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Hee, I love the Washington Post's Peep diorama contest. This year includes Peep Muppets and  Hieronymus Bosch style Peep Hell.

I didn't know how tenderly I felt towards this piece of electronics until I had to part from it.

My laptop -- Magri's it's name -- caught a bad virus on Monday night. It started shooting up pop-ups screaming at me that it was full of viruses and needed me to download a fix. I've gotten wacky pop-ups similar before, and shutting them down and running my real anti-virus dealt with them -- but this one prevented me from using my anti-virus or pretty much anything else that was tried. It wouldn't even allow control-alt-delete to access the Task Manager.

cyrenasea with mad awesome resources, took Magri to a coworker who fixed it up, better than new, in less time and for exactly half the price that MicroCenter was going to ask for the same repair. I had -- by sheer lucky coincidence -- backed up all my documents that same day before the virus struck, but I've got dozens of purely random bookmarks saved on my webbrowser, and I would have been very disappointed to have lost them all. Someday I will go through all of them... one day...

I'll note that the laptop is named after the character Magri White from Carla Speed McNeil's comics series "Finder":
Reason being that I had just read that series when I got the laptop, and Magri White is something like a computer, hosting a sort of mmorg inside his head and having wireless antennae in place of hair. When I gave it the name, though, I had the thought that it might not be a wholly auspicious name, since in his storyline Magri is harassed by something very much like a malicious viral program, loses his hair, and finally has a full nervous breakdown and is never quite the same. Last spring laptop-Magri mysteriously lost wireless connectivity for over a week and just as mysteriously regained it. This spring, it's the malicious invader. I hope that doesn't mean next spring the Blue Screen of Death is fated. But even so, I got Magri in October of 2008 and he's been serving me faithfully since then, despite the fact that I broke his little lid-latching-closures through accident during a move spring of 2009 -- so I'm pretty satisfied. Still, I think I'll name my next laptop after someone a little tougher.
Wanted to share this site -- contains over six thousand images of old maps from around the world, from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Maybe useful for writing or historical research.


Jan. 24th, 2011

A statement by the Smithsonian's Secretary on the controversy surrounding the Hide/Seek exhibit.

I've been talking about this controversy with many people over the past several weeks, and still I can't seem to get very worked up about it on a personal level. While I don't agree that the video should have been pulled, I also don't blame Clough for making that decision under pressure. Some people have even called for his resignation. Just looks like it's good exposure and the satisfaction of righteous indignation for both sides.

I saw Hide/Seek a couple weeks ago, and I did enjoy it as a whole. Most though-provoking piece to me -- a pile of candy assembled to match the healthy weight of the artist's partner who had died of AIDs. Museum-goers are encouraged to take a piece of candy to "share in the sweetness" of their relationship -- and in doing so, contribute to the diminishing and disappearance of the symbolic person, and have a sort of communion with the artist and each other. I had been curious to see if the exhibit was going to be at all shocking, but aside from the photo entitled Felix which kind of terrifies me, it was interesting but tame. Example: I had heard people were complaining about the picture of Ellen Degeneres in a bra, and wondered how Ellen could possibly be obscene. Answer: she isn't. She kind of looks like a mime, even a sad mime, just in underwear.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the Alexis Rockman exhibit. Cryptozoology, plants, twisted fables, and Guyana (the huge-size mosquitos and rancid lotus-lined drainage ditches are totally authentic) all in gorgeously painted large paintings.

Fun with scientific names

One of my coworkers is proofreading lists of scientific names of insects, and came across a publication a genus called Gelae, with this etymology explanation: This genus is named Gelae (gender neutral), a shortened version of the Latin word gelatus, meaning “congealed” or “jellied” (and pronounced like the English word “jelly”) in reference to the slime molds preyed upon by members of the group.”

The genus contains species Gelae rol, Gelae fish, Gelae donut, Gelae baen, and Gelae belae. Sample excerpt about the etymology: This species is named fish, a whimsical arrangement of letters that is pronounced like the English word, “fish,” a group of aquatic vertebrates.”

My boss, on hearing about this, replied, "Gotta love Quentin Wheeler. You know he named slime mold beetles after Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld."
Here's an article.

Bold whichever books you have finished reading, and Italicize those that you've read at least a portion of. Then tag your friends.

- A number of these I read thanks to Peace Corps – the good book exchange the volunteers had going, my closest fellow volunteers’ voracious reading habits, and the fun of escaping into the books. One or two I was able to finish ONLY because I had so much time during Peace Corps. (Amazing how much free time one has without the internet)
-I posted this on Facebook too, and tagged a few of you.

Read more...Collapse )
I know I've got at least two Slayers fans in my friendslist, possibly three or four.

This is the most frightening drawing of Xellos I have ever seen. It didn't hit me at first, but when I went to bed a few minutes later, I found myself telling myself, "Don't think about Xellos' eye, don't think about Xellos' eye..."
Here is one by the same artist that isn't terrifying.
How 250,000 US embassy cables were leaked

Like this:
"It was childishly easy, according to the published chatlog of a conversation Manning had with a fellow-hacker. 'I would come in with music on a CD-RW labelled with something like 'Lady Gaga' … erase the music … then write a compressed split file. No one suspected a thing ... [I] listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history.'"

I was reading about this in the newspaper this morning. When it said that the leaks said of Angela Merkel, "avoids risk and is rarely creative," I thought, "but how is she at mah-jong?"

Unicorn Chaser

Aaaand something to cleanse the mind after that last post.
Neil Patrick Harris as a magical singing fairy… with Muppets.
This one is BEST seen late at night.