That Dice-Rolling Hobby

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:09 pm
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Apart from dealing with multiple medical issues that I've raised in previous posts, I have had the opportunity to engage in my favourite hobby othe weekend - traditional roleplaying games. On Friday evening I participated in what I call Eclipse Phase Mars, on the basis of its standard location (although most recently this has involved extrasolar gatecrashing etc). This particular group meets primarily on Google Hangouts with players in Western Australia, Vietnam, Victoria, and New Zealand. I've missed a couple of sessions of this game, partially due to technology issues (my computer screen was completey destroyed on my last trip to NZ, so I've been trying to work with a dinky Asus Aspire One), and partially because of international trips. Both of these have affected my ability to complete Papers & Paychecks; although I did release an update on Saturday morning following completing the bestiary section, and integration a number of significant changes, even this late in the publication process.

Saturday was also a regular CheeseQuest day with [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce. Given the cool weather, our lunch feast consisted of a pumpkin gnocchi and Nova Scotia brown bread. The cheese feast included fried saganaki and halloumi, havarti, maasdam, gorgonzola, Dutch smoked, and two not-cheeses, a faux cheddar and "tree nut" cheese, which are quite tolerable. I was rather taken by the Devil's Corner pinot noir that our guests brought over, light but tasty and with a brilliant ruby colour. After lunch was the second session of our historical-fantasy Dungeons & Dragons game, using the very different 4th edition rules in the setting of Charlemagne's rule. The game went very well, everyone plays up their character ethno-religious background and character class, as they cleared out a old Roman-Germanic temple in Freisland haunted by Wiedergänger.

Sunday was also a gaming day, this time with my own game of Eclipse Phase. This session involved the PCs engaging in a short-case to an autonomist morph resleever on one of Neptune Trojans, then taking a stealth craft to intercept an Ultimate scout ship en-route to Eris. There was an almighty gun-battle that followed which eventually saw the PCs successful, and partially courtesy due an inside agent providing assistance at the last moment. After that was the challenging process of psychosurgery and the literal merging of minds. More on that for the next session. Appropriately I've started reading the two books entitled Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy (one published by Open Court, 2012 and the other by Wiley Blackwell, 2014)

A Star Has Fallen

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:52 pm
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"Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores; burning with the fires of Orc"

Yesterday I was informed that an old friend and former housemate in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Erica W., had died of a stroke. For those that knew her, this has been a terrible shock. She was relatively young, and seemed so alive, and seemed to have so much to contribute to this world. It is a harsh reminder that friends can be lost at any time with the randomness of life.

When I first met her she and her partner at the time, James, were in their mid-teens. Intelligent, attractive, highly alternative, and very fashionable, they were already living together and regularly visiting local nightclubs, where they were very well-regarded for the characteristics mentioned. There was an especially amusing moment when a local newspaper printed her in a vox-pop what her preferred nightclub was - and mentioned her age in the credit.

"Morphology, longevity, incept dates"

Whilst in Perth we shared two households at different times - the first was the famous "accelerated house", a dilapidated duplex pair with questionable plumbing. Part of the duplex was the home of the Accelerated Men, a goth band of some repute. The place was wired up a local area network with a AlphaMicro AM-100, and came with its own stray cat (Velocity) which I adopted. Several years later, at the final place where I lived in Perth, we were in more normal accommodation. I could help but chuckle a little at my highly fashion-conscious housemates who could spend hours in preparation on going out. I also remember showing them the Internet at the time; a text-based interface to usenet groups. "This", I implored sagaciously, "is going to change everything". I don't think they quite believed me at the time, so it was with great fondness catching up with James just a couple of years ago, and recalling that moment, he said: "And you were right!".

At the time Erica was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, and despite being a witty conversationalist, was physically in the doldrums. A few years later however, and I suspect heavily because of the direction provided by our mutual friend Bruce T., there had been a complete change, as she had become quite a figure in the fashion industry and was running her own label and store, Alysian Empire. I still have some of their clothes to this day. Later she would go on to have another fashion label of even greater renown, ericaamerica.

In the post-Alysian Empire period we only caught up in person a couple of times, and more recently exchanged a few messages, courtesy of the 'borg of social media. Despite this we had the sort of friendship where years could literally go by and when we did get in contact our banter could continue as if no time had passed at all. It was a friendship built on mutual understanding and respect, of affirmation of each other, of strong and happy shared memories. The mention of her name in conversation would always brighten my day and bring me joy; but not this time.

"Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together. Who does?"

I can haz vacation

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:43 am
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Off to lake side cabin tomorrow. No net access for a week.

Reminder: I've moved to DW and am cross-posting to LJ, which I might peak in on maybe once a week.

Oh Mr. Sessions?

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:29 am
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Hey, Jeff Sessions ... civil forfeiture? Let's be honest, we all know it's just a grab at people's cash and belongings. It's a violation of due process and we both know it. It's a government overreach that any conservative should be ashamed of.

That said... I've got a mark for you.

He's a noted swindler. He's got extensive property holdings worth millions... even billions! Think of all the SWAT teams you could afford to equip that that! He has mafia connections galore and recently had a shell out 25 million dollars in cold hard cash to settle a massive fraud suit. Like any drug cartel he has extensive connections with foreign dictators and several of the buildings he owns have been sites of large scale money laundering operations!

Mr. Sessions, it's time for you to stop squandering your efforts on penny ante drug users and step up to the big time - we're not talking a few thousand dollars here, with one fell swoop you could net billions for law enforcement and take out and international crook!

I am referring to .... Donald Trump.

Yeah, I think you're too chicken shit to go after your boss the way you go after poor brown people, Jeffy-poo. You're a coward and a hypocrite.

-m

Medical Matters

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:38 pm
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It's been a curious past few days; I spent most of Saturday working on the course for the researchers at Orygen Youth Mental Health which I presented on Monday. It went extremely well; I provided an overview of high performance compute clusters, environment modules and job submission using their preferred applications (MRtrix, Matlab, Octave, R, and especially FSL and Freesurfer. They were a large and very switched on group, and it brought me great pleasure when I received some rather positive responses in person and in email.

On Sunday visited the Unitarians to hear a presentation by the president of Dying With Dignity to speak on the upcoming legistlation such matters. Last year to the state government committee I contributed two submissions from different organisations on the matter, and legislation is expected soon. In a less positive manner, an old friend of mine has just found his way into hospital and I suspect he's in the position that he might not be getting better. Three years ago he appointed me enduring power of medical attorney. To top it all off, [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya's mother has found herself in hospital as a complication arising from her continuing illness.

It surprises me that there are those who begrudge public revenue raising and expenditure on health, as if the wealthy have more of a right to live than the poor. Even using the criteria of the 'dismal science', economics, it is obvious that having people alive and well is not just a private benefit to the person in question, it is also a public benefit. The is equivalent matter here with education as well, and likewise the private-public benefit is a continuum which includes current and future productivity of the person in question. All of this, of course, on top of matter of being in a society that cares for its less fortunate.

Hoping the drought is over

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:55 am
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[personal profile] malada
I'm writing again.

Except for role playing in Second Life, my writing dried up and died several years ago. I never finished my last Nanowrimo... it was around the time my mother died so that might have addled my brain. I had to start taking care of my dad then too... so it's no wonder things just stopped for a while.

I had some scattered notes and an outline for a prequel to an early nano... which was actually a resurrection of a much earlier story... but nothing came of it. I pulled it out and started fixing it. Usually I have an idea for a story and work fairly linearly but this was more like a big outline with blobs of dialog and scenes. So, I'm reworking it in bits, rearranging things and filling out the story. I'm jumping around a lot so it's a different work process than what I've done before.

It's a bit of a complex story with political intrigue, necromancy all in a mage college in a fantasy setting. The magic is fairly low key but important. The cast of characters keep expanding and I'm going to have to take extensive notes to keep everyone straight.

Should be fun and it will give me something to do at night while I'm not sleeping.

-m

Parody: Fry Everything!

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:35 pm
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With apologies to Shakira and Disney, though I bet Weird Al could do a much better job. This one has been rolling around in my head in snippets for over a year. But with state fair season upon us, I felt it was time to finish it, though it could use a lot more polish.

In case you don't know the original:


Fry Everything!

Verse 1
At the state fair tonight
Can’t eat another bite
I can’t believe everything they have
Battered and deep fried.
Don’t know how I’ll hold it down
But I’ve got to try and eat everything.
Oh god there’s more
Another row of stalls
I can’t quit until I try it all.


I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.
I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.


Fries, Oreos
Fry everything!
Corn dogs, pizza
Fry everything!
Mini donuts
Fry everything!
Twinkies and beer

Verse 2
How can I go on?
I’ve gorged on all this junk food.
Must slow down take some more Rolaids or Tumms.
I can’t eat so fast
It needs to settle down.
Otherwise, I won’t make it through the rest

I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.
I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.

I might be making a big mistake
I can feel my arteries hardening
But I don’t care!

Mini donuts
Fry everything!
Hot sausage subs
Fry everything!
(sickly sound) oh oh oh oh
Fry everything!
Barf barf barf barf
Fryyyyyyyyyyy everything… (fade out to the sound of a fryolator.)

Not dead yet

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:29 am
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Just very busy volunteering what little spare time I have when I'm not bringing home a paycheck. Every other night Sundays through Thursdays I've been at the local scout camp running the commercial dishwasher. Run home from work, change, run out to the scout camp.

Last Saturday, I was at the Matthews Museum in Union, 'cause they were short staffed due to the Moxie Festival in Lisbon that day. I'm on my way back out there today 'cause they need extra staff during Union's local festival, "Founders Day". The Museum is Stop #12 on this year's DownEast Magazine summer scavenger hunt. We had three participants stop by last Saturday. I wonder how many we'll get today.

Back to the Scout camp tomorrow, Tuesday and Thurs and then in-laws are up and we'll be at a lakeside camp without net access for the last full week of July.

I sure miss having a weekend to myself where I could do something, but at this point, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had one. (chuckle)

One of my qualms with DW: I can't see a list of my journal tags while writing a journal entry.

Life without Dead Time

Jul. 14th, 2017 11:09 pm
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The Situationists famously sought life without dead time and whilst I cannot say my own life fits the wild and tangential excesses of such bohemians, at least not in these elder decades, the past several days have certainly had their share of activity. Nevertheless I do worry sometimes that so much of my work these days - indeed these years - now falls under the category of 'boring but important'. Yet, much of this fits my intellectual disposition. I despair when I see people try to force the complex problems of reality into simply solutions, because these are invariably simply wrong, missing the issues of scope-appropriate solutions, partiality etc. It is not helped when the country's Prime Minister, of all people, remarked "The laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only laws that apply in Australia is the law of Australia", in the context of a debate on encryption.

Workwise the week started with the regular two days of Introduction to Linux and High Performance Computing and Shell Scripting for High Performance Computing. Not a bad group at all, and there were some plenty of awake individuals, especially on the second day. Later in the week spent a better part of a day carefully working through a particularly troubling install of Gaussian to ensure there had been no precision errors in compilation (their hadn't been, of course). Confirmation was received for a presentation at the HPC Advisory Conference, so there will be another visit to Perth at the end of the month. In addition an abstract has been put in for the Open Stack Summit in Sydney for November. Next week will be a training course for the neurologists at Orygen; I hold this one in very high regard - their work is extremely important.

In more social events, Wednesday night was our regular gaming session, and the second session of Andrew D's Megatraveller campaign, with an unexpected test of the combat system and the acquisition of a starship from religious fanatics. Thursday was the Bastille night evening and we had nephew Luke visiting. True to the day (or at least an educated peasant's version thereof), I cooked a pretty tasty coq au vin with a jug of French red, a selection of cheeses and fruit, and all to the sounds of Quatre mains pour une révolution. We provided a potted story of our journey, along with an exposition of the salacious tales of Serge Gainsbourg. Appropriately I have composed tonight my thoughts about Bastille day, and its contemporary relevance.
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[personal profile] malada
Bastille Day

Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Lyrics: Neil Peart

There’s no bread let them eat cake
There’s no end to what they’ll take
Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
Wash the salt into the earth

But they’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Free the dungeons of the innocent
The king will kneel, and let his kingdom rise

Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
Naked fear on every face
See them bow their heads to die
As we would bow as they rode by

And we’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Sing, oh choirs of cacophony
The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise.

Lessons taught, but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine – claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn’t all that money buys

-m
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