Friday, February 29, 2008

I want my... I want my... I want my KDE!

So, my coworker Brett just got a new laptop, and it has Vista on it, and one thing that's true about Vista is it's shiny.

Now I want my shiny. I've decided that when I install Linux on my new desktop, I'm going to go with KDE instead of Gnome, at least to see all the shiny that KDE 4 is supposed to have.

Unfortunately, I decided to wait until my distro of choice, Gentoo, releases 2008.0, which is supposedly on March 17 (if all goes well). So I must be patient. :-/

Also, happy leap day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dying in the Sun

(Melody from, and with apologies to, Terry Jack's Seasons in the Sun)

Goodbye, my love, it's so bizarre,
To know that science had advanced so far.
But now the end has fin'ly come,
There's no need to be so glum,
It's just time that we succumb*.

Goodbye, my love, it's time to die,
With little monsters flying in the sky.
They have stingers on their legs,
And use your ears to lay their eggs;
Can't be blown up with powder kegs.

We have fled, had to run,
But now we're dying in the sun.
Pentapedes have come to stay,
And humans are in the way.

* I've got a rhyming dictionary.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Pony We Trust...

Last night, a pentapede said this to Steve:

There is no government, only HORSE!

Poor things. They have no lips, you see.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Social constructs of friendship in the context of sexuality

(Don't attack Steve, please. This was idle talk at lunch)

Steve brought up an interesting idea today: that homosexuals were less inclined to make and maintain long-term friendships than heterosexuals because of the differences in how men and women view the world. He posited that heterosexual couples find it harder to interact with one another because of these differences, and so having outside friends is necessary for each, in order to have someone (or ones) to interact with that has a similar mindset. Homosexual couples, on the other hand, are more likely to have a similar mindset, and therefore find outside interaction less necessary (additionally, he pointed out the difficulty in maintaining a friendship with someone who is either a potential mate or competition - or both), and this may be part of the difficulty in maintaining a queer community.

He points out, of course, that these differences are not necessarily due to genetic or inborn differences, but rather differences in how men and women are raised. As a counter-example, he offered my parents, who tend to have few outside friends.

I'm not sure how accurate this is. Certainly, it's fairly accurate for me and for him, but we're both introverted anyway; I have few friends that I maintain regular contact with, and only a couple are women. And I don't have, in general, any real desire to change this.

I want to discuss this, but I'm not sure where to begin. Thoughts, anyone?


Game Criticism, Why We Need It, and Why Reviews Aren't It.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Audiveris Redux

Ok, I noted, last time I tried to use Audiveris, that I couldn't get it to work properly. Well... I was only partially right.

Although I had installed the correct version of Java, I forgot to tell Gentoo to use it.

For future reference, Gentoo users: you have to update your java selection with java-config.

So, I downloaded the latest version (3.1) tonight, and gave it a whirl on a scan I had (page two of the viola part for Grainger's Molly on the Shore). It actually runs, and it actually was able to recognize some of the score. But, there were a lot of errors, and some were difficult - or impossible - to fix, such as when two symbols were interpreted to be a single symbol. And for some reason, it prefers clefs over notes with flags, though I'm not sure why.

Anyway, there are certainly some very good things that it does, but it's got quite a ways to go yet.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How much?

Inspired by seeing someone looking at the figurines in the window at Games Workshop today.

How much is that goblin in the window?
The one with the whip and the flail?
How much is that goblin in the window?
I sure hope that it's still for sale!

I must take a trip to Greyhawk,
And leave my poor DM alone.
If he has a goblin, he won't be lonesome,
And the goblin will have a good home!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Well, the Homespun concert's come and gone. Overall, it went quite well. There were a few mishaps, but the audience was forgiving.

We played 12 pieces (roughly... I forget exactly what all there was), including some flute choir, brass choir, clarinet choir, and string orchestra pieces in addition to several full orchestra pieces. No yell band for this concert, so it was all us. We did play one of my pieces - Poet and Penguin - although I'm beginning to realize how inexperienced I was when I wrote it.

The crafts presentation was nice, if a little small. Mom brought some of Amy's dresses that she'd made, and Bobbette brought some needlepoint and some of her poetry and photography. Liana brought some nice soaps that she'd made, and some other folks brought other things as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


George R. R. Martin

Sandkings is a science fiction novella (or novelette if you're wikipedia) in which the protagonist, Simon Kress, obtains a quartet of "sandkings", insect-like creatures controlled by a "maw", which is the psychic 'queen' that births the "mobiles". The sandkings are so called because they build elaborate sand castles bearing the image of their owner—and because they fight intricate battles with one another. (Steve and I think this would make an awesome strategy game. They remind us of pentapedes in some ways.) Into their castles, they build the face of their owner, as though in worship.

Simon is, to put it mildly, a jerk. Eager for his sandkings to battle, Simon starves them, creating resource battles, and even inviting his friends over to watch and wager on the outcome. But things quickly get out of control, as you might expect.

I really enjoyed the story. The pacing and length were good, and the imagery was quite vivid (though it may have helped that Steve read it aloud to me). At times I was sympathetic toward the Sandkings, and at others I was terrified of them. The descriptions of their castles made me wish for a set of my own sandkings... nearly.

Sandkings has also been made into an Outer Limits episode ("The Sandkings"), although the episode is only loosely based on the novella. In it, Simon Kress is a government researcher investigating creatures found in Martian sand samples instead of a playboy. He's still a jerk, though he's less of one. When his project is canceled due to security breaches, he steals some sand in order to continue the project at home. This, predictably, has disastrous results, with the predictable "oh noes!" shocking twist at the end that is The Outer Limits' trademark.

I didn't enjoy the episode as much as the novella. It was too long and slow, and I dislike when a story is made more 'mainstream', although I understand why it is done for television (cost and appeal to casual science fiction fans, as opposed to hardcore fans). But, I did enjoy the opportunity to see (a realization of) the sandkings and their castles, even if it wasn't exactly how I imagined it.

So, I would highly recommend the novella, if you can find a copy. If you think the Outer Limits episode sounds interesting, you might give it a try, but otherwise, I'd pass.

The City Born Great - How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

The second story in N. K. Jemisin's anthology How Long 'Til Black Future Month? , "The City Born Great," is an exciting ta...