8 months

Sep. 15th, 2014 08:52 am
[personal profile] puzzlement posting in [community profile] incrementum
Originally posted to incrementum.puzzling.org. Comments welcome in either place.

My trend of not getting good photos on her month-days is continuing, they seem to always feel on daycare days (this last one was Tuesday), and it’s still fairly dark by the time I get home with the two of them.

Eight months old and uncertainLots of little things have popped up in the last month. Sitting of course. But also lots of babbling, it’s nothing but “blah blah blah blah” and “da da da da” all day long now. She doesn’t quite pincer grip I think, but she can accurately grab at quite narrow things. She is at a good age for rattles and squeaky things and can usually work out how to get them to sound.

She has been sleeping terribly for quite a while now, I think I cursed myself by writing this post. But this age is notorious for bad sleep, what with all the gross motor and fine motor and food and language skills going on, and who knows, maybe some teething. But maybe not. She’s still tooth-free so far. I really hope she rediscovers long sleeps at night again soon: four wakings is… four too many, although at least she resettles well about nine times in ten.

Hungry hungryFood is going well, she eats a lot more than V did at the same age, but almost entirely purees and rice kinds of things, since she has no teeth. She really needs at least two and often three meals a day, even though she also has something like six or eight nursing sessions. She doesn’t mouth things nearly as much as V did. She still does, but there’s never been an automatic “all things go in mouth! ALL THINGS” response, which has meant that handing her bits of solid food has been way less effective. He at least got things as far as his tongue. She is more selective. She knows how to react to an incoming spoon though.

She’s only been sitting up for a week and a bit, but already she can lean way out in search of toys, and even fold over and get her knees under her. (At which point, she starts sucking her thumb.) She can sit up in the bath for several minutes and so we no longer have to kneel with her while she bathes. We’re now giving her baths in the big tub downstairs. She can’t quite sit herself up yet but she’d really like to. She doesn’t crawl but she turns all around, rolls and reaches for things.

Sibling funShe’s become a menace in the pool; I’ve been taking her in on my hip peacefully in a ring sling for months and suddenly she’s worked out how to rotate in it like a top so that she can face outwards and stay in visual contact with her hero (and drink the pool water). Nothing in the world is funnier to her than V. Last week we heard the sound of her giggles from downstairs together with a mysterious clunk. It emerged he was jumping on our bed, and she’d never seen anything so funny.

She’s very loud. She has that resonant and exceptionally loud baby squeal of excitement that just about leaves my ears ringing and as has been her habit for many months, she screeches loudly when she’s excited too. V occasionally tries to make himself heard over the top of her, and it’s a miracle they haven’t blown out the windows.

Mama snugglesIt’s interesting, of course, to compare my notes on V at this age. This was the age when he was completely captivated by pigeons. His sister not so much, but then we have less of them here. (We have magpies, they’re bloody dangerous and she hasn’t got close enough to get interested fortunately.) He was also both crawling and pulling up to stand by eight months, on the other hand, he apparently didn’t yet lift things using both hands and had not really begun to babble regularly. A is well sorted there, perhaps she will talk earlier than he did. He also would crawl around after older children like a faithful puppy at this age, and she does not, but he didn’t have an older sibling to fixate on so he had to take what he could get.

Skiing, August 2014: day 5

Sep. 15th, 2014 08:42 am
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

Andrew had, as near as we could tell, pretty typical flu-like symptoms: fever, pain, respiratory symptoms. This makes this the third time in seven years he’s been sick like that, two times in years when he had a flu vaccine. (The first time of the three was the reason he started having flu vaccines.) So not the best of of luck. In a way, however, he felt comforted that it explained aspects of his snowboarding he’d been unhappy about earlier in the week. Had something fundamental about his body changed since 2008? No. He was getting ill.

He’d been a bit of a hero over the previous days, bringing V to his ski lessons and so on, but on the Friday we needed to pack for the trip home, so I lost five minutes of my lesson dropping off V myself. I told my instructor A I’d been planning to go up Merritts but couldn’t now that Andrew was ill, and she agreed that I could be up there at this point, it simply was too long on a chairlift for our one hour lesson for her to take me. So we did one last lesson on Friday Flat and agreed that I would do a lesson next year in which she would take me down a blue (intermediate) run, because of course she would come back and I would come back &c. (Ski lesson version of Before Sunrise, and, spoilers, the Julie Delpy character didn’t make it to their rendezous.) It does become an intense shared endeavour, rather like a theatre performance or something, and the break-up is just as sudden. I later looked her up in the top-to-bottom race that she was hoping to win the following day and didn’t find her name at all; I don’t even know her surname.

I went up to the apartment to help Andrew pack up and lug the bags out of the room; thankfully the owners were storing them for us until the evening. Andrew was determined that I would ski Merritts, and was doing basically OK, so we lugged our gear and our baby down, installed him in the lounge of the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, and I returned his sadly underused performance snowboarding gear, and set off up Merritts.

It didn’t begin promisingly. Merritts is its own little peak and there’s two ways to reach the base of it, the fast Gunbarrel chairlift from Friday Flat or the Merritts chairlift from Valley Terminal. Being at Valley Terminal, I headed for the Merritts lift, which turned out to be old and ricketty. I had to take my skis off and hold them to ride it, no mean feat when they were 155cm long, and it was so old it didn’t have a pull down bar but a flimsy chain that I had to pull across and work out how to fasten while being lifted into the air and holding my skis and poles under one arm. So I was already a bit uncertain. I enjoyed the terrible terrain below me with all kinds of things poking out of the uneven snow, and wondered if it was indeed a ski run. (Yes, it’s the advanced run The Schuss, and I didn’t see a single soul on it on either the way up or the way down.)

Merritts itself has a fast chairlift The Cruiser running up it. I was accustomed to the ludicrous hot and lengthy queues at Friday Flat and The Cruiser didn’t have them, so I was zooming on it before I had a chance to get oriented. It was fast enough I was very worried about getting off, but of course it slowed for dismount, if only at the last possible second. I didn’t fall there. And then there was only one way down; on skis.

This turned out to be really tough for me. Merritts’ beginners runs are at the other end of beginners difficulty from Friday Flat, so they were like the toughest bit of Friday Flat only for about a solid kilometre of unrelenting slope rather than ten metres. (Tough is relative of course, but even so.) I talked myself down the first bit but then chose — it turns out — the slightly harder Squatters Run for the first half rather than Walkabout and arrived at the top of a bit that was steep enough I couldn’t see over it and despaired. I ended up removing my skis, prompting a children’s instructor to come over and point out the escape hatch traverse back to the Gunbarrel Express to me before zooming off with her teeny intermediate skiers, trudging over to and down the steep part (which was only a few metres high, and probably serves as a brief test of intermediate sloped terrain for borderline intermediate skiers) and fixing my skis on.

But of course by then my confidence was pretty shot. I could at least now see clear down Walkabout and knew what I was in for. I prepared myself to just get down it, no need to fret about parallel turns but to stick to A’s Italian-style snowplow turns and take it at my own speed and so on. But I fell twice on two consecutive turns, and the slope was steep enough that the experience was reminiscent of New Zealand all those years ago. Stand up. Try to get in skis. Fail. Knock snow out of my boots. And around. I probably spent ten minutes or more on each of those two turns, all the while crying and heating up. (Thredbo is a pretty hot resort, at around freezing or a bit above.) And I had several hundred metres to go. Eventually I convinced myself to go even more slowly and carefully and just get down and have done it, and I did: several more hundred metres without falling.

I feel just fine about this now and it’s easy to explain what went wrong. It’s just hard to do a new run at the edge of your ability without an instructor or better partner to prepare you for the tricky bits, identify what technique your fear is causing you to forget, to help you knock your boots clear of snow and pull you up from falls. If I’d had time and energy for even one more run I probably would have been slightly better. If Andrew (who is a better snowboarder than I am skier by dint of about two weeks practice if nothing else) had been there, he could have done a run ahead of me and told me which bits to brace for and hung out with me if I’d taken my skis off and had a sulk at the side. If I’d gone up for two consecutive days I’m sure I’d be going down both Walkabout and Squatters Run and enjoying it and beginning to contemplate the intermediate runs. But I didn’t have two days, I had about 90 minutes, and so that was my one run up there.

I was intending to go back to Andrew and work through that line of thought and feel better that way. On my trip back down the slow and creaky Merritts chair I realised that it had a halfway station labelled “Friday Flat” and I could get off there and return to a slope I knew for a final run. So I did that. Unfortunately, that meant entering at the intersection of Sundowner, which is a beginners run, and High Noon, which decidedly isn’t, and having High Noon’s exiting riders fly around and past me, some of them falling themselves. So even though it was fairly flat and well within my ability (I should try Sundowners next time), I fell again and had to have another little chat with myself again about focussing on basics and ignoring parallel turns and taking it at my own speed and etc. I did then make it to the Friday Flats lift for one last run down that, which I tried to enjoy but wasn’t in the right mood for. So I had to have forced pride that I’d picked myself up and tried and tried, even if I wasn’t feeling it.

I feel good about it looking back though.

And then it was time to head back to Andrew, check in, and begin the flurry of things needed to get us home. I returned my skis, and headed over to V’s class to pick him up and return his skis, and smile through V’s own reports of the joys of Merritts where he’d also been that day. (“I went up the mountain on the fast chairlift Mama. And I wasn’t scared.” Thank goodness I didn’t run into his group.) Andrew went up to the apartment to help the owners drive our bags down.

We’d figured the bus back would be easier, because V would be exhausted, and it went into the night, meaning both children would be asleep. This was true as far as it went, but no doubt it was not any fun for Andrew to sit up for seven hours trying not to melt from the inside out. Everything about ski holidays is utterly fixed and unchangeable, including our accommodation and bus tickets, or I might have been tempted to stay another day.

We had a very complicated plan once we got back to Sydney centered around the problem that taxis will not take A without an infant carseat, and that taxis with infant carseats are like hen’s teeth. One of us was going to taxi back to our house, pick up a car share car, fit our carseats for both children to it, drive back to the unlucky parent waiting with two exhausted children in the midnight chill, and drive us all home, at which point we’d put the kids in bed, remove the carseats, return the car and fall into bed. We’d completely forgotten that we were arriving home on a Friday night, and that commuter buses were still running at midnight. So instead we merely hauled our bewildered four year old, who has almost never been out of the house after 8pm, onto a bus, home, and into bed.

The aftermath was substantial for Andrew. He recovered in bed all weekend and into the following week, returning to work only on the Thursday. He still however kindly reflected that he was glad that he’d had a bad week at the snow rather than me, as otherwise we would have viewed the enterprise as thoroughly cursed. Which is fair. But hopefully some year soon I can report that we went to the snow and enjoyed a run in each other’s company and a hot chocolate to wrap up.

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  • [warning for discussion of sexual harassment] After the Shermer Article: What Do You Decide? | Stephanie Zvan at FreeThoughtBlogs (Sept 11): “This news story contains accounts of three women, named and well-known in skeptic and atheist circles, who say that Michael Shermer engaged in sexual behavior aimed at them without their consent. How many incidents of that sort are you willing to put your reputation behind? That’s what you do when you continue to employ Shermer, entwine your name and reputation with his. If now is not the point when you feel having that name and behavior associated with yours is bad for you, when does that happen?”
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Sunday Sweets: Flowery Praise

Sep. 14th, 2014 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Today? No sculpting. Just beautiful cakes-that-look-like cakes, plus gorgeous sugar flowers.

LET'S DO THIS.

(By Cakes by Mifa)

Those soft ombré ruffles are like a dream vacation for my eyes. Ahhhh. And isn't it amazing how that one sugar branch makes the whole cake?

 

I love how the lilies pop on this monochromatic number:

(By Dream Cake Factory)

Like a line drawing come to life!

 

I've seen wedding cakes modeled after the bride's gown, but here's a first for me: one that matches the Flower Girl!

(By HapiCakes, now renamed Hazel Wong Cake Design)

Ah! So perfect!

 

The baker calls this next one "coffee and cream":

(By Marlene of CakeHeaven)

Fantastic brush embroidery on the flowers, and those soft ruffles & flower sprays are putting the "chic" in "shabby chic."

 

Or, for a more modern look:

(By Ames Cake Creations)

If this were an art exhibit I'd call it, "Flower, Deconstructed." So cool!

 

And if you really want to amp up the drama:

(By White Rose Bakery [now closed], via The Perfect Palette)

It doesn't get more timeless than this! Wowza.

 

Most sugar flowers are technically edible, but of course you wouldn't really WANT to eat them.
Buttercream flowers, on the other hand?

(By Arty Cakes)

Delicious *and* delightful.

 

Here's another cool design: the bottom tier looks like one giant flower:

(By But A Dream Custom Cakes)

Or maybe more like four giant flowers, put together. Whichever, I LIKE.

 

And these bright colors & little corkscrew vines = instant summertime fun.

(Google can't find this one at all, so I think it must be from Facebook. Anyone recognize it?)

Looking at this, I almost don't mind that it's still 93 degrees outside. Almost.

 

And this cool blue beauty has a retro flair to it that I'm really digging:

(Photo by Captured Moments Photography, but there are so many I can't tell which one, and baker unknown. Anyone recognize it?)

Really love the modern shapes to the tiers, though, which complement each other beautifully.

 

And finally, a pastel rainbow so stunning I had to look three times to make sure they weren't real flowers:

(By Sylvia Weinstock Cakes)

Mmmmm. Rainbowy flower goodness. And the quilting! And gold leaf stripes! Definitely my happy place for the day.

Hope you guys found some happy here, too! Happy Sunday!

Be sure to check out our Sunday Sweets Directory to see which bakers in your area have been featured here on Sweets!

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Rainbow Rocks Probably Maby

Sep. 14th, 2014 08:47 am
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
rainbow_rocks_probably_maby_by_electrixocket
Source: http://electrixocket.deviantart.com/art/Rainbow-Rocks-Probably-Maby-482019794

Equestria girls got it right. It's great to hang out with your friends. Welcome to Sunday.

This Week

Sep. 14th, 2014 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] accidentallyincode_feed

Posted by Cate

Click to view slideshow.

Life

Lots of interesting meetings, NativeSummit (which was cool), Women in Tech meetup at Facebook, and a meetup for the Nesta Hack my friend and I are taking part in next weekend.

Starting to prep talks for next year, which is fun. Confirming two more conferences to speak at soon! And playing with AutoLayout.

Media

Watching Drop Dead Diva (wow I love that show), and I’m all caught up with the Kardashians. Still reading The Profitable Side Project for non-fiction. Novels, read Friends Like Us, and reading Going Dutch.

Places

Dinner at Addie’s Thai (amazing as always), Giant Robot (terrible), Bamboo Box (cheap and fast sushi), Wahaca (tasty), desert at Workshop Coffee and J+A, breakfast at Pret a Manager (surprisingly delicious), lunch at KIN Street Food (wonderful) and Dragon Palace (BBQ pork buns).

Published

On The Internet

Skiing, August 2014: mid-week

Sep. 14th, 2014 09:04 am
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

As I expected, I woke up on my second day of skiing, Tuesday, very sore and stiff. As I expected, V did not. We grumpily trudged through our morning.

There was an annoying timing issue at this point: my expensive and timed down to the minute private lessons were to begin at 8:30 on Tuesday through Friday (because 8:30am lessons are significantly cheaper), and that was the earliest possible drop-off time for V at his ski school. I didn’t want to waste ten minutes of my lesson on his drop off. So Andrew gathered up himself and the baby solely in order to do V’s drop off and then go back up the mountain to chill out with her.

Because I’d switched lesson times after Monday, B was not my instructor for the remainder of the week. My instructor was A, a young Italian ski racer and instructor. A and I didn’t start off great with her evicing some skepticism that I was ready for the Giddy Up run, if I’d fallen up there. Her students, she reported, do not fall. She took me up there, I presumably embarrassingly fell off the end of the chair lift and she very cautiously took me down the steeper bit of Giddy Up with a critical eye.

We did better from there, because she agreed that I was the right level for that run. She then wanted me to tell her how I’d learned to turn, and discovered that her suspicions were right: I’d been taught the “Australian way”.

A brief digression into skiing technique: as a beginner skier, I skied with the front tips of my skis close together and the back ends far apart, called a snow plow, or a “triangle” at the kids’ school. This let me go very slowly, because it’s easy to turn both skis inwards and brake by dragging the inner edges of them both along the snow. The “Australian style” of turning (which I also learned in New Zealand in 1998, and which is also shown in the beginner ski school videos I’d watched, is that I turned by pressing the inner edge of ski which was to be the outside of the turn (my left ski when turning right and vice versa) harder into the snow than the other ski.

The “Italian style” turn that A preferred involved shifting weight throughout my body instead. Specifically, she wanted me to do nothing consciously with my feet, but instead always ski with my shoulder dropped down the mountain and my hips tilted up the mountain, with my upper body driving my weight into the lower ski. (Later in the week, she had me actually stepping my uphill ski up off the snow a lot, to prove I wasn’t bearing excess weight on it.) To turn, I was to slide my hips over the downhill ski and my shoulder over the uphill ski, which caused me to turn and restore the original weight distribution only I’d be pointing in the other direction.

“OK,” I thought. “But I really hope I’m not switching instructors every day this week.” Sometimes it’s best to learn one technique well than several poorly, even if it’s not the single best one. (Oddly, learning to breastfeed has this problem: every lactation consultant seems to have their own slightly incompatible technique.)

However, since A was assigned to me for the remaining four days, and the technique worked well, this worked out. Specifically, it resulted in quite fast and very controlled turns, which is great because the slower the turn, the more chance I had to point straight downhill and lose control of my speed and fall over. At the end of the week, A triumphed that I hadn’t fallen in her lesson and suggested we might be at Merritts (the advanced beginners area and early intermediate area, higher up the mountain) at the end of the week.

A had a rare and excellent quality in a physical teacher, which was that for every mistake I was to make throughout the week, she had a diagnosis. To be fair, it was almost always “lean further forward” or “your weight is on the wrong ski again” (especially, for some reason, when my right ski was the downhill one) but even so. Many a person has tried to teach me physical skills but has not brought relentless and flawless debugging skills to the party.

She was, I think, in her early twenties, her first time in Australia, and seemed to be naively charmed by all the lifties greeting her in terrible Italian. There are very many Italian instructors in Thredbo this year! Everyone is being kind and trying to learn Italian and speak it with us! If she had any inkling that there might be any special effort being made to speak Italian with smiley small young blonde winners of the women’s section of the instructors’ race, she didn’t hint at it.

But she probably knew it. The incredibly slow chairlifts meant we had a lot of chances to talk during the week, partly about travel and partly about the many, many things she disapproved of on the snow. For example, people who don’t wear helmets (one time she split a helmet in half in a racing crash), people who ski with babies strapped to them, and, especially, snowboarders. On the first day with her, she side-eyed the snowboarders joining us on our lift chair and asked them pointedly if they knew how to get off the chairlift. I pointed out that I didn’t know how to get off the chairlift and she ignored me while continuing to glare daggers at the snowboarders. (Sure enough I fell and they didn’t. She said nothing.) On the second day, I had my first fall in her class when I heard an “uuuuuh-oh” from behind and a snowboarder knocked my skis out from under me (I was fine, I fell up the hill on my side and slightly bruised my hip) and it’s possible she killed him with her brain. On the last day, I think one of her final piece of advice to me was “steer clear of them.”

I was still confined to Friday Flat, the beginners area, mid-week, on Wednesday progressing to the slightly steeper main area. But after my first day with A, it was my first ever time on the snow that I would happily just circle around. Ski down. Ride lift up. Ski down. Ride lift up. And of course, this kind of practice is necessary to progress, so I was extra thrilled that it wasn’t ski down, nurse injuries, cry, ride back up.

I also solved the chairlift issue after my Tuesday lesson on my own. The trick with dismounting chairlifts is that you need to get your weight above your skis, because that’s the general trick to not falling over when skiing. However, I’m very tall, and while I’m fairly strong in an absolute sense for an untrained woman, I’m not strong for my height or weight. Together, this means that getting my weight above my feet takes me appreciably longer than it takes most people and during this time, I figured I was falling over, especially since the ground beneath chairlifts at the dismount point is close enough to the seat to allow three year olds to get off comfortably.

So, I simply waited half a second longer than most people. Chairlifts all have a short slope leading down from the dismount point, and I would wait until the chair was a little way over the slope, and get off then, meaning I was basically dropping down into a standing position rather than forcing myself upright into one. This was a touch tricky; once I waited long enough that I actually had to jump down very slightly. But it worked and I didn’t once fall again, nor did I ever fail to actually get off and have to go round embarrassingly. (Presumably with increased skiing ability and faith in my skiing ability, I would be able to get off at the normal disembark point too, but I never tested again.)

So on early Tuesday afternoon, I headed up to Andrew comfortably smug at my ability to stand up and slide around on skis. He said he was feeling a bit tired, and we planned out that he would “only” do the Village Trail, Thredbo’s easy but long run at 5km. He didn’t start quite at the top but took the slower Snowgums chairlift most of the way up it (spying a wombat on the way) and came down. He was feeling a bit ill from something he’d eaten and figured it wasn’t the day for a lesson and a short outing was fine. We gathered up V, fed him a donut, and came back for the evening.

On the Wednesday, Andrew was becoming feverish and decided to take the day off. In a selfish way, this was good as I was able to double my practice time, but I was sad for him. He saved energy to do one beginners run with V, who at this point had turned into a child-shaped snow-bullet and left Andrew fallen in the snow half way down Friday Flat. Andrew was worried that he’d inexplicably become a bad snowboarder but (spoilers!) he was in the early stages of getting quite ill.

It was on Wednesday, I think, that A decided that I should start turning parallel rather than in a snowplow, and instructed me to drag up uphill heel with a turn so that the skis turned together. This caused, I’m pretty sure, my first self-inflicted fall under her instruction. No more mention of parallel turns was made for a little while.

Shortly after that, I felt that I was doing a particularly dodgy turn, hurriedly managing to shove my legs back under me before I fell over. A observed this and I waited to be told how to avoid it ever happening again. “Yessssss,” she crowed. “That turn, that turn parallel.” I had been wondering how on earth skis turned parallel, it seemed like it would involve impossible stresses on my knees and ankles to pull two skis around together while both bore my weight. But no. The mechanism is, essentially, to have so much weight on the downhill-side ski (or when turning, the ski that is about to be downhill-side) that the uphill ski can just be yanked around smoothly; thus, the exercise later in the week of stomping my uphill ski in the snow to check how little weight it was bearing. So that was pleasing, considering that A described it as something that was very hard to predict, taking some skiers a few days and some years.

Thursday was another fine day of skiing and gradual improvements as I linked parallel turns on the flatter part of Friday Flat (which is, in its entirety, very flat by the standards of skiing) and another day of Andrew ceding all his snow time to me. Perhaps, I said on Wednesday, this fever just needs a day to blow itself out, but it wasn’t true. On Thursday morning I was planning that I would try Merritts on Friday. By Thursday evening, Andrew was on a continuous loop of paracetamol and ibuprofen to manage the fever and pain, and we were very worried about packing and getting everything down the mountain. I said, very sadly, that probably on the Friday I should just do my lesson, have a celebratory run down the slope to acknowledge how far I’d come, and call it a week, rather than leave him alone for the day to handle packing and look after A while barely able to walk.

Thursday I also had the frustrating experience of my rental skis disappearing during my after-lesson meal, so I trudged sadly around the rental places sorting it out and believing I’d be out a few hundred dollars in loss fees. I ran into my first day instructor, B, during this, and she enquired how I was doing and we had a nice chat in the midst of my frustration, and in the end the rental place told me that they usually recover the skis and, honestly, probably wouldn’t bill me if they didn’t. But it was annoying all the same, not least for costing me an hour of skiing while I sorted out replacements.

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Posted by Leigh Honeywell

There’s a great piece of Old Internet Culture called Charles’ Rules of Argument. I’ve found it to be extremely useful in how I discuss difficult issues online, in particular in deciding how to pick my battles, what I’m trying to get out of an argument, and how to fight burnout and manage my energy.

You can read the original version if you’re interested in a good yarn, but there’s a wonderful precis of it in the Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop, which I’ve been teaching a lot over the past few months. Here it is, with my notes in brackets:

  • Don’t go looking for an argument [there will always be enough of those headed your way]
  • State your position once, speaking to the audience [it's hard to convince people to change their minds, but you can often sway observers who are less invested in Being Correct]
  • Reply one more time to correct any misunderstandings of your first statement [Do this after waiting a bit for replies to roll in]
  • Do not reply again [IMPORTANT]
  • Spend time doing something fun instead [Self care! It's a thing! You should do! Eat some ice cream, watch trashy TV, hug a friend.]

I find that I often underestimate the toll that Arguing On The Internet takes on my energy levels. It seems amusing at first and then I look up and it’s two hours later and I’m exhausted. Charles’ Rules are incredibly helpful as a tool to keep you mindful of the impact on your life that online debate can have.

If you liked this post, please consider supporting the Ada Initiative’s work during our annual fundraising drive.


[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by Leigh Honeywell

A quick last minute note: The Baffler’s “Feminism for What? Equality in the Workplace after Lean In” conference is being livestreamed today, and being livetweeted on #bafflerfemconf. A bit about the event:

For over a year Sheryl Sandberg’s blockbuster of feminist self-help, Lean In, has been setting the agenda for leading-edge discussions about women, men, and work—and with Lean In for Graduates appearing this year, this gospel of empowerment doesn’t seem finished with us yet.

For more awesome social criticism with feminist flair, follow the Baffler on Twitter at @bafflermag.

Tampa Fanboy Expo!

Sep. 13th, 2014 02:17 am
[syndicated profile] epbot_feed

Posted by Jen

John and I took a day trip today (er, Friday) over to Tampa for a little local con called Fanboy Expo. It's one of those small cons that remind me why I love small cons. No crowds! Small panels! Friendly people! Amazing "junk" bins full of cheap toys & collectibles!

So if you're here in central Florida, try to get out there today or tomorrow. Jewel Staite is there, PLUS... James Hance. You know, the artist behind Wookiee the Chew? And this is his first convention EVER, and he brought SO MUCH STUFF, and it is all SO CHEAP.

 My very own original James Hance! Of Sir Didymus & Ambrosius from Labyrinth! Ah! [faints]

So I spent the afternoon being THAT fangirl. You know, the one who kept coming back? And buying more stuff? And finding new people to bring over, and then upselling THEM on his stuff? Yeah. Awk. Ward.

Hance was crazy sweet about it, though, even trying to give me some free stuff for the give-away board here. (But I still paid.) And he was wearing a black Ghostbusters jumpsuit with HANCE embroidered on it, so... yeah. THE COOLEST.

The rest of the shopping at Fanboy is fantastic, too. John and I spent more money in 6 hours there than we did in 4 DAYS at Dragon Con. And it wasn't all to James Hance, I promise.


For example, John got this adorable killer bunny - which I've already displayed next to his "it's just a flesh wound!" Black Knight mini-painting by Katie Cook, because how perfect are they together?? -  from The Monster Cafe. The monsters are handmade by two sisters, who also make GIANT fluffy versions over two feet tall, and I want them all.

(Pictures of John's newly renovated Man Cave will be coming soon, btw. I have a hunch you guys will approve.)

And finally, I have to show you our favorite convention souvenir, which seriously made me a little teary.

What started as a joke with our friend Charlie - "wouldn't it be funny to start an artists' version of Telephone? Where everyone sketches for five minutes before passing it on?" - turned into a real thing, as Charlie immediately started drawing. Then he passed it on to Danny. Who passed it on to Nathan. Who passed it on to Bianca.

Bianca brought it back to us, at which point there was much squealing, and then John & I took over, quickly enlisting more artists to fill in the remaining spaces. 

Aaaannnnd... here it is:



Now I want to do this at every con. (What have you done, Charlie?!)

A million thanks to all our artist friends - some of whom we just met today! - for doing this. If any of you go to Fanboy today or tomorrow, give 'em all a smooch for me... but say it's from John. ;)

And here's a list of everyone who contributed:

Epbot - Charles Thurston
Claptrap - Danny Haas
Wall-E & Eve - Nathan Szerdy
Iron Giant - John Pinto
R2 - James Hance
Batteries Not Included - Bianca Roman-Stumpff
K-9 - Kate Carlton
Portal Turret - Josh Dykstra
Dalek - Victoria Gedvillas
V.I.N.CENT & B.O.B. - Andrew "Drone" Cosson


Ok, nerdy weekend projects are calling my name! Happy Saturday, everyone!
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • Why gender disaster data matters: ‘In some villages, all the dead were women’ | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian: “When we do look at the data, the gender dimension is clear. For example, when it comes to deaths in disasters, women tend to be affected significantly more than men. A household survey carried out by Oxfam in Aceh, Indonesia, following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami found that in the most affected areas, up to four women died for every male. “
  • Ursula K. Le Guin wins honorary National Book Award | Star Tribune: “‘Well, it’s taken the literary/critical/academic establishment 60 or 70 years to learn to respect good science fiction and fantasy,’ [LeGuin] told The Associated Press, ‘but hey, you’ve come a long way, baby!'”
  • Meet Black Girls Code, The 2014 TechCrunch Include Grant Recipient | TechCrunch: “As the Include recipient, Black Girls Code will receive tickets and exhibiting space at upcoming events. TechCrunch will also provide coverage of the nonprofit as it grows and serves our community.”
  • Scientist Says Men and Women’s Brains Aren’t Hardwired Differently | XOJane: “’There is quite a lot of thoughtless science being done and quite a lot of overenthusiastic presenting,’ [Rippon] told the Daily Mail. ‘If you just look at gender differences — and not their experiences in life — then yes you might find differences … People who could study these subjects or do these jobs are choosing not to…This must not be explained away by misguided and misleading explanations in terms of unchangeable biological characteristics, or references to ‘the natural order of things.’'”
  • Reddit is a failed state | The Verge: [CW: discusses harassment, victim-blaming] “Reddit wants to be a techno-libertarian’s wet dream, but in practice it’s a weak feudal system that’s actually run by a small group of angry warlords who use ‘free speech’ as a weapon. Reddit is mostly a nice place filled with nice people who run nice little communities, but there’s virtually nothing keeping them safe from bullies like ‘John,’ a 33-year-old man who brazenly dispersed stolen private photos and then cried foul when The Washington Post published information about him. Reddit’s government is more interested in protecting John than the women he harassed.”
  • Tinder Settles Sexual-Harassment Suit With Co-Founder: “Dating-app startup Tinder and its parent company, IAC, have quickly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of their co-founders.”
  • Take Back the Fedora — The Archipelago — Medium: “I want to take the fedora back,  because it’s fun to tell MRAs that they can’t have something. They get so mad. But I don’t just want to take it back—I want to earn it.”
  • Penny Red | Why We’re Winning: Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War: “Games and pickup artistry gave a formal structure to that mindset for this generation, but it’s older than that. The gamification of misogyny predates the internet, but right now, in this world full of angry, broken, lost young men convinced that women have robbed them of some fundamental win in life, it’s rampant.”
  • An update on ‘Humanity or GTFO’: [CW: IRC harassment] ‘ “guys” is not abusive; “boobs or gtfo”, however, is. “please remember that not everyone in the IRC channel is a guy” is not an “attack”; “fuck lindsey”, however, is.’
  • CERIAS : What is wrong with all of you? Reflections on nude pictures, victim shaming, and cyber security: [CW: Discussion of violations of sexual consent and privacy; victim-blaming in comments following the piece] “If we give users lousy technology and tell them it is safe, they use it according to directions, and they do not understand its limitations, they should not be blamed for the consequences. That is true of any technology. The fault lies with the providers and those who provide vague assurances about it. Too bad we let those providers get away with legally disclaiming all responsibility.”
  • We need to talk about the sexual abuse of scientists: [CW: sexual assault, abuse] “A common theme in many cases of sexual assault is that the abusers are known to the people, and are usually in positions of power or trust. Yet a culture of silence allows the abuse to continue with the abusers unchallenged… Scientists rely heavily on their supervisors for recommendations and career advancement. Our peers also become an important part of our professional network for grant reviewing and research collaborations.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z1pyOVxJOM

Lauren Faust recounts her life's journey in the realm of animation in a delightful eight minute monologue. The editing style of cutting every two seconds gets tedious, but there are many treats to see and hear in this interview.

Pipe Dreams

Sep. 12th, 2014 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by john (the hubby of Jen)

"Okay, Tiger, you can do this. It's just an engagement cake, nothing to be afraid of.

"Here goes..."

"Steady... steeeeady..."

"Perfect!

 

"Now to finish up the delicate vine-work on this wedding cake."

[grunting]

 

"This next one calls for 'Cornelli Lace'. Huh."

 

"NAILED IT."

 

And for my piece de resistance, a magical Cinderella coach for the bride and groom's table!!

 

WITNESS THE MAJESTY OF MY CREATION!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!

HAHA!

Heh. Aheh.

I should probably go back to the deli now.

 

Thanks to Jenna P., Jade C., Catherine C., and Vanessa S. for letting me play with clipart again.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Book: Gravitas

Sep. 12th, 2014 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] accidentallyincode_feed

Posted by Cate

gravitasI read Gravitas (Amazon) really slowly, and part of the reason for that was that I wanted to take the time and process each chapter. The “gravitas” eqation of

Knowledge + purpose + passion (- anxiety) = Gravitas

 is what I think of as “poise”, and as I’ve mentioned before is my goal as a speaker.

There were a couple of tips I found particularly helpful. The first, on being present. FOFBOC, or feet on floor, bum on chair. It’s about being where you are, getting out of your head and back into you body and being where you are. With your feet on the floor, and your bum on the chair.

The other answered a question I had been asking myself. I was wondering why I wasn’t as charismatic in certain situations as I am in other areas of my life. Why is it in some areas people open up to me and tell me things, and in others… the opposite? I wondered if I less able to project warmth in those situations.

So the second thing that I found helpful was the section on gremlins. One of which is the gremlin of feeling threatened, or got at. And I realised, that my charisma was sapped, yes because I feel less warm, but really, because I feel braced for threat.

All in all, I recommend it. I think women need help walking that fine line between being a bitch, and being a pushover. This book, I think, helps us walk it.

Moonlight

Sep. 11th, 2014 02:09 pm
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
moonlight_small_by_crowik
Source: http://crowik.deviantart.com/art/Moonlight-468791584

Giant beats my heart will make
Talking to the moon
I sometimes struggle to stay awake
Talking to the moon
She shines on me for hours
Talking to the moon
We could walk together
Talking to, talking to the moon.

Thinking back to my friends
Talking to the moon
Thinking of my best friends
Talking to the moon
Best friends are the family you make
Talking to the moon
These friendship bonds will never break
Talking to, talking to the moon

Some, may say, wasting my nights away
Oy vey, with children’s toys I play
Lonely, go out and seize the day
No way. Gotta be gay.

Giant beats my heart will make
Talking to the moon
I sometimes struggle to stay awake
Talking to the moon
She shines on me for hours
Talking to the moon
We could walk together
Talking to, talking to the moon.

Some, may say, wasting my nights away
Oy vey, with children’s toys I play
Lonely, go out and seize the day
No way. Gotta be gay.

Moon is up.
Moon is up.
Moon is up.
Moon is up.

Moon is up.
Moon is up.
Moon is up.
Moon is up.
[syndicated profile] epbot_feed

Posted by Jen

Time to dive in with another batch of Dragon Con cosplay goodness! I'm trying to be more selective with what I post here on the blog, just because I have SO MANY LEFT, but rest assured everything will be up on my Flickr account later. The pics here are just the ones I most want to talk about.

Kicking off with one of my favorite shots:


She was standing in front of wall sconce right at eye-level, so I asked her to tilt her head sideways into the light. Look how perfect her makeup & forehead prosthetic is! 

(Because, as we all know, everybody wants prosthetic FORE-heads on their re-al heads!)

Ahem. 

And behold the rest of her costume:


Had to HDR it up a bit to bring out the detail. STUNNING.

And another stunner:

Dragon Con is such a sea of talent, it's almost dizzying. She looks like she just stepped off the set of Face Off!

 I was *this close* to running off with this Astrid's adorable handmade dragon:



And speaking of handmade dragons... you are going to love DC's children's costume contest winner!

Coming through the door - look how high the tail is!
 And from the side:

So her legs are the dragon's legs, of course (oops - did I ruin the magic? :)), and she really had to throw her weight from side-to-side to walk. It must have been so heavy!

Here she is in motion:

 I wish I had better pics for you, but with a costume this big, and in crowds this massive, well... excuses, excuses, I know. ;)


It's always fun seeing look-a-likes cosplay, and this guy is a great Cary Elwes doppelganger:

 
Even better, the next day he cosplayed as the Dread Pirate Roberts! YES.

Ghost Rider & Max Headroom:

 I like this idea of carrying around your own photo backdrop!


So there was a big group of Peter Pan / Hook cosplayers, and right in the middle they had a big poster of Robin Williams...
 

... and maybe for a second my viewfinder got a little blurry. WHAT. [sniffle]

Then a photographer next to me asked them all to make funny faces:
 
 Hee.

And here's that Lady Hook on her own:
 
Gorgeous. See the ship on her hat? And I love the teddy bear.

Speaking of groups, this Fifth Element gang is here every year, and I love them.

Hard to choose, but I think the neighbor guy is still my favorite:

 Remember? If not, go and watch Fifth Element again immediately.

And one more, since the baddie alien is blocked in that shot:

 You can see Zorg's gun behind him on the ground, and the professor is holding one of the element stones. So, so good.


Remember that Vintage Vogue Fashion Show I mentioned in my last post? Here's another one of the dresses from it:

 Some of the ladies decided to stay in costume all day, so I spotted them out and about later.


And remember I said there'd be more Groots?

 TINY SHOULDER GROOT! Woot!

This year John brought his own camera, so I have an interesting mix of shots I don't remember taking... because I didn't take them. :) Anyway, I like this one for giving a sense of the overall DC environment:

 In other words: crowded. I like crowd shots with just one person in focus, though.

Which reminds me, a couple of readers I spoke with this year mentioned having anxiety for the first time ever, just because of the crowds. It's hard to communicate just how suffocating the Marriott lobby can be in the evenings, so if you struggle with crowd panic, I advise staying away from the Marriott entirely after, say, 5 or 6 pm. (And the later it is, the more crowded it gets. We've stayed past midnight several times, and the crowds then were the worst of all.)

Ok. Onward.

You see a lot of Poison Ivys at cons, but I've never seen one carry a prop this cool!

 Even the flower buds have teeth! Haha!

Terrible picture, but I loved this mashup:

 

 At first I thought it was Sailor Moon & Rainbow Brite put together, but I must be wrong on the Rainbow Brite part. Help?
[Ok, looks like it's Retro Scouts by Hyamei. Thanks, guys!]

Awesome glowy eyes:


A beautiful dragon mask:



And this lady is doing a PERFECT "Jen's Mom" cosplay:


"Fabulous, Mom, I love the feathers."

(And hey, there's a blurry "Jen's Dad" in the background! Sweet!)

My mom had a different steampunky outfit - and hat! - every day for four days. It was awesome.


This Claptrap from Borderlands was SO FUN:

The guy operating him could even make him wave!
So, you know, now John and I want to make our own Claptrap. Of course.


Just Dragon Con, folks. Nothing to see here...

Any of you watching the new Ninja Turtles cartoon? I've only seen maybe a dozen episodes, but I really love the re-boot. (The series, of course, not the movie. And I was a fan of the original one, too.) 

Plus John and I enjoy impromptu dance sessions to the new theme song, so please enjoy THAT mental image.

Anyway, here's Metalhead from the show:

So basically a robot Turtle.

And here he is... IN REAL LIFE:

 BOOYAKASHA!


So... this was terrifying:

I don't watch scary movies or play scary games, so... help?
[Aha! Gender-bent Dracula from the1992 movie. Thanks, guys!]


And now a few especially bad photos of really awesome costumes:


The girls from Bob's Burgers! Here's a reference if you don't know the show:

Best of all, Linda is wearing her "spice rack," which she invented on the show. John and I immediately went - in Linda's voice, of course - "spice raaaack! Aha! ha!" And my poor parents were SO confused.

And a super blurry shot of a gorgeous Hell Girl:


The Lutece twins from BioShock Infinite:


And a reference:


Yep, she had the coin on the platter, too, so you could flip it!

(You guys seemed to really like my including reference shots, btw, so I'll try to do that more.)

How do you cosplay the famous flat of the world's most famous detective? Like this:

Awesome. Check out the little skull on her headband!


And finally, you guys may want to step back, 'cuz I'm about to fling some crazy fangirling all OVER this place:

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

Here, let's try the front view:

 

My fellow fans are no doubt joining me in my shriekfest, because THIS, my friends, is the trash lady from Labyrinth:


AMAZEBALLS. The second I saw her I went running to grab her pic before she made it into that room there. I felt kinda bad for holding her up like that, even for just two seconds... but I had to have this photo, you guys. HAD TO. 

And on that victorious high note, I shall leave you. 

Hope you guys are liking the DC run-down! Because we still have a LOT more to go. Wheeee! [collapses from photo-editing exhaustion]

Well, This Is Awkward...

Sep. 11th, 2014 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

 

I think it's safe to say these parents just won the brass nipple ring of Awkward First Birthday Cakes:

 

Try not to imagine the scrapbook photos of little McKenzie and her smash cake.

 

JUST TRY.

 

Hey Catherine M., got milk?


[Note: If you're not at work & prefer the uncenored version, just click the picture.]

[Note about the censoring from john:  Hey, guys. If we show something that looks at all realistic on Facebook, we are very likely to be threatened with a ban. They did it before over a turkey cake. As for the site, people check from work all the time. Something that looks even remotely pornographic on our homepage and either Cake Wrecks gets blocked or worse, the employee gets in trouble. It's a balancing act and frankly, it's stupid to have to censor a boob. Sadly, this is the internet we live on.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Adorable sleeping boos

Sep. 11th, 2014 08:17 am
[personal profile] puzzlement posting in [community profile] incrementum
Originally posted to incrementum.puzzling.org. Comments welcome in either place.

My mother was visiting Stevie, and I left A with them for half an hour while I picked V up from childcare. My mother arranged a nap space for her:

Adorable sleeping boos

Skiing, August 2014: Day 1

Sep. 11th, 2014 04:57 pm
puzzlement: (jelly)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Originally posted at http://puzzling.org.

When I left you last, we’d just stumbled off a bus and onto a minibus overloaded with children and luggage and ski gear and hauled it all up a steep driveway and two flights of stairs on an icy day and fallen into bed in bad moods.

One useful thing I did before falling into bed was watching through some of the earlier ski school lessons on Youtube. Video cheat sheets; new since I was last skiing. So after the second slighter hell which was helping V get down the stairs and the driveway in the morning, while carrying his and my gear, with neither of us very steady in ski boots and both of us tired and grumpy, I dropped him off at his all day ski lesson and then worked through the very first steps of the ski lesson from the videos on my own, namely putting my skis on and off, pushing myself along on the flat, and doing the teeniest of snow plow stops, all in the area which is notionally a milling around stop for people who’ve just shown up.

As with snowboarding, I’d decided to go all-in with skiing and have a private lesson every day, beginning with two hours on the first day. I duly met my first instructor, B, at 9:30 and explained my skiing background. She didn’t seem completely convinced by my attitude of being uniquely cursed to never be upright on the snow and looked at me critically while I stood in skis. “We’ll see how much you remember, I guess,” she said. “You seem to have reasonable balance!”

So we walked (ski-walked? ski-trudged?) over to the beginnerest of beginner slopes, and I got on the magic carpet up the slope while B skated up it at about twice the carpet’s exceptionally slow speed. (Skiers can move on the flat with a skating motion, and instructors get bored easily and do it up beginners slopes too.) Magic carpets, also new since I was skiing last, although I’ve been on one as a snowboarder. Like every method of getting snow sports people around bar maybe gondolas, they are somewhat easier to use as a skier. So far so good, and B had me snowplow gently down the slope once and then work on turning down it. Other than needing to repeatedly use my poles to get started again since it was a very gentle slope, I did fine, much to my surprise and probably not to hers. The second time up the magic carpet I smiled into the snowy trees, smiling being new to me and snow sports.

After that, B said that I was ready for the chair lift and the real beginners slopes (as in, things that actually sloped). I thus fell for the first time getting off the chair lift, got up, and headed for a second magic carpet called “The Burrow”, which goes through a perspex tunnel over a creek. It was fairly magical in a more direct sense of the metaphor and I enjoyed it a lot over the next few days before I got kicked up to Friday Flat proper.

The easiest beginners run is called “Giddy Up” and begins with its steepest part (steep being relative of course), so for the first day my goal was mostly to get down that bit and into the wider, shallower bit to actually work on skills. B had a whole patter for this about not being scared because if I gained speed, I knew how to control it. This didn’t stop me leaning back a few times and promptly flying over backwards for my trouble. Because I was slamming the back of my helmet hard into the snow every time I fell like this, I gave myself a firm mental talking to, including invoking the name of Natasha Richardson, about leaning forward. B meanwhile decided that because of my height, leaning forward at the right angle was actually fairly scary for me (an equivalent angle means my head and torso come way further forward in horizontal distance) and decided to focus on having me shove my shins against the front of my boots instead.

And so we proceeded down the slope three or four times. I even got off the chairlift without falling one sole precious time. But the whole thing was exhilarating and deeply satisfying because I had stayed upright! On snow! And moved down it at a slow speed! B advised me that I could do a sort of circuit, up to Giddy Up, down, up the magic carpet at its base that the children use (leading to a slope somewhere between the first slope and Giddy Up) to work on turns and around.

At the end of the lesson I was happy but extremely tired and hungry (and extremely glad I hadn’t signed up for a 3 hour lesson as I’d considered), so I staggered slowly into the cafeteria and had one of my chocolatey meals for the week and surfed on my phone and felt happy and rang Andrew to bubble at him. I then steeled myself to leave the nest and do Giddy Up by myself, other than falling off the bloody chairlift it went well.

Andrew came down to swap the baby over and get his snowboarding feet under him. He walked a little way up the hill, came down, and then went down Giddy Up. He seemed happy and the plan was for him to do a group lesson after that, so I headed up to the apartment with A to chill out for the afternoon. Andrew’s week then, unfortunately, started in the direction it was to continue as well, with him not being able to find the group class meeting point. Instead he texted that he’d gone up the Gunbarrel chairlift and had gone down High Noon and found it a bit challenging. No wonder, I replied, when it’s one of the hardest intermediate runs at Thredbo (and isn’t short either). I felt proud of him in his ambitious innocence and imagined us doing a run together at the end of the week, although my ambitions didn’t rise to High Noon.

I headed down again to get V from his lesson, and we all came back via a hot chocolate, and for Andrew and me, to the early onset of sore muscles and stiffness that made us dread the morning. But not, happily, nearly as much as I’d dread a snowboarding morning, although I still felt like perhaps some bad experiences were coming.

Coffee to Stay Awake All Night

Sep. 10th, 2014 10:23 am
ponyville_trot: Six cartoon ponies in a huddle (Default)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
coffee_to_stay_awake_all_night_detail_by_ukulilia
Source: http://ukulilia.deviantart.com/art/Coffee-to-stay-awake-all-night-475492803

This is a detail from a collaboration between Ukulilia and MykeGreywolf, see the full image here and see MykeGreywolf's lineart here. The offered download of the image is a 23 MB "psd" file. Irfanview doesn't produce a thumbnail in my folder but opens the file just fine with the usual crop, resize and filetype options. Curious.

If you look back here you'll see another work by Ukulilia that caught my eye, full of swirls, blended colours and textures.

Love is in the Air...

Sep. 10th, 2014 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Can you feel it? Weddings being planned, love blossoming, and a general spirit of fairy-tale perfection in the air? Ahhh.

So naturally, I must CRUSH that spirit with tales of wedding cakes gone wrong!! Mwuahahahahah!

[patting hair] Ahem.

 

What Stacey H. wanted:

Nifty modern texture. I like it.

 

What Stacey got:

Erm, I'm pretty sure dragging a fork through crusted-over icing doesn't count as a "technique".

 

Anony Bride wanted a cake with tiers similar to this:

 

But instead she got tiers like this:

Something about the puffy wobbliness of this cake makes it look like a diaper cake to me - you know, those shower gifts made out of actual diapers? Which probably would have been sturdier, come to think of it: the weight of the wedding topper made this cake start to collapse in on itself.

 

This was Stephanie S.'s inspiration:

 

Which resulted in...this:

I'm not sure who gets the blame for the ribbon selection, but that neon teal "scroll work" combined with the black icing border is sufficiently Wrecky on its own.

 

And lastly, Vanessa wanted a single layer version of her wedding cake for her one-year anniversary. Here's her wedding cake:

Oooh, preeeetty.

 

And here's what she got for her anniversary cake:

Oooh, shii...er...NOT pretty.

Ah, the mismatched whites, the battle-scarred frosting, the ponderous folds of flabby fondant! Who else is inspired to throw a toga party?

 

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[syndicated profile] accidentallyincode_feed

Posted by Cate

Data Center - NCC

Credit: Flickr / Beraldo Leal

When you have no data, everyone agrees: need more data.

When you have a lot of data, what is happening is pretty clear.

When you have a little bit of data, people can extrapolate. “It might show X”, “It might show Y”. Often declared without the caveats. Because “we don’t really know” is a much less compelling story, even if it is more accurate.

But… we don’t really know.

If you’re measuring the performance of a layout on your menu bar, with some actions exposed and some hidden away in a submenu, and you know that people more often tap the exposed options, you might declare success.

But. A little more data might show people cancelling those actions disproportionately more.

So now what do you know? That people aren’t always finding what they are looking for first try, that those options are not necessarily the ones that should be exposed.

The answer is logging everything and (I would hope this is obvious) to the same place.

And, when you think data has backed up a conclusion… think about whether you have all the data to really be sure about that.

 

My Office Is... Done? WOOHOO!!

Sep. 10th, 2014 01:13 am
[syndicated profile] epbot_feed

Posted by Jen

I'm still working on my next batch of Dragon Con photos, so for now - since I'm suuuper happy with it -  check out my new office art wall!

Ta-daaa!
I finished that center section not long before DC; it used to have just one large poster in it. But, as you can see, I'm more of a fan of the "cram as much art in as humanly possible" design aesthetic. 

And now that I've finished that wall, I think I can finally - after just four short years! - call my office "done." 

You know, until I start rearranging stuff again. :D

(I just did a quick count, and I have around 65 pieces of art in this room, not counting family photos on my desk. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.)


If you ever need to hang a bunch of frames like this, I highly recommend using paper templates & painter's tape to test out the arrangement first, like so:

(Please excuse the crappy cellphone pic!)

I spent a good 20 minutes re-arranging, but this way saves your walls from excessive nail holes. 

And of course I have art hanging on the interior sides, too:

I switch the side ones out pretty often; in fact, I've already swapped some since I took this!

It's all a mix of Epbot fan art/gifts and convention purchases, and every single one makes me ridiculously happy.

In fact, I combined this watercolor Octo-girl with a metal seahorse from a fan:

I did it to make up the extra room in a square frame I already had, but I think it gives it a nice assemblage art feel this way. 

Random cubby with more art & reader gifts:


My knit crocheted [sorry!!] Epbot from Renee (of the resin rose petals fame) is one of my most prized possessions:

 
The Epbot Mickey Vinylmation is also from a fan.
(If I sound spoiled, it's because I am. You people did this to me!)

To the side of the penny desk is a tiny closet with a sliding pocket door. I used to store formal dresses in there, but now it's filled with convention costumes. I call that "a life moving in the right direction." :D

 
 And yes, of COURSE I have art on the door. John built it to have clearance so the frames would fit through.

There's more on these closet doors, too:

I'm pretty sure Lily hasn't moved from her box since my last office post.

And since I'm doing the 360 thing, here's a reminder of what the other side looks like:

The wide-angle lens makes my office look downright spacious, but it's actually a cozy 10X10. I like it small, though; feels like a rainbow colored cockpit. On work days John sits on a big exercise ball under the right window with his laptop, and the cats sleep on the desk to my left. Like I said, cozy!

 Ok, Dragon Con is calling my name again, so stay tuned for another batch of cosplay pics, coming up next!
[syndicated profile] krebsonsecurity_feed

Posted by BrianKrebs

Adobe today released updates to fix at least a dozen critical security problems in its Flash Player and AIR software. Separately, Microsoft pushed four update bundles to address at least 42 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Lync and .NET Framework. If you use any of these, it’s time to update!

winiconMost of the flaws Microsoft fixed today (37 of them) are addressed in an Internet Explorer update — the only patch this month to earn Microsoft’s most-dire “critical” label. A critical update wins that rating if the vulnerabilities fixed in the update could be exploited with little to no action on the part of users, save for perhaps visiting a hacked or malicious Web site with IE.

I’ve experienced troubles installing Patch Tuesday packages along with .NET updates, so I make every effort to update .NET separately. To avoid any complications, I would recommend that Windows users install all other available recommended patches except for the .NET bundle; after installing those updates, restart Windows and then install any pending .NET fixes). Your mileage may vary.

For more information on the rest of the updates released today, see this post at the Microsoft Security Response Center Blog.

brokenflash-aAdobe’s critical update for Flash Player fixes at least 12 security holes in the program. Adobe is urging Windows and Macintosh users to update to Adobe Flash Player v. 15.0.0.152 by visiting the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, or via the update mechanism within the product when prompted. If you’d rather not be bothered with downloaders and software “extras” like antivirus scanners, you’re probably best off getting the appropriate update for your operating system from this link.

To see which version of Flash you have installed, check this link. IE10/IE11 on Windows 8.x and Chrome should auto-update their versions of Flash.

Windows users who browse the Web with anything other than Internet Explorer may need to apply this patch twice, once with IE and again using the alternative browser (Firefox, Opera, e.g.). If you have Adobe AIR installed (required by some programs like Pandora Desktop), you’ll want to update this program. AIR ships with an auto-update function that should prompt users to update when they start an application that requires it; the newest, patched version is v. 15 for Windows, Mac, and Android.

Adobe had also been scheduled to release updates today for Adobe Reader and Acrobat, but the company said it was pushing that release date back to the week of Sept. 15 to address some issues that popped up during testing of the patches.

As always, if you experience any issues updating these products, please leave a note about your troubles in the comments below.

[syndicated profile] adulting_feed

image

This is a thoughtful thing to do for people who might be expecting bad or serious news. My family got in the habit when Grannybarb was really sick, and every time my phone rang I was terrified that it was a Serious Call.

So when we just wanted to chat, my mom and sisters and would text the other person ahead of time, so we knew that it wasn’t serious and we didn’t have to drop everything to take it/steel ourselves emotionally/get to a place where we could flip out if need be.

[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

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