[tech] Comcast: huh

February 20th, 2019 08:29 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
I just got the email confirming my move from Comcast, and it says my new bill will be substantially more than my old one.

I pull out the old bill to compare, and the difference is that "limited basic TV" was $8, but will be $21. :[

The only reason I have limited basic TV is because the discount on my internet is more than its price. I will have to have speaks with them. Not amused.

Tuesday 20 February 1665/66

February 20th, 2019 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] diaryof_samuelpepys_feed

Posted by Samuel Pepys

Up, and to the office; where, among other businesses, Mr. Evelyn’s proposition about publique Infirmarys was read and agreed on, he being there: and at noon I took him home to dinner, being desirous of keeping my acquaintance with him; and a most excellent humoured man I still find him, and mighty knowing. After dinner I took him by coach to White Hall, and there he and I parted, and I to my Lord Sandwich’s, where coming and bolting into the dining-room, I there found Captain Ferrers going to christen a child of his born yesterday, and I come just pat to be a godfather, along with my Lord Hinchingbrooke, and Madam Pierce, my Valentine, which for that reason I was pretty well contented with, though a little vexed to see myself so beset with people to spend me money, as she of a Valentine and little Mrs. Tooker, who is come to my house this day from Greenwich, and will cost me 20s., my wife going out with her this afternoon, and now this christening. Well, by and by the child is brought and christened Katharine, and I this day on this occasion drank a glasse of wine, which I have not professedly done these two years, I think, but a little in the time of the sicknesse. After that done, and gone and kissed the mother in bed, I away to Westminster Hall, and there hear that Mrs. Lane is come to town. So I staid loitering up and down till anon she comes and agreed to meet at Swayn’s, and there I went anon, and she come, but staid but little, the place not being private. I have not seen her since before the plague. So thence parted and ‘rencontrais a’ her last ‘logis’, and in the place did what I ‘tenais a mind pour ferais con her’. At last she desired to borrow money of me, 5l., and would pawn gold with me for it, which I accepted and promised in a day or two to supply her. So away home to the office, and thence home, where little Mrs. Tooker staid all night with us, and a pretty child she is, and happens to be niece to my beauty that is dead, that lived at the Jackanapes, in Cheapside. So to bed, a little troubled that I have been at two houses this afternoon with Mrs. Lane that were formerly shut up of the plague.

Read the annotations

[law] Paging Anon Commentor K

February 20th, 2019 05:18 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
Paging Anonymous Commentor K! You have email (two actually) from me. If you
don't see them, check your spam filter - Gmail hates me/my domain.

[domesticity] More Moving

February 20th, 2019 05:06 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
Called both FedEx and UPS.

FedEx gave me a time window the driver was likely to deliver the rugs tomorrow, and is passing along my request to try to deliver between 1pm and 3pm (which is a subset of the likely time, anyway). The do not need a signature and volunteered to just leave the package, but I explained I needed them to bring the 50lb package all the way up to my apartment, for which I needed to be there to buzz them in. (Not strictly true, but I want to be there so they don't get abandoned in the mail room, leaving me to schlep them.)

UPS's agent was unable to add special delivery instructions to the order until the package was more or less here, and told me to call back tomorrow morning. I politely explained that was not possible, and was incredulous that that was how things were. She apologized that it was so. So I'll try to post a sign tonight.

In other news, I called Comcast to set up my move, and they were completely reasonable. I can change my plans with them at any time, I am eligible to self-move (so it's free), and the internet will be on in both places on the move day, so I can carry the router from one apartment to the other and everything should be fine. Fingers crossed.

The death of the steampunk tap

February 20th, 2019 08:19 pm
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[personal profile] shewhomust
The mixer tap on the kitchen sink has been growing steadily more eccentric for some time now.

It was eccentric enough to begin with: I described it as 'steampunk' - with a picture to prove it. Here's the picture again:

- and that's the first time I've worked out how to upload a picture to DW, so there's something gained (niceties like controlling display size may or may not follow).

Anyway, it was selected and fitted in our absence by our builder, and while I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself, it amused me, so that was no problem. What was a problem was that it began to wobble. This was presumably because it wasn't properly fitted, but it didn't manifest until long enough after the original work that we couldn't decide whether to call back our original builder, or find a maybe more reliable plumber...

Yes, I know. Either would be good. But this is us. And it wasn't a huge problem, you just had to steady the whole thing with one hand while turning the tap with the other.

Then the cold tap began to drip. That was more of a problem, because now you had to grip the unit quite hard to counter the extra force required to turn off the tap. And over a period of time, it got worse. And worse.

Finally, last Friday morning, I managed to turn the tap with so much force that it went right past turning off, and carried on turning, and the drip became a steady trickle. [personal profile] durham_rambler dragged himself away from his committee papers, turned off the stopcock, and took advice from the neighbours about a handyman they had employed. And after a little emergency plumbing on Friday afternoon (consisting mostly of said handyman showing me how to turn off the water supply to the cold tap and only the cold tap), we went to B & Q on Saturday and bought a tap.

I assumed that after the decorative excess of the previous tap, we would choose something severely plain. It turns out that I am hard to please in the matter of taps - not the unit as a whole, but the bit you grip to turn the water on and off. Many of these are variations on a plain barrel shape, which can be hard to grip with soapy hands even if you don't suffer from arthritis - which I don't, yet. Others were very sharply rectangular, and I didn't like those, either. So we ended up choosing something called 'Apsley'. This might refer to any of a number of things, according to Wikipedia, including a suburb of Hemel Hempstead and an Antarctic explorer (Apsley Cherry-Garrard). I don't know which, if any, of these B & Q had in mind, but I thought at once of the Duke of Wellington's London house. Which is pretty grand for a piece of kitchen plumbing.

Nonetheless, our handyman came back on Monday morning and fitted it. What luxury to be able to run hot or cold water, just by pushing a lever. One-handed, even. Plus an unexpected benefit, that the design leaves plenty of room under the water outlet: I can fill the kettle easily, even if the sink is full of water.

No doubt in due course there will be an unexpected disadvantage, too, but I haven't discovered that yet.
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished the Pauline Kael biography: not sure if it's just that somebody whose career was basically sitting in darkened cinemas watching movies and then writing about them is not going to be wildly exciting, and it's by its nature going to be mostly about her critical opinions and spats with other critics, directors she dissed, etc, or whether it's down to Kellow not having got a lot of cooperation from relevant individuals, e.g. Kael's daughter (there does seem to have been a certain amount of drama in her earlier life, resulting in single motherhood). I am not sure I wouldn't have done better to dig out the volumes of her criticism and read those.

Re-read all Martha Wells' Murderbot novellas and the prequel short story: The Future of Work: Compulsory.

Stephanie Burgis, Snowspelled (2017), which I think I saw recommended somewhere and the ebook of which was on offer, and which was very good. It may have the 'not like other girls' going for the protag, but that is just because the other women are differently badass rather than simpering Mean Girls, and the being different is not posited as necessarily at odds with. Have preordered the sequel.

On the go

Stephanie Burgis and Tiffany Trent (eds), The Underwater Ballroom Society (2018), as the prequel to Snowspelled was in this (and it was only slightly dearer than buying it separately, and anyway this had been vaguely on my radar).

Up next

Nothing immediate after that, but next week promises not only the Stephanie Burgis sequel above mentioned, but Amanda Downum's The Poison Court.

Interesting Links for 20-02-2019

February 20th, 2019 12:33 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker

(no subject)

February 20th, 2019 09:21 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] dsgood and [personal profile] elekdragon!

[domesticity] Slow Moving: Clearing Desk

February 19th, 2019 10:44 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
Today, a kind of wave of emotional exhaustion hit me. I'm not physically tired – I slept really well last night, though I've not yet burned down my sleep debt – but I just feel demoralized by the overwhelming scope of Things To Do To Move.

Probably the most demoralizing thing to do is clearing off my desk.

It has finally dawned on me, like in the last 15 minutes, that my desk is where Important Things I Don't Know What To Do With go to die.

Uncluttering my desk in a more durable fashion will entail figuring out some other way to handle things I don't know where to put. Perhaps part of that will be getting better at figuring out where they should be put in the first place.

In some cases that is challenging due to form-factor. I have two plastic accordian files here, which I can't figure out what they can fit in, to store them, e.g. In other cases it is challenging because I do, nominally at least, have a place something belongs, but there's something wrong with it. For instance, it seems my volume of business cards has recently exceeded the volume of my business-card box; inversely, I used to have a box I kept on my desk into which I put mailing supplies like stamps and envelopes, but when I reorganized my apartment in 2016, it stopped fitting on my desk and got moved somewhere else, so mailing supplies have gotten backed up on my desk. (The answer turned out to be, "Yes. Yes, as a matter of fact, I had not so long ago bought a book of forever stamps.") A few things on my desk are things with newly developed homes that hadn't yet moved in, e.g. I have ephemera which belongs in the new ephemera box I bought a few months ago.

But then there's other stuff. For instance, I found the large manila envelope which was shipped to me, containing what are basically SASEs for disposing of unwanted medications. I expect that momentarily that will be super useful, but if that envelope was sitting there since 2016, or was circulating my place for years before that, I wouldn't be surprised. I don't remember when it was I got it; I do remember receiving it, and promptly putting a few to good use, but then I had some left over and thought they were likely useful in the future. I have no idea where to store such a thing.

Hilariously, I now have a new category of difficult to handle paperwork: things that I know perfectly well how and where to file, but belong in files that.... are now in storage, thanks to the book mover. I'm starting a "File Me When We Get There" folder.

[domesticity, law] Response from lawyer

February 19th, 2019 10:15 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
The lawyer interestingly did not say that it's not a trick. Rather the lawyer said that legally handing over keys does not constitute surrendering the apartment, but (perhaps recognizing the possibility for he-said/she-said shenanigans) suggested that I write up a document to give with the keys stating that handing over the keys does not constitute my surrendering the apartment, which I think is a brilliant solution, if I tack on the bit where I demand that either the landlord or the agent sign the thing and keep it myself, while giving them a copy.

Assuming I want to provide them keys. Lawyer didn't answer my question about what happens if I don't provide the keys, and whether the landlord can break in.

The internet seems to be saying it would take a court order to–

Aaaaaand I literally just got a txt message from the agent asking if I would be there to let her in tomorrow at 6:30pm. Which I was planning on being, anyways, so fine. It's not 24hrs notice, but I'll take it. She didn't try to strong arm me into providing keys, so a point in her favor.

Monday 19 February 1665/66

February 19th, 2019 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] diaryof_samuelpepys_feed

Posted by Samuel Pepys

Up, and by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s, but he was gone out. So I to White Hall, and there waited on the Duke of Yorke with some of the rest of our brethren, and thence back again to my Lord’s, to see my Lord Hinchingbroke, which I did, and I am mightily out of countenance in my great expectation of him by others’ report, though he is indeed a pretty gentleman, yet nothing what I took him for, methinks, either as to person or discourse discovered to me, but I must try him more before I go too far in censuring. Hence to the Exchequer from office to office, to set my business of my tallys in doing, and there all the morning. So at noon by coach to St. Paul’s Church-yarde to my Bookseller’s, and there bespoke a few more books to bring all I have lately bought to 10l.. Here I am told for certain, what I have heard once or twice already, of a Jew in town, that in the name of the rest do offer to give any man 10l. to be paid 100l., if a certain person now at Smyrna be within these two years owned by all the Princes of the East, and particularly the grand Signor as the King of the world, in the same manner we do the King of England here, and that this man is the true Messiah. One named a friend of his that had received ten pieces in gold upon this score, and says that the Jew hath disposed of 1100l. in this manner, which is very strange; and certainly this year of 1666 will be a year of great action; but what the consequences of it will be, God knows!

Thence to the ‘Change, and from my stationer’s thereabouts carried home by coach two books of Ogilby’s, his AEsop and Coronation, which fell to my lot at his lottery. Cost me 4l. besides the binding. So home.

I find my wife gone out to Hales, her paynter’s, and I after a little dinner do follow her, and there do find him at worke, and with great content I do see it will be a very brave picture. Left her there, and I to my Lord Treasurer’s, where Sir G. Carteret and Sir J. Minnes met me, and before my Lord Treasurer and Duke of Albemarle the state of our Navy debts were laid open, being very great, and their want of money to answer them openly professed, there being but 1,500,000l. to answer a certaine expense and debt of 2,300,000l..

Thence walked with Fenn down to White Hall, and there saw the Queene at cards with many ladies, but none of our beauties were there. But glad I was to see the Queene so well, who looks prettily; and methinks hath more life than before, since it is confessed of all that she miscarryed lately; Dr. Clerke telling me yesterday at White Hall that he had the membranes and other vessels in his hands which she voided, and were perfect as ever woman’s was that bore a child.

Thence hoping to find my Lord Sandwich, away by coach to my Lord Chancellor’s, but missed him, and so home and to office, and then to supper and my Journall, and to bed.

Read the annotations

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Le sigh.

Sorry, I just now heard about this. From CNBC, Jan 23, 2019: Patreon CEO says the company's generous business model is not sustainable as it sees rapid growth.
Patreon CEO Jack Conte said in an interview with CNBC that the platform will soon be facing the challenge of maintaining a profitable model as the company continues its growth.
Okay, so, this is kind of disturbing, not just for the obvious reason that, hey, I use Patreon to make a living, but because, you know, the way business models are supposed to work, when you have more customers, your profits are supposed to go up.

I am alarmed to be reminded of the old joke, from back around the turn of the millennium, in the dot.com boom, we told about the most half-assed web ventures: "We're losing money on every sale, but don't worry – we'll make it up in volume."

Now, this is not a huge surprise, because the Patreon fish swallowed the venture capital fish-hook. I suspect that what is not sustainable is the sort of growth their investor-predators want to see. Because I have trouble imagining that serving as a payment processor that's getting 5% is not actually quite lucrative and sustainable. Like, Paypal only gets $0.30+2.90% of transations it handles, and they're not crying about being in mortal peril. Patreon is not obviously providing more service, tech-wise, than Paypal, to explain why basically getting 2% more than Paypal does is insufficient to its operational needs and profitability wishes. And if Patreon's operational costs are half-again as much as Paypal's, well, presumably that's because Paypal has economies of scale on Patreon, and if that's the difference, Patreon's growth (in terms of customers) should solve the problem, not worsen it.

If the problem is that the investors are bleeding the company, then, well, it's not clear how doom could be averted. This is what happened in the 80s, the whole leveraged by-out craze: investors bought companies – profitable, successful companies – to eat them.

Wizard of Oz like Audiobook

February 19th, 2019 11:51 am
[personal profile] mystarling posting in [community profile] findthatbook
It was an audiobook on CD I heard around 2005-2010. Strong Wizard of Oz themes (maybe one of the other L Frank Baum books? It seemed more like the original to me though). Main elements I remember:

- It was a musical: the first number was the man character singing about living in a rose cottage with her dad, who then died

- There was a fisherman the protagonist was warned against talking to by the 'Glinda' like character, but she did anyway and was given a magic whistle

- the quest they were given was to retrieve the witches magic eye (this may be from something else)

- I'm not sure of the companion characters were traditional WoO sidekicks, or something else

- in the end, 'Glinda' turned out to be the witch in disguise, and so her warning about the fisherman was her trying to prevent the protagonist from getting her hands on the magic whistle.

- the protagonist uses the whistle to shrink the witch away into nothing


Raven Tower Giveaways!

February 19th, 2019 12:43 pm
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[personal profile] ann_leckie
The Raven Tower is out next week!

And Orbit is running some cool giveaways! Copies of The Raven Tower, and some cool swag!

There's an Orbit Loot giveaway here, that runs until the 28th, and a Goodreads giveaway that runs till the 25th! And keep an eye on Orbit's Instagram for another chance to win!

In the meantime, if you haven't already, check out this excerpt, and this sample from the audiobook read by the always awesome Adjoa Andoh!

And if you're into the fanworks thing, check out the various days in this Raven Tower release event! I'm looking forward to seeing what cool stuff the participants come up with! My readers are awesome.

And about time, some of us say...

February 19th, 2019 03:08 pm
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

Apparently solo dining is becoming A Thing? (scroll down, it's the last thing)

In New York, there’s a rising trend for eating alone and some restaurants have amended their menus and tables to cater for this. The restaurant booking site OpenTable has also reported a rise in solo dining.
That thing that that is that I have been doing, lo, these many years. And I am sure I am by no means the only one, because I still remember with great affection the great Katharine Whitehorn's suggestion of a restaurant, or maybe an entire chain, set up entirely for solo diners, with reading lights and bookstands on the tables. Sign me up with a loyalty card! (and I am so not a loyalty card person.)

Perhaps I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope who has had one or two too many group meals which have involved going, finally, to some place that is nobody's first choice but will fit everybody in and accommodate everybody's dietary requirements/a person turning up late and keeping everyone else from ordering/that person who either takes for ever deciding what to order or is too busy chatting to address the matter/person who takes an inordinate time longer than everybody else to finish a course/ - yes, I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope.

Also, I have my book/e-reader/phone/laptop for company: I do not want a giant teddy-bear vis-a-vis. I should not have to come over all Greta Garbo 'Vant to be alone' at a teddy-bear. At least, one may hope, the bear will not attempt to engage one in lively conversation ('What are you reading/is that a good book?').

(no subject)

February 19th, 2019 09:22 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lilliburlero!

[domesticity] eeeeeeee

February 18th, 2019 11:34 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
The rugs have shipped!

Overstock.com is saying they're estimated to arrive on Thursday!

And that they've been shipped by FedEx!

FedEx is saying they'll be here by the end of tomorrow! (Tuesday!)

ETA: FedEx has a way to sign up to schedule delivery times for a fee, but I can't get it to authenticate me. It suggests either having them mail me a confirmation postcard, yes, physical mail, which should take 3-5 days, or just waiting – I am not making this up – 30 days to try again. Also, their website is buggy and unprofessional in general, and they are trying to reduce customer service calls by having customers talk to a bot. This is my entirely unimpressed face.

Meanwhile, the rug pads from my same order are coming by UPS, due on Friday, as two separate packages. I signed up with UPS to provide delivery instructions (it's visually ambiguous what is the "front door" to my new building, and there is definitely a right answer and a wrong one) and it turns out that UPS doesn't have a freetext field for delivery instructions. They have a pull-down menu with no choices relevant to my situation.

I suddenly have a great appreciation for what problem Amazon is trying to solve by having their own shippers, and doing things like having them photo your door when they deliver and asking for feedback when they get it wrong.

So right now I have no idea if I'm going to wind up with all three packages in limbo.

ETA2: Ah, apparently Overstock has a better idea of what's going on than FedEx does. FedEx is now saying delivery by end of day Thursday, which is what Overstock said all along.

Sunday 18 February 1665/66

February 18th, 2019 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] diaryof_samuelpepys_feed

Posted by Samuel Pepys

(Lord’s day). Lay long in bed discoursing with pleasure with my wife, among other things about Pall’s coming up, for she must be here a little to be fashioned, and my wife hath a mind to go down for her, which I am not much against, and so I rose and to my chamber to settle several things. At noon comes my uncle Wight to dinner, and brings with him Mrs. Wight, sad company to me, nor was I much pleased with it, only I must shew respect to my uncle. After dinner they gone, and it being a brave day, I walked to White Hall, where the Queene and ladies are all come: I saw some few of them, but not the Queene, nor any of the great beauties. I endeavoured to have seen my Lord Hinchingbrooke, who come to town yesterday, but I could not. Met with Creed and walked with him a turne or two in the Parke, but without much content, having now designs of getting money in my head, which allow me not the leisure I used to have with him, besides an odde story lately told of him for a great truth, of his endeavouring to lie with a woman at Oxford, and her crying out saved her; and this being publickly known, do a little make me hate him. Thence took coach, and calling by the way at my bookseller’s for a booke I writ about twenty years ago in prophecy of this year coming on, 1666, explaining it to be the marke of the beast, I home, and there fell to reading, and then to supper, and to bed.

Read the annotations

[domesticity] Slightly Hoist

February 18th, 2019 01:20 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
So. On Friday old landlord's rental agent called me about showing my old apartment on Monday. Today.

There is, legally, nothing I can do about this. Landlord (or landlord's agents) can enter the property with 24 hours notice. I think (not sure) there may even be a statute that says that landlords can specifically enter an apartment in the last month of tenancy to show it.

The agent was at least nice about it. She wanted to show it at 6:30pm and asked if I would be there, or whether she should get the key from the landlord. I said that I would probably be working (I am booked to see a client at 6:30pm, but people do cancel), and she should definitely get the key from the landlord so she could let herself in, but that I'd appreciate a text 15 min before arrival in case I was home. (I also asked that she not arrange any showings before 2pm, and she said it wouldn't be a problem in the "I am so not a morning person myself" tone of voice.)

So, okay, fine. I should put away any valuables and lock the HIPAA cabinet before going to work today.

I woke to a text from the agent: the shitgibbon can't find the keys to my apartment. Do I have a spare set? Could I leave them under the mat?

I am, of course, like WTF.

And then I think about it.

And it dawns on me that the act of relinquishing a set of keys is the official act of giving an apartment back to a landlord and declaring it vacant.

Now, I don't know that this isn't what it seems. The shitgibbon may have lost the keys ot my apartment again. He has done this in the past: lose the keys, accuse me of having changed the locks, and then found them.

Or, you know, this is a legal trick.

Meanwhile, the agent is nicely pressuring me to try to come up with some spare keys, or let her come by, take my keys out to be duplicated, and when can she do this and when should she reschedule the showing for? I confronted (in text) the agent about the giving-up-keys thing. And then texted that I don't think I want to do any such thing until I have spoken to a lawyer.

So, maybe this is totes legitimate, and just an unfortunate impingement on my time. Or maybe this is, yet again, the landlord doing something evil. Because I can't tell, they're not getting any keys. Serves him right.

ETA: I have, in fact, emailed my lawyer about this, but I don't expect him to be working on a holiday. So still interested if anybody knows the answer.

Meanwhile: you are not my lawyer, however: anybody know if this could be the trick I smell? (Jurisdiction: Cambridge, Massachusetts)

ETA2: Messages also left for the relevant person in Inspectional Services, Housing Department. Not that I'm planning on telling the landlord or his agent that. I don't expect they're working on a holiday, but it will be waiting for them when they get in tomorrow.

ETA3: Oh ho ho! Maybe I can refuse them entry:


This goes beyond what I can fathom

February 18th, 2019 02:46 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Or, being home IT support...

Partner's computer has been connected to the home network via a TP Powerline, i.e. an ethernet connection.

There have lately been problems and in fact, the connection has defaulted to the (weak and fluctuating) wifi that reaches the back room.

We have therefore replaced the existing TP Powerline (which was of some antiquity, as I recall), but this does not seem to have fixed the problem. The computer recognises that there is an ethernet connection to the home network there, but says there is No Internet.

This is getting beyond my competence to deal with.

O, all knowledge which is on Dreamwidth, can you help me?

ETANow seems to have sorted itself! Boggle.

Interesting Links for 18-02-2019

February 18th, 2019 12:42 pm


February 17th, 2019 08:28 pm
nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
Now that was a terrific Boskone.  Three of the four panels I was on—"Agency and Free Will," "Lost in the Woods," and "Elves"—were very good indeed, and the fourth, on "The Work of John Crowley," which was being filmed for him, was an absolute stunner.  All of us on it rose to the occasion, and outdid ourselves.  Some of us were babbling behind the stage for an hour afterward, surging with adrenaline, as if we'd skied K2.  And even though my reading was scheduled for the very last half-hour of the con (2:30 pm on Sunday), I had a nice little audience, not all of them known to me.

I hope that someone took notes on those other panels, because all I have are the jottings I prepared, and I would love to put them in the context of the conversations.  I remember that on the first, I spoke about Macbeth and equivocal prophecy. and The Owl Service:  "she wants to be flowers and you make her owls."

For "Woods," I quoted Angela Carter:

“The English wood is nothing like the dark, necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and the witches live....An English wood, however marvellous, however metamorphic, cannot, by definition, be trackless, although it might well be formidably labyrinthine. Yet there is always a way out of a maze ... But to be lost in the forest is to be lost to this world, to be abandoned by the light....That forest is haunted; this wood is enchanted.”

I love that passage.

Topics touched on included Dante, Mr. Badger, my own Cloudwood, Arthur Rackham and the evil of all roots, A Midsummer Night's Dream, the New-World horror film, The Witch, "The Teddy Bears' Picnic," "Tam Lin" and eyes of tree, rootedness, skylessness, eye-of-sky bluebells in beech woods, the Chalk as stronghold surrounded by trees.

On elves, I quoted Shakespeare again:

“Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot.
Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him...”

He pinched that from Ovid; but if you turn to Medea’s invocation in the Metamorphoses, she begins by summoning "airs and breezes, mountains, rivers, pools."  They are understood to be animate, essentially.  Shakespeare turns that over in "the ebbing Neptune":  the god is essentially ocean, the ocean is a god.  Elves are not aliens—this is their earth more than ours.

Since I'd been steeping for a week or two in Crowley, of course I had to quote Violet Bramble:  "they mean no good to us.  they mean us no harm either.”

And I slipped in a quip from my Kingdoms of Elfin preface:  they are "particles with charm and strangeness—Huons?"

We all talked about the Cottingley photographs and indeterminancy of scale.

I very much hope that the Crowley panel will be available online.  His editor at Saga Press, Joe Monti, moderated; Rich Horton, Steve Popkes, Faye Ringel, and myself conversed.  From his editor, we learned that a Crowley manuscript is Nabokovian in its near-perfection.  From the notes I brought and others that I scrawled in margins, I see that that I talked about cosmopoiesis, “spheres of bright complexity made only of making”  (Engine Summer); of Crowley's perfect command of cadences; of his use of a sublime vernacular, a transcendent demotic; of the interversible otherwise ("Was there any thought about them she could have whose opposite wasn’t true?"); of snakes' hands (in a burst of madness, I coined the adjective "herpetomanual").  And somewhere in the onrush of words I realized that that the Aeolian harp in the Aegypt quartet—the finial, the culmination of the tale—is like Smoky at the end of Little, Big ("something that begun to open in his heart opened further; it let in great draughts of evening air...") is like Rush that Speaks in Engine Summer:  all are the instruments of Story, all perfected in their vulnerability.  All played upon by chance.

Well, that was a blast.

Among other standouts at the con:  There was a brilliant dissection of Joseph Campbell's monomyth by Auston Habershaw (doesn't that name sound like a minor Crowley character?), John Clute, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, F. Brett Cox, and Faye Ringel.  Elizabeth Hand (the guest of honor) read from and discussed Curious Toys, her long-awaited novel on the outsider artist Henry Darger.

I had some very pleasant conversations, saw a number of old friends from out of town, had some hopeful intimations and a compliment or two.  Boskone always has a good dealer's room, nearly all books, and Small Beer Press had a sale...Hey, I even bought two small prints from the art show:  a veiled lady in moonlight, from a scratchboard original by Kate Adams, and an elf in a bramble bush by Lauren A. Mills.

One terrible disappointment:  Boskone has always run an awesome consuite/green room rolled into one.  There was always a vast range of basics:  coffee (with every syrup imaginable); black, green, white, and herbal teas; every sort of milk (from half and half to soy and almond); weird and common sodas; slushy machines; mountains of donated bread from artisan bakeries; scores of dozens of hard-boiled eggs; butters; cheeses; jams; nut butters of all sorts; breakfast pastries; fruits; cookies; lox (if you came early enough); whatever else came to hand.  A cornucopia.  And given the isolation of the Westin Wilderness, this bounty was an absolute lifeline.  Well, this year the hotel cracked down.  Nothing was to be served, except mingy pre-wrapped snackoid bitelets.  The Westin didn't even put water pitchers on the panel tables, and (I was told) forbade the gophers their own outside beverages.  A huge blow, especially as so many of us were reckoning on that consuite bounty for most of our meals.

Bracketing this fair-fortuned con were two near-catastrophes:  both averted.  The night before it, to my horror, I couldn't find some vital files on my hard drive.   There arose nightmare visions of a virus, eating up my life's work like an army of moths.  Fortunately, when I ran diagnostics, the problem was only a mislaid pathway, which could be repaired by Disk Utility.  Whew.  After that, when my ink cartridges all suddenly ran bone dry before I'd printed one page of my notes, I could be philosophical.

Afterward, I was walking [personal profile] negothick  from a shared cab to the door of South Station, when I found myself flat on the pavement, pinned down by my book-filled backpack.  An entire paving-stone had tipped up like a booby trap in a cartoon and slammed me down.  Flying faceplant!  Luckily, the counterweight of my rolled suitcase broke my fall a bit.  No damage, except a skinned knee and a shaking up, but we complained to the station, and they said they'd cordon off the stone.  The next victim, gods forbid, could be a frail old person, or someone with an infant in a sling.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, a delightful weekend.



[domesticity] Moving Further Along

February 17th, 2019 09:17 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Ow. I am very stiff and sore from being very out of shape and doing a lot of shlepping.

I hit up Target for some necessaries late-ish Saturday night - the new one in Porter Square – and decided to take the stuff directly back to the new apartment, so I could find out what it's like at midnight.

I lied on the floor. I didn't detect any vibrations.

The sound isolation between apartments seems very good. The sound isolation between building and the outside seems not so good – that is the windows aren't so great at sealing out sound. My window isn't right on MassAve, but the sound of traffic on MassAve through my window was loud enough to make me think, "Oh, hey, I should shut the window", but the window wasn't open.

The heat is steam heat, and it is abundant and very clangy. I have earplugs, so I assume this, and passing traffic, won't be an issue.

The hot water is very hot, and also abundant.

Today (Sunday), [personal profile] tn3270 and I drove over a load of fragile stuff that can be put away, out of the way of movers, in the kitchen and the closets. So my booze, and my glassware, and my fancy dress clothes are all now moved in. Am now ready to party. I also brought over all the outerwear I'm not currently using (the spring and autumn weight stuff mostly and my summer sun hats, and my back-up winter coat) and populated the coat closet.

Getting my formal-wear and outerwear out of the closet under the water heater that's overdue to blow is a relief. I still have stuff in there to wisk away to safety, but... soon. Not right now. Were I not so sore, I would be tempted to call a cab and take a second load over tonight.

But I think I'm rapidly approaching the point – like maybe one car load more – where everything left is either something I will need here until the day of the move, or it is something that requires the rugs or the furniture to be there already to go on top of or in, or will be in the way of movers and so should go in the truck.

Saturday 17 February 1665/66

February 17th, 2019 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] diaryof_samuelpepys_feed

Posted by Samuel Pepys

Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. Late to dinner, and then to the office again, and there busy till past twelve at night, and so home to supper and to bed.

We have newes of Sir Jeremy Smith’s being very well with his fleete at Cales. — [Cadiz]

Read the annotations


February 17th, 2019 08:25 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread made during week: Greenstein's Psomi Loaf, with toasted sesame seeds - mmmmmm.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/buckwheat flour, + dried cranberries.

Today's lunch: a fillet of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, wrapped over a stuffing of breadcrumbs tossed in melted butter and lemon juice with zest of lemon, salt, pepper and dill, and baked under foil in a moderate oven, served with baby rainbow carrots roasted in goosefat (I am not sure this really adds much to them), garlic roasted kalettes (I fear their season must nearly be over, wah-wah-woh-woh), and padron peppers.

[banking] How Not to Run a Bank, S3 E2

February 16th, 2019 08:35 pm
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[personal profile] siderea

So a million years ago last December, I decided I was Done with BoA, and signed up for a fresh business bank account with a new bank. This one is with Webster.

Not much happened in the account in December, what with the various challenges of setting it up (about which I have failed to regale you, o my readers), but starting with the new (fiscal) year, I converted over to using it.

So I just got what is effectively my first statement, covering the month of January. The first month in which I actually ran money through it.

Turns out, the way Webster accounts deposits made at ATMs is that it batches all the checks put in at once as one transaction, and it batches all the cash put in at the same time as another transaction.

So, if you you go to an ATM and deposit a check for $100, a check for $91 and $7 cash, it will appear on your statement as a transaction for $191 and a separate transaction for $7.

Oh hello, this makes my checkbook unbalanceable.

I, like a normal human, record transactions in my checkbook in one of two ways. Either all the money going into the machine at once is one transaction (e.g. of $198) or I break each of the checks out separately (e.g. three transactions: $100, $91, and $7). What I do not do is lump just the checks.

At first, as I started trying to use this statement to reconcile my account, I thought it was merely highly unfortunate. I had been using the batch-everything approach (which is how the previous bank did things), so I was having to add transactions mentally on the statement to figure out which things to mark as cleared in my digital checkbook. Having to do mental arithmetic to balance a digital checkbook is asinine - it's error prone and time consuming, and exactly what I am trying to avoid by having a digital checkbook in the first place.

Then I got to the last deposit I had made, on Jan 31st. The bank only registered part of it - the cash part. The checks I deposited? Don't appear at all. So now I have an entry on 1/31 for $459.00, of which $240 has cleared. I have absolutely no way to indicate that on my register – except to edit in two transactions, one for the cash and one for the checks.

I'm very strongly inclined to close this account rather than change how I keep my books to be compatable with this. I am completely aghast.

This is the first I've ever seen of this practice. Generally "first I've ever seen of this practice" in banking makes me think it maybe is illegal. Certainly it's ridiculous.

Anybody else's banks do this? Apparently I'm back in the business bank account market, and I'd like to know what companies to avoid.


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