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.

fork bomb

May. 26th, 2017 07:35 pm
marnanel: (Default)
In the second year of my BSc, one of the lecturers asked us to build a Unix shell. In those days, Unix on PCs was a novelty, and most people used accounts on a minicomputer called altair. (Now I feel old.)

Anyway, a fundamental part of building a shell is the sequence of fork() then exec(). It's unique to Unix-like systems, and most students were unfamiliar with it-- hence the exercise.

Now, if you miss out the exec(), you'll have a continuous loop of fork()s, otherwise known as a fork bomb. This could bring down the system, especially in those days. So imagine several dozen CS2 students logging in to the same computer, building a fork bomb by accident, and setting it off.

The funniest part was how angry he was with *us* in the next lecture. "The sysadmins are saying I told you to put fork() in a loop! I *never* told you to put fork() in a loop!"
marnanel: (Default)

When we were teenagers, my brothers and sisters and I played a game called Starlight; we’d made it up and it evolved over time. There was a deck of 64 cards. Here are some of my favourites, drawn by teenage me.

image

STARLIGHT. Top card in the deck.

image

ALCHEMIST. Part of the game was that everyone could choose a card that represented themselves. This was my card.

image

PHARAOH. This card was the most powerful/valuable. He gained a microphone in this edition because we’d just finished a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

image

POET. He’s writing something about himself and weeping.

image

OREAD. An oread is the spirit of a hill, just as a dryad is the spirit of a tree.

image

DRYAD. This was my brother Andrew’s card– he wore glasses at the time. This edition has his eyes drawn heavily blue, because Andrew has noticably blue eyes.

image

NAIAD. The spirit of a stream.

The full set is here: https://thurman.org.uk/starlight/ . Apologises for the card called MADMAN: I know better now.
marnanel: (Default)
"Ascribe" is the numbering system I've developed for filing creative work. Someone asked about it, so I'm documenting it here.

I use the codes as filenames; I also write them in the corners of pieces of paper, so I know where the page belongs if it gets lost. And I use them for labelling chapters in draft manuscripts; otherwise you have beta readers saying "In chapter seventeen..." which might not currently be the seventeenth chapter.

So, every major project has a work code, which is a single letter (case doesn't matter). My current WIP happens to be B. Then the numbers for chapters look like "B3115": a letter followed by some digits. Usually, there are four digits; the thousands digit shows the part of the story (1=setup, 2/3=confrontation, 4=resolution) and after that the numbers go up in tens so I can easily squeeze new chapters in. For example, the chapters in B2 are currently B2010, B2030, B2041, B2051, B2060, B2081, and B2110.

Beyond that, subsections of chapters are informally numbered with a decimal point (so, B2010 might have B2010.1, B2010.2...).

And I often write a draft number before the work code, so 3B2010 is the version of B2010 in 3B, which is the third draft.

There are a few special work codes:
  • "i" is for numbering any issues that need resolving in anything.
  • "X" is for numbering pieces too small to need their own work code (e.g. "Jack by the Hedge" is X12).
  • All poetry is in work code "T" (e.g. "Examination" is T132).
It seems complicated, but it's grown over many years and it works for me.

 

marnanel: (Default)
CW for toilets etc.

Read more... )
marnanel: (Default)
There is a Markov-tastic meme about making a dating profile from your phone's autosuggest. Here's mine:

My name is E on Radio 4.
My name is David from our faceless master of science.
My age is just a beautiful-sounding the Tories governing body of the Trinity or the victim's opinion.
My age is pretty shite.
My age is just a beautiful-sounding I will be vexatious to these churches.
I live in the Basic Subjects.
I live in a few weeks and then put them on my way home.
I live in the future of our games.
I was born in Pendleton Oregon USA [nb I have never been to Oregon]
My body is you need anything from me that you have tarantulas of Lords.
My body and mind and body of a monogamous anything.
I am looking for some time ago but this time around I will avoidbringing to some people.
I enjoy working with you and your family and friends.
I enjoy your knuckles of homosexual.
I enjoy being the best of the Archbishop.
My ideal partner is you can look for it to you and I think it was a Christian primary to these but I'd love it--of Lords to my butchness to these things I get freaked.

what if

Apr. 18th, 2017 05:33 pm
marnanel: (Default)
The Lib Dems run an anti-Brexit campaign. The Tories win the election but don't have a majority. The Lib Dems offer to join a coalition on the condition that the government drops Brexit. Theresa May agrees that this is an acceptable price to stay in power, and gets to drop A50 without losing face.

(Probably not really her plan, but I like the plot)
marnanel: (Default)
At times like these, I find Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address to the nation an inspiring read:
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
marnanel: (Default)

And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small...
– G K Chesterton

In 2009 I was working in a dull grey cubicle, in a dull grey office, in a dull grey office park. And I was very bored.

After a few months, on my lunch break, I was walking along the grass verge beside the car park. The verge was neatly mown, but beyond its edge there was unkempt woodland.

So I began to wonder about the woodland. As far as I could tell, it had grown up by itself because nobody was looking after the land. I determined to explore, next lunchbreak.

I had to fight my way through the overgrowth at first. My path was blocked by brambles and plenty of poison ivy; fortunately, I’m immune. But after only a minute or so, I couldn’t see the office park any more. There was nothing but me, the trees, and the sky.

I came back every day to explore. Soon I discovered an almost dry streambed, which led me to a stream. I don’t know whether it has a name, but I named it Teg. (That means “beautiful” in Welsh.)

Every lunchbreak from then on, I’d come down and sit by the stream to eat my lunch. It was the most peaceful place I knew, and it almost made that job worthwhile. I never saw another human there. Sometimes, when I was sure nobody else came down to the stream, I used to bathe in it.

A few months later, when I was offered a better job, I left with no regrets– except for my river. About half a mile downstream, there’s a road bridge that crosses the stream for a moment, though you’d never notice it unless you knew to look. As I crossed the bridge on my last journey home, and said goodbye to the Teg for the last time, a bright white egret stood drinking from the stream. He saw me, and flew away.

ownvoices

Apr. 4th, 2017 01:08 am
marnanel: (Default)
Now, the world is very wide
(seven seas from side to side)
and it holds a million ways to tell a tale,
And you'll broaden your horizon
When the work you lay your eyes on
Isn't always European, straight, and male.
If you've ever been and gone
to a panel at a con
I'm assuming you're familiar with the sight:
There'll be four and twenty guys
They've shortlisted for a prize
And EVERY... SINGLE... ONE... OF... THEM... IS... WHITE!

(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Neolithic_Age )
marnanel: (Default)
"If I lived in India I would totally have an elephant, not to do anything but just as a companion. And I would buy it canvases and brushes so it could paint things and then I could see what it painted, and also I would buy it a theremin because I think nobody ever thought to buy an elephant a theremin before, and then it would go [noise of elephant playing a theremin; Yantantessera the cat decides to leave]. And the neighbours would come round saying 'What's that bloody noise?' and I'd say 'Just my elephant playing the theremin' and they'd say 'Oh okay'."
marnanel: (Default)
[ghosts, death; parody of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell]

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the Tower of London
Face full of grace with a queenly charm?
She's no breath for talking,
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her head
Right underneath her arm.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And in the topmost turret
You'll meet Sir Walter Raleigh
Cursing at his fall like an angry tar
Looking at the world
With a chip on his shoulder,
Each and every midnight
He smokes a mild cigar.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And have you seen the playroom
Of a pair of ghostly princes?
Such endless games in a place like theirs!
Careful where you sit if you
Accept their invitation:
They don't have ghostly cushions
On all their ghostly chairs

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.
marnanel: (Default)

So, here's a happy accessibility thing.

I was sitting in a meeting today, watching the signer-- out of curiosity, because I don't understand BSL-- and he was sitting in front of a plate glass window.

Someone signed (what evidently meant something like) "the sun's in my eyes!"

He looked over his shoulder and replied (what evidently meant something like) "aw crap, there's no blinds."

So of course I got up, and stood behind the signer to block the sun. They both thanked me later-- but standing in front of a window is easy :) The difficult part was happening to notice an accessibility problem that wasn’t my accessibility problem.

And that makes me wonder what other things I've missed.

marnanel: (Default)
CW misogyny, sex, death, patriarchy...

Once upon a time, I was president of CUHaGS, which has quite a large crossover with the Monarchist League. CUHaGS has a tradition that the annual dinner is held at the college of the president, so in my year it was held at Sidney.

People often get up and walk around outside between courses, so that they're sitting next to someone else for the next course. (I don't know whether that's just a Sidney thing.) And I began to overhear Monarchists saying things to one another like "I've just been for a leap", or "I fancy a leap. Want to come?"

Some background here. Despite being 400 years old, Sidney has produced approximately two famous people: Carol Voderman and Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell, as you probably know, killed King Charles I. At the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II had Cromwell's body dug up and hanged, and his head put on a spike. Then someone stole the head.

Centuries later, that person's descendant decided it was a bit creepy having a head around, and gave it to Sidney. The head was buried in the chapel, but its exact location remains a secret known only to the Master and a few Fellows. Otherwise there was a risk that monarchists would dig it up again and use it as a football.

Anyway, I investigated what the people going for a "leap" were up to. Of course the Monarchists hate Cromwell, because he killed a king. It turned out that they often hold dinners at Sidney, get drunk, and go to the chapel, and jump up and down on random parts of the floor in the hope that they're showing disrespect to Oliver Cromwell's head.
marnanel: (Default)

A toddler I know started “reading” a story aloud from a Bible. With permission from their parents, I’ve illustrated the story:

image

People send one another oranges in envelopes.

image

The Princess and the Queen are married...

image

...and sat down at the table to eat sausages.

image

Then they ate sausages again, but this time with mash.

image

Then they ate children.

image

Then they ate sausages again.

image

Then they ate the castle, which was made of sausages.

image

Suddenly, a dragon appeared!

image

They said, “Shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo” at the dragon...

image

...and it went away. The end.

marnanel: (Default)

alan turing invented the COLOSSOS, machine for understanding ger., lat., fr., ect which won the war for BRITTAN cheers cheers cheers. even tho he was a grate pionear of computer sience, the goverment did not respekt him, becos he did not hav a beard.

all mr turing’s discovereys are v popular at st. custards, eg the HALTING PROBLEM, which shos that you canot tell whether or not hedmaster’s pi-jaw will go on for ever.

mr turing also invented the turing test. this demonstrates that a computer is intelegent if a human canot tell whether it is another human. hence super wizard wheez to see whether sigismund the mad maths master wil notice if i send the MOLESWORTH-O-TRON 9000 to maths klass while i stay in bed.

SIGISMUND: molesworth, why hav you not done your prep
MOLESWORTH-O-TRON: is it becos I hav not done my prep that you speke to me
SIGISMUND: what is the square on the hipotnus?
MOLESWORTH-O_TRON: some of the squares on the other sides
SIGISMUND: corekt
PEASON: sir sir i have a question sir
SIGISMUND: what is it peason
PEASON: ; drop table mathematiks; –
(with a grate CRASH the molesworth-o-tron fall to the floor)
SIGISMUND: well i never, molesworth is a computer

thus we see, my deres, that i, nigel molesworth, hav absolutely 0 brane at all.
marnanel: (Default)

[Part 1 is here]

rekursion is not e.g. when you drop a shottput on yor foot and shout D— B— S— ect in front of GRIMES and get yor mouth washed out with soap. it is a way to find ansers in funkshonal langwidges that require BRANE. this is becos funkshonal langwidges never do anything useful exept by side-efect, and who can blame them.

the ordenry way of finding ansers is for one funkshon to aks another thus:

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello peason. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
PEASON: er, i dunno. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH (chest swelling with manly pride): it is i (gramer)
PEASON: it is molesworth. (he burst out laffing)
FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hurrah, i hav my answer. (he skip merily away.)

but a rekursiv funkshon can aks itself for an anser.

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello molesworth. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
MOLESWORTH: i shal aks myself. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
(i turn around. i am looking into the eyes of a handsom stranger.
could it be MYSELF?)

MOLESWORTH: dere me, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: it is me.
(but as i turn to tell fotherington-tomas, we hear the footstepps of the glamorus under-matron PRUDENCE ENTWISTLE)
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: wait! i must veriffy the result. prudence, who is the tuoghest in the skool?
PRUDENCE: you, my sweet.
(she kisses him and they depart arm in arm without me chiz chiz chiz)

rekurshon was invented by som monks in hanoi. they had three huge needels and a hundred disks. they spent hundreds of yeres moving them about it was worse than detenshun. they shud hav just spun them around like radio LUXEMBURG hem hem. anyway one day the americans invaded.

AMERICANS: wot are you doing
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: moving disks around
AMERICANS: why
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: no time to talk, got to move this disk around
AMERICANS: dont drop it on your…
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: oh S— B— D—
ABBOT: report to the scriptorium to have thy mouth woshed out with soap

tho to be fair it is probbly less rude in vietnamese.

Idealistic

Jan. 13th, 2017 01:17 am
marnanel: (Default)
I once told a toddler the story of Plato's cave. She said, "Well, I'm going on holiday there soon."

When she got home, she told her mum, "I'm going on holiday to a cave where you can only see shadows on the wall."

Her mum said, "You've been talking to Marn, haven't you?"
marnanel: (Default)
FRIENDS

They will stand beside you
When all things are good.
And in the times when things are bad
Beside you they have stood.
They always tell the truth to you
As every good friend must
And they are reliable:
Friends you always trust.
They never will say nasty things
About the clothes you wear
They'll stand up for you against others
When you're not there.
You can always trust your friends
To hold your place in queues.
They'll always tell you "You played well",
Even if you lose.
Always keeping by your side:
Friendship never ends.
Yet, after all, we're only human:
Who has friends?
marnanel: (Default)


[Content note: mention of road accidents, and death of children]

Now more than ever, we on the Left need to change people’s attitudes towards the poor and marginalised. Persuasion has three parts:

  • Why should you listen to me?
  • Here are the facts.
  • But let me tell you a story…

(Why should you listen to me about this? Because I’m a writer and I study the structure of stories. Also, because this pattern has stood the test of time: it was set out by Aristotle in 350BCE.)




Who’s speaking: You. Or not. Don’t assume your job is to speak up for the oppressed, if you’re part of the oppressing group. That generally results in speaking over them. People won’t listen, and they won’t have heard from oppressed folk either. Instead, find someone of the oppressed group who’s speaking up for themselves, and use your privilege to amplify them.

Facts are vitally important, and they’re what we do best. We have fact-checkers and myth-busting websites coming out of our ears. But people don’t listen to facts alone.

Stories, worldviews, are the framework for facts.  If someone’s been sold a lie (“immigrants are taking all the jobs and houses”), they’re sold a story to put it in (which starts with “there’s a shortage of jobs and houses”). Then when you point out the number of houses standing empty, it doesn’t fit the story. So it gets ignored, or twisted into something you didn’t say. The answer to false stories is to spread true stories.

Not convinced? Let me tell you a story.


Once upon a time in 1964, the road safety people ran adverts saying “Don’t drink and drive”. They gave statistics. But the adverts weren’t very effective. So they tried a new idea.

The existing story was “Driving drunk is difficult, so I’m more of a man if I can do it.” The new adverts gave them a better story: Here’s a kid who can’t sleep because her father killed someone. Kill your speed, not a child.

And why should we believe what we’re hearing? Because we’re hearing it from actual people who had been injured in road accidents. Even though the people were fictional characters, it still persuades. And now drinking and driving deaths are one-fifth of what they were 40 years ago.


Persuaded? Share it and persuade your friends.


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