Photos of Abkhazia

Mar. 26th, 2017 12:23 am
dancefloorlandmine: (Architecture)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
For those who like photos of abandoned places, here are some taken by French photographer Aurélien Villette of Abkhazia, recognised as an independent state by Russia, while almost everyone else considers it still a part of Georgia. The photos show ruined and abandoned buildings, one series focussing on those from the 1950s.

Gallery on LensCulture

(The HDR is a bit over-the-top on some of them for my tastes, mind. One side effect of which is the tendency, as with many HDR images, to appear computer-generated - as if scenes from the game Syberia (for fans of which, it should be pointed out that Syberia III is due out later this year.)
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is a collection volume, containing Komarr, A Civil Campaign and (actually in the "previously unread" category), the short A Winterfair Gift. The title for the collection volume is very descriptive, as that theme starts in Komarr, continues through the entirety of A Civil Campaign and comes to some sort of culmination in A Winterfair Night.

As is the custom, these are all eminently readable. It is also perhaps not the worst place to pick up the Vorkosigan Saga books (but, I should stress, it is also not the best), since I seem to recall that Komarr was actually the first one I read.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

It's been a while since I last read any of the Expanse novels. Don't really know why, maybe the whole "TV hype" has put me off. On the whole, they're eminently readable, although one of my distinct memories of "oh, no, not again!" from the first four is mercifully not as prominent in this one.

All in all a pleasant read, although I have a nagging feeling that the acceleration required to cover distance in this book may possibly require higher sustained acceleration than what seems to be happening.

What my gender dysphoria feels like

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:12 pm
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
[personal profile] sashajwolf
Copying this from a comment I made on Facebook in order to have it easily accessible for future noodling. This is of course only how I experience dysphoria, not how anyone else does. The original discussion was, in part, about the extent to which dysphoria would still exist in the absence of gender stereotyping. I have made some minor edits for clarity.

I'm not "in the wrong body"; this body is very much part of me, and there are things I really like about it. But there are parts that feel stunted, like they never fully developed like they were "meant" to, and at times they ache as if they were still desperately trying to. Descriptions of phantom limbs from amputees often resonate with me. I assume this would not go away in a perfect society. It has got worse with perimenopause and seems to show some cyclical variation, so I imagine there's a hormonal factor involved.

Also, some of the parts I really like are the very ones that cause people to guess my gender wrong, and that causes a real psychological tension. I have to choose every day whether I want the cognitive dissonance of hiding those parts as if I were ashamed of them, or the cognitive dissonance of leaving them visible and being misgendered. This part would clearly improve if societal etiquette changed so that it was understood to be rude to guess someone's gender without being told, or at least rude to voice the guess.

Then there's a gender role/performative component, which expresses itself as a feeling that I'm constantly failing at "being a girl" by looking wrong, acting wrong, thinking wrong and just generally Being Wrong. This part has improved considerably since I gave myself permission to stop trying to be one, but there's a residue that would probably require societal permission to get rid of. For me, full societal recognition of nonbinary gender(s) would probably do it, but total abolition of the gender binary would also work for me (and for agender people? but maybe not for strongly binary-identified people?) Even then, there may be a biochemical component that would not disappear, because I feel the looking wrong part is linked to my bulimia, and that gets worse with certain nutritional deficiencies and could presumably still happen without sexism. Society not being so damn fat-shaming would surely help, though.

Summary: In a perfect society I'd probably still have body dysphoria and maybe a small amount of psychological discomfort. I might still define as trans because although we wouldn't be assigning gender at birth any more, I might still have self-assigned as a girl before the hormones kicked in enough for the body dysphoria to become noticeable. But I'd have much less cognitive dissonance and everyday life would be much more comfortable, so none of these issues would be the grave threats to mental health that they are now.
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Location: my parents' house

Me: "Mom, where's Dad?"
Mom, without looking up from her crossword puzzle: "Oh, he's outside in the garden, making a note of all the things that need doing and deciding to do them tomorrow."
Me: *gales of laughter*

Bits and pieces

Mar. 23rd, 2017 01:46 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
My parents have been to visit, which was nice, and short (possibly the two are related!). They brought us new living room lights (we saw the ones that we wanted in John Lewis, but they were out of stock when we went to order them online. A short panic that they were being discontinued later and my mother had bought them in her local store, as she was going there anyway. They are, of course, now back in stock online), which was good, and then put them up for us, which was better. They're much less fussy than the old ones, and removing the centre light from the ceiling fan / changing the blades on it has also made that look much better.

Just the floor to go, now, and it is finally booked for next week. We went for the middle ground, in the end, and are having laminate from the guy who did the third quote after the other two had annoyed me too much. I honestly couldn't have told you which of the sample books was wood and which laminate, so hopefully it's going to look nice! And then we need to buy some rugs. And new shelves for DVDs. But other than that it's nearly done....

In the less successful home improvement department, we were supposed to be having a new garage door today but the chap phoned first thing to say that his minion had called in sick. Hopefully that will get rescheduled in the not too distant future.

(My parents broke their journey home at Ebbsfleet, in the end, on account of not wanting to get up very early. It all worked ok.)

Following my failed attempt to listen to a bloody mp3 on my bloody phone, I bought the album (digitally, for £7, as the CD was £40!) and then remembered that I no longer have an optical drive in my laptop, so couldn't burn a CD to listen to in the car. In theory, I can use the drive in the desktop as an external drive, so we fiddled around trying to do that but, although I could see the drive, I couldn't see the blank CD that I put into it. (The next day, Mike messaged me from the office to ask why an untitled CD had appeared on *his* laptop. Sigh.) In the end, Mike bought me an external drive, so I spent an afternoon ripping and burning copies of all the CDs that have come into the house since I ceased to have a means of doing so: actually not that many, but it does take a while.

Yesterday, presumably to be blamed on one or other of the parents (although they claim not), I had some sort of odd twelve-hour lurgy: I woke up with a sore throat, got increasingly shivery as the morning went on, spent the afternoon wrapped in a blanket while each of my joints individually got more and more achy, developed weepy eyes and a splitting headache, didn't finish my dinner and felt a bit sick afterwards, felt a bit better by (early) bed time, and woke up this morning with a slight headache but otherwise feeling fine.

In between all that, I've mostly been playing The Last Guardian, which is exactly like the reviews say. It's very pretty, very Japanese, and very random. You are a small boy who is accompanied by a giant cat-bird, over which you have very limited control, while you wander around a mysterious and largely abandoned complex of towers and dungeons. The controls are utterly terrible, and this is a sadly common conversation in the house these days:
Flick: [repeats $keystrokes over and over for five minutes in an attempt to make the cat-bird do a $thing]
Flick: Can you see what I'm doing wrong here? I think that I need to get cat-bird to do $thing but he's not doing it.
Mike: It does look like that's what you need to do. Do you want me to look it up?
Flick: Please.
Flick: [continues to repeat $keystrokes, throughout the conversation]
Mike: It says you need to do get cat-bird to do $thing.
Flick: That's what I'm trying to do.
Mike: You need to hit $keystrokes.
Flick: That's what I'm doing. That's what I've been doing for ten minutes. This game has the worst controls ever.
Cat-bird: [for no obvious reason suddenly does $thing]

I have no objection to tricky puzzles, but these aren't, they're just capricious. Or, possibly, the cat-bird is capricious. Either way, it's a bit tedious. Very pretty game, though.

Announcing the Shim review process

Mar. 21st, 2017 01:29 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Shim has been hugely successful, to the point of being used by the majority of significant Linux distributions and many other third party products (even, apparently, Solaris). The aim was to ensure that it would remain possible to install free operating systems on UEFI Secure Boot platforms while still allowing machine owners to replace their bootloaders and kernels, and it's achieved this goal.

However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.

To that end, we're adopting a new model. A mailing list has been created at shim-review@lists.freedesktop.org, and members of this list will review submissions and provide a recommendation to Microsoft on whether these should be signed or not. The current set of expectations around binaries to be signed documented here and the current process here - it is expected that this will evolve slightly as we get used to the process, and we'll provide a more formal set of documentation once things have settled down.

This is a new initiative and one that will probably take a little while to get working smoothly, but we hope it'll make it much easier to get signed releases of Shim out without compromising security in the process.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Been a while since I read this one. Weirdly, i think it might be the Vorkosigan Saga book I've read the rest times.

Anyhow. It is shock fill of young Miles, in his second outing, i believe. Pretty much what you would expect from one of these books. It might be a good introductory point, come to think about it. All in all, a most pleasant read.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens posting in [community profile] rglondon
Stuffins Unlimited, Croydon, London CR0

Evening RGL crew!

This week's featured article is for the legendary Stuffins Unlimited in Croydon. This sandwich shop is clearly inspired by the great 2 Unlimited not just in name, but in its cheerful personnel, quick-moving queue, boshing specials and hardcore rave breakfast baps (maybe). Get Bready For This!

First among a bunch of new articles on RGL this week is a new branch of the Nordic Bakery in Seven Dials. I am still recovering from the last time I had one of their extremely strong coffees at the Golden Square branch (approx 8 years ago). The coffee strength at Coffee Express in Belvedere is as yet unknown, but they'll do a weak cup of tea if you ask for one. (If you're after something stronger in DA17, the Belvedere Hotel pub has reopened.)

Elsewhere, in Brixton's Market Row there's Brazilian food at Carioca, while Earlsfield's Cah Chi will do you a decent beef japchae. Last but not least is the Running Horses pub in Erith. Where is Erith, I hear you ask? Well, I was at that pub myself just yesterday and I ate a large sausage roll, but it was dark outside and I got lost on the way, so I couldn't tell you exactly how I got there. Erith: shrouded in mystery! Or you could get the train.

Buying a Utah teapot

Mar. 20th, 2017 01:38 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
The Utah teapot was one of the early 3D reference objects. It's canonically a Melitta but hasn't been part of their range in a long time, so I'd been watching Ebay in the hope of one turning up. Until last week, when I discovered that a company called Friesland had apparently bought a chunk of Melitta's range some years ago and sell the original teapot[1]. I've just ordered one, and am utterly unreasonably excited about this.

[1] They have them in 0.35, 0.85 and 1.4 litre sizes. I believe (based on the measurements here) that the 1.4 litre one matches the Utah teapot.

Cold feet

Mar. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
juliet: (Default)
[personal profile] juliet
This winter I conducted an Experiment on my feet, specifically: how long into the winter and in what conditions can I (comfortably; this wasn't intended as an experiment in foot-related suffering) continue to wear sandals?

Now it's spring again (at least here: there are daffodils in full bloom and I was cycling in a T-shirt again yesterday) I can probably declare the experiment finished and draw appropriate conclusions. Which are:

  • Anything above 10oC and sandals are perfectly comfortable.

  • Anything below about 2-3oC mark is definitely too cold, even if dry. This only happened on a very small number of days this year, though it was an unusually mild winter.

  • 3-10oC depends largely on how wet it is; if it's wet underfoot or actively raining then it's likely to be chilly, although at the top end of that range might be OK anyway, depending on what sort of mood I'm in and how long I'm likely to be out.

  • There is a difference between 'walking the dog' (or other walking-around-outside activity), 'going somewhere indoors by public transport', and 'standing around in a playground'. If I'm mostly going to be on a bus/tube and then indoors, sandals are fine even getting down towards the zero mark. If I'm standing around in a playground (especially if wet), boots might be wiser even if it's closer to 10. Walking the dog I'm only out for 30 minutes at a time anyway so even if it's chilly I'll probably cope. (When it's freezing that's still long enough to be properly uncomfortable, though.)

  • If cycling rather than walking then your feet don't move enough to keep warm; toe-coverings required. But in fact I've been wearing bike sandals all year round for about 8 years now and just wear waterproof socks with them. This is obviously a fashion disaster but if I'm going somewhere where I can't just take my shoes off on arrival (which in general I prefer if at all possible[0]) I carry proper shoes with me.

  • Fewer people than I would have expected appeared to either notice or comment on my footwear choices, even in the middle of December.


So it has been very informative!

There was a purpose to this beyond scientific experiment; my knees are happier when I wear sandals than when I wear boots, so the less time I spend wearing boots the better. I am pleased to discover just how feasible it is to minimise boot-weeks.

[0] I just don't much like shoes! The RFH don't mind you wandering around without shoes on. I got told off in the British Museum once, also on a train when walking between carriages.

Photobucket

Mar. 17th, 2017 02:41 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Thanks to everyone who let us know that Photobucket images were not loading properly on some pages. The problem seemed to be mostly limited to HTTPS requests; Dreamwidth maintains a list of known high-traffic image sites that support HTTPS, so that our secure content proxy service doesn't cache them unnecessarily. Unfortunately Photobucket seems to have recently changed their site configuration such that HTTPS requests aren't being served as expected, and we've now taken it out of our list of "proxy-exempt" sites.

If you continue to have issues, make sure you're not using HTTPS Photobucket links. It's a bit counterintuitive, but if you use HTTP instead, it will be automatically transformed on our end to an HTTPS link that uses p.dreamwidth.org.

Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...

(no subject)

Mar. 17th, 2017 06:07 pm
dancefloorlandmine: (Barcode)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
Hmmm. I think I know people who might like these, although they might be viewed as somewhat tasteless. Priced in dollars, I'm afraid ...

Fireproof BBQ pit skulls

[Croydon] BoxPark Croydon

Mar. 17th, 2017 03:43 pm
dancefloorlandmine: (DamnedTown)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
On Wednesday evening L and I went to BoxPark Croydon to peruse the board(s) of fare.

For those not familiar with the BoxPark concept, it consists of filling an area of otherwise-unused ground with a construction of black-painted shipping containers, which are converted into some form of retail opportunity. The original London BoxPark is a painfully cool "pop-up" lifestyle and fashion mall in Shoreditch, where each container serves to sell trainers, t-shirts, or other artistic designs, with a couple of food stalls and a bar stacked on top.

Croydon's BoxPark, next to East Croydon station, is a slightly different concept, specialising as a food court - rather than the stores opening onto the street, the containers are stacked to open onto an almost-square central roofed-over area, which is then filled with tables with benches, accompanied by gas patio heaters. One 'short' end has doors opening to the street, while the other has a bar area. Each 'long' side is lined with the narrow ends of the containers, with each retailer having one or two seven-foot-ish wide doorway to the seating area. Some have seating inside their area, but most simply provide food-service, using the seating in the main area - which also means that you can apply a 'portfolio menu' approach to your food selection.

(There are a couple of other eateries on the upper level, balconies that run along the long sides (and are also the primary street entrance), including the renowned Meat Liquor - but we headed straight to the main area this time.)

I opted for a baked potato from The Potato Project - filled with mushrooms and spinach and topped with blue cheese and truffle oil. Which was delicious. Although in my pre-choice wander around the stalls, I'd also found myself rather tempted by the offerings at Arancina, so, for a second course, I ordered a ricotta-and-spinach arancine (and, during the brief wait for it, I found myself ordering a slice of pizza, too). The excellent pizza slice turned out to be a good idea, as eating it gave time for the arancine to cool slightly - not much holds heat like an insulating layer of risotto. All washed down with a nice pint of Henry Weston's cider.

Meanwhile, L had opted for a tasty dish from Feed Me Primal, and then followed that with a couple of tapas items from Donde Tapas - tasty smooth Jamon Croquettes and some delicious Honey Glazed Chorizo (dripping in honey, and mild enough for my lightweight tastebuds).

So, overall, good food, and a location that with drifting smoke, and some holes in the roof for constant heavy rain to pour through, would make a good Bladerunner location.

No photos this time - I forgot to take my camera, but L took a snap. (And we'll probably be back again at some point.)

Photo below cut )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is an odd one. Eminently readable, but odd. Definitely "far future", realistic (at least of sorts) space travel, aliens (mostly, but not completely, off-stage) and Deep History.

I quite enjoyed it on a first read-through. I wouldn't mind reading more in the same setting. But I can't really say what it reminds me of. Possibly Terminal World, maybe.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is another in Spencer's Elfhome (or possibly Tinker) series. It's basically a collection of character sketches, shorts, a novella or two and a couple of what-ifs, mostly spanning the time passed in the first three volumes of the series, but with a few "well into the past" segments.

definitely readable, if you've liked previous works in the series. Probably does not stand alone, at all.
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila
Last question on the college staff survey that I just filled out:

Q: What single thing should the College focus on to be a great place to work?

My answer: Minimising the negative impact of Brexit on our European colleagues.

Not-So-Polite Notice

Mar. 15th, 2017 10:24 pm
nanila: (kusanagi: amused)
[personal profile] nanila
20170315_094943
May I present the Physics Optics Workshop door sign, embedded amongst a lot of warning signs, which reads:

Optics Workshop Rates
If you watch - £60/hr
If you offer advice - £80/hr
If you help - £100/hr
If you reckon you are the expert, go away and do it yourself - Free

Opticians

Mar. 15th, 2017 05:02 pm
damerell: NetHack. (normal)
[personal profile] damerell
Dear Lazyweb, if you live in Cambridge and go to an optician, who is it and are they annoying? Thanks.

Am I missing something here?

Mar. 15th, 2017 07:55 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
I just downloaded an mp3, and thought I'd pop it on my phone (to join the other three on there; I very rarely listen to music on my phone).

Rather than open iTunes (which a) takes ages at the best of times and b) keeps crashing on open, really must restart my laptop one of these weeks), I thought I'd just airdrop it to my phone.

Yep, no bother, seconds later it's there and... the phone opens the Dropbox app, which asks if I want to upload the file to Dropbox.

WTF?

Opening the download link on my phone just plays the track in Safari. Am I really going to have to reboot my laptop and then plug my phone into with with an actual cable in order to get an mp3 onto it?

Edit, as Mike just sighed in a 'how dumb can you be' way: there's no option on export from Dropbox to put it into Music. I did try that!

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