johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-07-17 09:15 am

Good news and bad news...

So the good news is, I'm learning more about what fatigues me; and, I've been learning to to be more plugged in intellectually.

The bad news is that some of the stuff that fatigues me seems to be pretty low-key and difficult to avoid.

I've also gotten better a learning to avoid stuff that fatigues me when things are going badly - I think this is part of why I'm keeping plugged in mentally. That's a good thing.

In other good news, I'm learning about other database systems and starting to be able to reason about them more deeply, and to collaborate with other people who know them. The not-quite-bad news is I'm learning how hard it is to go from knowing huge gobs of information about SQL Server, and not always being able to translate it to other engines yet, because of the depth of the knowledge.

An example? Well: SQL Server is a database engine; most database engines make changes in memory, and then flush those changes to disk later. SQL Server has two mechanisms for this: the checkpoint, and the lazywriter. MySQL runs checkpoints too, but it also has a scan that runs once a second that *sounds* like the lazywriter, but might not be. And for some reason, this lazywriter-like function can block changes to the database. So, why? What's up with that? How does it work?

These are pretty deep questions, and they're pretty advanced, too. You could build a fine and powerful application running MySQL and never need to know this. You could build multiple such applications and never need to know this, in fact - and you could manage many such applications without need to know it. So where is it documented? Well... hither and yon. There are hints here and there in blogs and forums, but not all such hints are made by people who understand the process on a deep level, so they have to be reviewed carefully.

Just as in life where there's always a solution that's simple, elegant, and wrong, I'm sure there are discussions of this process that are likewise simple, elegant, and wrong.

I kind of wish I was younger - there were times when I'd imagine this as being akin to studies of magic in many fantasy worlds, where people know set spells, but don't quite understand precisely why they work. It would be exciting viewed from that perspective!

And it wouldn't surprise me if such stories were more likely written more by Unix programmers and admins than Windows. One interesting difference between Unix and Windows programs: Unix programs have a tendency to have dozens, or hundreds, of configuration options that you can set, meaning that there are all kinds of ways to control your daemons (no, really - that's the Unix term for what we Windows people call a "service") using these options, but it's really hard to know what, precisely, is making a difference.

So, you see, understanding MySQL is a lot like learning magic in such a world - you can see things to change, but if you don't have a deep understanding of how they all tie together, it's easy to make superstitious changes (things get better, but not because of what you did) or to confidently break something completely; you can also make the right changes, and things work much better. It could be really kind of fun and exciting to tie all this together and to feel like you're understanding the magic better.

Right now, it's a bit frustrating - but it's getting better. As I keep reminding myself, there are only so many ways to do things and I know many of them - once I figure out what is being done, and why it's being done, I can usually piece together how it can be done, and then reason from there how they are doing it. It's not as fun as imagining myself as a master of the mystic arts, but it's getting the job done.

Here's hoping life is treating you all well - that you have joy, and love in your life, and that you have striving where you need challenges, and rest and support where you need succor.

(Oh, great. Now I'm remembering old cartoons - someone gets in a bad scrape and someone yells SUCKER! It would be twisted in a good way, I suppose, to reverse that - have the cartoon show someone getting help when they need it, and having someone call out SUCCOR!)

I suppose, next I'll have to explain why, when thinking of random numbers, I'll usually come up with 2356.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-07-11 11:02 pm

Trying to update more often, and a thought...

I've been trying to update more often, but a bad side effect of chronic fatigue is losing sight of what might be interesting to say.

I recently mentioned to a friend that when one is in a bad situation, one should try to cheer and be motivated by tiny victories. A person trying to learn to walk after a spinal injury has to be glad to be able to do the tiniest of things that normal people take for granted, and see them, not as signs of loss, but as signs of progress.

I said this because I find people are more motivated by gains and rewards - and happier people strive longer and harder, and are more likely to be tired but satisfied after a long struggle, versus feeling beaten down.

Well - yesterday, I was doing very poorly but I went to bed at 8:45, and slept (albeit poorly) through the night. Today I had a fine day working, and came home with no energy for happiness or fun, but not exhausted either.

So now I know that about 10 hours of rest can take me from a bad day to a better one, at least sometimes. And while a 9pm bedtime *is* pretty early, the point isn't "I'm losing nearly two hours from my day!" - it's "I know that I can do something to take back some control." l

So: that's something to celebrate - probably tomorrow, because as I said, I don't have any real happy-energy today.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-05-29 06:00 pm

Memorial day...

Today is a day of remembrance but I don't have much to say about that. Many people fight bravely - for good causes and bad - and for those that chose to join the battle for any noble reason deserve honor if they fight honorably. While it's right and good to honor the memory of those who fought in the stupid great-insanity that is war, today is not a day I have the energy to talk about it... is there any day where there are words that can make the point as it needs to be made?

But today was a day for resting and that's mostly what I did. I visited Portland on Saturday, driving back Sunday, so I'd have today to recover for work tomorrow. Since it is a traditional cookout holiday, I also supplied myself to hold a kind-of celebration of that in my home.

I don't eat hot dogs often any more - but once in a while, baking them in an oven so they swell up and brown a bit, and then the fun of feeling them burst a bit while biting into them is fun. I usually buy 8-to-the-pound hot dogs so I can hold them up side by side and ask why hot dogs come 8 to the pack, and hot dog rolls come 8 to a pack! You see, there was an old joke - hot dogs used to come 10 to a pack - maybe they still do! - because they were 10 to a pound, and meat is sold in pounds, but rolls are sold in dozens, so 8 was a fine roll count (3 packs are two dozen).

I used to buy the larger hot dogs - 8 to a pound - so I could subvert that joke. But I now notice that the 8 packs are no longer a pound - they're 14 ounces. It's... worrisome that nearly-artificial meat has gotten expensive enough that they're shaving package sizes.

My biggest target, though, was cheeseburgers.

I found Bubba Burgers to be a brand that's okay, so I had a box - 6 1/3rd pound burgers. I also needed onion and pickle (which were easy to get), hamburger rolls (20 net grams carbohydrate - not great, but not bad), and finally, cheese.

Not for me the cheap cheese that's labelled as "pasteurized process cheese food," or worse, "...cheese product." Face it, cheese food should be what you feed to cheese to make it grow big and strong. Cheese product makes me think of the "end product" - what happens to the "cheese food" after it's been eaten by cheeses hoping to grow big and strong.

Nope - I buy the GOOD stuff. Kraft Deli Deluxe - pasteurized process American CHEESE!

Okay, you can legitimately argue that doesn't count as "good stuff" but it's what belongs on a plain cheeseburger such as one might cook on a grill!

The one bad thing about Bubba Burgers is that 2/3rds of a pound is a lot of meat for a double cheeseburger, so I eat them as singles... which, on the plus side, means I get twice as many sandwiches out of a package.

After that - well, it's almost like McDonald's would try to make. Onion, usually a modest full slice that goes on the bottom bun (so the heat of the burger softens it a bit) with some strong mustard on top - though there's an occasional hefty serving of plain French's yellow, instead, for nostalgia. (Also, because French's always comes out of the squeeze bottle, looking at you Guldens, and ESPECIALLY at you, Grey Poupon!)

Pickles on top, and maybe some extra mustard (needed if it's yellow) and some ketchup.

That's a good and proper cheeseburger, and it's nice with a prepared burger - though you can do the job yourself with a good burger press, I never think to do so before I want a burger, which is why I'm glad I found Bubbas to be a decent brand.

One hint I found online that I have come to agree with: don't panic if a frozen burger has a pretty toasty crust on the outside of the meat - that's actually a good thing, it helps keep in a bit of the juice, even when you've cooked the burger long enough to make it safe to eat... something you need to be especially careful with these days.

I suppose that's all for today.

Oh, one other thing: you're not crazy. When a highly placed member of the White House team is found to have, on his own, tried to set up a secret, back-channel communication with Russia on what's officially Russian soil, that really is a big deal.

If you need to do something like that, you engage State or the intelligence community - if only so you have cover when you're asked why you wanted such deeply secure communication with a foreign, unfriendly power.

So: no matter how much it's brushed aside, remember, you're not crazy, it really is as bad as you first thought.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-05-22 06:54 pm

Funny T-shirt

I hope even a Trump supporter could admit that, okay, it's funny. Maybe unfair, untrue, etc., but *funny*.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/05/22/my-new-t-shirt-came/
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-05-20 08:10 am

Worst week on record for a long time. I guess that's a good thing, kind-of.

I don't know what it was, but this last week was completely and totally exhausting. At least I can say one thing with relative certainty: it is not physical exertion that drains me the most. (Which isn't to say it can't - but physically, the week wasn't strenuous.)

There's an expression I sometimes use, and it's some morbid dark humor though I know a lot of depressed people would understand it.

cut for morbidity )
(If you didn't click through: I've been feeling pretty badly - not suicidal, but not exactly loving life - and please remember my gift for understatement!)

Last week, I was asking myself when was the last time I didn't feel this way, and I couldn't remember. Months - since the beginning of the year for sure. It feels like eternity.

The good news is, in the short term, I now know that plenty of rest will help, and I've certainly earned some downtime. I finished up my first documentation project at AWS, and I'll see what they think, and I have some ideas for more.

It was kind of neat. I wanted to write up how to control IO on SQL Server. In RDS (where I work) we supply provisioned databases, and they have one serious weakness: they have only one volume - one pipeline for data. This isn't insurmountable, and it's not intrinsically bad, but to reduce contention on anything, the best way to do it is make more of them. With database engines, multiple data paths are considered a very good thing.

There are ways to control most IO traffic, but to explain why they're important, a person needs to know a bit about indexes and file storage in SQL Server.

Well, we have a Wiki for knowledge sharing, and Wikis are good for linking things - so I now have three articles, one on databases and file storage, one on indexing and indexes, and one on IO control. And while I'm exhausted and know I haven't got a lot of energy to spare, it feels really good. I accomplished something, and something more permanent than just helping one customer get through one question/problem/situation. So, that's something. I'm feeling a lot more positive about life and it is, thank god, the weekend.

Here's hoping life is treating you all well.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-05-17 08:39 am

Life update....

So I've been doing some writing for work - at workplaces, for caseworkers, I feel that "the first hit is free" - I have to show I can produce quality training material before I can ask them to let me develop it on company time. (Also, this means I can legitimately claim copyright on these first attempts if they're not good for the company's needs. "Work for hire" is always copyrighted to the person who pays for the writing.)

It's been busy and difficult, but I'm learning some wiki-stuff that I think will help. And I'm learning to break ideas down in a mind-mapping way - interconnecting ideas so that I don't have to explain file structure of SQL Server while explaining index defragmentation - just link to the right section.

My hip - folks, if you have a locked up hip, find a good massage therapist. I found one worth my weight in gold (I weigh a lot more than her!). She can take what I tell her about my pains and inflexibility, and translate it to muscles, and then work them. She also has experience relaxing core muscles - there are some fearsome-strong muscles that connect your ribs and spine to your hip, and if your hip is all twisted up, they are probably tensed and maybe shortened.

Each time I felt I was making progress (but in pain) I'd see her, and suddenly the progress I was making felt locked in, and, I had more freedom of movement. In the past few months, I've made more progress that I could be absolutely certain of than in the year before that.

I think that's because there's only so long you can make yourself uncomfortable before you start shying away from it, and go back to the twisted, but not-painful, posiitons.

Trump's still President, but, folks, I'd ask you all to spread the meme: We *said* this was going to happen. Not Trump voters, of course, and more importantly, not Republicans. We said this was going to happen, it was obvious it was going to happen, and while Republicans tried to show some separation from him, none of the Republicans who mattered came out and said "you shouldn't vote for him." They put their nation at risk because they wanted the prize - being able to yank health care from 20+ million people, and deliver huge tax cuts to millionaires.

The Republicans as a party have gone off their rocker, and their tacit support of Trump is proof. They need to stop the wholesale slander of Democrats and liberals, and start admitting that there are complicated issues that need more than tax cuts and deregulation to solve.

I hope life is treating you all well - I miss you when I'm tired and busy.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-05-11 08:50 am

Some of this and that...

Gad, but it's been a bad several weeks. I've been trying to do a lot of writing for work, and the problem is that I don't know how to do technical writing, quite. But I have learned some tricks of the trade and it's going better, but it's been eating my brain, which means it's also eating all of my free time, as well.

A friend asked me 2-3 weeks ago if I was having a bad day, and I was about to say "no, really, it's pretty good, and then I did a quick assessment and said "I guess most people would call this a really bad day, yes. For me, it's not bad."

I did feel awful - tired, everything was forced (so, I didn't "unload the dishwasher" I "forced myself to unload the dishwasher"), but I had time - I thought "let's get that dishwasher unloaded because I might be having a bad day tomorrow!" and didn't have any problems getting the job done. That's a good day.

On the downside, my hip is hurting like the very blazes; on the plus side, it's hurting because one final group of muscles are stretching and loosening - my leg is rotated to a mostly neutral orientation (and for a while, you'll be able to hang a plumb line on my knee and it won't touch my feet - that will change as my body adjusts) and I've learned of muscles on both sides of the leg that weren't doing their jobs that are now doing so, in some cases reluctantly.

An oddball issue arises from this: whenever I'm expending a lot of effort to make the right muscles work, my jaw tends to tighten up - I have some TMJ and a neck/upper back tension headache to beat the band. That's mostly been worse than the leg pains until the last two-three nights.

For those of you who know my kinks, you might find some humor value in how I kept a long handled paddle next to my bed, so I could grab it and go to town on my butt... I didn't have a golf ball, but the handle was just right for digging into the piriformis and other muscles tensing around my sciatic nerve!

That lasted for two days - yesterday, it was pure-D "you have a heavy leg, and the muscles on the top and side of the hip aren't used to holding it!" That's great - exercise can help engage them properly and strengthen them. And hopefully, without constant pain, I might have more energy. (And even if I don't - less pain is a goodness.)

Other news:
I've perfected my geek-blowoff line. "OKAY! Let's FELLATE this portable popsicle purveyance!"

(there's a common line, at least regionally or in certain circles, "let's blow this popsicle stand!" - the phrasing became much smoother when I decided that "purveyance" would work for "a place where things are purveyed". This may be a small victory, but it's a real one!)

Life is being life. Donald Trump is still President, and Republicans are still supporting him, but my deep hope (and expectation) was that Trump would expose the rot in the system, and now, it seems to be happening. Trump fires the FBI director, pretending it was for behavior that he hadn't cared about for months, but suddenly became Very Important when the Russia investigation pissed him off enough, and enough Republicans and pundits are trying to support the insupportable: claiming that it was a good and proper thing, and there's no reason to question the timing.

This is a Good Thing. The Republicans have learned to be bold - not to apologize, but to throw out "alternative facts" knowing the media will repeat them, and people will hear two stories, and assume good faith on both sides, and figure there's no way to be sure.

Thing is, this is a bit too clear cut. Even if you were to be the boldest of the bold, you can't deny that this looks bad with any veritas, no matter how Sincere and Very Serious you can be.

It's still ugly and embarrassing, but maybe it's embarrassing enough for people to start to realize that "you know what? if someone can reach Hillary Clinton's *assistant* because they made a big donation to the Clinton Foundation, we really shouldn't have said *that* looks bad. Because now we are reminded of what *really* looks bad, and who it was that fed us the 'Hillary looks bad' line."

We can hope.

Be well, all, and be happy to the extent that you can. I'm still out here, meaning there's always one more someone who loves you and wants what's best for you.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-04-10 08:26 am

So LJ is explicitly refusing to allow account deletion unless one accepts the TOS

I know that this isn't lawful, but I also know that it's the sort of issue that hardly raises a whimper these days - still, it's one of those rare times when I wished I was rich, and not so that I could provide large levels of help to someone I cared for. Well, or for random people, too, but I see no reason to posit that one can't care for people just for being randomly selected.

Still, we have a paid contract, and they are trying to unilaterally change the terms, and not allowing me to remove myself from the contract without me giving them additional considerations (to wit: my agreement to new terms). It's not right, and it's not fair.

Does anyone have a copy of the previous TOS?
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-04-05 08:50 am

Looks like I'll be saying goodbye to Livejournal.

So, LiveJournal is demanding I accept a new user agreement before reading. They call out that the document I'm agreeing to will not be provided in my native language. They called out that they have the right to contact me to send ads. They did not call out privacy rights.

Well,
1) I don't like people who spring agreements on people all of a sudden and say "agree NOW!"
2) No, I do not consent to receive advertising from you. I'm sorry - I just don't.
3) My privacy matters. It needs to be spelled out. If you say "AGREE NOW!" and don't spell out privacy, I can only assume that your deliberate intention is to violate privacy. I don't care how it's violated - content based advertising, profile building and selling, etc..

I'm willing to buy paid service for some of my LJ friends if they'll agree to move to DW. I don't want to lose contact with you, but I also don't want to keep doing business with them.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-03-10 06:10 pm

Dear Seattlites (and all Washingtonians)

I love that recreational marijuana is legal here in Washington. THC has been a big help to me with managing my physical issues, though I do my indulging with edibles, in general. And I'm not telling you how to live your life, or how to present yourself in public. But.

Smoking gets into your clothes. Seriously. This wasn't a myth by non-smokers (of tobacco) to torment smokers with. Get yourself some smoking clothes. No, I'm really not kidding - it's a suggestion, not an order, but it is a sincere suggestion; I'm sure there are some classic outfits, comfortable and easy to throw on/off. Or... maybe if a guy can tell you're a smoker the moment you get on the bus, it's just *vaguely* possible that you're doing it too much.

Not saying it is - just raising the possibility.

And no, I'm not saying it to you, to your face, because that's not my style - there could be reasons you can't change, and I'm not going to try to make a person feel bad if they are caught in a bad situation. But I am thinking it, and I'm sure everyone within half a bus length would agree that if you can try to keep your clothes from reeking, you'll be far more comfortably accepted anywhere that you can't be sure everyone else is a fellow smoker.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-02-23 08:39 am

Life update

So, today in innumeracy, we learn that $159 is not $59. Well, technically, we learned that Tuesday in innumeracy, when I was stunned to see the NEC classic was MSRP. Technically, it's $100 over MSRP, but what's a c-note extra for a piece of cheap silicon and plastic?

Yeah, I was stupid for not checking the MSRP. And I'm too lazy to return it. Ah, well, live and learn.

Work is going well - things are shaking out a bit and I'm starting to become more comfortable and able to do things quicker, but it's annual review time and I always hate that. I mean, it might be *good* this year. A lot of things that were bad in the past are turning better here at a healthier workplace.

I had two tricky SQL Server cases I was able to corral, including one from someone who was in "Why won't you run XP_FixItRightTheHellNow for me?"

(In SQL Server, "XP" means something's an eXtended stored Procedure and can do things other stored procedures can't. FixItRightTheHellNow is kind of like the mythical assembler command, DWIM - Do What I Mean. Neither XP_FixItRightTheHellNow, nor DWIM, have been implemented, even on the interface level, but people keep demanding them.)

But one I was able to trace the problems down, and in the other, I was able to explain that the behavior was odd, but normal and driven by activity in an expected fashion. Yesterday, I went into my "and if you didn't believe my prescription barrel, here's the diagnosis barrel" mode - a different, kinder, "with both barrels" method of dealing with customers. Contrary to the standard "give it to them with both barrels" this isn't intended to intimidate, but it is intended to provide some finality. Once I'm in this mode, it might not be the beginning of the end, but it sure as hell is the end of the beginning, in the Battle of Midway sense.

Heh. I turn "both barrels" into barrels of information, and I still end up with a war-based metaphor. Life is weird that way. Struggles shouldn't be war-like in most situations.

Ah well.

I've had a lousy two weeks - really tired and stressed - but I'm feeling good today. Moderately good news on that front: I did an interval workout Tuesday (interval workouts are 20 minutes with 5-7 1-minute running intervals - one of the quickest ways to strengthen the heart, and I can't do longer workouts at higher heart rates) and a lighter, but meaningful workout yesterday (15 minutes on a treadmill with hills) so my body isn't as exercise sensitive as I'd feared. But other stresses need to be tracked down and reduced.

I'm really pleased to see heavy resistance to Trump and the Republicans on Capitol Hill who are trying to prove that dumb slogans and empty ideas are a sound governing strategy. I hope some memories develop here - "yeah, we tried the 'blanket ban' strategy and saw how pathetic it was compared to the sound, competent plans put in place by people who counted success as solving the problem, not winning the news cycle."

And I guess that's all for today - it's time to get ready for work!
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-02-18 11:12 am

Thoughts of comic book logic...

There were times I thought that Marvel used a more scientific basis for comic books - and they might, in some fashion. And one of the times I thought about that most strongly was the decision that the Flash tapped into a "speed force" to drive his powers, and I thought that was stupid.

My mind has been changed in both directions. First, I saw some early Marvel super-hero comics, where the Invisible Girl (now Invisible Woman) developed a new super-power. You see, she could already turn invisible, but now, she could focus that power to create force fields - INVISIBLE force fields, see? Because she has INVISIBILITY powers!

Okay, that kind of wipes out much of DC's comparative sins. Sure, DC still has "power rings" (of multiple colors, reflecting multiple energies) and such, but Marvel really isn't all that pure either, with cosmic cubes, infinity gems and gauntlets, etc.. I mean, at least the Marvel magic is likely to have some Jack Kirby-inspired artwork, but that's not as much of an advantage in logic, science, and realism, as you might think.

(At least I hope not, or soon we might face the Trump administration, Now With Jack Kirby Inspired Artwork!)

But, come on, the "speed force"?

Well... it actually makes more sense.

(This reminds me of when I said I preferred the movie version of Snape's relationship with Lily, because it was more realistic for a master wizard to be able to move on, if he'd actually broken things as conclusively as he had in the books. This also reminds me that some folks have opined that there are expensive drugs consumed in an attempt to reach this particular state of mind.)

No, really, it makes more sense. The normal human body uses chemical sources of energy, and receive them in a *hideously* inefficient manner. A human being being able to "run" at 30 or 40 or 50 miles an hour can be reasonably considered, but as speeds go higher, the energy expenditure goes up extremely fast.

Next: critical velocity. Once the Flash is moving more than roughly 120 miles an hour, it takes more than 1g forward, but that means his feet have to be able to push the ground with more than 1g. That could happen if he was pushing forward from starting blocks used in sprints, but not from running forward normally.

Plus: a back of the envelope estimate says that in one mile, you can expect the curvature of the earth to drop by over one foot per mile. (1 mile forward in a straight line, drop a perpendicular there, estimate the sine of an angle is roughly equal to 1/x for small x, assume the earth drops 6250 miles (1/4th of 25000) in 4000 miles (radius of the earth - 1 mile is roughly the hypotenuse, and the opposite/hypotenuse is 1/4000 = roughly 1 mile/4000 drop.)

If he ran one mile in one second, 3600 mph, his feet would be leaving the ground. This is no problem for some of the newer speedsters who were limited to the speed of sound, but the original Flash could run the speed of light. At 36000mph, he's seeing ten feet drop in a second, and at 54000 mph, there's no way he can maintain his footing - a person doesn't fall that fast.

Except before he hits 54000 miles an hour, he's reached escape velocity, which, alas, is incorrectly named. Escape velocity is a *scalar*. If you are traveling at escape speed, and you are not pointing *at* the earth, you are now going to break free of earth's orbit (in a vacuum).

Put all these together, and the idea of a speed force that makes the changes required so he can actually do these things makes far more sense than "there's Something Special that makes him able to run that fast."

Of course, this breaks all reality, but then, so does a man from the planet Krypton having superhuman abilities because he came from a planet with higher gravity and a red sun.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-02-10 05:58 pm

(no subject)

Dude, I get it.. You hate to be pushed toward doing the right thing. But don't call it terrible in pubic!
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-02-01 08:41 am

Not *exactly* a filk, but I wrote it over the weekend.

Intro:

So, this is a Simon and Garfunkel tune, heavy on the Garfunkel, who *still* has far more range than I so I need two things. COuld someone give me a reference note?
(friendly filker strikes a note on guitar) Okay, I was hoping for something written, that's why I asked for a 'note'. And one final thing that will protect the ears of those who have knowledge of voices... (looks around) Deborah? Where's the helium? Oh, well...."

TTTO: Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

Last night I had a stranger dream than any I'd pull from my rump
I dreamed the Presidency went to Donald OhMyGod Trump
I dreamed inauguration day,
Attended by powerful men,
And with the speechifying we knew
There'd soon be more fighting again.
And when the speechifying's done
And a million freedoms frayed,
They laughed a bit maniacally
At thoughts of the wealth to be made.
And the people in the streets below
Were protesting all around
As ACA, enviro regs, were tramped on the ground.
Last night I had a stranger dream than any I'd pull from my rump
I dreamed the Presidency went to Donald OhMyGod Trump
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-29 04:24 pm

Filk part 3 of 3

This is a filk I'd tried to write for a long time and it finally gelled. It's still a work in progress because it deserves to be sharpened up.

TTTO Big Bad John, though there are extra verses:

Intro: a lot of time, people complain that women heroes are built by a sausage factory - a group of men deciding what heroic women should be like. I tried to avoid the worst of it in this piece, but I reckon there's no way to avoid it entirely. You young folks here can ask your grandparents why I think this was funny.
(ObExplanation: Jimmy Dean, who later bent his efforts towards making breakfast sausage was the original author and singer.)

Just before the circle started you could see her arrive
She stood five foot even weighed 245
Kinda rounded at the shoulders, kinda broad across the ass
'N tweren't nobody 'bout to raise their glass to big Jan.
(big Jan... big Jan...) big broad Jan.

She worked pretty hard to try to fit in
'N magic worked better when she was within
The circle though she wa'ant no popular gal
No real friends just a couple a pals,
To big Jan.

Somebody said she'd battled through dreams
'N kicked out a beastie that was raisin' some screams
But a spell gone bad had burned to the bone
Burned out her heart and left her alone big Jan.
(big Jan... big Jan) Big lone Jan

She wasn't that pretty though quick with her wit
And always had time to help for a bit.
But never stuck around when it come time for play
So's I reckon we thought we'd lose her one day.

But she kept coming back, sometime wi'out a smile
'N helped shape the spellwork for us after a while
I started to realize she had more to her then
I knew we'd all see it, but I didn't know when, big Jan.
(big Jan... big Jan) Big deep Jan


One yuletide circle everthing was a fright
'N hellfire erupted instead of delight
We panicked as we felt the demon's dark spell
And everyone thought they were trapped in this hell 'cept Jan

Through the smoke and the fires of the demon from hell
Strode a hell of a woman nobody knew well.
Took up her stance, lookin' fragile as glass
Yet she stared down the demon - "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"

(Big Jan... big Jan...) big bad Jan.

([rising] big Jan)
Her power shone, all the strength of her will
Pushed back the demon, deprived'm o'his kill
The rest of us escaped from that demon's planned grave
Now there's only one left back there to save, big Jan.

Before they could help her, the demon struck back
It was near dead certain as he made his attack.
Fire and despair would tear her to death
With everyone sure she'd breathed her last breath big Jan.
(big Jan big Jan) big bad Jan.

The death strike landed, that demon's best shot
(pause)
A defiant Jan asked "hey - is that all you got?
I've suffered through worse doing time in high school
Your power can't break me, you demonic old fool!"

With brand new hope they cast the next spell
Ta link 'em back to Jan at the gates of that hell
They were ready to help her if any was needed
twasn't no need, though - one bastard, defeated, by Jan.
(big Jan Big Jan) Big Bad Jan.

They never spoke much of what happened that night.
Never seemed proper to discuss in the light.
'cept for one big lesson they'd learned in the end.
Sometimes the quiet folks make a hell of a friend... like big Jan.


Addendum: "The spell gone bad" clearly did not burn out her heart, or I wouldn't describe her as "a hell of a friend". That line is there because the leftover trauma kept her from connecting as well with a new group as well as she might have otherwise - I also kind-of assume that the after-effects of Big John having killed a man kept John separated from his co-workers.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-29 04:18 pm

Filk Part 2 of 3

This one was going for "tearjerker" - it kinda works that way for me, a second one for Pratchett:

TTTO Blowing In The Wind:
How many books can an author give to us
When the fates have become so unkind
And why there's no more joys he can he at our feet
Is a question I'll admit I've often whined
How many more years would it be till he'd given
Us the contents of that wonderous mind?
The answer my friend...
(is blowing in the wind? One that never ends?)
...is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.

How many years can the Discworld be real
In the minds of so many loving fans
How many stories did we deserve to enjoy
About a strangely real seeming land?
Just how can you handle that the gods cheated us of
Even more books written by that hand?
The answer my friends...

Well the signal can't be stopped is a lesson that we learned
From the people who ran the Firefly
G-N-U Terry Pratchet has continued to this day
As a way to keep his mem'ry alive
But the question still remains, so be sure we will demand
That the universe explain to us WHY?
But that answer my friend...
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-29 04:11 pm

Filk committed... Pt 1 of 3

So, I went to Conflikt this weekend, and while I couldn't participate much, I did decide to indulge my poetic, creative side..

After that five minute interlude, I decided to try to write some filk.

A filker mentioned there weren't enough Discworld filks, and there wasn't a "never set the cat on fire" song. I decided I'd try to start one, though others with deeper knowledge of the whole series could do better.. still:

TTTO Never Set The Cat On Fire
Never cross Gran Weatherwax
It's sure to bring you trouble
The elder witch is wise and skilled
And sure to leave you humbled.
And even if you're awful grim
Don't ask 'bout hedgehog buggrin'
No never cross Gran Weatherwax

And mind your manners in accordance with the facts
and never cross Gran Weatherwax.

Don't ever start a barroom brawl
when the city guard's aroundya
they're on a competency swing
and the troll might kinda poundya
And even if your life is hard
don't duel the over-tall dwarf guard
No never start a barroom brawl

And mind your manners in accordance with the facts
And never cross Gran Weatherwax.

Don't overbuild the pyramids
they'll warp time space continuum
The damage warping does to books
means the author can't continue 'em.
It will disrupt the graves of pharohs
So their kids would shoot you full of arrows,
no don't overbuild the pyramids.

And mind your manners, in accordance with the facts
And never cross Gran Weatherwax.

Added:
Don't bottle feed a baby dragon
It fills me with forboding
Just in case you knew it not
dragons often are exploding!
They breathe out deadly fire, friend,
or jet wash from the other end...
so don't bottle feed a baby dragon.

And mind your manners....

(Edited to fix a homophone misspelling)

(Note: in the books, it was an actual jet exhaust... but I couldn't get that to scan.)
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-10 06:27 pm

More fun than it ought to be....

So, I was thinking of the misery of thinking of going out for yogurt and pro-biotics pills, and maybe a bit of this and that.

And then a thought came to me. Yes I work for "Amazon Web Services" but we're not called that because we provide web space to Diana Prince[1]! Gee, if only someone had used the wondrous cloud based tools to make an online shopping store that had overnight, and sometimes even same day delivery... oh, right! They had!

(That's kind of how AWS started. "Look at all these cool toys we built. I bet other people would like to use them. Well... let's find out!")

Prime Now had some grocery options - I got some Coke 0 and yogurt (and eggs). Well, the Coke comes off the shelf, but the refrigerated groceries were packed with dry ice.

Damn shame I have to wait, like, an hour to let the soda get cold... wait.

Fill the sink with cold water.
CAREFULLY break up the dry ice with a hammer. Put the dry ice in, and then the soda. The water mass is too large to get below 0 C but tap water is 50-60 degrees (ETA: 50-60 Fahrenheit - about 10C) right now; that alone is a quick way to partially chill the soda.

An added benefit I hadn't considered: the bubbling of the dry ice caused some agitation. In a sink full of water, and 6 cans of room temperature soda, I doubt agitation matters too much - but it does help ensure that there's circulation, so the warmer water near the cans is moved away.

Plus you get that whole "witch's (sink-)cauldron" effect.

The water in my sink is now about 3C - colder than my refrigerator, and water sucks heat out far better than air. This barely counts as "science!" but it's still fun.

[1] aka Wonder Woman - an Amazon, you see. Yes, terrible allusion-pun.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-10 12:05 pm

PSA - recognize cellulitis...

So: Friday night, I thought I had a tiny zit on my nose. This happens with a CPAP, nothing to worry about.

Saturday, it felt like the infection was spreading - it looked like it had grown a bit, and it was redder.

Sunday, it had definitely spread, I could see it climbing up and across my nose and I felt a tad feverish (I wasn't, though). And I could see the skin that was definitely infected starting to ooze a bit, like a broken blister.

I went to urgent care, and it was definitely the right call - I had cellulitis, which can spread quickly and can quickly become life-threatening. I got a shot of antibiotics and more to take (and I was warned to go straight to the drug store, and immediately fill my prescription, and start taking them immediately), so I did.

I called out sick from work on Monday. Today, I'm out sick again, and I'm still wiped out, and all from an infection that was about the size of a quarter, or maybe just a bit bigger.

The good news is that it seems like we nipped the infection in the bud. It's definitely shrinking and looking like a skin area recovering from infection. That doesn't mean I'm completely out of the woods, but it's a good sign.

I hope I don't have to tell any readers to always finish any course of antibiotics - it's especially vital with something like this that can be fast spreading, and that might already be mildly resistant to the antibiotics you're taking.

Next step: yogurt and other pro-biotics. A ten day course can wreck havoc on one's helpful bacteria.
johnpalmer: (Default)
2017-01-05 09:31 am

Can we do this?

Time Traveler: "I expected horrors... but I didn't expect The Donald presidency!"

(record scratch sound)

"NOBODY expects The Donald Presidency! Its chief weapon is deception! Deception and bigotry, bigotry and deception... its TWO main weapons are deception and bigotry... and bullshit. Its THREE main weapons are deception, bigotry, bullshit, and a fanatical devotion to incompetence and outdated social theories....

It's four... no, AMONGST its weaponry are such diverse elements as deception, bigotry, bullshit, and a fanatical devotion to incompetence!"

(The record scratch comes from the album version I heard most often. However, if you're completely confused: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WJXHY2OXGE - Monty Python link.)