"For it's not enough to walk the moon, send robots off to Mars
Nor send a lucky handful out to catch a glimpse of stars
We're gonna live and work and space. We're gonna go to stay
And the ones who'll make it happen,
the ones who make it happen,
yes the ones who'll make it happen
are the ones who make it pay"
-- Jordin Kare (b. 1956-10-24, d. 2017-07-19), "Bloody Bastards"
"For it's not enough to walk the moon, send robots off to Mars
Things without deadlines (fun):
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
Things without deadlines (productive):
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
I was awake quite early on Thursday. The morning's Morse practice went a lot better than it's gone in quite a while. Only one word caused me trouble. However, after it was over, much of the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle, energy-wise. A bit of stuff got done, but much less than might have been.
I spent a little more time tidying on Friday, but again ran short of energy and motivation before I got very far. It's still at the "things get messier before they get tidier" stage.
In the evening, however, there was gaming. At young A's request we played 7 Wonders, and Phil won. It was a short enough game that I was home before 10:30pm.
It rained overnight, and it has also been raining randomly and heavily at intervals all day. I have done a bit more tidying. I've also spent a bit of time trying to catch SOTA activators on the radio, ( Radio conditions ruminations )
Edit 7 hours later: Well, quite a bit of stuff has found itself a home in the workshop or the boiler cupboard, and there's a lot less on the floor now. There's further to go, but much less far than there was this morning.
Tomorrow there's an NMC rehearsal.
From "Oh this has not gone well" (part 14) by Redditor "ThisHasNotGoneWell":
"Well," I started, how do I explain statistics, and not sound like the boringest boring person in the world, "In the world I come from people have enough free time on their hands, and they take games seriously enough, that people will study a game like a Mage might study magic. I had plenty of time when I was waiting for the pass south to clear, so I spent some time pulling the rules apart, figuring out the probability of any given hand. The other players might have a gut feeling as to how probable a given hand is, but I know the figures exactly. I'll also try to keep track of what cards I've seen played already. Between that, and having worked out the probabilities of each, I usually have at least an idea of how good my hand is compared to the others."
"Wait," she said, trying to wrap her head around what I'd just said, "So, you know what cards they have in their hand?"
"Not quite, I know what cards they probably have. And even if I don't know specifics, I'll at least have an idea of whether their hand is better or worse than mine, and that's really all I need."
"Don't humans have anything better to do?"
I thought of the many hundreds of hours spent playing videogames and watching Netflix.
Despite those inherent flaws, the production was quite good, with special kudos to Jose Llana as the King of Siam. I also thought Manna Nichols was very good as Tuptim. The choreography made good use of a relatively small space (this was in the Opera House, not the Eisenhower, which also has the disadvantage of less than wonderful acoustics). Could one write a musical nowadays with an internal ballet like "The Small House of Uncle Thomas?"
My only real complaint (aside from my overall lukewarmness towards the score) is that the show was awfully long. I was nervous about the metro schedule, since trains stop running at 11:30 on weeknights now. I may have to limit weeknight excursions to things that are driveable or that I know will end by 10ish.
Chinotto: We had dinner before the show at Campono, which has okay food and is right across the street from the Kennedy Center. The café in the Kennedy Center is dreadful, with mediocre food and high prices. And the friend I went with was driving, so didn’t want to do dinner in Foggy Bottom beforehand. My salad was fine, but the real reason I am mentioning this is that they have chinotto! I know I am the only North American who actually likes those bitter Italian drinks, but the point is that I do like them and they are hard to find here. So it was a rare treat.
Now, if I could only find somewhere that has Schweppes bitter lemon…
Fielding Dreams: I shouldn’t really go out two nights in a row, but the DC JCC had a program on Washington’s Jewish Ballplayers and, given my minor obsession with Jews in baseball, how could I resist? Fred Frommer (who authored a book on Washington baseball, not limited to Jewish players) moderated the event. The other speakers were Phil Hochberg who, in addition to a career in sports law, was an announcer at RFK Stadium, and Aviva Kempner, who is well known for her documentaries, including The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. The big news is that she is now working on a documentary about Moe Greenberg and she talked extensively about him.
Anyway, there were 18 Jews who played major league baseball in Washington, though some played only 1 or 2 games. The number should really be 17 because Buddy Myer, despite being in nearly every Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, was not actually Jewish. Most of the players talked about were active in the 1930’s or so, but there were a few I remembered. For example, Greg Goossen played for the Mets for a while, though, of course, their real Jewish star was Art Shamsky. (As far as I know, Ed Kranepool is not Jewish, though he did give a talk at our shul when I was a kid.) It was Goossen about whom Casey Stengel allegedly said "I have a 19 year old player. In 10 years, he has a chance to be 29."
Another familiar player was Jason Marquis, who I saw pitch here several times. The only Jewish pitcher who had a winning career in Washington, however, was Al Schacht, who went 14-10 in the early 1920’s. The other really significant pitcher who was discussed was Syd Cohen, who gave up Babe Ruth’s final home run. But the better story about him is that he played winter ball in Mexico under the name Pablo Garcia. The minor league ballpark in El Paso (where he grew up) is named after him – and his brother, Andy, who was the more successful ballplayer.
The big story, however, was Moe Berg. His baseball career wasn’t exactly impressive, but his career in the OSS made up for it. Apparently, he spoke at least 7 languages – and couldn’t hit in any of them. But his linguistic skills got him sent to Japan with much bigger names and to Switzerland to meet Heisenberg and so on. He was a genuine character and I’m looking forward to Aviva’s movie.
Speaking of Baseball: Jackie Bradley made an awesome catch Sunday night, robbing Aaron Judge of a home run. That is exactly how I like to see my Red Sox deal with the Source of All Evil in the Universe.
Don’t Analyze This Dream: I had, for some reason, been given an opportunity to do another Zero-G flight, for free this time. But there was a lot of paperwork to fill out – enough for a 100+ page book. I got hung up on a question asking me to check off which conditions I had, which including being blind, blonde, or blinde.
I'm not sure when I first met Jordin. Probably Confrancisco in 1993, where I first met a lot of the California filkers. (Most notably Kathy Mar, leading me the next year to drive up to a small con outside Toronto where she was GOH. But that's another story.)
My favorite memory of Jordin was his debut of "Heart of the Apple Lisa" during his Interfilk Guest concert at ConCertino in 1995. Which, being in Westborough, MA, was right in the heart of Fred Small territory. Given that and the number of computer scientists in filk, the titters from the audience started almost immediately. When he hit the first chorus, you could literally hear the wave of laughter roll from the front row to the back of the room. I was seated about 2/3 of the way back, with a clear sightline to the rear doors into the ballroom. As Jordin continued and the gales of hysterical laughter began to crescendo, I could see people running in from the hallway to find out what was happening.
And the topper? Mary Kay had been worried how the song would be received and thought the jokes might be too esoteric. For a con a few miles from the famed stretch of MA Route 128 known as "America's Technology Highway", home to the offices of IBM, DEC and Honeywell, HP, DG, and--sorry, different filker.
My second favorite memory came while waiting to board a flight at Dulles. I was sitting facing the concourse, watching people walk by, as one does. I saw someone who looked like Jordin walk by. I didn't get up immediately; I first thought it couldn't be Jordin, he lives in Seattle. A minute or two passed, and I became more convinced it really was Jordin. I got up, started to walk down the concourse, got about two gates, and saw Mary Kay sitting near the end of a row of seats. I went over and started chatting, and of course Jordin returned from his perambulations shortly thereafter. Turns out they'd been overseas at an astrophysics conference and were connecting back through Dulles. He'd actually won a significant award at that conference, making me the first filker other than Mary Kay to hear the good news.
Jordin leaves us a long legacy of original songs from the heartbreaking ("Waverider") to the anthemic ("Fire in the Sky"), parodies ("Psi Nought", "Dawson's Concom", "Unified Field Theory"), Les Barker recitations, Off Centaur recordings and songbooks, and drawers full of punny T-shirts. He will be missed.
Jordin Kare died yesterday, from complications of aortic valve replacement surgery. I am still somewhat in shock. He was younger than Colleen.
There is not much to be grateful for on this Thursday, but I am profoundly
grateful for Jordin's music, which has been part of my life's soundtrack
since at least the early 1980s. He was one of the founders of Off Centaur
Publications, publishers of the Westerfilk songbooks and many fine filk
tapes. (Jordin did the typesetting for Westerfilk I using
troff, which led to a number of typos involving single
quotes, which troff treats specially if they're the first character in a
Last night Naomi and I sang a few of his songs -- "Fire In the Sky", "The Designer" and "The Engineer", "Waverider", and all I could remember of "Kantrowitz 1972". It wasn't until this morning that I found the lyrics for that and "Sail for Amber", Colleen's favorite.
I just ...
We begin a new tractate, Sanhedrin, which discusses court cases. Unlike in many secular court systems, the judges are active participants (they're the ones who question witnesses) and the ultimate decisors; there are no lawyers or juries.
A court is made up of some number of judges, depending on the type of case (at least 3, sometimes 23 or 71 or occasionally other numbers). Here are some of the cases listed in the first mishna of the tractate (this is not a complete list):
Various types of monetary damages are judged by three.
Rape, seduction, and libel require three according to R' Meir, but the sages say libel requires 23 because it could involve a capital charge. (A note suggests this comes up with adultery but doesn't connect the dots. Also, rape and seduction can involve capital charges too, so I don't know why they only call out libel. Perhaps it's addressed later in the g'mara.)
Capital cases, as implied in the previous bullet, require 23.
Cases for which the punishment is flogging require three, but according to R' Yishmael, 23.
Calendar decisions (witnessing the new moon, adding a leap month) are judged by three, though R' Shimon b. Gamaliel describes a more complicated scheme.
A tribe charged with idolatry, a false prophet, and a high priest can be tried only by a court of 71.
The following require 71: authorizing wars of free choice, adding to the temple courtyards, establishing small sanhedrins (of 23) for the tribes, condemning a city, condemning frontier towns.
Why is a great sanhedrin 71? Because Moshe was commanded to gather 70 (other) men. And why is a small sanhedrin 23? It's complicated. (I don't completely follow their math, sorry.)
This is all from 2a. The mishna continues onto 2b before the g'mara starts there.
(Today's daf is 4.)
Sunshine was allowed out of her cage and wanted to get out of the room as well. A new cat is named Freud (above), and he is indeed a joy. He was very friendly with both Virginia and me.
Ce n'est pas un chat. I kept looking at that cushion and thinking it was a sleeping cat, or maybe a tribble.
Two weeks ago, I talked to Virginia about getting scratched by cats, and Ladyslipper immediately scratched her. Last week I said I hadn't been scratched myself yet at the shelter, and this week Ladyslipper put an end to that record as I was cleaning a shelf next to her. I'd better be careful not to give her any more ideas.
Joni Mitchell was adopted. I hope her temperament is better in a home where she isn't surrounded by lots of other cats in close quarters.
I was distracted for quite a bit of the rest of the day by the astronomical society committee's ideas for adding social media links to the society's website. I compromised by experimenting a bit with Twitter, which might do enough to distract some of the committee, but not, I fear, the ones wedded to Facebook.
On Tuesday I was a bit distracted by Ingress, which took almost 48 hours to increment my "Max Time Portal Held" stat from 149 to 150 days. I'd figured the counter should have rolled over some time on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon I was wondering whether the portal it was referring to was not the one I thought it was referring to, and that the mystery other portal had been taken down some time Monday morning without my noticing or being alerted. It turned out that Ingress just has a very flexible definition of "day".
On Tuesday evening there was a talk about Morse Code at the nearer of the two radio clubs I attend regularly. The meeting was well-attended, and folk seemed to enjoy it. As the talk was aimed more at those who've never used Morse, I found most of the actual Morse a bit slow, but maybe it will spark some interest.
There was a bit of a thunderstorm overnight. I didn't properly wake up for it, but I was aware enough of it going on that I didn't sleep all that well, either. I've been feeling the effects all day. This evening there's a committee meeting for the other radio club, so I expect I'll end up having an afternoon nap before that.
Just a couple of these things, & it pays for itself. For example, the Fiction River anthology alone [nearly 800 pages!] is 8.00 on Kindle. The Uncollected Anthology Year One [490 pages] is only available as a $24 paperback. Afaik, this is the only e-book edition. The Grayson trilogy is excellent, romance-with-woo-woo fun; the Rusch Diving series has great buzz. The Faerie Summer is a 20-book e-book set.
Throw in the others, & that's a lot at an excellent deal. Squee!
filkferengi, off to buy it now
( Thread 1: You are not entitled to be a panelist at a convention. )
( Thread 2: Cis People Please Don't Do This. )
Comments are off because I'm on vacation and don't feel like moderating them. Feel free to share the link to this post.
My (Android) phone alerts me when traffic is bad near me. This can be handy at the end of the day because I work downtown. Except... it's telling me about traffic on roads I don't use to get home. Sure, there's spillover so it's not unhelpful, but it'd be great if I could tell it -- maybe by gesturing on a map -- what paths I care about, so it could tell me about those ones.
Does anybody reading this know of an app that does that, or a way to get Google Maps to do it? It needs to be fire and forget; I don't want to have to open the map app to look for red lines on it.
It feels like all the information is already there, if only my phone were making use of it.
(This would also let me know before I leave in the morning if traffic is still bad at the other end. At that time I don't really need extra information about traffic near my house; I need it 3-5 miles away.)