24 September 2017 @ 09:12 pm
Been owing y'all a vacation report for a while...

Discerning readers may have guessed that we were not at home in Maryland at the beginning of August when our anniversary rolled around. Those who know our engagement story may have even guessed we were in Toronto. You would have been correct.

Having decided not to go to Worldcon or NASFIC, I was looking for vacation ideas when a copy of AAA World reminded me this year was Canada’s 150th birthday. I’ve been wanting to get to Ottawa ever since I heard James Keelaghan’s ”Stonecutter”, and I’ll never turn down an excuse to visit our filk friends in Ontario. Plus I had piles of hotel rewards points saved up from years of cons and business trips.

So we took off the week leading into Confluence, drove up to Ottawa, spent a couple of days sightseeing and hanging out with people, drove over to Toronto, rinsed, lathered, repeated, then drove down to Pittsburgh for Confluence, and finally home. Hence the “Ontario Loop tour” moniker, given the vaguely obloid path we traversed.

The trip was good, though at times best described as “barely controlled chaos” due to the antics of a certain toddler. Especially when visiting un-childproofed homes, or after too much time strapped into a car seat, or on the first night when the hotel we stayed in northeast of Harrisburg didn’t have a crib available, or most of the other nights when we couldn’t get him to go to sleep until we turned off all the lights in the hotel room. (Thankfully we both had tablets to read or surf the ‘Net with.)

We saw a good number of filkers along the way. We dropped in on Joel and Inge twice during our stay in Ottawa; first on the way in just long enough to order pizza, then the next night for a potluck dinner and singing, which Ingrid and two friends of Joel and Inge’s from the Ottawa folk community showed up for. Tanya and Fiona drove up to meet us for lunch at a Montana’s in Belleville as we passed by on our way to Toronto. (It went much better than this year’s post-FKO run!) Phil and Jane hosted another potluck and sing for us in Toronto which Judith and Dave, Peggi and Ken, Sally and Howard came to. And we met Judith and Dave again for brunch at a Cora’s in on our way out of Canada. The only bummer is that Team Jeffers had to bow out of hosting the Toronto housefilk after Sue fell ill. Thankfully Phil and Jane were able to step in on short notice.

Our plan for our first full day in Ottawa was to start with Parliament Hill, which I have been wanting to visit ever since I first heard James Keelaghan’s song “Stonecutter” about the rebuilding of Centre Block after a 1916 fire and christening of the Peace Tower. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the front of the line for free tickets, the only tour available that included any part of Centre Block was an afternoon tour of the Library. On the other hand, besides the Peace Tower the Library was the part I most wanted to see, because it was hosting Foundations: The Words That Shaped Canada, a display of six important documents in Canadian history, including the 1867 British North America Act, the 1869 Northwest Territories Proclamation, the 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights, and the 1982 Proclamation of the Constitution Act.
To fill time until our tour we browsed Byward Market, including the Inspiration Village, an area of York Street in the core of the Market where a series of booths were set up highlighting each of Canada’s ten provinces, plus an RCMP booth, a stage for musical performances, big climbable letters spelling out “Ottawa”, and another big sign saying “Stand for Canada” on which one could pose. Sam discovered a large wood box full of Mega Blocks from which we had trouble pulling him away. Mind you, he barely plays with the bag of Mega Blocks we have at home, mostly he dumps the contents of the bag on the floor if I’ve bothered to put the blocks back in the bag. Go figure. Somewhere in the middle of the browsing we ate lunch at a pub called The Brig Pub.

We made it back to Parliament Hill with an hour to kill before the tour. We walked around the grounds for a bit, then camped out in the shade provided by the east side of Centre Block until it was time for the tour. Things got a bit backed up with security and waiting for other tours to go through, but finally we were led through the Hall of Honour and into the Library. Which was impressive; three stories of ornately carved and painted wood, decorative metal railings, massive desks and tables, shelves full of books curving along the walls, all under a soaring dome. To borrow a word from my toddler, “MINE!” (That’s Sam-speak for “WANT.”)
Our second full day in Ottawa we crossed the river to Gatineau (and border into Quebec) for stops at Parc Jacques Cartier and the Canadian Museum of History. The park was hosting MosaiCanada150, a display of 32 works of horticultural art (topiaries, essentially) representing various animals (red foxes, polar bears, puffins), people (a lobster fisherman, a prospector, a Voyageur), and symbols, icons or items associated with Canada and Canadian history (Glenn Gould’s piano, Anne of Green Gables, a CP train), plus two pieces (Blessing of the Good Omen Dragons and Joyful Celebration of the Nine Lions) donated by China for the occasion.

We got sandwiches from a small grocery store across from the Museum, then dove in. The main attraction for us was the Canadian History Hall, but first we let Sam run off some energy in the Canadian Children’s Museum. It was hard to drag him out of there, but finally we went upstairs to the Hall, which, as the name implies, traces Canadian history from ancient times through Confederation up to recent history. I will confess we goofed; we did the first part of the hall (covering ancient times up to about 1800), rested, then went upstairs to the modern part (covering World War I to the present), forgetting about the part that actually covers the founding of Canada. Oops! Well, I am sure I can find a good book or two to fill in the rest. In our defense, we were pretty tired by then and it was getting on towards the dinner hour.

Our anniversary dinner was at The Keg Mansion, in the Church and Wellesley neighborhood just east of Queen's Park and the University of Toronto. The food was good and the ambience (a 19th century mansion built by Arthur McMaster; later owned by Hart Massey) nice. Unfortunately, Mr. Toddler was in a state, probably from being cooped up in a car for several hours (not helped by Dad stressing out over Toronto-bound traffic on the 401), so we had to beat a fast retreat as soon as we'd finished our main courses. They did give us a free slice of cheesecake to take back to the hotel with us. Points for excellent service! (They also honored our reservation even though we ended up being an hour late. A call from our hotel helped.)

Our first full day in Toronto was spent at the Toronto Zoo, which at 710 acres is one of the largest zoos in the world. We started with the giant pandas, where we waited an hour in line to see Er Shun and Da Mao and their 18-month old cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue. Three of the four pandas were napping in one of their rooms, the other was next door chowing down on bamboo. As pandas do. Lunch. After lunch we hit the Australaisan pavilion, thinking we’d see a few animals we don’t get to see at the National Zoo or elsewhere in our North American travels. One Matschie's tree kangaroo, several sugar gliders, and a kookaburra or two proved us right. Then we moseyed over to the African Rainforest Pavilion to check out their group of Western lowland gorillas, including 3-year old Nneka (who was clinging to her mom at the back of the gorilla enclosure). Other animals on display included slender-tailed meerkats, spotted river otters, and ring-tailed lemurs. (Lemurs, Johnny! Lemurs!) By then it was time to head for Jane and Phil’s house, with a stop at the gift shop so I could buy Sam a small stuffed penguin. Because of course he has to have a penguin!
(Subsequently, I found out one of Sandra Boynton’s books is Your Personal Penguin. There’s even a song that goes with it. This could be a dangerous thing.)

On our second full day in Toronto we headed for the Ontario Science Centre. Having been there several years ago when I accompanied Sheryl on a visit for Bouchercon, I remembered that it is largely targeted at younger folk, so I knew Sam would have an opportunity to run around. We spent most of our time in the KidSpark area and the AstraZeneca Human Edge exhibit, with a break for lunch in the Valley Restaurant. We also caught a Science HotSpot presentation on basic rocketry, where I discovered Sam knows the word “rocket”. Good to know there is at least one area where we are raising our child right!

After the Science Centre we drove over to Bakka Books, where the fact we’d be seeing Sally Kobee at Confluence did not stop me from buying five books. Granted, two of them were for Sam; Sea Monkey and Bob, illustrated by Debbie Ohi, and Goodnight Lab, a parody of Goodnight Moon. The other books were things on my to-read/to-buy list (e.g. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae) that I haven’t seen so far at any con booksellers’ tables.

We finished the trip off with Confluence, which was good even if I ended up watching any concerts from the prefunction area. Thankfully I could see and hear reasonably well through the door. Especially during the Consortium of Genius’ headlining concert, which for the sake of both my ears and Sam’s was probably best enjoyed from the hallway anyway! Other concerts we saw included Cheshire Moon, Harold Feld, Lauren Cox, and Wreck the System. The latter is a Silver Spring-based nerdcore group Randy Hoffman discovered. They were pretty decent, and even came down to – and quite enjoyed – the open filk. Since they are local, I plan to invite them to Balticon.
Velocity: relaxed
24 September 2017 @ 06:15 pm
It has been a good afternoon at Fair. Whether or not I get to Glen Echo later remains to be seen, but I probably will. Very much enjoyed first Albannach then Cu Dobh then Stary Olsa - not bad for parking at 3. Cooling down, now. Was way hot before.
24 September 2017 @ 04:57 pm
Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

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24 September 2017 @ 04:45 pm
As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

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24 September 2017 @ 10:41 am
Lots of songs here — some new songs, some old songs I finally got around to posting.

Fantastic songs

"Antarctica" (mp3) is what happened when I got Toto's "Africa" and Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" in my head at the same time. I'm a little surprised by how much of the original song I was able to keep. I also have dim, far-off plans to write "Antarctica" ttto "America" by Paul Simon and possibly "Antarctica" ttto "America" from West Side Story.

"When Windmills Return" (mp3) features a bygone hero awakened from long slumber to once again fight for justice against impossible odds. And since his foe is global warming, what more natural allies for him to summon to his aid than... windmills! Ah, windmills, whose prowess he knows all too well, for our hero is none other than— but I'll let you discover that for yourselves.

Space songs

"The Highlands of Fra Mauro" (mp3) are where Apollo 13 was supposed to land, but they never got there, just like the captain of the Nightingale never got to Bermuda in Stan Rogers' "The Flowers of Bermuda". And, likewise, they had just one craft available as a lifeboat, but the number of crewmen to be saved exceeded (by one) the designed capacity of said lifeboat. Only, in the case of Apollo 13, NASA engineers and a roll of duct tape were on hand to make sure everyone made it safely home.

The "Goldilocks Zone" (mp3) is not too cold, and not too hot, but just right — you want your porridge to be in the Goldilocks zone, and you want your planets to be there too, if you want your terraforming to be a success.

What's "Brighter than the Sun" (mp3)? A supernova! I got that popular earworm in my head and this was the only way to get it out.

Computer songs

"B-Tree Nodes" (mp3) is about one of the essential elements of database architecture, the B-tree, a kind of index that allows fast access to rows of a table as long as they can be sorted into a definite order.

"The Wonderful Thing About Triggers" (mp3) is not about the things you pull on to fire a gun, nor about the things that remind you of past trauma, but (again!) about a piece of database architecture. In databases and other systems, "triggers" are subroutines that will run whenever a certain thing occurs. And that's a wonderful thing — unless you're stuck debugging them.

"Little 3D-Printed Boxes" (mp3) is about 3D printing! The wonderful thing about 3D printers is that you can print a hundred little twisty things, all alike, and then turn around and print a hundred little twisty things, all different. This makes an interesting contrast with Malvina Reynolds' "little boxes" and universities from which people come out "all the same". The specific reference to twisty puzzles is inspired by YouTuber OskarPuzzle.


"David of the FTC" (mp3) was written in honor of my father's retirement. He worked for the Federal Trade Commission on antitrust and consumer protection for nearly his entire professional career, and his stories were an inspiration to me even when I was too young to understand the legal details. Nicely done, Dad. And yes, there was a case involving caffeinated leggings.

"Philosophiae Doctores" (mp3) imagines the scholars of the Renaissance restoring the foundations of what would become modern academia. This song was written a long time ago, but I felt at the time that I should hold it in reserve until I earned my own PhD, which at the time seemed likely to happen eventually. Since I'm no longer working towards a PhD myself, I offer this song in tribute to all of my friends who embody the best of the academic spirit.

Video game songs

The "Materia Girl" (mp3) is Final Fantasy VII's Yuffie. Materia are mysterious orbs that are FF7's magic source, and Yuffie wants to steal them all.

"Cid's Song (The Magitek Factory)" (mp3) is another Final Fantasy song, this time from FF6. I wrote this song a long time ago and thought it was finished, but there were some plot gaps, a too-abrupt tone shift, and an instrumental bridge I could never get to work, so I rewrote the end and I think it's much better now. The Magitek facility, of which Cid is the chief engineer, is devoted to the scientific study of magical beasts. Unfortunately, its chief discovery so is that energy drained from said magical beasts (ultimately at the cost of their lives) can be used to power the Empire's deadly war machines... The tune here comes from the background music heard inside the facility.

"Chicken to Ride" (mp3) was written yesterday, after hearing "Ticket to Ride" on the radio — Sarah started singing "she's got a chicken to ride," and reminded me of a long-ago conversation about a possible Baba Yaga parody, but all I could think of was the scene early in Final Fantasy VI when Terra and her companions escape from Kefka's troops on chocobos (basically, giant chickens that you can ride on).

"Triforce Invocation" (mp3) is an incantation invoking the power of the Triforce, the relic holding the powers (wisdom, power, and courage) of the three goddesses of the world of The Legend of Zelda. Such an incantation might be used by the sort of eclectic pagan who would be so silly as to build a ritual around a theosophical system that was invented solely to sound cool in a video game. Know anyone like that? The melody here comes from the intro of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

Religious songs

"Every Inch of This Thread" (mp3) is another invocation, this time of the Spinner of Fate. In a number of mythologies, Fate is spun as thread by one or three women, who are usually regarded with an awe tending towards dread — the idea that our end is fated is an uncomfortable one. But thinking of this myth, and of that parable about the footprints in the sand, and of having seen for myself the tender care with which a spinner must handle every inch of thread, put me in mind of looking to Her with an awe tending more towards gratitude.

"Paradise Revisited" (mp3) is a journey through "paradise", which means literally "orchard" but also refers to the world of mystical experience. It can be confusing up there — as you stroll through the orchard, depending on how you turn your head, you may see one tree, or many, or none. And you may notice, or the snake may remind you, that the tree has two sides. Just be sure to remember the way home.

"Thirteenth Birthday" (mp3) is a filk of Vixy & Tony's Thirteen — a mystical number, a number of thresholds, such as (in the Jewish tradition) the threshold of being recognized as a fully responsible member of the religious community, a bar mitzvah. But what does that mean when you're not sure what your religion means to you? When you're pulled between a commitment to reason on the one hand and, on the other, a budding half-formed mystical sensibility, and your teachers aren't (yet!) giving you the tools to reconcile them?

"David, Beloved" (mp3) is an invocation (lots of those today) of the archetypal figure of the Biblical King David (lots of Davids today, too). David is a fascinating character, both in the Biblical narrative and in later more symbolic, archetypal, and mystical traditions. Warrior, peacemaker, songwriter, doing good and yet still making mistakes, and intriguingly, although male, closely associated with the divine feminine. Definitely someone I'd like to get to know.

"Vatikach Miryam" (mp3) is a setting of a verse (and a half) from Exodus (15:20-21), which may be more familiar as the source for Debbie Friedman's Miriam's Song.
24 September 2017 @ 11:41 am
From Digg, 0:52

Here's A Bush Full Of Kittens Playing Peekaboo Because You Deserve To Feel Happiness
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Velocity: chipper
Soundtrack: Atlantic Wave: Johnny Cunningham's, on "Craic‘d!", via Pandora
23 September 2017 @ 10:50 pm
Thanks to the kindness of [personal profile] aamcnamara in loaning a copy so I did not have to fight through the library line, I read The Stone Sky - third in N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, following up on The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate - last weekend.

I don't think Essun destroyed any cities at all this book! I'm so proud!

The rest is disconnected spoilery thoughts )
23 September 2017 @ 11:26 am
Which is creating the Amazon and Chapters links for the book being review, I know one particular book is $19.19 if you buy it from Kobo and $11.71 from Kindle....
21 September 2017 @ 10:53 pm
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?
21 September 2017 @ 04:56 pm
One of the things I am finding highly annoying today is that my apartment building quintuples at the cost of the key fobs, apparently correctly surmising that people would stop buying a whole ton of them and treating them cavalierly if they were 50 bucks instead of 10 bucks to replace. What this means to me right now is that I've managed to misplace not one but two sets of house keys in my apartment somewhere and I'm depending on the Gatehouse to let me into the garage and let me into the building every evening and if it were 10 I would buy a new one and figure okay I'll have extras when I find the others but I'm loath to do it at 50.

In other news, I created a Facebook group for Keith and it should be visible off of Facebook and I need to figure out how to make sure people get notifications of events and such.

It looks like the last couple times he and I didn't connect I was either tired or had a dime cell phone and I'm sad that it had been as long as it was since it looks like we talked.

If you want to send a condolence card to his mom it would be best to send it either to Diana or declined because his mom is not dealing well with getting condolence cards and has requested they come in batches.

I'd be complaining about where has the summer gone except its 87 degrees and I am so sweaty. What show was good last night and better today and I like my outfit. So I guess it was a good choice choice to keep the skirt from the clothing swap that had magen davids in batik all over it
20 September 2017 @ 04:29 pm
 May the old years and its curses end.  May the new year and its blessings commence.

Best wishes for a joyous new year to everyone!
20 September 2017 @ 02:55 pm

Tonight at sundown marks the start of the Rosh Hashanah and the year 5778. May all of you reading this be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.

לשנה טובה
Velocity: cheerful
Position: Syosset, NY
Soundtrack: Temples, "Certainty"
20 September 2017 @ 11:58 am
So what I'm trying to do right now is test out the mobile version of dream wits in the hopes I might spend more time posting to it, especially since I can talk to the phone. It has been a mixed couple of days. The impromptu wake at Diane's was good Dash small and quiet, with generally about six to eight people at any given time, allowing whole group conversation. I'm looking to create a remembering Keith Facebook group or perhaps something else I'm not sure. Tonight's lumsfs up in Columbia will be another impromptu wake and there will be a slightly less impromptu wake via mumsfs next Thursday in Gaithersburg. Bsfs is looking at their space for a more formal Memorial. I currently have no idea what's going on with a family funeral or anything.

In other news, it was a good choice to get the multipass for fair, because when all this went down on Saturday getting there at 5:15 was perfectly fine.

And I got a crow both Monday and Tuesday and well it's been a wonderful thing I wish I understood why my wrists and hands hurt as much as they do, and I'm really hoping that it doesn't have anything to do with ceasing doxycycline for the Lyme. I consulted with an infectious diseases doc on Friday and I'm relatively sanguine about the amount that I've done . But I do want to email about stuff that's happened in the last week.

I'll admit I haven't been all that politically engaged. There's so much going on it's impossible to keep up and the things good. Those who have the energy and especially those who have Republican Senators might like to spend some time calling said Republican Senators to push back on their final last-ditch kill the ACA legislation that were looking at this week .

All of the above courtesy the somewhat newer phone I have finally changed too, which seems to have fairly awesome speech to text.

Many thanks to free, for giving me the link to the dreamwidth mobile.
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20 September 2017 @ 10:45 am
cut for size.

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20 September 2017 @ 01:07 am
Cast a 1980s New Teen Titans film....
It occurs to me I haven't looked at the Heavy Gear rules in a long time....
The sound of a younger cat eating her special food.
18 September 2017 @ 10:52 pm
Apparently today is the birthday of the great lexicographer Samuel Johnson. When I clicked on the Google Doodle, one of the hits that came up was about another Samuel Johnson, apparently one well known in Australia: Grieving Samuel Johnson says he might as well ‘sell some f***ing socks’. It begins:

SAMUEL JOHNSON has continued his sister Connie’s crusade to find a cure for cancer by launching brightly hued fundraising socks.

Connie Johnson died after a long battle with breast cancer earlier this month.

Samuel sees the socks (which reference their nicknames Connie Cottonsocks and Sammy Seal) as an extension of The Project host Carrie Bickmore’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer initiative.

“Seeing as Carrie has the whole Beanie thing covered, we thought we’d bung out some ‘Connie Cottonsocks’ and try and cover this cancer conundrum from head to toe,” Samuel wrote on the Love Your Sister Facebook page.

“Connie doesn’t have any use for your sentiment now. If she wanted anyone to take anything from her life, it was to highlight the importance of medical research. And we all need socks right?

“In the name of my dear gone sister, I’m asking. Please buy some socks and then maybe we can share the absolute bejesus out of this post and turbocharge our push for a cure, so families need not continue to endure the baseless trauma that cancer so cruelly provides.

“I want my sister back but seeing as that’s not going to happen, I might as well sell some f***ing socks so that other families don’t have to go through this pain.

I remain, more than ever, very truly yours. Samuel Johnson Head of Cancer Vanquishment.”
Well now! That looked worth following up.

But... Here's the text I just sent them:
I've about given up on most of my charitable giving, since I'm retired and on a small income, but I want to buy some socks, especially in memory of my wife. HOWEVER... You say in small print "We only ship within Australia", and your page says "City and state are mandatory" (though the form accepts only Australian states). So if I give you as much of my address as you'll take, your page will refuse the rest. And even if I somehow succeed in ordering socks, how the heck are you going to get them to me?
You know, if you're going to ask the whole world, you really ought to allow the whole world to answer.

Velocity: frustrated
Soundtrack: Polly Wolly Doodle, in head
18 September 2017 @ 12:19 pm
According to my brother, one should not bounce a chainsaw off one's knee as it is very hard on denim.
18 September 2017 @ 07:47 am

One of the interesting joys of the current story-series is that I'm NOT writing a broken or restricted character - I'm writing a character who has gotten his shit together & is taking on a new, out-of-comfort-zone challenge because he chooses to.

Because the story doesn't end when the broken bits of a POV character are repaired/justified.  Interesting stuff happens after, too. And we don't have to break them a second or third time to make it interesting.

Kintsugi is about the repaired form as a whole, not just the golden seams.

This post possibly brought to you by reading too damn many "hero/ine is broken in order to BE the hero/ine" story.  Which are good and necessary stories, but not the only ones we should be telling.

17 September 2017 @ 09:01 pm
What book is this from?

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16 September 2017 @ 09:08 pm
If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
- former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
- Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
- Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.
16 September 2017 @ 03:27 pm
Keith Marshall died today. I don't have memorial info yet, but Diane might have people over tomorrow; she's not alone now, and that is good. Ping me on this handle on gmail if you want further info.

I was just about to leave for Wheaton regional for acro when I got the call, and then the other call. Had over an hour on the phone with the housemate yesterday rapidly coming to an understanding of why she was impossible to live with, so i suppose I should have known better than to admit I already knew, that Diane had already called me. And I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when she started yelling and hung up on me when I told her the Baltimore and DC science fiction people would be available to help sort through his things - I knew there had already been strife over his wishes that his books go to bsfs.

I decided half an hour ago that I'd instedad go to faire at this point. Called gsh and established through tears that he would still be there. Am still messing with the iPad.

I wrote this on Facebook:
Back when social media showed stuff in order and I more consistently posted on a certain other network Keith William Marshall would check on me when I hadn't posted in a day or two. He was willing to spend likely three times as long supporting me in replacing my disposall 'myself' as it would have been to just do it. He made bracelets and fiddle toys the 3D printer and last I saw him he gave me a Magen david. I keep thinking of the anodized titanium bracelet he made and wore. He was kind and matter of fact and knew about so many things and i wish I'd remembered he was still one of the people who chats on the phone. Ive had a candle burning for Keith since last night; Diana called a few minutes ago and it sadly now serves as memorial.

We always think there will be more time. I knew yesterday the situation was bad but was already thinking about how to be future help.

there isn't yet memorial information. Diana may have an informal gathering at her place tomorrow. If you know her or Keith, ping me for phone/address.

I'm hoping that bsfs/wsfa can be involved in sorting through Keith's books and such, because it was important to him they not be trashed. Communication in that area is currently a bit fraught.

Fsck. Just Fsck. Other times friends have died it's been either less of a surprise or farther away

It's surprising and it isn't surprising that I'm crying. We met 20 years ago. He always made me feel cared for and protected. And it was a shock, and I could have spent more time with him. Particularly after he was no longer driving.

I gotta get moving in some direction
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16 September 2017 @ 03:27 pm
(Ị am addressing this message to Technical Support because there is no more appropriate contact listed on your "contact us" page. Please forward it to the appropriate editorial department.)

In your American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition (open in front of me) and still in the 5th edition (https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Paraboloid), the marginal illustration for "paraboloid" shows a diagram of a circular paraboloid with the caption


The equation for a circular paraboloid is:
x²/a² + y²/b² = z


(The caption has the fractions in vertical format with horizontal lines, which I can't reproduce here, but the equation is mathematically unchanged.)

That is the general equation of an elliptical paraboloid, of which the circular paraboloid is a special case. To quote from Stack Exchange


[T]he equation of an elliptical paraboloid is given by

z/c = (x/a)² + (y/b)²

If a=b, then this elliptical paraboloid is also a circular paraboloid.


The divisor c is irrelevant here, so we can write

z = (x/a)² + (y/b)²

In other words, the equation of a circular paraboloid is

z = (x/a)² + (y/a)²

or in your arrangement

x²/a² + y²/a² = z

or more simply

(x²+y²)/a² = z

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Soundtrack: The McDades, Johnny's Flush/..., via Pandora
Velocity: nerdy
16 September 2017 @ 12:53 pm
Came in for a morning shift, found this:

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16 September 2017 @ 09:01 am
Project Lucifer: Will Cassini Turn Saturn into a Second Sun?

This is from a few years ago. I wonder what the people who thought it was plausible are doing now? Aside from presumably supporting Trump.

It pretty much kills any real social media time, especially longer-form stuff like DW. I could probably do more if I turned the computer on at night but I really try never to do that when I'm on a project. There's no reason to.

Maybe things will even out a little. I'd made a commitment to myself to write here regularly, and I haven't quite been able to do it for the past few weeks.

On the bright side, Baltimore is a nice town so far. I'm sure there are parts that aren't nice, but that's true of every city, isn't it?
15 September 2017 @ 09:33 am
I wanted synonyms for "hemorrhoids". One of them was "piles", which is the one I was looking for, the one my grandmother used and I didn't understand.   The first 20 also included 
– none of which have anything to do with hemorrhoids but which are all clearly synonyms for the common colloquial meaning of "piles".  

Synonymy is not transitive.  

Soundtrack: Manhã de Carnaval, in head
Position: you don't want to know