pasithea: tankgirlesque (tech)
2012-02-13 02:00 pm

Second Life Today

Some photos from Second Life now that Mesh has been on the grid for a few months.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2012-02-13 12:46 pm

Mind maps

Repost of what I posted to

Been trying out mindmaps as a personal organizational tool. So far it looks pretty promising, replacing various post-it notes and lists with a centralized system is a nice way to go.

I started initially with FreeMind which works pretty well and (as the name might suggest) is free. The interface fairly intuitive and I've had no complaints with its behavior save for I wish it supported cross-linking.

Stacey and I talked on Friday about using it as a shared application for projects for our house. Freemind does support publishing but editing would be asynchronous at best. So Stacey searched for some alternatives for us and settled on MindMeister.

So far, I like it. Already familiar with FreeMind's toolset, it was easy to switch over. The interface is a little more opaque at first but overall cleaner once you get the hang of it. It supports real-time synchronous update and it has those cross-links I always wanted.

The only negative I can find about it is the pricing structure. Free for up to 3 maps will work fine for us, we should have only the one shared map but the recurrent monthly cost to upgrade to the full version isn't worth it for our applications. It's a shame they don't have some intermediate pricing that would better suit small groups of casual users.

On a side note, I think it would be a really excellent development tool if a mindmap could be dropped over a issue tracking system like Jira or Pivotal. Perhaps automatically selecting font size for projects based on number of story points, etc. It'd make a fantastic graphical interface that one could at-a-glance figure out what an entire organization was doing as well as create a trivial way for users to add task lists and breakdowns to an item (something that currently seems quite cumbersome in existing models)
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-12-14 11:23 am

Temper temper

I think I might have broken my toe. Good job, genius.

Completely obvious note to self: Even if a parking machine steals TWENTY DOLLARS from you, it is still made of metal. Your foot is not.

So... Parking today cost me $34 (and probably a few weeks of having popsicle sticks taped to my toe) instead of the usual $14.

I wonder if I could build a degaussing loop that I could fit a parking lot pay machine inside of.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-12-13 01:18 pm

A good man

And an awesome speech.

pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-12-05 08:21 am

Life without an electric kettle

Hello Electricity and internet and roads!

There was a pretty gnarly wind storm on Thursday. The guy that's been living here for 30 years said he'd never seen anything like it before.

Made living under 100+ foot trees a whole new experience... One a bit like being shelled for 20 hours nonstop. By Friday morning I was sleeping (if you can call it that) with a helmet on in case the roof collapsed.

We were lucky. We got several branches 4 and 5 inches thick that came down on our roof but none of them penetrated. Two neighbors got their roofs holed. One of them with a large oak tree.

About a three foot thick tan-oak came down on the hillside just a little ways from our house but fortunately didn't hit anything important.

Our casualties were fairly small. Clothes line is down, charcoal grill crumpled and, the stone I put on the stump over my meditation spot took a direct sharp hit and sheered a big piece off it. Oh... And of course we had about 300lbs of branches on the roof of the house and mountains of tree bits in the yard. We'll be cleaning up for weeks.

The storm also took down a tree which took out the road to our house and the power and internet. ... And since our battery was out on loan and our heater, oven, and tankless water heater have electric ignitions, we were also without heat and hot water and I could only use the range for cooking.

I think the main road became semi-passible Friday night but wasn't really 'open' until yesterday. Power finally came back on around 8 last night.

In the interim... I admit, I've sort of had fun. Between our Burning Man gear and my childhood of historical re-enactment and survivalist living, I've been doing a lot of improvising.

Heated up the lid of the dutch oven and some grill irons on the burners and used the dutch oven on top of the range to bake (by putting the hot lid on and then swapping the irons onto it to keep heat from the top)

Hung our big oil lanterns from chains from the rafters so we'd have general light, then built miniature oil lanterns out of old spice jars for reading lamps.

We shut down the house to just the great hall to reduce the area we needed to heat and use the rest of the house as insulation. Then I strung some twine between rafters and made a little mount for the solar-powered fan we use on our tent at Burning Man to give us a makeshift ceiling fan and warm air down from the ceiling. Got us up to a balmy 56F. ... Which is just warm enough you can't see your breath.

All in all, I've kind of enjoyed the quiet and have gotten a lot of studying done but I kind of prefer slightly brighter lights for reading and not quite so chilly.

Yesterday, we and the neighbors spend some time clearing the street as they opened up the lower part of the road and we had people detouring through our section to get up past another broken bit.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-29 09:14 am

Back from Protlund

We visited Stacey's mom for the holiday, though I spent most of my time working or studying.

We did make it out to see Hugo which I quite thoroughly enjoyed. It's a fictional story about a boy and an actual person who I already really liked and I have some thin hope that this movie will revive enough interest in him that I'll see a DVD of some of his restored works come available sometime in the near future.

Also went to OMSI and toured the blueback and then went to the Body Worlds exhibit where I spent many hours studying muscle groups. The studies I made were weirdly crude but useful.

I only did a tiny bit of mushroom hunting. Found one shaggy mane in good enough condition to eat and a number of boletus zelleri which we had in a cream sauce yesterday evening.

Also found a few old blewits which I'm going to try to get a culture from and see if I can get a colony established here, and I came across a cute cluster of gymnopilus luteofolius. I also saw several dozen really lovely amanita vaginatas. Was almost tempted by their quantity and quality to try eating them but I'm just not confident enough in my amanita identification to try it. From what I've heard, they aren't really 'to die for' so why gamble it? :)
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-19 11:57 pm


Saw the Cirque du Soliel, 'Totem' performance on Thursday. Never been to one of their shows before. The level of talent and coordination and skill was simply amazing. If I had a mountain of spare cash laying about, I'd go see more of their shows. *sigh*

The last 'circus' I went to was Circus Circus when I was ~12. My parents left me in the arcade at Circus Circus while they visited the casinos, (you know, like good christians do) I dimly recall some sort of not very interesting trapeze act and some even less good stage magician.

I think the only other time I went to the circus, it was Ringling Brothers in Tulsa and I must have been 10 or younger. I again dimly recall some un-interesting trapeze work, some guy riding a motorcycle inside a spherical cage, and some very ugly and unpleasant clowns that had some sort of mean-spirited 3-stooges-esque act. I think we must have been in cheap seats because in my memory there were a good dozen rows ahead of us and the performers were tiny and distant.

I wonder if I was just too young to appreciate what I was seeing or if those shows were really just that much less interesting than the Totem performance. Probably a bit of both... Although I definitely enjoyed the abstractness of Cirque to an annoying narrating ringmaster telling me everything that was going on. If a show is good, you should be able to draw your own conclusions about what is happening. No?
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-16 09:29 am

I didn't tell them about the bats...

Can I get any of you to sign this petition? It came out of the speleological society. It's a petition for funding for research into White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has been attacking and killing bats in large numbers. May not seem important with everything else going on in the world but personally, I'd place a higher value on bats than one more predator drone.’s-fiscal-year-2013-budget/jH8Z4Fsl?
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-10 09:36 am

Wandering in Dreamland

Side note: I find it frustrating that things that interest me don't maintain themselves without conscious effort on my part. Like dreams for instance. If I put effort into it, I remember pieces of dreams but the moment I stop mentally prepping myself to dream before bed each night, it just disappears and I get nothing at night. This seems to be the pattern for a lot of things in my life. If I'm not actively studying and pushing on them, they rapidly decay and vanish.

Side note 2: I REALLY need to learn how to remember people's names and associate them with faces. This is a serious handicap for me that I have to learn to overcome.

Last night, I intended to dream. I did. I was looking for something. Some piece of something for some art project. Perhaps I was just seeking inspiration. That was my goal when I went to bed.

Someone in the Other told me they knew a person that might have it. I rode a bus through a city of winding cobblestone streets and twisted decrepit buildings until we stopped in sort of a cul du sac with ruined buildings on the left and a view over a bay straight ahead and a sort of run-down old hotel or mall on the right.

There were a couple of rough-looking people out front. A man and a woman. Old, weathered, looked like they lived on the streets and drank a lot. The woman was wearing a badly worn wedding dress, the man a tattered tux. It triggered all my ingrained little fears about 'those people' but they welcomed me like an old friends and invited me inside. I felt ashamed of my fears. I think they owned the place or at least ran it. They told me their names but I promptly forgot.

Inside, we were on an elevated walk looking down into a large open room that had various people doing stuff. Drawing, chatting, sewing, juggling, practicing fire dance. The interior was kind of like a victorian era building, somewhat decrepit with carved features. Mostly cream and off yellow colors. I think some of the columns were white at one time, there was some wallpaper on at least one wall in a sort of diamond print.

It was a bit like a burning man event but not 'an event'. The air of it being a special occasion wasn't there. This was where these people lived every day. I felt awkward. I felt like I didn't belong. Where it hit me was that I had a 'regular job' and these people were virtually homeless but they were somehow more 'real' than me. I felt like a fake.

A kind of handsome vaguely hispanic guy, no shirt, dark brown knee-length pants got up from a couch where he was working and came around the left side and up some stairs I didn't see. He'd been making a brown knotted wide-brimmed hat. He put it on my head and said, "Welcome!" to me, gave me a hug and then disappeared down a hallway. I was very thankful. I'm past due for a haircut and my hair is faded and ratty.

Some of the other people below waved to me and told me their names (which I again forgot :( ) and invited me down.

A first, I didn't see the way the guy had come up so I kind of wandered around and then found a gradual slope that went down to the main room on the right.

A couple of guys sitting on a couch invited me over to sit with them. I sat down between them. They introduced themselves. One of them had said his name just a few minutes before when I was above. I tried to remember his name. I almost had it but it slipped. He was thin, wiry-muscled with a neatly trimmed goatee. Dark brown or black hair. He sat on my left and smelled a bit of olives and turpentine.

On my right, the other guy was large with rolls of fat but not obese. It oddly suited him. Kind of baby faced but with sallow cheeks and a strange sort of smile. Now that I think about it, he only passingly resembled human at all. He smelt stale but not oppressive. Like old tea and a bit of mustiness.

I was about to tell them what I was looking for but I had some shallow ego need to try to prove that I belonged there and my sketchbook was in my hand so I told them I drew. They were both excited by this and wanted to see. They also both had sketchbooks of their own and presented them to me. I handed mine to the thin man on the right, now suddenly feeling awkward because I instantly knew their work would be leagues better than mine.

In the fat man's sketchbook, every page had a fully rendered image in it. They were a strange style. People with rounded rectangular body forms. Sort of a stylized grotesque. A little cartoony with a strong graphic element. It was really visually compelling stuff. Some of it was sublimely funny or uncomfortably odd. It wasn't a style I would have said I 'liked' but it was definitely quite interesting and in the back of my head, there were some ideas that I wanted to steal. Particularly one about a unicorn man.

The thin man's sketchbook was sketchier with lightly drawn lines showing transparent layers of things that resembled violins. Almost like technical drawings. They weren't as visually captivating as the fat man's but they appealed more to the technical side of my brain that was trying to understand the forms in 3D space and visualize how they were constructed and all of the work that went into them.

I just began to talk with them about their respective works when the alarm went off. *sigh* This is the way with most of the dreams I've manufactured. They always terminate just at the story is beginning. I suspect I must dream only in the seconds before I become fully conscious. :/

I wanted to record the experience but also, I'm left with an odd question. Is it right to plagiarize art from artists that you only dreamed of? I mean if I found their work interesting, certainly I should pull some ideas from them but wholesale copying the works of another artist seems wrong even if they were people that only existed in my head. I also feel somewhat ashamed that I couldn't remember any of their names.

I guess I could perhaps try to render the world they live in. It was a strange and interesting place but it also seemed like something that would take a lot of time to render and not be interesting to people other than me. I could cling to some hope that by rendering it, I might make them more real, establish a stronger link with them, bring my flop-house of strange muses more present in my mind.

I know however, that's not really how my brain works. Every dream that I've ever had that I've tried to revisit, I've never gotten back to. I can only recreate or sustain them through active process and somehow that always feels a lot less 'real' to me. All of the characters become Mary Sues that I move in contrived ways.

I think it also says something to me about how shallow all of my emotions and motives were throughout the dream. There were all these amazing things I should have been paying attention to yet I kept being blinded by my own vanity and ego. Even now, there's a rich Other land in my mind and I debate the value of drawing it because it probably wouldn't inspire anyone else. Is that really all I see art as? A tool with which to manipulate others? Shallow indeed.

Yet... True. My head is always full of rich landscapes and beautiful pictures. I could spend an eternity dwelling inside it. For my personal sake, I have no reason to render these things. I'm crazy enough that they are as real as I allow them to be. Often I feel like I'm fighting to maintain my footing in this reality. It would be easy to let Otherland carry me away. At times I wonder if it already has. Maybe the 'real' me is eating out of dumpsters somewhere and the life I have is one that self created to hide from her own reality.

I am instead seeking some sort of communication with others through art. I have vague generalized goals of wanting people to think and dream and smile and sometimes be a little creeped out. I desire to give others an experience that is outside of Default World. I want to infect them with a little bit of the strange. I appreciate that part of myself. I think it's right and on a noble mission.

Then there's the other part of me that has no safety net to speak of and few friends. The self that wants to be loved and adored. The part of me that is the void and could consume all of the love in the world and want more. The part that is afraid of losing this reality and sinking entirely into the Other. That part cripples my art. It's in such a hurry to be loved that it wants to rush everything. It's so sad and pathetic, even I have nothing but contempt or it. I wish it would die. Poor unloved child. Boo hoo. Life sucks, get over it. How does one kill their own ego anyhow?
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-08 11:06 am


In three days at about this time (Pacific at any rate) it will be 11/11/11 11:11:11

Can we take this day as an opportunity to observe that numerology is completely bunk?
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-11-06 08:54 pm

Fire and Ice

Oh man... I have just watched 'Fire and Ice', a collaboration between Bakshi and Frazetta.

It was reaaaaaaaaaally something.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-10-31 11:45 pm

Another thing I'm missing

I wish that when I was a child and it was easy that I had been encouraged to learn other languages and had access to learn them.

I've spent the past few hours reading translations of Baudelaire and I can feel that I'm really missing the beauty of his verse.

I wish I had the time now to learn additional languages. *sigh* Handicapped again by my parents and a system that just doesn't really care.

But hey, common white-trash parents like my mother are real proud they squirted out a baby, even if they were utterly incompetent in helping it become something better than what they were. This is why I'd never have kids. I know I come from garbage. Even though I'm far evolved from my parents, I would never be able to give a child sufficient tools to really excel in life. My own upbringing was simply too crude.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
2011-10-31 12:04 am

Happy Halloween

OMG ZOMBIES by ~ObscureStar on deviantART

Been a fairly quiet weekend.
Finished a bit of art.
Cleaned up some of the debris from the trees being taken down.
Worked out the design for some furniture I want to build.
Built and learned to crudely play a didgeridoo.
Spent several hours practicing with a bamboo flute. Starting to get a good feel for it.

Not very useful or productive but relaxing, I guess.