jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #21:
What's your favorite thing about Dreamwidth?

I could say that it's the friendliness, or the developers' willingness to keep working on things that are frustrating, or the way it's imported nearly ten years of history from Livejournal without much of a hiccup. But honestly? It's the expanding cut tag.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, click over to Dreamwidth to take a look at the cut tag ETA: and click the triangle next to it!)

It expands! )

So there's that.

(the cool new people i've met are a close second, though. *wave*)


May. 14th, 2011 11:30 pm
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #20:
Yes, but what are your thoughts on yaoi?

I think of it as little as possible.

Stuff is in boxes and will be loaded on the truck on Monday, and I am at the beach for a week of gaming with [personal profile] uilos and ABG. Good lord it will be nice to have some time to relax.


May. 13th, 2011 08:23 am
jazzfish: Barnaby from "Bone," text "Stupid, stupid rat meme!" (Rat Meme)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #19:
Any questions from the audience?

Feel free to ask and I'll happily answer, either in comments or in a separate post. (The answer may be "None of your business" or "I don't feel like talking about that," but it's still an answer.)

In fact, I've got a couple left over from last month that I never got around to:

Are you still learning Perl? How's that going?

At this point I know enough Perl to get by, I have a small stable of scripts I can easily modify for my uses, and (most importantly) I know where to look in the camel book when I forget the syntax for whatever regex I'm trying to write. So, not really "learning" so much as "using, on occasions that grow ever more rare."

How were you able to resist naming your blog "Tuckered Out?"

Having a given name of "John" left me with an atrophied sense of humor about name-based jokes, and the "Take Away Tucker" sign at the to-go order counter at Outback Steak House dealt it a fatal blow.

Every place has something, be it an awesome video store or a Chinese place that just does perfect crab wonton. What would be The Place that you'll miss from DC?

The AFI Silver, hands down the best movie theatre I've been in.

If you could send one text message (140 chars, no more) to yourself at any point in the past, how much would it suck to realize that the point you'd pick is before you bought a cell phone?

heh. It'd mostly just be frustrating. "Well, there's... no. Or how about... no. Or maybe... no, not quite. Dammit." To the left, it's not like I'd be losing anything I hadn't just gotten for no reason about three minutes ago, so it wouldn't be /that/ bad.

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

... either more drugs, or fewer.


May. 12th, 2011 03:47 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #18:
What don't you talk about here, either because it's too personal or because you don't have the energy?

Not much, lately. Depressive ramblings and difficult relationshippy stuff gets heavily filtered, but I know that if I'm not writing about those things when they're happening then the problems are bigger than I'm letting on, so I try to keep writing about them. Most of what I do or think or feel is theoretically fair game for a post.

Busy day, what with running around trying to make everything is ready to go. (Spoiler: it isn't!) So have some links instead.

Obi-wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says: one of the rare articles where the comments are just as good, if not better.

In the Mood For Some Killing: Glenn Miller vs Rage Against the Machine. Some of those who work forces are the ones who... play trumpets?

Lego-style apartment transforms into infinite spaces. Wow.

Who Had the Best [US] Civil War Facial Hair? I had assumed that there was no way this award could go to anyone other than the eponymous Ambrose Burnside, but it turns out the competition's actually pretty impressive.
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #17:
How many people on your reading list do you know IRL?

About half? *counts* Twenty-eight of forty-nine, plus two I've met only once (hi, [personal profile] blaisepascal and [personal profile] coraa!). More like three-fifths, then.

Book Reader vs Book Owner:
There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: Instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book. The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books.
Meh. I'm a "book owner," I guess. Have been since I bought the bright blue/green/red paperbacks of Lord of the Rings in elementary school, since I first grasped the idea that I could have books that I could read whenever I wanted to. Which I did, repeatedly, until I wore out a lot of my older paperbacks. In high school I discovered the local used bookstore, and started trading in the books I wasn't rereading as often. Later I found sources for affordable hardbacks, first through the SFBC and then from Green Valley Book Fair, and I started building up a substantial Library. These days, I know I've really moved in to a new place when the books come out of the boxes.

But I own books because I want to read them. If a book doesn't pass the Good Enough To Reread test, into the Go-Away pile with it. I love books because I love reading, and reading is a joy that's mostly independent of the physical medium. If it's holding together and not of so poor quality that it's distracting, I don't much care whether the book is a cheap beat-up paperback or a beautiful limited edition from Subterranean.

My main objection to ebooks, after technical complaints like "lack of a decent e-reader" and "lack of a consistent e-format," is the same as my objection to electronic music: there's no physical medium, no way to recover from a data crash. These days this is at least partially irrational: between backups and the ability to re-download a book or song from whichever online store, I could most likely rebuild my library if my hard drive were to explode. The fear's still there, though.

There's also the question of availability. I could see myself switching over to ebooks... but a lot of what I want to read is older and not (currently, or ever in some cases) available in a decent e-format. So if and when I go digital I'll still be hauling a bunch of physical books around, because that's my option.

I'm okay with this. I do appreciate the way books furnish a room, and I like having a physical tactile association with what I read. (There's a phrase I've been meaning to look up for months now, that I know is in the second half of a book, near the top of a left-hand page. And I imagine that when I next read Tolkien I'll get all discombobulated, because I no longer have those falling-apart primary-colored paperbacks, and the words will all be in the wrong places.)

I just don't think there's nearly so great a divide between "book owner" and "book reader" as the New Yorker blogger, or the Penguin Putnam executive, seem to see. In ten years, if and when print books actually become the luxury items they're supposedly threatening to, maybe. But at that point, "book" will mean "ebook," and we'll have a separate word for dead-tree editions, like with "album" and "vinyl."
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #16:
What are you glad you did but haven't really had a chance to post about?

D101, but that was months and months ago and it's more "haven't figured out what I want to say about it." (Or "to whom.") Most of my "glad i did that" events these days are along the "got to spend time with person X while it's still relatively easy to do so" variety.

I'm glad I started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. There's just not much for me to say about it yet (only six short episodes in), other than "this is pretty cool."

I just told Facebook that I'm moving. One more step towards making it sink in that this is Really For Real Happening. (eep.)

The Burly Men will be showing up on Friday to take all our stuff away. At that point it's going to be a lot harder for me to keep thinking "this is all some kind of weird game, and when i get back from the beach i'll just be going back to work in the open-backed cube, same as the last seven months."

We'll be crashing with my parents for a few days after the beach, and then (by some yet-to-be-determined means, on some yet-to-be-determined schedule) heading out west in time to get there by the first of June.

And then... I dunno. The settling-in, and the meeting-people, and the finding-things, and all that, I guess.
As he thought of it, though, he could not imagine what "just living" might actually be. He had never done it in his life. But he wanted to do it anyway.
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #15:
What's your current obsession? What about it captures your imagination?

I don't really have one other than "moving" at the moment. Last week it was "the Canadian election" but that's resolved itself into "everything sucks," so there's not a lot of point obsessing over it. Avatar is quite good but probably not going to draw me in enough to hit the "obsession" state.

If I had more time and energy I'd probably be perfectly capable of holing up in front of a given video game for hours on end, for weeks on end. But these days even my video game obsessions only last a week or two, and then I'm done.

In a couple of months maybe I can go back to obsessing over my writing.

So far, Windows 7 exemplifies Johnson's dictum. It looks a great deal like a half-assed implementation of OSX, with some distracting transparency effects and animations in the windows. The net effect is that a machine that ought to be two to three times as fast as my Windows XP desktop and probably half again as fast as my laptop feels extremely sluggish.

I'll adapt eventually; it'll just take some doing and grumbling.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #14:
Did you have a gateway fandom? Still in it? Why or why not? Is there a community for it on DW?

Um, no? I mean, I was a major Tolkien geek in elementary school, I guess that could count, but it's hard to have a "fandom" consisting of you and nobody else. I've never really glommed onto a fandom the way one does. Media consumption's typically a solitary thing for me.

The goodbyes are starting to really sink in now. We had dinner on Friday night at Zengo with a dozen or so people, and then several of them and a bunch of others came over for our housecooling yesterday. Which was exceedingly pleasant, and involved people I've not seen in some time, and a great deal of Stuff was carted away. Then today we took yet more Stuff down to the thrift store where I'll not have to see it again, and took most of the art down off the walls, and generally started feeling like we're going to be moving soon.

I think it's started to wear on me. Not consciously, not in an "omg moving" sense, but nagging at the back of my mind. Giving every action, every delay, more weight than it deserves.

I could do with more than three weeks off from work; I could do with having an actual entire week in Vancouver to get used to being there before I have to start earning my keep again.

Oh well.
jazzfish: Barnaby from "Bone," text "Stupid, stupid rat meme!" (Rat Meme)
(See, this is what happens when you spend half the workday trying to set up a new computer: you FALL BEHIND ON YOUR DAILY POSTING SCHEDULE. Tragic.)

21 days for Dreamwidth, #12:
What do you consider the five most "telling" interests from the list on your profile? Why?
  • having too many books, because my love affair with books is not only about reading, it's about the physical presence of the library as Home.
  • statler and waldorf, because they encapsulate so much of what made the Muppets great. "I've a good mind to go home." "If you had a good mind you wouldn't be here in the first place!"
  • military brats, because I'm fascinated by the ways we're broken and the ways we healed around it.
  • the waste land, because its depth of allusion and gorgeous language Changed My Life.
  • affection, because it's vital.
And #13:
Do you have any unique interests on your user profile? What are they? How'd they get there?

Several. I've not really updated my interest list since importing it from LJ however long ago, and most of these are shared there.
  • blaming the patriarchy: Jeez. I cannot believe no one else on Dreamwidth is interested in blaming the patriarchy. How is that even possible?
  • cat vacuuming society: My writing group. None of the other members are on LJ or DW. (Actually I think Jen-in-charge has a Livejournal account but she doesn't use it.)
  • fleeing to canada: It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • homing from work: I stumbled across this in someone else's profile, and it seemed like a really good idea. Soon I'll be homing from work at home, which is less impressive.
  • jazz fish zen: An obscure picture book from the mid-nineties.
  • lacuna: An obscure role-playing game from the mid-2000s. I keep hoping other fans will pop up.
  • military brats: My obsession with brathood dates back to reading the book four years ago.
  • owain glyndwr: The last Welsh Prince of Wales, disappeared in 1610 or thereabouts. Also the namesake of my first car. For awhile I wanted to run away to live in Wales.
  • red bell peppers: Tastiest of veggies. Seriously, no one else on DW likes these?
  • snowpocalypse: Feb 2010. God, that was wonderful. I have never seen so much snow and I probably never will again. Okay, so I can understand how no one but me would like this.
  • spring peepers: Among the things I'll miss in Vancouver. I was once unable to hold a conversation at Pandapas Pond in B'burg because they were so loud.
  • the scribblies: The Interstate Writers' Workshop, a bunch of formerly-Minnesota-based fantasy writers who put out some of my favorite books.
  • the treachery of images: Magritte's painting of a pipe. Ceci n'est pas une interest.
  • tjhsst: My high school, whose full name is longer than its physical address and several time longer than its URL. For a year or so everyone I knew on LJ was from there.
  • tjst: Jefferson Shakespeare Troupe, the best part of high school, even once I'd graduated.
  • zarf: A genuinely weird and awesome guy.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #11:
What features do you think Dreamwidth should have that it doesn't currently?

Photo hosting and the ability to read locked LJ posts, both of which have been in the works since well before the site launched.

That's really about it. I'm happy with just about everything else.

Derek K. Miller's last post has gone up.

... yeah. Just read it. (Read the linked xkcd cartoon about legos, too.)

And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #10:
Tell me about your default icon.

It's cropped from an image I found a decade ago on Howie Green's website. I've been feeling a little guilty about that recently and have been meaning to write Howie and ask for permission (and offer payment) to use the image and username. That, like so many things, is On My To-Do List.

I still need to sort through my now-mostly-unplayable computer games and my Miscellaneous Closet Stuff, and do some amount of herding of things into reasonable piles, but I'm mostly ready for the Burly Men to come and put everything I own in boxes.

This is kinda weird. I haven't had other people pack up all my stuff in... yeesh, twenty years. (That was the time I went away to summer camp for a week and when I came back we'd moved.)

It's starting to sink in that, yeah, I won't be here this time next month, for most values of "here" that come to mind.

Like I say, weird.

An amusing side effect of the NDP's unexpected surge: the new NDP Members from Quebec include a student voting in his first election, and an assistant pub manager who speaks limited French and spent the week before last in Vegas instead of campaigning. Oh dear.

(Are you sick of hearing about the Canadian election yet? Me too! But I have to suffer through the consequences, so you can as well.)
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #9:

Are there two people on your reading list that you think should meet?

nngh. Bleh. I don't know. None really come to mind, other than the ones that already know each other. Wait, I do think [personal profile] jadelennox and [personal profile] jazzfish ought to meet at some point.

Tonight I shall treat myself to a book that's got a better-than-average chance of being a keeper, rather than one where I get thirty pages in, realise I'm forcing myself through it, and toss it on the Go-Away Stack. (I'm glaring at you, Total Oblivion More Or Less.) I figure I deserve it.

That or I'll actually put together the package I've been meaning to mail for weeks now. Or maybe both.

oog busy

May. 2nd, 2011 03:27 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #8:
What community do you wish was more active?

Again, [community profile] endings, because it's mostly me and [personal profile] wishfulclicking posting, and while zie's found some awesome stuff it's nice to get some different perspectives.

I'd like to see a bit more activity in some of the writerly communities as well.

(Busy workday today, so this is all you get.)
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #7:
What is your favorite community on Dreamwidth?

[community profile] endings, because it is awesome. It is, in fact, so awesome that I'm going to go post there now.

Problem: the W key is right next to the Q key, which makes for severe annoyances when I hit Cmd+Q instead of Cmd+W and close the entirety of Firefox instead of the tab I'm on.

Obvious yet nonworkable solution: turn on "Warn me when I'm closing multiple tabs" in Firefox's preferences. I don't know why it won't warn me when I Cmd+Q, but it won't. (Maybe I have something else set, maybe Cmd+Q is a system "quit this program" command that overrides Firefox's individual preferences.)

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #6:
What do you wish people who read your journal knew about you?

... I don't think there's much of anything. I'm pretty open about the things I want to be open about, and the things I'm not so open about are because I don't want to talk about them to (the wider internet | my DW/LJ friends).

I hope everyone knows that I've got an opt-in filter for babbling about writing (or, more recently, how poorly the writing is going): it's opt-in because I didn't want to flood everyone's flist with wordcount updates and whining unless they actually wanted to read that stuff.

Off to 24 hours of camping with [personal profile] uilos's parents down by the James River. I'm annoyed about this but mostly in the "this is eating into my weekend and i need that time to RELAX" way. It'll be good.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #5

How about when you're not on the computer?
I do very little online when I'm not on the computer.

But seriously. Lately I've been doing a lot of reading, in preparation for the Big Move. (Specifically, reading the first 50-100 pages of books and deciding to purge them. I'm amazed at how many recently have made it past 50 pp only to flame out somewhere in the 90-110 range.) I talk to [personal profile] uilos and with other people I soon won't be seeing very often, I cook, I watch the occasional movie or DVD, I laugh at the cats. In the mornings I go running. And there's gaming, and writers' group, and theatre, and concerts. I keep busy.

So, the perky "Canadians" are having an election on Monday. This is reasonably good timing for me: it means I get to find out what the heck is going on with the Canadian political system before I get up there, so I'm not completely lost in the sea of acronyms, weird names, and strange electoral practices.

If you're interested in a reasonably short and entertaining run-down, I recommend Mightygodking's take on the likely outcome (spoiler: most likely, nothing will change!). Very briefly: the Conservatives are just short of a majority. For a couple of weeks it looked like they might be able to flip enough seats in Parliament to squeak out a majority, but thankfully the voters seem to have come to their senses. The Liberals (squishy centre-left party) appear to be coasting and hoping the Conservatives will all just go away. The pinko commie leftists vote for the New Democratic Party but thanks to the travesty that is first-past-the-post voting they don't have many seats in Parliament. There's no left-wing coalition to oppose the Conservatives because the last major party is the Bloc Quebecois, whose separatist agenda ensures that no one else will want to be seen talking to them.

However, for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, or to anyone else for that matter, the NDP has been inching up in the polls, to the point where it's barely possible they'll end up with more seats than either the Liberals or the BQ. This would make me intensely happy: they'll have a lot of new MPs who'll get a chance to learn the ropes before the next election, when (in my ideal dream world) they can sweep to a majority, driving the blue menace into the sea. (Or, more likely, herding them all into the prairie provinces of central Canada. Not for nothing is Manitoba Alberta known as "the Texas of the north.")

(I note with mild disapproval that my riding will almost certainly be represented by the Liberal party, although my prospective MP seems decent enough if a bit clueless.)

It will be Interesting to see how things play out on Monday. Interesting for me, anyway.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #4
What do you do online when you're not on DW?

(I have my DW readinglist open in a tab most of the time these days, so "not on DW" is more of an "at the moment" than in general.)

I catch up on Facebook and Twitter and a handful of other social networking sites. I read a few blogs (LG&M, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pandagon, Crooked Timber, some others). I poke around on Boardgamegeek and Tor.com.

I read and write email. At home I chat, occasionally.

... you know, I'm not terribly sure what I do with all that time I spend online. It's good to have it laid out like that.

Michael Chabon's introduction to the 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth: "Puns act to shatter or at least compromise meaning; a pun condenses unrelated, even opposing meanings, like a collapsing dwarf star, into a singularity. Maybe it’s this antisemantic vandalism that leads so many people to shun and revile them."

Interactive talking plush Portal turret: I want one. I have no idea what I'd do with it, but I want one.

Existential Star Wars (in French): "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I exist, and I find it nauseating."

We just had a five-minute storm. The weather turned from greyish and imposing to sheets-of-water in the space of about thirty seconds. There was enough water in the air that I could make out individual gusts of wind.

And then it was over, and the rain cleared, and the air took on that clarity to it that it sometimes gets when the light is just right.

This was a bad day to have left my lunch at home.
jazzfish: Phonics Down: a handful of feathers from the legendary Phonics. . . (Phonics Down)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #3
Do you crosspost? Why or why not?

I crosspost to Livejournal, because I like having readers and that's where most of my community is. Herd inertia is a strong force.

When I began posting primarily at DW I chose to leave LJ comments enabled because according to an informal poll of my readership I'd lose commenters if I disabled comments on the LJ side. And I'm far too attached to the feedback and interaction I get from comments to do something that would get in its way.

This is part of why I've not really taken to Twitter, or Facebook. Not only are they not set up for long-form blogging of the kind I strongly prefer (both reading and writing), they're not set up for in-depth conversations. Twitter's better about those than FB is, but Twitter still doesn't lend itself to thoughtful measured responses.

The golden age of LJ had its share of pure surface frippery ("8:00 I lost my hairbrush" "8:05 Oh, there it is"). It also had more people writing longer bits because that's what the available platform supported. I miss that. "Longer" doesn't have to mean thousand-word screeds, it can be a paragraph or two. Something that's got a bit more reflection to it than just a nominally-witty phrase or "so i was at this thing tonight."

Also, you kids should get off my lawn.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #2:
Why did you choose your journal name?

For continuity; it's my LJ name, and it's been my online handle since, mm, summer 1996. (Originally, from Howie Green's book, via Steph.)

The journal title is from John M. Ford's revolutionary "Chromatic Aberration":
Words are inadequate (the poor craftsman curses his tools) to describe the beauty of our coasts, but words are what I have available.

It warmed up enough last week for me to start my sixth annual "how long will I last this time?" running spree. These have consistently started in April or May, and have lasted... well. For reference:
  • 2006: kept up through at least October, I think; I remember running to the polling place to vote in early November
  • 2007: aborted in late June due to Lyme
  • 2008: aborted in July due to heat and laziness; started again in September, ended in October.
  • 2009: stopped in September due to personal stress.
  • 2010: aborted in early July due to heat and personal stress.
So far, so... far. Yesterday I was at the start of week five; I expect I'll stay there for at least another week. Stupid humidity. Stupid hills. Stupid lungs. I'm looking forward to the point (probably next week) where I have to stop running because my legs are giving out, rather than because I can't breathe anymore. I'm looking forward even more to less warm and humid in another month and a half.)


Apr. 25th, 2011 03:50 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Here begins [personal profile] finch's 21 Days of Dreamwidth meme (original post). I'm not limiting my content to DW, for reasons to be explored later this week; but I'm happy to do a bit of awareness-raising, and also to have an excuse to post something each day for the last three weeks I'm at my workplace.

1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth?

Because [personal profile] jadelennox was pretty enthused about it in April '09 and was kind enough to give me an invite code. Which, yay. I bought a seed account because I could, and because I like supporting good fledgling creative endeavors; I actually started using DW last summer after LJ's questionable decisions became sufficiently questionable as to affect me too.

On Friday [personal profile] uilos and I had a shockingly nice drive through the rain. Traffic was horrid on all roads ending in "95" so we took 66 into the District and then drove along Rock Creek Parkway / Beach Drive. I've missed watching a good solid rainstorm in a forest. Plus the various bridges along and over Rock Creek Parkway tend to be exactly the kind of architecture I like to see: either big swooping arches, or simple stone structures that look like they belong.

[personal profile] thanate had a fine dinner waiting for us when we got there, and there was plenty of good conversation to be had as well. Then we came home and crashed.

Satyrday we Discussed, and went to the last ABG before departure; Sunday was Easter luncheon with my family (as thrilling as you expect, although the cherry pie was good) and then a very slow relaxing afternoon/evening.

I'm a little surprised by how ready to face this week I feel.


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon


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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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