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Dec. 27th, 2016

LJ Scrapbook alternatives?

What are you all doing for image hosting these days? The recent news about developments with LJ brought home again the fact that there's a life cycle to websites and LJ hasn't been on an upswing for quite some time now. I haven't given LJ money for a while, reserving that for DW, but its Scrapbook is still what I use most to embed images.

(I haven't found a proper news announcement about their server move, but comment threads in the last DW maintenance post and on fail-fandomanon said that they've just moved their servers fully to Russia, and that they've been suspending/deleting LJs for political reasons? When looking for more info I've found mostly posts by Russian language LJs, some by former employees, like Anton Nossik, that I could only half-decipher via Google translate.)

Relatedly, does anybody know an easier way to back up your LJ Scrapbook than through the obnoxious interface? I've found some scripts from a few years ago, but they've changed Scrapbook since.

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Looks like it was a glitch not a feature update

I just clicked a kudo button twice on AO3 by accident because my tablet was lagging, and it resulted in two kudos with my name showing up in the list, rather than one kudo and an error.

But it seems this was just a glitch because of my wonky clicking. At least when I tried leaving kudos again on a WIP I follow that didn't work. Too bad, I wouldn't mind being able to leave more than one, especially with long chaptered stories.

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Dec. 16th, 2016

Star Wars Rogue One reaction

no detailed review, but reaction cut for massive spoilers )

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Nov. 29th, 2016

weird differences

I've been making Anki flashcards to learn vocabulary and grammar and such, and because visual cues help with memorization I do google image searches in the language I'm learning for stuff to put on the cards.

This mostly works fine with Spanish. You enter the Spanish word and you get pictures that work decently as cues, not just for plain objects but also verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and get a kind of visualization of actual word usage. However with Russian words image search results are more often than not completely overrun by internet memes.

That is not useful. (Also you frequently get gross image results for totally harmless words.) Though I guess it might say something about Russian internet culture.

Like if you image search e.g. "a little" in English you get a bunch of images with thumb and index finger a bit apart, which is the kind of thing you might put on a vocabulary flashcard. But if you google "немного" the first page is all internet memes, and you probably don't want to look at these at work or if you are easily disturbed (from nudity to animal harm to racism to execution pictures all kinds of stuff is featured). From what I can tell that is mostly because these come from sites that collect internet meme pictures or something, and the word just appears somewhere on the page.

It's like that with every other word. I mean, concrete nouns are frequently okay, like if you google "дверь" it results in images of doors, but even simple verbs get you a bunch of weird memes, when with other languages they get you pictures of people doing something. Whether you google to work, travailler, trabajar or arbeiten you get fairly similar images. Image searching "работать" meanwhile does not, but lands you in weird internet meme land again.

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Nov. 8th, 2016

I have a new e-reader

After the untimely destruction of my last one (lesson learned: don't read while walking, at least not unless you have seriously rugged your e-reader to take a lot of impact), I got a replacement today. I briefly considered just getting the same model again, because I liked my PocketBook Lux Touch 3, but actually it now cost 12€ more than eleven months ago when I bought it, and it would have been kind of depressing to get just the same again for more money now that the tech is almost a year older.

So instead I spent a little more still to get the new PocketBook Touch HD, which as the name indicates has a HD display, is faster with twice the memory and can play audio. My preference for PocketBook is that I want to be able to use my e-reader without having to register it anywhere or be associated with any store. PocketBook offers a cloud backup and synchronization service too, but you can just skip that. Also it supports the Adobe DRM my public library uses.

One thing that made me apprehensive is that while most reviews liked the hardware they cautioned about bugs in the firmware. Some reviews also claimed that it stopped working entirely when they tried to update said firmware, but I put these down to inexperience in coping with technical difficulties.

I was already familiar with how horrible and glitchy their firmware updates are from my previous PocketBook, but they also offer multiple ways of troubleshooting, restoring corrupted systems and their support is decent.

And true to form the thing hung during the initial firmware update, but actually it resolved more easily than last time. After a call to their support line, it took only one reset and connecting the e-reader to my laptop during the update for it to finish correctly. Apparently the thing likes to be connected to a power supply while updating, and may hang if it is not, even if it is nearly fully charged. Only the manual doesn't tell you that. (I was clever enough this time around to try this during their office hours, whereas last time I tried over the weekend and only got an answer to my, then slightly different, problem via mail on Monday, when I had already managed to resolve it with a lot of trial and error.)

Anyway, once I was past that (and disabled automatic updates), so far it seems to work okay when I tried stuff, though some problems might only show with longer use. I mean, my previous one has glitched a few times with books for no reason I could discern, like it would sometimes not display a page but exit to the menu, even though when I checked the ebook source code in that place on my computer I could never see anything unusual (like broken formatting or code or such) that might explain this. It wasn't happening often, maybe half a dozen times per several hundreds of files, but still annoying. And a few times it crashed for no reason, so even picking the old one again I would not have been bug-free.

The HD display of the new one is noticeably nicer and crisper than my previous one, and it is faster when loading things, when browsing the library and when reacting in general. So that is very nice. It connects fine to Calibre (though the translation of Calibre tags into "genres" is not ideal for my use of tags in particular with fanfic), and its own library organization got even better than previously.

Anyway so far I'm happy with it.

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Nov. 7th, 2016


I should not have read while walking. I stumbled over some uneven pavement and fell down. I didn't hurt myself too badly, mostly my hands, one wrist and both my knees are scaped up, but my ebook reader was destroyed. :((( Also my trousers, but I mostly feel the loss of my ereader.

I mean, I feel lucky that I didn't break my right wrist -- I awkwardly landed on that since that hand was holding the ereader and scraped its outside, but I guess the device absorbed quite a bit of force (it actually bent and partly shattered). Or damaged my new glasses which were far more expensive than my ereader.

But still. I really liked that ereader, and it wasn't that old either.

ETA: a picture of the casualty. )

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Nov. 2nd, 2016


I just got a mail that Amazon shipped my copy of The Hanging Tree! It's supposed to arrive on Friday. :D

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Oct. 28th, 2016

Doctor Strange

My expectations were kind of low, because most of what I heard about it in advance were the casting issues and such, and also Benedict Cumberbatch is a bit hit and miss for me, but I actually had a lot of fun watching this one. Then again I, heretically, enjoyed Antman too. Though I'm not feeling particularly fannish about either.

quick comments, cut for spoilers )

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Oct. 2nd, 2016

I need to file a complaint with Morpheus

Last night I dreamed about being hassled by Donald Trump. WTF. I think I participated in some game show? I need to watch less US election coverage if my dreams get invaded.

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Sep. 22nd, 2016

wtf, Twitter?

You should not send spammy emails that claim that the account's tweets got lots of attention (and then explain how to promote them more or something) to accounts that have never posted even a single tweet.

After first glancing at the mail I wondered whether this meant that my twitter, which I don't actively use, had been hacked (it hasn't), and somebody had actually tweeted from it, or something, and now they wanted to inform me about unusual account activity.

This applies in particular since, afaik, I had already unchecked all seven checkboxes for receiving emails about Twitter updates, including the one about new features and services. So they should not have sent me spammy emails in the first place. Though maybe they added a new one, I was opted in by default and only unchecked the latest, seventh(!) fine-grained twitter product "information" box with my unsubscribe click.

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Aug. 30th, 2016

and then I fell into a wikipedia click hole...

I've decided to make one of my occasional attempts to get better at Spanish again. rambling about my foray into language acquisition )

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Aug. 20th, 2016


I unwittingly caused a life and death drama in my fridge's vegetable drawer: I just found a giant, dead caterpillar (well about four centimeters long) in the bowl of plums I had also stored in the drawer. It definitely wasn't in the plums when I put them there, considering that I transfered them to said bowl from a bag and it was too big to have been inside any of the plums without doing obvious damage (and not the type of critter you commonly find in plums either). I think it must have come hidden in the cauliflower I also stored in the drawer (though that wasn't sitting directly next to the plums), somehow tried to desperately escape the cold or something, and then expired in my plums.

Well, I guess it's good to know that despite not being organic or anything, my cauliflower was wildlife supporting. I kind of feel bad for it, trying to escape and then slowly dying of cold. It was still unpleasant when I found that thing as I just wanted to grab some plums to snack on, though.

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Aug. 12th, 2016

weather griping, again

August shouldn't be a month in which you have to huddle under a blanket for warmth, not in the Northern hemisphere and far out from the Arctic anyway. And yet here I am. Under a blanket.

I've resorted to wearing thermal underwear as sleepwear too (rather than just a t-shirt as I usually do in summer), because two nights ago I woke up cold and shivering.

Thanks to my regular weather complaints here I realize it actually is not that unusual (I complained about even colder temperatures in August 2011) but I'm still grumpy.

I'd like some nice temperatures with pleasant highs in the upper mid-20s, balmy nights and some sun. Weather should be tradeable, like I'm sure that say Portugal would be happy right now to take our excess rain and give some five to ten degrees in warmth, then we could have pleasant temperatures in the mid-20s and not be soggy, and they could get some rain against their horrific fires and not have a heat wave anymore.

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Aug. 10th, 2016

what a gross development

I've just seen US-style processed "cheese" in a spray can sold for the first time in a supermarket here. Granted it was part of some special display dedicated to American foods and not their normal range of products but still.

The most bizarre thing was that it apparently was produced by a Wisconsin company that calls itself "Old Fashioned Foods Inc." which is just-- though maybe it's meant to be ironic.

ETA: Also now that I'm thinking about spray can cheese (and calling that an "old fashioned" food), I don't think I've ever read a fic where Steve Rogers when adjusting to the future/present isn't going the Farmer's Market route, but instead (or additionally) is totally thrilled with all the modern convenience food developments, because "scientific"/"hygienic"/"modern" food is awesome to him. I mean, I think he is of the generation that initially brought us the stuff like TV dinners and spray can cheese and food technology in general in the post war period, that only then in the backlash got its current bad reputation, because now "natural" is fetishized as the best and healthiest food.

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Jul. 29th, 2016

I like AO3 as much as the next fan...

...but it does not currently "archive" fanart (or anything besides text-based fanworks). You can embed and list other fanworks there in an index, but they are *not* preserved.

I want to headdesk every time I see some Tumblr post advising people to back up their "fanworks" to AO3 in the current round of freakouts over Tumblr's corporate overlords and their possible agendas, that pretends as if everything worked like fanfic.

I have fanart on AO3 that will be broken image links if Tumblr goes down, because I embedded some from Tumblr when my own website was particularly glitchy.

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Jul. 22nd, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

I had fun watching, and liked it a lot more than the last one.

cut for spoilery comments )

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Jul. 13th, 2016

my reading attention span is shot right now

I seem to be unable to actually stick with reading anything right now, whether fanfic or pro. This is really frustrating, for my reading to be so frazzled rather than feeling immersive and relaxing.

I need need to find something that really hooks me. Unfortunately I don't even know what exactly I am looking for. Several of the things I started and then stopped reading were things I usually enjoy. Have you read anything recently that you couldn't put down?

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Jul. 2nd, 2016

weather griping

I really hope summer will get a bit drier as it goes on. However, I'd be happy if it stayed on the cool side, because anything above 25°C makes me miserable. Though actually according to a weather press notice I just read, it turns out the average June temperature has been almost two degrees above the long term average here, but I guess it didn't feel like it because it's been much wetter than usual (135l per sqm instead of 70l per sqm).

Anyway, I feel like indulging the time honored tradition of weather griping, so have a poll:

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Jun. 26th, 2016

progress update on project "blueberry pancake"

Keeping the comments and advice on my last post on this topic in mind, I tried to make blueberry pancakes again this morning. (Pancakes tend to be my Sunday morning breakfast treat.)

So I floured my frozen blueberries and only dropped them into the pancakes once the first side had firmed up but the top was still liquid. Additionally, because my usual buttermilk pancake batter turned out to be a bit too liquid to rise to cover them entirely, I dribbled a bit of liquid batter over them to protect the blueberries from burning. This method worked out for about half of my pancakes, which were somewhat fluffy (not peak fluffiness, but no dense or soggy areas), nicely browned, with blueberries on the inside (and those not turned green either).

Unfortunately I failed with about half my pancakes, which still suffered from burned blueberry bits and/or soggy areas around the berries. This mostly happened when the blueberries still came into direct contact with the pan, then usually burst open and released juice into the pan and the batter. Though partly that was because in my second batch I didn't leave quite enough batter to properly cover them from above. The earlier ones turned out much better.

So it's progress.

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Jun. 19th, 2016

is there some trick to making blueberry pancakes?

When I make thicker, fluffy pancakes, instead of the thin crepe-style ones, I rather like adding stuff to the batter. Some chopped nuts work well, as does mashed banana, but I always fail when I try adding blueberries. Either the blueberries burst open and the surrounding area gets soggy, or the pancakes brown unevenly due to either blueberry juice getting out and caramelizing faster than the rest of the batter or intact blueberries sticking out making for an uneven surface, but I never get nice texture with blueberries in a fluffy pancake that is evenly browned. The online recipes I've found seem to imply that adding blueberries to pancake batter ought to work like regular pancakes in a straightforward way, yet it doesn't for me.

This morning I considered trying for blueberry pancakes again, but ultimately shied away from it, because my previous attempts never worked, and I'm not sure what I can do differently to make them not fail. I mean, the banana-pecan pancakes I made this morning were tasty too, but it would be nice to be able to make blueberry ones, so I wondered whether anyone has mastered this and could give advice?

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