Thing-a-Day: Day Five — Froebel Star

Someone posted some of these with a link to instructions earlier. They’re pretty, so I tried it. And then I slapped twelve filters on it in Photoshop because my heads hurts and I couldn’t be arsed to do a proper job with my camera (I still haven’t figured out a way to take macro photos properly — it probably involves turning some of the lights in my apartment on…) and I do not want to stare at my computer screen much longer. Not sure where the original post went, so… sorry original person who will probably never see this!

I see myself making many of these. They’re geometric busy-work. I enjoy geometric busy-work.

I had other stuff I was going to post today, but I guess I’ll group it all together tomorrow. Because… did I mention that my heads hurts!

Thing-a-Day: Day Four — 100mL of Water

Tonight, in preparation for the 10:23 Challenge, I will be preparing a homeopathic “remedy” (I will actually be using the resulting liquid for purposes of attempted murder and/or suicide).

Since I’m planning to keep on potentisating my remedy until I’ve got a dilution of at least 24X/12C, which may very well take me all bloody night, I have nothing to show just yet. I plan to create a video of the process. At the very least I will be taking pictures.

In the meantime I present to you the photo above, which is 100mL of water. It contains just as much of the active ingredient I will be using as my final product will have (approximately none), and has exactly the same medicinal effect (somewhat hydrating).

Thing-a-Day: Day Three — Batch Character Replacement

My favourite ebook reader for my Android phone is FBReader. It seems to handle ePub files the best, but not every ebook I download is available in that format. I convert those files with Calibre (which I also use to organize my library), but in certain cases the conversion isn’t perfect. The most annoying problem is incorrect character encoding. A lot of the time I just deal with it because the only effect is to ugly up the formatting a bit, but a book I was trying to read today was missing all of its em dashes. Usually FBReader will display � or Ͱ or whichever very wrong character applies, but these em dashes were replaced by nothing at all. Words on either side would runtogether likethis, and the author had used what I would consider an unacceptable number of em dashes, really, so the text was unreadable. Well, I could read it, but it was making me very angry.

The issue with this book turned out to be that most of the text was correctly encoded as UTF-8, but the em dashes were encoded as something else entirely (probably was originally CP1252). I could explicitly specify the input as either one before converting, but that gave me only two choices: em dashes incorrect or all other punctuation incorrect. This will probably be of no use or interest to anyone, but what I did (so I can remember later!) was this:

I renamed my ePub file to zip (because ePub files are zip files with some particular contents) and dug into the html files that were inside. I used ClipSpy to determine what the hex code for the invalid em dash character was that Calibre was choking on, this table of characters to figure out what the correct UTF-8 hex code was and Useful File Utilities with the Batch Replace plugin to go through and replace every instance of 0xc2 0x97 with 0xe2 0x80 0x94. When I checked the results in Chrome things looked good, so I zipped everything back up and loaded it back into Calibre. Great success was had.

It took me far too long to figure this process out so I went ahead and fixed a whole lot of other ugly stuff from other books, and then, since I was on a roll, I went through my library and made sure everything had the correct metadata while also deleting file formats I don’t need. Now everything in Calibre looks nice and uniform. Also, poof! Half of my day gone. I get a bit obsessive when I start doing stuff like this… However, I will never suffer from having to stare at ����� in my ebooks again.

Goggling at hex code made my eyes droopy, so I went to sleep and didn’t wake back up until midnight. Posting this at 12:22am, but I won’t consider it to be the 4th until I wake up after my “night’s sleep”. So shush. It’s how I always operate. Makes things less confusing when you’re the sort of person who doesn’t generally wake up until sometime in the afternoon! TV guides don’t flip the date until something like 5am, so… let’s assume I’m on that system, shall we?

Thing-a-Day: Day Two — These Envelopes are Decoys

I can’t tell you what my thing is today. I can’t even give you a hint. I can, however, give you certain non-vital project information, such as the fact that production cannot begin until my entire kitchen has been thoroughly cleaned, and that I’m going to go initiate that process as soon as I’m done posting this. I am very, very afraid.

Here, in place of the thing of which I dare not speak, are two envelopes that I just made from paintings I’ve had sitting around on my desk. They really don’t look very nice beside each other, do they? Who wants mail? It’s possible that I will even remember to buy stamps sometime soon. I’ve been in need of quarters from the same service desk that provides me with stamps for a few weeks now, and clean undies are a diminishing resource around here.

Thing-a-Day: Day One — Not the Roast Beef, but the Gravy

References to a study or somesuch from Australia have been going around. “Female” skills are becoming endangered, apparently. (I’m not even going to get into the whole female bit.) They say that only 51% of women under 30 can cook a roast. I hope that’s wrong, because here’s how you do it: obtain meat, put meat in oven, put meat on plate, eat meat. You don’t need anything that qualifies as a recipe, as far as I’m concerned. Just instructions. Unless you consider “season to taste” a recipe. So the roast isn’t really my thing. I rarely if ever make anything like it, because it’s just my husband and me, and we never manage to finish leftovers. But I know that I can cook a roast, and I did so partly to say “so there!” to the article and partly because if you’re going to mention roasts to me so many times in a day or two, RSS feed, I am going to need to eat one.

My thing is the gravy, which I have never bothered making before. I had the idea that it was really easy to screw up for some reason, so I never tried. Either that’s totally wrong or I got lucky. And I doubt that it was luck… I looked up a recipe during the day, but just threw in what seemed like reasonable amounts of ingredients when it was time to put together (I’ve got no printer and no memory for numbers!) It was totally better than whatever that glop that comes out of a can is supposed to be, and maybe slightly less terrible for me (maybe). So hooray!

(And now we will see if I can get this posted properly — I have never used Posterous. In theory this ought to go to my WordPress blog, which may or may not automagically post it to my Twitter account. Let us see!)

I only think that I think that I think that I’m an atheist

OMG! I believe I'm an atheist.

What is this “you only think you’re an atheist” garbageness? I’ve had people say this to me on many occasions and I’m not really sure what they’re getting at.

Are they trying to tell me that I believe in something, some sort of god thing or other, without being aware of it? Because that’s absurd. Literally. “Utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation.”

Maybe I suffer from multiple personality disorder and no one has bothered to tell “me” about it. In that case I would argue that they’re going to have to be more specific in their use of the word “you”.

Maybe they imagine that I don’t know what the word “atheist” means. If I thought that a peanut butter sandwich was a person who is approximately 5’9″ tall and habitually wears socks I would be pretty sure that I was a peanut butter sandwich. But I don’t think I’m wrong about what an atheist is.

(I think that the sort of person who says things to me like “you only think you’re an atheist” is much more likely to need to have a few words defined for them. Especially the words “atheist” and “agnostic”. I think that saying something like “you only think you’re an atheist” to me is likely to cause any conversation to degrade into me ranting at you, making use of supplementary charts.)

Maybe they’re a philosopher, in which case, I’m going to go take a nap, and they can blather on about the nature of knowledge to somebody else. Thanks. If I can’t objectively know anything stop bothering to try to teach me that I can’t objectively know anything because I can’t objectively know about it no matter how hard you try, and I will only continue to say ridiculous and flippant things like this to you until you shut up, anyway.

But no, really. What the fuck information are they trying to convey with a statement like “you only think you’re an atheist”. Can anybody tell me?

I am Candice. THE Candice.

Catch VD

Did fans of “The Vampire Diaries” suddenly get smarter, or did The CW not adequately promote the show’s return with their “Catch VD” campaign?

I got only one misdirected Twitter message intended for @CandiceAccola this week (from @SandyMarvsCandy — tweet included a not so very good but better than I could do so I should zip it line drawing of one Candice who is not me). Generally I get 5+ Candice Accola tweets per episode. That’s alright, really. It reminds me to watch the show (when you don’t have cable you have to actively seek out anything you want to watch). I don’t feel so bad about it. io9 thinks it’s acceptable, so… uh, fine. That’s sufficient for me to continue to feel alright about myself. They’re right, though. This week’s episode wasn’t that great.

My list of people who have tried to message Candices who aren’t me is now up to 273. Most of the messages are meant for people named Candice who are not notable in any way who have friends that aren’t very smart (I have most of those offenders filtered out in TweetDeck because they just don’t stop, even if I message them to try to explain what they’re doing wrong). The rest are meant for fans of Candice Michelle (wrestler/model/that girl from that one GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial), Candice Nicole (porn star) and sometimes Candice Swanpoel (Victoria’s Secret model).

I don’t get many messages for Candices who are not naked or scantily clad on the internet. Not even the ones that are actually for me would qualify, would they. But it’s a porny name. We Candis/Candys tend to choose the option that is not GTFO, I guess. Can’t find any Candice Olson (“Divine Design”/HGTV) nudes, but even Candice Bergen’s boobs are out there.

The other thing I’ve noticed about Candices on Twitter is that they are overwhelmingly blonde OR black. Which makes sense considering that the two most common meanings are “fire/glittering/glowing/brilliant white” and “Nubian/Ethiopian queen”. Loopiness, that. Fair or dark, and no Candices allowed in between. (“Pure” is given as a possible Latin meaning, but I don’t think that can be right given all the nudity involved.)

I’d like to add one final paragraph to point out that people who spell their name Candiss, Kandice, Kandiss, Kandyss, Candyss, Kandace, etc. are wrong. I will grudgingly accept the use of the arguably more correct Candace (the Greek form was Kandake, and presumably the second c ought to be hard). In Canada people used to ask if my name was spelled with an i or an a. After moving to Chicago they more often ask me “do you spell that with a y”. No. I fucking well do not. That’s stupid, and if you’re aware of any spellings that use a y you ought to be asking for a little more clarification that that, anyway. For instance, I used to spell my name Kahndyss on Geocities. (FYI, Candice was taken and I don’t think I was even in high school yet when I picked that username, so it doesn’t count. Spelling things wrong is the cool thing to do when you’re young. It’s still the way the kids operate. Dumbass kids.)

(While I was writing this I got a second message intended for @CandiceAccola. Someone else from Spain. They seem to really like her in Spain. Why is that?)

Does four years really qualify as an unfortunate delay?

I got the following letter in the mail from AT&T a few days ago along with a rebate cheque dated 01/06/2011:

AT&T rebate letter

Here’s our service activation summary, showing that my AT&T DSL account was activated on 01/30/2007:

AT&T service activation summary

The phone number and website listed on this form no longer exist.

A bit ridiculous, I think. I forgot all about this rebate sometime in February of 2007. I cancelled my AT&T service sometime in March of 2007. I have no idea what the rebate was originally supposed to be, so I don’t know how much the “additional amount” is, but damn straight you better pay me some kind of interest after almost four years! I’m surprised they honoured it at all. Who would notice if they didn’t? I figure there must have been one wiener out there pursuing this rebate all along. Congrats to them, it’s finally paid off. I hope the time they spent over the last four years is adequately rewarded by the $54.99 they’ll be receiving.

I will donate one dollar to charity for every comment on this post, up to one dollar.

This holiday, we wanted to enable the Chrome community to work together for a good cause. Starting today, we invite you to support five worthy causes by counting and “donating” the tabs you open in Chrome.

Everyone’s total tabs will determine a charitable donation made on behalf of the Chrome community, up to one million dollars.

In other words: we want people to switch to Chrome and have a one million dollar advertising budget to make it happen. Otherwise they would just skip the bullshit and donate the million dollars they’re already committed to donating.

It’s still charity, kind of, so I’m not so very mad at you, Google. Those million dollars are multitasking, at least. It’s better than TV ads or billboards. But I challenge just one company to just one time run a campaign like this without including the words “up to ______ dollars”.

Ya know, I suppose there are possibly some nice tax benefits to “donating to charity” as advertising. That might explain why companies do this kind of thing so often. It’s also a very good form of advertising to choose if you’re trying to get people to think nice thoughts about your product or service, most definitely (while not even realizing that they’re being advertised at!)