Daily Happiness

Apr. 17th, 2014 11:02 pm
torachan: ryu from kimi ni todoke eating ramen (ramen)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Short day at work today, yay!

2. So I went over to my mom's house expecting it to be fairly quick to get everything set up the rest of the way and ended up staying for about three and a half hours. >_&;lt; But I did finally get everything taken care of and her new computer is up and working and also she gave me $200 so that was nice.

3. Speaking of money, I checked my bank account and the federal tax refund is already in there and the state one is pending. Yay, money!

4. I stopped at Pollo Loco on the way to my mom's and got a couple burritos, but was only hungry enough for one, so now I have a burrito to take for lunch tomorrow. :)

(no subject)

Apr. 18th, 2014 03:38 pm
copracat: Maxwell Smart with the text 'My fandom talks to shoes' (shoes)
[personal profile] copracat
Show 1: the police beat and torture people they are holding in custody to obtain information and they coerce prisoners to beat and torture other prisoners to obtain information. Everyone agrees this is good practice. No-one criticises it.

Show 2: a detective verbally threatens a teacher with exposure of inappropriate emails between him and a student to obtain the teacher's co-operation for a DNA sample from a him. Her partner criticises her actions to her face and continues to do so in a later scene in front of the medical examiner. The boss she hates approves briefly and she rolls her eyes.

Go on, pick which one is 2014 USA and which one is 2014 Canada.

I give you the easy ones, people.

Which shows? you ask. )

One of those days

Apr. 18th, 2014 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] terriwindling_feed

Posted by Terri Windling

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We all have them: the off days, the slow days, the dull days, the befuddled days, the days when nothing goes quite right. The days we forget how to write, how to paint, how to sing or sculpt or design or teach or do much of anything creative at all; when knowledge dries up, inspiration shrivels, and we reach inward but nothing comes out. I'm not having One of Those Days right now, mind you...but I certainly will again, and sooner than I'd like, no doubt. This is part of the creative process, too, and thus deserving of our attention.

In "Why I Write," Francis Spufford describes what a bad work day feels like for him:

"[T]here’s the gluey fumbling of the attempts to gain traction on the empty screen, there’s the misshapen awkwardness of each try at a sentence (as if you’d been equipped with a random set of pieces from different jigsaws). After a time, there’s the tetchy pacing about, the increasingly bilious nibbling, the simultaneous antsiness and flatness as the failure of the day sinks in. After a longer time -- two or three or four or five days of failure -- there’s the deepening sense of being a fraud. Not only can you not write bearably now; you probably never could. Trips to bookshops become orgies of self-reproach and humiliation. Look at everybody else’s fluency. Look at the rivers of adequate prose that flow out of them. It’s obvious that you don’t belong in the company of these real writers, who write so many books, and oh such long ones. Last, there’s the depressive inertia that flows out of sustained failure at the keyboard, and infects the rest of life with grey minimalism, making it harder to answer letters, return library books, bother to cook meals not composed of pasta."


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There are days, says Neil Gaiman, "when you sit down and every word is crap. It is awful. You cannot understand how or why you are writing, what gave you the illusion or delusion that you would every have anything to say that anybody would ever want to listen to. You're not quite sure why you're wasting your time. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayAnd if there is one thing you're sure of, it's that everything that is being written that day is rubbish. I would also note that on those days (especially if deadlines and things are involved) is that I keep writing. The following day, when I actually come to look at what has been written, I will usually look at what I did the day before, and think, 'That's not quite as bad as I remember. All I need to do is delete that line and move that sentence around and its fairly usable. It's not that bad.'

"What is really sad and nightmarish," Neil continues, "(and I should add, completely unfair, in every way. And I mean it -- utterly, utterly, unfair!) is that two years later, or three years later, although you will remember very well, very clearly, that there was a point in this particular scene when you hit a horrible Writer's Block from Hell, and you will also remember there was point in this particular scene where you were writing and the words dripped like magic diamonds from your fingers -- as if the Gods were speaking through you and every sentence was a thing of beauty and magic and brilliance. You can remember just as clearly that there was a point in the story, in that same scene, when the characters had turned into pathetic cardboard cut-outs and nothing they said mattered at all. You remember this very, very clearly. The problem is you are now doing a reading and you cannot for the life of you remember which bits were the gifts of the Gods and dripped from your fingers like magical words and which bits were the nightmare things you just barely created and got down on paper somehow!! Which I consider most unfair."

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayBut as Douglas Rushkoff points out: "The creative process has more than one kind of expression. There’s the part you could show in a movie montage — the furious typing or painting or equation solving where the writer, artist, or mathematician accomplishes the output of the creative task. But then there’s also the part that happens invisibly, under the surface. That’s when the senses are perceiving the world, the mind and heart are thrown into some sort of dissonance, and the soul chooses to respond.

"That response doesn’t just come out like vomit after a bad meal. There’s not such thing as pure expression. Rather, because we live in a social world with other people whose perceptual apparatus needs to be penetrated with our ideas, we must formulate, strategize, order, and then articulate. It is that last part that is visible as output or progress, but it only represents, at best, 25 percent of the process.

"Real creativity transcends time. If you are not producing work, then chances are you have fallen into the infinite space between the ticks of the clock where reality is created."

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

My favorite reflection on the subject of Those Days comes from Dani Shapiro's Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of the Creative Life.

"When my son was little," she says, "he loved a book by Judith Viorst called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Poor Alexander. He woke up with gum in his hair, he ended up in the middle seat during carpool, his mom forgot to pack dessert in his lunch box, he had a cavity at the dentist, and just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, he saw people kissing on television. You can feel the momentum of a day turning against you, and if it does, sometimes the best thing to do is crawl back into bed and wait for it to pass.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

"We have to learn to be kind to ourselves," Shapiro advises. "What we're doing isn't easy. We have chosen to spend the better part of our lives in solitude, wrestling with our deepest thoughts, obsessions and concerns. We unleash the beasts of memory; we peer into Pandora's box. We do this all in the spirit of faith and exploration, with no guarantee that what we will produce is worthwhile. We don't call in sick. We don't take mental health days. We don't get two weeks paid vacation, or summer Fridays, or holiday weekends. Often, we are out of step with the tempo of those around us. It can feel isolating and weird. And so, when the day turns against us, we might do well to follow the advice of Buddhist writer Sylvia Boorstein, who talks to herself as if she's a child she loves very much: Sweetheart, she'll say. Darling. Honey. That's all right. There, there. Go take a walk. Take a bath. Take a drive. Bake a cake. Nap a little. You'll try again tomorrow."

(For some reason I imagine this in Delia Sherman's voice, perhaps because Delia is so wise and sensible.)

Walk the dog. Read a book. You'll try again tomorrow.

And indeed, we do.

Alexander-2-saThe pictures above are Ray Cruz's illustrations for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good and Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Previous posts on Very Bad Days, creative burn-out and creative blocks can be found here.

Shameless begging for music recs

Apr. 17th, 2014 08:33 pm
norah: Monkey King, lookin' sly (Default)
[personal profile] norah
I need recommendations for cardio workout songs. I asked on Facebook & Twitter but if you didn't chime in there or have more to add, I want to hear what you have to say.

General parameters:
  1. If it involves a bandom band, I am probably already aware of it.
  2. If it has been part of a Club Vivid playlist in the last three years, I am probably already aware of it.
  3. I dislike modern R&B, but all other genres are fair game (prefer lyrics & hooks to straight electronica, but can be convinced).
  4. Specify name of song & remix; if you tell me "anything by so & so" I will just buy their 1-3 most popular songs off iTunes after a quick listen.
  5. I am looking for the stuff that makes you start dancing/running again when you thought you were too tired because it's that compelling.
LAY IT ON ME, please!
[syndicated profile] webupd8_feed
Xubuntu 14.04, the Xfce Ubuntu flavor, was released today along with the other Ubuntu flavors. Let's take a quick look at what's new.

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Xubuntu 14.04 video

Here's a quick video in which you can see the changes in Xubuntu 14.04:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)

Xfce changes

Xfce 4.12 was initially supposed to be released in March, 2013, but was delayed and it's not known when it will be released. The Xfce roadmap wiki page mentions that Xfce 4.12 will be released when "is ready".

Because of this, Xubuntu 14.04 ships with a combination of Xfce 4.10 and 4.11. With this release, two more Xfce 4.11 packages were added:  Xfdesktop 4.11 and Xfwm 4.11, which bring some new features:
  • Vsync support for the compositor;
  • apply wallpaper to all workspaces option;
  • the Xfce Display Settings now supports monitor hotplugging
  • individual wallpapers for each workspace;
  • option to change wallpaper automatically after a given number of minutes/hours/days, etc. as well as a chronological option which will sort the available wallpaper pictures according to their filename and then goes through them in their sort order and spread them equally over one day;
  • Add an unmount option and notifications when a device is removed;
  • new accessibility feature: zoom into your desktop using Alt+Scrollwheel;
  • an option to enable tooltips, which will appear when hovering over icons on the desktop with the mouse.

Here are screenshots with some of the changes mentioned above:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

New defaults

Xubuntu 14.04 ships with quite a few new default applications / packages. The most important from an user's point of view is probably WhiskerMenu, which replaces the old Xubuntu menu:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

WhiskerMenu is an alternative to the Xfce application menu that tries to make finding and launching applications easier. The tool allows you to quickly search for the application you want to launch or, if you don't know the application name, you can browse all the applications installed on the system by browsing through categories.

Along with Whisker Menu, Xubuntu 14.04 now uses a single-panel layout and it's also important to note that the panel now supports GTK3 indicators so you shouldn't run into Ubuntu incompatibility issues. For instance, the Sound Menu / Indicator now works out of the box:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

As you can see in the screenshot above, Xubuntu 14.04 uses the Network, Sound and Power Ubuntu indicators.

MenuLibre, an advanced menu editor "that provides modern features in a clean, easy-to-use interface" was added by default:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

MenuLibre is lightweight, doesn't use any GNOME dependencies and can be used with any desktop environment, be it GNOME, LXDE, Xfce or even Unity.

Another important addition to Xubuntu 14.04 is Light Locker, which is the new default screen locker, replacing Xscreensaver. Along with it, Xubuntu 14.04 also ships with Light Locker Settings, a GUI that lets you tweak various lock screen settings such as the blank screen or display off timeout, when to automatically lock the session, etc:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

An user configuration tool called Mugshot was added by default in Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr. The tool allows users to easily set a profile image and enter user details for use with any supported application. Currently only LibreOffice and Pidgin support it though:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Other changes

Other changes in Xubuntu 14.04 include:
  • as usual, the GTK themes preinstalled with Xubuntu were updated with support for the GTK 3 version available in Xubuntu 14.04 (GTK 3.10);
  • the LightDM GTK Greeter has a new theme;
  • new default wallpaper;
  • improved documentation which is also updated to match new applications and application versions;
  • the image viewer and organizer gThumb is no longer included by default, Ristretto is still included for photo viewing;
  • a community wallpaper package is finally available starting with Xubuntu 14.04. In this first release, the package includes 6 beautiful wallpapers.

Here are a few screenshots with the changes mentioned above:

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots
New LightDM GTK Greeter theme

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots
Numix (included by default) was updated to work with the latest GTK, like all other preinstalled themes

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots
The default Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr wallpaper

Default applications

Among the default Xubuntu applications, Parole and Catfish have received the most important changes.

Parole (0.6.1) now uses GTK and GStreamer 1.0, it comes with a new UI and more while Catfish (1.0.2) has got an interface refresh along with other changes.

Besides Parole 0.6.1 and Catfish 1.0.2, Xubuntu 14.04 ships with Firefox 28, Thunderbird 24.4, Pidgin 2.10.9, Thunar 1.6.3, Gnumeric 1.12.9, Abiword 3.0.0, gMusicBrowser 1.1.12, GIMP 2.8.10, Ristretto 0.6.3, Transmission 2.82 and XChat 2.8.8.

Like Ubuntu, Xubuntu 14.04 also ships with the 3.13.0-24.46 Ubuntu Linux Kernel, based on the upstream 3.13.9 Linux Kernel, Xorg server 1.15.1 and Mesa 10.1.0. It's also important to note that the default I/O scheduler was changed from CFQ to Deadline.

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Xubuntu 14.04 screenshots

Download Xubuntu 14.04

Before downloading Xubuntu 14.04, make sure you read the release notes.

Download Xubuntu 14.04 * (will be supported for 3 years)

* Not all the mirrors are ready yet so I suggest getting the torrents.

For how to upgrade to Xubuntu 14.04, see THIS Ubuntu wiki page.

What's new in: Ubuntu 14.04 | Lubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME 14.04

Also check out our 10 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr To Get A Near Perfect Desktop article! While it's made with Unity in mind, there are many tweaks that also apply to Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME.
[syndicated profile] webupd8_feed
All the Ubuntu flavors reached version 14.04 (LTS) today. Below we'll take a quick look at what's new in Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Kubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr).

For Xubuntu, see: Xubuntu 14.04 Available For Download [Video, Screenshots]

All the Ubuntu flavors (except for the main Ubuntu version - with Unity, which is supported for 5 years) will be supported for 3 years.

Lubuntu 14.04

Lubuntu is a lightweight Ubuntu flavor which uses the LXDE desktop environment, useful for old computers.

Changes in Lubuntu 14.04:
  • PcManFM was updated with many new features, like:
    • dual pane view (can be toggled from the menu or by using F3);
    • menu editing;
    • desktop accessibility;
    • tooltips for desktop items;
    • separated desktop configuration for each monitor;
    • implemented saving of columns;
    • new tab with Search Results now opened in Detailed List View mode with columns: Name, Description, Location, Size, Modified. Since Search Results is a special folder, its layout should be other than default;
    • added support for per-folder configurations: sort mode, show_hidden, and view mode;
    • the toolbar is now configurable (can also be completely hidden);
    • added API to create third-party plugins that may append own text to the statusbar text for selected files;
    • complete changelog;
  • new lxsession-default-apps with a new user interface;
  • updated artwork (GTK and icon theme, wallpaper);
  • Firefox has replaced Chromium as the default web browser;
  • Light Locker and Light Locker Settings are installed by default (but Light Locker is not activated by default - open Light Locker Settings and enable it from there).

Here are a few Lubuntu 14.04 screenshots:

Updated icon theme

Light Locker Settings

Light Locker

New lxsession-default-apps interface

New lxsession-default-apps interface

Pcmanfm now supports dual panes

Kubuntu 14.04

Kubuntu is an Ubuntu flavor which uses the KDE Plasma Desktop as the graphical environment. Even though it's now sponsored by Blue Systems and not by Canonical, Kubuntu is still an official Ubuntu derivative.

Changes in Kubuntu 14.04:
  • KDE Applications and Platform 4.13 which features improved KDE Semantic Search technology. For more information, see THIS article.
  • Firefox is now the default web browser;
  • a new Driver Manager was added by default, replacing the Additional Drivers application;
  • plugins in Gwenview can now be installed on-demand from inside the application;
  • a new touchpad configuration tool is included by default;
  • KDE Telepathy now has a meta contact support for grouping the same contact across different IM networks;
  • the Plasma Network Manager comes with a redesigned user interface
  • Kubuntu's system notifications now notify you when there are better drivers you can install and when additional software can be installed to improve language support;
  • the KDE Software Development Kit is available in the official repositories (to install it, use "sudo apt-get install kde-developer-sdk");
  • KDE Connect 0.5, a tool that integrates your Android device with the KDE desktop is available in the repositories.

Here are a few Kubuntu 14.04 screenshots:

New Driver Manager

The Kubuntu 14.04 installer

Muon Discover 2.2 is included by default

Refreshed interface for the Plasma Network Manager

Kubuntu 14.04 System Settings

New touchpad configuration tool

Ubuntu GNOME 14.04

Ubuntu GNOME is an Ubuntu flavor which tries to bring a pure GNOME experience in the Ubuntu "family". It uses GNOME Shell by default and this release ships with GNOME 3.10 for the most part (GNOME Shell 3.10, Nautilus 3.10, etc.).

Changes in Ubuntu GNOME 14.04:
  • Most GNOME 3.10 is included: GNOME Shell, GTK, Nautilus, Gedit, etc. GNOME 3.10 includes new features such as:
    • the old system status menus have been replaced with a new System Menu which includes brightness and sound sliders, quick access to wireless networks, battery status as well as settings, lock screen and shutdown buttons;
    • improved login and lock screens: better layout, nicer transitions, prettier lock screen notifications, etc.;
    • pagination in the Activities application picker;
    • "header bars" or "client side decorations" are now used in some applications such as Files (Nautilus);
    • new zoom mode for the scrollbars which allow for fine scrolling - to use it, hold SHIFT while clicking on the scrollbar thumb;
    • Tweak Tool was redesigned for GNOME 3.10 and includes new options such as startup, application management, etc.
    • it's important to note that the GNOME 3.10 System Settings changes are not available in Ubuntu GNOME 3.10 because it uses GNOME Control Center 3.6.3 and GNOME Settings Daemon 3.8.6, and not the 3.10 release.
  • While not installed by default, GNOME Weather, Maps, Photos and Music are all available in the official repositories.
  • A community wallpapers package is included by default;
  • the GNOME Classic session is included by default - to use it, select it from the Sessions option on the login screen.

Here are a few Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 screenshots:

GNOME Shell 3.10 uses pagination in the Activities application picker

GNOME Music and Weather are available in the repositories, along with other GNOME 3.10 apps

This is Files (Nautilus) which now uses "header bars"

The new System Menu introduced with GNOEM 3.10

System Settings

GNOME Tweak Tool

The classic session is included by default (to use it, select the session from the login screen)

For changes shared between all the Ubuntu flavors, see: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Released, See What`s New [Video, Screenshots]

For Xubuntu, see: Xubuntu 14.04 Available For Download [Video, Screenshots]

Also check out our 10 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr To Get A Near Perfect Desktop article! While it's made with Unity in mind, there are many tweaks that also apply to Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME.
[syndicated profile] failnation_feed
The Most Florida Headline of the Day: This Woman Went on a Crack Binge, Gave Birth, and Gnawed off Her Own Umbilical Cord

There isn't much more that can be said other than that. I'll let the news piece speak for itself:

Vincent Terry, Hassell's boyfriend, left with the 11-month-old boy to run an errand, so Hassell delivered the baby alone in the bathtub. According to a Marion County Sheriff's Office report, Hassell even cut the umbilical cord with her teeth.

"At one point, according to her telling investigators, the baby stopped breathing," said Judge Cochran, public information officer for the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Hassell's first call wasn't to 911, though. It was to her boyfriend, who she told to hurry up and get back to the motel. But, as Terry sped to return, he was pulled over by Marion County deputies. He was wanted for attempted murder in Colorado.

Her other child, 11 months old, is in state custody. There are no words, people.

Submitted by: (via MyNews13)

Tagged: news , what , florida


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