etherial: Earthdawn Logo (earthdawn)
[personal profile] etherial
 From the court-mandated parole log of Gronk Longtusk:
10 Raquas
Hired on as a guard for a caravan of settlers heading out from Throal. Lareth and Anfalon don't strike me as the smartest of leaders. Only 25 humans to start a new town out in the wilds? I wish them well. If there's hope for them, then there's hope for the Buunda Boys.
 
11 Raquas
Our first day out of Throal. Two brothers, Vah and Zot, got into a scuffle. The other adepts tried to break them up before anyone even drew blood. Cleary these ujnort don't understand what a real fight looks like. If they had intended any harm, there'd have been some broken bones and eye gouging.
 
My fellow guards are Heartscry, a Windling Illusionist; Krel Tor, a Troll Nethermancer; and Ceadda, a Human Warrior. Three of us are quiet, but Heartscry tries to make up for it by sticking her pointy nose into everyone's business. She was able to find out that Vah and Zot's father had run the market in the Hall these Humans grew up in, and did not treat his customers well. Wish I had known these folks before, we could have knocked over his store and everyone would have been better off for it.
 
Heartscry and I will take first watch, Ceadda and Krel Tor the second.
 
12 Raquas
During the night, a sneak managed to take a sword from Rosario, one of the Humans. They placed it in Zot's tent. Odd, though, that we found their tracks so easily. It didn't seem likely to us that he was the thief, but Lareth banished him anyway. Heartscry told him to follow along, a couple hours behind the caravan. She had tried to talk to his brother, but was brushed off. We're pretty sure he knows who the sneak is.
 
During the long walk south we kept an eye out for any suspicious behavior. Setting up camp for the night, we noticed that Kirtar, a dirt poor fisherman, had suddenly gained a tent. He'd slept under a wagon the night before. Now, he was the proud owner of Zot's tent. We have ourselves a suspect for Vah's accomplice.
 
We worked out a plan to catch the real thief. I'm going to hide on the roof of one of the wagons during our watch, while Heartscry will be big and obvious.
 
12 Raquas (again)
The plan worked. Vah made some furtive attempts to get out of his tent, each time seeing Heartscry fly by, and cowering back inside. Once he figured out her big and obvious pattern, he snuck out and met with Kirtar. Vah handed Kirtar a sack of silver, rewarding him for 10% of Zot's stolen wealth. With both culprits caught red-handed in the middle of camp, I needed a little ruckus to wake everyone up, so I shot Vah in the foot.
 
Sure enough, he started screaming, bringing Loreth, Anfalon, a buck-naked Ceadda, and everyone else out of their tents. Faced with the possibility of walking back to Throal on two broken feet, Vah started to waffle. Faced with my glowing red finger on his breast, Kirtar was more than happy to turn in his boss. Loreth booted the two of them out of the caravan and apologized to Zot.
 
14 Raquas
Mid-day, the trail we were following suddenly ended. The Scouts who were supposed to be showing us the way must have gotten into trouble. With a little luck, we were able to find one of them. He was delirious, his skin discolored by a venomous bite. We administered a poultice and continued down, trying to find his partner.
 
We encountered a creature, something called a Dappled Brithan. It was kind of like a big furry Troll that crawled around on all fours. Extremely territorial, we had to prove our worth to it. Ceadda answered its challenge, and though he nearly got himself killed, his tenacity allowed him to knock it unconscious. We had a Scout to find, so we didn't stay to skin and butcher it.
 
Down by the river, we saw something called a Bog Gob, a hideous gray lumpen thing, gnawing on the bones of the other Scout. This was apparently not normal behavior for Bog Gobs. Then it attacked us. We'd've easily handled it, but it had a Blood Raven friend and Ceadda managed to step on some snakes that attacked us. Heartscry was able to keep the Blood Raven occupied and even cast her Displace Image spell on the other two, but that just meant the snakes went after me. That poison was seriously harsh and I blacked out for a moment, but we were able to defeat the monsters and recover the Scout's body.
 
15 Raquas
We've delivered the settlers to their new home. They offered to let us Name it, and Heartscry Named it Borgan's Rest, after the Scout who lost his life helping them get there. I'm still worried that Lareth will too-quickly rush to judgment in the future, but that's their business, not mine. We headed back to Throal and left them to their work.
 
18 Raquas
Back in Throal. We detected no sign of Kirtar and Vah. I hope they didn't get attacked by a Horror.
 
PCs:
Gronk Longtusk, male Ork Archer
Heartscry, female Windling Illusionist
Krel Tor, male Troll Nethermancer
Ceadda, male Human Warrior
 
NPCs:
Lareth, large Human blacksmith, leader
Anfalon, small Human tailor, his wife
Vah and Zot, angry brothers
Rosario, sword owner
Kirtar, lying liar who lies, fisherman
 

Follow up on Inner Ear

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:00 pm
fabrisse: (Default)
[personal profile] fabrisse
The physical therapist performed the maneuver. I'm feeling better. However, she also thinks the doctor may have misdiagnosed me. I may have been holding my jaw so tight that it affected my inner ear. She based this on the tightness of my shoulders and mandibular muscles (my name for them, probably not the right one) and the weakness of some of my throat muscles. I have homework to strengthen the latter and loosen the former as well as other exercises in case it is the gravel. One other thing she noticed is that my eyes aren't tracking smoothly, especially down to up. In her words, they jump. She thinks this may be a contributor to my dizziness, too, and gave me eye tracking exercises.

I have a lot of homework.

PS: I made it through the day without medication, though I did have some brief spells. I'll probably take it tonight, though, since waking up is one of my worst times for dizziness.

Dream journal

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:49 am
hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
It was Thursday of a week-long music workshop, and I'd just taken a long, fairly difficult exam. I stepped out of the second-floor exam room onto the outdoor staircase down to the ground, and immediately stepped in an inch of water. In fact, the entire staircase below was under water. I looked up and realized that the flood waters -- fortunately fairly calm, with no visible current -- stretched to the horizon. But I needed to get to my dorm room, on the second floor of a different building, so I started swimming.

usability struggles

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:51 pm
cellio: (Default)
[personal profile] cellio

I spend a lot of time on, and am a volunteer moderator for, several Stack Exchange sites. (Mi Yodeya is one of them.) SE has a banner ("top bar") that is the same across all sites. It contains notifications, information about the logged-in user, and some key navigation links. For moderators it contains a few more things relevant to that job.

Until recently it looked like this (non-moderator view):

original

The red counter is the inbox (waiting messages) and the green one is reputation changes. If there aren't any, you just get the gray icons that those alerts are positioned over. If I were a moderator on that site, there'd be a diamond to the left of my user picture and a blue square with the flag count to the left of that.

They've just changed this design. (Well, the change is rolling out.) Here's what it looks like now (for a moderator):

new, notifications

The most important links for moderation are the last two things, the diamond and the blue box with the number (flags). They're on the far right, where they're less likely to be seen for various reasons. (Non-moderators don't get those indicators.)

In the old design, those moderator indicators -- which are important -- were toward the center where they're easier to see. Also, all the numbers were a little bigger and easier to see.

When this was announced there was a lot of immediate discussion in the moderators-only chat room, during which I got a little upset about the reduced usability, especially those moderator controls -- which had a good chance of being scrolled away in a not-huge browser window, because SE doesn't use responsive design. After I calmed down I wrote a post on Meta about how this was going to make it harder for me to do my volunteer job, particularly with vision challenges. I expected to get a few sympathy votes, some "get a bigger monitor" snark (which wouldn't help, by the way), and no results.

That post is now one of my highest-scoring posts on the network. And I have a meeting with the product manager and a designer at SE next week to demonstrate my difficulties in using this in more detail.

Meanwhile, I've gotten some help with userscripts from some other moderators. It's hacky and a little buggy and it slows down page loads and I have no idea how to adjust some things, but at least I can see my notifications and the moderator stuff is in a better place. It'll do for now.

I sure hope I can get them to bake some of this in, though. The page-load delay is a little disconcerting as stuff jumps around on the screen. (Also, userscripts do not work on my Android tablet.)

Beyond the immediate problem, though, what I really hope for is to find some way to raise a little awareness that usability is hard, designers are not the users, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of usage patterns and constraints, and you need to somehow, systematically, figure out how to design for the larger audience. That's going to be the hard part.

Health Care Bill

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:25 am
fabrisse: (Default)
[personal profile] fabrisse
There's another try to ruin US health care. Unlike this summer, there aren't many calls coming into congress (per the New York Times) protesting this. Without the protests, it has a chance of going through.

So, since I don't have a congress critter of my own, I'm asking those of you who do to roll up that metaphorical newspaper and whack them across their noses. Call. Calls are logged. Email. Emails are logged. Write via snail mail -- that's considered the gold standard because it has a level of difficulty which implies commitment on the part of the writer.

Signing petitions is fine, but calling offices does much more.

Dizzy

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:08 am
fabrisse: (Default)
[personal profile] fabrisse
Not the song.

I have gravel (the doctor's term) in my inner ear. I'm having a hard time reading and writing. Lying down is preferable to anything else. And, as I found out the hard way, the twisting chairs in offices are not my friend. Thank heavens for the colleague who switched my customer chair with my desk chair.

I picked up the cane for balance. It helps a bit, but wow, am I dizzy.

Article from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103463398

a conversation snippet

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:36 pm
cellio: (shira)
[personal profile] cellio
Tonight at our s'lichot service (something tied to the high holy days), a fellow congregant greeted me and said "I haven't seen you in hours!". (We'd both been there this morning.) I said "hours and hours!". He complained that I was getting carried away.

I responded by saying: "hours" means at least two; "hours and hours" therefore means at least four; it's been longer than that since this morning, so "hours and hours" is not inappropriate.

It was at this point that somebody standing nearby said "oh, that's where I know you from!". We'd both been in a talmud-heavy class a while back.

There are worse things to be remembered for. :-)

daf bit: Sanhedrin 60

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:00 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

Blasphemy is a capital offense. Conviction for a capital offense requires careful testimony of two direct witnesses. This poses a problem, as they must testify to what exactly the person said. To minimize the damage, the court sent everybody out except for the witnesses and then told the first witness: tell us literally what he said. The witness did, and the judges tore their garments. The second witness then said "I heard this too" without repeating the testimony. (The mishna then says the third witness does likewise. I'm not sure where the third witness came from, as only two are required.)

The g'mara discusses tearing one's garments when hearing blasphemy. Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel that one tears only when hearing a curse of the tetragramaton, but not when hearing other divine names. Rabbi Chiyya says that one who hears God's name in a blasphemous context today doesn't tear his garments, because if he did the garment would be torn to shreds. But who is R' Chiyya talking about? If we say that he hears this blasphemy from Jews, are Jews so irreverent as to frequently demean the name of God? No, he must be talking about hearing it from gentiles. But do gentiles know this specific name? No, if we're talking about gentiles it must be in regard to any name, and there'd be enough of that to leave one's garments in shreds. The g'mara concludes that nowadays one is not obligated to tear his garments when hearing the curse of a gentile and a curse using another name, but originally one was obligated to tear for both, contrary to what Shmuel says. (mishna 56a, g'mara 60a)

In case you're wondering (I did!) why the second witness doesn't tear his garment on hearing the first witness repeat the blasphemy, the g'mara says it's because he already tore his garment when he heard the original blasphemer. The judges, however, are hearing it for the first time.

Dream journal

Sep. 11th, 2017 06:36 am
hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
I was hiking through the woods with a woman about my own age -- not recognizable post-dream as anybody in particular, but with a "potential girlfriend" emotional overlay -- and reached a large stream that we needed to cross on stepping stones. She was dubious. I started across, picking the left-hand route rather than the right-hand, and getting one foot soaked when one of my chosen stones moved under my foot, but there were no major mishaps. And in the second or two as I recovered from the moving-stone incident, I saw a glint of metal under the water, reached down and pulled up a flugelhorn. A decidedly odd thing to find in a stream in the middle of the woods, I mused aloud. It didn't have a mouthpiece, but rather a flared opening where one presumed a mouthpiece would be inserted -- a "flugelhorn muto", if you will. Anyway, I put it to my lips and was surprised to find it played pretty well, once the water drained out. And, even more surprising, that I played pretty well, out of practice as I was. Maynard Ferguson echoed throughout the woods....

(no subject)

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:45 pm
coraline: (Default)
[personal profile] coraline
[personal profile] flexagon said she'd encountered a tasty "people chow" type food in the cafeteria, and it sounded like something I might like, so I found a recipe and tried it.

How can Serious Eats and Ottolenghi go wrong? Well... )

Dream journal

Sep. 10th, 2017 09:35 am
hudebnik: (Default)
[personal profile] hudebnik
I think the first sign I noticed was that the LIRR train schedules were all slightly different from what I remembered, and on asking around I learned that this wasn't a recent change. The obvious conclusion was that we're in a parallel universe to the one I was in yesterday. Further investigation revealed that the United States currency is backed by salt and the expected output of salt mines, and that there are under a million people living in Southern California, but somewhat more people in the Northeast commuting by ferry than I would have expected. At length I hypothesized that in this universe, some near-extinction event thousands of years ago had left the human race slightly more risk-averse and survival-oriented on average than in the world where I grew up.

We started visiting other parallel universes. In one, as we took off on a commercial flight from LaGuardia, the pilot pointed out the "famous New York lagoons", of which there were dozens or hundreds just inland from the Long Island and New Jersey shores. Some of the differences were innocuous, while others (like the world resembling The Handmaid's Tale) horrified me. I tried to explain the differences to our friendly host family, who were of course utterly bewildered, and somewhat offended, that I saw anything wrong with their society. I started plotting ways to cure some of these societies of their horrifying characteristics, and every strategy I came up with turned out to have negative unintended consequences. My cultural-relativist mind got preachy, pointing out that a parallel me in any one of these worlds, on visiting my own, could be developing similar schemes to "cure" it of what I considered good qualities, and overlooking what I considered problems in my own world.
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