This is a marvelous idea. What is it? They're called EDAR units (Everyone Deserves A Roof), and they're seven foot long portable, raised floor tent units which are being distributed to LA-area homeless. Nothing fancy; just a sealed canvas roof over a bare-bones tent with a small mattress and a little bit of living space. Light, easily portable, and easily secured.

I think that it's easy to miss how important it is for a human being to have a place they can call their own. Even something as small as this, it's still somewhere you can close the door, not be seen by anyone, and sleep while feeling a heck of a lot more secure than when you're laying on a tarp on the street.

Not to mention, this gives homeless citizens a place to put clean changes of clothing, where they won't get rained on or trash on them (and thus be rendered unsuitable for work), and something to feel proud of and want to preserve. It's nowhere near a perfect solution to the problem of homelessness, but at least it's a step in the right direction...and more importantly, one that was derived by /actually talking to people who were homeless/.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2009 08:29 am)
I'm very sleepy. Had involved dreams, and then woke up to a dark morning. I'd gotten used to gauging my 'time to kick the metabolism into gear' by the sunlight coming through my bedroom mirror. Today it was all wrong, so I feel like I still should be asleep. Bah.

At work, of course. How's everyone's Monday shaping up?
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2009 09:36 am)
It was quite good.

Amusingly, after I sat down, a whole family came in, with three adorable children ranging in ages from -- it looked like -- about six to maybe ten years of age.

They left in the middle of the film. I can't /imagine/ why. I heard the mutters and gasps start up right after the Watchmen version of the V-Day photograph. (As a side note, the movie makes me want to know a lot more about Silhouette. She seemed, in the film, confident and sane in stark contrast to the rest of them.)
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 7th, 2009 04:06 pm)
Playing with yet another evolution simulator.

This one actually seems to be an improvement on DarwinBots in most ways; the only thing I would wish is the ability to open up the bot and see the programming for myself. However, I've already had two major beneficial mutations spread throughout the population.

The first reset the hunger threshold to about 17%. Standard Evolites only start hunting for food when hunger gets about 50%, which means they don't get a lot of time to find food before they starve to death at 100% hunger.

The second, which is recent, allows the Evolite to move (albeit slowly) and chase food in its 'sleep', and to wake itself up before it reaches 100% energy. It also seems to be able to perceive the presence of other excited Evolites, because it usually only 'sleepwalks' in a group that's hunting food.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2009 08:55 pm)
It's never fun to see people who you normally respect and even admire ending up like everyone else on the internet.

As a side note, I like Ani Difranco, and I especially like one lyric from a song that goes, "Privilege is a headache you don't know that you don't have". I think that I've rarely heard the concept summed up better. There are a lot of headaches I don't have. I'm white, I'm straight, I'm apathetic about religion, and I'm solidly middle class (and have been perceived as such even when I /wasn't/, because I don't have much of an accent, and my conversational patterns are heavily inspired by my readings), so I can be one of the powered majority in almost every context except the gendered.

I think there are conversations that Fandom (in general, and in specific fandoms) needs to have about our inclusiveness; fandom has tended to view itself as a comforting, accepting venue for the 'weird ones'. However, what that usually ends up /meaning/ is the 'white, straight, male weird ones'. You can vary 'male' and modern media fandom tend to skew female, but gaming fandom still tends to be pretty male-dominated, particularly in the live venues. I can't really answer for how welcomed or unwelcomed gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender fen feel within fandom; I can point out a few things that make me deeply uncomfortable (not least of which is the fetishization of gay men or gay male stereotypes for the sexual gratification of straight women and I could write a whole essay on the course of my drifting away from slash fandoms from my discovery of them in the early nineties all the way to today), though. And I've long been dissatisfied with the way I see a lot of cons: namely, a sea of white. There simply isn't a lot of diversity in, at least, the con-going fandom that I've seen (I live in the Southern United States. This may be different in other parts of the country).

I'm not sure how to improve the situation, but there's a lot of defensiveness about just the observation, and I think that's wrong. And, for that matter, I'm not sure it's even my place to say how to 'improve the situation', since I'm not one of the ones being discouraged from joining fandom, consciously or unconsciously. But I'm pretty sure that the right way has nothing to do with refusing to acknowledge the issue, nor with getting all defensive and pissy because you're made to feel like now you have to think about whether you're being offensive. Nor does it have to do with trotting out the old canards about being 'colorblind' (because, again, if you're white, you have the /privilege/ of being colorblind, because society assumes your color is the default), or diverting the conversation to how you feel as a white person being forced to think about these issues, or about that time someone you know was once treated unfairly because he was white and how that proves that racism is an equal problem for everyone. Not. Helping.

God, this was a bit of a ramble.

I suppose my only point is...I wish fandom were as open and accepting as we claim we are.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2009 02:36 pm)
An online Java applet that does much the same thing that the DarwinBots program does. Except that the little critters look like sperm. (Oddly appropriate, but still.) Okay, my little critters do; I gather that they can evolve in different ways.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 6th, 2009 01:16 pm)
Reading math blogs is a bad idea.

They make math sound interesting.

I have no real math background.

I should not be thinking about looking into math theory, because I get weebly and nervous over /algebra/.

I suspect it's just my intellectual arrogance kicking in again; the firm conviction that there's not anything I couldn't understand, if I just put in the effort for it. But I know that I'm not keen on math, and that I'll get bored with the mechanics, even if the theory is intriguing.

Also, should not be looking at MU*code tutorials for much the same reasons.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:13 pm)
U.S. sued for benefits for same-sex married couples.

It looks like maybe they've finally got some test cases they like to challenge DOMA on legal grounds. I suspect they're using full faith and credit rationale; according to the article, they're challenging on behalf of legally-married same-sex couples in Mass. who are being denied Social Security, tax, and other federal benefits because their legal spouse is the same sex.

If it sounds like I said the word 'legal' a lot, that's because I meant to. I don't think that DOMA can take a challenge like this, if the lawyers even have half their brains working...which is, sadly, not to say that the Supreme Court might decide that they just aren't going to hear it, and thus delay having to face up to the unconstitutional nature of the law. But...anyway. Yay. And good luck to them.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Mar. 1st, 2009 03:58 pm)
Although for a few bits there, I was seriously concerned. I had a nice, happy case of the flu. I'm still a little sick, but I'm able to get out of the bed, so that's an improvement. But I did get all the way through the day at work. Even managed to be coherent for most of it.

As if the skies are in sympathy with me, it started raining about mid-day Friday...and hasn't stopped since. Oh, occasionally the clouds will pause for a bit, like somebody's got to hunt down the kegs of celestial lager now that they've 'made room', but give it about half an hour, and the rain resumes. Which, hey, I guess we need it, but it hasn't made being sick any more fun, that's for sure. What ought to be even more 'fun': We're supposed to get between three and five inches of snow tonight. And since it's been raining for a few days straight, and today's high is somewhere in the upper thirties...well, it ought to stick. Which means, best case scenario, I get a snow day tomorrow (which has to be made up later, but hell, I still feel like crap, so I'll take what I can get). Worse case scenario? They put it on a delay, but staff has to go in at the same time, which means driving on icy, icy roads while still feeling sick. Bleh.

Anyway. I live. Whee.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 27th, 2009 08:46 am)
*insert long whine I'm too exhausted to write here*

I am at work. Waa.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 26th, 2009 12:49 pm)
No, no, no.

Go away overheated forehead. Go away tick in the throat. Go away fatigue and sleepiness. Go away stuffed nose! least it's Thursday?
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2009 09:47 am)
My dreams involved very strange things. It was a 'movie dream', in that I wasn't in the dream to any recognizable extent, but I was watching it. There were several different species, but the main were humans and type beings that my Atelier Series brain insisted on calling 'Mana', but they weren't. One of the humans was an ex-assassin who had been adopted/reformed by the Mana, and was working security during one of the Mana-leader's visits. The Mana-leader had a badly impared child, who died, saying...something. They 'spoke' in rainbows of light, and this particular burst of light had several different interpretations, a couple of which praised the security person, a couple of which accused the security person of killing them. So old mistrust of the fact that, yeah, the security person was pretty much a sociopath and maybe not as reformed as everyone thought, started coming up, and things were heading to a fierce confrontation.

It was strange.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 24th, 2009 03:53 pm)
Good lord, but commercial rail sucks in the United States.

Amtrak, why do you suck so much?

Also, how can you have ten routes in the south and midwest, and only ONE goes through any part of Tennessee, and that one doesn't go anywhere in the Southeast?

It occurred to me just as I was watching episode 20 that there was one thing I didn't see in the game that I would have liked to see; namely, a Peony and Luke scene focused around what it's like to be locked up 'for your own good'. It's interesting, considering how many other times parallel situations are touched on throughout the game, that the writers /didn't/ have them have at least a little bit of that. Had Peony been a playable character, I'm sure we would have gotten at least a skit.

pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 23rd, 2009 11:09 am)
Back to work, and back to individual student conferences. If I could do this all day, every day, I would love my job. It's like actually being able to do the stuff that I was originally schooled to be able to do! Also, it's positive: getting a chance to talk to students about what they want to do, and how we can help them get closer to that. Good stuff.

Finished Mana Khemia! Very satisfying conclusion, and the final boss was challenging without being a walk in the park. At one point, it tried to pull something VERY NASTY on me (it cast haste on itself so that it would get 3 turns in a row, and used all 3 to cast the most powerful damage spell in the game. Luckily, that spell is on a timer, and one of my characters was able to dispel the cards before the spells actually went off. If he'd been down or out, though, I suspect it would have been a total party wipe: that spell does an average of 2000 damage, and my characters only /have/ 550 or so for the highest one.

You get an ending based on which character you befriend the most, and I--of course--went for the resident sarcastic glasses guy. It was adorable.

Looking forward to Atelier Annie coming out on the DS!
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 21st, 2009 05:24 pm)
Today, I wrote almost 4k words. And they were pretty good words. Not perfect, perhaps, but definitely decent, and get me closer to finally finishing that fanfic that I started several /years/ ago.

So woo.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 16th, 2009 07:07 pm)
First and biggest: I haz new car. And, by which, I mean /new/ car. A 2009 model that had 13 miles on it when I drove it off the lot. Wheeee.

Otherwise, about to kick it into IGP mode at work, which means appointments, appointments, and nothing but appointments for a while. It should be interesting. I really enjoyed the IGP meetings when I was on my internship, so I'm not being sarcastic...I just hope that this doesn't kill my interest in it with some sort of disaster.

Also did my taxes, so I can haz refund yay.

And, finally, something else...a couple something elses, really, but I'm not going to jinx them by saying what they are right now. I feel silly, anyway.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 12th, 2009 09:18 am)
1. They'll write another story, where a miracle does not rely on a broken heart.

Fakir/Ahiru, Princess Tutu (not guessed)

2. Her pride and his crown are both their enemies and their strengths.

Karigan/Zachary, the Green Rider series. (not guessed)

3. Their roles cannot contain them; they'll be together outside of them, beyond that place. Utena/Anthy, Revolutionary Girl Utena (guessed by CPip)

4. Warlord and Lady, Servant and Thief, she can no longer say who is who.

Jewel/Avandar of the Sun Sword series. (not guessed)

5. How dare he escape when she cannot? He can run, but he won't hide.

Ms. Parker/Jarod, The Pretender (not guessed)

6. He called her a poison, but she tastes love in every kiss and smiles.

Yelena/Valek, Poison Study/Magic Study/Fire Study (not guessed)

7. She's bridled him with a smile, and doesn't see the reins in her hands.

Kelpie/Lydia, Hakushaku to Yousei (not guessed)

8. The marks on her skin whisper, he killed them for her, all for her.

Kaylin/Severin from the Elantra Chronicles. (not guessed)

I had bad dreams. I had a whole series of bad dreams, honestly, but the one that was worst was the one with the giant leeches, including one that was lodged IN MY MOUTH. And since, when I was younger, I actually swam in a leech lake, it seems my subconscious is still very aware of how those things /feel/.

I was creeped out for a good half hour after I woke myself up. GAH.
pyrephox: (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2009 04:18 pm)

My computer caught on fire last night. No, really. I was happily chatting away, and then I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye. I was like, "I didn't think anything in my case glowed," so I popped open the case, and saw smoke and some little thing on the mother board glowing in not fun ways. Which is why I bailed on all my conversations. We shut down like /whoa/.

Grrr. Arrrrggh.