queenlua: (Princess Mononoke: Yakul)
[personal profile] queenlua
okay i might actually be insane:

Kentucky -> San Diego -> Washington DC -> Seattle

Seattle -> Whistler -> Seattle

Seattle -> Nashville -> Miami -> Seattle

Seattle -> Cancun -> Seattle

Seattle -> Boston -> Seattle

Seattle -> Colorado -> Seattle

Seattle -> Las Vegas -> Seattle

Seattle -> Singapore? Malaysia? Thailand? southeast Asia generally? -> Seattle

also i'll probably zip down to California a decent amount to remind my manager that i exist and all that

jeez. i mean, a lot of these are short trips, and i've more than accrued the vacation days for them, and a lot of them are going to be so much damn fun, but i honestly do not know how i fell into this jet set lifestyle

(all this and i still haven't managed to get out to NYC since 2014 or Twilight Covening since 2013, despite repeated swearing to the heavens that I'M GONNA GET THERE REAL SOON GODDAMNIT. the latter is truly a damn shame; the former probably just shows that, much as i love a great many humans in NYC, the idea of willingly going to that city still troubles my soul)

"death in venice" and self and stuff

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:18 am
queenlua: (Robin)
[personal profile] queenlua
I read Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" yesterday. It's terrible; don't bother reading it.

But there was one interesting bit that struck me. The story's about a stiff, studious, German novelist (read: Mann's blatant self-insert), and the story's divided into five acts. The second act gives us an extended bio of the novelist's life—he was born in such-and-such town, he craved fame at a young age, he published his breakout hit in such-and-such year, his works focused mostly on blah-blah-blah, he was given such-and-such award for his most recent novel and lived in Munich. It's the sort of blurb you might see on the back of a book, describing the author.

The rest of the book involves him wandering around Venice, getting a bizarre obsessive crush on some preadolescent boy, and eventually dying of cholera due to not GTFOing out of Venice when he should have.

And it did strike me, during the very last few pages, where he's wasting away, that—okay, it is a really cute ironic thing that we're given the man's bio in part 2, and we're supposed to feel satisfied that we basically know who we're dealing with, only to spend the rest of the book being shown a man that you never could have guessed based on that bio.

I often look up the bio for authors after I finish a book, as I'm curious about "where the book came from"—but "Death in Venice" twists that around in the most blatant sort of way.

* * *

There was a somewhat popular tech blogger a few years back who posted a lot on tech culture and a bit of functional programming evangelism. The latter I found "eh", but the former I found genuinely interesting; he had a charismatic (if bombastic) writing style, and had some keen insights with regard to stuff like the perverse incentives of venture capitalist culture, arguments for unionization, and so on and so forth.

On message boards (crucially, not on his blog posts), the blogger would often rail about specific companies he'd worked for that were terrible, or specific terrible experiences he had in tech. And since I personally know people who have had awful experiences of such things, I shrugged and believed it to be mostly-true; people run into shit managers and shit luck all the time.

Then I went to work at one of the companies he bitched out.

I wasn't worried about working for the company; it was large enough that culture varies hugely from team to team anyway.

But, curious to see what he'd done while he was there, I searched his name internally and was surprised to discover that—well, he came across as an insane person.

The paper trail was very long and I don't think I missed anything important. Essentially, this guy had spent hours and hours spilling thousands and thousands of words on the internal version of Reddit (and, yes, having an internal version of Reddit is about as bad of an idea as you'd expect), shouting loudly about what THE COMPANY DIRECTION SHOULD BE!!! and those MORON VICE PRESIDENTS JUST WON'T LISTEN TO HIM!!! and he CLEARLY HAS DIRECTOR-LEVEL VISION!!! ...all this from a dude just barely out of college, who had joined the company two months prior.

Coworkers on internal-Reddit tried to be nice to him, and suggested that maybe he could wait a little longer than two months before trying to shake everything up? or maybe figure out a more productive forum for change than basically-internal-Reddit?

Dude did not take any of the coworkers' advice, and proceeded to spend many more months bolstering further claims of his own grandiosity, his overlooked technical brilliance, etc etc. Then he got his first little performance review thingy—and yes, I hate performance reviews more than anyone, but this dude fucking hit the roof over a performance review that rated him above-average!, i guess because it didn't rate him "supergenius" or something. Then he screamed about it on internal-Reddit for another many more thousands of words before ragequitting the company.

Um. Ummmm.

Honestly, his messages read untreated-bipolar-disorder or something similar, to me. I felt bad for him and hoped he got help (though his more recent posting doesn't really suggest this is the case).

Having this weird insider knowledge makes it a trip to go back and read his old blog posts. Like, yeah, he wants tech workers to unionize, and he has some nice arguments for it. But you can bet damn well who he thinks the union boss should be. You know damn well how he reacts to slights.

(A similar case of this is Shanely Kane, who writes really cogent and interesting lefty stuff for Model View Culture, but acts kind of unbelievably vicious on social media. Sorry, I am just super not onboard with the "unchecked fury is the answer to all slights" strain of lefty activism.)

* * *

That's the funny thing about meeting people online. I'm not talking OKCupid or whatever, I mean meeting people on online—in internet communities, in places where your socialization is first and foremost in a constructed realm, with no particular aim to ever meet up "IRL." People have more power to mediate what image they present of themselves.

Not that I want to say the internet's categorically different, in the scaremongery way old fuddy-duddies do. No one knew the protagonist in "Death in Venice," either, and that was way before the internet.

And neither am I saying that people present themselves falsely particularly often. I've met a handful of online friends in person, and they all were basically the person I expected. Usually there's an upfront shock of quirks that didn't translate through the keyboard—"oh wow, I was not expecting you to have this thick Valley Girl accent" or "you are way shorter and less imposing than I expected" or whatever, but nothing that changes who they fundamentally are, who I know them to be. (And recognizing that always brings a little thrill—here is my friend, come to life more brilliantly than I could ever have imagined!)

The internet's just one layer of possible indirection. But it's a particularly potent and prevalent layer, nowadays.

I sometimes wonder how I come across on Tumblr and Dreamwidth and whatnot. I know in many ways I'm more open here than IRL, but in some crucial ways I'm more closed off. I feel like I'm full of both more blistering bombast and abject despair on here, because I tend to be vent-ier here—what do people imagine me to be, based on that?

And sometimes I scroll through the Twitter or Tumblr feeds of writers or artists I admire, and imagine I know them. If they live in my city, I'll sometimes wish there were some non-awkward way to ask them to meet up for coffee, because of course we could be awesome friends, if we just had some way of meeting each other...! (Creepy, I know; I blame the 21st century.)

But of course I don't know them. Scrolling a feed is not knowing someone. The artsy side of me seems to like to think that my work says something deep about me, about the kind of person I am—but in practice, I think, if your work says anything about you at all, it's often buried so deep it's hard for anyone but you to see the important bits. It seems there has to be some mutuality, conversations where they learn about you as you learn about them.

And anyway, last time I asked someone for coffee solely because I'd admired their online work, they turned out to be a pompous asshole who forced a kiss on me in the back of some mediocre bar I've never returned to.

I'm pretty sure this is one of the posts where I'm basically describing "the human condition" and puttering out for lack of novel things to say on the topic, so let's just end it there :P

New Edits

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:04 pm
ariane: (Default)
[personal profile] ariane

My newest edits (click to see in full size)... First one is McQueen from Space: Above And Beyond, and the second Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Also found the header of one of my old Star Trek site layouts, and thought I'd upload it too:

(no subject)

Oct. 13th, 2017 02:38 pm
dani_meows: (star wars: padme in yellow)
[personal profile] dani_meows
My sinuses hurt like crazy still so I'm still spending a lot of my time sleeping off benedryl because it's hay fever season and all the allergens from up North are flying through the air to Florida. Of course I'm also allergic to dust and pet dander and all sorts of fun stuff.

So I've spent most of my time sleeping, reading fanfic, and listening to music and forcing myself to move so I don't get a blood clot. Despite this it's managed to be an exciting week.

I discovered a new recipe that Ian and I loved, that was very healthy and involved spaghetti squash. I always love when a new healthy recipe is a hit. Ian loved it and normally spaghetti squash recipes get a meh.

Ian's giving lectures to my roommate and childhood best friend (Bri) about circuits and electricity because she really wants to leave retail so their seeing if she has a knack for it, so she could maybe get a job as a designer. It's been fun.

Bri got a second job, cleaning houses for a lady that does rental homes here. She'll make some good money and hopefully stop running out of money well before she gets her next paycheck.

She gave me a scare on Monday or Tuesday. First Ian was tired and grumpy at me and then she arrived home and I left my room and chirped at her.

She finished putting her stuff in the fridge. And made eye contact and her eyes looked all bulgy like she was going to kill me. She stomped to her shower and I went into my room to hide because I thought she was made at me. And I didn't come out until I was certain she was asleep.

Later I recieve texts from her and I come out and it's how I found about her second job, she'd told Ian and thought he'd told me and found out that she'd been pissed at her boss from her retail job and thought she'd said hello.

We had a good laugh and I was reassured that she wasn't mad at me. I am having fun teasing her about though.

Childhood best friends if you can't mock one another gently what is years of friendship for?

She still mocks me about the candle incident after all.

It was my birthday and we were walking down the cake aisle and I held up birthday candles and said I wanted something to blow on my birthday. She cracked up. A stock person stocking said aisle looked at me funny. Ian quit coming towards us with drinking supplies and I was confused and then bright red.

And that was five years ago? Perhaps more...

I'm also fascinated in the fact that Europe is getting a hurricane. I didn't know that could happen.

I hope everyone effected takes the appropriate safety precautions and makes sure to have water, food supplies and candles.

And I think I've babbled enough.

nerd parties

Oct. 10th, 2017 05:18 pm
queenlua: (pic#7528686)
[personal profile] queenlua
i don't think i ever blogged about the coolest thing at DefCon!

...oh, thumbing back through my posts, apparently i neglected to talk about DefCon at all, what the hell

okay, DefCon in general was awesome, and actually significantly more awesome than i was expecting; much more of a chill fuck-yeah-we're-all-hackers-here culture than one-uppy-competitive or anything and i loved it.


the part that perhaps amused me most:

you do not simply get invited to parties at DefCon. instead, you'll be handed a business card with a bunch of seemingly-random die rolls on it. or you'll get a link to a website with a trivially obvious SQL injection vulnerability. or you'll be handed some base64 encrypted string.

to get to the party, you have to solve the puzzle.

this turned out to be a ridiculously fun way to meet people, at least for me—if you're at some awkward happy hour, and you want to say hi but don't know how, just flag down the nearest lonely-looking person and say, "hey, i'm stuck on stage 3 of this challenge, want to try solving it together?"

then you learn that dude has a lot of background in government ops stuff, and also he suggests processing the codes as hex colors, and so on and so forth until you both solved the stage and got directions to the kickass party that night.

this also made parties much easier to find than conferences i've been to in the past—partially because there were just a ton of them, and this is Vegas, i'm sure, but also there's something very democratic about "whoever solves the puzzle can come," as opposed to the usual "make smalltalk with the right person whose company has deep pockets and rented the penthouse suite." you'd see people in the hallways all over with scratch paper and furiously intense expressions, and they'd always welcome some help.

it was awesome. i kind of want all parties to require some hacker challenges for entry, now

And the hits just keep on coming

Oct. 10th, 2017 02:13 pm
wendelah1: woman lying on a bed looking sad (I'm done in)
[personal profile] wendelah1

How a Sudden Firestorm Obliterated a City
"These fires happen in the hills, in the rural area, not a neighborhood," said David Kay, 54, clearly stunned as he returned to his home in the Coffey Park neighborhood Monday morning and found nothing but rubble for blocks and blocks. "You think you're safe in a neighborhood."

I'm sitting here, feeling stunned. If neighborhoods in the flats of Santa Rosa could burn to the ground, is anywhere in California safe?
In one of the most surreal scenes, broadcast on KGO TV, a team of Kaiser Permanente nurses and doctors, faces covered by respirators, gently raced critical patients in hospital beds down the street, with bright orange flames in the background. About 130 patients were safely evacuated in three hours, including women in labor and a "very sick" child. Some hospital employees drove patients in their own cars.

Climatologist explains why ‘the conditions are primed for fire’ in California Here's why fires are exploding up and down the state, with answers by Bill Patzert, a climatologist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Disaster Preparedness: Make a Plan! Don't put it off any longer, folks.

Puerto Rico

A Doctor’s Abandoned Journey Into Isolated Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Health Care Is in Dire Condition, Three Weeks After Maria

You're doing a fan-tas-tic job, Mr. President. Thanks a heap for those paper towels, by the way.


Fearsome Plague Epidemic Strikes Madagascar. The outbreak is beginning to resemble the early stages of the West African Ebola crisis in 2014: a lethal disease normally confined to sparsely populated rural areas has reached crowded cities and is spreading in a highly transmissible form. The TV news media is giving this story a wide berth, I noticed--they'd rather talk about Trump's latest tweet storm about the NFL and his feuds with Senator Corker and Secretary Tillerson.

And finally, three good news links. Because we need some good news, dammit.

In a First, Gene Therapy Halts a Fatal Brain Disease. The study involved 17 boys (the disease strikes males almost exclusively), ages 4 to 13. All got gene therapy. Two years later, 15 were functioning normally without obvious symptoms.

How a "Snowman" Lasted an Entire Summer in Chicago. The icy Fischli/Weiss art installation on top of the Art Institute survived the swelter of the Windy City and will go on display next in San Francisco

Incredible Winners of the 2017 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Link to the entire gallery within the article.

(no subject)

Oct. 9th, 2017 07:07 pm
dani_meows: (hp: Mcgonagal head of Gryffindor)
[personal profile] dani_meows
Had planned on going upstairs to type an entry but cleaning earlier made me dizzy, itchy and gave me a sore throat (didn't realize Ian had bought the with bleach variety of comet and I'm allergic to bleach)... So I spent the afternoon snuggling with my Boo cat. At least the stomach aches of Friday and Saturday are gone. I missed out on an outing with Ian and Mum to my favorite restaurant. Ian brought home leftovers though,so I had some on Saturday.

I also must thank the train. That's stopped by our house blocking the road. Since it's staying there a while, Ian has turned his car around and is fetching me the food I'm craving for supper since he's passing it anyway as he circles around.

Living near a train Depot (mostly cargo) is handy sometimes. ^_^


Here you can find layouts for dreamwidth and other codings. I take commissions for layouts (DW, LJ, website, Tumblr) and other graphics. If you are interested in commissioning me, you can see examples of my work in this community and visit this post for more information.
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