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Tully's · blathering.


You can't digress if you were never on topic.

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I've no problem rooting for a sufficiently likeable (or at least audacious) Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, really I don't.

However, if you want to make it easy for me, I would suggest not casting, as your main character's rival, an actress who may possibly have been constructed in a lab out of the distilled and concentrated adorbz of Diane Neal and Anne Dudek.

If, for whatever reason, you disregard this advice, on no account whatsoever should you actually name her character "Squirrel". Why? Because, as my mother likes to remind me, I am a sucker for cute.

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Movie trailers can be fun. I mean, yes, obviously it is annoying the way they might basically be described as "the mandatory Three Best Bits of a Hollywood movie excised for your viewing pleasure so there's very little point in going and seeing the whole thing, which you might otherwise have enjoyed." Even so, they way they seem to have been edited by ADD-ridden five-year-olds offers opportunities to hear the "wisdom" of the movie-going public. Noisy passages ending without warning makes for a chatting audience that suddenly finds itself speaking considerably more loudly than it had in mind. Anyway, this overly verbose lead-in has gone on long enough, on with the hilarious quotes!

(After the title of "Salt" has appeared in gigantimous letters on the screen) "Is that the name of the film?"

(After a testicular cancer awareness segment featuring Bob Monkhouse) "He probably recorded that before he died."

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Consider this post to be subtitled "Or, that was harder than it should have been!"

I'll keep this short. Here's how to compile Convert LIT 1.8 on most any Unixy system. No packaging system is assumed to be present, for the very good reason that I don't use one.

  1. First, catch your source codez: http://www.convertlit.com/download.php. Download clit18src.zip.
  2. The tricky bit is that clit has a dependency: you need libtommath before you can compile clit, and the maintainer of libtommath, (or at least the project website) has fallen off the face of the internet. To deal with this, go here and download libtommath-0.41-10.fc12.src.rpm (direct link).
  3. See if you already have the commands rpm2cpio and cpio. If not, you can get a nifty rpm2cpio here and cpio here. (If your browser just gives you a wall-o'-text beginning #!/usr/bin/perl when you click on that rpm2cpio link, as mine does, then copy and paste the whole thing into a text editor, save it somewhere in your $PATH, and run chmod +x /wherever/you/saved/it/rpm2cpio).
  4. cd into the directory where you downloaded libtommath-0.41-10.fc12.src.rpm and do the following:
    rpm2cpio libtommath-0.41-10.fc12.src.rpm > libtommath-0.41-10.fc12.src.cpio
    cpio -iv ltm-0.41.tar.bz2 < libtommath-0.41-10.fc12.src.cpio
    
  5. If you have a favourite directory under which you like to build packages from source, copy ltm-0.41.tar.bz2 there. Otherwise, leave it where it is. In any case do the following:
    tar -xjvf ltm-0.41.tar.bz2
    cd libtommath-0.41
    
  6. If you know there is no such user group as wheel on your system, or if you don't know if there is or not, run the following:
    make INSTALL_GROUP=root
    
    If you know you want the library to be owned by the group wheel, just run make.
  7. Assume root privileges and run make INSTALL_GROUP=root install.
  8. If all has gone well, there will now be a file named libtommath.a in the directory where you are working. Note the location of this file for later.
  9. Go back to your favourite place to build packages from source (your home directory will do). Put the file clit18src.zip you downloaded earlier there and do the following:
    mkdir clit18src
    cd clit18src
    unzip ../clit18src.zip
    mkdir libtommath-0.30
    
  10. Now copy the file libtommath.a into the directory libtommath-0.30 that you just created with that last mkdir command.
  11. To build clit, make sure you are working in the directory clit18src which you created with the first mkdir in that last set of instructions, and do the following:
    cd lib
    make
    cd ../clit18
    make
    
  12. If nothing has gone wrong, you should now have a file clit in your current working directory. Assume root privileges, copy clit your $PATH somewhere (if you don't know what this means cp clit /usr/bin should do the trick), and you're done! To test that all is as it should be, run clit without any arguments to get a screenful (or more) of useful information about how to use the program.
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
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Diane Neal needs to play Honor Harrington.

That is all.

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Current Mood:
inspired
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In an effort to speed this LJ's transition to an "all memes, all the time" format, I thought I'd start one of my own off. It's probably been done before, but then, so has everything else

Fantasy dinner party

You have the opportunity to reach into parallel realities and bring six fictional characters: three female and three male into this world just long enough to have them over for a dinner party (and you get to reach into parallel realities inhabited by versions of these characters who would like nothing better than to come to said party ;). Which characters would you invite and why?

My choices below the foldCollapse )

This great honking display of geekery being done with, there remains only the matter of tagging. I wouldn't presume to do anything so peremptory, but I confess I'd like to see what seftiri, piekid and ariestess make of this.

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Current Mood:
relaxed relaxed
Current Music:
Tori Amos - Raspberry Swirl
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Friends, Romans, countrymen, random passers-by, I give you... The Association Meme!

The rubric:

Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

ariestess invited me to comment on the following:

  • Casey Novak: Ah, Caseybabes. The brightest spot of a generally high-quality show in seasons 5 and 6, and the show's one redeeming feature from seasons 5 through 9. Were it not for her, this LJ wouldn't exist, since I'm kinda temperamentally unsuited to the practice of blogging (see below); I only created a livejournal so as to be able to leave a comment over at seftiri's place in which I said that Diane Neal reminds me of Ingrid Bergman. And, indeed, I found the Limer Lounge in the first place by Google-searching for "Casey Novak". The rest is history.
  • Fandom: I am a fan. I am fannish, which is another word for "obsessive". Some people listen to music or watch TV or read blogs or whatever just to kill specific chunks of time - the hour between getting in from work and starting on the household chores, the Sunday afternoon that just won't die, that sort of thing. I do not work that way. I turn on the TV in order to catch (and more often than not, record, either to tape or hard drive) the latest show that I've become obsessed with. Some people can content themselves with buying just one single or album by a particular artist. Not I. If I decide I like a singer or band (as opposed to just liking a particular song), I must buy (or, ahem, otherwise acquire) their every album, if not their entire discography. The first thing I do after deciding to follow a blog, next to adding its RSS feed to Thunderbird, is go back through the archive and read every post. So yeah, total fan over here. Every time I've joined an online community, more or less, it's because I'm in the initial phase of a new obsession, and everyone I know IRL has told me to just shut up about whatever it is already. This was particularly fast when I discovered Casey Novak, since most people here in the land of hope and glory have never so much as heard of SVU.
  • Language & Grammar: This, being as how I'm a linguistics grad student, is my daily preoccupation. It has been, ever since I was a schoolboy of 11, and discovered Latin. I've always been good at learning languages, but at the same time had a sense that I wasn't doing it for the purpose of using them. I've never been inclined to travel around, and indeed I've never been to the home countries of two out of the three modern foreign languages I speak (and I didn't speak much French when I went to Paris). I'm much more interested in how language works, how we produce the noises we make, how we recover meaning from the noises other people make, and how the ways we do it change without our trying to change them, or in some cases, even noticing that they've changed. As for grammar, I tend to disappoint people who try to enlist my aid in their attempt to persuade someone that some particular point of style (Oxford commas, not splitting infinitives, that sort of thing) is important. I have opinions on these issues, but as a scientist for whom language is an experimental subject, I feel that voicing them would be improper. Shocking bad form to perturb the subject under test, don't you know.
  • Blogging: I'm really rather ambivalent about this topic. I'm not normally one of those people who couldn't not write, quite the reverse in fact: really I'm one of those people whose highest ambition for their life is to spend it accomplishing more or less nothing. I also have this feeling that I've yet to give the world a reason to care what I think. But on the other hand, I can succumb to the vice of wanting to talk about myself at great length just as easily as the next man, and every so often the muse does pick me up and squeeze a story or other screed out of me. All this is a recipe for a very infrequently and aperiodically updated LJ, but you don't have to hang out here for long to notice this.
  • Music: To quote a disreputable fictional stockbroker, I don't know a lot about music, but I know what I like. And what I like is rather specific: I like the work of female singers, contralto rather than soprano, who make singing beautifully sound easy, never sound like they're pushing the envelope, and, given that I've recently discovered Patsy Cline, and my favourite singer is Kirsty MacColl, an untimely death seems to earn bonus points. Another bonus is if she writes her own songs, with pleasant melodies and clever, witty, inventive or thought-provoking lyrics. It's for this reason that the aforementioned Kristy Kirsty is my favourite singer-songwriter of all time, and I'm also a big fan of Dido.
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Current Mood:
mellow mellow
Current Music:
Charlie Daniels - The Devil Went Down to Georgia
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I'm preparing the handout for the talk I gave yesterday, right? I run one pass of LaTeX over it, then I run xdvi over it to see what I have wrought, then JabRef to check I've entered all the references. All the references are there so I run bibtex, then I need to run LaTeX again (twice, but that's not important).

this point, I remember that if I type the character jargonically known as "bang", followed by the letters "l" and "a", bash will recall the last command I executed that began "la", and run it again.

At this point, I am amused to the point of actually giggling out loud by the fact that I have, in a sense, just typed "Bangla"

I may have been remembering this, which prompted a similar fit.

That is all.

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Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
Patsy Cline - Crazy
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As obliquely mentioned on a previous occasion, I run LFS. The book makes this fairly clear, but for the sake of redundancy I'll say it too: if you're new to Linux, if you know little about it except what it is, and you're considering trying it out by getting an LFS system going, all I can say is "RUN! RUN AWAY AND FORGET YOU EVER HAD THIS IDEA!" LFS is not for Linux beginners, go install Ubuntu like everyone else.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the point of this post and those which will (probably) follow. The reason Linux neophytes or even those who are only moderately experienced with a decent distribution like Ubuntu should steer clear of LFS is that compiling your very own GNU + Linux system from the sources will require you to switch every package you install from its default mode: rebarbatively-abstruse-and-user-hostile to the handy-and-intuitive mode the maintainers of most distros have selected, and in a lot of cases, helped develop for you out of the box. And, of course, when those packages are running in abstruse mode, the commands necessary to change modes to handy-and-intuitive are going to be, you guessed it, rebarbatively abstruse and user hostile. Me, I just take this as a challenge to learn how to use abstruse mode. This being so, I have been learning a bunch of tricks that are no doubt old hat to eminently bearded sysadmins, but that I've only learned after buggering something up and having to fix it. So, I'm going to start writing some of these things down, if only because the documentation in which I've found them is scattered across myriad websites and only makes sense when combined in just the right way. This is mostly for my benefit, just so I'll be able to find these things later when I forget them, but hey, why not make it public?

Herewith, the first tip:

If you're writing a shell script, and you expect to use it an awful lot, perhaps automated via a cron job, and the files it has to deal with are not named according to any particular scheme, make it really robust by putting '--' between the end of the options and the beginning of the arguments to a command, so instead of this, for example:

for $fl in *.*~
do
	shred -n0 -zu "$fl"
done

You'd put:

for $fl in *.*~
do
	shred -n0 -zu -- "$fl"
done

And why? Because if the filename begins with '-', shred will interpret it as an option instead of an argument. Most commands with a Unix-like syntax (except maybe commands with BSD option syntax, since '-' doesn't signal options in that syntax) have a more-or-less undocumented '--' option which says "this is the end of the options, everything after it is argument".

Now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

Current Mood:
productive productive
Current Music:
Divine Comedy (The) - National Express
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This is not unlike the Interview Meme, I acknowledge, but I like it this way. I like a meme that we can all get our teeth into:

The problem with LJ: we all think we are so close, but really, we know nothing about each other.

So I want you to ask me something you think you should know about me. Something that should be obvious, but you have no idea about. Or something completely random. Ask away.

Then post this in your LJ and find out what people don't know about you!

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Current Mood:
mellow mellow
Current Music:
Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
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OK, I just had to gack this one from ariestess, because I knew the results would be entertainingly random, and randomness amuses me:

Put your music player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first song is the title.

Without further ado, I give you:

"How Many Special People Change"

We skipped the light fandango
On Monday I wished it was Tuesday night
Oh, life
I wish that I could remember
My heart is not lonely or broken
Oh, the games people play now
Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together
If you're wondering why
Like the contents of your handbag
A modern day warrior

The dawn is breaking
I close my eyes
I thought it was funny when you missed the train
I found your letter in my mailbox today
I don't know what it is that makes me love you so
From behind these walls I hear your song
I gave my heart and soul to you, girl
I, I am watching you sleep
I once had a friend who I love from my heart
I don't care what songs you sing
And these are the songs these lines come from...Collapse )
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Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
Ian Dury - Sex and Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll
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