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[sticky post] Hello!

Oct. 29th, 2009 | 03:00 pm

Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends!
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside!

— Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part II)

Hi there!

If you're reading this, you're probably just looking at my journal, perhaps even thinking about adding me as an LJ-friend; or alternatively, perhaps I just added you as an LJ-friend, and you're curious about me now. In either case, I'd like to use this opportunity to say a few things.

Trevor: You're skating the edge.
Æon: I
am the edge.

— Æon Flux

First of all, I tend to write freely about topics everything that matters to me; more distanced, "professional" entries may directly be followed by more personal ones (and vice versa), and I will, generally, openly write about all sorts of things, including philosophy, sexuality, politics and more. Some of my entries will be friends-only, others will be publicly viewable, too, and unlike other people, I don't use <lj-cut /> tags or specific "topic filters" (i.e., custom friends groups dedicated to specific topics) to shield people from things they may not want to see.

Well, as long as it's text, that is; I will cut images that aren't safe for work etc. (at least if I remember, which I might not always do!), since I wouldn't want for people to get in trouble if their boss happens to be shoulder-surfing at work. Text, though, is a different issue, and if you'll get into trouble for reading about certain topics at work, you probably shouldn't be checking your friends page at work to begin with.

He said, "I am told that when men hear its voice, it stays in their ears, they cannot be rid of it. It has many different voices: some happy, but others sad. It roars like a baboon, murmurs like a child, drums like the blazing arms of one thousand drummers, rustles like water in a glass, sings like a lover and laments like a priest."

— Mike Oldfield, Amarok (liner notes)

Second of all, concerning friending me: feel free to. There is no need to ask if it's OK to do so; everyone's welcome to, as well as to post comments etc. (as long as they're genuine: spammers etc. will not be tolerated, but that goes without saying, anyway). I may add you back if your journal looks interesting or if I know you, too, but this isn't automatic. If you do want me to add you back, engaging me and talking to me is probably the best way to go about it.

Please don't ask about being added back if I didn't do so on my own, either, unless I already know you well and you want to be able to read my non-public entries.

If I already friended you but you don't know who I am and haven't been in contact with me before, that most likely means I became aware of your journal somehow, took a look, and decided I wanted to keep up with what you're writing — "I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter", as it were. I don't expect you to friend me back or otherwise take an interest in me, but if you do — all the better.

If what it is to be furry you still don't comprehend
Then consider this advice, my curious friend
If you're willing to respect that which you don't understand
Then come take my paw and I'll take your hand.

— from "Furry", by Croc O'Dile of TigerMUCK with help from Tony DeMatio, June 1995

Regarding commenting, BTW, I'm always happy to receive comments. However, things like "lol" are not proper punctuation, and correct spelling and grammar would be nice as well. And of course, I expect people to not be insulting or rude, but that, again, should go without saying.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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The paths are treacherous today

Jan. 5th, 2016 | 01:50 am

A thought for the day:

Wanderers in the land of Osten Ard are cautioned not to put blind trust in old rules and forms, and to observe all rituals with a careful eye, for they often mask being with seeming.

The Qanuc-folk of the snow-mantled Trollfells have a proverb. 'He who is certain he knows the ending of things when he is only beginning them is either extremely wise or extremely foolish; no matter which is true, he is certainly an unhappy man, for he has put a knife in the heart of wonder.'

More bluntly, new visitors to this land should take heed:
Avoid Assumptions.

The Qanuc have another saying: 'Welcome stranger. The paths are treacherous today.'

(This is the "Author's Warning" from Tad Williams' "The Dragonbone Chair", in case you're wondering.)

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Blessed solstice

Dec. 22nd, 2015 | 05:48 am

It's that time of the year again. Have a blessed solstice and a good yule; celebrate the longest night, and look forward to days being longer again from now on!
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Happy birthday, Perl

Dec. 18th, 2015 | 12:06 pm

Perl turned 28 today. Happy birthday!

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Nethack 3.6.0

Dec. 9th, 2015 | 01:59 am

From the I-believe-it-not department:

After a 10+ year hiatus, the NetHack DevTeam is happy to announce the release of NetHack 3.6, a combination of the old and the new.

Unlike previous releases, which focused on the general game fixes, this release consists of a series of foundational changes in the team, underlying infrastructure and changes to the approach to game development.

Those of you expecting a huge raft of new features will probably be disappointed. Although we have included a number of new features, the focus of this release was to get the foundation established so that we can build on it going forward.

[...]

Read the whole announcement. It's been about twelve years; I honestly hadn't thought we'd see a new release, much less changes to the development process to make it more robust, more open, and generally better.

I was wrong. Break out the crayons and color me tickled pink!

EDIT, 2015-12-09: the updated guidebook offers some more information on Nethack's recent development history:

The release of NetHack 3.4.3 in December 2003 marked the beginning of a long release hiatus. 3.4.3 proved to be a remarkably stable version that provided continued enjoyment by the community for more than a decade. The devteam slowly and quietly continued to work on the game behind the scenes during the tenure of 3.4.3. It was during that same period that several new variants emerged within the NetHack community. Notably sporkhack by Derek S. Ray, unnethack by Patric Mueller, nitrohack and its successors originally by Daniel Thaler and then by Alex Smith, and Dynahack by Tung Nguyen. Some of those variants continue to be developed, maintained, and enjoyed by the community to this day.

At the beginning of development for what would eventually get released as 3.6.0, the development team consisted of Warwick Allison, Michael Allison, Ken Arromdee, David Cohrs, Jessie Collet, Ken Lorber, Dean Luick, Pat Rankin, Mike Stephenson, Janet Walz, and Paul Winner. Leading up to the release of 3.6.0 in early 2015, new members Sean Hunt, Pasi Kallinen, and Derek S. Ray joined the NetHack development team.

In September 2014, an interim snapshot of the code under development was released publicly by other parties. Since that code was a work-in-progress and had not gone through the process of debugging it as a suitable release, it was decided that the version numbers present on that code snapshot would be retired and never used in an official NetHack release. An announcement was posted on the devteam’s official nethack.org website to that effect, stating that there would never be a 3.4.4, 3.5, or 3.5.0 official release version.

In November 2014, preparation began for the release of NetHack 3.6. The 3.6 version merges work done by the development team since the previous release with some of the beloved community patches. Many bugs were fixed and a large amount of code was restructured.

The development team, as well as Steve VanDevender and Kevin Smolkowski ensured that NetHack 3.6.0 continued to operate on various Unix flavors and maintained the X11 interface.

Ken Lorber, Haoyang Wang, Pat Rankin, and Dean Luick maintained the port of NetHack 3.6.0 for Mac.

Michael Allison, Derek S. Ray, Yitzhak Sapir, Alex Kompel, and Dion Nicolaas maintained the port of NetHack 3.6.0 for Microsoft Windows.

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Ihr seid alt, Vater Wilhelm

Nov. 28th, 2015 | 08:41 pm

Translating texts is a big part of learning Icelandic for me. Right now I'm slowly worming my way through Þórarinn Eldjárn's Icelandic translation of Alice in Wonderland (Ævintýri Lísu í Undralandi); I've now gotten to the part where the hookah-smoking caterpillar asks Alice to recite the poem "You Are Old, Father William" ("Þú ert forn, Villi pabbi"), and I just had to translate it as a poem, rather than as prose. I don't think it came out half bad, so I'd like to share it.

Here it is, along with Tenniel's illustrations:

Þú ert forn, Villi pabbi

„Þú ert forn, Villi pabbi,“ kvað son hans „og senn
verður silfurgrár makkinn þitt stolt.
Samt stendurðu á höfðinu endalaust enn—
fyrir öldung er slíkt varla hollt?“

Ihr seid alt, Vater Wilhelm

„Ihr seid alt, Vater Wilhelm“, sein Sohn sprach, „und bald
zieht sich Silbergrau durch euren Schopf.
Ist es ratsam, so frage ich mich, ohne Halt
jeden Tag hier zu steh'n auf dem Kopf?“

„Ég í æsku því kveið,“ svaraði öldungur hér,
„að illt hefði heilinn af því.
Nú er staðfest hann ekki er til staðar í mér
ég stend því á haus enn á ný.“

„Þú ert forn,“ mælti sonur „ég sagði það fyrr,
orðinn svínfeitur, þungur sem blý.
Samt í öfugum kollhnís fórstu inn hér um dyr,
en er nokkur meining í því?“

„Darob grämte ich mich“, gab der Alte zurück,
„für das leibliche Wohl ist es arg!
Doch nun suche ich fröhlich im Kopfstand mein Glück,
schließlich lieg' ich ja fast schon im Sarg.“

„Ihr seid alt“, sprach der Sohn, „ich erwähnte es schon,
seid nun fett wie ein Schwein, schwer wie Blei.
Doch ihr schlagt Rückwärtssaltos, dem Alter zum Hohn,
was dafür die Erklärung wohl sei?“

„Ég í æsku,“ kvað leshaus og lokkana strauk
„gerði liðuga skankana og bratta
með kremi, einn skilding það kostar í bauk
til kaups vil ég bjóða þér slatta.“

„Þú ert forn og í kjálkum of aumur þú ert
fyrir allt sem er seigara en fíta,
samt þú ást heila gæs, hennar gogg og bein hvert,
hvernig gastu það? Það vil ég vita.“

„In der Jugend“, sprach Wilhelm, und wies auf die Hose,
„trug ich Creme auf die Schenkel mir auf.
Deshalb sind sie so frisch! Einen Schilling die Dose,
dafür biet' ich sie dir jetzt zum Kauf.“

„Ihr seid alt, und im Mund steht ein Zahn ganz allein,
ihr könnt Suppe nur trinken und Bier.
Doch ihr aßt eine Gans mitsamt Schnabel und Bein!
Wie gelang euch dies bloß? Sagt es mir.“

„Ég í æsku,“ kvað faðirinn „lögfræði las
um lög deildi sífellt við frúna.
Ég varð sterkur í kjálkum við þvíumlíkt þras
og það reyndar bjargar mér núna.“

„Þú ert forn,“ mælti sonur, „og ólíklegt er
að augu þín ráði við vanda.
Hvernig nýttirðu þau er á nefinu á þér
einn nýveiddan ál lestu standa?“

„In der Jugend“, sprach Wilhelm, „las Recht ich vom Pult,
lag auch stets mit dem Weibe im Zank.
Und mein Kiefer wuchs kräftig durch solchen Tumult.
Davon zehre ich heut', Gott sei Dank.“

„Ihr seid alt“, sprach der Sohn, „und ich glaube zu seh'n,
euer Aug' sei vom Star schon getrübt.
Doch ihr ließt einen Aal auf der Nase euch steh'n.
Wie lang habt ihr dies Kunststück geübt?“

„Ég svara ekki í fjórgang, mér finnst komið nóg,“
mælti faðirinn, „hættu nú alveg!
Ég vil ekki heyra að þú maldir í mó,
haltu munni og farðu upp á Kjalveg!“

„Ich antworte nicht mehr, jetzt reicht es mir aber!“
so sprach Wilhelm, „halt bloß deinen Mund!
Nicht ein Wort mehr laß' hören von deinem Gelaber,
denn jetzt wird es mir wirklich zu bunt!“

Needless to say this isn't a literal translation. And it's got some issues; the most glaring and unfortunate one is right in the first line, where the meter dicated "sein Sohn sprach" rather than "sprach sein Sohn". But for a byproduct of learning some Icelandic over coffee and cake downtown, I think it's pretty decent. :)

(I'm also really impressed by Þórarinn's ability to accurately retain the English text's meaning while juggling meter and rhyme, BTW. Wish I could do as well as he did!)

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All Good Things Must End

Nov. 27th, 2015 | 02:32 pm

Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder (which I've mentioned here) has finally come to an end. No, it didn't receive legal threats from Hasbro; the team's just worn out, and wants to move on to greener pastures. I'm sad to see the game end, but I understand their decision and am glad to see that they're pulling a Watterson and ending things gracefully now.


Image: TSSSF

There was a sale where you could grab all the various decks, expansions and stuff that they still had in stock (now closed — you missed it, suckers!); as before the cards are also available for download, and if you want to you can grab older versions etc. on Github.

So as that final card says:

The typewriter's chime rang with finality as Twilight pulled the last piece of parchment up and set it aside. She exhaled with a sense of accomplishment, stretching her sore and aching muscles. It was done. At last. She turned to gaze out the window at the sun just setting. "Well, that's done. Perhaps I'll go outside…" — To Thunderous Applause

It's a magical world, Twilight, ol' buddy… let's go exploring.

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Quote of the Day

Nov. 16th, 2015 | 11:05 am

Quote of the Day:

Modesty is my only vice. If I weren't so modest, I'd be perfect.

— John Horton Conway

I'll have to remember this one — it describes me perfectly as well! :)

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Yogi Berra

Nov. 1st, 2015 | 09:53 pm

I only just realized that Yogi Berra died a couple of weeks ago, in late September. I'm by no means a baseball fan (if I were, I'd have learned about this sooner), but having read one of this books, I appreciated Yogi's attitude towards and insights into life. He was a good guy — and though death is hardly unexpected at the ripe old age of 90, it's still a shame to see him go. So here's to you, Yogi.

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Yet another Skyrim fragment: Ein unfreiwilliges Bad (translated) - An involuntary bath

Oct. 24th, 2015 | 02:17 am

Translation of the fragment I've come to refer to as Ein unfreiwilliges Bad:

"I'm warning you! That's close enough!"

The magician in the black robe had drawn a dagger and now stood menacingly in front of the altar over which he had been hunched just moments ago. A mummified body and various tools bore witness to his exploits, and a few skulls cleared up any remaining doubt. Pale tallow candles burned in black holders; at midnight they might have appeared spooky, but it was a sunny afternoon, and under blue skies and cheerful bird song the scene was merely absurd.

Oglala and Lydia, who had wandered down from the house, stopped at the warning, utterly disinterested, and looked over the magician. His features were smooth, almost youthful, and the symbols on his robe identified him as a novice, but he already had his first ritual scars. Oglala nudged her companion with an elbow. "What do you think? Molag Bal?"

Lydia nodded thoughtfully. "Looks like. Certainly nothing appetizing." The magician raised the dagger higher and glowered, but his hand was trembling visibly. "Not a step further!" he barked as Oglala began sauntering towards him again.

"FUS RO DAH!"

A torrent of superhuman, invisible force poured over the magician and swept him away like a straw doll before a storm. He screamed shrilly as he was flung backwards over the altar and sent flying high across the street beneath the cliff before finally falling into Lake Ilinalta with an unceremonial splash. A few seconds passed, then his head broke through the water's surface, and spluttering, he swam across the lake towards the northern shore as if every single last daedra of Oblivion was pursuing him.

"That was the third one this month now." Oglala looked after the rapidly-fleeing conjurer with amusement while her companion collected the tools of his trade that now lay scattered around the altar. With a shake of her head, Lydia regarded the dagger that had been pointed in their direction just moments ago, then checked the blade with her thumb. "My goodness. This thing's so dull, he couldn't even have cut butter with it."

Oglala, who had stepped closer, nodded. "Cheapest iron, from the looks of it, not even steel. Well, maybe Alvor will give us a bit of silver for it, he can melt the thing down at least after all." She stuck the dagger under her belt and then pointed at the draugr mummy. "And what are we gonna do with this guy? I don't fancy having him moulder away here in the sun right behind my house."

Lydia stroked her chin thoughtfully. "Talos knows which burial chambers he came from. It'll be best if we bury him right here. Give me a moment, I'm gonna fetch some shovels and pickaxes." Oglala nodded and sat down on the altar, letting her legs dangle while Lydia returned to the house. The magician had reached the far side of the lake in the meantime and was now wringing out his soaking robes; he shook his fist from the safe distance and yelled something incomprehensible. Oglala laughed again and then reached for the crossbow that was slung over her back, let a bolt fly in the magician's direction, but missed him by a wide margin. When metal clattered behind her, she turned around.

"Let's get to it, then. Fellow, lend a hand to-day!" Lydia remarked, having dropped the shovels and now uncorking a bottle of mead. "Sweat must trickle now from the burning brow!" Oglala declaimed with a theatrical sigh while her companion took a big swig; then Lydia started to dig in a suitable spot, and the Dragonborn followed suit.

A few hours later only a shallow earthen mound covered with large stones still gave away that the mummy had ever existed. Lydia wiped the sweat off her forehead, and Oglala laughed. "I've heard that some human women paint their faces, but using clay for that, that's gotta be new!" Lydia stuck out her tongue. "Pfft! At least I don't smell like a cat in heat."

Oglala laid back her ears, and her tail twitched, her eyes narrowing to slits for a moment, but then she had to grin in spite of herself. "How about a bath in the lake? I think we both need it... no, that is not what I meant", she added when Lydia winked at her.

"But it's what you thought." Lydia stroked over her friend's muzzle, then nodded. "Either way, you're right, a bath sounds good right about now. Shall we take turns and stand guard for each other? We should be a bit careful, that conjurer's still gotta be running around here somewhere."

Oglala shook her head. "No, I'll fetch Rayya. It's no fun alone."

[...]

Thanks to moth_wingthane for his invaluable help again; it's great to have someone who'll provide detailed feedback and who won't just say yes and amen to everything. :)

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