welcome to Florida

Home Is Where the Heart Is

[sticky post]Master post for MacGyver fic: Welcome to the Camelverse
I figured it’s finally time I did master posts for my fic, or at least the MacGyver fic – not that I have all that many titles, but so I have somewhere to link people to when I manage to wheedle them into feeding my ego I’m asked about it.

Welcome to the Camelverse!Collapse )

The fic lists . . .Collapse )

Vignettes, drabbles, smut, crack, and crossoversCollapse )

Notes on the CamelverseCollapse )

And, whew.  Done!  Until I write some more.

2048: Epic Win
Math Lesson
. . . aka, What I Did While I Was Feeling Too Crappy to Do Anything Else.

I need to point out that this is a variation of the basic game that allows the game state to be saved (and re-loaded), and also allows the player to undo the most recent move.  Even so . . . yes, this is the highest score and* the highest level that it's physically possible to attain with this game.  And yes, it's damned difficult.  It took me about a month (playing this single game, that is).  It's theoretically possible to get this far playing the original version, without the Save Progress or Back features, but it's so statistically unlikely that it's effectively unattainable.

For those unfamiliar with the game:  the goal is to reach the 2048 tile, but it's understood that the code will allow you to go a lot farther.  This is how far.  Every tile is formed by smashing together two tiles of the next value down -- so you have to have two 2048s to make one 4096, two 4096s to make one 8192, etc.

I have to assume that others have done this,** but I haven't yet seen any images of a "perfect" game other than the one I just finished playing.

*ETA:  Turns out it's possible to squeeze a few thousand extra points out of the game, if you use more 2s to make your 4s.

**At least three other people had posted their actual scores for maxed-out games to a Reddit thread I found.  So, four out of several hundred thousand players . . . ?

Energy Crisis, or Gland Ho!
I've been very quiet lately (although this blog has gotten some activity).  In particular, it's now over a month since the last time I posted anything on LOLMac.

The fact is, I've been having health problems for some time.  I finally got tired of feeling like crap, and went to the doctor for a check-up -- my first in three years.  I've been resisting it since the botched colonoscopy back in 2011.

I was diagnosed with low thyroid, and sent for more tests, and finally got a confirmed diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease.  This probably sound scary, but it's actually a huge relief to have something identifiable and treatable.  Basically, my immune system has gotten confuzzled, and is producing antibodies that are messing with my thyroid.  Silly immune system.  Y u do dis?  It's in the very early stages, just barely at a level where it will even show up on a test, and the symptoms are pretty mild -- but the full list of symptoms is a detailed summary of practically every damned annoying physical problem I've been having for the last 10 months or so, and the thought of possibly being able to improve all that crap at the same time is a really bright light on the horizon!

Thy roid and thy staff . . .Collapse )

Fic: Girl Talk
Knock Knock
Another prompt fill for Lost Spook 's Obscure & British fest, although with a difference this time; I subverted the prompt a little.  Also, I'm putting it at the end.

Girl Talk

Natasha Romanov had told her current case officer that it was a small, tidy cottage in rural Sussex – a typical retirement spot for a former civil servant.

It wasn’t, of course. The former civil servant had never actually been anything of the kind (well, civility had certainly been involved), the retirement spot was not a cottage, and rural Sussex was a ridiculous idea. The case officer was going to be furious, of course, when he finally caught up, and would undoubtedly do something drastic, like write a nasty report. In triplicate.

Natasha buzzed a total of four times, in a specific pattern. The security system immediately clicked and blinked a green light, and the door smoothly unlocked and allowed her access to the private lift that zipped her up to the penthouse flat.

just a friendly drink and a chat . . .Collapse )

Google Easter egg!!
Type "same-sex marriage" or "gay marriage" into Google, and see what you get.  *G*

(ETA:  Okay, apparently it's a new version of the one they've been doing every June for the last three years.  But hey, I wasn't expecting it!)

watching the Wil Wheaton Project
I don't often gripe here, and I don't think I've ever done new-TV commentary here before.  But, well, I need to vent a little.

I tuned in with high hopes, because I think Wil Wheaton is awesome.  I also thought, hey, I don't watch a lot of SF TV, and I'd enjoy seeing the crappy stuff get sent up.  If there's actually anything good out there, maybe the show will point it out.

Let's see, what did I see and hear?

Poop jokes.

Comic bits involving shows I've never watched, and in most cases haven't heard of.  A surprise appearance by a guy I've never seen or heard of before, with more poop jokes.

Boob jokes.  Porn jokes.  Gross-out humor.  Slapstick.  Um, didn't anyone notice that the "humor" behind that clip bit is basically "Eww, that's so gay?"

I guess I had a strange idea that they were possibly hoping to draw new viewers to Syfy.  Viewers who aren't frat boys.

I really do love Wil, but -- I really hope future episodes include a bit more for the roughly 50% of geekdom that isn't male . . .

There were some bits that I did enjoy, several very good laughs, and I'll give the show at least another two weeks' test drive, because it's Wil.  But geez, I really hope it grows a beard fast.

Fic: Love Notes
This was written for Lost Spook 's Obscure & British fest, for this prompt: Discworld/Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, when two footnotes love each other . . . Seriously, how could I resist?

Love Notes

3 It was odd that so wealthy a man – for Lord Portishead counted large portions of England a among his possessions – should have been so self-effacing, but such was the case.

a The name ‘England’ will be unfamiliar to most readers. Although the word appears strange and barbarous to the untutored eye and ear, it is not entirely unknown to the true scholar of magical lore, as it appears not less than four and one-half times in the celebrated Omnibus of Fantastickal Realmes.4

4 We have never heard of this spurious text, the Omnibus of Fantastickal Realmes, and find in its preposterous claims no cause whatsoever for celebration.  No scholar of any merit or reputation could dismiss England as ‘barbarous’ or ‘strange’.b

the stomping of the footnotesCollapse )
Tags: ,

Fest Pimpage!! Obscure and British
Many other folks have already pimped this fic-fest, but I haven't seen anyone else use this banner yet, so I clearly need to do so!!

Click on the banner, and it will take you to the explanation post.  Short form:  many lovely prompts for many lovely and underloved British fandoms, and more room for more prompts if you feel promptful!  Non-British fandoms may sneak in as part of a crossover.

Last year's fest produced many Wonderful Things, and this year's is looking even better.  I even have my eye on a prompt, although I have no idea whether I'll get anywhere with it.  There are already some delicious fills, and more to come!

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be off messing about in boats!

Orlando Invaded by Literati!
So, May is a very lively month.  Mostly in a good way, I hope.

Right now, Missy and I are in Orlando, teetering on the edge of the Mouse Event Horizon.  She is very definitely NOT a Disney person, having burned out of it a couple of decades ago or maybe more.  I, personally, have been to Disneyland three times, and enjoyed it, and I will quite cheerfully go to my last rites without ever setting foot in Disney World.

So why the hell are we here?

Invasion of the Librarians!!Collapse )

Password Managers: Tech Support Post #2
So, I've been very happy with my password manager, up until this last week.  Now I am ecstatic about it.

I use Dashlane, one of the two currenty leaders; the other one is LastPass.  Both are good.  Both have a free version and a reasonably priced premium version.

Both do basically the same thing:  you create a single, really heavy-duty password for the app itself; you load all your other passwords and logons into it; you use the built-in tools to weed out duplicates and weak passwords, and to swap in heavy-duty passwords -- the strong-string-of-gibberish type that are super-hard to crack.  In other words, the passwords that we should all be using, because they're strong, but we don't use, because there's no freaking way to remember the damned things.

On, Dashlane! On, Prancelane!Collapse )

So, there's my massive squeefest.  If anyone on my list is interested in trying Dashlane, let me know -- I can send you an invite code, a bit like AO3, which will get you a freebie perk (6 months' free trial at the Premium level, IIRC).  I get a perk also if you accept it, so yes, I'm not entirely disinterested here.  But I am entirely squeeful, and I would love to share it with any and all.

Heartbleed: Tech Support Post #1
Computer Fix
So, it looks as if I'm going to be doing three different posts on this!  I'll do a post later in which I attempt to translate What Actually Happened from Jargonese into English, on the off-chance that anyone will be interested.  I'm also going to do a post on Why I Totes Love My Password Manager.  But today, today we have the Making Of Lists.

Bottom line on Heartbleed: virtually everyone with an online presence has been, to some degree, vulnerable. The important question is, what do you do now?

You must change every password you have on any site that was compromisedMore blatherCollapse )

The following sites were vulnerable, and have confirmed that they are now patched and secure:

OK Cupid

Google has been inconsistent. At one point, they acknowledged that they were vulnerable; at another point, they declared that they had additional safeguards that meant people didn’t have to change their passwords, at least not for Gmail. I’m having trouble feeling truly confident*, so I changed that password.

Likewise, LiveJournal might have been exposed, and I’m advising password changes on general principles. I don’t have much trust in LJ’s current owners. Wordpress is another one that’s not very clear; I changed that.

The following sites and services were definitely never exposed to Heartbleed, and I believe them:
The safe housesCollapse )

This short list is based on the sites I use, or that people on my Flist are likely to use (well, maybe not OK Cupid and GitHub).  You can check out the Great Big List of the Top 10,000 Sites right here (do a Find for a given URL).  You can test an individual site for vulnerability here (LastPass' Heartbleed checker), here (filippo.io), or here (Qualys SSL Labs).  Be aware, however, that these checkers have limitations:  in particular, although they can tell you if a site is safe now, they're less authoritative about whether a site was vulnerable or not originally.

So, GAHHH THAT IS A LOT OF PASSWORDS HELLLLLP.  Right?  Well, in fact, there is help!  For my next thrilling installment, I will tell you about my password manager.  (Pause to get popcorn.)

*Actually, I'm pissed off at them for not just saying "Yo, folks, do it."

Passing Out
I've been very quiet and not very responsive online the last few days, and I apologise -- I spent most of last week dealing with the Heartbleed bug and getting a new server installed at work.  Either of these by itself would have been a lively time.  And oh, yeah, it's tax season.

I know I've been that completely and utterly exhausted before, sometime in my life, but I can't actually remember it.  It was actually a very good week -- problems were resolved, the server went live with minimal bumps, our clients' data is safe -- but ZOMG, by 7 pm on Friday, I was so tired I wanted to cry.

I'll be doing a Tech Support Post on Heartbleed later today tomorrow, because Not Enough Brain today.  It's an ugly thing and everybody with an online presence needs to deal with it, but it's not as bad as originally feared, and I have some solid recommendations to make it easier.


Cybernetic Necromancy
Computer Fix
I'm a computer wizard
And late at night, when you are all in bed
I practice cybernetic necromancy
I resurrect computers from the dead!

Things I did last week:

egregious back-patting behind the cutCollapse )

Dark!Laundry!Fic! now with extra cleaning power!
Previous segments: Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6.
The background is here.

Part 7
order of magnet-tude

Pete keeps telling me I’m a ‘trouble magnet’. Harry said the same thing, when he finally found out just what it is that I do for a living. Actually, he said a lot more than that, including “You call that making a living, Bud?” He was kidding, of course, mostly. He understands why it’s important, and why I’d rather do it than anything else.

But honest, they're exaggerating . . .Collapse )

Meme answers!
Yes, I'm actually fulfilling a meme in the same year in which I posted it!  I got terribly wordy, so this is the Post of Many Cuts.

Magnavox asked for #1:  Of the fic you’ve written, of which are you most proud?

pride and prejudiceCollapse )

Mandy asked for #4:  What are some themes you love writing about?

humming a theme song . . .Collapse )

wabbit asked for #7: Create a character on the spot... NOW!

characteristicCollapse )

Sid Lost Spook asked for #9:  A passage from a WIP

Here's one that's been stalled for a couple of years -- I can't manage to work on it in the summer, and in the winter, it isn't wintry here, which threw me off.  Maybe I should watch the Weather Channel for a few hours and see if that will get me going.

the lioness in winterCollapse )

Lost Spook Sid asked for #10:  What are your strengths in writing?

strengths are weaknesses turned inside outCollapse )

meme sheep goes baa
Stolen from the wonderful Mandy :

Put a number in the comments and I’ll answer accordingly.

1. Of the fic you’ve written, of which are you most proud?

2. Favourite tense

3. Favourite POV

4. What are some themes you love writing about?

5. What inspires you to write?

6. Thoughts on critique

7. Create a character on the spot... NOW!

8. Is there a character you love writing for the most? The least? Why?

9. A passage from a WIP

10. What are your strengths in writing?

11. What are your weaknesses in writing?

12. Anything else that you want to know? (aka Fill in the Blank)

in memorium
hanging out
I didn't see the news about Pete Seeger until late yesterday.  I'm not feeling so much grief, as reverence and awe.  94 years old, and what a journey.

I went to see the documentary, The Power of Song, when it was in the theatres.  I wanted to start singing along right away, but I squelched the impulse until most of the way through.  Once I could hear the others in the audience humming, I went ahead.  By the final credits, everyone was singing -- and most of us were still singing, softly, as we left the screening room, crossed the lobby and headed home.

I stopped and asked one of the ushers, "Do you often hear the audience singing along to that one?"

She looked bemused.  "Every single showing."  She hadn't seen the movie herself, silly girl, and didn't understand why.

Thank you, Pete.

Job Opportunity
Is there anyone on my Flist who knows anyone in south Florida?  Or who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone in south Florida?

Because I have a job opening to fill.

The kicker is that, although I know at least half a dozen people who could use a job of this kind, none of them live in this area, and the job is not enough to support moving here.  But maybe somebody can score a few karma points by passing the word along . . . ?

I work in a small office in south Miami/Coral Gables.  We're looking for a part-time administrative assistant.  Salary (actually, hourly wage) DOE; 20-30 hours a week.  It would be easier to fill if it were full-time, and in a few years it might grow to full-time, but at the moment, it's not.

Details under cutCollapse )

Please feel free to signal-boost this!  You can PM me for more information.  One note:  I have to keep my RL persona and my LJ fannish persona in separate buckets online, and this post is really pushing that envelope.  You can ask questions in the comments here, but I will not be able to give specific or identifiable answers in public, so PM really is the best channel.

*squeezes eyes tight, crosses fingers, sends shiny opportunity out into the world*  Fly, my little bird!

In Which Beth Actually Fulfills a Meme
I'm actually going to try to answer the icon meme, having utterly failed last time around . . . over two years ago, augh!

All the icons I use I made myself, and most of them are miniaturized versions of LOLs.  Two of the ones Mandy chose aren't, so I'm starting with them.  ;-)  They're unusual in that they have no text at all.  I’ve actually made quite a few captionless icons, but I don’t use most of them myself.

I got my start making icons for lothithil , as small gifts of gratitude to her for her enthusiasm and support as I took my first stumbling steps into this branch of fandom. Many of her icons were very dark, made from caps that were too dark to see details well. I dusted off my copy of Photoshop and began to learn how to fix light levels.  I usually refer to the results as "Relights".
An amazing amount of nattering hereinCollapse )

WhoFic: Taking Care
After so many months with so little inspiration, I woke up the morning after watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode with two shiny new plot bunnies!  One of them hopped away without much to show for it, but this one stayed for tea.

Taking Care

The place really did need more opportunities for people to sit down. Art galleries never had enough chairs. Too many long hallways and rambling exhibit halls. Too many extraordinary pieces, each one meriting long contemplation . . . every art gallery should have enough seats for that.

The Caretaker walked slowly through the corridors, enjoying the quiet, the soft and comforting light – clear but not glaring – and, most of all, the sense of peace. The hush spread through the halls, and even on the days when there were many visitors, voices tended to become subdued once the atmosphere had gotten into them.

He turned out of the Sainsbury Wing, with its magnificent paintings from the European Renaissance of Earth, and cut through the Pennethorne Gallery, one of his favourite shortcuts, although it was rarely short. It was easy to lose a lot of time in the Pennethorne: the mistily-lit walls were hung with paintings and lined with sculptures that no longer existed in any person’s living memory. War and catastrophe didn’t only kill people and animals; hope and beauty and the works of the imaginative minds of history were also vulnerable. It was an act of silent, intense defiance for such things to exist at all, preserved here in a fold of temporal impossibility.

Enjoying the classics . . .Collapse )

Enablement for Writers (and a bit of self-pimpage)
Knock Knock
So, I decided that I really want to write more next year.  In fact, I want to set aside time for it, beginning with tonight and tomorrow, because hey, I'm off work and we're going to be celebrating quietly at home where the drunken crazies aren't.

So I'm running a sudden and spontaneous "micro-round" on fic_rush , from midnight GMT to midnight GMT!  Here are the details, for those who aren't already on the watch list for that comm.

Anyone who's willing to signal-boost, please do!  We're all about the enabling here.

For those who aren't familiar with fic_rush :  rounds are usually 48 hours, one weekend a month.  During a round, there's a check-in post every hour at the sister comm, fic_rush_48 ; everyone is encouraged to give as much time as they can to writing (or other fannish stuff).  You check in with the comm whenever you can, or whenever you want to, by responding to the most recent post.  If you're struggling, we'll encourage you.  If you're sailing along at full speed, we'll cheer you on.  If you're pondering a title or a phrase or you're a non-drinker trying to figure out what kind of cocktail an AU version of Magneto would buy for an AU Xavier in a 30s dive, yes, that actually happened and we handled that too.

There are no sign-ups, no word requirements, and not a whole lot of rules.  Just show up and say hi!  If you can only give yourself an hour to write, we'll be enthusiastic about it.

It's way too hard, sometimes, to give yourself even a little time that's all yours, and keep it for yourself.  That's what this is all about.

The micro-round will be a little different, in that I won't necessarily be posting every hour (and it's only 24 hours) (and it's in the middle of the week).  So just comment in the most recent post!  We're especially encouraging WIPs, Yule treats, and drunkfic (either the characters or the writer).

(Also:  it's never happened yet, but if anyone ever does show up in our threads and troll the members, I will smack them down so fast and hard we'll have to scrape up the bits with a shovel.)

Signal Boost: writing grant for "working-class/impoverished writers"
I wish the amount of the grant were higher (by about 40x), but here it is:  a $750 grant for people writing speculative literature who meet certain criteria.  Quite frankly, of all the writers I know, maybe half a dozen at most do not qualify.  Examples of qualifying criteria:  "you're American and qualify for the earned income credit [or] you live paycheck to paycheck [or] you're supporting yourself and paying your own way through college".

Basically, they want to support the voices of those whose struggle to write at all, to which I say, yessss.

Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2014.  Fanfic won't count, but orig fic does:  anything "from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making -- and more."

This is not a writing contest:  they ask for a writing sample of "your best work".  To apply, you give them:

  1. personal statement: a short statement (up to 750 words) which addresses both your relevant financial background (why you qualify for this grant), and your future writing goals (what you hope to accomplish, with the help of this grant)

  2. writing sample (your best work, published or unpublished -- up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 10,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction -- if sending a segment of a novel, novella, or novellette, please include a one-page synopsis as well)

  3. a bibliography of previously-published work by the author (no more than one page, typed); applicants need not have previous publications to apply

we have NOT lost count
Math Lesson
I am NOT going to change my count on the Doctors.  It's not necessary.

John Hurt is Doctor 8 and 3/4!

Dear cold-callers . . .
Computer Fix
Dear Overseas Tech Company:

Just a hint -- if you're trying to sell your tech-based services in the US, services involving social media and the internet and all that, you might want to, you know, look online for information about the prospects you're cold-calling (or cold-emailing, in this case).  Then you would know who to contact, instead of emailing one person and asking them at random.  You would even know what kind of business we do.

Another hint:  if you're trying to sell anything that occupies a place on the internet, there will be text involved.  You are not native speakers of American English, or any other kind of English for that matter.  You just might want to get your website proofread by a native speaker of the language of your target market, before anyone in that market goes and reads it and reaches a conclusion about your competence based on the appalling mess therein presented.  It's too late for me, but hey, there might be others.

Also, you really ought to remove the boilerplate text from your website.

And the editing notes -- you know, like the one that says "too vague" after one of your many, many bits of incredibly vague MarketingSpeak.

Also, hire an editor who's fluent in the language used on the website.  Oh, wait, that bit of advice is redundant.  But then, so's the text on your website.

Actually -- on second thought, don't change anything.  It only took me 90 seconds to eliminate you as a candidate for any business you might want to sell me, so that was actually very efficient.  Kind of a bad business model, though.

Dark!Laundry!Fic! The starch thickens!
chemistry lesson
Previous segments: Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.
The background is here.

Part 6
the missing ingredient

MacGyver studied the broken and despoiled dispenser. Okay, no soap. He reached into a compartment and extracted the sole remaining unpilfered item, and grinned when he saw the familiar mule team on the packet.

Colin was watching him quizzically, with the what’s-this-crazy-guy-up-to-now expression that was even more familiar than the logo of the mule team and wagons.

“What’s that?”
As you know, Bob . . .Collapse )

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