Recent blog entries for marnanel

things I say when half asleep

"If I lived in India I would totally have an elephant, not to do anything but just as a companion. And I would buy it canvases and brushes so it could paint things and then I could see what it painted, and also I would buy it a theremin because I think nobody ever thought to buy an elephant a theremin before, and then it would go [noise of elephant playing a theremin; Yantantessera the cat decides to leave]. And the neighbours would come round saying 'What's that bloody noise?' and I'd say 'Just my elephant playing the theremin' and they'd say 'Oh okay'."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/386507.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-03-29 10:25:09 from Monument

Tower of London

[ghosts, death; parody of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell]

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the Tower of London
Face full of grace with a queenly charm?
She's no breath for talking,
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her head
Right underneath her arm.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And in the topmost turret
You'll meet Sir Walter Raleigh
Cursing at his fall like an angry tar
Looking at the world
With a chip on his shoulder,
Each and every midnight
He smokes a mild cigar.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And have you seen the playroom
Of a pair of ghostly princes?
Such endless games in a place like theirs!
Careful where you sit if you
Accept their invitation:
They don't have ghostly cushions
On all their ghostly chairs

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/386202.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-03-22 13:01:57 from Monument

Not *my* accessiblity problem

So, here's a happy accessibility thing.

I was sitting in a meeting today, watching the signer-- out of curiosity, because I don't understand BSL-- and he was sitting in front of a plate glass window.

Someone signed (what evidently meant something like) "the sun's in my eyes!"

He looked over his shoulder and replied (what evidently meant something like) "aw crap, there's no blinds."

So of course I got up, and stood behind the signer to block the sun. They both thanked me later-- but standing in front of a window is easy :) The difficult part was happening to notice an accessibility problem that wasn’t my accessibility problem.

And that makes me wonder what other things I've missed.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/386010.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-03-01 23:27:52 from Monument

the Monarchist leap

CW misogyny, sex, death, patriarchy...

Once upon a time, I was president of CUHaGS, which has quite a large crossover with the Monarchist League. CUHaGS has a tradition that the annual dinner is held at the college of the president, so in my year it was held at Sidney.

People often get up and walk around outside between courses, so that they're sitting next to someone else for the next course. (I don't know whether that's just a Sidney thing.) And I began to overhear Monarchists saying things to one another like "I've just been for a leap", or "I fancy a leap. Want to come?"

Some background here. Despite being 400 years old, Sidney has produced approximately two famous people: Carol Voderman and Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell, as you probably know, killed King Charles I. At the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II had Cromwell's body dug up and hanged, and his head put on a spike. Then someone stole the head.

Centuries later, that person's descendant decided it was a bit creepy having a head around, and gave it to Sidney. The head was buried in the chapel, but its exact location remains a secret known only to the Master and a few Fellows. Otherwise there was a risk that monarchists would dig it up again and use it as a football.

Anyway, I investigated what the people going for a "leap" were up to. Of course the Monarchists hate Cromwell, because he killed a king. It turned out that they often hold dinners at Sidney, get drunk, and go to the chapel, and jump up and down on random parts of the floor in the hope that they're showing disrespect to Oliver Cromwell's head.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/385781.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-02-26 16:35:45 from Monument

oranges, sausages, and a dragon

A toddler I know started “reading” a story aloud from a Bible. With permission from their parents, I’ve illustrated the story:

image

People send one another oranges in envelopes.

image

The Princess and the Queen are married...

image

...and sat down at the table to eat sausages.

image

Then they ate sausages again, but this time with mash.

image

Then they ate children.

image

Then they ate sausages again.

image

Then they ate the castle, which was made of sausages.

image

Suddenly, a dragon appeared!

image

They said, “Shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo” at the dragon...

image

...and it went away. The end.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/385103.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-02-05 01:33:54 from Monument

wizz for coding! part 3, alan turing

alan turing invented the COLOSSOS, machine for understanding ger., lat., fr., ect which won the war for BRITTAN cheers cheers cheers. even tho he was a grate pionear of computer sience, the goverment did not respekt him, becos he did not hav a beard.

all mr turing’s discovereys are v popular at st. custards, eg the HALTING PROBLEM, which shos that you canot tell whether or not hedmaster’s pi-jaw will go on for ever.

mr turing also invented the turing test. this demonstrates that a computer is intelegent if a human canot tell whether it is another human. hence super wizard wheez to see whether sigismund the mad maths master wil notice if i send the MOLESWORTH-O-TRON 9000 to maths klass while i stay in bed.

SIGISMUND: molesworth, why hav you not done your prep
MOLESWORTH-O-TRON: is it becos I hav not done my prep that you speke to me
SIGISMUND: what is the square on the hipotnus?
MOLESWORTH-O_TRON: some of the squares on the other sides
SIGISMUND: corekt
PEASON: sir sir i have a question sir
SIGISMUND: what is it peason
PEASON: ; drop table mathematiks; –
(with a grate CRASH the molesworth-o-tron fall to the floor)
SIGISMUND: well i never, molesworth is a computer

thus we see, my deres, that i, nigel molesworth, hav absolutely 0 brane at all. This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/384979.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-01-22 10:08:41 from Monument

wizz for coding! part 2, rekurshon

[Part 1 is here]

rekursion is not e.g. when you drop a shottput on yor foot and shout D— B— S— ect in front of GRIMES and get yor mouth washed out with soap. it is a way to find ansers in funkshonal langwidges that require BRANE. this is becos funkshonal langwidges never do anything useful exept by side-efect, and who can blame them.

the ordenry way of finding ansers is for one funkshon to aks another thus:

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello peason. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
PEASON: er, i dunno. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH (chest swelling with manly pride): it is i (gramer)
PEASON: it is molesworth. (he burst out laffing)
FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hurrah, i hav my answer. (he skip merily away.)

but a rekursiv funkshon can aks itself for an anser.

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello molesworth. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
MOLESWORTH: i shal aks myself. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
(i turn around. i am looking into the eyes of a handsom stranger.
could it be MYSELF?)

MOLESWORTH: dere me, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: it is me.
(but as i turn to tell fotherington-tomas, we hear the footstepps of the glamorus under-matron PRUDENCE ENTWISTLE)
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: wait! i must veriffy the result. prudence, who is the tuoghest in the skool?
PRUDENCE: you, my sweet.
(she kisses him and they depart arm in arm without me chiz chiz chiz)

rekurshon was invented by som monks in hanoi. they had three huge needels and a hundred disks. they spent hundreds of yeres moving them about it was worse than detenshun. they shud hav just spun them around like radio LUXEMBURG hem hem. anyway one day the americans invaded.

AMERICANS: wot are you doing
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: moving disks around
AMERICANS: why
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: no time to talk, got to move this disk around
AMERICANS: dont drop it on your…
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: oh S— B— D—
ABBOT: report to the scriptorium to have thy mouth woshed out with soap

tho to be fair it is probbly less rude in vietnamese. This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/384707.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-01-16 22:47:38 from Monument

Idealistic

I once told a toddler the story of Plato's cave. She said, "Well, I'm going on holiday there soon."

When she got home, she told her mum, "I'm going on holiday to a cave where you can only see shadows on the wall."

Her mum said, "You've been talking to Marn, haven't you?"

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/384070.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2017-01-13 01:17:21 (Updated 2017-01-13 01:17:42) from Monument

A poem I wrote at Christmastime when I was 13

FRIENDS

They will stand beside you
When all things are good.
And in the times when things are bad
Beside you they have stood.
They always tell the truth to you
As every good friend must
And they are reliable:
Friends you always trust.
They never will say nasty things
About the clothes you wear
They'll stand up for you against others
When you're not there.
You can always trust your friends
To hold your place in queues.
They'll always tell you "You played well",
Even if you lose.
Always keeping by your side:
Friendship never ends.
Yet, after all, we're only human:
Who has friends?

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/383502.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2016-12-24 18:57:24 (Updated 2016-12-24 18:57:59) from Monument

Three simple points to change someone's attitude


[Content note: mention of road accidents, and death of children]

Now more than ever, we on the Left need to change people’s attitudes towards the poor and marginalised. Persuasion has three parts:

  • Why should you listen to me?
  • Here are the facts.
  • But let me tell you a story…

(Why should you listen to me about this? Because I’m a writer and I study the structure of stories. Also, because this pattern has stood the test of time: it was set out by Aristotle in 350BCE.)




Who’s speaking: You. Or not. Don’t assume your job is to speak up for the oppressed, if you’re part of the oppressing group. That generally results in speaking over them. People won’t listen, and they won’t have heard from oppressed folk either. Instead, find someone of the oppressed group who’s speaking up for themselves, and use your privilege to amplify them.

Facts are vitally important, and they’re what we do best. We have fact-checkers and myth-busting websites coming out of our ears. But people don’t listen to facts alone.

Stories, worldviews, are the framework for facts.  If someone’s been sold a lie (“immigrants are taking all the jobs and houses”), they’re sold a story to put it in (which starts with “there’s a shortage of jobs and houses”). Then when you point out the number of houses standing empty, it doesn’t fit the story. So it gets ignored, or twisted into something you didn’t say. The answer to false stories is to spread true stories.

Not convinced? Let me tell you a story.


Once upon a time in 1964, the road safety people ran adverts saying “Don’t drink and drive”. They gave statistics. But the adverts weren’t very effective. So they tried a new idea.

The existing story was “Driving drunk is difficult, so I’m more of a man if I can do it.” The new adverts gave them a better story: Here’s a kid who can’t sleep because her father killed someone. Kill your speed, not a child.

And why should we believe what we’re hearing? Because we’re hearing it from actual people who had been injured in road accidents. Even though the people were fictional characters, it still persuades. And now drinking and driving deaths are one-fifth of what they were 40 years ago.


Persuaded? Share it and persuade your friends.


This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/383431.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2016-12-19 18:36:03 from Monument

1275 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!