luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
1. Lately, my LJ layout seems to be completely broken on the Chrome browser, but it looks normal on Firefox. Has anyone else (or, anyone else who still does LJ/DW, that is) experienced this problem?

2. After a year and a half, I finally updated my "Lady Patricia of Trakai" blog. Check it out.

3. Today I spent some time working on my class for next week's Known World Dance and Music Symposium. Teaching a class on a subject on which there is exactly *one* extant English-language book will be ... interesting.

4. Today has also been the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation. I think the boy toy is officially tired of the subject. :-)

5. Little by little, I'm going through my files on both my computer's hard drive and my external hard drive to weed out duplicates. Especially on the external hard drive ... I've found five or six copies of some of the files on the external drive, thanks to various backup efforts. I had been really close to running out of room on both drives. Now I'm a little less close.
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Incidentally, I'm using the boy toy's old (Windows 7) computer for now. A few weeks ago the fan on my 4-year-old laptop started getting unusually loud. It gradually subsided to normal volume, but by Monday of this week the fan started cycling fast and slow, like a car's engine going vroom-vroom-vroom when somebody keeps tapping on the accelerator. So it's in the shop, getting its fan replaced. Not that I need the extra expense, but it's still cheaper than buying a new laptop.

I can't believe how *warm* the weather has been! But Friday morning we're "supposed" to have "snow." Yeah, well, a few flakes will fall and then melt immediately. For cryin' out loud, some suburban cherry trees are already blooming.

Today was this year's Ash Wednesday. UUs don't do ashes, but one woman at my Toastmasters meeting had them on her forehead, as did one reporter on the 11 p.m. news. I actually had a meatless day today -- boy toy made some very tasty Cajun-flavored fried catfish.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
This past weekend was "Dumpster Weekend" in my condo complex. Three or four times a year the condo association puts out a big Dumpster for us to use, over and above the usual trash bins. Since my dishwasher hasn't worked for a few years and is just taking up space, the boy toy got the notion that we should take it out to the Dumpster.

I was a bit skeptical, but the boy toy studied the big orange Home Depot book of home repairs, and I had him talk on the phone with my friend Bill R., the condo king of northeastern Massachusetts. We had to make a couple of runs to Home Depot for tools and supplies. But, finally, we got the darn thing detached and unscrewed and pulled it out from under the counter, and we were happy to find that it actually had a couple of small wheels at the bottom. We put duct tape around the unit so the door wouldn't flop open, and we tried to push the thing on its two wheels toward the Dumpster, but it was awkward and Sunday's weather was stifling (we're under a "heat dome" this week).

So I thought: I have this car, why not use it to lug the dishwasher? So I pulled the car up alongside the sidewalk, but the dishwasher, alas, did not fit into the trunk. Here's how we ended up getting the thing to the Dumpster: I left the trunk open and the boy toy balanced the appliance in the open jaw of the trunk, and I put the car into low gear and crawled at walking speed while he held the dishwasher so it wouldn't fall out. It was a bit awkward, but we got it there. Then we left it on the side of the Dumpster, because by then the boy toy was *so* sweaty and dirty and gross-feeling that he didn't want to heave the thing up the six-foot sides of the Dumpster.

Then the boy toy discovered that the cap that we bought for the remaining hot-water pipe didn't fit. So we left the water to the sink switched off and didn't do the dishes that evening (Sunday). On Monday we went to the local friendly hardware store at the downscale local mall, but the one employee in the store couldn't find what we wanted and seemed to not know a whole lot about plumbing anyway. So I swore that we would go to a REAL plumbing-supply store, even as the sink continued to fill with dirty dishes and utensils.

Yesterday I used the boy toy's computer to look up plumbing-supply stores in Beltsville, because that neighboring town has lots of industrial-type neighborhoods. (I'll explain a moment why I was on his computer.) The first address, which was supposedly right on U.S. Route 1, took us to an empty lot with a chain-link fence around it. The second address took us to a row of small warehouses off the beaten path, where the guy behind the counter knew exactly what we needed and sold it to us for less than $5. Boy toy installed the part, and it felt SO good for both of us to take turns doing all the dishes. Someday I'll get a new dishwasher, but I have a lot of higher priorities.

Anyhow, the reason why I was using the boy toy's computer was that I devoted some time on Monday night and Tuesday morning to download and install Windows 10. Overall, it was pretty painless. I figured I'd better not wait until the last day that the software was free, and no way am I going to pay $119 for what had been free of charge, y'know what I mean?
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Wow, barely one post here per week? C'mon, Patty, you CAN do better than that.

Facebook is such a time suck, especially since I want to Read All The Things. Especially the political things. Helps me articulate how much I hate the flaming sack of shit that is the Republican presidential nominee.

I see how some people have figured out how to crosspost from Tumblr to the LJ/DW platform, but I have no plans to do so. These days I look at Tumblr even less often than LJ/DW. Mainly I have a Tumblr account so that I can <3 and repost other people's things that I find interesting.

My Android tablet has been stuck in an "infinite boot loop" for some months now. One of the guys in the Lithuanian dance group saw my mention of the issue on Facebook and pointed me to a website that has some software that can supposedly solve the issue. Technically the software is for the Google Nexus, but my tablet is an Asus-branded clone of a Nexus, so maybe it will work. We shall see.

Forty-seven years ago tonight I was watching the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Well, OK, I dozed off around this time. I was young and wasn't used to staying up so late....

Hiya, Dad!

Aug. 31st, 2015 10:42 pm
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
Happy 98th Birthday! Oh, wait ... you didn't get to be anywhere near that old. If you could come back to Earth today the way you were when you died, you'd be just nine years older than I am. I have some friends older than that, or in your approximate age group, at least. You might like them.

Anyway, so much to catch up on. Once again, your birthday falls during a time when your favorite New England Patriots are defending Super Bowl champions!!! How 'bout THAT!! You never even got to see them play in the Super Bowl once when you were alive, never mind win it!! Of course, the Pats have now become the huge dynasty team that fans of all the other NFL teams like to rag on. Oh, well....

And the Red Sox have won the World Series THREE TIMES in recent years!!! Can you believe THAT!! The only time THAT happened during your lifetime, you were in diapers, just past your first birthday, so of course you missed all the excitement!

So many things have changed. Remember how you like to browse at Radio Shack while Mom and I shopped for female clothes? About a year ago, just about all the Radio Shack stores vanished! Yup, no more! Sears and Kmart are just a shadow of their former selves too, due to crummy management. Of course, there are a lot of cellphone stores where some of the Radio Shacks used to be. What's a cellphone? Oh, yeah, it's a phone that you can carry around in your pocket, and you can talk to anyone anywhere whenever you want to! You don't have to be the president of the United States or some other big shot to have your own mobile phone!

Speaking of radio, the kind of music you liked to listen to on Sunday afternoons -- what I always called "dentist-office music" -- isn't really played on the radio anymore. But, don't worry, I could hook you up with all sorts of mellow "easy listening" stuff, or maybe even the Big Band sounds of the Swing Era, through my Spotify app.

What's an app? Oh, yeah ... it's a little thing you run on your smartphone, and it connects you directly to the Internet without a browser. What are all of those things? What the hell am I talking about?? *deep breath* My, I really do have a lot to explain about how the world has changed since 1982. Never mind the fall of the Soviet Union and the independence of your parents' homeland....

Just leaving you with this thought: Your nephew Tim is now older than you ever got a chance to be. Today, his grandson began the fourth grade.

As always with love,
Your little Patoodle
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Still trying to keep my Facebook page Trump-free. REALLY tempted to brush up on histories of demagogues and dictators and how they came to power.

Today's major accomplishment was switching out the Verizon FiOS Internet router to a newer model. The previous one would occasionally drop the wireless signal -- sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes not at all during the day. Here's hoping that the new one lasts for another couple of years.

While searching iTunes for steampunk-related podcasts, the boy toy found a podcast called Brass Needles that is about the combination of SF, knitting, and steampunk. He pointed it out to me and I subscribed in my iTunes account. I don't think I'm going to download all past 185 episodes, but I'll check out a couple of the recent ones.

That reminds me ... I need to get another fiber project going in my life. :-)
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
I have way too many browser tabs open, so let me get rid of a few here.

A new model of the origin of the Earth-Moon system:

Steampunk podcast:

Sixth-century manuscript decoded by spectroscopy:

Wikipedia recently featured Wells Cathedral, one of the places I've visited in England:

Comcast plans to turn its paying customers into free hot spots:

Just before the world marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Sir Winston Churchill's last living child died. She was quite the badass in her day:

Stupid password tricks:

What things are like for young people today:

What the hell is wrong with America?

Current politics of the ISS:

Forget universal preschool -- we need a 13th grade:

What ever happened to LiveJournal, anyway?

This week Republicans killed Elizabeth Warren's plan to ease Americans' crushing student loan debt:

Growing partisan rancor:

This town's local friendly maker club:

A private browser thing I might want to try:

Some career thing to read later:
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Gee, why did all that unsalted butter disappear from my fridge? And why is my kitchen full of freshly baked cookies? I think the boy toy had something to do with it.... :-)

I am continuing to play with my tablet. I posted a "test post" to DW with the ElJay app, but it didn't get cross-posted to LJ. I shall have to practice cross-posting before next week. And if I can't cross-post, well, I'll try to make everything public and folks from one journal might temporarily have to check the other journal. I'm not going to make huge LJ/DW posts from the tablet, either. Just saying.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
So, the holidays are in full swing around here. Last night was the annual "holiday gala" held by my local professional group. About 150 people showed up at the social event, which was at a small science museum near the Judiciary Square Metro. I had a great time checking in with my professional friends and acquaintances, and meeting a few new faces too. The food was decent and the open bar (for beer and wine) did not hurt, either. This wasn't the most unusual venue for the annual gala, but I was there to see the people more than the exhibits, anyhow.

(I seem to recall that last year was the first time since 1995 that I had NOT gone to the holiday gala, but now I cannot remember why I missed it. Perhaps I missed the deadline for reservations? Perhaps I was running out of money? Perhaps I was just in a funk over the deaths of a couple of people I knew? I certainly didn't bother to write it down in LJ/DW at the time.)

And, of course, there was one person in my professional group whom I knew in advance I wasn't going to see. Dammit, Pedro.

And this evening I went to a "happy hour" gathering to celebrate the successful launch, last week, of the Big Project at the Very Prestigious Institution. The one of which I was a small but necessary part. I had a great time catching up with people whom I hadn't seen since August. It was just so gratifying to be remembered and welcomed. (And, gee, it would be nice to get another contract to work there!)

I have also been playing with the new Android tablet, which I have named Tonks because the back side of the tablet is bright pink. (Tonks, if you read the Harry Potter books, was the young, punky witch whose hair turned different colors, including pink and purple.) I've downloaded both the official LJ app and the "ElJay" app, which apparently allows cross-posting among the journals with the same basic code. I suppose I shall try them out if I carry out my plan next week to bring just the tablet, not the laptop, with me on my annual journey to Massachusetts. However, in that case, don't expect me to write long posts. After touch-typing my entire adult life, going back to tapping out one letter at a time, one finger at a time, on a virtual keyboard feels a bit like carving hieroglyphics in stone. Hmm, maybe that's one reason why this device is called a "tablet." :-P
luscious_purple: Daily News: Mitt Hits the Fan (Mitt hits the fan)
Today I actually went digital with a small "d" (as opposed to the former Digital Equipment Corp., which seemed to be oh-so-important when I was growing up in Massachusetts during the 1970s). Today was FiOS installation day.

The technician was a personable young man with an unusual first name (Dontois, I think). The boy toy offered him a tall glass of ice water. When clearing out the top shelf of the closet near the front door so that the tech could run the new cable through the exterior wall, the boy toy found a box of his belongings that he forgot he'd stored years ago. He bestowed upon me a copy of a reference book on medieval folklore that includes Baltic and Slavic lore as well as the usual European stuff. Joy!

The Internet and TV stuff started right up when the switch was flipped on. The technician had to fuss around a bit to get a dial tone on the phone, but that seemed to be an issue with this model of cordless phone. (Around dinnertime R. called and talked to me for almost three-quarters of an hour, so, yeah, I have phone service.)

Before the technician showed up, I watched a short YouTube video about Richard Feynman. After the first few seconds, the video paused for buffering, buffering, buffering (as usual with DSL). I watched the same video after the fiber installation and, yay, no buffering! I watched a couple of other favorite music videos, and the same thing!

So ... new toys to play with (i.e., the new remote controls), new channel numbers to learn. At least when I download iTunes onto my new external hard drive, it won't take forever to do so.

In other news ... I've really got to kick butt and get going on this freelance article (for money) that's due at the end of the month. And I got a smile out of another freelance project, which involves converting a software manual from one kind of structured document format to another. The unlicensed version of the converter software randomly inserts words from a classic poem into the text that is being converted -- obviously, the goal is to get users to pony up the cash for the licensed version. That classic poem happens to be "Jabberwocky." So, the small bit of document conversion I've done so far has generated such highly technical phrases as these:

When in doubt, the jaws refer to the online document.

This is a his vorpal sword agreement between you, the end user, and [name of company].

...and the recipient agrees to the terms of this Uffish thought.

The software is fully functional for 45 slithy toves, after which it will be code limited for an unlimited did gyre.

Good thing the customers are fannish friends of mine!
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
The balky external hard drive is in the shop, along with a new drive to transfer the stuff to. (Yeah, I know, never use a preposition to end a sentence with, blah blah blah.) Right now I am downloading a big-ass file for an editing project. I suppose this will go MUCH faster with FiOS, but I don't want to wait until I get FiOS in order to work on this project.

I am mightily looking forward to this Saturday's SCA event. It will be a special University of Atlantia session devoted to costuming, rapier, and fighting strategy. I haven't been to an SCA event since the end of June, so it will feel good to get back in the saddle again, metaphorically speaking.

In other news ... I am excited about the National Zoo's new panda cub. It's a girl!
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
My computer's external hard drive, which I have had for years and years (well, at least five), started running more slowly recently. Late last week, the computer stopped recognizing it. Since the self-employed fix-it guy who brought my previous PC back from the brink is now dead, and since none of the freeware utilities I downloaded from the Web did anything for a drive that couldn't be recognized. Hence, Plan B. I stopped by a place on Route 1 in College Park -- a little independent shop -- and the guy there said he could probably fix it for $100.

However, this makes me think that I really ought to subscribe to Carbonite or some other sort of offsite backup utility. Suggestions welcome. I have both Microsoft Sky Drive and Google Drive, but my Google Drive is not big enough to back up everything that's on the external hard drive (I think I have 4 GB on Google Drive and roughly 100 GB of stuff on the hard drive). I have only a few things on Sky Drive because I'm not sure what I'm doing with it. I hate the Windows 8 interface. I usually work in "Desktop" mode, which acts like Windows 7.

Another reason why I downloaded so many freeware utilities last week was that the SD card in the boy toy's camera got corrupted. He said he was having trouble getting his photos off the card, so I put it in my computer's micro-card drive, and the computer asked me something like, "It looks as if there is a problem with this card. Would you like the problem fixed?" and I clicked on "Yes." What happened next was that the computer replaced some of the corrupted images with non-corrupted images ... so that I had the same number of files, but "IMG_0849," "IMG_0850," and "IMG_0851" (to make up some filenames here) are all the same picture instead of three different pictures. Weird. So we ended up with a few photos of our day in Boston, but nowhere near as many as we actually took. Blergh.

(Speaking of photos AND backup, yes, I do know that Flickr now gives each user 1 TB of space and no longer restricts uploads to 50 MB per month. I really ought to get around to uploading all my photos to Flickr, whether they're recent or not.)

And speaking of uploading, next week it will go a lot faster, because over the weekend I decided to upgrade everything to FiOS. Verizon installed the basic optical cables in my condo complex a couple of years ago, and now they're making a huge push to get people signed up for it. I have been loyal to my copper-line POTS because of all the power outages, but since Pepco (the electric utility) has gone on a reliability-upgrade rampage, maybe the battery-backup thing isn't so much of an issue anymore. Getting the dreaded "bundle" of cable TV, Internet and phone will save me almost $60 a month for the next two years (over what I'm paying separately now), and given my uncertain economic future, I like paying less (and getting a possibly faster Internet surfing connection too).

Yes, I know some people hate Verizon and some people hate Comcast (which I now have for cable). To me, it's six of one and a half-dozen of the other. Two big-ass corporations that are the alternatives in this county. (I don't want to get one of the satellite-dish companies because of all the hassles involved with the condo association in setting up a dish. And even today's smaller dishes look tacky, IMHO. The way my condo is built, I would have to set the dish up right in front of my living room, where the landscapers would be constantly bumping into it.)

Finally, so I can wrap this up before dinnertime: I joined Tumblr at last. I am over there. I'm not sure what I am going to use that site for, but at least I can nose around a bit over there.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
A Rockwell 61R Advanced Slide Rule, circa 1974. Rechargeable, even.

I was looking it up because I recalled that the numeric display was blue, and yet it predated blue LEDs by almost two decades. So what the heck was that? Turns out the technology was VFD, or "vacuum fluorescent display," which is not used much for more recent battery-powered devices because it is a huge energy hog.

OK, enough of the memory-lane stuff. Back to work.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
On the National Geographic channel, I'm watching some guy (from Medford, MA) who makes his own robots. One of them is designed to fetch a can of beer out of the fridge and another goes around and puts out small fires. Gee, don't invite the latter one to Pennsic! I'm imaging the thing rolling down Cariadoc's Way and extinguishing fire bowls and tiki torches left and right.

In the last few days, I've gotten word that the Denny's in my town and the California Tortilla in College Park have both closed permanently. I'm sure that a few people have lost their jobs, and I'll have to drive farther if I want to eat at other Denny's or Cal Tort franchises. Dang. The Denny's was particularly convenient when our neighborhood had a power outage but that shopping center was brightly lit.

Dunno what to say about the Penn State situation that hasn't already been said. Just ... eeewww.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Wow, I'm really getting off my so-called "daily schedule" here. Tsk-tsk-tsk!

I should write more here about the calligraphy class I took Tuesday night (and how yet another SCA-related craft fits into my SCA game), or about the "Occupy [Name of City]" movement and how it gladdens my heart, or about the death of Steve Jobs (so not unexpected, and yet still sad, especially since he apparently lived less than three miles away from some of my friends). I fear we shall not see his likes again.

But it is getting late....
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Go to and click on the squares. Seriously. Especially if you like music. :-)

If Tumblr is this cool, maybe I ought to join.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
A few weeks ago I posted about the rumor that Delicious was going to go away. Well, it hasn't yet, but I am still keeping an eye on the situation. I started listing the tags in the "notes" field because when you import the Delicious links to something like an HTML file, the notes get preserved but the tags don't.

I also signed up for an Evernote account and downloaded the application to my "work" computer. So far I'm using it to organize background materials for a feature article that I'm writing. I'm not sure if I'm yet using it as effectively as other people who have been using it for ages ("ages" in Internet time, that is), but at least it provides a place to stash some oral history transcripts I've found on the Web. (Unlike my previous historical article, which was set in the 17th century, this article is about someone who died within the last dozen years, so that some living people actually do remember the fellow.)

On a LinkedIn forum for bloggers, someone made a post arguing that one could use StumbleUpon to promote their blog/career/business. Does anyone here use StumbleUpon? It seems to be very dependent upon ratings.

Also, if I do join StumbleUpon, should I connect it with my Facebook account (my real name), or just use a nickname? Should I make my StumbleUpon "persona" just professional, or should it be a mishmash of professional and personal topics, like my Delicious links?

Finally, I think I really need to start a professional blog. I have for SCA stuff (with emphasis on the Lithuanian research). But I really need to have something for my freelance career.

For the professional blog, I would like to use Wordpress. Now, I know the difference between and, but if you start a blog with the free online, can you eventually switch to through your own domain name? An inquiring mind would like to know.
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
My friend Orla tipped me off the other night that Yahoo had plans to get rid of Ugh. Now, I've been using Delicious (originally called since about 2006, when my work PC's hard drive crashed and took with it about 50 bookmarks I had just compiled for a feature article I was working on. The help desk swapped out my PC for a new one, but the bookmarks were gone forever.

Delicious has been great because I could access the bookmarks from any computer, work or home, and I could tag them all sorts of different ways. So I could go back and forth between tagging stuff for work at work and stuff for the SCA or other personal interests at home and still be able to find everything later. Even though I never made my bookmarks private, I didn't really use the social networking aspect much -- after all, "sca" tends to stand for "service component architecture" as much as "Society for Creative Anachronism" -- but at least I had an always available place to stash my links.

I now have more than 1800 links on Delicious, and while a few of the older ones may have gone 404, most of them are still there. So I was most unhappy to hear this news and spent some time scouting around teh intertubez for some alternatives.

As it turns out, Yahoo is actually looking for someone else to take over Delicious. Well, that's more positive news. In the meantime, at least I exported my Delicious links to an HTML file under my control, so if Yahoo speaks with forked tongue and DOES shut down the service after all, at least my past work won't have vanished completely.

In the near future, I may try two or three other different services as long as they're free. Evernote sounds like the most promising one. I heard about it at the conference I attended last month, and Ezra Klein recently sang its praises.

(Incidentally, I like the idea of a "commonplace book." I've kept notebooks like that at various times in my life, even when I was a kid. In fact, I have a paper notebook like that for the SCA ... if I could only find it!)
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
Yesterday was the annual church auction. I didn't want to spend too much, of course, but I did manage to snag this Magellan GPS unit for a mere $45! Woo-hoo!

Of course, I'm not going to keep it in the car for everyday use, because that's an invitation to get my window smashed in and the GPS stolen. However, when I know I'm going to venture into unfamiliar territory (such as many of the non-Storvik SCA events I attend), it will be nice to have that little extra voice telling me where to go. Even on the familiar routes like my annual trips to Massachusetts, I will be happy to be routed around traffic jams, or to be advised of nearby eateries other than the ones advertised near the exit signs.

I suppose the GPS wouldn't have helped me earlier yesterday afternoon, though, when I went to my ex-boss's house in Springfield, VA, for a brunch to celebrate her 40th birthday. (I know at least three people who were born in November 1970; she's one of them.) Apparently Fairfax County is building/rerouting roads and renaming others in that neck of the woods, and GPS services and Google Maps haven't caught up yet, according to the chatter at the party. I went about five miles out of my way after getting off I-95 and had to call the ex-boss's husband for updated directions. Ah, well, I got there eventually.

Anyhow, I'll probably call the GPS unit "Lady Magellan," given that it will largely be taking me to SCA events. :-)
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
After my Wednesday writing deadline, the boy toy and I went to his parents' house in Calvert County. They are vacationing in Italy, and we took the opportunity to catch up on laundry without putting coins in the washing machine. We must have done about 10 loads, including three comforters. That saved us a lot of quarters

We stayed overnight (I had a lot of weird dreams, mainly about my mother's 1983 Plymouth Horizon, for some strange reason), and we came home today at dinnertime once the rain stopped.

My new-to-me laptop seems to be ready, so I'll pick it up in the morning and then I can *finally* finish the September-October heraldic newsletter. *sigh*

September 2017

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