On my desk

Jun. 25th, 2010 11:01 am
telerib: (Default)
I have a new desk with a hutch. Hutch is meant for a CRT monitor, not a laptop with side-by-side flatscreen. Have requested all or part of hutch be removed.

To communicate this desire to Physical Plant folks, I have left a series of stickie notes:

#1: This side is the problem

#2: Need ~6-8" <---->

#3: Honestly - Just NEED this side gone. I assume shelf has to go, too, but I don't actually care

#4: one way or the other.

#5: BURMA SHAVE
telerib: (Default)
Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) on interagency strategic planning.

My favorite part is where he acknowledges how bloody hard cooperation is. Most articles I see like this go something like "Yap yap agencies must share info and coordinate yap yap synergy yap frequent updates yap yap." Right. Because it's easy to get the lumbering bureaucratic behemoths that make up our federal government to spontaneously sit down for a tea party (the kind with china cups, not banners) and swiftly formalize a clear and readily-understood plan of action with concrete goals, responsibilities and metrics for all, which everyone can accept (with only a few reservations, perhaps) as a reasonable course of action with a good chance of success.

I can't do that in a crowd of larger than 4-6 people, never mind eighteen entire agencies.

Oy vey

Jun. 11th, 2010 01:46 pm
telerib: (uhh)
Article on body scanners at WSJ

Is it wrong that I want to get a beige dance leotard to wear to go through airport security?
telerib: (Default)
Transitivity: The property such that if A > B and B > C, A > C.

Transitivity does not apply to clothes. Just because the shoes go with the pants, and the pants go with the shirt, it does not follow that the shoes go with the shirt.

This is not always obvious at 0530 before coffee.
telerib: (Default)
Once upon a time, a little girl decided to read one of her daddy's books that had a unicorn on the cover. The book was one of Robert Asprin's "Myth" series, and that was my intro to fantasy fiction.

The "Myth" books started as a humor series, and (as I'm considering a Bog Standard Fantasy novel) I'm remembering them as an example of very minimal world building, and most of it centered on the Bazaar at Deva. The strength of the books was the characters and dialogue.*

Compare and contrast to, say, Harry Potter or Wheel of Time, both series with very in-depth world building that inspires a lot of love in fans. "You can imagine you are there!" But (for my money, anyway) that's about all they have. I bailed on HP after "Goblet of Fire." I read one-half of one WoT book and greatly prefer the RPG sourcebook. The settings are well-drawn and intriguing, but I don't care about the characters and so wander away.

The gold standard, of course, is to do it all well. But Perfectionist Lass needs to NOT try to accomplish that, lest she get bogged down in getting it all "right" in preference to actually doing anything. I don't want to get hung up on not having a world to set a novel in.

My authorial strengths, if I have any accurate gauge of my own abilities, are in dialogue and characterization. I love dialogue so much that, if I'm not careful, I end up writing something that looks more like a script and less like a story. I should figure out what story I want to tell and then drop an appropriate setting around it, I think.

*Modulo nostalgia factor. At ten (and even fifteen), I thought puns, pop culture references and breaking the fourth wall were hysterical.

WHARGARBLE

May. 30th, 2010 01:58 pm
telerib: (Default)
IT SHOULD NOT TAKE AN ENTIRE DAY TO INSTALL A WINDOW UNIT A/C
telerib: (Default)
Or so they claim. :p

Work is putting together a "This is us" video for folks to use when making presentations to people who have no idea what we do. Since I combine bardic performance charm and technical engineering experience in one petite package, I was tapped to give some soundbites. (I'm sure there was an element of "Look! A science woman!" there as well.)

It was fun. I was told I was doing a good job; not sure how much of that was people-managing skills from the videographers and how much was honest evaluation. But I'd like to take the parting compliment serious. "We usually tell people not to quit their day jobs, but you could."
telerib: (Default)
From whence does this urge to write a novel come? you may ask.

(Okay, you probably didn't ask. But I'm telling you.)

I like to write. Since 1999, I've been active on a near-daily basis in online play-by-post fantasy RPGs. The writing tends to the choppy - no more than a few paragraphs at a time, usually - and it's collaborative. But it's been my creative writing fix for, damn, over a decade now.

(And if I may say so, I've gotten rather better over time. I read my old stuff and flinch. I read my more recent stuff and then read it again without pain.)

But it finally seems to be failing me. The most recent game I've been in is "no really, no dead yet" - except when there's no posting for over a month, it's really dead yet. Sometimes I've seen games come back from that, but not often.

Stepping into the gap, I've been chronicling my third Dragon Age: Origins run in snarky, chat-based format. It has moments of fourth wall breakage, contains no scene descriptions, only occasional action markers, and no "voice over direction." It is a giant wall of dialogue that would make no sense to anyone not already familiar with the game, the plot and the characters. ([livejournal.com profile] cmccurry and [livejournal.com profile] aemccurry, you might find it amusing.)

I'm about 2/3 done with the game and the chronicle is running 12,000 words. Of just dialogue. Based on someone else's Bog Standard Fantasy plot.

Surely I can put that energy into something less derivative.
telerib: (Default)
I have this half-baked idea that I should write a novel.

Not, you understand, a good novel. A trashy, cliche-ridden genre (fantasy) novel. Mostly because I wonder if it really is that easy to turn the crank on something like that.

underappreciated protagonist + threat to world + one major exotic and illogical custom + dragons and/or magic + Twue Wuv = Bog Standard Fantasy novel

The major threat is that I'd decide, halfway through, that I should really do this "right" and go back and try to write something sensitive and interesting that explores neglected themes in fantasy, like motherhood, community, or non-erotic love. And then I'd get all invested in it and stuff.
telerib: (Default)
A swarm of honeybees has moved into the overhang above our porch.

No, seriously.

It's kind of like we rolled on the Random Encounter Table of life. "Mid-Atlantic Suburbs, Spring... okay, roll 2d10... an eighteen? Honey Bee Swarm!"

"What happens if you roll a 20?"

"POTUS sighting."

Musical AI

May. 21st, 2010 01:04 pm
telerib: (sca)
Computer-generated music is getting pretty dang good.

I don't want to get into "the last 1%" or the "innate human factor," but overall? I think this article is bang on the money. There's a reason musical genres sound distinct; they have certain patterns and techniques that distinguish them.

This is also why, IMO, if you have any pretensions to historicity as a bard, you need to listen to reconstructions of actual medieval music. You need to get the right patterns into your ear before you can recombine them as original works. Otherwise, you're writing modern music, using the modern patterns you've ingested your whole life.
telerib: (Default)
Human trafficking attempt foiled by MetaFilter forum-goers. o.O Score one for the Internet!

Polaris Project, probably the biggest anti-trafficking charity in my area.

PSA

May. 21st, 2010 07:16 am
telerib: (Default)
A year or so ago, I believe I blogged about the human trafficking awareness training we get at work.

WaPo article on trafficking in DC and the 'burbs.

Why people don't 'just leave.'

Warning signs

National Human Trafficking Hotline

I don't suppose writing an LJ post does much actual good; I think I'll look up Tina Frundt's group and see about sending cash their way. I grew up in a house where gun rights were the major political issue; I think civil marriage equality is a no-brainer and I've gone to Annapolis to tell my representative that. But this really gets under my skin in a "HULK SMASH" sort of way.
telerib: (Default)
"I'm constantly surprised, impressed, and disturbed by your skills at perceiving marginal butts from a great distance."
- Jennifer Lynn Jordan comments on co-blogger* Carl Pyrdum's superpower.


*Okay, it's Carl's 'Got Medieval?" blog and JLJ is guest blogging (but she has her own Bad Medieval Movies blog!) but that's a little long for an attribution.
telerib: (Default)
"There is some delay in the replication of our data, so our operational data, our sequence of events ends at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on the 20th."
- Steven Newman, president and CEO of Transocean Ltd, tries to explain the gap in his records to a Senate panel.


Is there any earthly reason for a seven-hour delay? There may be no Internet connectivity out there, I suppose... was satellite communication service not available? Is there no technology for faxing data via radio? Or is this as fishy as it sounds? It's definitely criminally poor design, if there was at all a requirement to preserve data to diagnose these kinds of failures.
telerib: (uhh)
Ritual self-deprecation.

Expression of vague malaise and anxiety related to work.

Ironic acknowledgment of journaling as procrastination, leading to more anxiety.

Further acknowledgment of need to put nose to grindstone and do work, juvenile wish that escapism worked and/or that problems would just go away, guilt over time already wasted leading to further avoidance and waste.

Sigh.
telerib: (Default)
"For all its clunky satire, this is not a particularly original objection to the corrosive effects of ecclesiastical organization. (See: Reformation.)"
- Ron Charles at WaPo reviews Philip Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

ZombieSat!

May. 5th, 2010 08:18 am
telerib: (Default)
Galaxy 15, an Intelsat satellite, has stopped responding to ground commands - but it isn't dead. Its payload is still operational and may cause interference problems with other satellites as the satellite caroms around GEO.

Gosh, if only there were some... space tow truck that could take broken satellites and move them away from operational ones.

Oh wait. There is, if someone would just put together a bus and launch the thing.

Oy.
telerib: (Default)
It's the best mandatory training of the year! No PowerPoint slides; over in 15 minutes; you get to play with fire. Awesome.
telerib: (Default)
"Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape?"
- "A Mommy's Old Testament"

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