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([personal profile] thistleingrey Jul. 31st, 2014 09:45 pm)
* It is not great to realize that that other feeling, the one that isn't running a mild fever, is mild relief because fever = not going to the office tomorrow . . . so that I can work on the other job.

* Raccoons seem to have made off with my watering can, or it grew enough appendages to jump down from a prong of the meter-high iron hose thingy and exit my yard, or Reason threw it over the fence somehow. None of those is my favorite.

* Tomorrow is a Friday. There will have been no translation post during July, nor one tomorrow. It is a slippery slope to let the cough and mild fever, or rather the imbalance of work that has led to them, excuse that lack. Instead of waiting till I've typed up all of the board book that's to be next, it'd be more efficient to do one children's song at a time, I suppose---which would result in 41 posts if I did the whole CD. Uh.

* darkforge brought home some delicious sorbet. Because I was greedy and served myself one large spoonful of each, I'm not sure which of nectarine, plum, or mango-lime sorbet has caused the subsequent mild bout of oral allergy syndrome (suddenly the lime was extra zingy, only because it's the most acidic; the problem isn't lime, since lime lets me eat guacamole sometimes; not enough lime = unpleasantly allergen-zingy avocado). I hate you, birch pollen. Probably. Who the fuck knows.

Welp, I'm awake now.

It is much more soothing to queue posts in advance and leave out this live crap, isn't it.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Aug. 1st, 2014 12:05 am)
My car's being totaled, I can't find my passport, and the weather's looking dodgy for SteelyKid's outdoor birthday party on Saturday. This calls for a re-watch of an adorable and well-structured Leverage vid: "Parachute" by [personal profile] thingswithwings.

(Everything will be fine, plans are in place to deal with it all, it's just a lot of hassle all at once. Thus, a happy thing before falling into bed.)
yhlee: fractal (fractal (art: unHnu icon: enriana))
([personal profile] yhlee Jul. 31st, 2014 06:29 pm)
My mom says she made a special trip to obtain these. ♥

Bonus warm, fuzzy feelings if you can identify the math on each stamp!

(I collect stamps very desultorily, and mourn the days when you can soak off USAn stamps with just water--I have no idea what you're supposed to do with these newfangled sticker stamps. Should Google it sometime.)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
([personal profile] forestofglory Jul. 31st, 2014 11:06 am)
Yesterday was my birthday, and I had great day.

Tuesday afternoon R and I drove down to Monterey. We ate clam chowder in a bread bowl, then went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's summer so it was bit crowed in places but we got to see the new cephalopods exhibit, which had some really cool things, and we got to spend some time watching the sea otters being playful. And when we were out on the deck I spotted a wild sea otter eating a crab. After the aquarium we went out to a nice dinner.

Yesterday I had low key morning. I had a really good peach in my cereal and opened the two cards that I got in the mail. I love getting mail, and was so pleased to have gotten cards.

At noon I meet my mom and family friend for lunch. We had a lovely meal sitting in a rose garden. Afterwards, my mom bought me some fancy chocolates and the fancy shop next door.

Then my mom and went to the plant nursery, and cheese shopping and stopped by Trader Joe's.

Latter we picked up my niece form summer camp, and I played imaginary games with her for a while. She was the Monarch of the Tree, and I was her Knight, and we ate a lot imaginary breakfasts, and I caught some imaginary thieves. But then she got mad at me because I objected to the death penalty. But then it was time for dinner.

R and a his mom showed up and we had bread and cheese. A really nice cheddar and Stilton and some type of soft cheese I don't remember the name of. With two kinds of bread, home made part rye with cranberries and walnuts, and baguette.

After the cheese my sister showed up and we ate dinner: green salad, tomato salad, summer squash, and frittata with caramelized onions, spinach and artichoke hearts. It was yummy. For desert my mom made peach upside down cake, which turned out really soupy, because the peaches were so juicy, and malted vanilla ice cream. After dinner I opened presents. I got chocolate and books and some really cool blocks. One of the books I got is called the Field Guild to American Houses, which I'm excited about because it will help me be better at wandering around and figuring out the history of places.
staranise: Text: "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight." ([personal] Nothing worth having)
([personal profile] staranise Jul. 30th, 2014 11:50 pm)
Brené Brown went and did a talk about dealing with criticism as a person who creates things. UGH WHY IS THIS SO APPLICABLE. I swore after I saw it because GODDAMNIT. I thought I was having so much fun piling sandbags on the walls of my fortress of snark and defensiveness against criticism and rejection.

Pull-quotes and commentary )
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
([personal profile] yhlee Jul. 31st, 2014 12:03 am)
Is the Latin in Warhammer 40,000 any good?

Like, it looks suspiciously hashy in places to me, but my Latin was never good enough that I'd be able to tell. (And what the heck is Adeptus Astartes derived from anyway, for "Space Marines"?)

(I may read a grimdark 40k novel for fun after I finish reading this BattleTech novel...Vlad/Katrina 4eva! ♥)
cofax7: Zoe Washburn: Dong Ma? (FF - Zoe Dong Ma -- Sabine101)
([personal profile] cofax7 Jul. 30th, 2014 09:27 pm)
Currently reading: The Golem & the Jinni, courtesy of the public library e-book lending program. I'm quite enjoying it: it's quite well-written, and the characters are interesting and the world of late-19th Century NYC is very well-drawn.

Finished: Finally finished The Long Ships, which was entertaining but not surprising. Also Shattered Pillars, and I'm eagerly awaiting the library's purchase of Steles of the Sky.

Oh, and I did want to note Deborah Coates' Wide Open, which was a really good paranormal mystery. The characters are well-done, and the sense of place--rural South Dakota--is distinct and vivid. I really liked it, and one of the things I liked was that the paranormal element was just weird and unsettling: it wasn't paint-by-numbers magic, and everything was not, in fact, explained by the end. I will happily read more by this writer.

Up next: Not sure. Maybe the newest St. Mary's novel, which just dropped onto my Kindle. The St. Mary's novels are a series of madcap time-travel stories by Jodi Taylor: sort of Connie Willis-light, with an entertainingly bullish redheaded historian as the narrator. They're far from brilliant, but they're pretty entertaining: the series so far has included Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell, dinosaurs, the burning of the library of Alexandria, and the Seige of Troy. If this is the sort of thing you like, you might like these.


In other news, I made these chili-cherry brownies tonight and they came out very tasty! NOM.

In other other news, I'm apparently on a rewatch of SG-1, as I watched two more episodes of Season 2 tonight. Including "Holiday", in which we learn that RDA was really crap at playing anyone other than O'Neill. Chris Judge, however, must have had a ball, being able to emote so much.
thistleingrey: (Default)
([personal profile] thistleingrey Jul. 30th, 2014 08:39 am)
Chris Moriarty, Spin State (2004): bought for $1 off [personal profile] starlady and well worth it. (Spin Control, too, which I won't get to for a while.) It almost doesn't need my perfunctory attempt at synopsis: there are AIs and ground-down miners (Irish---why Irish?) and several kinds of genetic/cyborg construct of uncertain legal status and mysteries jacketing the hardboiled protagonist and comes-with-the-job amnesia, all of it with some nuance and heft.

It isn't really my thing currently, but it's written with verve and I've enjoyed it. When I was reading Stephen Baxter's Manifold books eleven years ago, Spin State is what I should've followed them with. Also of interest: the bibliography Moriarty tucks in, with comments about relative off-puttingness for those put off by equations.
thistleingrey: (Default)
([personal profile] thistleingrey Jul. 29th, 2014 05:23 pm)
* All right, I said I like The World Ends with You, but I hadn't expected to play the first 5-8 hours of the game thrice in quick succession: first on the little-used Nexus 7 tablet, then on my phone when I realized that the smaller screen abets combat motions, and now on a warranty-covered phone replacement after the front-facing camera had a mechanical failure.

TWEWY keeps one saved game per Android device, not per account, even though it wants one's Google account credential for tracking MPP, one of the ways that pins evolve within the game. On the plus side, one may gain MPP by "mingling" with one's other device if one has two devices that use the same OS, without buying the game more than once; on the minus side, I was doing pretty well in saved game #2. Bah. (In the original Nintendo DS version, mingling could be done with a second DS that didn't run the game. The Android port---and the iOS one as well, I assume---is less forgiving, though at least not cutthroat about it; that is, at least they didn't turn it into a microtransaction opportunity despite having added a few microtransaction items to the ported version. A few pins may be had only via patient accumulation of MPP.)

* Scheduling earthquake retrofit work---reinforcement of the crawlspace walls, bolting the floor's underside to various things---while Reason's preschool has its two-week intersession: not ideal in retrospect for a child who still prefers and needs to nap for 1.5-2 hours almost daily.

* PD the biologist and farmer (and many other things) has inspected my non-producing zucchini plant pair. We're not sure why some of its leaves are yellow, but the surmise that something was neatly pinching off flowers/nascent veg before I could have any seems correct; moving it to the former carrot space in the raised planter box has yielded four new flowers within two days, though day one had it keeling over from insufficient water. The box also has much looser soil. Tradeoff: I'll have to water it almost daily now because the box dries out (and runs off) much faster than the ground. Since persuading vegetables to come forth in droughtland is an exercise mostly for Reason's benefit, not a supplement to our weekly consumption, I'm not keen on daily visitation---but "for Reason's benefit" encompasses the idea of not giving up merely because it's a bit more work. It's not even more water. Bah. (Rigging an irrigation drip: not yet.)
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([personal profile] metaphortunate Jul. 29th, 2014 01:54 pm)
Q: How was your vacation?

A: Ten days eight timezones away, with me and Mr. E plus both kids plus the in-laws, every single one of us getting sick, except me who was sick when I left, stayed sick the entire time because you can’t get better when you don’t get any sleep, and am still sick? Staying in a B&B so filthy there were actually insects in the bed, because there literally wasn't another free pair of rooms in town, so we came home to do a full bedbug decontamination on all our stuff instead of resting? That vacation?

Q: Yeah, that one.

A: Well, first let me say that I recognize that I am a very lucky woman. I’m in a position to take a vacation, which not everyone is. And I’m lucky that I have in-laws who are willing to pay their own way to come on vacation with us just to hang out with the grandkids, without which I honestly do not know what I would have done; because even with them, two days into it I would have cracked and tried to change our plane tickets to come back home right away, but I couldn’t because I was too sick to fly. And I’m lucky to have two kids who have such vibrant good basic health that even when they develop a 3-pack-a-day cough and pour snot out like giant ambulatory faucets, it doesn’t sap their energy or slow them down in any way. And hey! The baby is clever enough that at just over 10 months, he has worked out that he can avoid having his nose wiped, which he hates, by smearing his face all over our shirts the moment he feels snot on his face!

So all in all, vacation was absolutely better than childbirth, I would say. Though it did last longer. And I might even be willing to take another vacation again someday.

Not, like, soon, though.
sholio: Captain America in the rain (Avengers-Steve rain)
([personal profile] sholio Jul. 29th, 2014 12:04 am)
I used to have several people on my flist with a medical background of whom I could ask medical questions. However, I think most of those people have wandered away from fandom/LJ over the past few years, and for my [community profile] marvel_poc fic (rough draft is finished, yay! \o/) I really need to run a medical scene past someone who has some kind of medical knowledge -- nurse, paramedic, doctor, something like that. It's a field surgery/paramedic scene. I can either ask you questions or send you the scene to look at, and I'd be happy to reciprocate with my own beta-reading assistance, writing you a ficlet if we share any fandoms, something like that.

sholio: Colorful abstract tree art with "friendshipper" text on it (Default)
([personal profile] sholio Jul. 28th, 2014 11:26 pm)
Does anyone out there read the webcomic Nimona? (Okay, I know at least one of you does.)


Spoilers up to the current page can be assumed in comments.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
([personal profile] forestofglory Jul. 28th, 2014 12:40 pm)
I’m going to start with talking about a few common concepts relevant to planning in the US. This should help you understand the types of problems planners try to solve and some of the tools they use to solve those problems.

Planners are concerned with shaping land use and urban form. That is planners effect what is what is built were, in a variety of direct and indirect ways. Most planners work with local governments, such as cities and counties. Like most of us planners disagree on what the priorities should be. Thing planners might prioritize include sustainability, social justice, and economic growth.

In the US most planning happens at the city level. There are different types of cities, and the specifics vary from state to state. (For example here in California we have two types of cities: General Law and Charter.) Unlike in the UK, it is relatively easy for a community to incorporate and become a city.

Cities control their urban form in variety of ways, one of the most common of these is zoning. (Though Huston, TX somewhat famously does not.) A zoning code divides the city into a series of zones, and limits what can be built in each zone. Common zones are: commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural. Most cities have multiple iterations of each to these zones. For example a city might have a residential zones form R1 where only single family residential buildings are allowed, up to R4 which allows multi-story apartment buildings. In most US cities single family residential zones are some of the most restrictive, with very few uses allowed.

Here is the zoning map for Des Moines Iowa, where I did my studio project. (Warning: large PDF). If you search for “[your city] zoning map” you will probably come up with similar map. On the map each zone is represented with a different color. Related zones are mostly in the same color family. Zone maps can be complex to read, some of the zones are quite small, colors are often similar and hard to tell apart, and the keys are rarely very detailed. To get a full list of what can and can’t be build in any zone you will have to look at the zoning code. For many US cities this also online – try searching “[your city] municipal code.” Be warned that what you find will be written in legal language and may be hard to understand.

Planners also write plans. These can be broad like comprehensive plan for a whole city, or narrower such as a bike plan or a historic preservation plan. In some jurisdictions such plans are required and legally binding, but in others they are not. The plans I’ve worked with have stated general goals for the community, but have rarely gone into the technicalities of how those goals are to be accomplished.

Transportation also has huge impact on urban form. Cities can encourage or discourage different types of transit with their policies. For example building sidewalks encourages people to walk, by providing them a safe place to do so. Cities can require sidewalks be built, and they also decide who pays for them. In some places land owners are supposed to put in sidewalks on their property and other places the city pays for sidewalks. Because sidewalks are more or less a public good, and the people owning the property don’t get most benefits, sidewalks tend to be more complete and in better repair in communities with the latter rule. Other ways cities impact transportation can include, providing upkeep for infrastructure, for example repaving roads, creating bike lanes and trails, choosing to subsidize local public transit such as buses or light rail, and parking policy. Parking policy can be quite contentious

Because most planning takes place on the level of the city it can be difficult to plan on a regional scale. Cities have hard time coordinating with each other, especially to limit sprawl. Increases in density tend to be unpopular with homeowners, and limits to where new subdivisions can be build tends to be unpopular with developers and land owners who stand to profit. So not only is there a lack governmental bodies with regional authority but there is also a lack political will. Thus regional planning to prevent urban sprawl remains difficult in the US.

Planning is complex and deals with a many interconnected things that must work as a whole. The tools that planners use are include zoning, comprehensive and other types of plans, transportation, especially through funding projects, and parking policy. Looked at in isolated the types of things that planners decide might seem petty, but ultimately small changes can add up and really affect how pleasant, just, and sustainable our communities are.
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
([personal profile] staranise Jul. 28th, 2014 12:06 pm)

My student loans people have agreed to stop taking payments out of my account!

Dear God, that's an extra $300 a month. I can stop going into overdraft! I can feed my credit card! \o/


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