Archive for Uncategorized

Thought for the Day

So here he was without maps or supplies,
A hundred miles from any decent town;
The desert glared into his blood-shot eyes;

The silence roared displeasure: looking down,
He saw the shadow of a small groundhog,
And an audience surrounding him, agog.

— with apologies to W.H. Auden

Mmmm, what’cha say?

Are You My Stalin, Dwight?

Dreamwidth for iOS

Shortly after WisCon, I decided that I wanted to be able to work with my Dreamwidth journal on my iPhone. An iOS app seemed like a natural thing that should exist in the world and, conveniently, I know how to make one.

Sadly, I was quickly impeded by the state of the existing API. The API was designed in another age: back before Rest/JSON, and at a time when people expected “LJ/DW clients” to be desktop apps that’d download all your entries for off-line reading. There are some glaring omissions from the API (and it’s certainly… old-timey).

But, hey, it’s open source, no? I mean, I suppose I could send them a pull request. True, I don’t really know Perl and find that LAMP development is about five times harder than it should be. But, hey, minor stuff.

Over the summer, I started talking to some of the folks at Dreamwidth about this, and that started me into conversations about a new Rest/JSON API and whatnot. But progress on that front has been slow. Which I get. They have their own priorities, and some weirdo from the Internet is pestering them with, “hey, if you added an X I could make you a Y.” I just think it’s a Y that’s interesting.

A few days ago, I was hit with another urge to work on the Dreamwidth iOS app, and I built out a quick app that implements some of the basic functions. I can login, see my recent entries, view some basic profile information, and post a simple entry. That’s not nothing.

But I’m still stuck with those API limitations that seem to prevent me from really making this thing useful. Le sigh.

2016 in Film

For the last few years, I’ve been saying that I feel like it’s been a bad year for film. This year, that trend continues, and I feel like I haven’t seen very many films. I missed the festival again, so that takes away yet another outlet. Many of the films I liked this year were released in theatres in late 2015, and one that made my “top 5” list is actually a 2013 film. But I’m into talking about movies that I’ve seen in 2016, and the release date isn’t as important to me.

This year, few films really stand out as films I will think about and love forever. But if I had to pick a top five, they’d be these ones.

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Revising Those Irish Holmes

I’ve written, before, about the booklet I had as a teenager: Those Irish Holmes’, by F. M. Emerson Holmes. The booklet was a family tree of all the descendants of Andrew and Susan (Susannah) Holmes, who came to Canada from Cavan County, Ireland, in 1845.

A few weeks ago, I got hit with a bit of a genealogy bug after letting it sit for a while and I started finishing up my revision to that booklet. Basically, I’ve tracked down almost all of the original names in the book and updated them with the latest information. Unsurprisingly, in the 35 years since the book was first published a large number of the people documented have since died, including F. M. Emerson himself.

Newer generations are harder to find the details about. Sites like Ancestry don’t share details on anyone marked as still living although you can occasionally find a name in the most recent census (the Canadian 1921 census is the most recent census that’s publicly-available).

As an aside: I feel like there’s been an up-tick in quality on how people have been using Ancestry. Just a few years ago, it felt like a bit of a slog to pick and choose the good quality records from other people’s trees; recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much good-quality information people have been adding. One area that’s really been helpful is in regards to photos. When I started adding photos to my family tree a few years ago, it seemed at the time like photos were rare. Now I’m fascinated by the number of distant family members I find with really good-quality photos attached to them.

Also in the last few days, I’ve learned a few more details about a bit of a family mystery.

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Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

It took 16 years, but the Gilmore Girls writers have at last braved a big truth that needed telling: Rory Gilmore is a terrible, terrible human.

Finally, the reluctant poster child of white privilege — the girl who had everything handed to her on a shiny golden platter — was dealt a dilemma consuming enough to bring her universe crashing down.

The real world.

Rory’s belated quarter-life crisis is strangely satisfying to watch. She was never equipped for life after college. Throughout the series, her doting family and medicated townsfolk hailed her as an infallible angel, praising her smallest achievements.

She coasted through young adult life, her expensive education, car and rent all paid for, never once flipping burgers or folding clothes like the rest of us did.

But despite a frustrating lack of maturity, Rory was always presented in a positive light, assumed by all to achieve great things.

“Let’s face it, Rory Gilmore is a terrible person”

Gilmore Girls always made me hyper-aware of the incredible wealth and privilege of the Gilmore family.

Thought for the Day

Ghost in the Shell

The trailer is really pretty.

I’m still pretty sure I’m not going to see the movie because of the whitewashing. If not for that, this movie has a lot of stuff that I’d be all over: amazing aesthetic, an interesting vision of future technology, a great female lead. I think it would have been exactly the kind of movie that’d work for me. But the studio ruined it with whitewashing. And I’m a bit sad about that.

Others have pointed out that the trailer is hella appropriative: “The ratio of cool-Japanese-stuff to Japanese people in the trailer is like 2000:1. There is nothing easier for Hollywood to do than disinclude the Asian faces, nothing.”.

The trailer for Valerian looks visually impressive, but I fully expect it to be narratively simplistic (which is sort of what I think of The Fifth Element: I really wanted the film to be deeper than it was).