Godspeed, Dr. Pournelle

I learned today that Dr. Jerry Pournelle passed away shortly after returning home from DragonCon.

I’m… in shock. I was squeeing only yesterday about his being part of the concentrated awesome of DragonCon. 

His last post on Chaos Manor mentions that he wasn’t feeling well; but it seems that he had a lot of fun at DragonCon.

I’ve had the good fortune and honor to interact with him at Accordingtohoyt.com – Sarah Hoyt’s blog. He has always been upstanding, erudite and intelligent in his contributions to discussions there, and his presence will be missed.

Godspeed, Dr. Pournelle.

The Democratic People’s Republic of NCWest

Or, how to efficiently kill off your longest-running product in a single sentence.

This wasn’t going to be my next post, but I am still stunned by the breath-takingly bad example here, that I decided to write about this. This is about gaming, so feel free to skip, unless you’d like the entertainment of watching a gaming company burn themselves to the ground with a single catastrophic post, highlighted by a single epically horrible line.

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Inconsideracy

So, apparently, this rainbow banner is a thing WordPress likes to have up every year. Somehow I missed it in the last years, and was lucky to.

It’s fucking obnoxious, and not just because I have no way of freaking opting out without having to resort to messing with my browser code- code which I don’t understand, and am thus forced against my will to endure it…

No, the biggest reason why I hate that fucking banner is because it causes really fucking painful muscular-stress migraines.

My initial reaction to the banner was to ignore it. But eventually I noticed that my eyes would jerk up to the banner while I was reading blogs, simply because it’s bright and eyecatching. After fifteen minutes of trying to keep my eyes on the text I was reading, I noticed I was developing tension headaches – the kind brought on by muscular strain – either in strained muscles in the neck, or eyes. These are cripplingly painful, and the times I’ve had these, I am basically unable to do anything but lie in bed in agony, eyes covered because at that point I am light-sensitive and cannot handle even dim light.

Seeking to avoid injury I went to look for a way to try click on a button or a checkbox or SOMETHING to remove it. There isn’t one. Apparently, it’s just something we have to ‘put up with’ since it’s a ‘temporary’ thing and the general message is I get that WordPress wants to convey to its’ userbase is “We are celebrating something wonderful and if, for any reason you don’t want to put up with it, you are a hater fuck who needs to hurt and hopefully die.”

People who have a fundamentally non-discriminatory reason -such as ‘that’s distracting and hurts my eyes’ – to want to turn off the damn banner have no recourse to do so. No, I’m no coder, and frankly messing with that shit will likely result in me breaking my browser, for a temporary fix.

I just want to turn off the banner because it hurts my eyes, keeps pulling my gaze away repeatedly and quickly from the text I’m trying to read.

But no, apparently, non-participation is verboten. You don’t want to be ‘seen as a homophobe, right kamerade?

All I get from this shit is that whoever came up with this is okay with the following:

“Only support for gay people and other approved minorities and viewpoints is important.”

“You are not allowed to opt out or say no, because that might be construed as being against.”

“Free speech only applies to what is approved of by the Left – all other speech and choices are hateful and bigoted.”

“There are no good people except those whose beliefs conform to my own.”

“Since bad people think bad thoughts, they are not entitled to the protections of society, nor should be given treatment or consideration as human beings.”

“We, the morally righteous, are permitted to enforce our orthodoxy through violence and force. You, however, may not force your morality on me by even speaking of it.”

“If it is a choice I do not approve of, you are not allowed to make that choice. You are not allowed freedom or choices, because you, as a naysayer, are no longer considered human or equal.”

Clearly, simply because this Asian chick would like to avoid eyestrain, I’m not allowed to have a ‘turn this shit off’ button, because that would be unsupportive. Somehow.

For folks who are supposed to be all about the ‘equal rights as human beings’ and claim that “I don’t have to participate if I don’t want to,” why am I not allowed to figuratively walk away from the ‘celebration?’ Why are my rights suddenly, less than theirs? Why can’t I be allowed the option to turn that shit off?

Hypocrisy.

 

Voted for Dragon Awards!!!

SO HARD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN MOVIES.

Hard choice for movies

That was honestly my hardest choice on the ballot. Arrival or Doctor Strange? I eventually went with Arrival because it was more intriguing for me. (Sorry, Benedict. I love Dr. Strange, but… TToTT )

 

Authors Larry Correia and Benjamin Cheah have posts talking about it. ANYONE CAN VOTE.

http://awards.dragoncon.org/

Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

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Quick post about LibreOffice – Write

I made my jump from MS Word to LibreOffice the same time I made a pretty huge jump from Windows to Linux (Mint, Debian edition) for security reasons. That was back in 2009, and while I’ve moved into ‘what works best’ mindset, I have to say I’m very happy about having moved to LibreOffice and away from Word.

LibreOffice can be used across most platforms and OS-es; I use a Mac, a Linux Debian box and a Windows box (the latter usually for gaming and entertainment) and they work, from my own personal usage, with no discernible differences for a simple end user like myself. So you do not have to move to a Linux OS just to use LibreOffice.

In fact, I have not used all of LibreOffice – the two which I use the most are LibreOffice Write and Calc, the latter being a spreadsheet program which I keep track of grocery shopping and house budget with.

I’m not here to convince people to make massive jumps away from unfamiliar OS but simply to illustrate that if you do decide to switch from MS Office to LibreOffice, you’ll find that there is very little to worry about in terms of learning curve – especially if you use it primarily for documents and writing – in which case, it’ll be LibreOffice Write you’ll care about the most.

I also use LibreOffice Write for the majority of formatting for both ebook and print books – that is, the formatting of inner book content. As I’ve thus far only made books with only text, as of this post I can probably comment only on that. But for now, this post is concerned with how LibreOffice Write looks and on the very basic, works.

This is a post done mostly in response to some comments in Mad Genius Club’s post  “Formatting for Print – Revisited.” I just found it easier to quickly snap off some screenshots and make this post.

Click on the image to see a bigger version. That said, the rest of this post will be behind a jump.

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Ghosts and bathrooms

What is it about ghosts haunting bathrooms? It’s not something I really understand – I mean, if I was going to haunt someplace as a ghost, a library seems so much more comfortable and interesting, you know? Yet despite that, stories and legends of ghosts haunting bathrooms and toilets abound throughout the world. Or is it just an Asian thing?  Maybe it isn’t; I don’t know. I mean, J.K. Rowling put Moaning Myrtle to haunting Hogwarts bathrooms, so maybe the story of ghosts haunting school bathrooms and public loos aren’t just aren’t an Asian ghost encounter thing?

Japan probably has some of the most well documented ones, from the akai-kami, aoi-kami ghost – a ghost who asks ‘red paper or blue paper’? and will either skin you alive or strangle you if you pick one; Hanako the ghost, who is a bit of a cross of the Bloody Mary type of ghost story and ‘schoolgirl who died at school’ story; akaname the filth-licker, a Japanese yokai that dates back to well before the 20th century at least, and the noppera-bo, another yokai that has no face and has been described to also haunt toilets (there’s a story about a woman encountering one in Hawaii, in 1959.) (Note: that blogpost is worth a look at, as it describes that there is no lore in Hawaii that resembles the story; and it seems to folklore that transferred from Japan.)

Ghost stories about bathrooms aren’t something I’ve read about only online though; even when I was going to school there were stories of a nun supposedly haunting the showers in Miriam; as well of course as the stories of a ghost that would peek over the bathroom stall dividers. Every school seemed to have at least one bathroom stall ghost story, regardless of whether or not the school was a Christian or Catholic school, or a secular one. However, stories of ghosts haunting the bathrooms also occur in buildings and edifices other than schools. Continue reading