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megpie71

April 2017

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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 01:19 am
I just learned that Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away on Monday, at the age of 88.

I've thought for a while that I should tell you about one of the more valuable things I got from ZAMM, which I refer to now as Pirsig's Pejorative Just, and now it seems like a fitting tribute to share the relevant passage:
[...] the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: "Does this undefined 'quality' of yours exist in things we observe?" they asked. "Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?" It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer.

Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special – the kind you don't recover from.
Because if Quality exists in the object then you must explain just why scientific instruments are unable to detect it [...] On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like. [...] If he accepted the premise that Quality was objective, he was impaled on one horn of the dilemma. If he accepted the other premise that Quality was subjective, he was impaled on the other horn.

[... regarding the first horn, the objective premise] This horn was the mean one. [...line of proposed reasoning...] This answer, if valid, certainly smashed the first horn of the dilemma, and for a while that excited him greatly.

But it turned out to be false. [...]

He turned his attention to the other horn of the dilemma, which showed more promise of refutation. He thought, So Quality is whatever you like? It angered him. The great artists of history – Raphael, Beethoven, Michelangelo – they were all just putting out what people liked. They had no goal other than to titillate the senses in a big way. Was that it? It was angering, and what was most angering about it was that he couldn't see any immediate way to cut it up logically. So he studied the statement carefully, in the same reflective way he always studied things before attacking them.

Then he saw it. He brought out the knife and excised the one word that created the entire angering effect of that sentence. The word was "just." Why should Quality be just what you like? Why should "what you like" be "just"? What did "just" mean in this case? When separated out like this for independent examination it became apparent that "just" in this case didn't mean a damn thing. It was a purely pejorative term, whose logical contribution to the sentence was nil. Now, with that word removed, the sentence became "Quality is what you like," and its meaning was entirely changed. It had become an innocuous truism.
Now, when I point to a "just" – or an "only", or a "mere", or a "simply", or "but" – and say, "That's a Pirsig's Pejorative Just", you'll know what I mean.

And, if this is the first time you've seen this, maybe now you'll be better prepared to notice them slinking by, in the wild, yourself.
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Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 02:40 pm


dumbbirdsfieldguide:

Belted King-Pisser
I can’t help but laugh at this ridiculous fish-eating bird. Because look how big his head is compared to his little body – ha ha! Actually, he kind of reminds me of Luis Guzmán, except that I like Luis Guzmán. Mr. Guzmán is a talented and under-appreciated actor. This bird, on the other hand, hunts fish and small amphibians by flying face-first into the water from a branch. 

“Flying face-first into the water from a branch” pretty much says it all.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 06:06 pm
Oh good, I needed some new madness. Being fair to me, it was a chance to buy a nice $200 backpacking pack for $40. (It’s second-hand but all the wear I saw was cosmetic. It just needs a bath and a few minutes with some strong twine and a needle.)

I got the idea because REI has this program where for $250 they take you backpacking for a weekend, and I looked at that and thought, I’m a cheap asshole but I bet between what I’ve already got and a $250 budget, I can almost completely kit myself out for an entire month of weekends of camping if I so desired. 

$210 to go. Fortunately I have most of the activewear I need, and since I’m only looking at overnighting right now, I won’t need cooking supplies just yet. And my stepdad’s giving me his sleeping bag, so there’s a chunk I won’t have to spend. 

The tent will almost certainly be the only other significant expense, and I can wait a while on that – I have several recon trips planned to the campground before I’ll even be overnighting it. If I get that far this summer, my weekends are filling at an alarming rate. 

But I have my backpack! Now I get to fill it. 

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2phZodm
via IFTTT
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 12:41 pm
Five inches in forty-eight hours, by the home weather station in the garden. (I love this thing SO MUCH. I cannot even tell you how much I love it.)



The rivers are all flooding, of course, but I'm on high ground, so it's just soggy. The thing of interest to me is how my growbag + water reservoir systems are holding up. All of them are as saturated as it is possible to be now and the tubs of water are overflowing. So far, they've done fine staying consistently moist during sunny days--now we see if they drown in the rain!

So far, most of them are holding up apparently fine. One bag, which is too shallow for the tub it's in, is definitely waterlogged (but that's one out of over a dozen, so not too shabby!) The two big chiapas-inspired growbag + barrel tubs are hard to tell, because the rain also pummeled a bunch of stuff flat, so I can't tell if the tomato starts are dying from drowning or just hammered down by hard rain. The peppers in the same tubs are okay. I guess we'll know in a day or two.

We close on Dogskull Patch next week. I am trying not to think about it for fear of jinxing everything and becoming a whimpering wreck.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 09:07 am
Down for a lot of words about killer robots, ladies, and feelings? Then please join me for bi-weekly recaps of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.


Spoilers )
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 01:33 am
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Monday, April 24th, 2017 11:01 pm
A few thoughts about Jane Austen's Persuasion:

Spoilers )
Monday, April 24th, 2017 06:09 pm
Zinelets is established as name of mini-zine line. First issue, titled Motionally Compromised (unless someone convinces me otherwise) will feature Star Trek: TOS, with the feature story expected to be Spock/McCoy.

I plan to distribute flyers during Memorial Day weekend conventions (I think there are 4 in my area, although hitting them all is not likely to happen unless I get help) with the intent of either mailing them out on June 10th - 1 week after the 48th anniversary of the end of ST:TOS.

But. I don't have any art. If things get closer to Time To Print (or rather, Time To Spend Several Hours Tinkering with Minute InDesign Settings) and I don't have art, I'll probably crawl around Deviantart and try to find someone, but... in the meantime, anyone know artist(s) who'd like to be printed in a tiny Trek TOS zine?

I need art. Could use other content as well. )

FWIW, I have a "test zine" that I intend to use as a template, with Glitch as the fandom. It features one of my Glitch stories from AO3, a bit of simple photoshop artwork involving Glitch pics, and a schedule of Zilloweens for the rest of 2017. Available by request - happy to print them out and mail them to anyone who'd like one; this is an exception to the "send SASE" rule mentioned above. (Mail zinelets@gmail.com with a snailmail address, or questions/comments/etc. that you don't want to show here.)
Monday, April 24th, 2017 09:23 pm
No points were awarded for last week.

This week's prompt is #15 - Photograph

Is Cloud trying to put things in perspective by looking at an old photograph of Zack? Is Tifa taking pictures of Denzel and Marlene? Does Cid have a picture of his wife somewhere on the deck of the Shera or does he consider that bad luck? Are the Turks fighting over a chick in a magazine during their morning coffee break?  Is Sephiroth having to endure another round of photo ops? Does Hojo throw darts at a picture of Hollander when he is frustrated? Can Rufus stand to have his picture taken? Is Genesis a bit camera shy?

Feel free to take the characters back to their childhood days as well - with that dreaded school photo, the prom picture, the proud snapshot-happy parents!

Whatever fills the camera's lens, make it picture perfect in just 100 words!
Monday, April 24th, 2017 07:56 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] nubpher linked to Second Hand Paws Small Animal Rescue, which is in need of funds after a large influx of animals needing shots, as well as one needing surgery. You can check out their site full of adorable animals here, hit up their facebook here, or donate here. If you'd like to send supplies [tumblr.com profile] nubpher says you can also contact her about how to get the supplies to the Rescue.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. And Mother's Day is coming up, at least in the US! You can read more and purchase them here.

Help For Free:

[personal profile] brainwane's friend Zack is doing a research project related to online censorship, and is looking for people to help, particularly people using a computer physically located outside of Europe and North America. You can read more about the fascinating project and help test here.

News to Know:

Anon linked to [livejournal.com profile] auntmo9, who has a job posting up: the Austen Dooley Company is looking for Direct Support Staff, LPNs, and RNs for the St. Louis/St. Charles area. You can read more and get in touch with questions here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Monday, April 24th, 2017 01:34 am
cover for Warchild


Warchild by Karin Lowachee is full of a muted homoerotic undertones, which is a good description of my entire love life as a teenager, so it's not surprising that I loved this book. But that's not the only selling point of the novel! It also has spies, alien martial arts, slow burn friendships, revenge, double crosses, and a critique of all the terrifying ways child abuse can fuck someone up, in and out of war.

I expected space battles, Obligatory Female Love Interest, and a testosterone fueled climax where the Good Guy Protag gets verbally fellated by everyone around him. Plus, medals, because for some reason in my head all military space opera ends like A New Hope. Instead I was treated to a personal account of one boy surviving every horrible thing the universe could throw at him, because who needs a happy childhood to turn into a well-adjusted and happy adult? Ha ha ha, let's make this kid suffer as he grows up, lose everything, fall in love with someone unattainable, and betray people he cares for multiple times for the person he loves even though he can't figure out if that person actually cares for him or is just using him. If you want some angst, my friends, allow me to introduce you to Jos Musey. Read more... )
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 11:58 pm
I had Quite the Weekend dealing with OMGCP fandom shit on Tumblr, which made me create [community profile] parsitive for Parse-friendly fandom; there's also been some chatter lately on [community profile] smh_team.
Monday, April 24th, 2017 01:59 am
A set of videos, of particular interest to programmers, compliments of Metafilter. Delightful, recommended.

These are lectures/demos of brilliant stupid programmer tricks:

1) A DOS executable that only uses printable bytes. (SLYT, 25:40 (yes, long, but so worth it, and accessible to non-programmers), audio and visual both required)

2) On the Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SLYT, 5:33, audio and visual both required)

This is a work of art with accompanying making-of:

3) A Mind is Born (article with embedded SLYT, 2:21, primarily audio plus cool but inessential visuals) - a 2+ minute music video that is, in its entirety, a 256 byte program for the Commodore 64. This is now my answer to "can a computer program, in itself, be a serious work of art?" I understand about one word in five of the article; someone on MF said of it, I read most of the how it was done link, and I've been a programmer for 20 years, and I still say the answer is "black magic".

Oh, and a bonus blast from the past – I just got done fixing my broken video links post migration from LJ – 4) Life in Life (SLYT, 1:31, primarily visual, with cool but inessential audio). h/t [personal profile] nancylebov. I originally posted here; I had tagged it "sci", but I dunno, what do we call programming with cellular automata?
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Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 08:09 pm
From last weekend until 8th June is literally the busiest I will be all year: 2 OU courses with exams on 6th and 8th, and a third that just started and will run until September. I knew I was going to be stressed and overloaded and wrung out for about 8 weeks and had basically made my peace with it as the price for getting done this year rather than next.

And now 8th June is a general election, and I have no time to campaign, and have to fight the guilt gremlins that think I should surely be able to carve some time out magically, somehow, and funnily enough being even more stressed does not increase my productivity, or help me sleep.  This has not been the best week!

I've now logged out of Twitter and Facebook on my phone, so I can't take the stress with me everywhere.  I've devoted the weekend to resting and sorting out money (thus removing some other stress).  I'm behind on everything, but Facebook reminded me that I wrote this time last year about being behind on everything. While I'm still perpetually running too close to my limits, those limits have expanded in the last year.  I'm routinely working a 5-day rather than a 4-day week, I'm studying at a higher level, and my fitness has improved a little.

So I'm going to trust that if I take care of myself, I can get through this.  At least by 9th June some of my stressors are guaranteed to be gone.