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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Morbid Curiosity's LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 12th, 2016
1:22 am
Two years today.
Friday, July 22nd, 2016
12:59 am
Castamere
I hear the drums echoing tonight,
But she hears only whispers of some wedding celebration
No Stark in here expects a fight
In the wings reflects the steel that gives them no salvation
"And who are you," the proud lord said,
"That I must bow so low to one like you..?"

It's gonna take a lot to take them away from you
But that's something that a hundred men or more are gonna do
I sing the Reynes down in Castamere
Gonna take some time to take the throne we never had

The direwolves cry out in the night...

Okay, yes, it's bedtime and I've already done quite enough damage :-P
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
11:36 pm
Citizen, report to the GLAM sector for ontological mapping duty!
In a sudden shift sideways from my ongoing newspaper website development work, much of today was spent diving into the world of digital repositories.

We have some discovery work going at the moment, looking at upgrading a local digital humanities archive. For me, this meant a crash course in Dublin Core metadata (which I hadn't touched since 2001), Fedora Commons (digital content management), Islandora, MODS and MAPS and FOAF and other fun acronyms. Hanging out with librarians and archivists and such must have been rubbing off, because I seemed to be able to pick up a lot of concepts and use cases very quickly. By the end of the day my head felt FULL of new things - both exhausting and satisfying. We'll see how much of it has percolated through and bedded down during the night, and how much needs to be re-examined in the morning :-)

Last night I also signed up for GovHack: a weekend-long event where they release a bunch of data sources to the public, and groups of us attempt to build new things to explore and build on that data, for a variety of public sector uses. I'm not really so fussed on the "compete and win valuable prizes" side of things, but I'm hoping that I get to meet interesting people, collaborate on good things, and make a positive difference somewhere along the line. It's going to start the day after my PhD thesis defence, so I don't know quite how frazzled I'll be for it, but I'm hoping it'll be worth putting in an appearance all the same.

So, as it happens, we ended up talking to a guy from council this evening, too. Sign-up numbers for Christchurch have gone up massively. I get the feeling there's a lot of latent desire to do something to help our local communities, and hope that this event will provide a vehicle for doing it. Fingers crossed for us all.
Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
6:21 pm
Rough night last night. As well as the regular recurring fighting dreams I sometimes have, I had a second dream which involved children being kidnapped from a train somewhere in eastern Europe.

Going through the tunnel there was a long sound, mostly like an old steam train whistle but also a bit like a high-pitched shriek. And then, an unattended child disappearing. By the time I woke up from the dream, I'd discovered that dwarves were responsible - the old kind of dwarves who're cunning smiths and play nasty tricks on miners who don't leave food out for them. I don't know why they wanted children, but a few of the staff on the train were in league with them and being paid off to look the other way. They might have been smuggling other things on the train, too. There were a lot of bags being unloaded on the wrong side of the platform, only some of them struggling.

I have no idea why or how my brain came to this idea. It sounds a bit like something from the same kind of modern folklore storyworld as Ночной дозор (Night Watch), The Dresden Files or possibly Hellboy à la Del Toro. I don't know. Maybe someone can work the idea into a modern horror story or game, somewhere.

It'll be a hot shower and an early night tonight, I think.
Friday, June 24th, 2016
7:40 pm
Useful/grateful things today:
  • Modern Javascript training at work.
  • Clients not screaming about website performance, which I am hoping means they're happy I Fixed the Things. (Things that were only a problem when they finally decided to set aggressive performance targets a couple of weeks out from launch.)
  • Definite Potential Intern has now turned into Actual Intern, and she seems to be taking to the place well.
  • New tenants moving into my ex-girlfriend's ex-flat earlier than expected, which means we're finally out of the lease and I'm not paying $340/wk for a mouldy shithole in Shirley she can't live in with a compromised immune system.
  • Full 4-month bond return incoming, without contest from the landlord who was always "too busy" to fix anything and too cheap to get it fixed.
  • Meridian Energy closed the account there as of my last bill, so nothing further to pay.
  • On the horizon, a potential scholarship / bucket of research funding to write up the last couple of chapters of my thesis as a conference paper or journal entry.
  • Interesting conversations, and being inspired to write Interesting things again.
Despite plenty of stressors, many positive outcomes this week. Now comes two days of sleeping and computer games.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016
1:17 pm
Committing poetry again
This is what happens when you're looking for a short writing exercise and someone suggests love poems.

Romance novel love
With candles lit and a simmering said
A petalled path to the foot of your bed
Falls cool with the white winter's season

But age holds no fear
With cardigans on and early to bed
Each other held long in the heart and the head
When your lives never lacked for a reason
Friday, May 27th, 2016
10:51 am
If TV news reported the arts the way they report sports...
"Yeah nah, it was a play of three acts, all credit to the director and the choreographer... the coaching's been paying off with a strong start out of the interval and tight blocking throughout. We've been putting in the hard yards, and it's really starting to show in our performance."

"The cast definitely seemed to be moving through and engaging the crowd well going into Act Three."

"Thanks. Yeah, we're trying to incorporate some more Brechtian V-effekt work going into the end of this season, and de-familiarising the traditional notions of the theatre-going experience."

"With the scene change from the apartment to a protest rally, do you think the audience are going to feel a bit confused by this part of the play?"

"Definitely. And that's part of the game plan. Obviously Tom and Scotty's characters are the focal point of the narrative, but this helps the audience to defocalise and engage with the other minor roles, feeling as if they are participating in a broader, interconnected story-world rather than just a single isolated line of discourse. In the end, art was the winner on the day, eh..."

"Cheers, Erin! And here's Sam with the weather."
Thursday, March 31st, 2016
4:39 pm
Submitted!
Instrumenting 3D Virtual Worlds for Computer Science
Education to Support Teaching and Learning
A thesis submitted in partial fullment
of the requirements for the Degree
of
Doctor of Philosophy
in the
University of Canterbury
by
Me

Still reviewers/changes/defence ahead. But for now... done.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
7:06 pm
The Home Stretch
In 48 hours, I'll have submitted my PhD thesis. Currently looking at just on 200 pages (though a fair chunk of those are appendices). It took too long to get here, with the rest of Life getting in the way in various incarnations, but I'm down to an intro, conclusion, and a little bit of polish.

Into the breach.
Thursday, June 4th, 2015
6:20 pm
That time of year again.
Because LiveJournal is being special at the moment, I can post but I can't go to my own profile - doing so redirects me to their outage page before I can so much as blink.

Nice fix there, Друг!
Friday, April 17th, 2015
12:09 am
That time of year again.
Life's been... tumultuous, to say the least. I may not be making great progress right now, but I'm not going backwards and that's good too.

Just back from a conference in Taipei. Presenting went well. Managed to accidentally talk my way into being a mentor for their doctoral consortium, but that worked out quite well in the end. Was able to help some students, and get to know some of my academic peers as well. Christchurch turned on a chill for my return, and my sweatshirt arrived a day later, but all things considered I'm quite grateful to have had the opportunity.

Now it's back to work, and trying to earn enough money to resume my studies again.
Friday, July 18th, 2014
3:13 pm
(We'll never be) Deep Ones
With (admittedly not especially sincere) apologies to H.P. Lovecraft, Lorde and Maurice Gee:

I've never had a swim on Devil's Reef
I cut my teeth on arcane books in New England
And I'm not proud of my address
In a shaken town, no post code envy
But every story"s like...Collapse )
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
11:35 pm
Somewhere in a marsh, southwest of Seattle, in the 2070s...
Tonight's game didn't travel at a huge pace, but being slow and careful allowed us to get a lot of atmosphere out of a poignant scene...

Swamp. Mangroves. Old grounded fishing boat. Booby-traps wired up. A smaller fanboat tethered outside. An abandoned rucksack and gun. Rations and a map. Bad smells from rotten food in the cargo hold. Blood marks. A disarmed grenade trap behind the wheelhouse door. A hand print on the wall. Scattered medical supplies in the galley. A cabin. A few flies. We're already on breathers. A long-dead man in camo, with bandages around his midriff. Died with a commlink and a pistol in his hands. Check the cylinder, but leave the gun. Splashing noises out there in the mangroves.

Find a paper journal to speed-read: he settled here two years back. Hack his hardware and find his last audio log: he got bitten by something out in the swamps, investigating rumours of a shaman in these parts. He made it back home, but the thing followed him. He bled out while waiting for it to go away, and he never made it to Riverside for medical help.

Look through the rest of the boat. Find some salvage. Tidy the medical supplies back in the kit they came from, and leave it behind when we go. There's not really anywhere we can bury him. We close the cabin door again.

Heading out of the mangroves, something makes a "bloop" noise out in the water. We don't see anything but a ripple of wide rings, expanding out across the surface. It's noon, but we're leaving the place like it's midnight.
Sunday, May 25th, 2014
11:44 pm
Goths in Hot Weather
Inspired by "Nights in White Satin", the "Goths in Hot Weather" blog, and the alt.gothic crowd (especially Liz's fault):
Goths in hot weather, never reaching the shade
Our parasols lifted, but we're starting to fade
Mascara always covered these eyes before
Just how badly it's running, I can't say anymore

'Cos it's so hot, yes it's so hot, oh how it's so hot

Gazing at people, some hand in hand
Why I wear so much black, they can't understand
Some try to ask me, if I'm in a band
But we're just going to the beach, to play in the sand

And it's so hot, yes it's so hot
Oh how it's so hot, oh how it's so hot...
Apologies to the Moody Blues, who never did anything to deserve this.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
9:40 am
It's that time of year again: traditional bleak song time!

Generally feeling good, though, despite various challenges in the last year. Lots to do, but I'm doing it.

Current Mood: Optimistic
Sunday, February 9th, 2014
5:18 pm
In which I go to the movies, for a change.
I saw The Book Thief the other night. A sad film, and an occasionally intriguing one. Nice to see Studio Babelsberg in the credits, having visited there once in 1994.

The language use was interesting. A handful of scenes in pure German, with subtitles. Songs in German. The majority of the film in what amounted to 'Allo 'Allo! German: English with a German accent, and commonly understood German words mixed in. Street signs, shops and such all in German, but a diary in English. Narrator and three principal actors from Canada, Australia and England, the rest Germans. So basically, as German as they could get for the average English audience.

The Parental Guidance rating is certainly appropriate - there's some violent death in it. But I think it's got a few good teaching points, too. For example, understanding why people might join the NSDAP (Nazi Party) even if they hated the ideology, and the risks of standing out or speaking out in an authoritarian regime. Painting war in shades of black and white is deceptively easy to do.
Sunday, December 8th, 2013
4:36 pm
Note to Self
If you're waiting for someone to get in touch, you think you've arranged for them to contact you, and you still haven't heard from them... just call.

Sometimes I still suck when it comes to assuming rather than communicating. I may be getting better at taking professional initiative, but I still have gaps in my social initiative and awareness that I will be working to fix.
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
4:18 am
For some reason, everyone's names on my friends list just turned green. What gives?
Saturday, October 26th, 2013
1:52 am
Choices
"Alright then, sir, here's your choice: you can have the crap on a stick, or the crap sandwich."

"Ugh. Neither of those sounds appealing."

"Well, those are your choices, sir."

"But I don't like them! I don't want to eat this crap!"

"You haven't made a choice though, sir! You can't complain if you don't even choose one, sir!"

"Are you sure you don't have something else? Anything else? Anything at all?"

"Well, sir. If you really want you can ask for the crappatouille, sir. But hardly anyone else chooses that - we don't even keep it in stock, sir."

"So no matter what I choose, you're going to give me crap? This is bullshit!"

"Yes sir. It is bullshit, sir. But unless you choose what kind of bullshit you want, you can't exactly complain about what you get, now can you, sir? We've all got to make our own choice, sir! How else would we fairly decide just which crap to feed you, sir!"



This post brought to you by the phrase: "If you don't vote, then you can't complain!"
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
4:41 pm
Apologies to... well, everyone, really.
Westeros Rhapsody

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in Winterfell
No escape to the open sea
Open your eyes
As winter is coming, see
I'm just a Greyjoy, I get no sympathy
Because I'm a captured son, cannot go
To the Iron Islands, no
Loyalty to Westeros doesn't really matter to me, to me

There"s more, sorry.Collapse )
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