marnanel: (Default)
some things to know about me:

* I may be wrong and often am. If I am, I would like to know, and learn better. But...
* I hate conflict. If you are rude, aggressive, hostile, ridiculing, I'll probably not talk to you.
* I am aware that I am privileged in many ways; if I show unchecked privilege, I appreciate hearing about it and I promise to take it seriously. I expect the same from you.
* Autonomy is important. I would like to hear your stories rather than tell my own. But if your behaviour involves nonconsensual damage to others, especially children, I am unlikely to be sympathetic (to put it mildly). Anti-vaccination people are specifically included here as people who damage children.
* I love hugs and cuddles, but please don't touch me without asking.
* If I have a panic attack, please hang around. Afterwards I will probably go and hide somewhere for a bit, and then I probably won't cope too well with people talking to me.
* If I'm occupied with nothing but my phone in public, that's probably a way of hiding.
* I hate phone calls. I hate making them, and I hate receiving them. Text or email instead, unless it's urgent, or you've arranged it otherwise. (To my parents: yes, you count as having arranged otherwise. But I still prefer email.)
* My pronouns are they/them, though zie/zir is fine too, and other pronouns are all right where I'm not out as genderqueer. If you get it wrong, that's fine. But don't get it wrong on purpose.
* Do not shout at me. Ever.
* I like reconciliation. If we were friends in the past, I probably want to be friends again. There are a very few exceptions, but you know who you are.
* I like vegetarian food, but I'll eat some kinds of meat if that's all that's available. I'm allergic to uncooked egg (and this includes scrambled eggs, for some reason). Eggs in things like cake are fine. Actually, cake is lovely in general.
* I have a bad habit of avoiding dealing with things I don't know how to handle, especially emails I don't know how to answer. In particular, I love getting fanmail, but I'm rather bad at answering it. I'm really sorry: I'm working on it. I do read it all, and it does make me happy, and I love you all.
* Please don't assume I can pick up on hints, or flirting, or that I know any particular social conventions about conversations; please be explicit. If there's something you can't or don't want to talk about, I will pick it up and worry about it if you lie about the things round the edges in inconsistent ways. I really like it when people talk to me about how they want to talk to me and how I want to talk to them.
* I'll try to add trigger warnings to posts and pictures. Again, if I get it wrong, let me know.
* I have triggers of my own. I may have to leave a conversation because of them. It's a PTSD thing.
* Reciting poetry and singing and scripting/echolalia are coping habits.
* I apologise too much. I'm working on it.

Did I miss anything? Questions and comments and suggestions are welcome.
marnanel: (Default)
#voted.
Outside:
"Hello, I'm the Ukip candidate."
"Not at all my thing, I'm afraid."
"Oh, don't worry, I'm on the liberal wing of Ukip."
"The...?"
"Everyone says we're about racism! It's not about racism! It's about space! Like, I proposed at national conference to send a cruise ship to the Med to pick up the migrants and check their papers. Better than letting them drown!"
"Well, yes, better than letting them drown."
"But let me tell about healthcare tourism! People from all over the world come here and get treated free."
"It's not that common for..."
"Pshaw! Have you been to Salford Royal recently?"
"Then why did I need to get health insurance when I lived in the US and came back to the UK?"
"That's what I mean! Foreigners shoulf have health insurance!"
"We have to go now."
"Thanks for talking to me! So many people don't."
marnanel: (Default)
[Alexander the Great is questioning some Indian philosophers, and has threatened to execute anyone who gives a wrong answer]

• The first one... being asked which, in his opinion, were more numerous, the living or the dead, said that the living were, since the dead no longer existed.
• The second, being asked whether the earth or the sea produced larger animals, said the earth did, since the sea was but a part of the earth.
• The third, being asked what animal was the most cunning, said: "That which up to this time man has not discovered."
• The fourth, when asked why he had induced Sabbas to revolt, replied: "Because I wished him either to live nobly or to die nobly."
• The fifth, being asked which, in his opinion, was older, day or night, replied: "Day, by one day"; and he added, upon the king expressing amazement, that hard questions must have hard answers.
• Passing on, then, to the sixth, Alexander asked how a man could be most loved; "If," said the philosopher, "he is most powerful, and yet does not inspire fear."
• Of the three remaining, he who was asked how one might become a god instead of man, replied: "By doing something which a man cannot do";
• the one who was asked which was the stronger, life or death, answered: "Life, since it supports so many ills."
• and the last, asked how long it were well for a man to live, answered: "Until he does not regard death as better than life."

-- Plutarch, "Lives", late 1st century
marnanel: (Default)
[death]
I SHALL COME BACK
by Dorothy Parker
 
I shall come back without fanfaronade
of wailing wind and graveyard panoply;
but, trembling, slip from cool Eternity —
a mild and most bewildered little shade.
I shall not make sepulchral midnight raid,
but softly come where I had longed to be
in April twilight's unsung melody,
and I, not you, shall be the one afraid.
Strange, that from lovely dreamings of the dead
I shall come back to you, who hurt me most.
You may not feel my hand upon your head,
I'll be so new and inexpert a ghost.
Perhaps you will not know that I am near —
and that will break my ghostly heart, my dear.
 
http://i.imgur.com/dSIcrykl.jpg
 

marnanel: (Default)
REVEALED: Corbyn's links to apple thieves

REVEALED: Corbyn's links to apple thieves
• Caused original sin
• Family held apple shares
• Responsible for fall

Jeremy Corbyn is descended from notorious apple thieves Adam and Eve, the Telegraph can reveal.

Speaking today on condition of anonymity, a senior Labour backstabberbencher. told of his shock at the hypocrisy.

“Adam dared to question the ways of God. Clearly that was only the start, since Corbyn has now dared to question the Prime Minister's tax returns.

“And don't forget, as soon as she ate the apple, Eve learned that she was naked, and hid herself. In all the years Corbyn has been a member of Parliament, I have never seen him naked. What does he have to hide?”

At press time, God was unavailable for comment. (cont. Genesis 94)
marnanel: (Default)
In Diana Wynne Jones's book "The Ogre Downstairs", there's a scene where some menacing bikers grow out of the ground like plants. Their speech is colloquial English, but written in Greek script. Some people have asked for a transcription, so here it is. I've avoided trying to represent their accent in the English text, so I've put "them" for "'em" and so on. The typesetters for some editions of the book seem not to have understood the joke; in my copy (HarperCollins, 2010) capital lambda is written as a section mark, and capital beta as a comma. I've seen editions with even stranger substitutions.

They stared at the buried man in some perplexity, wondering how he got there and whether to help him out. While they stared, the face shook its chin free of sand and stones and spoke.

“ν θε λιδαγειν ᾿ανσε υοτιωγετ!!” it said. ["...n the lid again and see what you get!" - I think some text from the MS might have been lost here?]

“What language is that?” said Johnny.

“It might be Greek,” Douglas guessed, equally mystified.

A clattering of gravel made them look up. The other mushrooms, up and down the lane between the cars, had also grown into men in crash helmets. The next nearest was now only buried from the waist downward. He had his hands on the gravel and was levering to get his legs free. Beyond him, a number had grown to full height and were stepping up onto the ground, shaking their boots. They were all identically dressed in black leather motorcycle suits and white crash helmets, and they all had most unpleasant faces.

With one accord, Douglas and Johnny looked round to see how near the car was. It was twenty yards off. Between them and it, the lane was filled with motorcyclists stepping free of the ground and moving menacingly down toward them.

“I don’t like the look of this,” said Douglas. “And don’t tell me it’s my fault. I know.”

The nearest man struggled up from the earth and shook himself. Stones clattered from his leather clothes and mud spattered the boys. Carefully he drew his boot from the last of the gravel and walked a step or so toward them.

"Θιωκ ᾿ιυ κνιτ φελλως ᾿ον Θε εδ δουιου?" he demanded of Douglas. ["Think you can hit fellas on the head, do you?"]

“I’m sorry. I don’t understand,” Douglas said.

The man looked round at the other motorcyclists.

"Θης κιζ τραιδ του θυμπ μι, φελλως!" he said angrily. ["These kids tried to thump me, fellas!"]

From the way the others reacted, it was clear that, whatever this meant, it meant no good for Johnny and Douglas. They all gave the boys most unpleasant, blank looks and strolled nearer. "'Ωκει, λετς τεικ βωθοφεμ ᾿απαρτ ᾿αβιτ" ["Okay, let's take both of them apart a bit"] said one. And one who was still only half out of the ground added "Λετμε ᾿αττεμ." ["Let me at them"] Neither of these suggestions sounded pleasant. Johnny looked despairingly round what he could see of the car-park between the advancing leather suits. He found nothing but cars, lines of them, locked, silent and deserted. There did not seem to be another soul in sight.

“Get back to back,” said Douglas. “Use the mop on them.”

Johnny at once scrambled round Douglas and leaned against his back. He held the dustbin lid as a genuine shield, and put the head of the mop under one arm, with the stick pointing outward toward what was now a circle of menacing motorcyclists. Behind him, he heard the clang of the strawberry soap rolling in the dustbin as Douglas raised that for a shield and leveled the broom. Johnny was glad that he had such a tall back as Douglas’s to stand against. If it had been Caspar’s or Malcolm’s back, he would have felt a great deal more frightened. Not that their defenses seemed to impress the motorcyclists. Some laughed jeeringly. One said, "Φυλλα σπιριτ, 'αρυντθει?" ["Full of spirit, aren't they?"] which was clearly a sarcastic remark of some kind, and all of them laughed. Then the first of them said, "Λετσγω, φελλως." ["Let's go, fellas."] And they closed in.

jaggery

Mar. 31st, 2016 01:27 pm
marnanel: (Default)
Marn: I had to look up some of the things on the ingredients list. Did you know what jaggery is?
Kit: Spelt?
Marn: No, it's cane sugar.
Kit: I see what happened there-- I meant, "how is it spelt?"
Marn: Ohhh.
marnanel: (Default)

Marginalia scribbled while reading an article called "50 Writing Tips from my 15 Years as an Author":

One of the questions I’m asked on a daily basis is some form of, “I want to become an author. Can you help?”
-- Sure. Sit down and WRITE THE DAMN STORY.

2. Writing a book is a wonderful gift to leave your children and a way to ensure your legacy.
-- Here's your mother's last will and testament. It says... "Hey kids, I wrote a book once."

3. The root of “authority” is author; nothing will do more for your business or career than writing a non-fiction book.
-- Okay, I'll write a book about the etymological fallacy.

5. If you have ever given someone advice that they have found helpful, you can write a non-fiction book.
-- But have you stopped to consider whether you should?

7. If you’ve ever told your friends a story that made them laugh, cry, or say, “So what did you do?” or “No way!” you can write a novel.
-- Especially if your stories last a day and a half. But you might have trouble getting your friends to beta read.

8. If you can speak you can write; you don’t need to have done well in English class—or even in school—to be a writer.
-- That explains a lot about the stuff you find in bookshops.

9. “I want to write a book, I just don’t know what to write about.” Well, you clearly need to get a life, or at least read more.
-- Kudos for this one, though. More lists should tell the reader to get a life.

10. “I have a great idea for a book, but just don’t have the time to write it.” Oh, why didn’t you say so? Want to borrow my magical author-time-machine? It’s right over here…all writers have one. We call it the shut-off-the-TV-stop-posting-on-Facebook-and-get-your-butt-out-of-bed-at-5-in-the-morning device. Doesn’t even need batteries.
-- Really? Who stole *my* "get out of bed at 5am" device? Though after a few days of that, you'll be needing the batteries.

11. “But my grammar and spelling is horrible.” Fine, write a horrible book and hire an editor to clean it up.
-- "But my bank balance is horrible." Tough.

12. Write your book for a single person.
-- Especially if it's called something like "How to find a girlfriend."

13. Spend a ridiculous amount of time coming up with an “avatar” for your ideal reader, or spend one minute picking someone you actually know in the real world and write it for her.
-- Better, spend a ridiculous amount of time WRITING THE DAMN STORY.

21. The seventh most important variable in the success of a book is the quality of your writing.
-- That explains a *lot* about the stuff you find in bookshops.

24. Social media is a great way to connect with influencers.
-- So turn that "get off Facebook" machine back off again, okay?

26. The only book marketing expenditure that actually has a positive ROI (i.e., doesn’t just build awareness but actually moves books) is paying for placement in airport bookstores or display tables in Barnes & Noble. Oh, and sometimes Facebook ads.
-- "But my bank balance is horrible." Tough.

27. Readers are fascinated by authors; remember in the midst of your poverty and despair you actually have fans.
-- "But my bank balance is...." wait, poverty and despair?

28. For non-fiction, your fans want to know your zero-to-hero story.
-- Anyone can write, as long as they have an inspiring and successful life.

29. For fiction, your fans want to know about your (idealized) lifestyle and creative techniques.
-- They don't give a damn about my lifestyle. They want to READ THE DAMN STORY.

30. New authors should spend more time building their tribe than actually writing. (Yes, reality stinks.)
-- Put off writing the book for as long as possible.

33. Many authors supplement their royalties with income from speeches, courses, coaching, teaching and consulting. (Yes, again, reality stinks.)
-- Or, in the real world, by having a day job.

34. Most successful authors are prolific—they write one or more books each year.
-- Thank you, Captain Obvious.

35. Most successful authors slay the same dragon over and over again. (Lee Child has written 20 Jack Reacher novels; John Maxwell has written over 50 leadership books.)
-- It gets pretty easy when you can write your book with Word's mail merge function.

38. “Is it better to be a Pantser or a Plotter?” Shut up, stop procrastinating and get back to writing.
-- Whether you should prepare or start writing straight away was exactly what the question was about, you berk.

40. Writer’s block is laziness or lack of preparation.
-- You JUST SAID that preparation was a kind of procrastination. You berk.

41. If you have “writer’s block” try speaking your book into a microphone and have it transcribed; have you ever had speaker’s block? Didn’t think so.
-- Ever been lost for words? Didn't think so. (Also, "have it transcribed", but my bank balance is horrible...)

42. Pictures, illustrations or doodles immediately make your book stand out from the competition.
-- True! These are the first ones the publishers notice, and they have a special round file for them.

49. Write drunk; edit sober.
-- Let's say you can write 1000 good words every day. You're going to be drunk every night for two months. After that it'll be difficult to do any editing.

50. Life is about making an impact, not an income. And writers who know what they’re doing make both.
-- It's true, they do make both. Just not much of either.

Fondue Man

Mar. 22nd, 2016 10:19 am
marnanel: (Default)

"You know Ice Man, right?"

"Uh?"

"Ice Man. Like, the superhero."

"Yeah?"

"Well, he goes around by making ice, and he rides along it. What happens to all the ice? Like, is there ice left all over the town?"

"It probably melts."

"Oh, true. But it would be a problem if there was, like, an evil villain person who wanted to catch him, he could just follow the ice... I suppose it's a good job it's ice, though. There must be a whole load of superheroes who have it worse, like... Fondue Man... can you imagine, having to ride along on a wave of fondue, and leaving it all over the place? Imagine the smell."

"Imagine the rats!"

"Oh, I think the rats are his sidekicks, and they solve problems for him, like the cat in Hong Kong Phooey."
 

woke, adj.

Mar. 21st, 2016 10:24 pm
marnanel: (Default)
I'm putting together an OED submission for the AAVE adjective woke, as in politically conscious. If anyone could suggest citations or defintiions, I'd appreciate it.

woke, adj. (orig.US, AAVE) aware of current events; politically conscious. Often in phrase stay woke.

Citations I have so far:An especially useful overview: http://fusion.net/story/252567/stay-woke/
marnanel: (Default)
THE INTERROGATION OF THE GOOD
by Bertolt Brecht

Step forward: we hear
That you are a good man.

You cannot be bought, but the lightning
Which strikes the house, also
Cannot be bought.
You hold to what you said.
But what did you say?
You are honest, you say your opinion.
Which opinion?
You are brave.
Against whom?
You are wise.
For whom?
You do not consider your personal advantages.
Whose advantages do you consider then?
You are a good friend.
Are you also a good friend of the good people?

Hear us then: we know.
You are our enemy. This is why we shall
Now put you in front of a wall. But in consideration
of your merits and good qualities
We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you
With a good bullet from a good gun and bury you
With a good shovel in the good earth.
marnanel: (Default)
A very helpful anon pointed out on the last post that the code to print stars and spaces, whcih I'd taken for mere decoration, actually prints a simple crossword grid:

          2
        4 *
        * *
      1******
        * *
      3******
        *


1) Arresting pop group
2) _ to me only
3) Four-star transport
4) Underwater computer language?

Possible answers in comments (on the Dreamwidth entry, Livejournallers).
marnanel: (Default)
Today I decoded the secret competition questions from a 1984 Thames Television computer show. I still don't know the answers, but I'm probably a bit late to send in a postcard!

A friend pointed out this copy of Thames Television's 1984 Database programme, and wondered what the files transmitted over the closing credits are.



I took a look at the audio. All the signal is on the right channel, so I threw away the left. This is what the remaining channel looks like:
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~tthurman/thames/waveform.png

You can see that most of the signal is a lead tone, and there are two files each of four blocks. In fact the files have the same content, and they're both called THAMES.

Before I did any analysis on the waveform, though, I amplified it so that all peaks were at the same volume, on the grounds that the volume isn't significant. At first I tried to load these files into BeebEm. The trouble is that BeebEm doesn't take .wav files directly-- you have to convert them to a format called .uef-- and the conversion programs were reallyt finicky with noisy signals. And this signla is very noisy, having been transmitted over UHF, recorded on home video, and then digitised. In the end, I ended up writing my own demodulator based on the specs given here. Then I ran the file from the tape through Matt Godbolt's BBCBasicToText script, ,slightly modified not to give up around the occasional bit of noise.

Fortunately, the resulting file did not say "be sure to drink your Ovaltine".. BBCBasicToText doesn't implement target line number conversion, so those are missing, and as you see some noise remains. This has been an interesting diversion-- sort of like a cryptic crossword puzzle.

10MODE7:COLOUR129:CLS
20PRINT"Thames  Television"
30 PRINT"-------------------"
40PRINT:PRINT:PRINT"DATABASE COMPETITION"
50 PRINT:PRINT:PRINT:PRINT"Send solutions on a postcard only to:"
60PRINT:PRINT"    Database"
70PRINT"     THAMES TV"
80PRINT"      149 TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD"
90PRINT"       LONDON"
100PRINT"        W1P 9LL"
109 PRINT:PRINT:FOR"PRNOTLN SPACE BAR TO CONTINUE"
110 A$=GET$:IFA$="" THEN 110
111 IFA$<>" "THEN 110
120 MODE5
130COLOUR129:CLS
140PRINT:PRINT;
150FORI=1TO8:READA$:IFI=1 THENGOTO [...line...] ELSE [...line...]
160 COLOUR4:GOTO180
170 IFI=5THENCOLOUR3ELSE COLOURI
180PRINTA$;:NEXT
190COLOUR3=PRINT" COMPETITION"
195PRINT"--------------------"
200 PRINT:PRINT:PRINT:PRINT:PRINT
210COLOUR2:PRINTSPC( [... corrupt ...]
220COLOUR2:PRINTSPC(8);"4";
230COLOUR3:PRINT" *"
240COLOUR3:PRINTSPC(8);"* *"
250COLOUR2::PRINTSPC(6);"1";:COLOUR3:PRINT"******" 
260PRINTSPC(8);"* *"
270COLOUR2::PRINTSPC(6);"3";:COLOUR3:PRINT"******"
280PRINTSPC(8);"*"
290PRINT:PRINT:PRINT:COLOUR2:PRINT"1.";:COLOUR6:PRINT" Arresting pop       group1
300 PRINT:COLOUR2:PRINT"2.";:COLOUR4:PRINT"_ to me only" 
310PRINT:COLOUR2:PRINT"3.";:COLOUR4:PRINT" Four star           transport"
320PRINT:COLOUR2:PRINT"4.";:COLOUR4:PRINT" Underwater         computer language?"
325 GOTO [...line...]
330"DATA "D","A","T","A","B","A","S","E"

One last mystery remains: what are the answers to the competition questions? (Edit: we have answers!)
marnanel: (Default)
Many years back, I had to give someone a suppository.

Me: Oh weird, it comes in a blister pack, and it says on the front that only one of the blisters has the suppository in.
Them: So why are you breaking all of them?
Me: Um... I was looking for a golden ticket to go round the suppository factory.
(Pause.)
Me: OMG, the Oompa-Loompas!
marnanel: (Default)
[murder, suicide, execution]

Two parodies of A E Housman's "A Shropshire Lad" that I found on Wikipedia. (They're dead, Terence, everybody's dead, everybody is dead, Terence.)

by Humbert Wolfe:

When lads have done with labour
In Shropshire, one will cry
"Let's go and kill a neighbour,"
And t'other answers "Aye!"
So this one kills his cousins,
And that one kills his dad;
And, as they hang by dozens
At Ludlow, lad by lad,
Each of them one-and-twenty,
All of them murderers,
The hangman mutters: "Plenty
Even for Housman's verse."

by Hugh Kingsmill:

What, still alive at twenty-two,
A clean upstanding chap like you?
Why, if your throat is hard to slit,
Slit your girl's and swing for it!
Like enough you won't be glad
When they come to hang you, lad,
But bacon's not the only thing
That's cured by hanging from a string.
When the blotting pad of night
Sucks the latest drop of light,
Lads whose job is still to do
Shall whet their knives and think of you.
marnanel: (Default)
Written around me, written within:
scars of my lifetime show on my skin.
This is a tooth I broke in a fight.
Here's where I tumbled, dancing all night.
Sites of injections. Chicken-pox spot.
Name of a lover better forgot.

Words in the open, words never said,
all of my stories hide in my head.
Tell me a story: now, evermore,
life has a pattern hidden before.
Tales of a lifetime carved in my brain
whisper politely: Tell me again.

Hid in a heartbeat, sung to the stars:
scars are my stories, stories my scars.
marnanel: (Default)
When I was about ten, my dad took us to the visitor centre at the Sellafield nuclear power station. The government were very keen to show it off, especially given how soon it was after the Chernobyl disaster, so there was a lot to see, and we were given cheerful badges saying "I've been to Sellafield!". (Unfortunately, they'd recently stopped allowing you to walk across the roof of the reactor hall.)

As we were walking around the site:

Little Marn: What do you think was here before the power station?
My dad: Probably all farmland.
Little Marn: And the government bought it all?
My dad: I should think it was a compulsory purchase.
Little Marn: So they made the farmers sell a field?
My dad: .....

I was like that as a kid.
marnanel: (Default)
Gollum used to be Smeagol, until the One Ring corrupted him.
The Balrogs, on the other hand...
http://i.imgur.com/jw6IeoHl.jpg

marnanel: (Default)
I was asked for a free translation of "Ubi caritas" (http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Ubi_caritas ):

As friendship fills our meeting-place,
Jesus is here;
he dwells in every friend's embrace,
each smile sincere,
rejoicing in the love we share.
Wherever love is, God is there.

As friendship fills our meeting-place
Jesus brings peace.
Divisions heal, and by his grace
Arguments cease.
Forgiven friends are one in prayer:
wherever love is, God is there.

As friendship fills our meeting-place,
Jesus our friend
will smile to see us face to face,
world without end,
and hold us in his loving care:
wherever love is, God is there.
marnanel: (Default)
Today I tried a sip of my dad's cask-strength whisky. Amelia was there to record the result.

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marnanel: (Default)
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