2012-11-25

[Microblog] Chinese Wisdom

It says we're compatible, so I believe it.  A boat full of monkey and rat.

2012-11-19

[General] Life in the UC

Right now there is a very large 16 screen display for the PlayStation 3 in the centre o my University courtyard.  It's part of the PS3 Varsity Challenge.  In conjunction, Virgin Mobile is distributing cards for something, and a lady in a bright red dress is dispersing "NOS" energy drinks.  The PS3 booth is managed by a bunch of large men who carry the "bro" appearance and demeanor.

I find various elements of this day-long exhibit distasteful, and I think it's a bit representative of the cultural difference between Sony and Nintendo in the video game space.  It is strange, the degree to which I've allowed Nintendo to define my own culture.  Strange, but welcome.

2012-11-17

[Microblog] Transient Travesty

I just realised that I've been giving out the wrong postal code for perhaps the last year and a bit.  The one from when I lived in London.

[Microblog] Transient Thought

My favourite work space right now is the floor.  It's way larger than my desk.

2012-11-11

[General] My father, the hunter king

My father hunts, and it's been a huge part of his life since he was a wee lad.  In Germany, he earned the title at least once of der Jägerkönig, the Hunter King.  He was speaking with a friend about his uneventful hunting trip, and he talked about how a fawn came up and was eating, and his friend asked why my father did not shoot him, and my father noted that he never shot fawns or does, just bucks.  His friend said "Fawns are nice meat.  I would have shot the fawn."  I am glad it was my father hunting there and not his friend.

2012-11-10

[General] Wizard Moot

A friend wrote a post about the effect human use of trees on her, which makes me want to write about my plans for wizardry.  Borne from a meeting with a wizard in New Zealand and a night briefly lost in Dunedin's woods after a frustrating but fun evening stalking fantails, where I had to ponder the meaning of the plants around me, and of light and darkness and fear.

But I won't.  Not today.

[General] Vanity and Personality

I like my traditional username of "aquarichy" and its attachment to my primary e-mail address: there's a fun story behind that.  However, a friend has recently inspired me to make use of my family name's domain, so I have yet another new address to choose from: richard@schwarting.ca.

2012-11-08

[General] Cataloguing recent life

  • watched I <3 Huckabee and it was lovely
  • compared online identities loudly and boisterously in the UC
  • chatted with young'uns
  • shared Clif bars
  • dipped mango slices into hummus
  • bicycled in the dark
  • went to Kitchener and vouched for a passport
  • read a zine
  • demonstrated iaido
  • talked and talked and talked and talked and talked and danced and talked and

[General] Web Design and Blogger

I moved the author, time and labels list to just below the title in a smaller font, mostly so that microblog posts would seem a little more compact.   I am pleased at how simply and well-structured Bloggers' interface controls were for this small task, especially given how customisable my blog's appearance is.  Neat.

[General] Awkward moment of the day

I saw on facebook a post by a friend mocking a fellow with an exotic hair style and fashion.  I felt obliged to note that the fellow, a friend of mine, N, inspired me because of his lack of interest in others opinions and judgment on his appearance, and his focus on his own comfort.  I hope N keeps rocking his weird hair.

2012-11-07

[General] Web design, 6 years ago

I used to own the domain astarfrost.net (A Star Frost), and here were two web designs for it.






Obviously, I loved stars and winter nights then, too.

[General] Calendar events

I spend an inordinate amount of time transcribing event information from free-form e-mails into structured calendar events.  I think it's a little silly.

There are great standards on how to represent an event, specifying what, when, where, who, and even why.  In particular, iCalendar (distinct from Apple's iCal software).

I think it's a failure of e-mail software to not have a formatting option to Insert Event (UPDATE 2: apparently, GMail now has this in their new compose window with the text "coming soon" next to it(!)), like you add an attachment, or bold a font.  It can sometimes be frustrating to parse someone's verbosity to extract the essential information, and then to manually re-type or copy-paste it into your preferred calendaring application.

Google has tried to simplify this a bit by scanning e-mail text and, if they think they can accurate identify an event, provide you with a "Create event" link that automatically parses it.  But usually it doesn't; e-mails are too difficult for computers to parse presently.

It's a bit frustrating that Facebook has a rich events system that you can't easily sync with your calendar.  You can download individual events as iCalendar files, at least, but still, that's a lot of additional, unnecessary work per-event.  UPDATE: If you go to an individual event and go to export it, and the export window gives you a webcal URI that you can add to any calendaring software (e.g. Google Calendar > Other calendars > Add by URL)!

My interest is to help minimise my chances of missing events that would otherwise be important to me.  I make enough errors transcribing times or dates as is, and more structured information would make others' e-mails less frustrating.

Perhaps popularising iCalendar could become my mission? 

[General] Scholarships

I get emails about new scholarships all the time.  Sadly, they almost never apply to me.  I want a system where you can indicate to what "categories" you belong, and scholarships can be added to it, that indicate to what categories they are restricted, and it will just filter out the ones that don't apply to you.  If you don't select categories, you'll see them, so you're not onerously describing yourself.  Just when you see one that you can't apply for "Oh, this is for women only" you can go and indicate whether "for women only" applies to you or not.

Such a system might already exist, but sadly my University doesn't use it.  Instead, it's mostly free-form department e-mails which are hard to track and remember when they become relevant to you.  Sigh.

[General] Gay Rights in the US

From a Wall St. Journal blog,
  • "In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. And 
  • in Minnesota voters declined to back an initiative that would enshrine in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage permitting only a union between a man and woman. 
  • In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch on for days. [Reading elsewhere, the vote for was apparently leading]
  • in Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, defeated the four-time governor, Tommy Thompson, for a seat in the U.S. Senate. She will be the first openly gay senator in the nation’s history."
This is a little satisfying, but not completely.  A lot of votes are very close, and that's hardly satisfying, to know that it really could have gone either why, and it becomes almost chance that one side or the other one.  Are people happy if they win with a 1-3% margin?  The vote doesn't really represent the nation or state very well.  It's also obvious wen you look at regions by population density that a lot of differences are found between rural and urban areas.  I feel like they actually share more interests than they realise.

I sort of wish that voting required a clear majority one way or the other, and that there could be a period of extended discussion after close votes to help reach consensus.  I suppose no one wants to spend the time or money for that, though.

2012-11-06

[General] Consumerism and tools

Today I went on a quest for sticky tack.  I came back with 6 things but.
  • Scissors!  They're actually a bit small; I've broken my last two pairs; I need pure metal ones.
  • A new 300W halogen light bulb for my talk standing lamp.  It's been without a bulb since it burnt out months and months ago, and I discovered that it was actually 300W!  I won't be using the lamp much now, but sometimes.  
  • Spare toothbrushes for guests.  Used up the last pack; I must be so popular.
  • Chalk!  I lost my last set this summer.
  • Tweezers!  I haven't had them in almost a year and a half, but a call for them has come up often (particularly for slivers with jodo)
  • Thermometre.  I have a suspicious that my baseboard heater does nothing during the night, so I'm going to apply science to it.
I say consumerism in the subject because it's unfortunate that I just bought all of these things new, when I'm sure spare scissors and thermometres and tweezers exist.  Also, so much useless packaging!

2012-11-03

[Microblog] Transient Thought

We keep passing a sign advertising Cosmic Adventure. Now that's worth advertising! and where do I get my kosmonaut training?!

2012-11-02

[Microblog] Transient Thought

That's the Ikea I bought my favourite dish rack. I love that dish rack like it was my son.

2012-11-01

[Microblog] Transient Thought

Tomorrow, the Ottawa Iaido seminar on a familiar campus. WHEE!

[General] Trick or Eat!

Happy Halloween!

I went Trick-or-Eating for my fifth year yesterday.  It's the first time I've actually accomplished something with a costume. 

This year, friends of mine wanted to do Alice in Wonderland, and my friend Krystabel and I were going to do the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar as seen in the anime Ouran Host Club's Alice in Wonderland episode.


Needless to say, my costume was sufficiently awful to be unintelligible, but friends added færy wings to make me a flying caterpillar (but not a butterfly)

I don't know this cookie monster, but it is eating a human.

The Hikaru/Kaoru Hitachi Cheshire Cat was way better.


This is one of the few times (the only time?) that my group finished our entire route with time to spare.  It was raining earlier in the day, but stopped for two hours while we were out.  I suspect divine play.

Afterwards I proceeded to hang out with my twin which was an otherworldly experience, surpassing all previous Halloweens.  YAY!

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I am aeronautical, vanship-style.  I am olympic and mythical.  I rest on my laurels.