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.


Recoding videos with ffmpeg

It's easy. To only recode the video stream (using HEVC/H.265/libx265 in this case), do this:

$ ffmpeg -i infile.mp4 -c:v hevc -c:a copy outfile.mp4

To also encode audio (using AAC), do this:

$ ffmpeg -i infile.mp4 -c:v hevc -c:a aac -b:a 192k outfile.mp4

In either case, “-c” stands for “codec”, while “-b” stands for “bitrate”. To find out what codecs a file currently uses and what the bitrates are, use

$ ffmpeg -i infile.mp4

I don't usually recommend reencoding audio; you'll get a noticeable quality loss without saving much in terms of file size. Video, on the other hand …


Surly colors

I'm quite amused by the various colors Surly offer their bikes/frames in. Here's a handy list of colors past and present, culled from their website:

  • Andy's Apple Red
  • Army Green
  • Banana Candy Yellow
  • Battleship Gray
  • Beige Pantsuit
  • Black
  • Black Forest
  • Black Matte
  • Blacktacular
  • Bliolet
  • Blue
  • Blue Monday
  • Blue Porta Potty
  • Blue Suit of Leisure
  • Blueberry Muffin Top
  • Bruised Ego Purple
  • Cakipants
  • Calimocho Red
  • Candied Yam Orange
  • Canvas Green
  • Cash Black
  • Cold Slate Blue
  • Cromwell Green
  • Cuba Libre
  • Dark Black
  • Dark Black 2X
  • Dark Side of the Maroon
  • Diving Board Blue
  • Dream Tangerine
  • Drink More Yellow Water
  • Forest Green
  • Frost Blue
  • Get Gone Maroon
  • Get In Green
  • Glitter Dreams
  • Gloss Black
  • Grandma's Lipstick
  • Grandpa's Thermos
  • Grape Soda
  • Grassy Green
  • Gray Haze
  • Gray Sweatpants
  • Green Astro Turf
  • Hi-Viz Black
  • Hot Mayonnaise
  • Illegal Smile
  • Jack Frost Blue
  • Lemon Lime Soda
  • Magma
  • Metallic Lilac
  • Milque
  • Ministry Gray
  • Mint
  • Mint Green
  • Monkey Butt Red
  • Moonlit Swamp
  • MRE Green
  • Mule Mug
  • My Milkshake
  • Norwegian Cheese Brown
  • Pea Lime Pie Soup
  • Pea Lime Soup
  • Pepto Pink
  • Perry Winkle's Sparkle
  • Pickled Beet Red
  • Pile of Bricks
  • Plutonium Sparkle Green
  • Prickly Pear
  • Rainbow in the Dark
  • Red Flake
  • ,,Rhymes With`` Orange
  • Robbins Egg Blue
  • Rover Brown
  • Sage Green
  • Salmon Candy Red
  • Salt Shaker
  • Smoggy Pearl
  • SolidGold Gold
  • Spray Tan
  • Stand Back Purple
  • Stash Green
  • Static Sunset
  • Steve's Pants Blue
  • Stoned Ground Mustard
  • Stray Hair Gray
  • Tan Cargo Shorts
  • Tangled Up in Blue
  • Tanish Gray
  • Tank Green
  • Thorfrost White
  • Titanium Sand
  • Toxic Tangerine
  • Tractor Time
  • Trevor's Closet Black
  • Urban Degray
  • Wet Clay
  • Yellow
  • Zinc

Some of these I sound less than appealing (say, Hot Mayonnaise or Sweatpants Gray), but some are quite clever, such as Rainbow in the Dark (which is actually black), or ,,Rhymes with`` Orange (I can hear Zecora groan somewhere out there). Dark Black also amused me, just because it suggests that there is such a thing as "light black", and Norwegian Cheese Brown — well, not a color I'd want my bike to be, but it really did look like brunost (which is quite tasty BTW). I'm not sure what to make of Drink More Yellow Water, but I'd definitely take My Milkshake … for the name anyway. :)



Congratulations Guðni Th. Jóhannesson on being reelected president of Iceland!

Quite an astounding result too — if this had happened in Russia all the media would be saying it's proof that the election was a sham and that this doesn't happen in democracies. But it does. :) And Guðni's been a good president IMO, so I'm happy to see him re-elected, and I'm glad that so many others agreed.

Til hamingju Guðni!


Blessed solstice

OK, so I guess it was technically yesterday, but still, blessed solstice! It's the zenith of the year, so celebrate the sun and the warmth and light that she gives us and without which life would not be possible. When you think about it, it really is a marvelous thing, something to be deeply thankful for.


John Horton Conway died, as reported by The Grauniad — due to COVID-19, not that it really makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. Conway was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, and, by all accounts, a fascinating man as well. I recommend reading Siobhan Roberts' John Horton Conway: The Most Charismatic Mathematician in the World for starters; if you're keen on learning more I also highly recommend her biography of Conway, Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway.

(Image: Simon Fraser)

We've lost a great mind and a great man today. Rest in peace.