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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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R.I.P., Dr John

Jun. 7th, 2019 | 07:09 am

Dr. John, the famous New Orleans blues musician, the night tripper, le grand zombie, has died. I'm honestly not sure what to write here that would do him justice.

Not that I'm too terribly familiar with his œuvre. I only have one of his albums, Gris-gris; he's one of those musicians you feel you should listen to more, but then you never get the opportunity to do so.

You may also know him from the movie Blues Brothers 2000, BTW, in which he sang Season of the Witch.

My thoughts are with his loved ones, his family and his friends.

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Santa Claus

Apr. 7th, 2019 | 10:35 am

Consider the following sentence (not created by me; I merely found it in my notes again yesterday, having picked it up years ago from goodness knows where):

If this sentence is true, then Santa Claus exists.

At first glance this does not seem to tell us much. But let's see what knowledge we can glean from it.

Suppose, just for the sake of the argument, that the sentence is true. Then it is true that, if the sentence is true, Santa Claus exists. But the sentence is true, by assumption, so Santa Claus really does exist.

Let's step back for a moment and consider what we have shown: starting from the assumption that the sentence is true, we have concluded that, under that assumption, Santa Claus exists.

But that is exactly what the sentence says! So we have shown that the sentence is in fact unconditionally true. So it is unconditionally true that, if the sentence is true, Santa Claus exists. But the sentence is true, as we've just shown, so Santa Claus really does exist.


Can you find the flaw in this argument?Collapse )

Shame though. I was just about to state that "if this sentence is true, I'm a millionaire". :P

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Icelandic TeX

Apr. 6th, 2019 | 01:07 pm

While idly browsing through older TUGboat issues (pdfgrep sure is useful!), I came across an interesting article in TUGboat 26 (1989) — Lexicography with TeX, by Jörgen L. Pind. The author is (was?) affiliated with the Institute of Lexicography at the University of Iceland, and describes how TeX was employed to typeset an Icelandic etymological dictionary.

Funny that — I have the same dictionary (the 2008 edition) on my shelf right now, just an arm's reach away. I never knew TeX was used to produce it, though — isn't that neat?

The article also mentions that it's not the first Icelandic published book produced using TeX; that honor goes to Bókin um Macintosh, written by the same author and published in 1987. I doubt that this one has aged as well as the orðsifjabók (a 1987 book on Apple computers is going to be of limited interest at best today), but it's a fascinating bit of history.

EDIT: for another interesting article on TeX being used for Icelandic works, see TUGboat 54 (1997), specifically A Medieval Icelandic manuscript: The making of a diplomatic edition by Andrea de Leeuw van Weenen.

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Concepts for which there is no word though there should

Mar. 8th, 2019 | 09:11 pm

Usually when I post about words that don't exist but should, I'm talking about specific newly-minted words ("shameless wordcoinery", as it were). This time it's about words that really don't exist at all, i.e. concepts for which there is no word — and for which I don't have one either.

There's two:

  • the moment when you wake up from a pleasant dream, just barely enough to realize it was a dream and when you try to go back to sleep to continue said dream even though you realize that you've woken up enough for this not to be possible, and the feeling of regret accompanying sad moment;
  • the wistfulness and sadness that builds up throughout the day as you slowly remember less and less of said pleasant dream, first losing how it felt, then what it looked like, and finally what even happened in it, all the while being consciously aware that it is running through your fingers like sand.

Are there words for these? I don't know any, but there should be.

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Somewhere in Nevada

Jan. 12th, 2019 | 11:00 am

It's been a while, but Madness Combat 11: Expurgation is finally ready. Watch it here on Newgrounds, or here on Youtube.

If you're not familiar with the Madness series, you may want to watch the other installments before this one, just so you'll have some idea of what's going on. (The earlier ones are sillier, and the art style's more primitive, but they're still very enjoyable.) The recommended order of watching them is, unsurprisingly, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 9, 10 and 11. (There's other side animations that aren't essential to the ongoing story.)

If you want to learn more about Madness in general, there's a wiki, and Newgrounds has collection.

If you don't like ultra-violent cartoon killings, this is NOT for you.

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Jan. 3rd, 2019 | 01:06 am

Youtube embeds are still a pain, but here's a pretty cool melodic death/black metal song Belzebubs — Blackened Call. If you like the sound of, say, Finntroll, check this out. (And the video is a pretty amusing jab at how serious (too) many bands in that particular subgenre take themselves.)

Also, here's Hayseed Dixie — Don't Stop Believin', a cover of the well-known Journey song. And as the video's description says: "Coming soon to a bathroom near you! It's Hayseed Dixie's John Wheeler aka Barley Scotch getting clean as a whistle with his favo(u)rite My Little Pony pals." Indeed, it does have ponies! AJ's missing, but the rest of the Mane Six all seem to be there.

(And if you want to see more footage of Barley Scotch getting soapy, look no further than Haysee Dixie — Livin' on a Prayer, that of course being a Bon Jovi cover.)

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Festive Holiday Disaster

Dec. 25th, 2018 | 01:54 pm

Ho ho ho!

Image: Radian

Happy holidays from Katia!

One more...Collapse )

Merry Christmas, indeed — and joyous Yule, somewhat belated blessed Winter Solstice, and happy Hearth's Warming!

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Dec. 2nd, 2018 | 04:21 pm

And then, it occurred to her. Edible dynamite.

— cleverpun, The Elements of Excess

I recently learned that vegetarian haggis is apparently a thing. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, I'd readily agree it is, but it does exist, and you can even order it online, canned.

However, none of the efforts I've seen seem to go far enough in actually distinguishing themselves and rising above the riff and raff, so in the best Tom Lehrer tradition of going too far, my mind produced this mental image of a company mascot called Veggis (promoting a product of the same name): a vegetarian haggis with bushy red eyebrows and beard (think Yosemite Sam), wearing a white, rhinestone-studded disco suit that's an obvious parody of Elvis, and performs parody versions of his songs for advertising purposes:

On a cold and gray highland morning
I sat in my kitchen with a hot steaming bowl
Full of Veggis™.
(Full of Veggiiiiis™!)

Neeps and tatties, too.
(With his Vegiiiiis™!)

'cause if there's one thing I love to eat,
It's Veggis™ every day, I don't need any meat
In my Veggis™.
(In his Veggiiiiis™!)

Remember folks, if this ever graces your TV screen, you saw it here first! (And whoever copied it is a bloody thief.)

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Nov. 18th, 2018 | 10:17 am

Flickr is undergoing some changes again; apparently Yahoo has decided to spin it off into an independent company again (remember the uproar when Yahoo bought up Flickr in the first place?).

Account perks will be changed in the process (again); in particular, free accounts will now be limited to 1000 photos. And unlike (way) before, when you could have as many photos as you wanted, but only the 200 most recent would be visible, old photos will now apparently be outright deleted.

Unless, of course, you pony up to 50 bucks per year for a paid account. Which I don't intend to do; I'm not using Flickr much at all anymore[1], and I don't feel like paying just so that older pictures of mine will remain accessible. (Cue grumblings about vendor lock-in, holding data hostage, and "I've-altered-the-deal-pray-I-do-not-alter-it-further".)

What this will (likely) mean is that Flickr embeds in my old LJ posts will disappear. So if you come across older posts of mine with pictures that won't show up... this is why.

Side note: if you would like to archive your data, Flickr (to its credit) makes that very easy and convenient. Go to your account, and request your account data; shortly after you should get an email telling you you can download it. There'll be an "Account data" ZIP file containing all metadata, and a bunch of ZIPs containing all the photos and videos you uploaded, in handy chunks of roughly 2 GiB apiece.

  1. Mind, I used to have and pay for a Pro account for many years, so it's not like I've been a free rider all along.

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