Home from travels

Apr. 26th, 2017 02:08 am
baratron: (cn tower)
[personal profile] baratron
Home from travelling. Actually, I got in somewhere around 1 pm yesterday and proceeded to pass out for many hours. Woke up at 1 am and (much to my surprise) have been awake ever since. Husband has been snuggled. Boyfriend has been talked to on Skype. He looks very sad, poor thing, but it remains against the laws of physics for me to be in two places at once. Hoping we can have him visit in late June/early July for my birthday.

Super weirdly, I have been physically energetic enough to have emptied the laundry rack, folded the dry laundry, sorted all of the dirty laundry in my suitcase, put on a load of laundry, emptied the clean stuff out of the dishwasher and refilled it. I hope that I will not pay for this tomorrow, though I have A Theory. A theory which involves, of all things, vegan bacon and my ability to get it.

(Gods, I knew that Yves Veggie Bacon wasn't very fatty, but I didn't realise that 3 rashers had only 0.5 g of fat between the lot of them, along with 14 g of protein. Short of actually, y'know, BAKING my own tofu, I am unsure where to get tasty textured fake meat products which are low fat and high protein. Nasty-tasting, weird textured but low fat, I can do. Nice-tasting, well-textured and full of fat, I can do).

Continue to be Unimpressed with Aer Lingus. Will relate the full story later when spoons exist.

Drawing tutorials

Apr. 24th, 2017 07:01 pm
green_knight: (Konfuzius)
[personal profile] green_knight
By chance I stumbled across this set of tutorials (hosted by one particular piece of software, but completely agnostic, you don't even need to work digitally).

In fact, the tutorial that made me go 'oooooh' was

http://www.sketchbook.com/blog/how-to-draw-dragons-step-by-step/

which teaches you how to draw a dragon, complete with anatomy. (I like this way of working. Iz impressed.)

The horse one is mostly accurate (it gets one coat pattern wrong and most of the horses move much stiffer than they should) but there's nothing egregiously _wrong_, so I hope that the other species - cats, big cats, foxes, wolves - are equally accurate.

I am starting to see the first improvements in my drawing - the lines I draw are smoother and more confident - so I'm hoping to eventually move out the line exercise phase into one where I actually begin to draw stuff.

Right now, these tutorials are way beyond me - I could copy the lines, but I cannot decide where they should go and vary postures or phases of the stride - but if I squint sideways, I can see there from here.

And it just gets better and better

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:55 pm
baratron: (cn tower)
[personal profile] baratron
Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10:00 p.m. — Monday, April 24, 2017, 5:00 p.m.

Due to system maintenance during the dates and times listed, there will be a partial shutdown of AirTrain JFK service. There will be no service to/from all airport terminals and no service at the Howard Beach and Lefferts Blvd stations. AirTrain JFK service will continue to operate a normal schedule to/from Jamaica Station and Federal Circle. Free shuttle buses replace service and will be available at the affected AirTrain stations and airport terminals. Please allow extra time when traveling to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport and see a Customer Care Representative for assistance if needed.


Argh! I just LOVE the idea of having to travel around the airport in a shuttle bus instead of a nice, accessible train! *facepalm*
baratron: (boots)
[personal profile] baratron
I have many photos of my trip to the US to post, when I get A Round Tuit. They are crappy mobile phone pictures, but I cannot be bothered to carry a real camera with me any more. I am a terrible photographer with the best equipment in the world, and I'm more interested in recording memories than attempting to take good shots.

Currently I am worrying about being stranded in New York tomorrow once Delta drop me off there.

It turns out that Aer Lingus are morons. I've had several "incidents" with them this trip and am never flying with them again, but in the meantime they are supposed to be getting me home to London tomorrow.Read more... )

Bitdefender got under my skin

Apr. 21st, 2017 01:48 pm
green_knight: (Default)
[personal profile] green_knight
After a brush with a virus-infected website a few days ago, I decided to install Bitdefender (we have a household licence), scanned my computer, and so far, so good.

It very soon got under my skin. The application is designed to always run - but how that's implemented is a) a menu bar app (so far, so good), and b) the main app is running ALL THE TIME, telling you that you are (or are not) protected. Every hour, it updates its virus definitions, and sends you a notification. (You can turn this off, but still.)

I hate the interface of the app. It's black and blocky and intrusive and I find dark blocky interfaces stressful. If your website contains a black navigation strip at the top, I will either not visit it or block the top of my screen because IT STRESSES ME OUT TO VIEW THIS ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

So you can guess what Bitdefender's dark intrusive, impossible-to-kill interface was doing to me. You can quit the app, but it comes back immediately. It's not needed - the menu bar app is perfectly capable of doing the background scanning etc - but it just sits there and glares at me.

And it's sneaky. I know that what it tries to out-sneak is malware writers, but you cannot kill it with any of the options built into the system - it does not play well with the system, it circumvents the usual settings, all so that it can shove its dark, ugly interface into your field of vision.

I've uninstalled the app. I will eventually reinstall it (or something else) to protect my computer, but right now, protecting my mental health was a priority.

Sometimes, I hate programmers.
green_knight: (Writing)
[personal profile] green_knight
I've been using Storyist (Mac-only) for three or four years now, and I am completely and utterly in love with this software.

Right now, it's available as part of a bundle containing a lot of other useful software (Aurora is a decent photo editor; Scapple is my mind map of choice, and a number of the rest of apps in the bundle look very yummy, too.)

Storyist works on the same principle as Scrivener (it also has an iOS app which I use frequently; though there's no Windows version if you need that); but for me the main difference is that I found Scrivener unintuitive and clunky: if you want to use it, you need to work through a lengthy tutorial and watching these five videos, and at the end of all that I still felt that I needed to mould my workflow to please the software rather than the other way round.

With Storyist, I felt inspired from the moment I first opened it, and it has improved my workflow tremendously.

I use the side-by-side feature extensively; and it's made a big difference to my writing: the fewer things I need to hold in my head, the more capacity I have for writing.


I like the ability to have the same document side by side, so you can keep writing while scrolling through and pulling up previous scenes for comparison. I've worked with two documents side by side when translating, but mostly, I will pull up relevant information in the second pane while never losing my place in the main one. For characters, I simply dump descriptions in there; but I may also keep reference photos, maps and diagrams. Recently I wrote a council scene where everybody was sitting around a table - having a seating plan made it possible to consider who would hear a whispered remark, who might inadvertently (or deliberately) step on someone else's toes, whether my protagonist would see a speaker's expression or not... it made for a much better scene.

I've also used Storyist for editing so I can keep characters and their quirks straight - this means that the descriptions of a technology remain coherent, but not identical. If a phrase is repeated too often, or all characters use the exact same phrase all of the time, readers will notice. At the same time, you want a certain consistency in how characters describe a new technology like mind speech or FTL travel: how does it feel, what metaphors do they use, does it _mean_ something if one character experiences it differently. And you don't want descriptions to differ between books, so you need to write them down _somewhere_... and I've found Storyist to be perfect for that.

As a bonus, you get outlining and notecard tools which are pretty good - I don't use them that often, but they're worth mentioning. This is a tool that will work in oh-so-many ways for very different workflows. I can't emphasise how much difference it has made to me to have all of my materials - different mss, notes, images - in one place, and to be able to access them without losing my place in the running text.

So if you haven't tried this kind of tool, now is a good time; $29 is as good a price as you're going to get (Storyist has a free trial!) and you'll get a bunch of other apps into the bargain.

So tired

Apr. 19th, 2017 03:16 pm
baratron: (sleepy)
[personal profile] baratron
Ye gods, I am so tired.

Shifty is in the process of replacing all of the kitchenware and appliances that he "inherited" from various relatives. However, he doesn't ever use his toaster, so it's pretty low priority for him. The toaster doesn't pop up properly, so I usually unplug it and then reach in with a fork to get the toasted item out.

Today I caught myself reaching into the toaster with a fork while it was still plugged in, thought "I don't want to electrocute myself" and flipped the pastry with (now-burned) fingers. Then I did the exact same thing when getting it out to serve!

My brain is just fried with fatigue. I am seriously contemplating going back to bed because I'm woozy as hell. No idea why I should be so tired, beyond the normal chronic fatigue. I'm sleeping well and falling asleep within minutes of getting into bed, which almost never happens at home. Although yesterday I was feeling like a sim whose Social bar was close to zero, so maybe it's that.

Emailed Dawn and [personal profile] hoopycat a few minutes ago to see if they want to come round for dinner tonight. We have a metric buttload of food that needs to be eaten up because Grant and I keep going out. I'll be up for socialising once I've rested some more.

Easter, Christians, and Church

Apr. 18th, 2017 02:27 pm
baratron: (endurance)
[personal profile] baratron
Well, I am an idiot. On Friday I went into a complete panic because the official invite for the party with Grant's cow-orkers got sent around, and it was very actively Christian. I generally have no problem with Christians who I meet through queer or poly circles, or who are members of the same political party as me, since I know they are likely to share my liberal values. However, given the state of American politics and the people currently running the country who call themselves "Christian" but share none of the values of tolerance and love expressed by Jesus Christ, I have something of a phobia of American Christians.

Grant says that I am being judgemental and jumping to conclusions, but it is a real problem when people who are in favour of love, equality, and social justice use the same name for their religion as people who are in favour of hatred and rich-white-cis-heteros being superior to everyone else. Of course, neither of them are willing to change to a different name, with the argument from liberal Christians being that they need to reclaim the name of Christ from the hatemongers. I can understand their point of view, but it makes it really difficult to know whether a person who calls themselves Christian is the "good" kind of Christian or the "bad" kind.

of course this gets long, it's me after all )

Very small grump

Apr. 18th, 2017 12:13 am
green_knight: (Spitting Cobra)
[personal profile] green_knight
Cannot buy bin liners for our food bin (only approved liners allowed, but not provided by Council) from the one source they're allowing online: I went to the site, tried to put them into my shopping cart, found the site hideously slow, and then got a fake virus warning from 'safe-guard.com' which mimics (badly) the Apple website and which informed me that my system was infected with (3) Viruses! and that I needed to remove them immediately.

Just in case, I zapped all my cookies/caches (there went my LJ cookie; I'd known I'd have to accept the new ToS at some point, oh well) and am currently scanning my system for viruses just in case. (Nothing found.)

Tomorrow's job will be to get someone else (cough, cough) to buy more binliners over the phone...

Song of Durin

Apr. 17th, 2017 09:35 am

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Ingrid Jakobsen

July 2011

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