I'm back from my trip!

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:39 pm
illusion_is_mine: (Default)
[personal profile] illusion_is_mine
 I finally got back today at around noon.  Since they're time is an hour behind, and most of us didn't sleep the night before we were all super exhausted.  Our plane left at 5am this morning, and we had to be at the airport at 1am.  We caught a shuttle from the resort to the airport, and reminisced, about the trip a bit.  It was a good experience.  I wouldn't say I would go back anytime soon, but I'm glad I went.  I'll post pictures probably tomorrow when I'm more rested.  Until then I hope everyone is doing okay. 

Athena Profiled by PBS

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:31 pm
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[personal profile] asher553
Helen Church, Kathryn Townsend, and my friend Athena Brown are the subjects of this refreshingly fair piece at PBS, which covers the June 4 rally in Portland.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/features/trump-supporters-portland/

'Some are extremists. Others hold more moderate views. Still others are hard to pin down. They include independent voters like Townsend, who are becoming more active and strident as they see unprecedented efforts on the left to shut conversations down. They include people like Church, who, when slapped with labels, respond by showing up at rallies for the first time. And they include Republicans like Brown who have become fed up with what they see as the left’s PC culture. ...'

Go read the whole thing at the link.

Monday evening

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:39 pm
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[personal profile] asher553
Had a busy but productive day. Tired but still here. Hello everybody! Back to regular journaling tomorrow.

The new job isn't real ...

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:38 pm
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[personal profile] asher553
... until you pee in the cup.

Tomorrow, I pee in the cup.

Babylon Galactica

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:25 am
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[personal profile] asher553
Last night started binge-watching two of my favorite SF shows in tandem: Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica.

Babylon 5 aired from 1994 to 1998. The creation of J. Michael Straczynski, it was groundbreaking in its time and I think it stands up very well today. The show featured the most advanced and extensive CGI effects to date, and set a whole new standard for CGI production. It also marked a departure from the procedural format common in TV series - in which each episode is a self-contained story, and the episodes may be watched interchangeably in any order - toward a serial format, in which an extended story arc is developed from one episode to the next over the length of a season or even the series. The premise of B5 is a space station located in deep space, and hosting visitors and diplomats from various spacefaring races. A similar concept was used in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' and Straczynski maintains that the Star Trek franchise stole his idea, although he declined to pursue legal action. B5 was notable for its dramatic sophistication and strong character development.

Battlestar Galactica, which aired a decade later, was Ronald D. Moore's 're-imagined' production of a 1978 TV series of the same title. In the pilot mini-series, the human race (an Earth-like, spacefaring civilization spanning twelve planetary 'Colonies') is wiped out following a war with robots of its own creation, called Cylons. Only about 50,000 humans survive aboard the spaceship of the series title. This show too set a new standard for CGI effects and for dramatic production. The scenes have a gritty, lifelike feel which Moore said was part of a conscious effort to differentiate the series from the 'Star Trek' model. Much of the tension comes from internal conflicts among the protagonists, sometimes overshadowing the external threat from the Cylons.

So I've started watching both shows from the beginning, more or less alternating by episodes. Vorlons to the left of me, Cylons to the right! This is gonna be fun.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:58 am
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[personal profile] firewhispers
Last night, I found out Chester Bennington, the singer of Linkin Park died. He committed suicide. While I was never really into Linkin Park, this made me very sad. Depression and suicide are very serious and very real. Rest easy, Chester. You will be missed by many.

Thunderstruck

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:47 am
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[personal profile] asher553
... as covered by Finland's Steve'n Seagulls. Via Kestrelcat at LiveJournal.

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:17 pm
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[personal profile] firewhispers
I ate way too much white cheddar popcorn and had a Degrassi marathon yesterday. I watched the episode when Craig's dad died and it made me really sad.
I haven't logged onto LJ in a few weeks and I'm a little paranoid to while I'm at my parents house. I'm worried about getting a virus from that site. Is LJ still safe to be on even though the servers are in Russia? I have some LJ comments to reply to and I'll get to them soon. I've been learning about ransom ware too and that really isn't helping with me being paranoid. I accidentally clicked on an ad on LJ and I almost shit my pants, it really freaked me out.
I'm going to keep this entry public. Not sure why.

Finally going on vacation

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:07 am
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[personal profile] illusion_is_mine
 My plane flies out tomorrow, and as of Tuesday night I will officially be in Panama.  We have a hold over flight in El Salvador for about an hour, and I'm taking my Gameboy to pass the time.  I'm done packing, and today I'm just going to chill, and play a few video games.  I'm really excited guys!  This will officially be the first time I'm leaving the US.  I will definitely post lots of pics of pics on my journal when I get back.  I will see you all in a week.  :)

I will be updating on my twitter if anyone wants to follow me there.  I have it locked so as soon as you add me I'll add you back as long as I know who you are. :)


Sunday evening

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:20 pm
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[personal profile] asher553
Spent the weekend mostly recuperating from the now-concluded job. Got some new prospects in the works, including a phone interview tomorrow (Monday) morning. I popped in for the minyan at Chabad this morning and chazzaned. I'm hoping to start going somewhat regularly once again - after having been away from it for a few weeks - and it was nice that they asked me to lead the prayers.

Portland seems to be finally into a sustained period of nice weather and I got outdoors for about 20 minutes of run/walk today. Planning to do it again tomorrow. What I've been forgetting about those runs is how good I feel afterward.

Math Worksheet Software

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:22 am
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[personal profile] asher553
You get good at anything by practicing it a lot, and that includes mathematics. I wanted to bring my foundational math skills up to a good strong level, and I didn't want to schlep around a lot of textbooks. So after a little poking around I discovered Kuta Software (based in Istanbul), which markets a line of "Infinite" math worksheet programs aimed at the grade school to college levels.

https://www.kutasoftware.com/index.html

I started using the software last night and I'm very happy with the product. Right now I'm working on solving polynomials by completing the square; this is one of those operations that you can learn step-by-step in a few minutes, but it's only by working many practice problems that it becomes natural.

The topics covered range from arithmetic to calculus. You set the parameters for your worksheet (topic, number of problems, easy/hard, involves fractions or doesn't, etc.) and the program spits out as many worksheets as you want, with fresh problems each time. You can refresh the random values each time so you never run out of problems - hence, "Infinite".

Now that I'm officially working in the IT field, I'm going to want to make sure my technical skills are strong, and notwithstanding my age I'm still hoping to get around to finishing that BS degree in Physics or Engineering. An endless supply of practice math problems will help me stay in the game.
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[personal profile] asher553
I've got several boxes full of old CDs and DVDs, all of which I keep meaning to watch or listen to "someday". Last night I decided to give one of those DVDs a go (a production of a Shakespeare play that I'd had for maybe 5 or 6 years) and I put it in the DVD player. A few minutes into the play, the faces of the actors dissolved into blocks of pixels as if they had all been placed under the witness protection program. Soon thereafter, the disc stopped playing entirely.

Disc rot. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot] It's the same problem I'd been having with many of my DVDs and audio CDs. Meanwhile, my old vinyl records - some of them inherited from my parents - still play, for the most part, pretty well.

Sony gave us the CD back in the early 1980s [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc] and I can remember the extravagant promises that were made about the digital compact disc's durability and longevity. Now I'm wondering if it's time to just cut my losses and toss all my old optical media in the dumpster.

I can watch videos and listen to music on streaming digital media and downloads now. Of course, the continued viability of those media depends on the survival of the technological infrastructure that they inhabit: successive generations of computers, mobile devices, music players, and so on.

I'll confess I have a certain sentimental nostalgia for vinyl - but my reasons for keeping up my vinyl collection are pragmatic. I want a record that'll damn sure play 10 or 20 years from now. I don't know that about my digital tracks, and I certainly don't know it about my CDs, but I know it about my vinyls.

And as for Sony - the folks who brought us the compact disc in the first place - what are they up to these days?

Well ...

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/29/534854280/sony-will-start-making-vinyl-records-again-in-japan-after-nearly-30-year-hiatus

The tables have turned ... at 33 1/3 rpm.

Showverse S1 post

Jul. 12th, 2017 06:38 pm
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[personal profile] cassie_faith
 I run a challenge comm called Showverse. This'll be where I post anything that I make for it. Feel free to ignore. :) 

Title + tag line )
Lead characters  )