([personal profile] calimac Feb. 27th, 2017 06:01 am)
A few years ago, the Best Picture Oscar went to a movie called Crash. This year's Best Picture Oscar was a crash.

I was the Hugo Awards administrator the year after the presenter was given a card with the wrong winner on it. I was earnestly instructed by the executive committee not to do that. I said, "Don't worry: we will only make new and original mistakes." (I later learned that the late great George Flynn had said the same thing the first time he ran the Hugos, so it wasn't a new and original joke.)

I have no idea how the wrong name on the card happened, and it would never have happened under my watch. We didn't prepare anything except the templates until we finalized the winners, and then we made the cards, the press release, instructions for the plaque-maker, and everything else.

But that's not what happened at the Oscars. Instead of the card being incorrect, Beatty was given the card for the wrong award. How that happened, I don't know either. And so Dunaway saw the name of the movie the Best Actress winner was in and read that. I'd give them both some slack for screwing up: they weren't expecting this; they're actors, they work from scripts; and also but not only because of their ages, they may have "senior moments" from time to time, something that's fuddled previous venerable presenters worse than this without the wrong card as an excuse.

Contrary to statements that nothing like this has ever happened before at the Oscars, it has. In 1964, Sammy Davis Jr. was given the card for the wrong film score award (in those days there were two awards).
He read the nominees for the first award — scoring of music, adaptation or treatment — opened the envelope and proudly announced that John Addison had won the Oscar for "Tom Jones." The problem was Addison actually had won the Oscar in the music score, substantially original category. "They gave me the wrong envelope?" asked Davis, as a representative of Price Waterhouse quickly came out with the envelope that had the correct winner — Andre Previn for "Irma la Douce." "Wait'll the NAACP hears about this!" he quipped.
I've seen neither Moonlight nor La La Land - they don't sound like my kind of movies. I like musicals, but an attempt to watch Chicago proved that's not enough to save a movie for me if I'm otherwise uninterested in it. The only movies that won Oscars this year that I have seen are:
  • Manchester by the Sea - a very close cousin of Seth Meyers' Oscar Bait parody. Story about really depressed people with a happy ending consisting of their becoming slightly less depressed. Arrival was supposed to be the hard-to-follow movie this year, but this is the one whose plot confused me, because the flashback scenes were not stylized in any way, and I often didn't realize I was in one.
  • Zootopia - I realize this movie wasn't about its plot, but the plot was such a tedious routine crime-detection story it bored me, and the parallels with race relations were painfully self-conscious to the point of agony.
  • Arrival - hey, a movie I actually liked.
Other nominated movies I've seen:
  • Hell or High Water - a caper film, fun to watch, but typically for the genre quite amoral. And if the scene where the brothers are getting into separate cars to drive away didn't telegraph what was going to happen next, Samuel Morse never lived.
  • Hidden Figures - I saw this because I like historical movies about the Moon program, not to feel virtuous. But gosh, does it ever make you feel virtuous.
  • Jackie - far duller than I'd expected, and an uncomfortably eerie movie. Felt as if it had been filmed in that weird apartment at the end of 2001.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins - I saw this out of curiosity as to what would be done with a movie about the worst singer of all time. Turned out that they toned down the badness of her singing (she was actually much worse than Streep portrays her), and made the moral out of turning her into the kind of person who'd have sung "I did it my way!" if that song had been written yet.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings - arresting animation, sprightly dialog, but rambling and wayward story.
  • Sully - a vicious libel on the investigating commission, but other than that, pretty good.
  • Hail, Caesar! - If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like. Turned out I didn't.
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([personal profile] catvalente Feb. 27th, 2017 09:50 am)

We’re excited to announce that Cat is now a Patreon creator, offering you exclusive content and goodies via Patreon’s flexible crowdfunding platform!

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Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

([personal profile] calimac Feb. 27th, 2017 07:36 am)
So who was it who read the wrong envelopes last year that said that Brexit and Trump won?

I haven't actually been trained for the job but I am somewhat better qualified than the other choice, because it was her first day.
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([personal profile] mdlbear Feb. 26th, 2017 01:34 pm)

Long month this week. Colleen started feeling ill Monday, and didn't eat anything to speak of; she spent most of the day dozing in her chair, and decided to sleep there at night. About midnight she called -- she'd fallen out of the chair; no telling whether she'd slipped when getting up, or accidentally hit the lift button. Called 911 for help. In retrospect, we should have had her taken to the ER at that point.

I decided to work from home Tuesday, which was a Good Thing. About 3:30 when I went up to check on her she was incoherent -- "out of it". Called 911; she was too weak to walk to the lift, so they had to carry her down in a stair chair. She had about three different bladder infections and was severely dehydrated; it was the low blood pressure from the latter that accounted for the weakness and incoherence.

Harborview's cafeteria is actually pretty decent.

She was discharged Friday; was good to have her home.

Meanwhile, since being with a sleeping person in a hospital leaves one with lots of time, I'd managed to get in about 2.5 days worth of work, and finally got the CR I'd been working on shipped Friday. I went in to work Thursday afternoon after establishing that C wasn't going to be discharged that day, and had my annual review conversation with $BOSS.

I'd been very skeptical about the new annual review process, which is absolutely freaking weird. Peer reviews have two questions, with a 60-word limit for each:

  1. What is this person's superpower? (required)
  2. Do you have any growth ideas for them? (optional)

The manager's part of it is the same two questions, only I think without the 60-character limit. The self-evaluation part has four questions.

As I said, skeptical. But it actually seemed to go very well: it's designed to highlight your strengths, and completely ignore past performance. The feedback I got from my peers (my manager could see who wrote which one, but one gets them unedited) was basically dead on. The fact that $PROJECT was in "friends and family" testing and stalled due to something that wasn't my fault (fixed by Friday) helped a lot.

My favorite superpower was "CraftWeaver". Others mentioned my willingness to mentor and answer questions from newer devs. Someone specifically mentioned the fact that when someone sends out a question in email to a wide audience, I'm usually the one who jumps on it with an answer. The most common growth idea was that I should speak up more in meetings.

Of course, the other thing going on in the household is moving. I got the tools sorted on Sunday, and with several peoples' help got the art sorted, mostly Sunday and yesterday. N's criterion for keeping art is pretty loose, based on the fact that it stores flat and can be rotated. Chaos and the Dwarves also took quite a lot of it; there are comparatively few pictures left in the discard pile. Most of the furniture is gone from the Great Room; the only things left are the klic-klacs (which we're keeping), the blue sectional (which we're keeping through next week), and the piano. Want a free piano?

Notes & links, as usual )

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
([staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance Feb. 26th, 2017 12:50 pm)
LiveJournal has unblocked and whitelisted our webserver IP addresses, so importing, crossposting, and feed accounts should work properly again! Thanks for the quick fix, LJ.
([personal profile] calimac Feb. 26th, 2017 08:02 am)
1. We saw a student production of The Ballad of Baby Doe, B.'s favorite opera, at Stanford. The leads had some professional experience. Eugene Brancoveanu, whom I've heard with the Peninsula Symphony, as Tabor has such a powerful baritone that he outclassed everyone else on stage, even if they were skilled, which a few of them were. Sets and costumes were basically non-existent. The sight of respectable 19th century ladies wearing miniskirts was difficult to parse.

2. See the note at the end of this Nook help card telling you to connect to WiFi to unlock your book? I'm responsible for that, having complained to them that it was basic enough to tell you how to enter your name and credit card number but didn't bother to say the WiFi needed to be on, which you actually need to know.

2a. Bibliographic compilation and source citation become difficult when the ebook edition contains no clue as to the pagination of the print edition.

3. Cross-posting between DW and LJ stopped working - yesterday, for me. Others complaining about this blame LJ. I blame DW. DW promises you, on the page enabling cross-posting, that if the cross-post fails, it'll send you an error message. It didn't. Further, long before the cross-posting problem showed up, DW's function allowing your own posts to appear on what they call your Reading Page stopped working. [Ed.: cross-posting is working again.]

4. In UK news, Labour lost a by-election to the Tories in a safe seat in Cumbria, and a lot of people think that proves Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should resign or beat his breast or something. But on the same day, Labour saved a seat in Stoke that everyone thought they'd lose to UKIP. So what does that prove? Should Corbyn resign north of the Mersey and stay on south of it?

5. In US news, Trump voters want people to stop dissing the President. Where were they when some guy called - what was his name? oh right, Obama - when some guy called Obama was the President?

5a. Also in US news, Trump has decided not to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner, undoubtably because speakers would diss him. I like Mark Evanier's suggestion: Alec Baldwin should go instead.

6. Mark also speaks of suicide and suicide hotlines. I wonder about those. I once called a suicide hotline: not for myself, but because a friend of mine had gotten very depressed and was saying suicide-like things. I wondered how I could help. But they didn't have any useful advice.

7. Imminent, impending, or already immersing tasks: Compiling the Tolkien studies bibliography (see 2a above). Editing a wad of submitted material for the journal, currently sitting in my inbox. Getting the stuff that hasn't been submitted to be submitted. Installing the new cataloging program on our synagogue's library computer, the vendor having stopped supporting our old one, which would be less of a hassle if it didn't mean the online data connections are switched off. A visit from my brother. More concerts. A meeting with our accountant, to humbly submit the tax papers which I hope will all have arrived by then. Next?
lagilman: Does Not Play Well With Stupid People (Default)
([personal profile] lagilman Feb. 26th, 2017 07:35 am)

I think I have to accept the fact that from Saturday to Sunday, any writing or editing that gets done is purely happenchance, and all the planning or good intentions in the world won't change that...

(I put in 7+ hours at the tasting room on Saturdays, from open to close, so my brain's down for the count by the time I get home, and then there's another 6+ on Sunday, so....)

Yeah. Saturday night is for doing things that don't require braining.
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
([staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance Feb. 25th, 2017 09:42 pm)


We've had people ask us about the Cloudflare leak reported a few days ago. We are Cloudflare customers, and it is possible that login cookies or passwords may have been exposed as part of the incident. We believe the risk to you is relatively low -- it was a small percentage of Cloudflare's requests that were involved over a relatively short period of time, and we haven't found any evidence that anything from us was among them. This is not an absolute guarantee that none of your accounts were affected, but we don't think the likelihood is very high.

Because we believe the risk to be low, we aren't automatically expiring everyone's session cookies and requiring you to log back in and change your password -- whenever we do that, it does lock some people who they can't remember their passwords and no longer have access to their confirmed email addresses out of their accounts, and we believe that will affect more people in this case.

Still, it's always a good idea to change your passwords regularly, and now would be a good time to do it, especially if you want peace of mind. We have a FAQ on how to change your password. If your browser logs you in automatically and you don't remember your password, you can reset it. If you've forgotten your password and no longer have access to your most recent confirmed email address, you can have the password reset email sent to any email address you've confirmed on your account by entering both your username and your old email address at the Lost Info page.

Unfortunately, if you've forgotten your password and no longer have access to any email address you've confirmed on your account, you probably won't be able to reset your password. In some cases, if you've previously paid for your account, we can validate your payment details to confirm your identity and reset your password. If you can't reset your password, but think you may have paid for your account in the past, you can open a support request in the Account Payments category and I'll check into it for you.

LiveJournal imports/crossposts/feeds

LiveJournal has temporarily blocked about 2/3rds of our webservers from contacting their site, presumably because they feel that we're requesting data from them too often. This affects the ability to import your journal, the ability to crosspost entries from your Dreamwidth account to your LiveJournal account, and whether syndicated feeds of accounts on LiveJournal will update on Dreamwidth. Those features will fail when they're unable to contact LJ because of the block.

It isn't every one of our webservers, so things will work intermittently -- if you crosspost two entries one right after the other, one might succeed while the other fails. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to resolve this other than contacting them and asking them to unblock us (which I'll be doing right after I hit 'post' on this entry).

EDIT 2249 EST 25 Feb: We appear to be down to zero unblocked webservers, so imports, crossposts, and feeds will all fail until LJ unblocks us.

EDIT 26 Feb noon EST: LJ unblocked and whitelisted us this morning, so all is working again!
([personal profile] calimac Feb. 25th, 2017 07:07 am)
Michael Morgan's imaginative programming often takes the form of theme concerts with social relevance. Friday's turned out to be two of them.

The theme that was previously announced was Native America. This intrigued me. My past encounters with actual Native folk music I have not found, shall we say, enlightening. But I remain desirous of coming to a cultural understanding of the original inhabitants of my country; and this, I understood, would be actual Amerinds composing, not 19C white musical Longfellows like Dvorak and MacDowell writing tourist music.

Well, there was one of them. He is a Chickasaw named Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate* whose long choral suite Lowak Shoppala' (Fire and Light) got two movements performed which, it says, include "numerous traditional Chickasaw melodies and rhythms." One depicted a series of clan totem animals in jagged and dramatic but attractive and well-constructed music. The other was based on a series of Chickasaw and Choctaw church hymns, even more attractive and definitely in a Native-sounding harmonic style, sung monophonically by the chorus and then picked up by the orchestra in a dark, heavy scoring (e.g. strings and trombones). I like this guy's style.

The other piece on this half was by John Wineglass, who isn't Native American at all, but African American. His Big Sur: The Night Sun does not, he says, utilize Amerind music but was inspired by a spiritual retreat he took at Big Sur. So I guess it's tourist music. Wineglass is best known as a film and TV composer, and he writes in the florid Americana style common there: themes in strings and soft trumpet, backed by piano chords, with swooping harp coming in at the climax; that sort of thing. He did have some of what I gathered were improvised sections for "world percussion" (including the biggest drum ever, 6 feet tall and about 4 wide), some sort of ethnic flute, and an Ohlone-Chumash vocalist named Kanyon Sayers-Roods whose eerie keening was so striking that it suggests my lack of response to other Native American ethnic singers may simply be explained as she's talented and they're not.

The other half of the concert was Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony, a fine, straightforward performance. So tell us: what's that doing on this program, Maestro Morgan? Well, he explained, this short, light, cheerful and cheeky work defied Stalin's expectations for a huge, pompous peroration to celebrate victory in WW2, the more so as it was a Ninth, with all the epic burden that number has carried in symphonies since Beethoven. "Sometimes," Morgan said, "when you have a strongman leader, who thinks he can tell everyone what to do, artists have to punch back." And when the audience erupted into huge applause at this, he said with a grin, "I don't know what you people think I'm referring to." And he concluded, "Think of the Shostakovich Ninth as a work of resistance ... our own little poke in the eye to strongman dictators." So, social relevance here too.

*Since you asked, it's a tribal name meaning "high corncrib", as everything written about him explains.
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([personal profile] mdlbear Feb. 24th, 2017 07:45 pm)

So, today (Thursday, for sufficiently large values of day), I am grateful for:

  • Colleen being home from the hospital, where she has been since Tuesday with a severe infection;
  • the fact that she simply forgot that she hadn't retrieved her wallet from the safe, rather than (as she thought) losing it somewhere;
  • an annual review that went much better than I expected;
  • a new review process that focuses more on forward-looking strengths and growth paths than on past performance or lack thereof;
  • a project just this side of launch, with all my parts of it completed and working (a thing that no doubt made my review better);
  • downsizing, which lets me see how little I actually need;
  • a purring therapy cat;
  • a format that keeps bullet points without subjects or verbs from looking like sentence fragments.

Two quarters, an eerie glass disk and a Kleenex that might have been rolled in a shoggoth.

Someone else found the underwire from a bra but I don't think it was near where I found my trove of artifacts. I feel confident nobody was removed from this space-time continuum while trying to harness forces beyond their ken, leaving behind only a few bits of flotsam to indicate they ever existed.
lagilman: Does Not Play Well With Stupid People (Default)
([personal profile] lagilman Feb. 23rd, 2017 11:39 am)

reposting this from my Tumblr account


Since there seems to be some outraged confusion among Anons and Nonnys, let me clarify.

If you support the Trump/Pence/Bannon regime’s attempts to isolate, persecute, and otherwise remove basic civil and citizen’s rights from entire groups within our society, based on who they are rather than dealing with individual behavior on a case by case basis, yes I do think you’re behaving in a shitty and morally bankrupt manner, I find you personally distasteful, and I consider preventing you from carrying out your agenda(s) to be a moral obligation of a civilized nation.

And history’s got my back, on this one.

([personal profile] calimac Feb. 23rd, 2017 07:12 am)
Not a very large crowd showed up at Davies to hear Scheherazade.2: Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra by John Adams. The ".2" as in a software version 2.0 release (a reference the composer made in his pre-concert talk) is the only acknowledgment the piece makes to Rimsky-Korsakov, though the works have a strong structural resemblance, being long rambling works in four movements with Scheherazade represented by a solo violin, which, however, gets a lot more work here than in Rimsky; it's a violin concerto in all but name. It was played by Leila Josefowicz, for whom the piece was written. Adams says he was inspired de novo by the original story and wanted to give Scheherazade her feminist voice back in response to the Sultan's marital abuse.

However, I'd rather hear the Rimsky. In the role of villains trying to oppress Scheherazade, Adams' orchestral parts were rather anemic. And, purely as music, his work sounded more like a garrulous piece from the Richard Strauss school of Giganticism than like anything that might have distantly descended from Minimalism.

Second half was a reprise of an old MTT success, a big wad selected from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. This was pieces from the original ballet score, not the composer's reworked suites. I prefer the suites.

That morning I got a call from the box office alerting me, a couple weeks in advance of the next season subscription mailing, that they're eliminating the Wednesday concert series altogether. I'm not too surprised. Years ago, the main concert programs were on Wednesday and Friday, with some Saturdays and an occasional Thursday matinee. But in recent years they've been cutting back on Wednesdays and piling up the Fridays and Saturdays.

However, in the last couple years they've introduced some Thursday evening concerts for weeks without a matinee, and the box officer told me they'll be beefing the number of those up next year. So since I'm often attending other events down here on weekends and it gets uncomfortably crowded in the City on weekends, Thursday it'll become for me.