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short term math

I've been here over 28 days. Say a guest room turns over every 4 days, on average; that's 7 turns. Say 1.5 guests per stay; that's 10 days over the period. 3 such guest rooms, so around 30 people have traipsed through this space while I've been here. 30 people who think short-term travel is a great idea now.

At least 2 of those rooms have their own bathroom, so I don't share that, though the 3rd room is big and typically has 3 or even 4 guests. And most of them don't use the kitchen. And it's all decently ventilated, or at least the windows are wide open. But still.

I haven't been counting, but 30 feels like a lot. Still, say it's every six days, including empty days, that's about 5 * 1.5 * 3 = 22 ish guests. Yaaaay.

In the spirit of positivity, I should note that my host has been awesome. Well, she doesn't wear a mask, that's not awesome. But she's responsive, diligent, and actively thoughtful; in general it would be hard to be a better host. Though most of my hosts in nearly 3 years in Airbnb have been good. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/572604.html#comments


anger management, part 2

Last year around Thanksgiving I was in an Airbnb in Honolulu. 3 rooms. I had the house to myself Thanksgiving weekend itself. Makes sense, right? Americans are home with their family or something.

Not this year. Despite the pandemic, we have a full house, with the last two rooms being filled in the past 30 minutes. (It's 8PM as I type.) Who the hell is traveling on Thanksgiving evening? Non-Americans, maybe. They're white, but I don't know more than that.

And of course full house means one (or two?) of them is *upstairs* whence I can hear every step. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/572271.html#comments


anger management

Going for a walk really can help. Helped in January, when there was a catastrophic blowup in my life. And tonight, for pettier causes. After losing my last Airbnb to house sale, I reserved this place for 5 weeks. But the old place had a 30 day minimum, so turnover wasn't that high. This place has 5 rooms and high turnover, which is *really fun* in a pandemic. But tonight's thing was that I'd anticipated a quiet Thanksgiving -- fewer people traveling, I'd been told last week no one had booked it, and so I figured it was just me and the other long term guest, a very quiet girl.

But last minute bookings happen. Two nights ago, a couple and a baby, in the room that shares a very thin wall with mine. Okay. Today they left, yay... and then *four* people move into the same room, lots of stomping, cooking too.

It's not like I can blame anyone. They're renting a room just like I do (though why are they traveling, and for only five days?) and the landlady is of course making money, it's not like she promised no one would check in over the holiday.

But having my expectations, shattered, LOUDLY, really got to me. I was already on edge from the host puttering around cleaning for two hours -- she's diligent, probably natural for her to do so as soon as someone checks out, but it's the day before Thanksgiving, take a break! And now I know why she had to: more guests -- and then, bam.

I feel calmer after the walk. Also after meeting some of them and telling them about the THIN WALLS AND CREAKY FLOOR.

I'd also been mad about them not wearing masks in the kitchen despite being Asians speaking Asian language, but they were apologetic enough when I brought it up and wearing them now.

New policy: when renting long term private rooms, try to find ones that have a 30-ish day minimum, to avoid this turnover problem.

I guess I've noticed my irritation before, but not as strongly. Pandemic doesn't help. Thin walls don't help. And it hasn't been much of an issue in a while: Most of my places for a while have been entire (Osaka, for less than I'm paying for a room here), the only guest room, or multiple guest rooms but fairly isolated (like an ornate garret I stayed in in Berkeley).

Well, two Saturdays from now I start splurging on an entire bungalow for six weeks. Expensive but I started figuring it was worth it to avoid people, especially the sort of people doing short term travel now. Spend on rent instead of medical bills.

Wow, I haven't had an airbnb tag before. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/572150.html#comments

What was Thanksgiving?

I just realized I don't recall what my parents regularly cooked for Thanksgiving, if anything.

That's not as much a warning of grave memory loss as it might seem. After going to college 2000 miles away, I was never back for Thanksgiving, just Christmas and summer, so it's been almost 30 years. And there wasn't any family to have over, so it wasn't a big social occasion or party, just me and my parents having maybe a nicer meal than usual. And, well, our usual dinners were already pretty nice, food stamps and poverty notwithstanding, so there's not that much contrast.

The one thing I'm pretty sure of is that there wasn't a turkey. Our oven was broken for basically my entire conscious life. My father was adept at doing pot roasts in a Dutch over, but I don't think a turkey would fit. Quite possibly roast beef *was* the special meal, though that's vying with vague memories of Christmas.

I know we had cranberry sauce, but not when. I'm not sure it was only a Thanksgiving thing for us, if it was Thanksgiving as well.

Just musing.

Though all this probably explains why I don't have the same attachment to Thanksgiving food or parties as most other Americans. I came to the standard array of dishes only in college. And coming as an unbiased outsider, a lot of it isn't all that great. :) See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/571863.html#comments
From Women's Work

Minoan women had worn elaborate dresses fashioned from densely patterned textiles ( figs. 4.5-7 and 6.3), while the men sported only skimpy loincloths with cinch belts and ornate footwear. With the advent of the Greeks, the tables turned. In Crete we suddenly see men wearing the intricate patterns formerly associated with women, but in the form of an ample kilt rather than a brief loin‐ cloth—a new form of dress worn also by the Hittites, the Indo‐ European cousins of the Greeks, next door in Anatolia. We also observe the cloth of the women's dresses suddenly becoming plain, with at most a decorative edging, as though the men had preempted for themselves the use of the fancy Minoan cloth. Soon the men's cloth becomes plain again, too, although still with fancy edgings sometimes.

the Mycenaeans were organization men. Upon entering Crete, they quickly marshaled the defeated local populace into labor groups to produce quotas of cloth for the central palace at Knossos; the Linear B records list not only how many pieces of cloth a team of weavers finished but also how many they fell short of their quota. Apparently these conquerors requisitioned the existing supply of handsome local fabrics for their own clothing. But clothing soon wears out, and the new labor system was not geared to manufacturing such fancy cloth. So very soon the men's clothing became as plain as the disenfranchised women's.

Working within a quota system of production is not like weaving for oneself. It is no longer fun, nor does the weaver get the benefit of extra effort put in. Mass production is not at all like making single pieces at will; there isn't time to do a careful job. This economic principle is illustrated many times in history. For instance, in Mesopotamia, when people first figured out how to make pottery, they painted it with truly exquisite designs, but when the potter's wheel was invented and it suddenly became possible to mass-produce the pots, the designs rapidly degenerated into a quick swish of the brush for a little color. The same effect is visible in Cretan textiles made for the central palaces, under Mycenaean rule, as they rapidly became plain with at most a fancy edging. Elsewhere on Crete, however, in remote areas that the Mycenaeans failed to subjugate, the Minoan women continued to make their elaborate fabrics all the way down into the Iron Age.
See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/571428.html#comments

Ktown update

Had to change Airbnbs. You know you're in Koreatown when there are 3 H-Marts in walking distance. Nice to be on a proper grid again. I've had takeout twice, Yoshinoya and some Vietnamese food. My host is perfect but the physical house is not. Also the microwave is weak, whereas the old one was superpowered. I'm a bit further from the train station, not that I'm taking the trains. I had deja vu on a walk, running into Hotel Normandie where I was put up for a job interview 4 years ago. Current job goes well.

I've done a lot of interesting reading but that's for another post. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/571309.html#comments

But I'm A Cheerleader

This is one of the few movies I ever bought on DVD, and I now can't remember when or how I first saw it. My parents? College? No, it came out in 1999. San Francisco friends? I dunno. I wasn't sure why I liked it, other than "sweet love story"; it's not like the conversion therapy camp is *personally* relevant, though I feel empathy for it easily. Now, looking back from a lot of yuri reading, I think "oh, probably my first girl's love story". Good chance I saw it before Willow and Tara hooked up on Buffy.

If I still own it then the DVD is in storage in Boston, but it's "free with ads" on Amazon Prime Video, and I suffered through muted ads. (For the first time, you fail me, ad blocker.) Still enjoy it. I'd misremembered the exact words of the climax love cheer. I also have NO memory of Megan's parents coming around to PFLAG in a tiny scene in the credits. *sniffle*

It's also a light horror film: beside the cringiness of the 'intervention' and 'therapy' itself, Megan gets kicked out as a minor, abandoned on the side of the road by camp and parents. Fortunately there's someone she can turn to, though walking there with her suitcases takes her from bright daylight to solid night when people are in pajamas.

Sensitized thanks to my yuri reading, I thought to check fingernails, at least after noticing Megan's huge claws. Graham, the most experienced self-accepting lesbian, has tightly trimmed nails.

Wikipedia says it was cut to get from NC-17 to R, and the UK version is 7 minutes longer.

It had a budget of $1 million. :O I didn't know you could make movies that cheap... Good call, box office of only $2.6 million.

I also notice that it's before the plague of teal-and-orange movies. Apparently it got criticized for being too colorful; certainly the camp's blues and pinks are *intense* but that was A Point and hey, at least there's a palette with more than two colors...

"Babbit made a conscious effort to cast people of color for minor roles, in an effort to combat what she describes as "racism at every level of making movies."[7] From the beginning she intended the characters of Mike (played by RuPaul), Dolph (Dante Basco) and Andre (Douglas Spain) to be African American, Asian and Hispanic, respectively."

I had not noticed. I mean, I didn't process that there was unusual representation. The girls are whiter though Jan might be POC.

"In order to get a commercially viable R rating, Babbit removed a two-second shot of Graham's hand sweeping Megan's clothed body, a camera pan up Megan's body when she is masturbating, and a comment that Megan "ate Graham out" (slang for cunnilingus)."

That doesn't sound like 7 minutes of cuts. They seem pretty trivial compared to what was left in, too.

Movie "X-Ray" trivia says Clea DuVall and RuPaul were the only gay actors, but I randomly found that Douglas Spain (Andre) came out as gay in 2012.

Other movies I owned were Addams Family Values, which I watched last week on Prime, Clueless and Frozen, both of which I got to see on my flight to Japan last year, X-Men (first two), the three PotC movies, and I think House of Flying Daggers, or maybe Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragon? I think that one was more "it's really cheap" than "I love this movie." I *know* the Pirates movies are in storage, much good it does me... See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/570973.html#comments


more Javascript

New Job has me learning JS and Node.js. I have learned that some of my earlier complaints (see tag) have been improved by later developments (or ones extant at the time that I hadn't found.) Like 'var' variables have function scope (useful concept; I think it applies to Python), but you can get block scope (One True Way) by using 'let' instead. I don't think I knew that simply assigning to an undeclared variable creates a global (dear gods) but JS borrowed 'use strict'; from Perl, which shuts that off.

JS strikes me as a shitty half-assed core language which is trying to grow its way into respectability. Unfortunately it has 25 years of shitty web code to have to be backwardly compatible with.

No wonder there are multiple languages to use instead, that compile down into JS.

Today I accidentally discovered another WTF.

> l=[1,2,3]
[ 1, 2, 3 ]
> for (v in l) console.log(typeof(v));
> for (v in l) console.log(v);

So in a way this makes sense. "for in" iterates over the properties/keys of an object, which for an Object (dictionary-ish) are names. The properties of an Array are numbers, but in a 'for in' context, they could be strings.

OTOH, stripped of rationalization: the indices of an array are numberic, and yet they're strings in this iteration case. ffffuuuuu.

Of course, JS coerces between numbers and strings at least as fluidl as Perl does.

I found this behavior by accident, I was printing 'v[0]' thinking I was using 'for of" (which iterates over the values of an Array) when I wasn't, and I got numbers rather than letters or 'undefined' (which is what you get if you try

> n=4
> n[0]
See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/570790.html#comments

microwaved apples

Baked apples are soft and sweet. But a bunch of work or time, and heating up the oven for one apple seems extravagant.

I cut up an apple and microwaved the slices for a minute, and voila! soft and sweet. Maybe I'm missing some caramelization action, but the goal is to be better than a raw apple. Achieved!

I tried a carrot for 1.5 minutes, and it was softed, but not amazing.

Usually I use the helmet-mouse icon for all food posts, but Holo + apples can't be passed up. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/570564.html#comments


two kinds of toilet paper

Content warning: toilet paper uses

Read more...Collapse ) See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/570205.html#comments


grapefruit is weird


Article via conuly.

* citrus genetics were weird and messy, if you didn't know that already.

* grapefruit is a feral hybrid discovered in Barbados, halfway around the world from Citrus Central.

* As you should learn if you don't know already, grapefruit has lots of drug interactions. Seems that's indirect: grapefruit disables stomach enzymes that normally break down most of an oral medication, so if you take the drug within 12 hours of grapefruit, you get much more drug than the prescription calls for. It can also disable some drug transporter proteins that bring things (like drugs) into cells, so in those cases you get less drug than expected.

* Tylenol is one of the drugs, though I'm not sure which class. I assume the second, from the lack of more strident recommendations not to mix them, because it's already too easy to OD on Tylenol.

* All the bitter pomelo derivatives have that effect, but you're "unlikely" to consume enough lime or sour orange for it to hurt, and I assume sweet orange doesn't have enough pomelo heritage, or didn't inherit the right genes. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/570103.html#comments


homelessness in US and Japan

The US feds claim 500,000 homeless people in the US; outside counters claim 1.5 million. (Wikipedia, numbers a few years old and different years.)

Japan, with 1/3 the population, claims 25,000 homeless people at the 2003 peak and 5,000 in 2018.

I don't know anything about comparative methodology, or homeless specific policies; I do know Japanese zoning, and it's much closer to a 'free market' in housing than the US has seen since 1930. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/569619.html#comments


happy happy crossover

Leaf on the wind
Falling so fast
Like fragile fireflies
Drifting in a storm
See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/569404.html#comments

Prydain feudal oppression

I've forgotten this, or somehow passed it over.

On the little farm, while Taran and Coll saw to the plowing, sowing, weeding, reaping, and all the other tasks of husbandry, Dallben undertook the meditating, an occupation so exhausting he could accomplish it only by lying down and closing his eyes. He meditated an hour and a half following breakfast and again later in the day. The clatter from the forge had roused him from his morning meditation;

Like damn, that feels like Pratchett level commentary. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/569147.html#comments


Tolkien queer humor


‘But what about this Frodo that lives with him?’ asked Old Noakes of Bywater. ‘Baggins is his name, but he’s more than half a Brandybuck, they say. It beats me why any Baggins of Hobbiton should go looking for a wife away there in Buckland, where folks are so queer.’

Anyway: there was this Mr. Frodo left an orphan and stranded, as you might say, among those queer Bucklanders, being brought up anyhow in Brandy Hall. A regular warren, by all accounts. Old Master Gorbadoc never had fewer than a couple of hundred relations in the place. Mr. Bilbo never did a kinder deed than when he brought the lad back to live among decent folk.

Farmer Maggot, a short ride from Buckland:

‘Then I’ll tell you what to think,’ said Maggot. ‘You should never have gone mixing yourself up with Hobbiton folk, Mr. Frodo. Folk are queer up there.’ See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/569060.html#comments


40 hour week job

A friend of mine linked to https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=907720996370834&id=100013988260274 which is world-viewable, but basically is someone saying they can't balance a job with dinner, exercise, a clean apartment, and weekends, and someone else saying you're not meant to, 40 hour jobs were 'meant' to have a homemaker.

longCollapse ) See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/568718.html#comments


fire lizard ostriches

So, you've read the Pern books. Five colors of dragon and fire lizard, reliably matched to sex and to reproductive strategy, at least for females. Gold fire lizards lay clutches and watch over them, green fire lizards just lay them and run. Kind of weird, like drudge classism for fire lizards, right?

Or not! https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads/wir-dragonriders-of-pern-spoilers.859004/post-23249907

I have my own headcanon about fire lizard breeding practices. Their clutches are HUGE: dozens of eggs, up to fifty in F'nor's clutch. Menolly can hold three eggs in one hand while climbing. A tiny fire lizard queen couldn't possibly lay thirty or more eggs of that size in a few hours or days. They would weigh far more than she does.

Ostriches have an unusual reproductive strategy. A dominant pair will make a nest and the dominant female will lay up to a dozen eggs. Other females in the area will add their own eggs, which may or may not have been fertilized by the dominant male. The dominant pair doesn't object to the additions, which can bring the total number of eggs in the nest up to 60. The female, who can recognize her own eggs, makes sure they're in the middle and pushes out some of the excess, then the long incubation begins. The extra eggs reduce the chance that a predator will steal all the dominant's eggs. The secondary females have a small chance of surviving offspring without putting in any work. Everybody wins!

A gold fire lizard only lays a dozen eggs, with the rest of the clutch contributed by greens. They're not lazy or stupid, any more than a cuckoo is lazy or stupid for abandoning her eggs. When greens get their eggs in a gold's nest, the eggs get a measure of protection from a larger fire lizard who can command her fair to help. The queen allows it because she puts her own eggs at the center, where they are less vulnerable to tunnel snakes. And when the eggs hatch, the queen's hatchlings have a better survival rate because of their size and strength. Again, everybody wins. Sometimes a green can't find a willing gold's nest. They make their own, smaller nests and abandon them to fate.

And then, even better, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side-blotched_lizard

"it turns out that there's a real-world example, the side-blotched lizards, who have three types of male and two types of female, each of which has a different reproductive strategy and is helpfully color-coded to match:"

Orange-throated males are "ultra-dominant, high testosterone", who establish large territories and control areas that contain multiple females. Yellow stripe-throated males ("sneakers") do not defend a territory, but cluster on the fringes of orange-throated lizard territories, and mate with the females on those territories while the orange-throat is absent, as the territory to defend is large. Blue-throated males are less aggressive and guard only one female; they can fend off the yellow stripe-throated males but cannot withstand attacks by orange-throated males.

Orange-throated females lay many small eggs and are very territorial. Yellow-throated females lay fewer, larger eggs, and are more tolerant of each other.[4]

Now, none of that matches fire lizards all that closely, even the two female strategies are different from the ostrich or inferred green/gold division. And the males don't match up, even if we assume there's 'control' of green females by brown or bronze fire lizards. (Golds are clearly in charge when around.) But five color-coded strategies? Neat.

As presented the male fire lizards seem pretty redundant. I did speculate about blues doing more fishing than others, and being camouflaged from prey fish or predator wherries. Alternatively they might be using handicap principle sexiness: "Sure the bronze is big and flies high, but I'm so quick and clever that I can thrive despite looking like a flying sapphire, mate with me."

Tempted to say that bronze/brown is a human distinction, and browns are just bronzes who didn't grow as big.

You could do more if it weren't so clear that fire lizards had colors fixed at hatching, like browns becoming bronzes and dominant if they're the biggest male around.

The wiki tells me that 'modern' fire lizards are actually feral engineered organisms that displaced their wild progenitor; the original 'dragonets' were given Mentasynth and other genetic hanges, which may explain why an alien species Impresses to readily on humans. So maybe there was originally a more dynamic color thing that got 'fixed' by the humans.

There's also the question of whether alien compound eyes see color the same way we do... See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/568414.html#comments

Once More With Feeling

I just re-watched the famous Buffy musical episode, after years of listening to the soundtrack. It's still fun and good as a coherent whole.

It did occur to me that Giles' reaction to Buffy's depression, "turn away to force her to stand on her own", is probably terrible. I guess it makes sense if he thought she was being 'detached' or 'lazy' or something, and not 'depressed'.

Xander no.

I've never re-watched the later seasons. Part of me is thinking "apart from the amnesia episode, it's all downhill from here." See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/568283.html#comments


Smokey the Bear State

Living in Indiana, Massachusetts, and Japan, I've missed the growing west coast fire seasons over the years. Had a few summer visits, but missed any fumes. Had covid not happened, I would probably have moved somewhere by summer -- Montreal perhaps, being cooler and cheaper than other humid alternatives while my job hunt continued. (Then again, had covid not happened, I might have a job, which might add other constraints.)

But covid did happen, and I'm still hiding in LA, and as the summer went I thought maybe I'd gotten lucky. Or that the state had burned itself out last year.


LA was escaping the Bay Area fires for a while; I saw a big "thundercloud" from an Azusa ranch a few weeks ago but it didn't seem to affect overall air quality. Now, though, it's bad. Not sure how bad, online sources very a lot (my phone weather apps are very cheerful, aqicn predicts 400+ dooms that never happen.)

The outside air has definitely smelled smoky the last few days, though varying: stronger at noon, weaker at 5pm. Just as notable was the light: 5 pm a couple days ago didn't smell, but looked very weird, what I assume is from the total diffusion of light. Yesterday I saw a bar of red light through the kitchen window -- at 3pm, long before sunset.

Through the magic of Amazon, I now have an air purifier. I'd about DIY ones, where you get a 20" filter and a box fan, but just getting a True HEPA purifier wasn't that much more, and at an alleged 5 pounds I thought it might even be portable if I moved, though it looks and feels more substantial in person. I have no idea if it's helping; my first reaction is that I'm smelling plastic from the newly unboxed thing... See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/567869.html#comments


what if: a fast moon

Phobos, the lower moon of Mars, has an orbital period under 8 hours, so from the surface it looks much like a artificial satellite of Earth: over the course of a night it rises in the west, sails across the sky, and sets in the east. In fact it does so twice. Nothing in Earth's natural sky is so quick and regular, and I find myself wondering how astronomy and astrology might have been different if we'd had a Phobos. Not very productive wondering, but still. I suppose it might have been a nocturnal timepiece.

The fact that it really obviously moves west to east seems like it might have had some effect, compared to everything else rising in the east. (The Moon moves eastward over the course of the month[1], but that may be less obvious.)

The other moon, Deimos, has a 30 hour period, slower than Mars's day, so it rises in the east. But it should move quite visibly against the stars, and it takes a couple days to set for a Martian observer.

Wondering about all this reminded me of my old wondering whether the local presence of monkeys, an obvious link between humans and animals, had an effect on Eastern religions.

[1] Over the course of a night the moon moves east to west, like the sun and stars. But night to night, the moon at dusk starts over the western horizon as a waxing crescent, moves overhead as a waxing half, and appears over the eastern horizon as a full moon. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at https://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/567597.html#comments


Damien Sullivan

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December 2020



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  • 17 Aug 2019, 04:45
    I use Yardley's English Lavender soap, and a bar lasts a good long while.
  • 19 Sep 2018, 20:20
    The block south of me is the 400s, whereas mine has addresses like 17-11.

    Ah, gobbled up in the rift, no doubt.
  • 10 Sep 2018, 20:14
    The most systematic way I have is working through a tutorial for the language.

    A couple years ago I'd been working on what I called Language Reference Suites, which were big blobs of code doing…
  • 10 Sep 2018, 20:10
    No, but my roommates had a cat that would stalk and attack me.
  • 10 Sep 2018, 15:26
    Do you have some systematic way of learning a new coding language, or characterizing it for reference as you learn it?
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