In Which: Four More Days, Injury-Prone, Temperature Prevarication, Nerd News.

Monday is almost over - the last Monday at my summer co-op job. After this week, I'm back at university. It's been a really long summer, and it's been a really short summer. I feel like it really wasn't summer at all, except for the bloody heat.
I have sat in an office chair, and I have run around fixing printers. I have imaged computers, and I have wiped computers. I have counted printer pages, and I have swept the floor. I have gotten frustrated with users and computers because Everything is Broken Forever, and I have had the Tech AuraTM make things magically work (yes, that's a thing. Sort of. It's like the Force. If you have the Tech Aura, all you have to do is look at a computer and it just works).
But this time Friday, I'll be out of here. Feels weird, man.

I did my 5k run on Saturday, with my bestie.
Normally, 5k takes me about 45 minutes. Saturday's run took me 43ish, and that was after walking the last km.
The only reason I walked the last km was that my knees were killing me. Stabbing pain and stuff. My muscles would have been perfectly happy to do the whole damn run, and in (comparatively) very good time, but my joints, my stupid joints. I got across the finish line and then was so mad at my stupid freaking knees that I cried. The First Aid tent people gave me a tensor bandage for the worst knee, and some ice for both. I kept it wrapped all yesterday, and it's still giving me achyness today, so I've got it wrapped again.
Other than that, it was a fun run, in the dark with glowsticks and colourful clothing. So much NEON, my eyes hurt...
And there were two little girls, about 10 and 8, who ran it, and they were troopers. They passed me right at the end. I was vicariously proud of them.

Still trying to figure out the best combination of blankets/window/pajamas to go with the hammock - ideal temperature is hard when you overheat on top and freeze on the bottom. Other than that, I'm still liking it. Because hammock.

In Lizzi's Nerd News, some people on reddit have come up with an idea within the last day: to make a sort of "Usenet 2.0"/"P2Preddit". This was spawned from a thread on a post (on a wart on a frog on a bump on a log... whoops, sorry, got carried away there) on /r/linux about the 22nd anniversary of Linus Torvalds' Usenet post that "started it all".
Another reddit member said this about it:
"An updated usenet wouldn't be a bad thing definitely.
With what else is going on in the world, leaving mass information centralized in the hands of a few government-intertwined corporations probably isn't best for future generations - encryption is a requirement."
Sounds about ideal for my recent tinfoilhattedness. I've signed on to help if I can. Because hey, why not? Plus, if it leaves the ground, it's good to have projects under one's belt when looking for a job. Not that that's my primary motivation - I'm really just interested in the whole thing. So far the noises people are making are in the direction of PGP plus some kind of Web-of-Trust system. So yeah.

That's about it. Toodles.


In which I use Physics, and possess Insanity.

I am slightly insane.

I like being insane, so it's okay, but let me tell you all about my insanity.

I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I was thinking about making a hammock for sleepage. Well, I did it.
It went through a couple iterations, but I did end up sleeping in it last night.

I had to create a stand, because I didn't want to put holes in my walls (yay renting!), and I wanted a simple stand that didn't take too much work and could be dismantled without too much effort. I decided that the stand variously known as the TurtleDog or Tripod stand was the most practical. The second iteration regressed to the vanilla Turtlelady stand, because the Olddog variation collapsed on top of me (ow...).

Let me explain that last paragraph...
A contributor on hammockforums.net, known as Turtlelady, came up with a dual-tripod+suspended-crossbar stand made of bamboo.
The physics of this is that a tripod is very sturdy, and if one were to suspend something from the centre joint of a tripod, between the legs, this is a very stable place to hang. If you had one tripod and a bat-hammock (all corners hang from a single point, and yes, this is a thing), you'd be good to go.
However, an ordinary hammock (especially a loaded one) pulls inwards towards itself from either end, so even if you were to hang both ends of the hammock from two tripods, they would collapse because it's not a direct downward pull.
Hence the suspended crossbar.
Hang each end of the crossbar from the centre joints of the two tripods, and each end of the hammock from the ends of the crossbar. The crossbar takes the horizontal inward force from the loaded hammock, and the tripods take the vertical force. At that point it becomes very sturdy indeed.
Turtlelady's stand was based on the three poles in each tripod being lashed together with rope, and another rope farther down the legs to keep them from splaying out and collapsing downwards.
Another contributor known as Olddog made a variation on the Turtlelady stand, where the inside two legs of each tripod are screwed onto one half of a gate hinge, and the outside leg is on the other half of the hinge. Hence why it got called the TurtleDog stand - a little bit from each contributor. The Olddog version is little more industrial-looking, and (I thought) a little more sturdy.

It seems I didn't get strong enough hinges, is the short version; I set it up for the first time last night, and everything went well for several hours, until the legs twisted around and bent the hinges and the whole lot came down, at about 9.15pm last night. I'm just glad nothing broke.

Of course I had already adjusted my bedroom to make room for this thing, including standing my mattress/boxspring up against the wall, and I, being the stubborn, do-it-all-by-my-own-fucking-self, pigheaded chick that I am, was determined that I would not put my bed back down for love nor money. No, the hammock and stand would do what I wanted, even if I was up til 11.00 to do it.

Happily, I had picked up a package of 100m or so of poly cord from Canadian Tire just in case (in case of what? I wasn't sure, but now I know!), so I dismantled the tripods and hinges and used the cord to lash the hell out of those poles. I also took the screws from the hinges and screwed down another piece of poly cord to keep the legs from splaying out too far.
I even tried to put my small knowledge of physics to use, and set up the two tripods to twist in opposite directions (because when you use lashing, the legs have to twist past each other in order to open up) so that both tripods won't overtwist in one direction and collapse, which is partially what happened with the hinges - I looked at them after they came down, and they'd both twisted the same way. It works in my head, I'm not sure if it's real physics or just Lizzi-brain-physics, but I'll go with it. Any real physicists want to chime in on this? For science!?

Anyways, after that, I got it set up with no more issues, all was well, and I slept in the damn thing, and I was even in bed a little early.

The only thing I didn't like was that it was a little colder than usual, so I didn't sleep as well as I could have, but I have an idea to fix that too. I'll see how it goes tonight.

So that's it. Toodles all.


On Grocery Finds, Further Tin-Foiling, Cardio and Toes, Solitary Confinement, Wheels, and a TV Show That Shall Remain Nameless (At Least Until You Read This Post).

So I went grocery shopping yesterday - and found some very very cheap beef. Beef heart, to be precise. I cooked some up for my lunch this morning. It's very dense and filling. I like, I very much like. I'll have to get more when this runs out. Especially given how cheap it is. Bonus: it's organ meat. Apparently that's supposed to be good for you, or something. So that was a good find.

As per my last post, I'm still having bad feelings about internet privacy and/or safety, especially since Groklaw closed this morning. According to a blog post on the site, they closed because Lavabit closed, and they closed because, they say, email is not safe any more. I don't want to be watched by anyone, but I don't know what to do about it. I could, in theory, drop off the grid - it's just incredibly hard to do that when computers are my job. It might be easier if I was, say, a park ranger or something, you know?
Ah well. For now, I'll stick around, and wait to see how bad it gets.

I went out and bought a new pair of Vibrams last week: pink and grey ones. Partially for the Radiant Run on Saturday, and partially because I really like Vibram shoes and I wanted another pair. I actually went running in them last night, and managed a 5.something km loop, in 45 minutes. I have been known to complain about cardio and how much I dislike it. Well, I still dislike it, but I did get to a point after about the 3rd or 4th km where I just didn't care whether I kept running or not. Weirdest feeling ever. Course now my calves hurt. Yep.
Probably going to go running again Wednesday, and maybe a very short one Thursday, but Friday is definitely resting day and then Saturday night is the run. See? I have a plan ... I think.

Also, Vibrams make a very predictable, though amusing, conversation piece. Anyone who hasn't seen them before will inevitably ask what the hell they are and whether or not they're comfortable and doesn't it feel weird to have things between your toes all the time?; those who have seen them before but don't own a pair themselves will ask similar questions and then throw in things like, how is it running with them, and don't you feel rocks when you walk, and what about glass?; and then the people who also own them will happily tell you how much they like theirs and how comfortable they are for anything and everything, like it's a shared secret, or something. It's funny.

I'm all alone at work today, same as yesterday - my boss is on holiday for two weeks, and my other co-worker comes back to work tomorrow. It's been really quiet, fortunately, although yesterday I had some software that would not behave itself, no matter what I did to it. So then tomorrow I'm not alone, Thursday I'm not alone, and then Friday I'm alone again, because my boss at the secondary site takes every other Friday off - as I think I've explained before. At any rate, this is the week of Lizzi Runs The Show. It's terrifying, right up until the part where it actually happens, at which point most of the day is spent sitting in a chair at a desk, browsing reddit and occasionally answering the phone.

Another thing that's been on my mind lately is cars. I've been contemplating how much more convenient (particularly for groceries) a car is than a bicycle. The one thing that's stopping me is how much of a money dump such a thing would be, although I've seen a good handful of reasonable cars for less than $800 on craigslist. But money (or lack thereof) means, I guess, that I'll have to wait. In the meantime I'm browsing craigslist anyhow.
Speaking of wheels, though: my ugly little black mountain bike finally gave up the ghost. It had so many problems that I couldn't handle the thought of putting more money into it. So I walked down to the thrift store and picked up a nice old 10-speed street bike. Narrow tires, ram's-horn handlebar; I'm a happy happy duck. I didn't even have to think; I walked into the store, looked over the rack, and I knew that that was the one. Nice and easy. I pulled the kickstand and the new brake pads from the old bike and put them on the new one, and she works like a charm. The thing that makes me the happiest is that the gears and chain don't squeak as vilely as the old one did.

Still watching Supernatural like a fiend - most recently finished 6.12, the episode after Sam gets his soul back. A friend of mine made the comment that he didn't like season 6 and up, because in 6 the writers "jump the shark" - and now that I'm watching it, I have to admit, they do rather jump it. 1-5 was a good arc, and they could have ended it there without too much trouble. 6, so far, has been the writers reaching for story. Sam and Dean between them were total facepalm-worthy idiots at least until 6.06, possibly right up to 6.09/6.10. 6.11 was possibly the smartest Dean's been since season 5, and was definitely the dumbest Sam's been, ever. Really, going after Bobby? Dumbass. Even without a soul, there's no excuse for that crap.

Anyways, two hours left in the day, and I think I want to go organise some cables. We have a metaphorical rat's nest happening over on one table, and it's bothering me.

So, toodles, all.

Post Script: I didn't realise how long this post was going to be, or how multi-topic'ed. My bad, and good job if you got all the way through it! Guess I'm a little ADD when I'm writing ... ?


I'm the Hero of ... Canton? Also, of Windows 7 and Paranoia. Tin-Foil Hats for ALL!

I guess it's been a good two weeks since last I posted. Stuff has happened.

For example, I'm about halfway or a little more through season 5 of Supernatural - yep, still obsessed. Shouldn't be long til I'm starting season 6.

Went with my dad to see Serenity (that's right, the Firefly movie) on the big screen, because the movie theatre does play older cult movies sometimes. They even did Wrath of Khan once. Good times. I went full nerd in my Jayne hat and Blue Sun t-shirt, because why not, and there were others in the theatre also nerded out; one guy even came up and sang the Hero of Canton song at me.
"He robbed from the rich, and he gave to the poor / stood up to the man and he gave him what-for / our love for him now ain't hard to explain / the hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne!"
Someone else told me I looked like an idiot in my hat - but the way he said it, I think he was misquoting the line by Wash: "Man walks down the street in a hat like that, people know he's not afraid of anything!"
Oh nerd people, Y U SO AWKWARD.

Still absolutely happy with my new ear piercings; no regrets here. I might even get another set done at some point - or something else, maybe. Mmmm piercings. I have contemplated doing my septum (nose between nostrils, fyi) but that's a risky one, doesn't always look good on everyone.

At work the IT department as a whole is slowly rolling out Windows 7 (because everyone's still on XP, and Micro$oft is no longer supporting that as of April). It's due to go out to general users in September, but I'm the only person at either of the sites I work at who's even testing it out, because most users here (not including me) use some very elderly proprietary software that's not certified for Win 7 yet, and also because of the Active Directory structure involved. Oy vey. I can definitely see them pushing back the rollout when September finally arrives, due to unpreparedness. It's so going to happen.
The one thing I personally really find frustrating about the situation is that my admin account is still attached to XP, so sometimes I have admin privileges, and sometimes I don't - and there's no rhyme or reason for the back and forth on that one. Yay Active Directory.

On a much more serious note:
I was browsing reddit happily one day not so very long ago when I saw the first few articles about PRISM and the NSA and Edward Snowden, and since then I've been watching for further information, growing gradually more worried about the whole thing as it progresses.
The problem is, while America as a whole likes to hold tightly to the Fourth Amendment, saying that online communications ought to come under the category of things that should not be searched without probable cause, and that's great for them, if that works - and here's the but - there's no such thing in place for Canadians or anyone else who might happen to be elsewhere in the world. In fact, most of our data ends up in datacentres in the States, and the NSA is supposedly specifically looking at non-American communications for terrorists. This should really scare us all. I might even get labelled "terrorist" just for saying that, depending what their criteria are; who knows?
At this point, of course, I have a fuck-tonne of personal information all over the bloody internet, and it'd be really hard (not to mention highly impractical in today's world) to cut myself out of here, especially since I can't clean myself out of their records (not to sound really paranoid or anything, of course) - so I'm probably not going to bother. But still, I do get a little nervous about the entire business.
Anyone else getting worried?

Unrelated: I might start knitting tin-foil hats, if anyone's interested.

I swear I'm sane, sometimes...

Toodles all!


Summer's almost over....

It's August already. I don't know where this summer has gone. I'll be back at university in a month. Way too fast, if you ask me - I really didn't get a summer this year. Ah well. Working life, I guess.

I've still been watching Supernatural - I'm now exactly halfway through Season 2. It makes me wish I could go "hunting" - taking care of ghosts and stuff that are hanging around being all malicious. I really like the show. Added bonus: Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (Sam and Dean Winchester, in that order) are very very easy on the eyes. Mhm. Especially Jared. I mean, I'm not experiencing an actor-crush, at all... Really! (internal monologue: he's married, Lizzi - he's married, damnit!)
Although I almost can't take the show seriously since I saw W. Pender St. in "Chicago"... Most of their filming is in BC, especially Vancouver, but really.

I'm also (possibly foolishly) toying and/or experimenting with the idea of sleeping in a hammock on a regular basis - apparently it's the latest greatest best sleep thing you can do for yourself? Something about the zero-pressure-points resulting from not lying flat on a bed, makes for less tossing and turning or some such. I have no evidence to the contrary, so I figured, why the hell not? Can't hurt, anyways, and I've had terrible sleep for the last couple months, so it can't get any worse. So I'm currently sewing up a hammock from some nice thick circus-striped cotton I've got lying around (of course I have fabric lying around...!) and building a stand for it so I don't have to put holes in my (rented) walls. I may give up on the stand depending how it goes and just put holes anyways, cos they can, technically, be filled in after, but I'd prefer not to if I don't have to.

Damn, I'm turning into a freaking hippy - kombucha and kefir, toe shoes, no-'poo*, hammocks, organic and paleo food and other products, the list goes on. I blame you and your granola ways, mother mine!

*(shampoo free, for those who've never seen that phrase before.)

I also got my ears pierced again on Saturday. Funny story there. I was walking to the tattoo place to get them done, and stubbed my toe something fierce - and of course I was wearing open-toe sandals. So I'm bleeding all over my sandal and I walk in and ask to be pierced - and would they be able to give me something so I can bandage my toe? So they actually ended up bandaging my toe for me, and then I had my ears pierced right after. First aid from a tattoo shop. Who'd'a thunk it? Anyway, I now have a couple of secondary rings in my ears, so it's now two on each side. I'm really happy with how it looks.

Oh yes, and I'm doing a 5k run in Vancouver - the Radiant Run. It's for charity, and it's at night and full of glowsticks and brightly coloured clothing. I'm going with my friend Jessi. I've been tempted to get more Vibram toe shoes - and given the violently neon nature of most of their running shoes, this might be a good opportunity to splurge a little, since they would match the theme of the night...

Other than that, life as usual is life as usual - although for the next ten days I'll be housesitting for my friend with cats. Hoo boy. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate cats - I just don't like when their fur gets all over bloody well everywhere. Whoever invented lint rollers should have free beer for life.

As a final note, Don't Fear The Reaper is currently playing on the radio. It always makes me think of that SNL skit - but now it also makes me think of the episode "Faith" from Supernatural, the one with the tame Reaper that I was ranting about in my last post. They had the balls to play that song as part of the soundtrack, because Reaper. Hehehe. Anyways... (I'm totally NOT obsessed with that show...)

That's it, toodles all!