solarbird: (vision)
Could some of you recommend good books on PHP and Perl, hopefully ones that are both textbooks and decent reference? Yes, I know there are good tutorials online. I am annoying in that I like texts made of paper or other, paper-like material. Also, I want to spend less time looking at screens, as I've done far too much of that over the last several weeks.

Despite this, recommendations for good online tutorials and other quick-up-to-speed systems would be appreciated as well. But I'm hoping for paper versions that are worthwhile.
solarbird: (molly-content)
I was listening to music while shredding old receipts - hey, it's better than having a final today, which I didn't, because I am DONE! for the quarter (yay!) - when I suddenly noticed I could read the Japanese song titles iTunes was displaying. Cool.

For those wondering, I did keep working through my Japanese course, even though I had dropped to audit. I'd have passed. With a solid B, which normally would have been amazingly great, but since I have to be stupidly GPA-focused for the time being, it was better that I didn't have that B.

I haven't started taking flower pictures again yet, but there are some great opportunities. I need to start taking them! Oh well, here's one of the remaining leaf pictures from last fall.

A Light in the Forest

I made beef stew for dinner, which is the first time I've ever made that. It turned out really well. In fact, I think it's about the best European-derived meal I've ever made outside thanksgiving. I made it based on a combination of two recipes, one I found here and one in the 1964 Joy of Cooking. The recorded the combination as I made it below the cut.

Modified beef stew recipe )

I will EAT YOUR SUN. But then plant flowers. )
solarbird: (vision)

Plunge Down in Colour

Okay, so! I got my Japanese midterm back, and now I have all kinds of data on how well I can and can't game a test.

The grammar, as expected, I largely p0wned. And yeah, I barely studied it at all. I lost only one point to actual grammatical error caused by actually getting the grammar wrong. (I lost a couple of others to getting tenses wrong, due to getting time words wrong, so I'd write present tense instead of past, or vise-versa.) I also lost one point to forgetting one of the katakana characters in a written portion. That works out to around 96% of that material correct. I'm not sure what to do with this number, but I suppose it shows what I learned in everything we're covering that isn't vocabulary.

In the vocabulary portion I could least game - listen to a snippet of conversation and select the answer most accurately describing the conversation - I did even worse than I'd expected; I could only get 25% of those questions right. That's no better than random guessing, given that it was multiple choice.

In the vocabularly-related areas I could game - which were the rest of the vocabulary portions in the test - I did quite well, getting 91% of the questions right. That includes a swath of questions that were vocabulary testing in theory, but which I answered largely if not entirely on the basis of probable grammars. So apparently that works well.

It's tempting to think from this that I can "game" a vocabulary testing section that involves sentences from 25% to 91%, which is to say, a 66 point climb. However, I've just remembered that some of that section was purely on paper. Eliminating that portion, my accuracy rating was 87.5% for material which also had an oral component, lowering the "gaming" gain to 62.5 points, or 250%. That isn't much of a drop and still seems crazily high to me, so I assume there are other factors involved.

Anyway. All this ended up giving me a final score of 81.5%, which, you know, honestly isn't that bad. Taking out approximated gains from gaming gets me a final score of around 65%, which is right at about the low end of the range I'd expected based on what I actually thought I'd learned. (60% would have been reasonable - the low D I was talking about before.) So on the whole exam - which includes parts I didn't need to game, specifically grammar and kana - I added 16.5 points to my extrapolated score, or about 25% of my total grade.

And now I know. Yay! Unfortunately, as my teacher said, there's only more vocabulary coming at higher rates, and less stuff that I learn well. I'm already at the point where I simply couldn't do the last two language labs; I ended up getting the answer key and just trying to hear the words that were used to determine the answers presented, and working backwards. I don't what to do about that even after switching to audit. (Which I haven't yet.)
solarbird: (molly-feeling-alone-andor-pouting)
There isn't all that much going on right now; I'm going to be clearing the leaves off the raised beds and prepping the soil soon, I'm looking forward to gardening again; I want to see about attending the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, probably on Thursday the 15th (anyone else interested?); Norwescon is coming up and I need daily 'zine ideas badly; I've joined the Japan Culture Club at school, but they keep scheduling meetings while I'm in class so haven't been able to go to any events yet; and I need to start talking to faculty at UW again starting right about, oh, now. But mostly, I've been doing daily life and classes.

The biggest thing bothering me this week is that I'm almost certainly going to drop to audit status in Japanese 112. Everything will be the same except that I won't get a grade or credit. The reason for that is that the expected vocabulary acquisition rate has jumped quite a bit; we're now getting about, hum, 8-10 words a day at this point - not counting things like counters which are kind of like new individual words but kind of aren't because they're in series, with regular roots and such. That rate isn't going to go down - in fact, it's expected to go up. It's a real problem, given that I was barely keeping up last quarter, when it was more like 2-4 new words a day - and that was only true because I already knew half the words from previous study. And I've forgotten half the words that were new to me then.

I kind of figured I'd hit this wall eventually, tho' I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't, or that if I did, it wouldn't be until spring quarter. But I did, and it was pretty abrupt; I was okay, okay, okay, hey wait, zomg oh crap I don't understand any of the words anybody is using in class, and then oh look I only know about 40% of the words on this test <p0wned> - all in about a week and a half.

I hate that wall.

So unless a miracle occurs, I'll be officially changing to audit late next week. It makes me sad, but it's better than adding a D or something to my GPA. I talked with the professor about it (for over an hour) on Thursday, and she thinks it's the right thing to do, given everything. I don't really like it, but I don't have any better ideas.

So here, have a picture:

Leaf on Smooth Rocks

And here, have a couple of URLs:

Bicycle Boulevards, as implemented in Berkeley, California. It's a multipronged approach, but key elements are: 1) Making openings for bikes in closed-end streets, most of which were closed for vehicle control, and 2) designating some secondary streets to be bicycle-centric, tho' not bicycle-only, and paint/mark them appropriately as such. (Cars and such are still allowed.) It seems to be a rather low-cost approach to improving bike transit.

Meanwhile, the FHA tells Oregon to stop focusing on anything but cars, and get to building more freeways, presumably like the South and midwest, where it's endless acres of parking lots and zillion-lane freeways and a walkable environment is seen as some sort of commie plot. (Courtesy Cascadia Drumbeat.)

Now, back to trying to learn these stupid words.
solarbird: (molly-content)

Mushrooms and Leaves

For the curious, it finally got above freezing last Thursday, and most of the snow had melted by Friday afternoon.

Assorted milage catchup (probably short): 10.7
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1479.3
Miles out of Rivendell: 1022.3
Miles out of Lothlórien: 567.3
Miles past Rauros Falls: 149.4
Miles to Isengard: 317.3

Japanese this quarter is so far much more difficult than last quarter, mostly because it's moving much faster and I'm not finding it easy to catch up. Thursday was a particularly bad day; I had times in class when I had no idea whatsoever what was going on. I'll be keeping a close eye on the drop date this quarter, I'm afraid. But I'm still very good at guessing; I guessed right... five out of six times, I think, on the last quiz, which turned a potential 70 into a 95. Now, if only I could do that with the lotto. ^_^

Tomorrow I want to go downtown with [ profile] spazzkat to this nice tea place that I've been by briefly but not actually in, and also to stop at a new store in Westlake which my Japanese tutor recommended. But I'll have to get my lab notes done first, in the morning, and also get Zoe's cage cleaned up, and some other crap like that, mostly because I don't want to be up late working on lab homework. (The lab schedule this quarter, despite meeting at the same times as last quarter, is very annoying. To wit: Gir.)
solarbird: (Default)
Christ, MSNBC is stupid. Story title: "Is China spying on us?" Um, yes. And we're spying on them. In other news, we're spying on Russia, they're spying on us, we're spying on Germany, on France, on Egypt, on Indonesia, everybody's spying on Iran and Israel - the list just keeps going. I would presume we're even spying on Canada, and that they're peeking down at us quite regularly as well. Most likely more - at least they are if Harper's government has the sense the gods gave grain. Good morning, MSNBC; this is what countries do.

"Is China spying on us?" OMG OMG OMG. Morons.

Thursday's miles: 0.6
Friday's miles: 1.6
Sunday's token: 0.1
Monday's miles: 1.7
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1413.5
Miles out of Rivendell: 955.5
Miles out of Lothlórien: 501.5
Miles past Rauros Falls: 83.6
Miles to Isengard: 378.1

Yay, short week. Today's lab was a movie on the human genome project. @whee. I took a lot of notes on process and science issues, but the "post-lab" wants things like names of people, which I mostly didn't bother with, except for this one jackass at a biotech who really annoyed the fuck out of me, bitching about unfair competition from universities. Then I also wrote down the name of the other guy at the company so I wouldn't think they were all like that. But the rest, eh, not so much. But oops, I guess this was a history lab, not a science lab. Fortunately, searching t3h intarw3b thingie should have some answers.

Japanese class was a conversation class with the Japanese students who are here from, you know, Japan, in the HRT programme that's taught in Japanese. I've talked about it before. Unsurprisingly, their English was much better than our Japanese, but they were all very nice about it, so it was stressful but okay.

Here, I thought this came out kind of neat. The image is a tad grainy, but that's what you get sometimes with monitors and digital and such:


Right, back to homework. Yay.
solarbird: (molly-content)
It's been quite the day. High wind warning, winter storm warning, small stream and urban flooding warning - all after a tsunami warning (yes, here too, not just Japan) to start my morning on the radio. Walking up the hill home from the bus stop soaked my shoes, socks, and pants, despite having a perfectly good umbrella. And trees have been getting whipped around something fierce - most of these storms have included 50-70 mph wind gusts. Snappy!

Found Design

That one you can also click through to for a desktop-sized version. I found those leaves as they were, on the ground on campus, so this is all just framing. ^_^

Monday's miles: 2.0
Tuesday's miles: 2.0
Wednesday's miles: 1.6
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1409.5
Miles out of Rivendell: 951.5
Miles out of Lothlórien: 497.5
Miles past Rauros Falls: 79.6
Miles to Isengard: 382.1

Big Japanese test tomorrow. I'm done studying for the night. Tomorrow I will have more time in my world again so I'll do a CWU and get back on that, as well as finally start reviewing for my makeup chemistry final, dammit. This has to get started!

And then this weekend, Thanksgiving shopping. Yay!

Quiz )


Oct. 18th, 2006 09:09 pm
solarbird: (Default)
Today I went to Culture Festival (文化祭, bunkasai) as part of Japanese class. Yay! There's a Japanese school-within-the-college at Shoreline; it's run as a normal Japanese school for the most part, except that there are a extra classes teaching about hotel management/tourism and English language and culture. It's basically a postgrad for Japanese high school students going into hotel/restaurant/tourism-related fields and prepping for study overseas in places like the US. And today was cultural festival, so our whole class went over to their school and watched kendo and did calligraphy and did festival things (wishing tree, kanji games, origami - no goldfish catching tho' ^_^ ) and generally it was bigger than I expected and fun.

I think this are the two characters for my name in the calligraphy. I'm sure of the first one. The second one doesn't look quite right but is the closest of the kanji I could find in my IME: 蛇羅

The first means "snake" and the second I'm told means literally "net" but is taken as "hunter," which means my name ダラ means "snake hunter," which is funny. Particularly if I'm supposed to be hunting snakes with nets. Ha HA - ineffective!

I kinda think it'd be fun for the Japanese language classes to get together and hold 文化祭 too, but I also think it'd just be confusing. There are something like five Americans, six South Koreans, at least four people from various parts of Indonesia, a handful of PRC (five or six people?), a couple of Taiwanese, somebody from Hong Kong, and a small assortment of people who are the only ones from their countries in the class. (And yet no one from Mexico or Canada. Odd!) So the mix would be strange. But maybe funny!

Oh, and I got a 98 on my first midterm test of four. To which I must ask, what the fuck is going on? Okay, the test was easier than I expected because she was kind on the きゃ/ひゅ/きょ type combinations that I have trouble hearing when spoken, but god damn 98%?!. Also, the whole class is doing atypically well. Our scores are tracking around 15 points above her usual classes. Unlike chemistry over the summer, though, there's no curve, so there is no downside to this. Yay!

Now we start learning more vocabulary. Now is time for t3h ph33r. Oh wait, that's Monday - Bio midterm nr. 1 (of three).

Wednesday's miles: 2.4
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1374.9
Miles out of Rivendell: 909.9
Miles out of Lothlórien: 455.9
Miles past Rauros Falls: 48.0
Miles to Isengard: 424.0

Here, now have a couple very much not at all Yay! links about Diebold's patented ElectoTheft 5000 voting machines. Consider the mood setting subset here to be "Gir." I'd make them separate except I don't want to make a big political post right now and these would probably end up in there, which is misleading since this should matter independently of politics, even though somehow it doesn't. Hmmm.

Princeton video demonstrating the triviality of hacking Diebold AccuVote TS voting machines.

Southern Florida computer programmer testifies under oath that he was asked by now-Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) to write a prototype election-stealing programme. At the time, Mr. Feeney was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.
solarbird: (Default)


I miss the farmer's market. But there will be a winter market one day this December. Hopefully it will be good and then there will be more of them. ^_^

Monday's miles: 1.6
Tuesday's miles: 2.0
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1372.5
Miles out of Rivendell: 907.5
Miles out of Lothlórien: 453.5
Miles past Rauros Falls: 45.6
Miles to Isengard: 426.4

First midterm (well, major test, first of, I forget, four?) today in Japanese. She was nice to us and it wasn't as brutal as I was expecting. I don't think I did as well as I have on the quizzes, but I think I did better than I'd anticipated doing. And tomorrow is cultural festival day. Yay! Unfortunately, Bio midterm on Friday. (First of three.) Blah.
solarbird: (molly-tired)
Still clearly too slow. Doing homework that you're supposed to write out onto forms slows me down a lot; I've started typing out answers and saying "see attached sheet," which we're actually told to do on some questions. Hopefully that'll help. Doing bar graphs with pens is stupid and I'm glad this is the only time we're supposedly going to have to do that. Dammit, I've written these tools, let me use them!

Sunday's token: 0.4
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1358.8
Miles out of Rivendell: 893.8
Miles out of Lothlórien: 438.8
Miles past Rauros Falls: 30.9
Miles to Isengard: 440.0

I'm clearly more tired on weekends than on weekdays, with the possible exception of Friday. And I'm wiped out every Sunday night, and I still haven't done as much work as I should, but I have to go to bed now. This really needs to get better, but I'm not entirely sure how it's going to.

At least I did some housecleaning and some urgent shopping and got the bus stop trash changed out and the air filter swapped and such as that. But I'm so far behind in everything. I hate it.

This'll teach me not to check the value of N before going into Linens N Things... )
solarbird: (molly-smug)
Hey, Transy, my lame-ass undergraduate school: If you're going to use Latinate forms in your recruitment letters, use them correctly.

I suppose it would be a little snippy but mostly a complete waste of time to send their letter back with its Latin corrected and a red -5 circled in.

Oh look, plurality agreement issues in the English. Make that two red -5s. Yay!
solarbird: (molly-sleepy-not-asleep)
Today's (Tuesday's) miles: 1.2 (to the bus stop and back with a couple of side trips)
Miles out of Hobbiton: 1313.1
Miles out of Rivendell: 848.1
Miles out of Lothlórien: 393.1
Miles to Rauros Falls: 15.9

Finished up another article for TechNet Magazine today, tho' I'll need to read it again tomorrow before I send it in. It's not due for another month, so I'm well ahead of this game - but it's kind of hard to concentrate when I'm on these stupid anti-siezure meds. I don't need them (and the doctors pretty much said this) but they're standard in the case of most head injuries that involve brain impact, so I'm on them until probably the 28th, which means my first day at school I'll be rather dumb. Oh well.

(I know it's the meds because I forgot them one night and the next day I was much smarter. Also less tired. These are listed possible side-effects on the bottle. Gir.)

I should also have a column in the new issue of TechNet that's just coming out. I know it's in there, I got paid for it. ^_^ (Plus the editors told me it was.) I'll link to it when it's online in a couple of weeks.

What I'm really sad about is that I had to turn down an offer to be a regular columnist for them. I'm not in the industry anymore and between that and grad school, I'm taking grad school - but I'm still really flattered and wish I had four things to write about a year. One, I like writing for them; two, I like getting paid by them (their rates are good); three, I haven't been a regular at a magazine for a while and it's good work if you can get it. But I don't make promises I can't keep and I just don't have four column topics a year out of my IT-related experiences anymore. But I'm still really pleased they made the offer.

Talking of IT noise, I went through and did another round of bind/named cleanup at the Murknet, and sent various bits of mail to various domain masters asking them if they can clean some things up when they get a chance, and also fixing a couple of errors that had crept into our own named.conf. Always remember, kids: watch syslog on bind restart after named.conf edits, and always fix anything that goes wrong!

Finally, we got someone in to repair the rotten post on the front porch. It turns out that there was a central (highly cladded, buried in extra wood apparently just to bulk it out) 4x4 that was properly pressure treated and was JUST FINE. And it's what was actually bearing the load. So yay! But the footer they'd originally poured was still surrounded by a now-rotten form they hadn't bothered taking out, so could tilt over at any time, and the cladding was all still rotten down at the base, and even pressure-treated lumber isn't supposed to be in water. So the repairer put in a saddle pier (using concrete adhesive to permanently connect it it to the footer) and bolted the metal saddle to the 4x4 before putting all the cladding back. The wooden part of the post now stops higher - it meets up with the top of the new concrete pier - but it looks fine and should be much more durable against water. (No more earth contact, yay.) And the rotten form wood was all taken out and replaced with packing gravel, so no more potential footer tilting in an earthquake. I feel much better about it now.

Now if I can do something about these stupid meds.

Quizzes and such )
solarbird: (vision)
Currently, i'm alternating waves of feeling semi-kinda-normal and being totally wiped out and dizzy, with bursts of nausia. They consider my swallowing functions almost back to normal and think I'll be on unrestricted died probably on Monday. They tried to slip me some more stool softener drug today, and I think this time that once was not fucking funny, and the second time hadn't any fucking funnier, and the next person who tries it gets the resulting crapfest on their goddamn inbox.

That's sitting down or lying down reasonably normally. Walking any normal distance is an adventure; clearly things are not normal in the laterial hypothalamalic area. I would not trust myself to, say, walk down to the postbox at home, much less to be on a bike or stairs or carrying anything of any mass at all.

I currently look like I've been merely repeatedly punched in the face, and that the punching was fairly specific and targeted, with is a big step forward.


14 days ago. Unspecified bike accident. May have involved a car, may not have. Did involve a skull fracture and lying in the street unconscious for some time. When the EMTs found me and called Anna and Paul, they got me semi-conscious and tried to get a breathing tube into me without reasoning rationally. Longtime viewers of this programme may be aware of the time the dentist tried to put me under without specific and specific notice for wisdom teeth removal and I slugged him. In this case, it actually went worse, and I aspirated in the ambulance. (This is the medical way of saying "threw up in my own lungs." It's a gag reaction triggered while the air tube is locked open and is often fatal.) Notes: Appropriate physiological atypicalities medic-alert bracelets should be acquired. Several have been found.

13 days ago: Tubed for air and food, unconscious. Brought to semi-consciousness several times as required by protocol. Anna's and my durable power of attys VERY IMPORTANT here, as it turns out, even in-state, so yay.

12-7 days ago: Daily attempts to pass breathing tests fail, Anna stops talking about maybe being taken out of sedation soon. Anna has set a lot of her posts on this period public. Everyone gets very nervous. Meanwhile, in my internal world, I've found it important to take an impromptu trip to a Madalaharan1 community just across the Mexican border, for garden-related purposes, doing research before LACon IV, the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention, where I'd meet up with Anna and Paul on-site. Yes, really.

7 days ago: I finally manage to breathe without assistance, they take out the breathing tube and wake me up. [ profile] jenna says she knew I was going to be okay when my first words were "stop helping!" I, otoh, picked up where I left off and thought I was again no lie, in a small Madalaharan1 community's emergency room trauma centre following an automobile accident of some sort. Also, I thought Anna and Paul were in Seattle hospitals and were also awaiting surgery for unrelated accidents.

6 days ago: Still thought I was in Mexico. Worried about how I was going to get back into the US. Was trying Japanese-Mexican slang out on hospital workers and being surprised and pleased at my high success rates. I get it into my head that I'm being transferred to Seattle on Wedesnday. Confused by all the asking about the "driver" in the accident;" apparently the police also don't know whether I actually got hit or had explosive bike system failure.

5 days ago: First really coherent day, I posted. I got "transferred" to Harbourview in Seattle. I was already coerent enough to know that something clearly wasn't adding up, because while I inserted some sort of a motor vehicle ride (which doesn't exist - I rode an elevator) I couldn't figure out how it could happen so quickly, and had thoughts of: 1. I have been in Mexico.... right? 2. Maybe it was Canada? 3. "But I don't speak a word of Canadian!"

I'm now very confused. I think on and of that I've been in Mexico for the next two days. I don't really give up on this until my second LJ post. That bit in the first LJ post where I talk about being in Mexico was not a gag, it was by best understanding about what the hell was going on.. Also, calling what I was on "solid food" is just silly.

Now: Two weeks in hospital, of which I'm really aware of less than one; I'm all de-tubed except for a hydration and antibiotic IV; they're talking about letting me go to normal food and 1-4 weeks of serious (in-patient, 3-hr/day) physical therapy, if they can find me a bed somewhere our insurance supports. Wish us luck with that, we'll probably need it.

1:: Madalaharan: Japanese-speaking Mexican communitities. I have the name wrong, but these are real; Japanaese didn't just emigrate to to USA after the Heian period. Much bigger impacts in the US, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil, but there are Mexican communities too.
solarbird: (Default)
Ten Things That Make Me Happy
(tagged by [ profile] corivax)

This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in any particular order or rank. And it's things, not people. Certain people can take themselves as read. ^_^

1. Taking flower pictures. Or pictures in general, really. I used to take a lot of pictures, I kind of slacked off, I'm back at it again. Also, posting them, which may be directly related. For today's example, see below.

2. Philip Glass's "Metamorphosis One." You should own a copy.

3. Researching the crap out of things that have caught my interest recently. The web has made this a zillion times easier and fun. When I've had to do it all-physical-book, it's been slow and frustrating - akin to the way that I write pretty well given a keyboard, but just can't in handwriting; the amount of time it takes to make characters is just too frustrating and limiting. This probably implies some mild form of ADD or something, I dunno.

4. Sushi! Also pho, really good udon, moshi, shave ice, mirin (cooking with, not drinking, you goons), rice crackers, berries off vines, baked beans I made myself, and ice cream.

5. Gardening, as long as it's on a scale that isn't insane. Clearing the back yard/hillside? Insane. I'll hire somebody to that when and if we can afford it, and until then, it's on its own. [Note the correct use of it's and its here. Please remember for future reference.]

6. Shoujo Kakumei Utena. Also, Wish, Invader Zim, Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, Leave it to Kero, A Miracle of Science, most books by Verner Vinge, most films by Hayao MIYAZAKI, most manga by CLAMP, and Battlestar Galactica. That's kind of a lot for one item.

7. Fixing broken things, as long as it doesn't become repetitive, which is to say, frustrating and annoying. Night before last, I fixed our little $3 kitchen timer, because, well, I could. It was fun. And also $3 cheaper than buying a new one. Something that I have to fix over and over again, on the other hand, annoys me. I do badly at deeply repetitive tasks.

8. Playing music in a group, even though we haven't done that lately due to lack of a group. Unfortunately, it mostly seems to be a group activity for me.

9. Actually doing something coherent in Japanese, which is pretty rare. I'm very bad at it. Now that the rainy season is coming, I'll be on the bus more often instead of biking (see next entry) so will be studying more again.

9.5 l33t, because it's soooo stupid. ^_^ I call this 9.5 because it's languages-related and therefore links to item nine. Kinda. HEY IT'S MY LIST, BACK OFF.

10. Biking. ^_^ On a similar note, having a good bus system and walkable areas. I like being able to leave house without anything and go all over the city and not have to worry about driving or where I'll put the stupid car.

Okay, that's ten. There are more queued up in my brain, but SUFFAH, POPE! And have a flower picture. I found this one near the bus stop on 25th last week, shortly before running into Anna getting onto the same bus home I was, which was funny!

Yellow Bell

I also like this bizarre, added-on-to garage a lot. It's on the walk to the shops and it makes me happy. AGH THAT'S ELEVEN fuxx0r j00 for getting that out of me! Bastards!

Yesterday and the Day Before

PS: No tags on anybody, but do your own version if you want.
solarbird: (Default)
I've been singing again. Just a little. I have to turn up the accompaniment to very loud so that people can't hear me over it. Then I can do it. I haven't been singing any of the good training music, though - I've been singing anime theme songs. *@_@*;; ([ profile] kathrynt, please don't kill me. ^_^;;)

(I have corrected the romanji a couple of places on this lyric sheet I pulled off the net, too. I need to learn hiragana properly so that I don't have to deal with ambiguous constructs anymore. :-p)

In HAS EVERYONE GONE COMPLETELY INSANE?! news, I just need to say thank you, MSNBC and Reuters! Please, continue feeding us the spew of Oil Industry Publicity Spokesman's furious masturbation as news! That's linked to by a story noting record (unadjusted) gasoline prices at the pump, of course. (Somewhere around $3/g national average is the record, adjusted for inflation.) It also links to a story from last month talking about how we can expect gasoline prices to fall in July and August, which was inexplicable even at the time, and, as is now clear, isn't coming true.

Here's the thing: just looking at the markets, OPEC appears to be producing pretty much at capacity. They raised quotas and crude stockpiles responded by falling, not rising. Hell, Saudi Arabia has even said it's no longer capable of acting as a swing producer. (And then later contradicted themselves in a way nobody should believe, saying they have infinite oil for the foreseeable future.) More recently - and this is surprising - refineries appear to be processing ahead of production. (That big jump in processed reserves last month was paralleled by a fall in crude stockpiles, indicating that the refining rate was eating into stock.) The latest crude stockpile numbers out last week was not encouraging.

A - perhaps the - key guiding principle of OPEC production has been, "How high can we keep prices without spurring conservation efforts or alternative energy research?" In other words, how to maximise profit in a market while maintaining that market. Oil is now above that price level, and has been staying above that price level, as has been demonstrated by interest in alternatives amoungst people other than environmentalists. Historically, that has not been something Saudi Arabia has been willing to tolerate; quotas or no, they open the spigot enough more to bring prices down. But this time, so far, they haven't.

Results of this can be seen in Canada. The Canadian oil sands - mostly in Alberta - have a lot of oil, but it costs about three times as much energy to extract as more traditional sources and it only makes sense to do so at around US$80/barrel. (One gallon of oil yields 10 in Saudi Araba; one gallon yields three to four, in oil sands.) Crude is currently trading in a range around $60/barrel, but development firms are down here in the American PNW hiring as many people as they can get - skilled craftspersons in particular - to ramp up Alberta production as quickly and as much as possible. It's a big project that I know too little about, but when they're having labour shortages trying to implement their plans, particularly in skilled labour, you know it's large.

What does that all say? It says get ready for and used to a trading range of $80/barrel oil - or higher, if you get inflation or a further fall in the dollar - fairly soon. Major investors are banking on this; you should be too. If you have an SUV, sell the fucking thing. If you have a choice between a larger house further away from Stuff You Need (tm), and a smaller house closer to Stuff You Need (tm), maybe you should buy the smaller, but more convenient, house. Be happy that China has managed to scale back its economic growth a bit - as intended - which will help slack off the growth rate of demand. Hope that, as one analyst put it at a seminar last year, China will get old before it gets too rich. (Growth in China and India both will increase demand for oil, which will raise prices, which will retard economic growth proportionately to your country's oil dependency. China's attempt to buy an oil company isn't speculation; they want to own crude reserves. They're banking on needing them.)

The moral of the story is that we are done with cheap oil. Expensive oil is not the end of the world; unlike my favourite architecture crank has been railing, we won't be grinding out a subsistence farming economy, raiding old strip malls for antique aluminium signs to roof our ramshackle shanties. The economy will adjust, as it has while crude prices have tripled since 1999.

But people whose lifestyles are banking on cheap oil, are depending upon cheap oil, are in for various degrees of trouble. (To some degree, that includes "everyone in America." But even here, there's a range.) If you're one of these people, please: look at what you're doing, and start doing something else.

It's not an accident that I can walk to two separate downtowns in 15 to 20 minutes. (Kenmore, .75 miles; Lake Forest Park, 1 mile.) It's not an accident that I'm an eight minute walk from transit and bike corridors. It's not random that, for most things, I don't need a car.

I have a car. About twice a week, I drive it somewhere. But I don't have to have it. For me, the car is a tool; it's not life support. If you're making living decisions in the next couple of years, it might be worth keeping that kind of goal in mind for yourself, too.

Token Tuesday: 0.2
Miles Wednesday: 12 (Biked to McLendon's, in Woodinville)
Miles out of Hobbiton: 274.95
Miles to Rivendell: 182.35
solarbird: (Default)
Busy, busy, busy. And yet, not much to tell. I did bike to murksouth yesterday to do stuff there, so yay. Pleasantly, allergies have backed off, so my face no longer feels paested on yay. They were so much better that I was able to bike again - tho' I'm still getting tired much more easily than I was earlier. Stupid pollen draining my energy. I hate it.

In unrelated events, I was parking my bike at U. Village yesterday when this guy who instantly made my skin crawl popped up to park his bike next to mine and said something about, "Hey, I guess we both survived!" or some attempt at cuteness which confused me. I just blinked and said, "Nan da?" And he went away. It was great! He got all annoyed that I (apparently) didn't speak any English.

I've also found that only speaking Japanese in online gaming makes the whole experience a lot less, you know, icky.

Oh yeah - does anybody have a power supply for a Palm Zire 71? It takes their Universal connector, which is apparently an interface to either serial or USB. I want to borrow one for a couple of hours if you do. Thanks. ^_^

Wednesday's token: 0.1
Thursday's mile: 1.0
Friday's miles: 9.5. Yay, bikes. ^_^
Miles out of Hobbiton: 255.55.
Miles to Rivendell: 201.75

And today's flower picture! This one's over by the north path again.

Second shot, an ECU of the red sprig )

oh for the

Dec. 2nd, 2004 08:29 am
solarbird: (molly-oooooh)
I am giggling uncontrollably as NPR refers to "the latest trend in web journalling - blogs." Next up: comprehensive coverage of those DVD thingies, and telephones without bulky cables.

In other news, last night's Japanese class was the last of the quarter, alas. I'm going to try today to see whether I could/should get GRE results really fast or not. I know you get partials as soon as you take the exam, but I don't know whether that's good enough or what. I have to figure these things out pretty much today.

I also need to work at 5038 and get that stuff done too. Blah!

In other news, I don't have a lot of other news. I've got one person who has told me they'll write me a letter of recommendation for grad school, which is good. Problem is, they've never supervised me academically so that might be an issue. I don't know. I yakked at Diana about this some yesterday, and she's thinking it's the most enthusiastic she's ever seen me about anything, which surprises me a little bit but maybe not all that much, I dunno. AGH I wish I had an extra month. AGH AGH AGH.

Anyway, have some quizzes )

oh maen!

Oct. 10th, 2004 05:37 pm
solarbird: (molly-spacerabbit)
Aikido sessions depending on dojo are M/W weeknights or T/Th weeknights.

Anime night is Tuesday night.

Conversational Japanese is Wednesday night.

Stupid scheduling! I AM THE LOSE!
solarbird: (Default)
Tomorrow, I'll make a [ profile] use_nihongo-ok version of this post too. But for now, here's a version for my own journal. ^_^

闇のまつえい9 (やみのまつえい9): Descendants of Darkness 9
English translation by ME! - やった! ^_^

page 1, frame 1, box 1:
麗らかな (うららかな): A beautiful spring day
午後の昼下がり (ごごのひるさがり):Afternoon; early afternoon

page 1, frame 1, box 2:
退屈な伯しやく様はとても良いいと (たいくつなはくしやくはとてもよいいと おもいつ): While bored, Count Chiyaku comes across a particularly pleasant thought. (chief official (count) chiyaku's boredom exceedingly pleasant thought comes across an idea.)

page 1, frame 2, box 1:
そうだ!: "That's it!"
page 1, frame 2, box 2:
パーテイーをひらいう : The party opens.
---end page 1---
solarbird: (Default)
セhシュ、ノレスカヌ をのぞました。まいにちじはうの”RUE the DAY!"をつくりました;そして、ぼんこのファヌジヌをかまえました。だかでもはエスエフをすきですか?わたしはエスエフとか”Anvil of Stars"と"Babylon 5"と”しょじょかいくめウテナ”すきです!



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