2018 books

2019-Jan-22, Tuesday 21:28
mindstalk: (rathorn)
2018 book count: 109 fiction, 26 non-fiction. I'd meant to read more non.

32 fiction with female main characters, 36 male, 25 other (both?), 16 unlabeled (most of those are Spice and Wolf, which I guess should be mostly 'male' in terms of 3rd person POV but Horo is so important I was reluctant to go that way. That or I was lazy with cut and paste.)

47 by female authors, 55 male, 20 other, 13 unlabeled. other definitely means male/female author pairs, like the Liaden series, while unlabeled tends to mean "I don't know", like for fanfics by authors with opaque names.

qotd: seasons

2018-Dec-13, Thursday 22:13
mindstalk: (Default)
[community profile] questionoftheday asks: What is your least favourite thing about each season?

My answer:

I'm not going to try to come up with something against spring and fall.

Boston summer: when it's hot and humid, obviously.

Boston winter: there's the usual cold and snow and ice, especially ice. And the short days, sun going down at 4pm because Boston should be in Atlantic time (which still would mean 5pm...) But my most unusual complaint is the sun *angle*: it's so low even at mid day, often in my eyes, and my summer hat wouldn't help even if temperatures were warm enough to wear it.

Getting extra sun from snow is an added 'bonus'. But yeah, the angle. Sun should not be in my eyes between 10 and 2.
mindstalk: (Default)
[community profile] questionoftheday asks: What is your internet history? What websites were you a part of that might not be around anymore, and do you have any fond memories of them?

My answer:

Got to college, was given a shell account with email and such. And talk/ytalk, I could communicate with friends across the country, for free! Like a long-distance phone call, but typing and free! Somehow found people purely online, too, chatting with some girl at an engineering college. Found Usenet, spending many years on the B5 newsgroups (I think I coined 'battlecrab' for Shadow ships) and rec.arts.sf.written. Mailing lists: extropians, cypherpunks, Julian May, Deryni (that might have been Usenet), Buffy.

Oh, and the early web, getting on with NCSA Mosaic, and Netscape Navigator, and I have web pages dating to 1995, if not earlier.

Early webcomics I forget the names of. Doctor Fun, User Friendly, Sluggy (still going!) Writing my own comic-scraper to generate a local page of updated comics, because RSS hadn't been invented yet.

A girlfriend found me via Orkut, I think. Was on that and Friendster before Facebook killed them. Technically am still on Livejournal, crossposting from here.

I sort of miss people *having* personal web pages. Or adding anything to mine.
mindstalk: (juggleface)
I hope the new users enjoy it here.

My journal is mostly bloggy: links, books I've read, thoughts about things. I don't grant access much nor post things that need it.

I use tags aggressively but never played with styles much; I crosspost to Livejournal, and that style is better at showing my tag cloud, and also has more 'memories' of posts I particularly liked. I should re-post some blasts from the past.

I'm into a bunch of fandoms, but these days that manifests as reading fics at AO3 or FF, or discussions at RPG.net. I'm in some communities here, but, ghost town.

Feel free to comment on things!
mindstalk: (Default)
For those who just know my online presence through LJ/DW, I also have a website, stretching back to 1995, with the cutting edge web design you'd expect from that. It's not updated much, barely at all for a while, but it still archives some things I find neat. I'd forgotten about the Little Fractioner, my Achilles-and-Tortoise dialogue on fractions, which I think I in fact wrote for Douglas Hofstadter's son. (The title comes from Dan Friedman's Little Schemer.)

Annoying, it looks least as intended in Firefox on Linux, at least my Firefox and Linux.

Trees (botanical)

2016-Jun-04, Saturday 00:10
mindstalk: (riboku)
Wednesday while on a walk I had the impulse to start trying to ID trees. Pulled out my phone, looked up tree key websites, and got to work. It was somewhat successful. I don't remember everything I IDed, but I thought I found some sort of beech, a black locust, a thornless honey locust (which I confirmed with a resident emerging from the building behind), some sort of elm, maybe a dogwood? maybe a pear? and I think a couple others. Also something that so far has stumped my (California) botanist friend S, and reddit's /r/whatsthisplant, the first five photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mindstalk/albums/72157669140836646 (the next 3 are some conifer, and the rest another; I thought they were pine, now I think fir.)

The various toothed leaves were annoying, as my key asked questions I had trouble answering. "Is this single or double? How fine a line counts as a vein?"

I've kept it up! Poked around a bit yesterday, including the conifers mentioned above, and today, on the bike path. I may have found a northern catalpa, though S seemed skeptical; it's got the right big heart-shaped leaves, though the shape of the tree didn't match catalpa photos. It might match northern catalpa photos.

Today's big project became "try to distinguish the three non-larch types of conifer". At this stage I don't care about getting precise species, I'd be happy if I can go "that's a pine" or "that's an elm." (I can already do 'maple' and 'oak'; there's a lot around here, which explains my allergies. With enough diversity that I probably *could* zoom in on species, but not yet, apart from the flagrantly obvious Japanese maple, in its purple-red leaf cultivars.)

So right, conifers. Websites made it sound easy, if you can get close to the needles: pines have 2 3 or 5 emerging together, the others just individual needles; firs are 'friendly', soft and long, spruces spikey and short. Also flaky vs. furrowed barks, and that seemed to match the pine/fir needles I perceived. (No spruces.)

Though later with some short trees I wondered "is this a fir needle, or the "flattened leaves" I saw on my key and couldn't figure out?

I also looked up how to find the mythical pine cone seeds. New theory: what I think of as pine cones, with big wooden flakes, are after the cone has opened and dumped its seeds or been plundered of them by squirrels.

It's tempting to go to the Arnold Arboretum tomorrow and go look at labeled plants, though it's also really not what I should be spending time on right now. (Walks are one thing, half-day trips another.)

It's been fun, and a lot faster reward than taking up bird ID: trees are *right there*. So are other plants, I imagine I'll expand... IDing the various flowers I stop and sniff would have the advantage that they can't grow out of range; many of the taller trees don't present their leaves for examination.

Today I also got in a bit of unexpected squirrel watching: there was a squirrel lying on a branch, making odd sounds, reminiscent of though not the same as the squirrel mating sounds I grew up with (and can still imitate if asked.) It seemed focused on something but I couldn't tell what.

Obvious icon choice is really obvious, this time.
mindstalk: (rogue)
A post I made elsewhere, on my past many trips:

I had an awesome conversation with some girl I was sitting next to, though she never wrote me back afterwards. One of my first photos with a new camera was of another cute girl across the aisle (I asked permission.) One time I sat next to a vet who had a pet ferret in his backpack. I didn't ask where it crapped.

The station in San Francisco sells porn. The station in Omaha mostly sells stuff with crosses or other Christian themes. Also one time the Omaha station felt like a refugee camp: 4am, possibly some bus was delayed due to drivers, lots of people sitting around looking bleary with what looked like their worldly possessions. (not really)

It was neat stepping out in or near Salt Lake City and seeing the mountains there.

Heading west to Spokane I encountered my first dry electrical storm, not having ever heard of such a thing. It was really creepy: no rain, no sound, not even many visible lightning bolts, just the sky flashing frequently. I had crazy thoughts about Canadian nuclear barrage or something.

Montana really is Big Sky Country and it gives me the willies.

Some line not far west of the Mississippi river separates "not enough rain for many trees" and "trees will grow unless actively suppressed". This first became obvious when I woke up in Arkansas, going east, and Surprise! Trees! outside the window.

If you're north enough there are trees in the west again, but they're stands if not plantations of conifers and really boring.

Around 2005 our bus almost broke down in the Rockies; certainly the air conditioning stopped working. The driver said their new CEO had previously cost-cut Northwest Airlines into bankruptcy. Around this time the company also dropped a lot of the small town stops, including the not-that-small college town of Bloomington Indiana. Around this time I stopped riding Greyhound much...

cold and soup

2016-Jan-08, Friday 18:00
mindstalk: (food)
Some friends get bronchitis or sinusitis or ear infections repeatedly. I seem to go for colds and minor sore throats. Like now, and last October. Sigh.

Nice thing about being home again: shower head taller than I am, with decent pressure. And never having needed to use a toilet plunger.

I've never really made soup. I don't know how, though I know some paths involve "boil a chicken carcass, then strain" which sounds like way too much icky work. I've tried for stewy things but they turn into pilaf-like things as the water gets absorbed. Just add more water? Eh.

But, sometimes I try to fake it, like today. I made pasta the new way, just covered in water and turning the heat off after boil, and caught the starchy water when I strained, then poured some back over the noodles, along with oils and spices. Later I realized that if I'm going to do this I could just skip the straining step, and add spices earlier so they come out into the water more. Even so, it was decently tasty and soupy. And could mean less salt than in canned soups, though I'd actually have to think about the salt added for pasta cooking to verify that.

Christmas in LA

2015-Dec-25, Friday 15:02
mindstalk: (atheist)
Instead of six weeks in Chile, I'm spending three weeks in LA. Also, for I think the first time ever, I'm all alone on Christmas Day. This isn't a tragedy: for family reasons, my hosts celebrated Christmas up to three times already (including stocking morning) and have scattered for a fourth time elsewhere, leaving me holding down the fort. It was surprisingly lonely the evening they left -- I live alone normally, but I guess the contrast got to me -- but I've adapted back to the joys of sleeping in and other things you can do alone.

I went for a long walk today -- I think it's only twenty minutes to a spot where you can see the downtowns of Glendale, LA, and Burbank -- and I note that Glendale on Christmas is a lot less dead than Cambridge on Thanksgiving. I can't tell if it's similarly *relatively* dead, compared to normality, but even on obscure residential roads there was a fair bit of continuous traffic. Though I guess I can tell that Brand, the main commercial street, was probably deader than I'd guess even a Sunday would be.

Walgreen's was open, and there's a couple things I wanted. At first I was going to wait until tomorrow, so as not to reward them making people work on a holiday, then I thought that they sell medical stuff so have an excuse, and the stuff I wanted is loosely medical, though not urgent. As it happens, their pharmacy is not open, nixing that excuse, and the checkout girl said she's not being paid extra -- sounded like you have to work there a year to get overtime on a holiday. I'm pretty sure the girls at Trader Joe's have said they get overtime just for working Sundays. Walgreen's also seemed pretty busy, both from what I could see and what she said.

Lots of neat house styles, more diverse, or at least different, than in Cambridge. But everyone having a yard has an unfortunate knock-on effect: there are no public parks or spaces with benches, not like the ubiquitous playgrounds and parklets of Camberville and Boston. I sorely noted the lack after an hour in the hills.

Seeing all the cars somehow reminded me of a bright guy in high school making an observation about car colors. I think he'd noted a shortage of yellow or orange cars; anyway, I remember that making me count cars in dealer lots years ago, and IIRC finding that white > black > red >> anything else. (That's lumping various grays and silvers in with white and black.) Here, the grayscale spectrum seems overwhelming, with white leading; I don't think there was a single hue in the Walgreen's parking lot. I do wonder if white or silver are usefully reflective while parked in sunlight, or if the car soaks up lots of heat anyway.
mindstalk: (YoukoRaku1)
That's a common saying by writers and publishers, that boys won't read books with girl leads, but girls will read boy or girl leads.  This always struck me as weird, personally -- I'm not doubting the claim, it just has no resonance to me.  These days I might read more female lead fiction than not.  But hey, I'm an adult, what was my boyhood like?

The most correct answer is "I can barely date exactly when I read anything".  But I have no memory of rejecting anything because it had a girl.  As to stuff I did read before college:

The Secret Garden
the Alice books
A Wrinkle in Time (and both sequels, though Charles Wallace shares the spotlight in the third.)
Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, also Moreta's Story and Nerilka's Song.
The Narnia books, two of which have Lucy prominently and one has Jillian.
The Blue Sword, though I forgot reading it, twice.  (In college I had deja vu about having deja vu about reading it.)

And then there's Star Trek:
My Enemy, My Ally, which I've re-read a lot, and splits POV between Ael and Kirk.
Uhura's Song
Tears of the Singers -- I don't remember these all that well, but Wikipedia says both are Uhura-centric[1].
Dwellers in the Crucible.
Dreadnought! and Battlestations! aka the Piper (a woman) books.  They're also first-person perspective.

I think there was also a bit of dabbling in Ramona and Beverly Clearly or Nancy Drew, but by the time I found those I'd pretty much outgrown them.

All that (21 books, not counting the real kiddie ones0 doesn't seem like a lot for 10 years of reading (age 7-17), but then I doubt I could make a list that would feel plausibly complete for the time period.

[1] At some point -- I no longer think second grade, because none of the books were published yet -- I was given a box set of four Star Trek novels: the three mentioned before the footnote, and The Wounded Sky, which was mostly Kirk POV though did have a lot of extra and non-sexualized female characters.  All four were by women authors, too, two of them by Diane Duane.  Not that I paid much attention to authors before college.  In retrospect, this is an interesting box set for Pocket Books to put out.  Not like the books are consecutive or directly related.

Many photos

2015-Jul-10, Friday 03:12
mindstalk: (escher)
A small part of me says I should be curating my own galleries on my website. But Instagram was easy, and I've been using that, especially for sharing to Facebook. Of course, its capabilities are limited. I just re-discovered how easy it is to upload photos to Flickr, and while the ordering ends up wonky, there's an option to "arrange album by date taken", which fixes that in most cases.

So, enjoy! https://www.flickr.com/photos/mindstalk/sets
I've been going to local museums a lot recently.

There are also some photos in the photostream that aren't in sets, like a nice one of South Station.
mindstalk: (escher)
I've seen about 100 anime series. (Go go IU anime club.) For Reasons (exposure to cliches), I wondered today how many Western TV shows I've seen to completion. I think I can count them on two hands.

Roswell (I *think* I saw it through)
Futurama? (not sure if I ever saw *all* of it.)
I, Claudius


I have seen a lot (like a couple seasons) of some others:

The Simpsons
Stargate SG-1 (probably have seen most of the first 7 seasons)
Dawson's Creek
Gilmore Girls
Doctor Who
Sarah Jane Adventures

And spotty (multiple episode) exposure to some others:

Game of Thrones
plus some others that I barely remember at all. Also, yes, I think I've seen little enough of TNG to be worth noting, whereas I remember (sadly) my exposure to Enterprise and Voyager.

So more than I thought at first. Still, something like 26 going down to exposure, with about 8 full shows, another 8 substantial. Of course, the US shows tend to be a lot longer. I think the longest anime I've seen is 75 episodes, which are half-hour (ignoring ad and title/credits time); B-5 was 5*22 episodes, Buffy and Angel 7*22 each, and those are hour eps. 418 hours for the three shows, which would be 32 26-episode anime series. Roswell's 3 seasons, SG-1 I've watched is probably at least 4 seasons in total...

Not sure if I've seen more hours of anime than of Western TV. Might be equal to within a factor of 2 and I don't care to count more precisely.

Return of the dance

2011-Apr-21, Thursday 00:33
mindstalk: (still life)
In my 2008 visit, fanw had pointed me at Five Guys Named Mike swing dance. When I first got here this year, and stayed in Harvard Square, I went. Didn't go back for a while, illness and weather and such, instead going to SCA dance Wednesdays, which is like contra, only they spend longer teaching the moves than dancing them since there's minimal repetition. Monday before last, I went back to swing, and did alright, though my shoes are lose and I got a blister. Sunday I went to a montly contra, which was pretty good. Monday I went to swing again, and ehhh. I had two good lindys, another decent considering I'd taught the girl what she knew, and a bunch of crappy ones, and near the end even an east coast seemed to fail. I wasn't getting the music, or the girls expect different things, or I don't know. And I've long had problems of a well-mastered but very small repertoire of lindy moves, and low confidence in experimenting with random people, and no experience in slow dance music.

But tonight I went to MIT Swing, which has the advantage of being free, and did way better. Lots of good dances, and with some observation, a lot more lindy improvisation, and coping with slower music. So, yay! I wonder if it's better music (though some of those were still weird for me), practice kicking in, or confidence because I was wearing slightly better clothes. Or more interesting ones, at least: anime t-shirt, black shirt over it, and a newly purchased top hat. Not that anyone commented on either hat or T-shirt.

In other news, I may be on my way to learning "Aimo" (short version) and "One Tin Soldier". Billy Bragg's Internationale is still beyond my vocal control, I think.
mindstalk: (Default)
The ride

A recent entry was "I have bicycled". Wednesday I could have posted "I have bicycled a lot more". I set out to wander, first down Rindge, until I remembered a putative farmers' market at Davis. I don't think it's started up yet (in the year), but that brought me near a bike trail leading off Davis. Which turned out to be the Minuteman Bike Trail. Which turned out to go on forever. First to Alewife -- so I could bike to TJ, though I'm not sure how long it'd take -- and then to where it could go to Belmont but doesn't because they're taking over a year to redo whatever they're doing (did I mention the Porter Square elevator is being rebuilt over the next year? A year. One elevator.) but does still go toward Arlington, and then on to Lexington, and then beyond. (Yes, Lexington as in Lexington and Concord from Revolutionary US history.) I was two hours outbound -- including wrong turns and breaks -- to 5 or 10 minutes past Lexington center, and an hour inbound without breaks. One way distance looked like 8.75 miles on Google Earth. I slowed down at the end, but we're probably talking 11 miles an hour... I had phone-GPS timing me, at 3-8 meters/second, with 5 being modal. That's 6.7, 17.9, and 11.2 miles per hour. Fits with the road bikes zooming past me.

Highlights: there's still snow on the path! Little piles on the side, but still! Some lake or pond I went over. Checking out some history plaques in Lexington -- bike trail used to be rail line, and I'd rather still have a good train, honestly. Coming back, I returned to what I thought of as "some random intersection in West Cambridge, Harvey and something", until GPS told me 'something' was Mass. Ave, and I could just ride home rather than continuing back to Davis Square. And it soon looked somewhat familiar, I think from when I'd been exploring while staying at Davis Square. -- Mass. Ave northbound is a tease: bike lane, no lane, bike lane, no lane. Cars trying to crush you regardless of lane. Meanwhile north of Porter the sidewalk is huge and almost untrafficked. You're not supposed to ride on it, but the incentives don't really encourage rule-following.

It may have been my longest bike ride ever -- certainly one of the longest. (Yeah, 18 miles isn't much, for many, but my biking is mostly making walkable distances easier especially with bags, not unwalkable distances.) It could have been longer; I turned back mostly because I knew there was an hour before sundown, and after 6 months of storage my headlight batteries need recharge or replacement.

Not so highlight: as with many other times I've had an unusual burst of exercise, I got sick the next day. Mild fever (maybe) and sore throat, still with me today. Great timing, given the big "meet the never-met side of the family" meeting scheduled for today. Which I went to, since I wasn't *that* sick.


How'd it go? A lot better than it could have. This is the family side I grew up thinking of as "a zillion cousins whom I've never met and I'm probably not missing much" due to presumed differences in religion and education if not intelligence. My father and his siblings were basically divorced, as it were, and I heard a bit about depressed childhood silences or something. And on my part, not only was I sick, but I got like 4-5 hours of sleep last night -- no idea why, I didn't feel worried or stressed, I just didn't feel that tired and wasn't falling asleep despite hitting bed at a fine hour (I'm guessing last night's watching of Hayate the Combat Butler did not drain the brain of glucose the way reading two Rosemary Kirstein novels the day before did) -- and when I got up I didn't feel hungry -- common when sleep-deprived -- and didn't eat, until I was just leaving then did feel hungry and could only grab a bit of snack. So sick, tired, sleep-sick, and hungry Damien, meeting unknown family of divergent background. Could have been awkward.

But it went quite well, I thought. The relatives who got me at Alewife are a couple of friendly nerds, which is a great way to bring me in, Aunt L was quite talkative and friendly, and I got along with the other relatives I talked to. And my energy was adequate, as was my voice. I learned a fair bit about the family, both dry family tree stuff I'd asked about but would need better notes for, and little details that explain some things, such as the family having been rather better off before the Depression, while my father was born in the Depression. Family depression connectible to the Depression, not just being poor but notably poorer. Met people I'd like to see again, ate good chicken -- a good day.

Relative M asked if it was weird, meeting a bunch of strangers and getting asked the same thing over and over ("Why'd you move to Boston? Where do you live? What do you do?") but I figured that was part of the family-prodigal experience. Honestly nothing was as weird as meeting a maternal cousin in Conn. 10 years ago and opening the silverware drawer and going "...I grew up with these." (Aunts had given duplicate sets to my mother and cousin's mother.)

Circle closing

My father grew up in Boston, of course. (Before the Depression, they were in Conn. Huh.) I've lived in LA where my mother grew up, SF where my parents met, and now am in Boston. (I'm fudging, here: Pasadena/Hollywood, SF/Berkeley, Cambridge/Jamaica Plain.)

And apparently the bike trail that got me sick goes not too far from Aunt L's house, so if I can get the stamina or warmth to keep going a few miles past Lexington I could visit on my own power. Or take the bike on the commuter rail and bike the two? four? less than twelve! miles over.

I have bicycled

2011-Mar-27, Sunday 17:11
mindstalk: (Default)
I had 9 books on reserve at the main library, which is like a 20 minute walk away. It seemed a good time to get around to biking again. I walked it down to the shop 2 blocks away, and asked about my loose cork handlebar. "Hairspray, which we don't have. Or for that, some strong glue, ditto." I'd previous known that they had free hand pumps in the store, and that another store had free hand pumps and a compressor fixed at 80 psi, which compared unfavorably to the Bloomington store which has a variable compressor. Today I found that this store does have a compressor, set to 65 psi -- ideal for my mountain bike -- and *outside*, so the store doesn't have to be open. One point to it.

Then my first ride in the Boston area. On the street down Forest and Oxford and part of Kirkland, then I chickened out and hit a wide low-traffic sidewalk along aa narrow bus-ridden street. Street again to the next main street, and I'm glad I then asked where the library was. I was thinking left or right, it turned out to be the next street over, right in front of me down a walkway. I'd luckily chosen just the right place to turn right.

I explored a bit more. Feels like the Monroe Public Library might be bigger than Cambridge Main but the layouts are so different it's hard for me to judge. Seems like smaller footprint, but stacked four stories. Of course there's more branch libraries, and that network of pretty much all the suburban libraries.

I forgot my exact departure time, but it wasn't more than 12 minutes to the library. 9 minutes back. Parked down in the basement; keeping it in my second story apartment would be doable but awkward, given double doors and a medium staircase.

Gee, if I got my dumbbells back out, I'd stop needing the gym membership. Unless they get the swimming pool working. And there's the whole low-stress thing about stationary bikes.
mindstalk: (Default)
The clubhouse of the New England SF Association is about a mile from me, and thus further from T stops. I did not know of or plan this, but it's convenient. A mile along the steep hill of Lowell street, mind you; I got my aerobics for the night. I went to the Wednesday meeting, got reminded of the Latin American businesses in the middle of Somerville, chatted, looked at the rather large library, saw their reprint collection, saw a bunch of people either older than me or kids, and played a couple games of Dominion, both of which I won.

First: 25 to I don't know (x2) to negative. I got City + 2 Mountebank combos more than once, giving me buying power and everyone else curses and diluted decks. Also got a bunch of Silver, and Expand cards, which upgraded Estates to Duchies and a Duchy to a Province. Everyone else was buying Watchtowers, which helped defend a bit, but didn't accelerate. We were playing Prosperity, but no one had the power to get Platinum or Colony, though I'd probably have Expanded to a Colony had the game gone longer.

Second game was closer, 33 to 30 to 26. I didn't buy any Mountebanks, but did buy Thief, which helped steal some silver and gold. A bunch of Lighthouses, though I still had 5 Curses at the end from the other Mountebanks. First card was a Monument, and I ended up with 8 VP chips from Monuments. Tactician + Vault + Shantytowns proved a good combination, Tribute a nice bonus.

NESFA has Rosemary Kirstein! I've never seen copies of her books before.
mindstalk: (Default)
I finally got a Cambridge library card. This seems slow -- I've been bouncing around here for almost 3 months. Then again, the key word there is 'bouncing', I've only had conventional documentation of residence for the past two weeks. I was given a choice of conventional card or keychain card, opted for the latter for novelty and convenience. Starting to get a lot of those... I was told spontaneously where the computers are, and that they were in the old building, which might be nice to look at. And it was nice to look at. All the new SF I looked up was in the system, as was the Spirit Level. Not all of it was on the shelf, especially Surface Detail which was supposed to be on the shelf. Still, I walked away with 4 hardcovers.

A friend has apparently outpaced me in intuitive grasp of Celsius, so I've been working on that the past couple of days. Got Wunderground to display Celsius (classic mode can show English and metric units), and as I walked to Vericon Sunday thought about the scale. I'd already memorized every 10 Celsius in a useful range, but I'm still translating to Fahrenheit. But now I know that 21-22 is the ideal comfort range, 18-23 is broader comfort (so obvious 17 would be cool but still good, to refer back to our conversation), 37 is body temp and way too hot. 0 is freezing of course, though it has cognitive conflict with 0 F being really damn freezing.

What I particularly figured are the jumps. See, every 10 F can be thought of as a minor layer change or increase in discomfort. 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, 60 to 70, 75 to 85, etc. If you have the ideal clothing and activity for temp X, you can probably get by in X-10 or X+10 with discomfort but not danger. And that's about 5 C. OTOH, a delta of 20 F is major clothing/behavior change or danger. 10 to 30 -- both need warm clothes, but 10 F needs more thorough bundling, you can't skimp. 30 to 50, 20 to 40, 50 to 70, 70 to 90. And that's about 10 C. So this should help transtion, where I can at least relate an unfamiliar C temp to more familiar ones, rather than translating to F.
mindstalk: (Default)
My bicycle is now in storage. I'm kind of proud of myself: I biked it there despite the 109 degree heat index. 20 minutes from Swain to Winslow and Walnut, another 5 to the storage, though that's with a bit of walking and a couple of unnecessary street crossings. 316 is east side of the street in the north, but 3150 is west side in the south. Go go grid consistency! That bike leg was after first doing some shopping and errand running on bike, though those were shorter legs interrupted by A/C.

I didn't do it dry, literally: I'd soaked my head and shirt in water before setting out, and later put some wet paper towels beneath my helmet.

Have tickets to Cleveland to see a friend for a couple of days, then to London because that was $500 cheaper than flying straight to Paris and there's a train, right? Plus might be nice to get "foreign" but not "language I don't speak at all" for a bit.

* Some discussion of the recent ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
* History behind the "Ground Zero mosque"
* Soviet [sic] Koreans of Central Asia
mindstalk: (Default)
Biked over to Short Stop yesterday for BBQ again, and had their pulled pork and baked beans. Pork was better than what I find by the farmer's market here but still not thrilling me; I think I'd stick with their ribs. Beans were too sweet for my taste. Fudge still awesome.

XKCD is rather funny today even for friends who think it's not funny much these days.

Michelle has neat but friends-locked education-related posts about Read Aloud and "The End of Men".

After seeing a Daily Show clip about Obama, The View, and the new government health care site had me imagining Obama as Mr. Rogers.

I've been reflecting on inter-friend influences. Meeting Lisa had me listening to a lot more Steeleye Span, then branching out to Celtic music. John and the Yoders, especially the youngest, got me reading the Pliocene Saga. 'Griffin' liked my Oscar Williams poetry anthology so much I had to buy her a new one to get mine back. I think John gave her Griffin and Sabine, which I then gave to my mother, for enjoyment all around. Jane may have introduced me to Stephenson; I still have her Snow Crash. Michele introduced me to Krugman and weightlifting, Blake to reading Stiglitz. Most of my friends with kids have gone for very rare names; I'm not sure if any of them were directly influenced by my pushing for such over the years, but it'd be nice to think. I introduced Amy to hummus, M&C to raw honey (I'd heard it might work for gradual pollen acclimation, they find miraculous healing properties in it), and Amy, M, and possibly Ch to cold-brewed or warm-brewed drinks. Possibly others too. Andrew likes Trillin thanks to me; Blake read Taste of America, though I don't think he liked it as much as I do. We went in for an ounce of saffron together, though I forget who started that. I think he's been mildly haunted by my "you are what you attend to", which I may have gotten from Your Money or Your Life. A&L's bathroom has introduced me to the joys of a bathroom with a high skylight and a philodendron -- I'm showering in nature -- though I'd trade both for higher water pressure. :p Lisa John and Sarah probably influenced me toward geology in college, though not to German. Fanw's baking got me to bake bread, which got her to try baking non-dessert bread, though she didn't keep it up. Fanw got me to go to UU stuff in San Francisco, and possibly dancing. Latin-major's enjoyed almost every book I've lent her, and counts a couple as new favorites. Fanw got me watching Buffy, and I got Liz watching Buffy, and she took to it at fanfic levels.

Incomplete list is incomplete.
mindstalk: (CrashMouse)
Downtown Kroger has Medjool dates for $5.29 or $5.79 per 14 ounces. Cheaper than the $7.99/pound other places here have.

My bike's taillight was dim. I finally got out the screwdriver to replace the batteries. I noted that it still had light, and didn't fade right away, so I wondered if I really needed to replace it, but did so anyway. Holy crap! Whereas before it was "I am a light, technically", now it's bright enough to illuminate. Even the dimmest mode is a good deal brighter than the brightest one was before.

Nothing new, but my cork handlebar grips are still awesome. Look pretty dirty, but still feel better than my old plastic ones. I still don't know how they hold up in rain.

I'm pretty sure my parents cooked a lot with green onions (scallions), though I cannot remember exactly what, other than my birthday won tons, probably. I never did anything with them, but I figured I should finally give them a try. Still haven't sauteed with them, but chopped scallions has been a nice addition to alfredoish pasta, and I've mixed them into lambburger before cooking it. A good taste.

After getting some store sushi from Bloomingfood's, I remembered seared rare ahi tuna with pepper that I had long ago in SF. So I tried griding black pepper on the sushi (salmon, tuna, probably red snapper). Not a bad variation.

George Takei (Sulu) and Brad Altman tell married gays how to fill out their census form. Cute, short, youtube.

Why do anarchists drink herbal tea?

Because proper tea is theft. -- Aaron Denney

"See, it's called Easter in a linguistic shift from the antique Yeaster, which was used because He is Risen." -- 'Guvmint Helper' on RPG.net

February 2019

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