Mar. 29th, 2008 01:17 pm
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Two things that irritate me about MBTI (which I've just had to do as preliminary for upcoming training):

- False-dichotomy questions like "Do you prefer theories or facts?" NO. They are complementary: theories require facts, theories allow us to discover more facts.
- Being asked the same questions (with very slight variation) over and over again. My inner cynic wonders whether the point here is to make sure the responses are well towards one end or other of the four scales, with very little in between, in order to make it easier to believe that people can be neatly divided up into sixteen basic archetypes.

FWIW, I believe archetypes can be useful tools for thinking - even 'earth, air, fire, water' can help people realise what their options are - but IMHO, classifying people into archetypes often turns into a substitute for actually thinking about issues. "You're a Pisces, so we're made for each other!" and so on. Don't even get me started on 'Mars and Venus'.

Exercise: 20km (? - lost track somewhat over Easter), total 190km/114mi: night 8 from Rivendell.
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Via [livejournal.com profile] kobold, Digiclipse!

Moving house tomorrow, yay!

Exercise: 20km, total 170km/102mi: Night 7 from Rivendell. I have to say, this is isn't exactly the most exciting stretch as far as colour text goes...
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Note to self: must resist temptation to rephrase the message "$FANCY_NEW_TECHNIQUE will not produce desired cost savings due to $IMMUTABLE_MATHEMATICAL_CONSTRAINTS" as "no, you can't have a pony" when dealing with other departments.

Must... resist...

Exercise: 20km, total 150km/90mi: night 6 from Rivendell, walking along clifftop.
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Best question ever for [livejournal.com profile] little_details.

And via Figgy, a Rapture prophecy with an unusual difference: the guy who predicted the Rapture would happen in 2007 actually admitted that he'd screwed up instead of revising the prophecy. I give him a couple of points for that one.

Also also, snake swallows four golf balls. Unpleasant for the snake, but it's nice to see that the people who found it took it to the vet instead of trying to kill the poor thing.

Exercise since last: 20km, total 50km/30mi from Rivendell: empty countryside. Not counting miscellaneous walks on holiday because I have no idea what the distance was.
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Whee, specs for the project still changing. Spent large chunk of today rewriting stuff accordingly. Oh well, it's a good opportunity to rack up some extra hours that will translate into extra leave over the Christmas break, and it's not like it's the first job where I've had to deal with that stuff.

Exercise: 20km/10 pages: up to page 27 of Council of Elrond. Everybody agrees Ring must be thrown into Mt. Doom, except for NeilBoromir, who wants to use it.
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Met new housemates. They seem pretty nice.

Took an hour to cook a half-hour roast. It was still on the reddish end of 'rare' after that, but it tasted nice. (Unlike the cabbage, which ended up in the compost.)

Shopped for bed linen, since Myers were having a sale and I had some old vouchers to use up. I was happily poking through a hundred and one variants of 'white', 'off-white', and 'dear god no', when I came across a pattern that caught my eye... it was just a simple square grid, brown lines on white, about 3cm on a side, which led to this mental process:

ME1: That's only slightly bigger than the grid we use for our D&D games.
ME2: ...And?
ME1: So if I bought this one, we'd also be able to -
ME2: No.
ME1: But it would only -
ME2: No.
ME1: But it would just -
ME2: No.
ME1: It -
ME2: No.
ME1: And it would also work as a go board.
ME2: You don't even remember the rules of go.
ME1: Hnefatafl?
ME2: No.
ME1: ...Scrabble?
ME2: Huh?
ME1: I could mark the bonus squares and get some big tiles, and we could use it for Scrabble.
ME2: The tiles would slide all over the place every time you leant on the bed.
ME1: And we could play Scrabble for forfeits. Every time somebody scores a bingo -

I ended up getting one of the plain white sets instead... but it occurs to me that I might need a second set for when the first one's in the wash. Hmmmm. ME2 can't watch all the time...

Things I did not do today: my tax return. Man, it feels good to have that out of the way early. Also, did not call my brother for his birthday, but I'll go do that right now.

Exercise: 20km/10 pages: up to page 17 of Council of Elrond. Several pages of discussion about Gollum, Legolas admits that the elves lost track of him and he was last seen heading for Dol Guldur. I've been pretty good about walking to and from work; one good thing about daylight savings, at least it means it's a bit cooler in the mornings when I head out now.
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Having to pay for 'unlimited drinks' that I don't actually want, just for the sake of socialising with workmates... irritating, but I can deal.

Swarms of waiters offering trays of drinks to all and sundry, with nary a soft drink in sight: bloody annoying. Eventually I had to collar a waiter, who made a special trip to the kitchen and got me a tiny glass of sugar-fizz*, but... I really shouldn't have to.

By all means, if people want to booze, and they're not driving home, let 'em. But how about a little courtesy to those who don't drink alcohol, or (like me) take it only in small doses in amongst the soft drinks? It's not like it would cost management any extra to put some water and juice on those trays in amongst the beer and champagne.

*I refuse to acknowledge Sprite and Seven-Up as 'lemonade'.

Exercise: 10km/5 pages: up to page 7 of the Council of Elrond. Boromir talking about a dream about a sword.
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According to my work email today, the ACT Legislative Assembly has declared a public holiday for 'Families And Community Day', to be held on... why, gosh, it happens to be the first Tuesday in November. I think this may be the most feeble excuse for a holiday yet.

Still hammering away at that SAS/IML optimisation problem. However, I have written my own quick-and-dirty solution which works, and - although I haven't proven it - should probably give virtually identical results to the fancy nonlinear solver, if I ever manage to get that working.

Exercise since last: 3km, total 763km/458mi: RIVENDELL. Now, the next bit on the website is Rivendell to Lothlorien, but looking at the site, it seems to me that they've missed one of the most important and exciting parts of the whole story, so I'm going to do that bit first.

And, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] scascot, I have an eyeball in a jar on my info page. My friends know me too well :-)
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"The hospital's administrators were also very understanding when we explained our reasons for buying a case of vodka." - a Queensland doctor, explaining why they hooked up a patient to a vodka drip.

Exercise since last: 20 km, total 760km/456mi: two miles from Rivendell. Frodo now being carried by elves, the lazy beggar.
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Via [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll, how to get $140 for a pack of Pokemon cards bought at the supermarket. She could try auctioning the kids next.

And via [livejournal.com profile] kobold, why you should only take romance so far before actually meeting your Internet sweetie. (Possibly triggering stalkerish content.) Reminds me of the Great Sarah Fiasco...

Also, exercise since last: 20km, total 690km/414mi: tromping along with Glorfindel. Yes, I've been slack again; I'll have to figure out what I'm doing for exercise when I move, too.
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Saw the Da Vinci Machines exhibition today with Rey and my father. It had a lot of interesting things, in particular models of many of his designs and a total absence of Dan Brown references, but it was still a little disappointing.

As far as I can tell, the models were built to be usable (except for a few involving weaponry and the flying machines) but only a few of the simpler ones were actually available for visitors to try out. Combine that with rather confusing descriptions, sometimes completely irrelevant to the machines to which they were attached, and it was hard to figure out how some of them were supposed to work. And I suspect one of them might have been put together backwards.

Exercise since last: 30 km, total 670km/402mi: 12th day from Weathertop, almost up to Glorfindel.
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I really don't have anything to say about the Virginia Tech shootings that hasn't been said already, by people closer to events than I am.

But I did catch a quite unrelated piece of good news that some of you will appreciate: Queensland looks like it may yet become the first area in the world to defeat a fire ant infestation. (Link is to a story from a few months ago; the one I saw was on tonight's 7:30 Report, but the transcript isn't up yet.) So far, the eradication program has cost $170 million - which is a hefty price tag, but small change compared to the eight billion estimated cost of leaving the Brisbane infestation to spread.

Exercise: 25 km, total 640km/384mi: 11th day from Weathertop.

Also, is it a bad thing that when I saw Sean Connery on TV saying "All my life experience tells me that an independent Scotland would be successful", my instinctive response was "Didn't it say the same thing about League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen?"

Old Movies

Mar. 20th, 2007 11:01 pm
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Just watched 'The Man In The White Suit'. If you've never heard Joan Greenwood's voice, you will not truly understand what I mean when I say:

Joan Greenwood.

Talking about polymer chemistry.

Talking real polymer chemistry. Not 'reverse the polarity' technobabble, but stuff a real scientist MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE SAID about increasing polymer length and cross-linking to strengthen a material, and giving the surface a static charge to repel dirt. I think there was also something in there about using isotopic labelling to test for stereoinversion, but I didn't quite catch it.

Is it warm in here, or is it just me?

Exercise: 25km, total 615km/369mi: 9th day from Weathertop. The pesky hobbits are slowing down due to bad terrain, but the elliptical trainer is the same as ever.
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Annoyed a couple of weeks back: one of the NPCs in my D&D campaign is a priestess somewhere in her sixties. I wanted to paint up a figure for her, so I went by Mind Games in Melbourne to look through the miniatures...

It's always been easy enough to find female figures, of course. Granted, the ones who don't look like pole-dancers from a fantasy-themed 'gentlemen's club' are still a minority, but these days it's a large enough minority to offer a lot of choice. If you want a sensibly-armoured woman holding a mace, you should be able to find one.

If you want a woman over the age of fifty - or even thirty - that's quite another matter. There are, of course, any number of old men, ranging from a hundred and one Gandalf wannabes to any number of grizzled generals. But as for human women... a couple of Wicked Witches, and that's pretty much it.

This bemuses me. Some of the most memorable people I've met IRL have been grand old women. Even in fantasy novels, Tolkien excepted, there are quite a few. And the number of female warriors/mages/etc suggests that there must be plenty of openings for them in people's gaming universes... so what happens to them after they hit thirty? Do they all sprain their ankles and retire from adventuring? Do all those queens and princesses grow less powerful and important with age? Or have the Men of Gor stolen them all by then? In the end I went with one of the Ragnarok figures - a priestess who wears a full-face mask, so at least her age is ambiguous. For this particular character, that might make sense, but it's not really a universal solution.

And now that I'm done ranting, miscellaneous campaign fluff from my game. )

Oh, and: exercise since last: 40km, total 560km/336mi: 5th day from Weathertop. Slacked off during January, trying to get back into it now. Got 16km done while watching Day of the Jackal, which is still a good movie after all these years. Along with Princess Bride, one of the very few book-to-film adaptations that stand up alongside the original.
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SMH story:

A skydiving instructor who plunged to earth when both his parachutes failed, says his last words before impact were: "Shit, I'm going to die". Michael Holmes, 25, went into a spin when his main parachute became tangled during a 4,000m drop over Taupo in New Zealand last week, but survived when he landed in a blackberry bush.

I guess that's better than a hard landing, but still...

Exercise since last: 30km, total 520km/312mi: third day from Weathertop.
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Watched After the Sunset with Rey and [livejournal.com profile] sarin_girl tonight. Not the sort of movie that's going to change the whole history of motion pictures, but fun nevertheless, and not only for Salma Hayek. Have come to the conclusion that Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson must be very secure indeed in their heterosexuality.

Exercise since last: 40km (half of it while watching the aforementioned). Total 490km/294mi: most of the way through third day from Weathertop.
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Via Pharyngula: When Polish student Michael Gromek, 19, went to America on a student exchange, he found himself trapped in a host family of Christian fundamentalists. What followed was a six-month hell of dawn church visits and sex education talks as his new family tried to banish the devil from his soul.

(For the record, 'Christian fundamentalist' is not synonymous with that sort of behaviour - I know several who are charming hosts and would sooner invite their guests to play Call of Cthulhu than badger them about religion.)

And via [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda, this story:

"O.J. Simpson, in his own words, tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes," the network said in a statement. "In the two-part event, Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade."

(Does anybody need me to tell them which network is screening this 'event'? No, I didn't think so.)

Exercise since last: 30km, total 450km/270mi: second day out of Weathertop.


Nov. 4th, 2006 11:18 am
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Via [livejournal.com profile] elynne, for those voting in the USA in the near future, you can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report irregularities. (And whether or not you believe in deliberate vote-rigging, it seems pretty clear that poor design is going to cause irregularities in some areas.) I'll spare you the regular spiel about how it's not actually hard to get quick and reliable results from old-fashioned paper ballots when done properly, and how the USA needs something like the AEC, because most of you would have heard them 2n years ago and nothing much has changed.

Via [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll: if you like Christmas and you like Billy Idol, how could you not love a Billy Idol Christmas Album?

Exercise since last: 25km, total 420km/252mi: just out of Weathertop. Frodo injured and all that.
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Because I never was a Chuck Norris fan...

* Bruce Schneier can log into any computer just by staring down the prompt.
* A mystery wrapped in an Enigma is no more puzzling to Bruce Schneier than a mystery wrapped in ROT-13.
* Bruce Schneier doesn't use a keylogger. He's standing right behind you.
* SSL is invulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Unless that man is Bruce Schneier.
* Bruce Schneier memorizes his one time pads.
* Bruce Schneier can losslessly compress random data by 50%, with his fists.
* Bruce Schneier knows where Grigori Perelman is.
* Bruce Schneier factors integers in constant time.
* When Bruce Schneier decrypts the Da Vinci Code, the ending doesn't suck.
* Vs lbh nfxrq Oehpr Fpuarvre gb qrpelcg guvf, ur'q pehfu lbhe fxhyy jvgu uvf ynhtu.
* Santa Claus doesn't know if Bruce Schneier has been good or bad.

More here, and if you got all those you're a hopeless geek. While I'm posting, trivia:

- Have voted. Not that either of the races I voted in is in much doubt, but it felt good.
- Exercise since last time: 10km, total 395km/237mi. Still tromping towards Weathertop. No good excuses for my slackness; I've gotten into bad sleep habits etc.


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