The Lessons Of Dead Children.

Aug. 1st, 2015 10:09 pm
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

This doesn’t end well.

I had a supremely good day today; slept in until 10:30, programmed my first real project in C# (and discovered that though it was a new language, I still had some tricks to teach the native programmers), went out and sanded and stained a bookcase, and then wrote a good 900 words on my new book.

Then Gini and I went out to our backyard, lit up a fine cigar, and drank some exquisite bourbon as the sun set and the fireflies crept out across the yard and shooting stars streaked across a cloud-filled sky.

This still doesn’t end well.

It’s been about fourteen months since Rebecca died, and the world still doesn’t make much sense some days. She was six years old. She died on her birthday. She got brain cancer, and it swelled and grew in her skull until she stopped breathing while I knelt at her bedside, my hand on her ankle.

This doesn’t end well.  None of it does.

And I know the end is coming.  Gini is eleven years older than I am.  Chances are good she’ll die before I will, and what will I do when the love of my life is gone?  I’m a heart patient; I feel a twinge in my chest and there’s my mortality, raw and throbbing, that clammy reminder that one day I will be back on the ventilator – or worse, condemned to the backwaters of some old-age home, helpless and weak as overworked nurses ignore me for hours at a time.

It doesn’t end well.

These sun-touched clouds are so beautiful.

And Rebecca is dead, and with it my last hopes of a just universe. I suppose I should have learned that lesson from my own triple bypass, but I was already forty-two, and that’s a good age for someone to die – a little premature, but I’d lived a lot of life.

Here I am, bourbon in my hand, and Rebecca never got to taste alcohol.

None of this ends well.

And yet that is the lesson: None of this ends well.  The end game for all of us is death, and yet this day I feel oddly cheerful.  I cannot hope to cling to any of this.  Our bodies will fail, and this will all be ripped away from me, and yet…

This cigar is beautiful.

My wife’s hand is warm in mine.

We made wishes upon the stars.

I will not get to keep this.  But that is not the goal.  The goal is to appreciate what we have, in this slim instant between birth and the void, and today I lived every minute of my life to the best of my ability.  I savored that cigar.  I poured my heart into those 900 words.  I wrestled that program into submission.

(I stained the bookcase terribly, but even in that, I learned wonderful new crafts techniques.)

This cannot last.  But it’s been good, as long as it’s been.  And my goal is not to hold onto these moments forever, but to cherish them while they are here.  I have been married to the love of my life for fifteen good years, and maybe that ends tomorrow, but every day of that has been something to appreciate, and even if it goes away that’s more than most people got.

The dog rolls in the grass.  The cigar ember smolders.  My wife smiles as she plans her next trip to Seattle.  And when it is done, we will pour another glass of fine bourbon, and put on Battlebots, and cheer as robots smash each other to flinders.

Rebecca is gone.  But we are here.  And it would be a disservice to the bright streak of Rebecca’s life if we lost that future happiness to darkness, and we do not forget the darkness but tonight we celebrate the life we have left, and huddle tight around a dwindling fire.

She is gone.

This does not end well.

That does not mean the story is not worth telling.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

opalsong: (podfic)
[personal profile] opalsong posting in [community profile] amplificathon

Title: Mala Suledin Nadas
Author: heartslogos
Reader: Opalsong
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Pairings: Gen
Rating: Teen
Length (total) (Thus Far): 18:01:29
Cover: Opalsong
Music: The Dawn Will Come by Trevor Morris & a Dragon Age sms
Now you must endure.

Drabbles of the Inquisitor and those who follow.

Chapter Links [length; size]:
Chapter 97 [8:20; 7.9MB]
Chapter 98 [8:15; 7.8MB]
Chapter 99 [7:52; 7.5MB]
Chapter 100 [7:27; 7.1MB]
Chapter 101 [10:24; 9.8MB]
Chapter 102 [9:27; 8.9MB]
Chapter 103 [8:26; 8.0MB]

Audiofic Archive link: Here

This fic is a WIP and still being updated. More chapters will become available as they are written. The AO3 post found here will theoretically update more frequently as I update it by chapter instead of waiting for them to pile up to post here.

Thanks to Paraka for hosting!!

cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3

(no subject)

Aug. 1st, 2015 09:53 pm
flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
I should note better where I get my recs. Some someones somewhere were discussing Margery Allingham and noted Traitor's Purse as being in some way unusual. Have just finished it, and indeed found it unusual-sort-of, though I also note that it ends with Campion spoiler spoiler spoiler a bunch of working stiffs and not letting it bother him a whit.

Last night's blue moon (for certain definitions of same) was nothing much to look at, but tonight's one-day-past is quite gorgeous.

Scam Alert - Abandoned Package

Aug. 2nd, 2015 09:59 am
megpie71: Animated: "Are you going to come quietly/Or do I have to use earplugs?" (Goons)
[personal profile] megpie71
Apparently-From: Allen Larged (
Subject: [Bulk] Your Abandoned Package For Delivery
Addressed To: unknown

Scam text below )

Okay, first and most obvious scam flag flying here: you're being asked to partake in a crime (namely, theft). You're stealing not only from this anonymous diplomat, but also the US Treasury (who do tend to be a tad tetchy and unreasonable about such things), and probably also from the citizens of the country the diplomat hailed from. A complete stranger who asks you to participate in a crime on first introduction does not necessarily have your best interests at heart.

Of course, this is assuming the box and/or the money exist in the first place, which, of course, they don't. If you google on the search string "abandoned package scam" you'll find lots of copies of the above email, listing just about every airport in the USA.

Even if the box did exist, I'd be strongly advising you to first check the contents. It will do you absolutely no good at all to pay $3700 USD to receive a 110kg box of shredded paper. Or a box full of a currency which is defunct (such as Zimbabwean dollars - the Zimbabwean government phased out their currency starting in 2009 - they're currently buying back the currency until 30 September this year) or practically worthless (Iranian rials, Vietnamese dong, etc).

Basically, this is a variation on the good old "advanced fee fraud" or "Spanish prisoner" trick. As the Spanish Prisoner, this con has been around since the sixteenth century, so it certainly has legs. It's based on essentially getting someone to pay serious money today in the hope of reward tomorrow.

As always, the main thing you need to beat the scammer is a sense of proportion and hubris - in this case, why would some diplomat from who-knows-where in Africa have MY name as the consignee for a box full of money? Other questions you might want to ask include: if this thing had my details as a consignee, why has it been sitting around in a warehouse in $US_STATE for ages, apparently abandoned? Why wasn't it just forwarded on to me directly on a cash-on-delivery basis? Surely the airport actually needs the space a 110kg package would be occupying. How does this person know the box contains money? (did they already open it? If so, why shouldn't I presume they helped themselves to their 30% share of the proceeds straight up?). This story has plot holes galore - going through and spotting them is a good education in the process of narrative creation.

Either way, it's a scam. Don't contact the person back, don't send them your details, and for heaven's sake, don't send them any money.

Today is the day of headache.

Aug. 1st, 2015 09:10 pm
archangelbeth: Face with glasses and large red horns. Looking blah and-or grumpy. (DjinnBeth)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
And now mild queasiness.

Also trying to do some editing for a friend.

Headache does not go well with this.


Havva Quote
     This shed has been very useful. Unlike most new building sites, we already have electricity, and this unassuming little building is its keeper. Unfortunately, there is a padlock on the door. Most of the workers know the combination, but occasionally there arrives a new work crew to whom it is a mystery. They solve the problem by repeatedly wrenching the doors off their hinges and gaining access that way.
     I think we're gonna need some new hinges.

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

August 1st NAARMAMO returns!

Aug. 1st, 2015 08:16 pm
feng_shui_house: drawing of robin text I heart cheep art (Art robin)
[personal profile] feng_shui_house
If you click on the image you'll wind up at my Ipernity storage where you can see a larger version, and if you click on the larger version, you get to an even larger one.


Am gonna make this a fabric design, too. Ferret owners need fabric, too. :^)

A new AI problem

Aug. 2nd, 2015 12:11 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Here's a task that I haven't heard about: recognizing mixed metaphors and idiom blends.

For example, from Bob Ford, "Eagles season can go one of three ways", Philadelphia Inquirer 8/2/2015:

If the Eagles win big this season, they will get bonus points for degree of difficulty. The tightrope over which success is stretched is very narrow.

And at the end of the piece:

Those are the three doors, and, admit it, the Eagles could open any of them this season. As training camp begins, there is no way to tell. There could be opportunity knocking or a doorbell tolling. Finding out which will take a while, though.

The Farberisms page presents a nice collection of (mostly) idiom blends:

We need to rein in our horns.
A problem swept under the table occasionally comes home to roost.
From here on up, it's down hill all the way.
Don't look a charlie horse in the mouth.
He's cornered on all sides.
I don't trust him farther than you can bat an eye.
Don't talk to me with your clothes on.
Put yourself in his boat.
If that happened to me, I'd clean my ears out with a pistol.
It's a white elephant around my neck.

I've found a few small collections of things presented as "mixed metaphors" out there, e.g. here,  here,  here, here. These are mostly idiom blends and eggcorns, it seems to me, but there aren't clear boundaries between these categories.

The classic study of idiom blends is J. Cooper Cutting and  Kathryn Bock, "That’s the way the cookie bounces: Syntactic and semantic components of experimentally elicited idiom blends", Memory & Cognition 1997.

Some relevant earlier LLOG posts:

"Mixed metaphor of the month", 4/13/2004
"The way the cookie bounces", 12/20/2004
"Blending in", 12/23/2004
"Beating back those Gordian hurdles", 10/12/2008
"'Green behind the ears': the untold story", 10/15/2008
"Idiom entanglements", 10/5/2011

Update — in fact there's at least one paper proposing recognition of mixed metaphors as an AI problem: Mark Lee and John Barnden, "Mixing Metaphors", Proceedings of the AISB'99 Symposium on Metaphor, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognition:

Mixed metaphors have been neglected in recent metaphor research. This paper suggests that such neglect is short-sighted. Though mixing is a more complex phenomenon than straight metaphors, the same kinds of reasoning and knowledge structures are required. This paper provides an analysis of both parallel and serial mixed metaphors within the framework of an AI system which is already capable of reasoning about straight metaphorical manifestations and argues that the processes underlying mixing are central to metaphorical meaning. Therefore, any theory of metaphors must be able to account for mixing.

But there doesn't seem to have been any significant uptake over the past 16 years.

Roman letter shapes in Japanese

Aug. 1st, 2015 11:13 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

[A guest post by Nathan Hopson]

Recently, I encountered two examples of the intriguing use of roman letters in Japanese to describe various shapes and parts of the nether regions of human anatomy.

The first was in a Japan Times article on military terminology and slang in Japanese, which was an interesting read in its own right. The passage that caught my eye, though, was at the opening (emphasis added):

One of my first encounters with Japan’s 兵語 (heigo, military terminology) came about when Kato-san, an older co-worker, jokingly made a reference to the term M検 (emu-ken, an “M inspection”), which in the old days doctors performed at military induction physicals to look for visible symptoms of sexually transmitted disease.

Ken, I supposed, was short for 検査 (kensa, test or examination). But what did the M stand for? Then Kato-san drew a letter M on a sheet of paper, and I immediately understood it to be a crude depiction of the anatomical shape of the, er, object being examined.

This is a different anatomical usage of M than the one we are subjected to in the media. The more common usage is M脚 (emu-kyaku), which describes female legs spread with raised knees.

Google Image search provides predictable results.

This got me to thinking about the other alphabetical descriptions of legs in Japanese: O脚 and X脚 (and the elusive XO脚), which again are best illustrated by, well, an illustration.

The various ~脚 usages are, unlike M検 fully integrated into the common lexicon. Their visual appeal and similarity to older Japanese phraseology probably made them all easily acceptable. For example, コの字型 (コ-shaped, ko no ji gata; one furniture and many corpus examples here) describes a rectangle open on one side, or a more rounded C-shape — though I believe this usage is obsolete. As the first corpus sample above shows, this would now generally be C字型. In fact, the use of of E字型, etc., signifies how widespread acceptance of romanized shape descriptions has become.

The other item I encountered, though, returns to the anatomical uses of romanization, and with the same combination of mild obfuscation and bold visual illustration. This visual (from this ad campaign for depilation) revealed to me the intricately romanized anatomy of waxing, from the V-line to the O-line, which is described as "Hard to do yourself" (自分ではむずかしい).

Clockwise from the top left, the waxable parts of the "delicate zone" (デリケートゾーン) are described and captioned as:

Vライン上部 (V-rain jōbu) Upper V-line: "Get a fresh, clean upper area"
VラインS・両サイド (V-rain S, ryō saido) V-line S, both sides ("S" = "side line"): "Reduce your side lines"
Oライン: "Hard to do yourself"
Iライン: "Peace of mind even with daring underwear"
Tトライアングル (T-toraianguru) T-triangle: "In your own design"

I found it fascinating that in all cases, the anatomical use of romanization was for the lower body. This is probably coincidence at some level — necks and shoulders, for example, don't lend themselves to alphabetical visualization.  While this campaign is for three depilation companies: épiler, TBC, and Men's TBC, the image above is titled:

txt-female11.png (emphasis added)

So particularly with the VOI and T, this is probably a gendered vocabulary that describes matters in in-group only (≈ women) terms that could obscure them from men.

The female body and its inner workings have often been discussed in veiled and euphemistic terminology away from the ears of men, and it's interesting that this reticence continues even in a context including bold visual representation intended for a mixed audience.

[A nod to Robert Hegwood, who shared both the military article and depilation ads on Facebook.]

Midnighter #2

Aug. 1st, 2015 04:12 pm
laughing_tree: (Default)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

"He's something unique in this world, where we want dark, brooding heroes. And certainly, those are great too. But we can have something else. We can have this character who's had these bad events happen to him that normally make a Daredevil or a Batman, but they aren't lingered on. He's moved on, and loves what he is. He's found a way to love what he is, and that phrase, that sentence is something I think we all struggle with as humans. And it's obviously something we struggle with as we go through the steps of coming out in the queer community, so that nugget is what made the character for me." -- Steve Orlando

Read more... )

Indoor Wasp

Aug. 1st, 2015 04:10 pm
fenchurch: (Funky)
[personal profile] fenchurch
Every day for about the last week, this little wasp would start buzzing around behind my monitor. It would spend a bit of time near the window and then would gradually drift into the kitchen and I would invariably lose track of it. To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure if it was the same wasp... I sort of assumed it was, simply because of the size (it was quite tiny, to the point where I wondered if it might be one of those other insects that just look a bit like wasps) and the fact that it was almost regular as clockwork, showing up in the same spot every day. I rather suspect it came in through an open window or door at some point (I did check around to make sure we didn't have any coming in through the walls, since I've had that happen to friends in the past).

The first few days I tried to catch it... tossing a dish towel over it then going outside to shake it out, only to discover the wasp was nowhere in the towel and, of course, it would show up in the same spot behind my monitor the next day. Finally, I tried swatting it with a dishtowel and even managed to hit it once, but not badly enough to seriously injure it (I managed to catch a glimpse of it stumbling around on the floor, but by the time I got to where I could try to grab it, it had flown off again).

Then today, I spotted it again... on the Ikea Billy bookcase next to my computer, basically to the left and slightly behind my monitor (where it kept appearing every day). It was nosing into one of the unused pre-drilled holes in the side, then it turned around and backed into it, very obviously settling down for a long summer's nap. Yep. I'm pretty sure I really HAVE been seeing the same little wasp and that it was making itself a nice new home in the "cave" it found in the bookcase. [personal profile] rackham grabbed a piece of duct tape and covered over the hole (since we didn't have an easy way of getting the wasp out without one of us being in danger of getting stung) and we figure we'll give it a few days then hopefully clean out the remains of our dear, departed indoor wasp friend.

I do sort of wonder if we hadn't figured this out, would we have ended up with baby wasps popping out of the bookcase someday? And it had never occurred to me that a wasp might take up residence *inside* a house without ever having a way to get outside.

Crossposted from my Livejournal.

So I'm home, and some House fic news

Aug. 1st, 2015 05:54 pm
blackmare: (duck cane)
[personal profile] blackmare
 Indianapolis was ... I saw almost none of it. I mostly saw the freeways, which felt weirdly oversized to me. 

What I did see, reminded me of places in Florida where they've cleared the trees, paved everything and put up strip malls and hospitals and big commercial buildings and it's just not all that enticing; but to be fair I only saw areas around that ring of interstate, and not the older parts within. 

In one of those ugly strip malls near my hotel, I found an unassuming little Thai place that turned out to be tiny, charming, and really, really good. 

The event went well, I had fun, and I'm now so tired.

In other news, Nightdog and I have finished a follow-up fic to her <i>Kingdom Come</i>, and I will be posting that to my journal. Wondering if I should do it now or wait until Monday when, I have learned, more people seem to goof around online when at work. 


Aug. 1st, 2015 11:35 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Today I have:

Pre-ordered Zen Cho's The Sorcerer and the Crown
Filed my Sasquan site selection stoat
Activated my new credit card and updated payment details for some things
Utterly failed to activate Verified by Visa on the new card, because Verified by Visa is in fact Infested by Stoats.
Won two games of Puerto Rico.
andrewducker: (Calm Down)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Following from my earlier discovery that the Apache XMLRPC library isn't good enough (or supported), I tried out the Redstone one. And discovered that it allows me to set _even less_ options.

So, fuck it, I guess tomorrow I'm downloading the source to the Apache one and making it work for Google App Engine. How hard can it be?


alexseanchai: Blue nebula with lots of white stars (Default)
our roads may be golden, or broken, or lost

August 2015


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