Well...

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:38 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
It appears that Madame's operation was successful so far.
Fingers crossed.

And some more good news:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41351159


Today looks to be a herald of a small victory for Madame, and one potentially huge one for millions of other folk. Fingers double-crossed.

Top ten most influential: Movies 3

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:14 pm
garote: (bedroom 1)
[personal profile] garote

As a writing exercise, I've chosen the ten books, albums, movies, and games that were most important in defining me as a person, and challenged myself to explain why.

Some of these set my artistic tone or left huge imprints on my personality, others changed the course of my life or career. With each item I can say, "if not for this, I would be someone else right now." But why? It's a hard question to answer. A strong feeling would compel me to put something on the list, and then I'd realize I had no clue how to unpack that feeling.

I'm doing the movies chronologically. Number four:

Bodacious Ta-Tas (1985)

Quite a few times I pondered just dropping this movie from the list, because I knew it would be hard to write about with both honesty and class. But the challenge is the point of this writing exercise, isn't it? Be warned; if discussions of pornography or masturbation disturb you, you should probably browse somewhere else.

Bear with me; this is going to take a lot of unpacking. )

Whew, that was a long one!

Update.

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:12 am
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
Fred has her surgery tomorrow.
Fingers crossed.

She's told the kids she needs to have an operation in hospital and won't be around. Her mum is staying with her in Dulwich. I have the kids over this weekend and from Thursday next. It's all been a bit hectic, and, as with our separation, we've kept the kids in the dark about stuff. Who knew that parenting entailed such subterfuge and moral equivocation? But it seems that some information is best kept on a "need to know" basis, as we protect the kids from stuff they may not need to know if everything works out fine.

Stage 1 (b). Radical surgery and a lymph-node-ectomy, and maybe some radio and chemo. They got it early, thank the gods. Madame of course is caught in the bureaucratic void between private patients and the NHS. They don't talk much to each other. Paperwork isn't shared. Stuff can slip between the cracks. And it's just more hassle when she doesn't need it.

Anyway, I'll know more in the next few days.

Top ten most influential: Movies 2

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:46 pm
garote: (Default)
[personal profile] garote

As a writing exercise, I've chosen the ten books, albums, movies, and games that were most important in defining me as a person, and challenged myself to explain why. With the movies, I'm going chronologically, and this is number 3.

Ghostbusters (1984)

I was eight years old when this movie came out. I already loved all things Halloween, and a mashup of ghosts with sci-fi contraptions and nerdy jokes was perfect for me. The visual effects were great too, and it set the template for what I thought ghosts should be like: Gassy neon light shows, drifting around doing their own thing. If you got in their way they would attack at you. Then if you didn't run away, something awful and mysterious would happen and you'd never be seen again. So basically, ghosts were like elephants. Except they were more colorful, and made less noise going through a wall.

Also, scientists were fun, and could act like total weirdos as long as they got their work done. That weirdness got injected into my own life as pile of catchphrases, like, "Dogs and cats, living together; mass hysteria!" and "There is no [insert random thing here], only Zuul!" and "I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! LET'S DO IT!" and of course, "Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES." And so many others. My friends and I swapped these around endlessly until they were part of our grammar. There were also quotes that I didn't get until much later. I was in my 30's before I really understood, "You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I worked in the private sector. They expect results!" And now I find it hilarious that Louis invited all his work clients to a party and called it a "promotional expense."

The music was fantastic too. I bought the soundtrack on cassette and played it on the living room stereo, and danced and rolled around on the carpet. My favorites were the "Ghostbusters Main Theme", and then "Dana's Theme" which immediately followed it.

Ah yes, and Sigourney Weaver was in this movie, and I immediately liked her. Not because her character got possessed by a demon and acted all vampy - which I found incomprehensible as an eight-year-old - but because she projected a sort of comfortable maturity. Looking back, I have to say that if she knew what she was doing as an actor - which she probably did - it was very smart to take what was really a "damsel in distress" and "love interest" role and rearrange it to say "I'm perfectly fine on my own and I have my shit together, but circumstances made me reach out to these Ghostbuster guys, and Peter is a goofball but I am allowing myself to be charmed by him because he is being a gentleman at the same time." Some other actress could have taken her scenes and lines, and been flirty and jumpy and clingy, and then just swooned into Peter's arms at the end of the film, but Sigourney chose to deliver something else, and it managed to show how her character might honestly be attracted to someone like Peter in the first place, and vice-versa.

So, take that over to me, the preteen goofball in the audience: Here's a classy lady who might actually want to be your girlfriend some day. Wow!

My crush on her got a huge boost, of course, when I saw Aliens two years later.

So why was this movie so influential to me, aside from the endless quoting? Why is Ghostbusters on this list, when Return Of The Jedi (which came out just the year before) didn't make it? Mostly because of a statement it makes with its characters.

This movie came out in 1984, the same year that "Revenge Of The Nerds" was in theaters. It's hard to understand now, but back in 1984 "nerds" were actually seen as a minority group that needed some kind of "revenge." How the times have changed! Ghostbusters made a different statement to nerds: It's not you versus "jocks". It's not you versus anyone. If you don't feel like you "fit in", don't worry about it. Stick with your friends, feed your obsessions, and try to have fun -- because you can be aggressively weird and still command respect when your weirdness makes you very good at your job.

That was the key idea. Even if I wasn't going to save New York City from an apocalypse, I could still find some way to make my weirder nature useful, whether that took the form of being a hardcore scientist like Egon, an excited collaborator like Ray, a steady hand like Winston, or a goofball like Peter. Like the Ghostbusters, my friends were an ensemble of nerds, and perhaps the future could be bright for us... Or at least better than the confusion and sense of rejection we felt from most other kids our age. This movie whispered to me that perhaps our "revenge" for suffering as nerdy kids could be to thrive as nerdy adults.

Also, when someone asks you, if you're a god, you say YES !!!

Went to Charlie's funeral today...

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
johnny9fingers: (Default)
[personal profile] johnny9fingers
Lots of folk there. Chaps from the Popes sent messages. Lots of musos, folk from Upland Road, and friends and rellies from all around.

We'd talked about putting a band together last year. Instead I moved out to my flat, and Charlie, who was only fifty-three, found he had Cancer. He fought against it, of course. He is survived by his wife and son. May their grief be short, and their memories everlasting.

Also saw someone else pertinent to my life has died. Pertinent to all of our lives, actually.

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/18/soviet-officer-who-averted-cold-war-nuclear-disaster-dies-aged-77


Honour to Lt Col Stanislav Petrov, and to his memory, and to his shared humanity.

History of Felton

Sep. 17th, 1998 10:18 pm
garote: (conan pc)
[personal profile] garote

From an email archive, transferred across a dozen computers. Written by my friend Jeremy:


I was lately given the assignment to write a brief history of Felton. Many weeks passed and I've produced nothing but fifty pages of notes, so I decided to write up a few brief paragraphs which outlined the history, so I could stuff my notes into it. I was in a very bad mood this morning when I wrote it.

History of a Useless Hole in the Wall

Named After A Second-Rate Lawyer

Um. Might as well begin at the beginning.

The Portola expedition, and stuff, in 1769. They found a parrot in a valley and called it the Pajaro. Then, uh, they travelled some more.

And they crossed the river on St. Lawrence day that year, which happened to be October 17th. So they named the river the San Lorenzo. Coincidentally, this was the same day that the Loma Prieta Earthquake would strike the area, oh, let's see, 100, 200, ... Um, 89 minus 69 ... 220 years later.

So then. A bunch of crap happened in between 1769 and 1843, the upshot of which was the following: a bastard named Isaac Graham moved his sawmill to the Zayante area, at the intersection of the San Lorenzo and something else I can't remember now, because I'm not really interested in this subject.

Anyway, at some point after this, a jerk named Edward Stanly put his head together with Graham's and they set up a town plan. Stanly decided on some absurd whim to name it after his stupid lawyer, Mr. Felton, who was never much use to him otherwise.

This asshole had been all through the senate and congress and all that. He really got around like a good frickin' citizen. Who cares? I rhetorically ask. Not me. This guy, at least, was a good parent, we can surmise this from the evidence of Katharine Felton, the feminist and social worker. That's more than we can say for most second-rate lawyers.

Well, a lot of shit went down in this new town. There were lime kilns, and a railroad, and plenty logging. Mostly they fucked themselves over by the end of World War One in 1918 due to overlogging. Serve the stupid greedy fuckers right! After a period of decline, during which the town capitalized on its natural beauties to lure tourists, the town became a dump of sorts for people who had better-paying jobs in overcrowded, inhuman, smoggy,crappy, crime-ridden, disgusting San Jose, only a half hour's drive away!

Also the usual suspects cropped up: businesses and institutions like schools, a library, a coupla grocery stores and an office supply store which marked everything up by a couple thousand percent just because the people couldn't get their paper anywhere else. You know. Places which thrive everywhere people clot like tainted blood.

And that's the history of this stupid town. The End.

garote: (Default)
[personal profile] garote

This is a classic "dynamic programming" problem that job applicants in the software industry are sometimes given. The problem is this:

Given a staircase with n steps, how many different ways can you climb it, assuming that your stride is large enough to take steps 1, 2, or 3 at a time?

The solution that people pursue most easily is the recursive solution, looking something like this:

var steps = 14;
var solution = possibilities(steps, 1) +
			possibilities(steps, 2) + possibilities(steps, 3);

function possibilities(remaining, thisStride) {
	remaining -= thisStride;
	if (remaining < 0) { return 0; }
	if (remaining == 0) { return 1; }
	return possibilities(remaining, 1) +
		possibilities(remaining, 2) + possibilities(remaining, 3);
}

(This is JavaScript by the way.)

But, there is another way to find the answer, that runs in linear time -- that is, for a given value of n, the program takes around n iterations to find the answer. It involves keeping track of the last several values calculated in the loop, and it looks something like this:

var steps = 14;
var solution = stepCombinations(steps);

function stepCombinations(g) {
	var pattern = [-1,0,0,1];
	if (g < 1) { return 0; }
	var iter = 0;
	var total = 0;
	while (iter < g) {
		total = (total * 2) - (pattern[iter % 4]);
		pattern[iter % 4] = total;
		iter++;
	}
	return total;
}

The ten dollar question is: Why does this second method work?

McManamon Theater Sept 9 2017

Sep. 12th, 2017 09:09 pm
ericcoleman: Cheshire Moon (Cheshire Moon)
[personal profile] ericcoleman
We played two storming sets this weekend. Xap streamed both live for us over our FB page. I was able to snag them and repost them on You Tube.

Susan joined as, as she does for a lot of the Chicago area shows. Cathy McManamon both hosted and sang and played drums a bit.

Set 1 - https://youtu.be/J6grsJHdC3w

Set 2 - https://youtu.be/3ZQh9T_o03E

If you like these, and want to support our House Concert shows, think about sending us something via PayPal. cheshiremoonband at gmail.

We've also posted this around.

We’re starting to think about next year. I expect we will do a show at the Church on Lawrence in Chicago, as we try to do every year. Another house concert in Champaign is probably going to happen, like it does. If the November show in Indianapolis works out, we’ll go back there. Cathy has said she wants us to do another show at her place. This weekend's show was very special.

Right now the only definite convention is Demicon (that will change I am sure). After the financial beating we have taken this year, the cost of badges and rooms are just beyond our means.

We still want to do a show a month at least. So we’re looking. We’re looking to do house concerts, especially house concerts, coffee houses, little music festivals, anything like that. We don’t do Ren Faires, we’re just not that sort of band. We don’t do bars. We want to go places where the music is the focus.

And we want to get places we haven’t been! So if we haven't come out your way and you think of a place that might work for us, please let us know!

There is now video of an entire house concert on our FB page (and it will be up on You Tube soon). This one was unusual because Susan was playing with us, which she doesn’t do very often, living in a different city and all. But it shows you what we do live. (this part written before I posted the video)

We’re never going to do this for a living. I’ll be 60 next year, and I don’t see myself living in a van for weeks at a time.

But we want to play as much as we can. We want to record more new songs.

So, if you have a place for us to play, please let us know.

In the meantime, enjoy this weekend's show.

CCC DNF (72km in 17hrs)

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:15 am
alexanderr: (Default)
[personal profile] alexanderr
Chamonix_September_2017_ sign_small

не завершил дистанцию, сошел в Trient'е. это еще была Швейцария, домой до Франции добирался уже на автобусе. CCC, если кто вдруг не знает, это Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix. ну, т.е. старт в Италии, потом Швейцария и финиш уже во Франции. считается, что это забег на 100 километров. но бега там довольно мало. почти все время идешь с рюкзаком и с палками. то в гору, то с горы. т.е. это быстрый hiking такой. проходит в рамках UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), который уже 160км. и они там делают полную петлю вокруг Монблана, а CCC это только половина петли. детский вариант. разминочный. ну, и там еще куча других забегов, есть и длинее и короче. всего бежит 10,000 человек примерно. из них 2,500 это UTMB и около 2,100 это CCC. маршрут размечен вот такими белым с красным полосками, как на первой фотографии. они там везде, куда ни пойдешь. любая естественная пешеходная тропинка в этих долинах это UTMB. и еще стрелки на дороге со словами UT.

так, а вот это мое выступление в кратком но емком варианте:

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если присмотреться, то видно, что скорость моя на последнем отрезке достигла 2км/час. это не шутка. последние 5км я таки преодолел за 2.5 часа.

more pics )

Chicago!

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:24 pm
ericcoleman: (Default)
[personal profile] ericcoleman
We played a lot of music this weekend. A lot of new songs. Susan was brilliant. Cathy sat in for a couple of songs (a sublime version of The Weaving, and wonderful drums on Solstice).

Saturday night was really special. One of those shows we will talk about for years. Both sets are available to watch on our Faceboook page. We're working on getting it on You Tube.

Saturday night at the McManamon Theatre, complete with footnotes!

Set 1
Circus Of Dreams
Disenchanted
Witch In Your Story
Beast Within
Tea & Fireflies - C-P
The Weaving (With Cathy and Susan on vocals)
Callenwood Part One - C-P
Hamlin’s Bow - C-P
Calvin's Girl
Narrow Way

Set 2
Ghost Train
Banshee
Horizon
Seaside Evening Market - 1-P
An Affirming Flame - 1-P
Masters of Library Science
Gargoyles - P
Shadow Moon - 1
Spinning Skies & Mirrors - P
Solstice (With Cathy on drum) - P

Then, Sunday at Greater Chicago Pagan Pride, also a marvelous show. Eric had rubber fingers, but still managed!

Gargoyles - P
The Well Stone - P
Persephone
Shadow Moon - P
Spinning Skies & Mirrors - P
Widow's Garden
Ghost Train
Snow White Red Road
Boneman's Daughter
Solstice

If it is marked with a C, it is a Callenwood song
If it is marked with a 1, it was the first time we have played it live
If it is marked with a P, it is available in demo form on our Patreon page.

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