*boing*

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:38 am
silkyraven: (Default)
[personal profile] silkyraven

After a year or so of being stuck on the ground we kicked the week off by popping over to Brook Farm with some of the yard ladies to do some jumping! I think Dino really enjoyed it and it was a nice change of pace. Really pleased with how he walked onto the horsebox – no issues at all, even in the pitch dark car park on the way home!




The rest of the week has been pretty quiet pony work wise….not aided by him getting bitten by a horse fly on Wednesday. Apparently he’s allergic:


Vet wasn’t unduly concerned and it went down over the next couple of days but really don’t need any more of this thanks!


Dressage next week so we should get practising our test really:

Monday: Schooling with Equicore (poles if I can be bothered)

Tuesday: Day off

Wednesday: Lunge with Equicore

Thursday: Schooling / test runthrough

Friday: Lunge with Equicore

Saturday: Dressage at Brook Farm

Sunday: Field or hack ride

Food Pr0n: Lemon-Artichoke Chicken

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:15 pm
jss: (food)
[personal profile] jss
I did a variant of the lemon-artichoke chicken for dinner tonight. I made a couple of what in retrospect were poor choices.
  1. Salt and pepper boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil.
  3. Add the chicken, seasoned side down, into the oil. Cook about 4 minutes. While they're cooking salt and pepper the unseasoned side.
  4. After the 4 minutes, carefully flip them and cook another 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken to a baking dish.
  6. To the skillet, add the zest and juice of a lemon and about 0.5 cup vodja.
  7. Scrape up the fond from the bottom of the skillet.
  8. Add 16 oz sour cream. Stir until the sauce is smooth.
  9. In the baking dish, top the chicken with about 1.5 lbs of artichoke hearts (drained if they were in liquid).
  10. Top the chicken-n-chokes with the sauce.
  11. Sprinkle on 2 cups of parmesan cheese.
  12. Sprinkle on 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs.
  13. Bake 35 minutes at 350˚F.
I served it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a simple starter salad (Romaine, red onion, grape tomato, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, bacon bits, blue cheese dressing, and fresh cracked black pepper).

The poor choices: First, I should've used either smaller breasts or boneless skinless thighs. I would up having to cook them longer in the pan (4 not 3 minutes per side) and an extra 5 in the oven to make sure they'd cooked through. Second, I used a new microplane (as part of a box grater) instead of the old one (which was a single large strip of 3 or 4 different width graters). The new box grater's microplane side kept about 2/3 of the zest on it and it wouldn't come out cleanly. I wound up losing about half the total zest.

Even with those mistakes it came out okay. And I have leftovers for tomorrow!

I thought it was September

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:14 pm
chickenfeet: (canada)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
So the Humidex is heading towards 40 tomorrow. It was almost as hot today. After a week of Scottish 10C and on and off rain this is a bit hard to take but better than an early winter I guess.

Uber

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:36 pm
bens_dad: (Default)
[personal profile] bens_dad
If Uber doesn't employ its "partners" (drivers), how does its licence to run mini-cabs in London cover them ?
If partners are sub-contractors, don't they need their own licences ?

I won another Crawl Sprint game!

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:55 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Cut for boringness for many people. But I won a Line Sprint, pretty vanilla Minotaur Fighter of Uskayaw
Read more... )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Ah, Culture what would SF be without you? Probably vastly poorer and leaving us without suitable similes for things like Asher's Polity series.

Anyway, this is a Culture novel that has multiple strains of narrative, somewhat inter-related (even if it's not always that obvious). It is also a story about love, about sorrow, what constitutes good and evil. And possibly slightly about the responsibilities you have as a civilisation, for your past and future actions.

One strand is a composer, who's of a race of predators (the Chelgrsomethings), but who has now solidly decided that his former home memetope is no longer for him at all and has emigrated to a Culture Orbital.

Another strand is a Culture anthropologist/biologist/something who's way out in a weird "I am made entirely of gas" planet but not really a gas giant (ultratech, weirds everything, you know).

A third strand is a Chelsomething military, on a secret mission. A mission so secret that not even he knows what it is.

And then stuffs happen, in unimitable Banksian style. Possibly not the best first introduction to The Culture (mine was Player of Games, then Excession if memory serves me right), but probably not the worst possible.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Third book in Saunders' Commonweal series, wherein we see more of what we saw in the second book, and get to know what happens to a (relatively) small economy, when you introduce several orders of magnitude of difference in capability. Yes, it involves people discussing difficult things. No, it does not feel like "as you know, Bob".

All in all, if you liked the first two books, this is probably well worth chasing down, trapping in your book-trapping trap, then stun it for long enough that you can read it before, like the book it is, it turns around and devours you from the eyes inwards.

Or, at least, that is what I imagine books are, in the Second Commonweal. At least the really vicious ones.
xela: Photo of me (Default)
[personal profile] xela

Earlier this afternoon I did something I rarely do: Post a comment on a youtube video. I'm a veteran of USENET flame wars, so not much phased by the knuckle-dragger insults a thoughtful comment often draws there. But BITD, my newsgroup comments were also likely to yield worthwhile replies. Youtube, not so much.

But comment I did. And then did something I do even more rarely: Shared the video on Facebook. And now I want to share it with you as well. Starting with my FB introduction:

I've read a lot of excellent essays about art — literature, film, theater, even music. I've read a lot more that was crap, of course (or at any rate, started a lot more that was crap, before giving up in disgust). The point being that I know what well-crafted criticism is. And this video essay on how JK Rowling's characters — especially Hermione — changed from book to film is one of the best pieces of criticism I've ever seen. Well worth watching.




And the comment I left on youtube:

Thank you for a tremendously well-observed and thought-provoking close-reading. The Devil's Snare episode was one of my favorite parts of _Philosopher's Stone_ from the first time I read it. And when the movie came out, I leaned forward in my seat and literally waited with bated breath for URupert Grint to say "Are you a witch or what?" And left the movie muttering something about "best line of dialog in the entire book, and _they left it out?!_"

But I entirely failed to see it as part of _any_ larger pattern, let alone the sevaral you bring out. Good criticism is rare. In producing a piece of excellent criticism that's also entertaining and perfectly true, you've hit the trifecta. Great work. Thank you.

New Forest otters!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:51 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
And some other things that aren't otters. But mostly, otters.

Before going to the Lib Dem party conference, Drswirly and I went to stay in Christchurch, because of its proximity to the New Forest Wildlife Centre, which has a lot of otters. Did I mention the otters?
I found Christchurch a bit stultifying, and the kind of place I don't at all feel at home in, because it's quite clear that I'm not really their type of person. Christchurch was the kind of place that had a UKIP office prominently on one of the main streets. (It's now shut, which is definitely an improvement, but Christchurch was definitely a UKIP heartland.) It was next to a curry house, which I found mildly pleasing, though I'm not so sure the curry house owners would have agreed. We went to otters first, and then later wandered round the town. (I haven't posted pictures of the town; it's not that interesting. There's a mildly interesting bit of castle, and a mildly interesting Norman church (in places), but it's not really a particularly notable example of the genre. I may upload some bits to wikimedia commons, if I can be arsed to manage their categorisation system.)

I'm going to put a cut in, because there are a lot of otters.
Read more... )
For those people who didn't wade through the pictures of mustelidae, you should at least look at:
a gif of a contact-juggling otter!

and a short video of a giant otter squacking on command.
hilarita: casting my stoat (stoat)
[personal profile] hilarita
...as a member of the Lib Dems.

tl;dr - Conference is a pretty excellent place, provided that, unlike me, you have more social skills than a dead hermit.

Quite a lot of Conference is for the srs activist and/or candidate for some kind of political office. There is a fuckton of training, if that's your sort of thing.

However, they've also put quite a lot of effort into general activities, and activities for newbies. Sadly, some of those activities clashed with Important Brexitty debates (which was a bit of a problem this year, because of the number of new people who'd joined specifically because we're one of the less fuckwitted parties over Brexit*). Also, some of these were in the evening, by which time my energy had buggered off somewhere and was having a little lie down. 8/10, would work better for those people who aren't snooze stoats.

They're also encouraging of having new people speak at Conference, which was extremely good. They were very keen to put new members to good use. I found the info on how to fill in Speaker's Cards and so on very useful. 9/10 (I'm docking one point because I'd dearly love there to be a web form, not a pdf or a piece of paper.)

The debates were generally very well run - there's a clear protocol, and people follow it. Most of the motions seemed well-chosen; I'm grateful for those people who've blogged about the process involved with choosing motions and amendments - it really helped me to work out what was going on. 9/10

OK, you get some points for having a Conference app. But you lose several points for the navigation system. Sorry. 5/10, must try harder.

And I'm incredibly glad that I got to take part in Lib Dem policy making, because, as a member, I got a vote! I could turn up, and vote on motions! It's almost like it's a democracy or something! 10/10

So - good Conference. I'm not sure I'll go again, because I'm almost totally incapable of spontaneously talking to people (I can respond when people come up to me, but this is generally insufficient for these kinds of events). Also, just being around so many people (lovely though the people were that I spoke to) was very draining. I've spent most of the past 48hrs on the sofa, with the Internet and computer games (and my partner). Fortunately, this Conference was at a time when I could roll it into my annual leave, so I have time to recover. It didn't really help that Bournemouth and my asthma don't mix well, especially with a hotel on East Cliff. I'd prefer flatter cities for Conference.

I'd like to be more involved with LD policy making, but preferably from my sofa, where I don't have to go anywhere and pretend that I can pass for a reasonably sociable human being.

* We're still being rather incoherent, split, and downright confused about how to present our extremely strong support for the EU, because every so often people whinge But The Will Of The Peeeeople... We're managing to clear the low bar set by the Conservatives and Labour, but frankly, toddlers can step over that bar nine times out of ten.

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:59 pm
rbarclay: (stinkefinger)
[personal profile] rbarclay
We want to re-do our guestroom, because right now it's only usable for a single person, and also not terribly handy for us storing stuff.
For that reason it'll get my trusty old foldable futon bed/couch, upgrading sleeping capacity to two persons and also getting a couch. (The old cupboard and desk will also have to go at some point, but right now we can't find a new cupboard with sensible dimensions. Sloped roof doesn't make this easy.)

This will make room in the upstairs living room for a new couch/bed - and that's where we're stuck at the moment, because as usual what we want to have is not what industry wants to sell. I'd like something 180cm in width (seating three), folding out to at least 160x200cm bed-wise (though full 180x200cm would be better), with one couch-side at least not having a fixed armrest (gets in the way of me lounging around reading). Industry makes this as futons, but only in 140cm width (and SWMBO hates futons), and in 190cm+ width (too wide) folding out sideways to 120x190cm bed-wise with a max. load of 136kg (uh, we're not going to plan for gnomes but full-sized adults!). Or with fixed armrests.

Book stoats

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:37 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Apparently, when on holiday with less internet, I read books.

Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee (2017)
The second in the series. Once again, really, really horrific things are happening (mostly off-screen). Our main character from the first novel isn't our POV - we see them through others' eyes. It does quite a good job of misdirecting us, doing some very interesting plotting and politics and stuff. I don't think it's quite as good as its predecessor, but it's a pretty damn good book

All Systems Red, Martha Wells (2017. Novella)
Our protagonist is called "Murderbot"! It's great. Main story of conspiracies, survival, with a side order of AIs, augmented humans and personhood. Murderbot is a fantastic character to get to know.

The Last Good Man, Linda Nagata (2017)
Near-future thriller, looking at the way robots and drones are taking over military operations. Also, usual military morality stuff (when is shooting the shit out of things and/or people justified? what should you do when your people are captured by The Enemy (TM)). It's a pretty good example of the genre, if you like that kind of thing (which I do).

The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (2017)
Set in South Africa. Proper SFF (with robots, AIs, and demigods coming to fuck your shit up). Comes with a mild caution that I can't comment on how sensitively the relevant cultural stuff with the demigods was handled - the (non-South African) author mentions sensitivity readers, so I'm going to guess it's not terrible :) . I found it very striking, quite gory, and I do look forward to seeing other stuff by them, though possibly not just before bedtime.

Undertow, Elizabeth Bear (2017)
I think this was probably the best of the things I read while away (the charms of the Murderbot not aside). It contains aliens, big business, exploitation, probability, and some fantastic world-building. Complex, full of compelling detail, and I don't want to spoil the plot, because bits of it are really interesting.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, Theodora Goss (2017)
This is quite a good novel of the "let's stick Sherlock Holmes into anything set in the late 19th century" genre. It also draws on the early SF novels of that century, with the first character we meet being Dr Jekyll's daughter. It's generally fun, aware of its genre, but - pedants beware - there are 21st-century colloquialisms in the asides in the writing and Americanisms in the speech of 19th century Londoners. Including Sherlock Holmes. This means I can't wholeheartedly recommend it, because it's just Wrong.

I'm also very nearly through a re-read of Ann Leckie's Ancillary series (what would Fleet Captain Breq do?), and am looking forward to Leckie's new novel later this year.

What phone?

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:44 am
xela: Photo of me (Default)
[personal profile] xela

Short Form

Six months ago, I was all set to replace my iPhone with a OnePlus 3T as soon as my iPhone's deterioration demanded. Then they announced the OnePlus 5. And I started seeing the first negative reviews of a new OnePlus phone I'd ever read. But they were still shipping the 3T, so I wasn't worried.

But now my iPhone's deterioration really is starting to demand that I replace it. And I appear to have been deceived about the OnePlus 3T still being available.

So I have a couple of questions for folks with Android clue.


Long Form

As I mentioned last week, my iPhone is on it's last legs and I've decided to switch to Android. I also decided, early in my current ride on the carrier-subsidized-phone-with-two-year-contract funhouse-ride, that the next time I bought a phone I was going to actually buy a phone. I've long thought that would be preferable in principle, and about when I was gritting my teeth and signing the contract my current iPhone came with, I started hearing buzz about OnePlus.

My memory (not confirmed by reading the Wikipedia article, FWIW) is that part of that buzz was about their US business plan being to sell directly to the consumer, forcing US carriers to get serious about supporting BYOD customers. Misunderstanding or not, it predisposed me to pay attention to OnePlus and to reviews of their phones, while none of the other Android phone manufacturers have garnered much attention from me.

And those reviews — as I remember them, at least — were consistently impressive. When my iPhone started giving me trouble earlier this year, the OnePlus 3T had just come out a few months earlier. And people were falling all over themselves to talk about how good it was. So it went to the top of my list of phones to look at when I could no longer nurse my iPhone along. An otherwise empty list.

Then in July they released the OnePlus 5. And the reviews were not entirely stellar. Certainly not the hosannas the 3T had garnered on its release. But I wasn't too concerned: given things like the Midnight Black Limited Edition page, with its conspicuous "Buy Now" button in the center of the page, it seemed clear that OnePlus was planning to continue shipping the 3T alongside the 5 at least into autumn.

I don't generally go for the leading edge unless I see a potential upside that well over-balances the potential downside. And for smartphones, I haven't seen that in 15 years — not since the Sony-Ericsson P800 was leading-edge. To my way of thinking, the OnePlus 3T is just about exactly in the trailing-edge sweet spot. And that limited edition Midnight Black: the cherry on top! So for the past six or eight weeks I thought I had a solid plan for when it came time to punt my iPhone.

But now that day's arrived. And it turns out that actually clicking that "Buy Now" button takes me to a page that — disappointment #1 — lists only the other two other colors. And — disappointment #2 — says, next to each,

Out of stock

And going back to that Limited Edition page and looking more closely, I find near the bottom:

Sold out
This limited edition release is no longer available in your region.
Disappointment #3.


Questions

  • Am I grossly over-reacting to the bad press the OnePlus 5 has gotten? (I'm certainly over-reacting. The emphasis here is on grossly.) Should I just buy a OnePlus 5 and stop gnashing my teeth?
  • Are there other Android phones readily available new, unlocked, and with full warranties, that are comparable to recent OnePlus models? Comparably priced? If so, which? Would you recommend any of them?
  • While no longer available directly from OnePlus, the 3T is still available from third parties. Some ostensibly new-in-box. None, that I've found, with any sort of warranty. At prices not much different, and sometimes more, than OnePlus' retail prices when they were available. Run screaming? Approach with caution? Does anyone know of a reliable vendor, perhaps in the tradition of small Japanese companies that help Americans get Japan-only products without having to personally fly to Japan?

Thank you!

A query from a self-published pundit.

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
reddragdiva: (party)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

My Bitcoin pundit career is going great guns! I got to go on BBC Newsnight and call cryptocurrency garbage. Don't ever buy into cryptos, btw, they're a car crash. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Soooo I just got a note inviting me to speak at a seminar, about why blokechain is pants, to a small number of people who have money. I'm gonna charge for my time of course, but I can sell books there. Which means physical paperbacks I bring in a box.

Now, one of the great things about this self-publishing racket in TYOOL 2017 is 0 capital expenditure. Has anyone here done this, or anything like it? Was it worth it? Did you end up with a box of books under your bed forever?

The books are $3.03 each to print, but all author copies come from America (because Createspace is dumb), at some ruinous shipping rate to the UK. Assuming Kindle and CreateSpace pay promptly I'll have a pile of money on September 30, but I sorta don't right now.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to approach this? Doing a talk with a box of nonfiction books - good idea, bad idea, no idea?

(I'll no doubt do a pile of flyers for people who haven't got cash on them right there. Who carries cash in the UK these days? Less people than you might think.)

Departure

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:38 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
I've never left a job before. I spent my 20s as a contract researcher, and when my project came to an end, I just... didn't work in that lab any more. So I didn't know how to give notice, how to do the tax paperwork, it was all completely new to me. Also, the people I've been working closely with for the past eight years were all actually sad to see me go and wanted to mark the rite of passage. That was new to me too, in a mostly touching but slightly bittersweet way.

last days )

I started my new job the following Monday. I need to work out how much I should talk about that in detail here; for one thing it's looking to involve somewhat more blogging and social media presence as my professional persona than the old job did. Also I am still adjusting to living in Cambridge full time, which is probably another post, and I'm up to my eyes preparing for the High Holy Days beginning on Wednesday, so I am going to stick with posting about leaving rather than about arriving for now.

English usage

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
Note: food eaten between supper and breakfast is incorrectly referred to as a midnight snack. The correct term is "dark lunch".

Trying something new!

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:44 am
silkyraven: (Default)
[personal profile] silkyraven

Yesterday I drove out to Oxford to my friends’ yard to fulfil a lifelong ambition to have a go at side saddle!!! My mount for the afternoon was the super experienced Ted who was an absolute dude.





It was really interesting! You have no seat aids at all as the saddle is just too padded for the horse to be able to feel. It’s quite hard to sit straight, Michelle recommended riding bareback more to develop my own balance. It’s also a very different set of co-ordination challenges, with the whip in the right hand acting as your leg on that side. I’d certainly like to do more of it! I think my sensible next step is to get up to Contessa, who give lessons, and see if they are any good. You can hire a side saddle for a bit to see if your horse takes to it so longer term maybe we’ll do that….


Dino has been really good this week. I think the Equicore is helping him a lot actually. His trot is a bit more rhythmic and we have some canter going on. So hopefully this will continue!

guitar playing things

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:07 am
flaviomatani: (Default)
[personal profile] flaviomatani
Oh, boo. A gig I was expecting confirmation of (and the money from which I actually could have done with) has been cancelled. Or rather, this was a corporate thing and the corporate bods decided that they didn't need live music and least of all a classical guitarist (they didn't actually say the latter).

I wonder how best to promote, again, the idea of the house recital. It has worked in the past but it goes while it goes -I can do the playing but I'm clearly hopeless at promoting my own stuff. The idea was to sit twenty (more or less) people in chairs in a living room (yes, it is possible without them getting to know each other too well, I've done it lots of times), give them a guitar recital and a glass of wine in the interval, charge them twenty quid and give half to a local charity. Helps me pay the rent and helps a local charity. But I never know how to 'sell' the 'product'.

One of those things. Some people are really good at selling, my dad was one -but I didn't inherit an ounce of that. Maybe they swapped me in the natal clinic.

I'm crossposting this to Livejournal. If you can see it there but not in DW it's because you forgot to add me back there (remember it's a two step thing) :P

argh

Sep. 17th, 2017 01:10 pm
baratron: (angry)
[personal profile] baratron
Today we are going to a museum which is, by its nature, not super accessible. (Old trains, subway cars, lots of narrow gaps which might not fit a wheelchair.) So why did I wake up screaming in pain at 5 am, and why is my RIGHT leg impaired as well as my left?

Pain Management Clinic appointment on 18th October can't come fast enough. Stupid arthritis of the spine pressing on my nerves.

Yet another holiday (nearly) over

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:36 pm
rbarclay: (laughingcat)
[personal profile] rbarclay
Been pottering around the Shannon-Erne region (again) for 2 weeks, on a houseboat (again), with friends (again).

Rough route: started in Bellanaleck (NI), up Lower Lough Erne for a bit, then south-/west-wards through the Shannon-Erne canal (crossing into Republic of Ireland) to Lough Derg, returned the boat in Banagher.

Now I'm looking forward to:
- a week of pottering around at home
- getting reaquainted with SWMBO.feline
- real bread (fluffycrumbly soda "bread" ain't my idea of edible)
- waterpressure in the shower that isn't measured in millibar ;-)
- no mentions of Brexit when talking to locals (prominently on everyones minds, both sides of the border)
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