ack!

Nov. 18th, 2005 09:18 am
telophase: (Sanzo - bitching loudly)
It's officially winter: my skin's started itching all over and DRIVING me CRAZY.
telophase: (cat - bitch please)
Cat just barfed. Normal. Totally silently - I only knew because I happened to look over as she was so doing. Unusual. And, since she was sitting on a piece of furniture underneath a window in a corner blocked in by other furniture, right into the space between the item of furniture and the wall, where I cannot get to it. Bloody typical.



ETA: And has just unloaded again onto the middle of the carpet, but at least I can get to it.


ETA2: And investigating behind the item of furniture, which I can see but not reach, reveals that this is not the first time she has done so. *sigh*
telophase: (Default)
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] scribblemoose - a map where you can leave a guestbook message as to where you are, and you can zoom in or out to whatever level you're comfy with.

Even though I can't really smell anything, it annoys me that when I bestirred myself to go check the mail, none of my BPAL swaps had come in yet. And I even renewed my lease while I was there (the mail carrier was filling the boxes, so I went into the office to wait in the air conditioning because I knew that if I went back to the apartment, I'd not make it out again, and remembered that I needed to renew my lease while I was there), and after all the effort of pretending I wasn't sick while doing the lease thing ... no fun mail. Sigh.
telophase: (gojyo screw you // yomigaere)
AAAARGH

I'm working in Photoshop CS2 here at work, and it seems that at least one thing I use a lot has changed, and I can't figure out where to do it in this version. In all the PS versions I've worked with up to and including the first CS, you could select everything on a layer by ctrl-clicking on that layer in the Layers palette. In this version, it now seems that doing that just acts like the shift-click and makes it active along with whatever layer you're on. That doesn't seem too clear, anyway, but all it does is highlight that layer in the Layers palette and does not give me the marching-ants thing around the elements I want to select.

This is different from Select All, which selects the entire canvas and only collapses to the individual elements if you do something like nudge them a pixel in one direction or another. This adds an extra step to what should be a simple stroke or fill or something. ARG.

I can't figure out from the help any way to select all the elements. They can't possibly have removed this entirely, can they?
telophase: (Default)
I forgot one more bitch about the Amazon reviews of An Affair with Africa - the person who wondered if Kistner even thought about the TERRIBLE DANGER she was putting her children in. While hanging out in the African bush is, on the whole, slightly more dangerous than hanging out in the American countryside, it's not a horrible danger-filled place where you spend every waking second jumping at twigs snapping. A reasonable amount of vigilance and caution - the same sort you'd exercise in, say, bear country* - and the kids'll be fine. If I had a young kid who was just old enough to appreciate it - four, say - and I was going to a reasonably politically stable area like the south of Kenya or the north of Tanzania, where the big game parks are, I'd go like a shot.

* Amusing aside: while we camped for two years in the midst of the wild savannah surrounded by lions and leopards and crocodiles and such, that doesn't faze me at all. But the idea of camping in bear country gives me the willies.
telophase: (Default)
I'm in the midst of listening to the audiobook version of An Affair With Africa: Expeditions and Adventures Across a Continent by Alzada Carlisle Kistner, and am enjoying it quite a bit. Kistner and her husband were entomologists who went on several trips for fieldwork across Africa between 1960 and 1973, bringing their kids with them on a couple of the trips.

They were hot on the trail of myrmycophiles - bugs that live with ants - in army ant colonies, and I'm all over the bits of science that pepper the text. :) The 1960s and early 70s were the last gasp of colonialism as revolution and self-rule took over many African countries, and they ended up in danger in several areas - Kistner, her husband, their research assistant, and their many, many specimens had to be airlifted out of the Congo in 1960 after the Belgians relinquished control and the Congolese political atmosphere became unstable and violent.

The book feels like home to me - my family was in essentially the same situation minus the threat of armed insurrection - as we were researchers in Africa at the end of the colonial period, and much of it rings true. and I can't seem to write in anything but cliched phrases today, so I'll just go with it. I promise I won't use the phrase 'The Dark Continent.'

What I really want to bitch about is the Amazon reviewers, though. There's one who falls square into the "if it doesn't mention the Plight of the Natives it's not a good book!" trap. I have issues with that, first of which being that when you're a researcher in the area, you don't actually have much contact with the locals. We had more contact than they did, because we never had a guide or other type of employee to arrange shopping and other thigns for us, because we were there for a logner period of time. The Kistners were there for short trips, and in those cases you need to concentrate on your work, so you hire a local to arrange for food and housing and what-all if it's not being supplied by the research station you're at. And if you're in Africa for a short time, the very few days you've got off you want to go watch the wildlife, not gawk at the Poor Oppressed Native. And treating the locals as Poor Oppressed Natives is just bloody patronizing. They're people.

Another review pointed out that the book was indeed about the Africa the Kistners experienced and that they didn't get a lot of chance to see much of it outside of the research stations and the European expats, but he held a slighting attitude towards the science, which makes me wonder what the hell he thought the book was about. It's not a book about overlanders or tourists or backpackers, it's about scientists sciencing their way across the continent.

One more thing about the book, other than a frenzied Read it!!: I had a natural feminist knee-jerk reaction to the beginning, when Kistner mentions that when she and her husband were in grad school together, she got pulled aside on several occasions by (male, as it turns out) professors who asked her to support her husband because he has one of the most brilliant minds in entomology. She eventually gave up her plans for a Ph.D., which made me wince for a moment until I reminded myself that it was the 1950s. And as the book develops, it becomes apparent that she's the best research assistant EVAR. She's educated and experienced enough in the subject to be invaulable to him, and she loves the fieldwork, which is the fun part anyway, and finds the majority of the rest of the work back home - sorting, mounting, labelling, and describing the specimens they collected - tedious, while her husbands loves that sort of stuff. They're the perfect team; even their daughters end up helping with the fieldwork and their parents are thrilled that the girls are natural scientists. (And since granting agencies usually offer money for the scientists' families to go with them on long-term fieldwork expeditions like this, having her function as a research assistant means that when they do have another research assistant, they can get twice as much work done.)

I don't know how much my mom aided my dad with his research in the Serengeti, certainly not to the extent that Kistner did. I'll have to ask. I know I mostly functioned as a geologist's hammer - Dad posed me next to grass and took photos with me acting as a scale of how tall the grass was - and a nuisance. XD
telophase: (Default)
THANK YOU for ralphing INSIDE the open suitcase, cat!







Why, exactly, shouldn't I wring your fuzzy little neck?
telophase: (Default)
GAH. Triple whammy: mild cold making me cough a lot, some sort of stomach thingy[1], and light hangover thingy from the migraine. GAH. No way they'd believe me at work if I told them the truth. I'll see how I feel tomorrow - I'm certainly going in late, if I managing to make it at all. It's just that I haven't worked a full week in a while due to the con and due to family-visiting this weekend, so I have that horrendous guilt thing about not going to work going on.

GAH.

[1] Unrelated to the ralphing from the migraine, actually.
telophase: (Default)
%#)(&$%(#*$)@#*%)*%&*#(%&#()%(# MIGRAINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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