Well, that was anti-climactic

Jul. 20th, 2017 02:40 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
The several times delayed apartment inspection is finally done.

This is always a stressful time for me because of my PTSD and Anxiety disorder. Partially it's the distinct feeling of being judged. And partly its the fact that they *could* start eviction proceedings if they don't like what they find.

Never mind that that is actually unlikely, and that I'd have at least one chance (if not more) to correct things. The fact that it is *possible* is enough to be triggery.

That's a fact that our previous manager didn't understand. she actually told me there was no reason to be stressed. Sorry, but that's like telling someone with depression to "cheer up". Or someone with a food allergy to justy get over it.

But the current manager and the maintenance guy came in (and she actually *asked* "May I come in?") they checked some stuff and made notes. But she was pleasant. The only thing close top a negative comment was that I had a lot of stuff. But it wasn't said in a judgmental way, and she noted that I had paths, so it was ok.

She even apologized that I had to move the stuff in front of the closet that has the water heater (it's in a dead end in the hall, so I store stuff like Christmas and Halloween things in it, and store some other stuff in front of the door).

Least stressful inspection *ever*.

I'm still gonna veg out for a while because the anticipation took a lot out of me.

And, of course, we still likely have the inspection by HUD this fall. That's a "random" apartment thing. I'm gonna try writing up something to give to the manager explaining how and why inspections are stressful. And one suggestion in it, will be that for the random inspections, it'd really help some of us if they could let us know that we *aren't* going to be inspected as soon as possible. Otherwise we are stressed out until the time limit runs out.

Old Soldiers

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:33 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird
prelude
[2076, autumn]

"Why'd you do it, Gabe?"

"Do what?"

"Send those killers to her house."

"Lena, I don't know what you're talking about. Fill me in."

"Why'd you send those idiots after Gérard Lacroix?"

"I didn't! Hell, they weren't even field agents. It never should have happened. Not the way it did, anyway."

"Amélie doesn't know that."

"Amélie should know that, she has the logs. She just doesn't want to."

"Wot? Why not?"

"As long she doesn't know that, there's someone else alive to blame."

"That's shite, Gabriel."

"Is it?"

"It is, and you know it. She blames herself. Always has."

"'Course she does, girl. But she also blames me. I was head of Blackwatch, so she's kinda got a point."

The younger assassin just grunted, a "huh" sort of sound.

"Trust me here, having someone else to blame? It helps."

Venom thought about that, for a moment, sizing up Gabriel Reyes through anger-narrowed eyes.

"I'm not so sure it does."

An appropriate t-shirt for many of us

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:30 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
I was looking at Instant Attitudes because I wanted to point it out to a few people. And I came across this shirt...

I don't want to adult today

I don't want to Adult today.
I don't even want to Human.
Today I want to Cat.

an online timeline

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:34 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

Official timeline of the Fear of Spiders Overwatch AU
[solarbird at Archive of Our Own]

Google is silly

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:42 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
I plugged "anagram" into google and it asked "Do you mean 'nag a ram'?"

What a day

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:54 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Made a run out to ENU (late) this morning. Got the stuff I wanted ( a couple PCI gigabit ethernet cords and a DVI to HDMI cable. Also picked up a few cables from the bix boxes of "free" stuff (power cord, VGA cable, HDMI cable)

But it was a quarter mile from the bus stop to ENU and (of course) another quarter mile back. And I'd not grabbed a water bottle before leaving because I didn't want to wait for the next bus. Silly me.

So I was moderately wiped out by the time I got home. Took a while to recover (probably longer than I should have) and took a shower and changed clothes.

That meant I was running late for my meetup with [personal profile] alatefeline. On top of that the second bus was running way late. So I got to Powell's ten minutes after that already late time I'd have gotten there.

Went in and grabbed a book I wanted to buy (actually there were a *lot* I wanted to buy, but my budget's kinda tight for the rest of the month)

Then I went looking for [personal profile] alatefeline. We'd agreed to meet up in the coffee shop, and I knew from the texts we'd been exchanging that they were already there. They'd told me they be wearing a blue hat. Finally spotted them. (You can tell that we are both somewhat misgendered because they said it was blue, but I'df have described it as sky blue though it was actually a bit paler. :-)

The coffee shop is often a maze because of how close the tables are and the way chairs are often left out. It was worse than usual, but I only had to go about three times as far as the "direct" route would have been.

We had a nice chat. Gaming, SCA, SF&fantasy, and various other things. after quite some time, we got up and I went to show them where the pocket "survival" thingie I'd gotten there was. Of course, they'd rearranged things. And they didn't have it. But there were several other neat things.

We could have hung out longer, but my legs were starting to tell me I'd been a bad girl. So I regretfully, bid them farewell and went to buy my book. I knew I had some credit on my Powells card from selling some books a year or so back.

Turned out I had a lot more than I thought. After buying my book, I still had $11 left. I could have bought the entire trilogy instead of just the first book. Oh well, I need to make another Powells run one of these days anyway.

Caught the 20 with no problems. Just missed the 71. So I had to sit out in the hot sun for another 15 minutes.

Finally got home and made myself a sandwich so I could take my meds. Tried to do some stuff on the computer but gave up. Wound up taking a 4 hr nap.

After that I felt better (though my thighs are still mad at me for some reason). I dug out the stuff from ENU and started messing with things.

Cards are installed and working fine. The cable seems to work, but the cable box won't send at a resolution the computer monitors I tried would accept. I'll try it with the Bluray player after the inspection is over.

Have to discuss getting together another time with [personal profile] alatefeline.. It was fun.

Stuff, I has it

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:36 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Somebody on Freecycle posted a couple of items the other day. I asked and got both.

Turned out they lived less than a mile away, and on the bus route that goes past here. When I headed out last evening I had to wait about 7 min for the bus. Got off about a block and a half from their place. I scooted in, got the two bag s of stuff and loaded in in my folding cart.

As I got to the street I could see the bus coming about six blocks away. I didn't make it to the stop but the driver had seen my alternate waving and running and pulled over to let me get on.

So that was about as short as a run could be.

What did I get? A grocery bag full of blank CD-Rs *in cases*. That'll come handy come Christmas.

I also got another grocery bag full of old software they'd cleaned of their shelves. Various old games a lot of home office stuff, and lots and lots of driver disks. Got several copies of some things. Like 7th Guest.

I'll paw thru them some more and eventually pass on the stuff I have no use for.

Gotta pay special attention with the driver disks. A lot of ones for vid cards have games to install to demo that graphics quality. So I'll be doing a lot of digging for those.

And tomorrow I need to head out to the computer parts place I've been using for years. They're going out of business, and I want to get a few things while they are in stock. A couple of PCI gigabit ethernet cards for a couple of boxes that don't have it built in, and an HDMI to DVI cable, so I can use one of the monitors with a DVI connector as a backup if the TV dies.

May also be meeting someone at Powell's later in the day. Haven't heard back from them yet.
annathepiper: (Emperor Fabulous)
[personal profile] annathepiper

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll possibly have seen me periodically posting about how my neighborhood in Kenmore is overrun by wild bunnies in the summer, and this year is no exception. One of the things I quite enjoy about the walk up and down our hill when I’m doing my daily commute is looking for bunnies–whether they’re hanging out openly in someone’s yard, or ducking under bushes, or what have you.

I take pictures of them when I can. Like, say, this one!

You might notice, though, that this picture is kind of soft and fuzzy, and I mean that in a “not just because it involves a bunny” kind of way. The reason for this, I have discovered, is because the iPhone (at least up through the 6’s, as well as the non-Plus 7, according to specs on apple.com) uses digital zoom. And digital zoom gets problematic the closer in you try to zoom.

The common wisdom I’ve seen is that if you want to take a pic with an iPhone, you need to not zoom at all, and crop to get what you want. This is fine if what you’re taking a pic of is pretty close to you. Like this bunny! (This remains my very favorite bunny pic I’ve taken to date.)

But if a bunny is more than two or three feet away from you, you kinda have to zoom to shoot it. Because if you try to get closer, it will very likely sense your presence and bolt.

Which brings me to how I saw Dreamwidth friend cruisedirector posting her own bunny pics! She’s got some nice ones here and here and here, and in general, I’m rather jealous of her zooming abilities! She informed me that Samsung rather gets the credit for this, and if I google zoom specs for Samsung phones, I see things like “10x optical zoom” for the Galaxy S4 and yeah, that’d be why she’s taking better bunny pics than I am. ;D

So then I got all “so what can I do to solve this problem?”

Googling around led me to learning that there are assorted third-party lenses that have been made for the iPhone. The top two contenders I saw in my research were the Olloclip and the Moment, and of the two, camera nerds I read up on have been saying that the Moment is the superior lens.

The problem for me though is that the way the Moment works, they expect you to glue a mounting plate onto the back of your device, and screw the lens into that. I was rather dubious about this–and moreover, decided that I didn’t want to go hunting for one of these, even though I’d read in an article I found posted on the Seattle Times from 2016 that indicated that these lenses would be on sale at the Apple Store in Bellevue.

So instead I opted for the Olloclip. And specifically, I bought this thing, which gives me a telephoto lens and a wide angle one. The telephoto one is the one I’m interested in, since it gives me some optical zoom capability… 2x optical zoom as well as a shallower depth of field. It’s super-easy to pop onto the phone, and I can flip it around to use the wide angle lens. Both lenses can line up with the front and back cameras.

The one drawback here is that I do have to take the phone’s case off, but I’m okay with that.

And so far, the one thing I’m not entirely happy with is that test shots I’ve done with notable amounts of sky in them have caused there to be a bit of a dark halo effect in the corners. So to account for this, I will need to practice aiming and then cropping to get rid of that.

Also, if I change phones and want to continue to have an external lens, I’ll need a different one because this one is specifically designed for the iPhone 6. So far though I’m okay with that, too! My current phone is still perfectly lovely and I won’t be updating it in the near future.

So for now this little toy should be perfectly lovely for my bunny-photographing needs, and I will also be taking it to Quebec with me–because I’m hoping the improved zoom will let me do better at taking pics of musical performances, too. 😀

Here are a bunch of test pics I’ve done with the lens clip so far (and if the thumbnails aren’t coming through for some reason, you can find them directly on flickr here):

Happy with the purchase so far. Playing with this is already fun! Looking forward to learning more!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

a carefully staged improvisation

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:58 pm
solarbird: justice rains on your face (pharah)
[personal profile] solarbird
At lunchtime Overwatch, I was in quickplay, and someone popped into comms, which is unusual for quickplay games. So I identified as Pharah, and said something like 'team chat in quickplay? Okay, that's unusual, cool' and he was all "hey, you're close to going silver, how's it feel?" and I answered in all seriousness, "Honestly, I didn't even know what that meant until somebody else mentioned it about ten levels ago," at which point he said "oh, well, okay, you're just retarded."

So I vocalised into the mic, "oooookay... social... team chat... disconnect" as I did exactly that.

I proceeded to four-gold, and captured the first point nearly solo while everyone else but Sombra was trapped at spawn. (And, credit where it's due, Sombra definitely helped with the capture, mostly on the second third.) Yes, 1 to 2 on 4-6, depending upon how many could rush back at any given time to defend, and winning.

I can do a lot even for even a spectacularly shitty team when I'm on a roll - and I was.

Sadly, I couldn't capture the second point the same way, because the enemy were on to my tricks at that point, but, well, whatever. Four golds. I worked hard to make sure I had 'em all.

I then switched to Widowmaker on the flip side (defence) and popped in to team chat quietly for a second for a reaction, just in time to hear the same jackass bitching about everything, particularly the Widowmaker. And I popped back out.

We proceeded to lose, but I golded in objective kills and I think objective time but I'm not sure. (Might just have silvered.) As we're seeing all that, I pop back into team chat, and they're going at each other, just being salty as fuck.

So I hit my mic and say, "And this is why you don't call your four-gold 'retarded' - she might decide to play Widowmaker next round. Bye!" and dropped.

I realise this kind of snippery is not necessarily the best possible response to this kind of jackass? But I'm thinking, y'know, maybe he might be a little bit hesitant to let that shit fly right out the gate next time. Maybe. Because you really, really don't know who you might be playing with.

(For the record: I actually am trying to learn Widowmaker, that's why I'm playing her in quickplay a lot at the moment. Best kill streak with her so far is I think 12, max kills with her is 23, I've earned the Pixel spray but not the Cute. So if the team I'm with is any good, I'm not a joke, I'm a legitimate contributor, I often gold in objective kills with her, and I always play the best I can at any time. I always play to win. Even here.)

On our new incoming Thirteenth Doctor

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:47 pm
annathepiper: (Alan YES!)
[personal profile] annathepiper
Thirteen

Thirteen

So yeah, assuming you were paying even remote attention to the Internet yesterday, you’ll have heard that Jodie Whittaker will be our next Doctor, as of the Christmas Special this year.

Jodie Whittaker, comma, a woman.

In case you didn’t see that news before and you want mere coverage, here you go:

Doctor Who Is Finally Giving Us A Woman as the Doctor, and It’s About Damn Time and The Internet Had Some Truly Spectacular Responses to the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker on The Mary Sue

Doctor Who’s New Time Lord: The 13th Doctor is Jodie Whittaker and The Moment Has Been Prepared For: Jodie Whittaker and the Future of Doctor Who on Tor.com (and note that the first Tor.com link has the trailer video where Thirteen is introduced)

Naturally, the BBC has a quite a bit to say about the matter, including a bunch of commentary from assorted Doctor Who stars.

Sixth Doctor Colin Baker has a particularly tasty reaction here:

Dara had to point out to me the significance of this–this is a paraphrase of Baker’s own lines after he regenerates in The Caves of Androzani. 😀

As for me?

This is the most excited I’ve been about Doctor Who in years. I watched the intro trailer, and felt a little catch in my heart at the simple visual of a key materializing in a female hand–and the TARDIS answering to a female presence.

The idea of a woman leading the adventure, of being blindingly brilliant, of having the sort of boundless compassion that leads the Doctor over and over and over again to standing up for humanity is heady and exciting. I am very, very much looking forward to seeing Thirteen show us what she can do.

And I’m very much hoping that she’ll open the door wider to a future where anyone can truly be the Doctor. I want to see an actor of color for Fourteen, are you listening, BBC?

But until it’s time for Fourteen, I’ll be there to see what new parts of time and space Thirteen will have to show us!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

This is not part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders continuity; Lena Oxton is Tracer, not Venom. It is a standalone story, in an AU which is still pretty much canon-compliant as of July 2017. It would be set in late 2077 or early 2078, in universe. [AO3 link]


"It is not easy to explain," said the Widowmaker, looking frustrated, fixated on her game screen and sitting next to Hana Song, who of course had her own pro rig and client.

Widowmaker had said that, not Amélie, and it was very important not to get that wrong. The Widowmaker didn't like it, and if Amélie had an opinion - or was in there at all - she never spoke up.

The blue assassin was playing a shooter game, but not as a sniper - as a melee character, high DPS, fast - not entirely unlike Tracer. She always played the same character. Tracer wasn't sure what that meant; Angela told her not to read too much into it, but she knew that Lena tended to think of it as a good sign anyway. It's still shooting people, but it's shooting people in a different way, and Lena couldn't help but feel a little flattered that if the spider was emulating anyone, it was her.

"I exist," the spider continued, as her character on screen ran across open field between buildings towards some sort of objective. "I am here. I exist by right of existence. I do not wish not to exist." Realising that - she knew, herself - had been a big step for her, one she had managed on her own, one taken before she escaped from her controllers with a surprisingly complete list of Talon embedded agents to exchange for her sanctuary.

"And Talon didn't agree with that, did they." Tracer replied.

"No. I was supposed to be an asset, not a person."

"And Angela doesn't entirely either, does she." It was a statement, not a question.

Widowmaker glanced briefly at Tracer, just with her eyes, just a little surprised, before her focus snapped back to the game. "No. She still thinks I am some folded-up version of her former friend. I am not."

The spider saw that Tracer nodded her agreement. Of all the people here, she thought, only Tracer seems to understand even this much. Perhaps it was the younger woman's experience as a ghost, after the Slipstream accident. Perhaps it was being an Omnic War orphan. Perhaps it was just her nature. The spider didn't know.

Tracer watched the two women game, but really watched Widowmaker think. She's close to something, I can feel it, she thought to herself.

"Is this why you won't let Angela undo any of Talon's work?" Widowmaker had adamantly refused any attempt to reverse any of the physical changes Talon had made, though she tolerated anything she could decide qualified as an "improvement." That included giving her control over her own emotional dampers. Handling that was still a learning process.

"Yes," replied the blue assassin. "I am me. I am not that other woman, even if she was the source for some of my parts. I cannot be her. I do not want to be her."

"I get that, luv," said the Londoner. That part didn't matter to Lena. It was easier, for her, if Amélie was dead, if she was gone, and buried, and this was Widowmaker, another person entirely, just happened to look a lot alike. "Y'know, personally, I like the blue," she said. Makes it easier, she thought.

"You may be the only one, myself aside," replied the spider.

"Hey, n00b," Hana said, "Cover your flank or you're gonna get p0wned."

"Thank you," Widowmaker replied, sweeping left, hitting far more than she missed. D-pad instead of mouse or rifle, she was built for aim.

"Nice shot! For a game controller. You should level up to a real interface."

"Perhaps never," said the assassin.

"Okay," replied the gamer, "don't listen to the professional."

"...point taken," replied the blue woman, as the round ended, with scores D.va 100, bad guys 12, Widowmaker 10.

"I'm outta D.ritos. Want anything?"

"No thank you."

"Just ate, luv, but thanks."

"Be right back!" she said, as she jumped backwards over her chair and headed out to the hallway.

Widowmaker leaned against the rec room's couch, watching the game's idle screen. "I like the character I am playing, more than the game itself. I think that is not too unusual, no?"

"Sure!" Lena answered, encouragingly. "That's why there are fan sites and hangouts and stuff. What do you like about her?"

"This character I play," Widowmaker gestured to the screen, "within the confines of the game, she is a person, like me - no, that is wrong, she is not like me, except in that she was... constructed. It is part of her story. Built, for a purpose. As I was, by Talon."

Built, thought Tracer. "Like Omnics, you mean?"

Widowmaker shook her head, no. "I have thought about it, but I think not. Neither of us are robotic, I do not think it is the same, and I cannot really ask our occasionally resident Shambali master to be sure..."

"Yeaaaaaaaaah," agreed the younger woman. "Probably never."

"I have been told that he says he does not carry a grudge, but I can tell that he carries a grudge, and I do not even blame him." She paused for a moment. "I am far more surprised that you talk to me than that he does not."

Lena bit her upper lip for a moment. "T'be honest, I am too."

Widowmaker hummed a little, a note that signalled her acknowledgment of the situation. "Why do you?"

Lena tilted her head back and forth a little. "...I dunno. That night in King's Row was the second worst of my life. I felt so angry and so betrayed, and I'd've done anything to undo it, but I couldn't. And you couldn't even tell me why."

"I did not know," she replied. "Or care. The question, it struck me as so unimportant, so silly. It was the first time I'd ever laughed. It may have been my first real, unprogrammed... thought."

"I didn't know that," said the Overwatch agent. Her first thought was... laughter? Wow. "But it hurt, then. Still does, a little. Less, now that I know you really aren't Amélie."

"My emotional range is still limited, but... I think I am sad about that."

"Maybe that's why, then. Maybe I can tell. Maybe that's why... somehow, here I am."

The eyes of the woman who had been made from Amélie Lacroix narrowed in thought at those words.

"Winston was built, too, genetically," said Tracer, changing back the subject and realising as she said it that it didn't fit. "But that's really not the same either, innit? He still grew up. You didn't. I think I get it, you just... came online, all at once, didn't you? 'Here I am, ready to kill.'"

The spider's gold eyes flashed to Tracer, but not in anger, as was so usually the case with that look. "Yes," she said, grabbing Tracer's hands. "Yes. I had a purpose, already. And then I had more purpose, that fit with it. No doubts, no hesitation, just purpose. Do you actually understand?"

Lena's heartbeat jumped as the spider grasped her hands, but she didn't let herself flinch, at least not more than with surprise. She touched me, she thought, intentionally. Woah! "I," she gathered her thoughts, "I think I do. I mean, not emotionally, right? I grew up too, and looked for somethin' to do with my life. But... in my head, I kinda get it. A little. You're not there, and then you are, all at once. And you already know why. That's, that's, that's, a kind of perfect, innit? It's..." she groped for the right words, "...flawless."

"Yes," she said, squeezing Lena's hands tightly. "For a reason, and with a purpose, and she," she gestured to her head to the screen, "is like that, and also biological, also for a reason, also for a purpose."

Lena put the rest of the pieces together. "...and nobody else in the whole world is."

The Widowmaker pulled Tracer against her, suddenly, roughly, and put her head on the Overwatch agent's shoulder. Lena could hear the spider breathing and found herself dazed, wrapping her arms around the assassin before she even knew what she was doing, asking only as she did it, softly, "...is this okay? Do you want a hug? 'Cause I can stop..."

"...no. I think I do."

She is so lonely, thought the former test pilot. And she don't even know it. Maybe that's why I don't mind this. She held the cool blue woman carefully in her arms. "Did you lose it, somehow? Your purpose?"

The spider did not say anything.

"Did you stop believing in it? Was that it?"

"It was... I could not stop... thinking. I was perfect, and whole, and content, and I brought exquisite deaths, and then I... and then I laughed, and I was not perfect, and not whole, and not content, and I could not fix it."

"And you miss that purity of purpose."

"So much."

"Would you go back to it?"

"I cannot."

Tracer nodded, and hugged a little tighter, as she said, "Because it's part of being a person. That's why you're here, innit?"

Widowmaker lifted her head from Lena's shoulder, looked her in the eyes, and whispered, "You do know."

Lena Oxton met the spider's gaze, and was not afraid. "This much, yeh. I do."

The spider laughed, just a little. Another thought, all her own. "May I hug you again, later?"

Tracer surprised herself by nodding agreement at once. What am I doing? She... she's who she is. She's built to kill. I can't ignore that. "'Course you can."

"Thank you," she said, and went ahead and did it right then, as well.

I can't ignore what she is, but maybe, Tracer thought, as Hana burst back into the room with grotesque amounts of junk food, ...maybe I can learn to live with it.

sraun: first picture of ziggy (Shih Tzu Ziggy)
[personal profile] sraun
He stopped eating overnight Friday / Saturday. He ate over half his dinner Friday, and has been pretty much ignoring any food since then. We put scrambled egg - a real delicacy! - in his mouth on Saturday, and he just let it fall on the floor and ignored then. Since then, any food we put in front of him might get sniffed at, and then he turns his head away.

I'll be calling the vet as soon as possible after they open at 7:30am, and seeing when we can get him in.

The Price of cool

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:50 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Just got around top doing some calculations about the power my new air conditioner uses.

It's 1280 watt. That's 1.28 kW. So running it for an hour uses 1.28 kW/hr. And it looks like I'm paying more than $0.10 per kW/hr. Which means that it'd gonna cost me more than $3/day. Ouch.

Immediately turned it off and opened the window and turned on the fan in the bedroom window.

I'll save it for the really hoi days...
annathepiper: (Beckett and Book)
[personal profile] annathepiper

Snarfed off the Tor.com ebook club:

  • Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey. Fantasy, rather renowned, and it’s been on my To Read shelf for a stupidly long time. Grabbed the ebook to up the chances I might actually eventually read this thing. ;D

And meanwhile my author friend userinfommegaera‘s got a lot of medical challenges she’s got to deal with right now, and selling books is hard enough when you’re NOT dealing with medical challenges. (She said, from experience.) So I grabbed everything of hers on Smashwords that I didn’t have yet, to wit:

  • Sojourn, Book 1 of her Tales of the Unearthly Northwest. Cop crashes his car and winds up in a ghost town–and his version of Brigadoon is not a carefree musical.
  • Much Ado in Montana. Contemporary romance. Which, I might add, has been previously featured on Boosting the Signal!
  • Cross-Country: Adventures Alone Across America and Back. Non-fiction. An account of the author’s travels across the country! If you like travelogues, you might want to check this out.
  • Homesick: A Time in Yellowstone Story. This is a novella, Book 4 of her Time in Yellowstone series.
  • New Year’s Eve in Conconully, another Tales of the Unearthly Northwest book.
  • Reunion, the third Tales book.

24 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Fun comics

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:51 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
I read a lot of webcomics. And I've slowly been working my way thru a backlog of comics folks have recommended to me.

I recently caught up on one, and was quickly able to catch up on several others. In order

Spinnerette A different take on "getting spider powers. Very silly at times

Grrl Power Words fail. But I pointed Fay at it last night and she was reading and giggling for the rest of the time she was here.

Magical Girl Neil an interesting subversion of the Magical Girl trope

And I'm currently working my way thru Magical Transvestite Cherry So far a rather *different* subversion of the Magical Girl trope

Check my feeds for most of the comics I'm following. I also follow a bunch that don't have RSS feeds, but I'll get to those some other day
solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)
[personal profile] solarbird
Anybody have an old Win98 USB mass storage device driver? I've set up an real Win98 box on the machine that used to be door.murkworks.net - it's a P166 from 1996 and accordingly hilarious. I have USB running on it, but not drivers for USB disk drives, and I want that working, in no small part because the non-lulz non-vintage-games part of this project is having a (the?) last working 5.25" floppy drive for PC-DOS/MS-DOS diskettes.

(I like having the ability to read all antique media. Need anything off a Commodore PET floppy? In theory, I can do that for you, as long as it's double-density or less, and yes, they had a 1mb PET floppy at one point.)

The machine is named Blue, drive D is named Purple, and it's registered to Amélie Lacroix and the password is oneshotonekill because of course it had to be. Also, the desktop starts out with weapons and such but turns into widowtracer art because we all know what's really going on here.

It's also much quieter now, particularly for a machine from 1996, as I've replaced all the fans and improved the venting. Two of the fans were outright dead - the CPU and GPU fans, so that's terrifying. (I think the CPU fan may have worked occasionally, but don't hold me to it. Also I had already improved the venting some, even with the old fans - I just improved it more now.)

A couple of power supply capacitors should be replaced too, they're bulging a bit, and I had to order them - VetCo had none of the right caps in stock. Ah well, I tried.

Does this qualify as an easter egg?

Jul. 14th, 2017 05:01 pm
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird
So this is funny (to me at least)...

I'm playing a lot of Widowmaker against AIs in hard mode, because I'm learning the character, because I used to be a decent sniper once, and not at all because I write Tracermaker fic and identify with certain aspects of Widowmaker no not at all don't let's be silly.

And one thing I figured out real quick is that if the enemy team has a Zen and I get in line of sight, whether he can see me or not, he will whip around and instakill me. Seriously, I've seen it enough in replays to know, he's 180 degrees facing away from me, I peek over, WHIP DEAD.

(I am not exaggerating. Engaged with others of my team, facing away, no fukkit I'm killing that Widowmaker.)

And I was getting kind of salty about this because no human player could do that, right? And I was complaining about it to @annathepiper, and she said:
Well, you did assassinate his brother.
...and i'm like "...oh yeah."

So now, okay, it's still super frustrating? But it's also kind of hilarious.

Fortunately there seems to be some sort of distance limit to the trigger for that reaction, so I can take him out from afar and then try to play. But, still, damn. And, still, lol.

I guess it's a pain in the ass but I totally deserve it. Except my Widowmaker didn't do that. So I don't. I need an AU of this mode that works in my Fear of Spiders AU. Or something. XD

Fire Starter addendum

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:44 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
I can't believe I forgot this!

Lasers: several places sell "laser pointers" powerful enough to ignite tinder.

Not that *practical* for most purposes, but way cool.

Fire starter

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:35 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
[personal profile] conuly's post a week or so back about science experiments for kids combined with some stuff from an older post of [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's about emerrgency preparedness kits to remind me of my collection of stuff for starting fires As well as a few things I don't currently have, but have used in the past.

Okay, first thing you need is a source of heat. Without that you aren't getting anywhere.

Next you need some sort of tinder for the heat to ignite. If you are carrying it, rather than improvising with what you can find, you need it in a waterproof container.

Ok, sources of heat (more or less in order from primitive to modern):

Carrying coals or a flame with you: Doable, but tricky. The container needs to be well insulated, and there are other concerns.

friction: the classic rubbing two sticks together, firebows, etc. Doable, but takes a bit of skill and is *hard* work.

Compression: The fire piston. Doable, but hard to find/make.

Flint and steel (or flint and pyrite). Doable, but requires practice to avoid damaging yourself.

There are a lot of ways to do this. You can grab a properly shaped (sort of a wedge shape) piece of flint and try to strike sparks from a piece of iron pyrite.

Or you can hit a historical re-enactor group that does the traders/trappers type stuff and pick up a flint and a fire steel (piece of iron shape like the letter C) You hold the fire steel sort ofg like a pair of brass knuckles and strike the flint downward, at an angle to produce sparks. Watch out for your fingers!

You can take a chunk of a broken grindstone and a "worn out" file and make sparks by strike the stone against the file.

Or, you can buy a neat item available from a number of sources. It's a metal rod with a handle. The rod is made of the same weird alloy they use for lighter flints. They usually include a piece of steel suitable for striking agianst it to create sparks. You strike at an angle like you were trying to shave off bits of the rtod. *Huge* showers of sparks. and the piece of steel is usually attached to the handle by a thing.

lenses and mirrors: a large enough magnifying glass (at least 4" in my experience) will concentrate enough sunlight on a large enough area to ignite a piece of dry wood. And a "shaving mirror (or other concave mirror can do it as well. Both require a sunny day.

Radio Shack used to sell a "solar cigarette lighter" which was a small concave mirror with a set of folding "prongs" that'd hold the tip of the cigarette at the focal point. Worked for other things as well.

A bit large, but quite suitable. Modern LCD TVs and monitors have a fresnel lens as part of the screen. Take apart (carefully) a dead monitor, and you can often salvage the lens. Be warned. These will concentrate *dangerous* amounts of sunlight. As in you can melt *metal* with the larger ones.

matches and lighters: matches need to be kept in a waterproof container. Lighters, may need to have the same.

Electricity: you can get sparks from a battery to start a fire. Probably takes at least a 9V. Not that practical in most cases. Though it works well if yoiur tinder is steel wool. Might work with magnesium shavings.

Ok, now for tinder. And remember, *all* varieties of tinder need to be kept dry, and an airtight container isn't out of line.

"punk" wood is an old standby. This is basically partially rotted (dry rot) wood.

Char cloth is another. This is squares of cotton or linen cloth (*not* wool or synthetics!) that have been heated (preferably in a container that restricts airflow) until they are "charred". Not black but beyond "golden brown. Either get it at a reenactor event or *carefully* experiment with making your own.

Steel wool. The kind *without* added detergents and crap. You want the fine grade. Tear off a *small* piece and put the rest back in the airtight container. This stuff ignites *very* readily. And since it burns white hot you *really* don't want to be holding it. Or having it sitting on anything you don't want to burn!

Magnesium. A lot of those high-tech flint rods have a second rod mounted in the handle. a magnesium rod. You can shave off tiny bits of magnesium with the same bit of steel you use for striking the sparks. And once this catches, it'll ignite even *wet* wood.

Some gun shows and the like will sell you containers of powdered magnesium to save you the trouble of shaving off bits. A warning hear, this *will* absorb water over time and turn into a sold chunk. And in the case of the one I bought split the plastic container in the process.

And, even moreso than with steel wool, you don't ignite this stuff when it's sitting on anything you *don't* want to burn.

I've seen folks do the friction method, never got anywhere with it myself. I've seen a demo of a fire piston in a chemistry class.

I've tried a fire steel and flint. Takes practice to strike sparks and *not* gash your fingers. Never tried the flint and pyrite trick, but I've read about it.

I own several of the high tech flints, a couple with the magnesium rods. I own several magnifying glasses that I *have* started fires with.

I've actually done the file and broken grindstone bit at a boy scout event. the tinder was steel wool, and we were burning dry pine needles. It was a race to see who could boil water first.

I hgave the solar cigarette lighter, as well as several magnifying glasses that I've lit fires with.

And I have strike anywhere matches in a pocket sized match safe, as well as a few butane lighters.

I hate my body...

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:31 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Had another bad insulin episode last night. Shortly after the insulin-N shot I started sweating a lot. It was warm in the apartment, and I'd been doing some exercise (cleaning for today's inspection) but this was excessive.

Grabbing the glucometer, and yep, 49. Blargh. Grabbing some juice, then some chocolate. 10 minutes later it was back in the normal range, but I was still feeling like crap. Had some other food and check it a few more times being going to bed.

Fortunately, they appear to be putting off the inspection til this afternoon (which explains the "coffee and donuts 10:00-11:30) thing they put up the other day.

I've just had some breakfast, and I'm gonna finish up the lasrt bits of rearranging things to look less cluttered.

I suspect it was the stress (inspections are *always* stressful) that did it this time.

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