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megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra says "Heee!" (Ha ha only serious)
Saturday, April 14th, 2012 11:04 am
I'm still alive and well and living in suburbia. Himself is employed again (starts the new job on Monday), so we have income (or at least, income greater than the dole) to look forward to. Mostly I've been wandering around making comments on other blogs.

I've taken to playing Echo Bazaar again - they're letting people create accounts even without Facebook or Twitter accounts to link to them. If you're on there, have a look for Hepzibah Murgatroyd - that's me. At present, I'm busy dealing with an invasion of rats in my lodgings, which is leaving me quite nicely set up for a few other storylines (for a start, I'm looking at having accumulated at least half the purchase price for a route to another part of Fallen London).

I've stopped reading certain online periodicals - mainly the ones from the "Gawker" stable (so Jezebel, Kotaku etc), and any others which insist I have to have Javascript turned on in order to be able to view content on their website. Yes, I'm a web purist - I have this insane notion that I should be able to see web content using an HTML viewer (such as a web browser) without needing to enable fifty gazillion different add-ons (or run through a list of approximately twenty different JS hosts in NoScript in order to figure out which ones are going to need to be enabled so I can see what's on the page). It's quite easy: they aren't going to show me something worthwhile in plain HTML, I'm going to take it as a declaration that they don't have any worthwhile content.

So far that seems to work just fine as a sorting algorithm.

Hmmm... other things, other things. I've been reading through this post by Nick Mamatas about Geek Pride and Geek Culture, wherein he points out that, among other things:

"Yes, a fascination with the strategies of Pokémon or Magic: the Gathering is just like someone else's fascination with RBI averages. That doesn't raise your interests up; that helps let us know how silly too minute an interest in professional sport is.

Which makes me think about my latest bit of statistics neepery. I've long realised I like playing with numbers and statistics. I enjoy compiling huge reference sheets of this, that and the other thing, and usually I'll do that with things from role-playing games (you should see the spreadsheet I have for the monsters in Eyangband!). It's something which keeps me happy, and gives the more neepish side of my personality something to do. This year, I've decided to go back to a tried-and-true old favourite source of statistics, namely the AFL football. It's fun, really. I "watch" the game via the ABC's Grandstand AFL Scores app, refreshing every so often and updating the spreadsheet and the text file I have with summary stuff as required. It's interesting coming up with a "story" for what I'm seeing (for example, my ongoing explanation for long periods where there's not been a scoring kick made by either side is that the umpires have confiscated the ball; if one side hasn't scored for a long period in the first quarter, maybe they're not sure where the ground is) and it's a lot more fun for me than watching a bunch of blokes run around a muddy paddock to the sound of other blokes telling me what's happening right in front of my eyes, with regular interruptions for commercials for beer.

(This round's match to watch is going to be the West Coast Eagles vs the GWS Giants. Top of the ladder vs bottom of the ladder, and the previous two matches the Giants have been in they've pretty much been walked over. However, they do have a few chances of winning. Possible strategies include: telling the Eagles that the game's been moved to a different ground, whoops, sorry, didn't you know?; locking the Eagles players out of their changing rooms; or locking the Eagles players into their changing rooms and "losing" the keys until about three-quarter time. I should explain for non-AFL fans that GWS are the newest kids on the block, they're from a non-traditional AFL state, and they're not really expected to do more this season than try their hardest and walk away with the wooden spoon anyway.)

Oh, and it all gives me numbers to play with. Which is also fun.

We have a rent inspection coming up (sigh) which means this weekend we're cleaning the place up so it looks nice and shiny for the nice person from the real estate company when they visit on Tuesday. At present, I'm tackling the kitchen and the main family areas, and my system is fairly simple - thirty minutes straight of work, followed by one hour of futzing around doing whatever else I fancy.

I find this works better for me than just ploughing in with a sustained cleaning frenzy does. For a start, it means I'm allowed to stop and rest for a time, and it's not "giving up" - and "giving up" is something which inevitably kills off my cleaning frenzies. Also, thirty minutes is a nice, comfortable time interval. It's long enough to get several tasks done (for example, I can dry up one load of dishes, wash a new load, and move on to clean up bench space or wipe down the stove or whatever) and see some progress. It's long enough that I can feel like I can take my time on things and do it Right (whereas fifteen minute bursts make me feel rushed - gotta do it all NOW!), and I can also feel like I've achieved something at the end of the thirty minutes. The one hour gaps in between the thirty minute bursts mean I don't feel put upon or martyred by having to do the jobs, and it also means I'm not storming into Himself's den to demand he does something too (so he can be as miserable about the whole mess as I am). Contrariwise, having the bursts of activity between the breaks for other stuff mean I'm not feeling guilty about not helping out with the cleaning. Plus, it means I have enough energy left at the end of the day to do things like cook dinner (an important consideration).

The fanfic is still going up at AO3, although I'm starting to run out of stuff to post to plump things out to the 10 items per week thing. Oh dear, I may have to either slow down posting, or start writing again. Oh noes.
megpie71: Text: "My grip on reality's not too good at the best of times." (reality)
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 10:15 am
These past few days I've been feeling like crap. Hence no post yesterday. I'll try to get one out for tomorrow.
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Saturday, July 30th, 2011 06:14 am
It sucks. I hurt. Could it please go away right now, kthanxbye?

[A slightly longer comment: I've been coughing now for about three days, my chest aches, and I really didn't need to wind up with a trapped nerve in my right arm overnight just to add to the fun. Feeling very sore and very sorry for myself, but not emphasising this because Himself has been barking away for about two weeks straight with this while attempting to carry out his job and find us new rental accommodation. I may not be dead, but boy, it's starting to sound like a fun alternative at this point.]
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 09:32 am
It's May 22. I'm still here. So are my neighbours. So is New Zealand.

But then, I had a problem with Mr Camping's figures from the start - they were based around the whole business of "years from Christ's birth", and the assumption this occurred at some fictitious Year Zero. Now, there's a few small problems with this: firstly, and most importantly, there wasn't a Year Zero at all - in fact, at the time Christ was supposed to have been born, there were two calendars his birth might have been reported on, and one of those was the Hebrew calendar which (at that time[1]) counted years since Seleucus I Nicator returned to Babylon after his Egyptian exile (because Galilee, Judah and surrounding territories fell firmly into the Seleucid empire). The other was the Roman imperial calendar, which counted years since the city of Rome had been founded by Remus in memory of his brother.

The second big problem is that the timing of the birth of Christ wasn't noted in any contemporaneous historical documents (there are three gospel references, all of which post-date the death of Christ by at least 100 years[2]) and therefore it can't be fixed. The best most biblical and historical scholars can do is guess - to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, depending on the premises they use.

The Anno Domini (or "Year of Our Lord") dating system wasn't actually devised as a way of counting years until approximately 525CE. It was originally created as a way of dating Easter each year, as a replacement for the Diocletian epoch (Diocletian being the the last Roman emperor to go in for serious persecution of Christians, and mass production of Christian martyrs). The only thing which has come down to the present day is the actual conversion table from Diocletian years to AD, and there's no notes available to provide any cross references to other dating systems, or any indication of the calculations used.

Historical research has since been conducted to try and figure out when the actual birth of Christ occurred[3], and the results of this are rather interesting. In effect, the dates for various biblical cross-references can put the date of Christ's birth anywhere in the period between 18BC and 7AD (depending on which of the gospels you believe to be accurate). The most widely accepted figures tend to be between 9 and 6 BCE.

Now, given this, even if we accept every other part of Mr Camping's mathematics to be exact, divinely inspired and absolutely correct, the best guess is that the end of the world would have begun sometime between 2002 and 2005. If this were the case, then clearly we were just all too busy to notice - or there were a lot of people who were expecting to be Raptured who were clearly not as good at this whole Christianity thing as they thought they were.

But hey, dating Christ's birth is an imprecise science. If we take the latest figure possible for Christ's birth (putting his birth at the time of the census of Syria and Iudaea in 6 - 7CE[4]) then we should be looking out for the end of the world in 2017 or 2018. If it hasn't already ended in 2012, as per the Mayan calendar.

[1] The current Hebrew calendar counts the years since the founding of the world as per biblical record, but it's only been doing so since about the 3rd century CE.
[2] Thus they post-date his birth by at least 133 years.
[3] I haven't yet heard of any research into whether it occurred at all - but then, I'm not a theological or archaeological scholar.
[4] Although this is slightly inconsistent with the same gospel writer's record of Christ's conception occurring during the reign of Herod the Great, which ended in 4BCE. Of course, if this is at all accurate, I can understand why the (previously) Virgin Mary is regarded as a saint - an eleven year pregnancy would be trying for anyone, let alone a first-time mother!
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra says "Heee!" (Ha ha only serious)
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 06:40 pm
And the kitchen table. And the receipt for the new printer and the expansion drive which didn't work. And a whole heap of paperwork from the past three years.

The thing which triggered all of this was installing a new printer (well, all-in-one device really - it scans and it prints and it photocopies and although it doesn't fax things, it's connected to a computer with an internet connection, so it can perform the equivalent of faxing too) and discovering that the only place I had where the printer would actually fit on my desk was (at that point) covered with an ever-increasing stack of paperwork. So, I got the printer installed (and working very nicely, thank you) and then realised I really had to do something about the piles and piles and piles of stuff which had been occupying the space on my desk where the printer had been. Mostly because it was now occupying the space on the kitchen table where the eating spaces had been, and I really did want to sit down and enjoy a proper dinner at some point in the next couple of days.

So, I decided to get started by clearing a bit of space to put down my little hand-crank shredder (handles 2 pages at a time, and is also capable of chewing through credit cards and CDs) and started shredding all the obvious crap as it all came to hand. End result (before I got bored) was two plastic bags of hamster bedding. Then I pulled out the ring binder/portfolio I'd been using to store all my corro and stuff from a couple of years ago - it was a system which had worked for me right up to the point where I stopped being dilligent about it, at which point the backlog took over and it disappeared under the mess. So, pull out everything for the past couple of years from that, and grab three envelope-style folders from the storage cupboard - one for 2009, one for 2010, and one for 2011. The 2009 and 2010 stuff just got dumped into the folders, and the folders go into the filing cabinet for further action later. The 2011 stuff got put into the appropriate categories in the portfolio binder (and I wrote up a new index for this binder, so I can find what I'm looking for).

Meanwhile, I looked at a couple of file trays I had on top of the filing cabinet, and decided they could be re-used in a more constructive manner. One now has a pile of stuff in it which needs to be shredded - and a label saying "to shred". The other is currently empty, but there's a (smaller) pile of stuff to sort on top of the filing cabinet, and I figure I may as well use the capabilities of my nice new scanner to scan those things which I want to keep, but which I can't figure out a decent "away" for. So it has a label saying "to scan". My eventual aim is to get to and scan all the hundreds of recipe leaflets I've collected over the years, so I'll have a permanent record of them, and then I don't have to bloody well keep the silly things! Yay! More storage space!
megpie71: a phone, ringing. (hard at work)
Monday, March 14th, 2011 07:07 am
I'm in my second-last week of the contract down in Bunbury, and I'm starting to really get fed up with travelling to and fro for five days out of every seven. I'm also tired as, and I've been missing my meds because it just slips my mind. Aside from all of that, I'm fine.

I'm trying to think of something witty (or at least interesting) to say here, but my brain isn't working at this hour of the morning, so all I can say is that I'm fine, and our little corner of the world hasn't experienced anything catastrophic lately. Gods willing, I'll be able to keep saying that for a while longer.