opusculus: Black hole (Default)
It looks like it was signed back in October, for the record. By the US, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Japan, and Morocco.

I wouldn't feel the need to mention this if I'd seen it anywhere in the replurks/posts I've been seeing! (I can't currently open the petition to see if it reflects the current reality.) I do encourage sending emails to your senators/representatives/whatever about this anyway, especially if you live in a country that hasn't yet signed it, but it's the kind of fact that should probably be known before you try to write a letter if you want it to be listened to.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
Well, my uncle died yesterday.

cut for personal musings )
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
If you're looking for a Mac backup program, try Arq. In no particular order, bullet points!
  • It's stored on Amazon's cloud service, so you're paying exactly what you're storing, rather than either paying too much or underpaying and dealing with the risk of the software trying to subtly cripple your using the full offer, which is what I've heard of people having problems with services like Mozy

  • It's really light-weight. I tend to get impatient and delete programs like antiviruses because they slow my computer down too much. This doesn't.

  • It makes it really easy to choose what folders you want to store (because if you're paying for storage, you care), and to set a monthly budget of how much you'd like to pay for storage. So it stores as many copies of your backups as often as your budget allows, or if you just want no history, you just set your budget way under and it will store exactly 1 copy of all your folders. The only feature it's missing here is showing you how much you'll have to pay for storing exactly 1 copy of all your folders, which is admittedly a pretty big thing

  • It's easy to restore (yes, I tested) and they have an open source restorer for added peace of mind if you care about that.

  • It gives you the choice of Amazon's top tier backups that will survive data center blowups, or a slightly cheaper one that won't. I went with won't because none of my stuff is so critical that I am willing to pay another couple bucks a month for insurance of a simultaneous my computer blowup and data center blowup.

  • It took me about 10 minutes to set up, and most of that was pruning folders (and then cleaning out folders but that's just because I'm cheap.) It was also really easy to do.


So yeah. If you have been considering computer backups for a while and just never got around to it, this is a decent option.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
Okay, I admit it. I find the whole RP mass migration over to DW absolutely fascinating to watch and want to tl;dr about it to work out my own thoughts on it. Mostly to get it out of my head! I like business shit and mass social changes, okay. This is kind of the other side of my earlier tl;dr, as it's focusing on RP rather than LJ.

cut for length )
opusculus: Umineko's Beatrice looking superior (Witches stand above)
There are times when I find the whole urban fantasy genre frustrating as fuck. I should be its biggest fan! I love ridiculous Mary Sues, I love cities, I love female protagonists, I love adventure and mystery and yadda yadda. But I was thinking it over, with my failed run at yet another highly recommended urban fantasy (Magic to the Bone), and I think I figured out why.

Your basic urban fantasy heroine seems pretty much modelled after the traditional male anti-hero? She's tough, she's brooding, she's hot, she's utterly friendless because that would be emotional weakness and a real hero needs no emotional weaknesses. And this meshes horribly with the fact that urban fantasy generally requires that she get together with her alpha male boyfriend who introduces her to a whole new life in the underworld. Because- okay, I don't like either the traditional brooding emotionless male anti-hero or romance, so that is totally part of my problem here.

But the thing about emotionally broken male anti-heroes is that it was supposed to convey a particular type of strength. He's above all these petty emotions because he's such a great hero and maybe a hot woman will break his shell a little, but she'll be fridged by the end of the story so all it gives him is more reason to be above it all in order to not let himself be broken by the cruel pettiness of the world around him. With urban fantasy heroines, it's a weakness that they'll generally be improving at over the course of the series, largely because of their boyfriend's influence. And I mean, I can see the appeal of that to the people who like it? But in light of that I just find the heroines to be written to be immature in a way that I can't just roll my eyes, turn off my brain and ignore. I think most loner anti-heroes are fundamentally immature too, but I have a much easier time ignoring something written to be a static trait rather than a subplot, basically.

Also, while I'm complaining, can we have some more urban fantasy female protagonists with some actual female friends? I mean, come on. Average ratio seems to be 5 guy friends to 1 female friend who makes the least appearances out of any of her friends.
opusculus: Digital Devil Saga's Cielo/Dyaus flying in a blue sky (Blue sky in flight)
Okay so, I have completely failed on my New Years Resolution regarding exercise! I am largely whatever on that because honestly I don't really do New Years Resolutions, but it did get me at least think about why I'm apparently so determined to avoid my gym.

Anyone wanting to read my navel gazing has to be a masochist. )

Salads 101

Jan. 11th, 2012 01:07 pm
opusculus: Digital Devil Saga's Argilla's voring mouthboobs (Cannibal mouthboobs)
Lately I've been trying to get the hang of salads. I grew up having salad as the designated side with dinner every night, and there's something about that that makes it come off as really, deeply and sincerely, boring to me. All I ever had, and all I ever did when I took over the family cooking was lettuce + random dressing. BORING. And making the lettuce the main course never quite…worked for me? I always felt weirdly dissatisfied.

But I bring my lunch to work most days, and while I have no problems filling it on days that I cook myself something the night before, I really needed something besides frozen tamales/burritos/chicken pot pies etc. to fill it on the days I don't. So! Salads are something I can do in 10 minutes even if they're a bit on the complicated side, and I have these adorable little sauce thingies that I can use to put my dressing in so it doesn't get all soggy, and therefore they seem like a good solution to that. I like sandwiches more, but I hate pre made sandwiches because they get all soggy and the flavors mix and sometimes it's still fine if I really, really loved the sandwich in the first place but I just don't like them as much. And my usual objection to salads - that they're not filling - is kind of negated by the fact that I pack that lunchbox FULL, dudes. I have breakfast (yogurt with fruit or fruit and cheese, normally), miscellaneous fruits to serve as snacks, miscellaneous chocolate to serve as desserts (Green and Black's Maya Gold is the most delicious thing ever, for the record), miscellaneous cheeses to serve as snacks in case the fruits aren't enough, and maybe a cookie or two just for bonus, and usually in the morning it's kind of bulging out at the sides. I usually don't finish all this, but I like having snacks available and if I don't have fruit available I feel grumpy all day. And there's basically no restaurants nearby that actually serve fruit, which is really great incentive to have it available.

But since I've never actually really made salad, I'm sort of in the process of teaching myself how to make a good salad. So here's a summary of what I've been learning about how to make a satisfying salad from what I have available.

mmm tasty food. )

...I don't know if this is the worst icon for food or the best icon for food.
opusculus: Digital Devil Saga's Cielo dancing (Dance like you mean it)
Usually I don't do New Years' resolutions, because they've always struck me as sort of silly. I've changed before and I'll change again, but the new year on its own doesn't motivate me to change in the least. I suppose it's a disadvantage of never really celebrating New Year? On the other hand, I have been changing recently into someone happier and more confident with myself, and so at this point I want to keep this ball rolling, as I'm liking the person I'm growing into more than the person I was.

Therefore:
1. I will app at least one other character. It can be in CFUD, it can be Rena in Thusia because omg so much setting potential, it could be both, but I want to at least make a real run at playing two characters seriously at the same time.
2. I will use my journal.
3. I will keep sewing, and make myself some skirts with pockets big enough to hold all my shit. Because pockets are love.
4. I will keep on doing makeup in the morning, because honestly the five extra minutes it takes pays off in how much better I feel.
5. I will do at least 10 minutes of yoga every single day, and make it to my gym at least once a week. I will wait until I am not sore to return to the gym, because last time it was the neverending soreness that killed me.
opusculus: Higurashi's Rika and Hanyuu are adorable and innocent and totally safe (Innocuous adorableness)
Work: I wasted the whole goddamn year with only headaches to show for it. But I have a job in this economy so I can't bitch too much. Next!

Personal life: Decent? It feels like I've started turning around some bad trends/habits of mine, and one of the things I'm hoping about the next is that I can keep that up. Trying to blog more will help, I think, especially with Plurk to avoid some of the more inane posts making it on here. (...SORRY PLURK FLIST? I blame the medium and not my inherently boring nature.)

Online/RP/Fandom: Good and bad? It's seemed...idk, quieter and less absorbing and I'm not entirely thrilled with that, and I think wholesale abandoning journaling for Plurk was a really bad idea, but I love Rika and her relationships and have enjoyed being even peripherally in a fandom that actually...has a fandom gj self, and lasted way longer with Ferdinand than I ever thought I would. Overall, I think next year's going to be better though. I have some tentative app plans, some nice plans for Rika even if they are mostly for CFUW, and I'm honestly looking forward to picking up blogging. I might even make a run at doing one of the communities that I've been thinking wistfully about doing for years despite the bah amounts of work it would require.

Cheers to 2012 in hopes that it'll be better for everyone!
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
I found the translation here.

After reading it, I actually found it really fascinating because... 1) it makes me really interested in seeing where LJ goes, and 2) it absolutely confirms to me that moving to DW both personally and voting for CFUD to move was the absolutely right decision in a way very few things could.

LJ's been moribund for a while now, and was and is on the downslide to obsolescence. It was mostly coded...what, a decade ago? And hasn't been significantly updated since. It has some great features! As far as I can tell, there's no other site that isn't based on LJ that is basically focused on the ability to wordvomit on your social network at length and to turn that into a thriving discussion. Nowadays it's tags and followers versus communities and flists, and while I have feelings on that (that come down to I would really like some site someday to give you the option for both, I'm more likely to spend more time in communities because I prefer the social environment that creates), none of them really seem to take tags to their logical full extension for the purposes of actualfax discussion. So to me, the idea of updating LJ to take advantages of all the possible improvements code has allowed for in the last update has the potential to be great.

But the problem as I see it with Igrick's vision for LJ is…well, there's two problems, really. One's on the small scale of how I like the site, one's on the larger scale.

The large scale one is this: It sounds, to me, like he's treating it as a…startup isn't the right word, but I don't know what the right word is. He wants to completely change every last bit of how LJ does business. Paid accounts aren't important any more. Advertising will no longer exist on LJ. The focus on LJ sounds like it will be to get users to pay to make their content rank higher, basically, and that's…in a very small scale I don't mind it? But the way he describes it an entirely new business based on the Livejournal domain with some inspiration from the old one and all the old content, and that doesn't really strike me as the way to revive LJ. Yes, LJ needed a full-scale redesign. But he's throwing out the old business models and completely revamping how the site's actually used at the same time, and… I don't actually think the core of the site was so weak that that is actually necessary, or even a good decision. If he were envisioning adding new ways to use the site, without subtracting the old ones, that would be one thing? But his vision of a revamp is pretty clearly about subtracting features as well as adding them, and generally not quite respecting how people already use the site if it conflicts with his vision, and that's…it's not only drastically increasing the risk, it's pointlessly drastically increasing the risk. Subject lines don't harm anyone. Tweaking the FB and Twitter features so that they were blocked in any locked post doesn't harm anyone, although I'll grant that it takes more work and I have no idea if it would be technically feasible. But from the sounds of it, there's going to be more changes that don't respect the way LJers currently use the service.

And that more than anything is what makes me think that this endeavor is going to fail. Your best bet in an endeavor like this is to keep a close eye on how your customers actually use your service, and respect that as much as possible so long as it doesn't actively get in the way of how you see the future of the site. You have the advantage of the most intimate possible knowledge of how people actually use a large social media site, and a large existing user base, and you should be working to extract every last bit of advantage to that. And Igrick's throwing that away. I actually have immediate family history of someone taking an existing company and completely reworking it working quite well, so I'm really not going to say that it's impossible. But…it's something that should be an absolute last resort. it's basically a well-funded startup with a built-in userbase. Startups, even ones with advantages, have a high failure rate. It's the nature of the beast. Even if they succeed, they're not necessarily going to attract the same target market that LJ formerly did.

And on a more personal level, I don't like it because it sounds like it's heavily emphasizing the broadcast model of social internet sites, which first off isn't my preference, and second off isn't even LJ's strength. If I wanted to broadcast my thoughts to as much of the world as I could reach without caring about discussion, I'd be on Twitter with the popular hashtags and on Tumblr. It's just not what appeals to me.

But more importantly, to me, LJ's biggest strength in the way it's currently designed is that it's both extremely flexible to how people want to use it, and has really strong community-creating features. Tags don't form the same sense of community, as far as I can tell. And I realize Russian users do emphasize the broadcast features of it much more strongly than the LJ side, which is undoubtedly why he's focusing on that in his redesign considering he's coming out of that usage tradition, but…I'm having a hard time believing that the community building features are as unimportant a draw for LJ as he seems to think. He actively doesn't seem to like flocks and communities that are isolated from each other, and that doesn't give me much hope for the redesign to succeed anywhere outside markets where that is completely unimportant to how people use it. And considering most people do use services proffered, I think that's fewer than he thinks.

I'll be interested in seeing how it goes, I suppose! In pretty much the same way I poke around Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr just because I'm interested in how social systems like that work. But at this point my desire to actually use LJ is basically nill. It just doesn't sound like it's planning on turning itself into a site with any draw to me. I was there on 2003, and didn't really think I'd ever fully leave it. But I barely read my flist nowadays, don't respond to anything, and mostly have only stuck on there to play on CFUD. And now that that's moving, I'll probably continue to check my flist and crosspost for anyone staying on there and maybe one or two other things, but that was the last thing keeping it as my internet home.

It's funny, I would have thought that if I was going to have the last of my interest in using LJ killed by anything related to a major wank of theirs, my feelings would have been of profound irritation at very least. Instead, it's disinterest. I guess it's the difference between quitting because I hate what they just did and still fundamentally enjoy using the site, and quitting because it simply looks like it's turning into something that doesn't interest me, and I no longer have any reason to stay.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So! I haven't checked the date I last posted because I basically completely abandoned DW for Plurk and RP and thus fail forever. But considering I still sort of feel awkward on Plurk because the format just doesn't work well with the way my brain works and my inability not to tl;dr, I think I'll start attempting to use DW more now that CFUD's moving over here. Honestly, I was so tired of LJ's crap that it was leaving me a little disenchanted with journaling in general, especially since I figured I'd be stuck with CFUD over there forever. So we'll see how my intentions pan out! I do plan on going through my - is it circle on DW? I FORGET. The flist equivalent anyway - later on and fix my subscriptions to match my current intended use for it, so just fair warning.

Also in completely other news, man, I really like DW's new create entry page.

Edit: Dude, there is a unicorn theme on DW. I am suddenly sort of sad that I am dropping Ferdinand before CFUD's move. ...I should go do that actually.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So [personal profile] basilmemories is not very good at actually going to sleep before the screen starts getting blurry. It doesn't actually get to the point where it resembles severe drunkenness very often, though!

Last night it did. And for the record, she totally told me to put this up for posterity. )
opusculus: Intricate white fencing half-hiding a small pink girl (Half-hidden behind bars)
So I watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica yesterday! It was awesome and anyone who hasn't watched it already totally should, ideally without spoilers. It's basically the lovechild of Utena and Higurashi having a disastrous fling with Bokurano.

Two things I just realized about it. SPOILERS. Also, spoilers for Higurashi. )

Also I have a plurk! It is Ishipit.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So I was reading The Tell-Tale Brain by VS Ramachandran, and incidentally before I get distracted, it's awesome and everyone should read it. It has a fairly large section on art and theories of why it appeals to us based on what's known about the brain and instincts, and it occurred to me to apply it to fanfiction.

One of the reasons it appeals that was mentioned was amplification of the differences from a theoretical average. I think we all have heard about that? It's why caricaturists are popular, why it's fairly common for women to be drawn so stacked with such a narrow waist that a real woman's spine would snap, etc. Basically, you take the things that make what you're drawing special and unique and amplify them.

And I realized that that's what the fanfiction that really appeals to me does - it takes the story tropes that appealed to the fanfiction authors and amplifies them. As an example that's stuck in my head since I've read it, take [livejournal.com profile] harukami's Symbolism, an Utena drabble. Utena is enough of a fantasyland of symbolism and sex and sexual symbolism that it really just works for me in a way that not much fanfiction manages. My favorite sort of fanfiction almost always takes something that really appealed to me about the original series, and amplifies it.

I actually realized this in part because I was poking around for Grand Guignol Orchestra fanfic, and basically realized that I have no idea how anyone could possibly amplify it. I mean. Once canon has crossdressing nuns (one of them arguably double crossdressing) investigating powerful music that will let them slay zombie dolls and possibly destroy the world, where else do you go? I'm sure there's some people who could find a way, but I find it weirdly uninspiring when a series is so over the top that I can't imagine how you could amplify it and still be appealing. ...Come to think of it, I heard that Gurren Lagann have almost no fic for a fandom its size. I wonder if that's why?

I mean, it's not limited to fanfiction in that tons of original works pretty much do the same thing. The entire urban fantasy genre could be said to be started by people reading Anita Blake and going "Why don't I amplify the non-sex parts? I miss them." But it's fairly unusual for original work to be mostly about doing that instead of writing their own story, while a lot of fanfiction I've read and pretty much all I've written is mostly about doing that.

I don't know, what do you think?
opusculus: Black hole (Black hole)
So I read what's available in English of Kaori Yuki's new series last night. Grand Guignol Orchestra in English, Ningyou Kyuutei Gakudan if you want to read the scans. It was awesome. It had crossdressing nuns! Identical twins taking the other's place upon their death! Murderous pianos! At least one betrayal of the person someone loved most per chapter! Mad queens still loved desperately despite their madness! A zombie ex-pianist Cheshire Cat with a giant sword! Multiple people with a zombie doll fetish! Beloved corpses being treated as though they were still alive! Gorgeous men being chained half-naked to beds! Gigantic and vaguely incestual sibling complexes! Abusive parents who may or may not actually love their children and want the best for them! All these exclamation marks accurately express the entire mood of the series!

It's basically as though Kaori Yuki distilled everything beautiful about her writing into gorgeous crack.
opusculus: A small puppy that appears to be mocking you (Puppy mocks you)
You know, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that the reason I'm so sore today is because I fell down the stairs yesterday twice. Clearly I am smart.

I also realized yesterday that Beta in Bujold's books is totally the ultimate victory of NorCal over SoCal. There's just not enough plastic surgery for it to have been settled by southern Californians, and we were totally probably the first failed Alpha colony before NorCal decided to settle Beta. Congratulations, NorCal, according to Bujold you are the leading culture of the universe.

...Of course, the fact that SoCal's colony is probably all dead means that we still don't notice NorCal succeeding in anything.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
Happy Holidays!

Have a merry Christmas or a happy whatever winter holiday you celebrate or a good day if you don't celebrate or whatever. I am off to have awesome French toast.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So I realized today that the Nemesis villains in Sailor Moon R was actually a reference to the Nemesis hypothesis, which is basically that the sun has a dwarf twin with a bunch of comets around it that comes around every 26 million years to cause a major extinction because of the comet bombardment that comes with it. You have no idea how gleeful I am that the sun has an evil twin is an actual scientific hypothesis, guys.

In related news! In that way of Wikipedia where you can't stop clicking, finding that out sidetracked me onto being reminded of Asimov's When Night Falls story. Oh my god, that story drives me nuts. A civilization constantly surrounded by light faces the first night of darkness in a very long time, and it's not the darkness that drives them mad but the stars? Seriously? No one looked at that and said "It's a sign that even in the dark there must always be light!" and started a whole new religion based on that and they all just went mad instead? Because instantaneously upon seeing the stars means that you know you're not the center of the universe? Seriously, how long did Earth people stare at the stars without figuring out that they were exactly the same thing as the sun? I highly doubt that everyone seeing all those billions of stars immediately knew they were not alone in the universe. And that still doesn't explain how that immediately drove an entire civilization into burning themselves into ruins because no really I want a better reason for that than THE STARS DROVE THEM MAD.

...Yes, that has bugged me for years.
opusculus: Black hole (Default)
So I should probably like update this at some point.

I'm not dead! I'm just distracted and stressed about work right now since the current project's going to be done next week. I am sorry for everyone who's tried to chat with me in the last week and found me just kind of not there either physically or mentally! I kind of fail.

Also in other news, I have discovered this. It is a horribly addicting game, despite the fact that there's not much to do after a certain point. It's like tiny, pixelated crack, I swear. And the fact that it's basically like a history of videogames very slightly disguised (Gameboy to Playkid, Legend of Helga by Intendro winning best game of the year, etc.) means that I spend the entire time I'm playing going "I know that! What is it? I know it goddamnit." PIXELLATED CRACK, I SWEAR TO GOD. I'm currently making a sequel to ViiFit7, which sold 36,000,000 copies. Other games I've made have been Chrono, the time-traveling RPG, Simcity (up to 5), DDR (up to 6), Phoenix Wright, etc. It's weirdly satisfying to duplicate the hits of the last twenty years, although I had to give up my Final Fantasy series because I swear that series was cursed.

...So yes, that is the other reason I've been distracted the last couple days.
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