taking joy in human unreason

2004 February


An interesting, interesting event.

The entire evening/morning was scheduled around panels (and meals), including a student (undergrad) panel, a career panel, and a bioinformatics panel. There was a speech and a single panel the first evening. The others were Saturday morning.

I always find myself in a sticky place at these types of events, in which a minority gets together to discuss the fact that they are a minority, which much of the conference felt like. Okay, so women are a minority in the computing field, and it ain’t getting any better (worse, in fact). Why are we sitting here finding all the differences between male and female coding methods, and the differences in management styles, and differences in job opportunities? If we are here to celebrate women in computing, then let’s avoid male-bashing, let’s avoid ostracizing, let’s avoid separating. Because I think we all know women can do that quite well. (Kidding, kidding. Sorta. Um, not really.) It’s not a matter of how (stereotypical) male programmers hate documentation, it’s a matter of the fact that yes, women do tend to bring more of that to the table. It’s a matter of semantics, yes, but it also puts a very different spin on the conference. I wasn’t the only one to feel uncomfortable with some of the questions posed to the panels on those topics, because a very cool grad student brought that point up, seconded by several of us.

There was also a bit of affirmative action rah-rahing (blatant “let’s take advantage of the system while it’s open and we have the advantage”–don’t forget blacks aren’t the only ones used to fill quotas) that made some of us squirm. Actually, that same grad student and myself, openly.

This was the first time a regional women in computing conference (modeled after the national-level Grace Hopper conference, apparently) has been held, so it was very much a pilot run. Some things could do with improvement (there were, of course, evaluation forms), but it was really a very fun conference, and it was a heady feeling to be pioneering (even if I can’t stand the head pioneer) regional, more affordable, more accessable discussions on some of the issues in computing for women.

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"Scratchity-scratch-scratch." – No. Bad Lissa.

The first spring I lived in North Carolina, I had the worst allergies I’ve ever had in my life. I normally suffer through sinus problems, asthma-esque symptoms, and occasionally hives on my scalp (there’s nothing quite like the feeling of scalp hives–it’s like a thousand bugs crawling through your hair). That spring, though, I went through all of the above plus another interesting one that I’m still not sure what to call. To show me how it worked, my doctor took a wooden pokey stick and drew it lightly down the inside of my forearm. Aside from the tickling sensation, nothing happened immediately. In about 20 seconds, however, a large, itchy, burning welt had raised along the precise line he pressed with the stick. Weird. That entire spring, my arms and legs welted anytime something even lightly scratched me. Even more oddly, I never had that reaction any other spring I lived in Charlotte.

It’s funny how one forgets the “advantages” of moving ever northward. This is until, of course, you’re sitting at work for the fifth night in a row (jeebus this was a long week), and realize your entire forearm is inflamed from where you had just scratched it vigorously. Oh, and is that why your back won’t stop itching? And why you feel like you’re about the claw through your pant leg to tear the flesh off your thighs? I love the warm, spring weather (it’s given me so much energy it’s scary), and yet I hate it.

During my eigth grade springtime fun, Allegra and other allergy medicines that are purportedly good for skin allergies didn’t help a fig. I may have to have a go at that again, though, because I refuse to suffer through the panic this causes in me (it’s such a creepy fucking reaction) and the incessant itching while I’m taking a maximum load of classes next term.

Oh, well. What’s a girl to do?

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Resolved – nntp//rss install

Goal: to use nntp//rss as an RSS aggregator, using either Blackdown JDK/JRE 1.4.1 or Sun SDK/JRE 1.4.2.

The main problem here comes in running the actual NNTP server. Normal users do not have access to the ports in use by the app. My initial thought was to create a script that could be executed from /etc/init.d as a daemon via the rc-update command. Alas, this wasn’t as simple as I hoped, and was abandoned.

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Banal Happiness

Today was a beautiful day.

I’m not even going to say “despite it being Singles Awareness Day and the fact that I am singularly single”. It was just a beautiful day for me.

I slept in until about 09:00, woke up to find the sweetest Valentine’s Day card from Mae taped on my door, played around with the 2.6 kernel and bootsplash after hearing good things about it at the Linux Users’ Group meeting last night (blatant geekfest–I haven’t had so much fun on a Friday night in a long time), and then left campus on my own for the first time in about a month.

Today’s off-campus excursion was brought to me in part by Incubus, Everlast, a half-full tank of gas, the remaining majority of my last paycheck, and a burning determination to enjoy the spring-like weather.

My spirits have been incurably lifted.

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#^$*@# – A pissy rant

I am so pissed right now I am vibrating with anger. My physics lab partner, who’s been dragging his heels all damn term, missed our lab, the lab he is supposed to be doing, this morning.

A couple of weeks ago, NSBE was invited to a plant trip at Caterpillar, and Daniel said he wanted to go. I didn’t give a damn–a tour of a Caterpillar plant is for the Mechanical and Chemical engineers, but I’d tag along. I agreed to arrange a make-up lab with our lab prof, and made sure I was set with my other missed classes. I was up at the ass-crack of dawn (05:20) to go on the plant trip, sick from a cold and barely able to keep food down. Guess what negro didn’t show up? Turns out he had a computer programming night exam that evening. These things are schedules weeks in advance. To top it off, the fuck up didn’t even go to lab while he was here and I was stuck cavorting around a plant. He didn’t want to go because I wasn’t there. Now, given that I ran my labs all by my damn self, did all the write-ups my damn self (and got us decent grades), and still helped his lazy ass on his first lab, he could have felt perfectly fucking free to take some damned initiative without me holding his hand. Instead, he slept in.

Fine, so we still have a scheduled make-up lab for today. It started, however, during my last class, and I have enough absenses in there to actually matter (plus, we’re talking about Langston Hughes, who is quite the man), so I told him to start without me, and I’d show up the next hour.

Class is over, I go down to the lab, and can’t find him. The prof isn’t in there at the time, so I come back to my room and see he’s online, but idle. Online. Meaning his computer is not in the laboratory, taking measurements, which I already knew. So I stomp up to his room (and boy, did the path clear when people saw my face…), and there he is, having a good time “chillaxing” (I cannot believe that non-word is becoming a part of my speech.). Options included snatching his ass out of bed onto the floor and yelling at him while pummelling with feet or fists, or just leaving and having a friendly chat with my lab prof to get our grades separated (which would certainly boost my average). I managed to find a middle ground upon seeing the fearful look on his roommate’s face, and attempted to get out a coherent sentence explaining that fourth hour does, in fact, begin earlier than the present time and that labs are not held in residence halls. I may have sputtered a bit. Just a bit.

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Exploit: Zero Day “Headless Swarm” Landing December 1

So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.

*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…

It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.

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Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

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Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

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July 3rd 2016
Tags: On Life and Love, , No Comments

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.

One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

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Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.
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Questionable Decisions: Hot Yoga

I made a questionable decision this afternoon.

After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.

Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.

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