(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 21:14
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
This is my family-free evening (little one's at her grandparents', Josh is at tai chi), so I ran personal errands.

- I signed up for a hula class at the NASA rec center for late Sept to late Oct; I've been wanting to learn hula for years, so am very excited.
- I discovered that a delightful local pizza by the slice place closed, which was disappointing because I really wanted a slice of their mac & cheese pizza for dinner. Instead I tried the 3rd of 3 new Subway-style pizza joints in the area. It was definitely the least interesting of the 3, so...the most like Subway, I guess. ;)
- Picked up some icing tips and gel colors for the Bulbasaur cake. Decided I'm going to try the frozen buttercream transfer; I'll have to practice next weekend. Whle also quilting. Or something.
- Went to Jo-Ann and got more materials and tools for my quilt. I found a fun mottled navy fabric with constellations printed all over for the backer, and a light blue with little white stars for the framing and binding. I liked another fabric print better, but it wasn't so thematically appropriate and the color didn't coordinate quite as well. I think I'm going to quilt with a dark teal color that coordinates well but stands out a little, after doing all the piecing with a purple that blends well with all the fabrics. They only had one spool of that color, though, so I might have to find more later. I did find a square ruler in the right size to help me easily trim down my wonky star blocks to a uniform size, yay, though pricey! I found a 1/4" presser foot for my machine to help me make my seams that little bit narrower they should have been, but then they wouldn't sell me the foot because it was from a sewing machine store within Jo-Ann or something, and the sub-store was closed? Super lame - don't display it if you won't sell it to me. Amazon will take my money at any hour, I'm quite sure.
lil_m_moses: (avatar)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
I feel like expectations of parents are becoming increasingly insane. I just read an article about 2 toddlers driving their Mom's car in an effort to get to their grandfather's house down the road. Supposedly the kids found the keys under the floor mat; I wouldn't personally put them there, but I also live in a large metropolis. Regardless of that, though, the kicker for me was that "the sheriff's office is working with the county prosecutor and Child Protective Services to determine if the mother should be charged with any crime."

It seems like it's getting to the point that one can't even let your kids play in the yard while you're inside doing some work or having a moment of peace or going to the bathroom, much less let them walk down the street to a friend's house, without being at risk of child endangerment or abandonment charges. When I was 5 I would walk alone the half mile to my friend's house (tiny town) to play with her. Mom knew where I was going and would have heard from the friend's mom if I didn't show up. Third (or 4th?) graders and up at Lillian's school are allowed to walk themselves to school, but if it's raining, parents are required to go pick them up. For _rain_. And even if you choose not to drive the average half mile between neighborhood homes and the school to pick them up on those rainy days, you still have to bring your car pickup pass as if you were driving. *eye roll* I was left alone sleeping in the car while Mom ran in to buy something (but with windows down, and it wasn't a billionty degrees), but that's a no-no now too. Bah. I have more feelings on this, but they're not yet coherent. It all just amps up the parenting anxiety.
[syndicated profile] phd_comics_feed
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "The Mysteries of SPACE" - originally published 7/19/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

Space Station Virtual Tour

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:24
lil_m_moses: (NASA meatball)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Holy crap, this is SO COOL. Google did a Street View of the International Space Station. Check it out here: https://www.google.com/streetview/#international-space-station/cupola-observational-module

You can drag your mouse around to look around (and remember, there's stuff on the "ceilings" and "floors" too, because there's no true up and down in space!), and if you click on the little up-arrow at the bottom, you can move to different modules. In the Lab module, look for a fat orange hose along one corner (standoff), then look for a funny-shaped aluminum box sticking out over it (just left and down of where the view starts), and that's my payload (and the stuff it's attached to above and behind it)!

You can also look at this in Google Maps format: https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5602853,-95.0853914,3a,75y,214.46h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szChzPIAn4RIAAAQvxgbyEg!3e5!7i10000!8i5000 and the resolution seems a bit better. However, I had trouble getting it to move between modules.

Insectile Invaders

Jul. 19th, 2017 18:21
lil_m_moses: (A is for Amy)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Oh hey! I think I finally I identified our blue-black waspy friends, who are particularly abundant inside the house this year. They're blue mud wasps, or blue mud daubers. Not aggressive, which we inferred, and they eat black widow spiders (YAY).

nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou

I seem to have got involved in organising Queer Code London. We have a breakfast meet in Central London on Tuesday 1 August Tuesday 8 August, 7:30am-9am, and I’d love to see as many people there as possible.

The breakfast is free and includes vegetarian options, and the building is step-free accessible. You’ll need to join the Meetup group to see the location, but it's in Central London within a couple of minutes’ walk of a zone 1 station. Spaces are limited, so sign up ASAP.

No allies, please – this event is for queer coders only — but please pass this on as widely as you like.

Planning the Birthday Party

Jul. 16th, 2017 17:25
lil_m_moses: (cooking)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses

She's still big on Pokemon, and loves Bulbasaur, so I'm looking at cake design ideas that aren't wildly over my very limited skill level. Here's some inspiration(s), along with the semi-profile and face-on reference pics above:

Bulbasaur mostly-round: http://www.imgrum.org/media/1424646589758230256_2006279
Homemade Pikachu (at my level of amateurness): http://www.andnextcomesl.com/2016/09/pikachu-cake-for-pokemon-birthday-party.html
Flat Bulbasaur that I can't find an actual source for
Minimalist Pikachu (could do similar for Bulbasaur): https://www.instagram.com/p/BH2tE7vj8UZ/embed/captioned/ (oh, and here's a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LupCkIHwJvU)
A cool frozen buttercream applique thing I could try (though I don't have icing tools): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWVzZ529Onk
Cut-out Pikachu w/ buttercream star frosting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJHbgGCPXVw
This square Squirtle looks a lot like Bulbasaur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B37ZnNCV_9k

I like buttercream better than fondant, but the fondant could look nicer and might hold together better for a Texas summer BBQ party that we have to drive an hour to get to. Hrm.

And related to none of this, I just think it's cool: galaxy mirror cake by a girl with a very odd affect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZhV63pkDBw

One of these days I should take a cake decorating class, 'cause I'm pretty bad at it.

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 13:30
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
A Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North SideA Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North Side by Al Yellon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This won’t be the best book on the Cubs 2016 season, but it was the first. There’s a lot of low ratings for this one, but it’s understandable. This isn’t John Feinstein or Roger Kahn. Some one will write the definitive story of the 2016 Cubs. Maybe more than one (and given the historical context, maybe five or six, and a few players who were on that bench will likely write their story too). Still, Yellon got to the market first.

Which explains a lot- the spelling and grammar mistakes (not enough that I worry about them, but the criticism others pointed out is true enough) Also the weird ending which the books leaves off with the Cubs on their way to the World Series (not yet winning it). The first chapter does cover the aftermath of the World Series. Surely, this was an aftereffect of being the first book on the market.
One can understand hesitation. The bookcover is filled with quotes from the Cubs (and Cubs superfan Bill Murray) but none of those quotes are about the actual book itself. Still, Yellon isn’t quite a nobody. He runs Bleed Cubbie Blue, the SB Nation Cubs blog, which I reference a lot, and is a good source of Cubs information on a daily basis.

That also may be why people don’t like this book. The book is essentially written from the point of view of a “superfan”. Yellon went to Arizona to watch Spring Training, caught a few road games, and watches every home game in the Right Field bleachers. I am fine with this. It’s a personal perspective and he has plenty of trivia he throws in. Sure, I read Sports Headlines every day, but few people have the ability to spend the day following his team as well as journaling about it on a daily basis. It may not have the heavy perspective of a player or a journalist, but it’s still a fairly educated voice.

In which case, this book likely lifted a lot from Yellon’s daily blog writing, which I don’t fault at all, if that is what you are looking for. Yellon essentially walks us through if not every game the Cubs played, then pretty close to it, and certainly covers every series that they had.
The Cubs aren’t my favorite team, but living where their Triple-A team is located, I have become a fan and have seen most of these players play ball in person (Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Edwards Jr, Baez, Almora and others). If your expectation is quite simply a light read that lets you relive the moments of the Cubs season, then you should be pretty pleased with this. (or at least I was).

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Capitalism and housing

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:35
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
In which I argue that the lack of affordable housing indicates something horribly wrong, and not with capitalism as such.

Have you heard of Walmart? Of course you have. What are they known for? Providing lots and lots of cheap shit. Also for bullying local governments and squeezing suppliers, but that's not the point here, which is: cheap shit. They have nicer competitors: Target, Kmart, Dollar Stores.

Plane seats are jammed and humiliating but also cheaper than they ever have been, modulo gas prices.

You can spend thousands of dollars on a fancy bicycle, or less than $100 on a cheap one.

Stores are full of cheap, if sometimes unhealthy, food.

You can spend under $13,000, or maybe $12,000 on a new car, or over $100,000 on a luxury sports car.

Many of us wear cheap clothes, "from Third World sweatshops"; others spend $thousands on elite designer clothing.

You can get a watch for $15, or $1500. They'll tell time about the same.

Our economy is full of selling cheap stuff to the masses and expensive stuff to the rich, and various things in between, (sometimes including selling cheap stuff for higher prices, if you can pull off price discrimination.) Because that's how you make the most profit, not by only making luxury stuff.

But in housing, particularly in some markets, it's said that developers are only building luxury housing. If true, why would that be? Why would housing be unlike every other part of the economy?

"Everyone needs housing, so they can extort you." Nope, that won't fly. Everyone needs food and clothing, and in the US lots of people need cars.

"They're just chasing profit." But the point of my examples is that there's tons of profit in non-luxury goods and services. Walmart is *huge*, with its founder's children inheriting $20 billion each of accumulated profit.

And in fact, if you look around the world, you do see cheap(er) housing options. Mobile and manufactured homes for the individual, pre-fab housing for soulless but cheap developer tracts, microapartments that cut living space to 100 square feet, SRO hotels that go further by making you share bathroom and kitchen (if any), granny apartments. In cheap land markets (prefab housing in surbuban developments) and expensive ones (microapartments in Tokyo and Hong Kong.)

But not in Boston, or San Francisco. Why not? Is there something about those places that makes developers spontaneously ignore non-luxury demand? Or is something, like zoning laws and permitting processes, preventing them from doing so?

If you know me, you probably know my answer: the latter. But if you don't like that answer, what's your alternative? Why don't we see Walmarts, Spirit Airlines, $15 watches, and $13,000 cars of modern urban housing?
[syndicated profile] phd_comics_feed
Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "The Path to Enlightenment" - originally published 7/14/2017

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

Technical Hand-Waving

Jul. 15th, 2017 18:05
lil_m_moses: (cyber)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
Hm. I got the new screen installed on the old phone (well, it's at least taped onto the frame and electrically connected to the rest of the stuff which I stuck back into the slightly broken frame), and it's working now (huzzah!), though I broke apart and then gave up on the earpiece, which was glued to shards of broken glass on the back of the old screen. I'm just going to sell it for parts when I'm done cleaning it off, so completeness is not important. Seems the battery (which is the bent part - eek!) isn't talking to the motherboard, either, as it's stuck at 50% and not showing charging when the cable's connected, though I'm getting the connection bing. I was able to recharge it a few days ago, before I took it apart, and it's been off since shortly after that, so the charge should be sufficient to do this activity even if it's not charging now.

I'm trying to transfer the data between the two phones via wifi and the Xperia transfer app, but it lost connection once, and then seemed to stall out on the second attempt and then said it lost connection while I was poking through its help file (and it had switched to the other wifi band when I looked; I consequently made it forget that one). I'm trying a third time now (maybe it hadn't been stalled, since it got through the current piece fast this time?), but if this doesn't work I'll just dump what I can via computer, and if that's not enough, I'll go get a USB OTG cable (which might be handy to have anyway) and try it that way instead of over wifi.

EDIT 1:30 AM: Ended up doing a backup of the old phone onto the SD card and then doing a restore from that onto the new phone. Then took FOREVER trying to figure out how to get my calendar data transferred. Annoyed that I bought an upgrade to my calendar program and it wasn't able to do what I needed. Did finally find a separate app that could make it work, though I'll be damned if I understand what it did and why none of the other stuff that was supposed to work did. Not sure I'll be able to import my cross stitch floss list (think I did it manually last transfer). I had a few files in a secure notes app, the app was crashing in the new phone and I needed to reinstall it, but I very foolishly did that _before_ trying to switch the SD card back to the old phone and export the files first, and now they're gone. *facepalm* If I have to recreate the files anyway *whimper* maybe I'll check Google Play for something better. I think I have everything else that contained data I care about transferred, thank goodness.

EDIT 8:45 AM: Victory! After sleeping on it, I tried another restore from the backup file, of just the apps, and it recovered my data for both those apps! I'm still fighting with the calendar a bit, though. Again.

30 Stars

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:44
lil_m_moses: (crafty)
[personal profile] lil_m_moses
30 Stars

Finished my 30 star blocks for the quilt. Next is the star borders, or sashing, which will help hide the unevenness of my star edges. This is all I need before the next class, though.

Not super happy with one that's reverse contrast and another that's negligible contrast, but whatever. This is my newbie quilt. Trying really hard not to make any star/sashing combo changes, though. I'm terrible at randomization, but feel like I did OK at randomizing these initially.

Book Review- Payoff by Dan Ariely

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:46
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations (Ted Books)Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What motivates us? It’s a pretty good hook for a book. Ariely uses some experimental research to find these answers. It’s not money. In fact, monetary incentives can de-motivate us. For example, if you pay more for hard work on a Friday, people are only can work hard on Fridays ( Kind of like the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% coupon we’ve come to expect).
It is that personalization and recognition that is what make those connections. A handwritten note goes further than a $20 bill. Ultimately, Ariely argues that humans are driven by the need to leave a legacy- that what we do is important.

There are some interesting experiments he shares such as one where he wants to see if people continue to do a project, based on whether that project gets reviewed or shredded. It certainly is easier to do a job that no one ever looks at your output, but ultimately we find it is less satisfying.

This is a TED book, so it’s brief in the way a TED talk would be. There’s barely 100 pages and the author makes the least of those pages as possible. If this was a book I bought (as opposed to borrowed from the library), I would deduct a star for paying $16 for this.

Ariely is probably an interesting guy, but this book does little to display that. I have read other reviews, and suspect that is the nature of the TED books. Like hearing only a greatest hit compilation from a great album rock artist. I just don’t think it did him justice, as if you should come to this book already knowing his work and expertise.

Like nearly all business books, it can fall short in real world answers, but the goal is to facilitate discussions, and this gives enough in that category. I would not discount money as a motivation altogether, as certainly it does motivate certain individuals. Ariely brings up workers who have worked on a project for months to only find it closed for whatever reason, and there’s no closure for them. If the CEO could even have them present what they learned, would be some recognition. Still, the modern business world generally does not work that way. He does hit some important parts- how modern business has de-personalizes us. The impersonal cubicle which is increasingly smaller. Companies that put emphasis on titles and enforce that some people are ‘more important’ than others because of their level.

I also think the only real solution for managers is that we “frame” our jobs to show how important they are. Ariely uses the example of someone who hated his job of cleaning hospital waste, but found satisfaction when reminded that sterility in an environment where surgeries are performed is one of the most important things ever.

I think Ariely really missed the idea of “layoff” errr.. “restructure” culture. Certainly the last decade has reinforced the idea that companies have no loyalty to employees- an idea that grew in the 90s and 00s as companies took away retiree benefits and pensions, but has built more upon those post-recession experiences that have touched nearly everyone in some way.

I will take his conclusion that we want to be remembered when we are ultimately gone, and I think that is true regardless of religion (or lack of) and even if there are children to carry on. We are our passions and we want to be thought of as doing something important. Even if it is just writing a book review that three people will read, right? It certainly makes sense to me. Now, I have had some recent conversations about pursuing passions as a career, and starting to hear some strong arguments against that, but that’s fuel for a different book.

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