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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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Troy Hurtubise, checking out

Jun. 23rd, 2018 | 11:09 am

Troy Hurtubise has died:

Troy was a most unusual person. When he heard a colorful, even fanciful, idea emerge from his mouth, he seemed to feel honor-bound to make that idea come true, no matter what. He was, until this unfortunate highway crash, a willfully mythical creature—often bound in a strange and wondrous suit of titanium, duct tape, hockey pads, and his own imagination—walking, running, and occasionally toppling over, amongst mortals.

R.I.P., you badass motherfucker.

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ANSI PMV: Obsolete

May. 3rd, 2018 | 05:10 pm

You probably know ASCII art — you may or may not also know ANSI movies, depending on how old you are and how extensively you used computers and frequented BBSes in the late 80s/early 90s.

Well, a couple of years ago, klystron2010 created an ASCII art version of Twilight Sparkle, and I commented on it, saying "Your next mission, should you choose to accept it: make an ANSI movie involving ponies".

I don't know whether it's directly as a result of this, but the artist actually went ahead and did, producing an awesome ANSI PMV for Rudebrat's Obsolete:

This was finished in February this year, and was apparently almost 5 years in the making — a real labor of love, and it shows. (I only wish Youtube's compression was a bit less draconic — the compression artifacts are quite bad.)

Equestria Daily also picked it up, BTW, but described it as "pixel art". Kids these days, eh? ;) Or maybe "ANSI art" really is an antediluvian term and concept[1] (in which case the choice of song is really quite clever).

  1. Unrelated: a while ago I tried to find out how to filter Usenet[2] messages in Thunderbird; my first instinct was to do a web search for "Thunderbird Usenet killfile", and one of the first hits mentioned that "killfile" was, in this day and age, an antediluvian term that few people would understand, and fewer still actively use.
  2. Usenet is, of course, arguably antediluvian in and on itself.

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The Underfull Badness Blues

Mar. 20th, 2018 | 08:55 pm

Found deep in the bowels of the TeXhax mailing list — the Underfull Badness Blues:

The Underfull Badness Blues
by Frankeye Jones
(to the tune of "Da Doo Ron Ron")

I thought I put the backslashes in
I thought I did it right;
But when I tried to run the thing
The screen displayed this sight:
"Error, error, error," it said
So I've got no time to lose
My line's too long and my bracket's missing
I've got the underfull badness blues
(a-do-run-run-run, a do-run-run)

I can do most anything
With LaTeX as a tool
Make boxes, tables, Greek letters too
And I can alter the size of my pool
But wait! I got too excited again
It's the same old, not-good-news
My control sequences are in error again
I've got the underfull badness blues

My life is like a LaTeX run
With trials and errors each day
The fates one minute are on my side
Then they slip and slide away
I lose my keys, I'm out of Scope
I'm totally missing my cues
The cats have fleas and the water heater burst
I've got the overfull/underfull badness blues
(a-do-run-run-run, a do-run-run)

I thought that was cute. :) (And yes, I've occasionally gotten the overfull/underfull badness blues... less often than the poseball blues so far, though!)

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R.I.P. Marko

Mar. 8th, 2018 | 10:12 pm

By way of lupine52marko_the_rat, one of my earliest acquaintances in the furry fandom, passed away recently after a battle with cancer.

This is terrible news; Marko was a very nice, compassionate and kind person. He'll be missed.

My thoughts are with ristin, and all of Marko's family and friends.

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Wasting disk space for fun and profit

Feb. 19th, 2018 | 03:32 pm

If you find that your boot drive's free space is inexplicably diminishing, then (in addition to the usual, like clearing out Windows's separate TEMP directory), you may want to check whether you've got Window's search indexer enabled.

You can find out in the Control Panel; search for "index" or so, and you should find it quickly. Change what it indexes (e.g. just your "favorites" and the start menu), and rebuild the index, under "Advanced".

On my system, disabling it for most of the system took the index's size down from ~23.3 GiB to less than 80 MiB, which is a significant amount of space even today, especially if you're running off an SSD.

As usual, I recommend using WinDirStat to find out what is ACTUALLY wasting space on your drive(s). Be sure to run it as an Administrator, or it won't have access to various directories (including, incidentally, the one containing Windows's search index).

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R.I.P. John Perry Barlow

Feb. 8th, 2018 | 10:02 pm

John Perry Barlow, one of the little-known (to the general public) giants on whose shoulders we're all standing today, passed away recently.

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember John's 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Utopian as it may have been, it shaped how people thought and felt (and think, and feel). It certainly affected me.

Good-bye, John; here's to you, and my thoughts are with your friends and your family.

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R.I.P. Paul Bocuse

Jan. 20th, 2018 | 09:49 pm

Sad news, indeed: Paul Bocuse, the greatest cook of the 20th century, passed away at the age of 91 earlier today.

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Strong English verbs

Jan. 5th, 2018 | 12:13 pm

There is no equivalent to the German Gesellschaft zur Stärkung der Verben (Society for Strengthening Verbs) in English, but the GSV itself quotes a column by Maggie Sullivan, cited in Steven Pinker's Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language:

Anatole Broyard is right to sound the alarm. We are losing this idiosyncrasy; as a language changes, strong verbs tend to become weak. For example: although shepherds once shore their sheep, sheep are no longer shorn, they are sheared.

This issue would arouse lovers of the English language. Weakening the verbs can only weaken the language itself. To keep English from becoming a feeble tongue, we must reinforce our verbs. Fortunately, I have come up with a two-part plan. First, we must not allow new verbs to enter the language in a weak state. We must ensure, for example, that to clone is established as clone, clewn, clown, as in: Future generations of booksellers may reproach us for not having clown Joyce Carol Oates and Isaac Asimov.... And to gentrify as gentrify, gentrifo, gentrifum, as in: The newcomers gentrifo one block and now the whole old neighborhood is gentrifum.

Since new verbs are few and far between, I offer the second part of my plan—creating new strong verbs. English has some strong verbs with unique patterns for their principal parts, such as go, went, gone. Individuality makes them particularly vulnerable. Their patterns would hold up better if each pattern had more representatives. If we create allies for our unique strong verbs, we can buttress them and increase their number. Here are suggestions for new strong verbs:

Conceal, console, consolen: After the murder, Jake console the weapon.
Subdue, subdid, subdone: Nothing could have subdone him the way her violet eyes subdid him.
Fit, fat, fat: The vest fat Joe, whereas the jacket would have fat a thinner man.
Displease, displose, displosen: By the look on her face, I could tell she was displosen.

Unfortunately I've not been able to find the entire column. Online references are invariably to Pinker's book; and the New York Times' archive only lists two column by Maggie Sullivan. (One isn't freely available, but does not seem related anyway.)

But it seems to exist, for the GSV itself cites more examples, presumably taken from Sullivan's column:

Seesaw, sawsaw, seensaw: While the children sawsaw, the old man thought of long ago when he had seensaw.
Pay, pew, pain: He had pain for not choosing a wife more carefully.
Ensnare, ensnare, ensnorn: In the 60’s and 70’s, Sominex ads ensnare many who had never been ensnorn by ads before.
Commemoreat, commemorate, commemoreaten: At the banquet to commemoreat Herbert Hoover, spirits were high, and by the end of the evening many other Republicans had been commemoreaten.

These are also cited on this page, which also provides a nice poem showing off some expertly-strongthen verbs:

Sally Salter, she was a young teacher who taught,
And her friend, Charley Church, was a preacher who praught;
Though his enemies called him a screecher who scraught.

His heart, when he saw her, kept sinking, and sunk;
And his eye, meeting hers, began winking, and wunk;
While she in her turn, fell to thinking, and thunk.

In secret he wanted to speak, and he spoke,
To seek with his lips what his heart long had soke,
So he managed to let the truth leak, and it loke.

The kiss he was dying to steal, then he stole;
At the feet where he wanted to kneel, then he knole;
And he said, "I feel better than ever I fole."

And a small snippet attributed to Dizzy Dean, whoever that is:

The pitcher wound up and flang the ball at the batter. The batter swang and missed. The pitcher flang the ball again and this time the batter connected. He hit a high fly right to the center fielder. The center fielder was all set to catch the ball, but at the last minute his eyes were blound by the sun and he dropped it!

Of course this last one's incomplete; it really should've read e.g.:

The pitcher wound up and flang the ball at the batter. The batter swang and moss. The pitcher flang the ball again and this time the batter connuck. He hat a high fly right to the center fielder. The center fielder was all set to catch the ball, but at the last minute his eyes were blound by the sun and he droop it!

Any other examples of strong (or strongthen) verbs making a resurgence in English? Let me know. :)

EDIT: I perused Pinker's book; sadly, he does not provide any reference for Sullivan's editorial.

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AO3 invites

Jan. 3rd, 2018 | 10:19 pm

AO3 (Archive Of Our Own) has been suspending invites and new user registration for a while now to deal with an enduring, persistent spammer problem.

However, they recently gave each of their existing users one invite code as a kind of yule gift. That includes me, so if you've been wanting to get on the site but found yourself unable to, now's your chance.

Let me know if you want the invite code in the comments below. First come, first served, though I reserve the right to ignore requests from people I don't know etc. If you get skipped... tough cookies.

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