bearing a swanky bakery box.

We looked at each other, looked at our own parcels, and busted up laughing, then compared cakes. She'd got something that looked truly decadent, with a very smoothly frosted chocolate top with a chocolate fan garnish, and sides that had been browned in a checkerboard pattern. She'd been thinking of my tastes while I was thinking of hers.

We cut into both cakes that evening, and we had enough people that it was good we had as much cake as we did. My tart turned out to be filled with gooey and delicious custard, and her expensive fancy cake turned out to be dry and disappointing aside from the lovely chocolatey bits.

current music: "7 Days to the Wolves", Nightwish

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Thursday, May 14th, 2009
5:02 am - Ficbit (I'm no longer sure where I was going with this)
Just a moment.

Star Trek (movie, not the motion picture) spoilery )

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Monday, May 4th, 2009
7:25 pm - Music, creativity, and my fucking attention span
I've found that when I'm deepest in concentration, music will sometimes take up attention that I needed to use on whatever it was that I was trying to do. So from that, I tried concluding that actually music was a detriment to my productivity.

However, sometimes I found myself craving music when trying to get settled into a grove. At first I thought that it was only mood, but then I realized that it was more than that.

My brain needs the music sometimes to provide a distraction for me when I'm not settled into the deep kind of concentration that precludes any distractions at all. The music is enough distraction, and the right kind of distraction, that I can stay focused on the creative task at hand and not go haring after IRC, or that post I saw two minutes ago, or any of the other things that try to steal the bits of my attention when I'm trying to focus.

Music with a good solid structure is the best. I can't listen to unstructured music when I'm trying to sleep, and when I'm trying to concentrate, if I don't know the music or if I can't predict the structures of the song to some degree, it will distract me more than I plan to be distracted. Baroque is good. Things with the structure stretched out too far are bad. Techno is good. Techno that fuses a techno beat on a classical framework may have been made for the specific purpose of keeping my brain in one piece while concentrating. It's really lovely.

current music: TMBG, "Hope That I Get Old Before I Die"

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3:38 pm - test
test for IJ

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