"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bookmarks - Green

Heya~ Got a new segment I hope to run here on the blog.
But please don't get too attached, you know my track record for keeping projects going... Conlanging and You! and the Gooey Browser are still in the works. Just... slowly.
Regardless, this is my new segment, I want to say weekly, but it will likely be a bit less than that at some points (as I have things to do that stop my reading.)

This segment is called 'Bookmarks'. (So named after a pad of bookmarks my stepfather gave me for christmas). It is my way of reconciling with the last blog, Books in My Arsenal. The old blog was started as a way to keep track of things I had read, but I slowly twisted it into something far too formal for me to keep up with. This, I hope, will stay a lot more casual. A book talk, if you will, in text form. Just enough info to get you to want to read the book, but not enough that you know what it is.

So humour me awhile, and lets get this thing going:


First book to come to light is fantasy novel that I keep mistakenly referring to as a teen novel (which it is not).
The book is called Green, and was written by Jay Lake, who also wrote Mainspring and Escapement, two books that I would like to post here later.
Copyright 2009 and published by Tom Doherty Associates.

Green starts out with no real fantasy elements. A girl is bought from her impoverished father and taken across the sea to be educated. She is taught all the things required of being a great lady, as well as some subvert defensive manoeuvres.
Eventually she breaks out of her bonds as a consort-in-waiting for the duke, and it is then that we fall into the major crux of the story.
There are magics and gods loose in this world, and Emerald cum Green is set to squash these powers.

A great adventure that is difficult to pull out of, Green is a novel with no spells or wizardry, but harkens back to a more spiritual and primal force of nature.
There are many sexual scenes, both overt and implicit, mostly lesbian (as well as a semi-interspecies relation, which seems to be a things of Mr. Lake's), and so I would not recommend this book to those who find those things unpleasant.
(I didn't know on picking it up that it was an other-sexual novel, I swear!)

Green is a character of indignant anger, great strength and strong (if varying) values. She fights for what she believes, and protects those she cares for fiercely.
While not the best role model, she is certainly a strong female presence and the novel should not be counted out when looking for a good back-seat lesbian story.

~*~ Apparently there is a sequel! Endurance (fitting title) by Jay Lake came out in hard cover in Novemeber (2011) and the paperback is due August 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Gooey Browser

Let me talk to you for a bit about my dream for the future of internets.
This is the first part, as there are many things I want to say, and the future part(s) will have pictures (yay) hand-drawn by me(ohmai).
Let us start with one thing thing, that would in the end be two.

My biggest issue with StumbleUpon is that there is no in-between, between thumbs up and thumbs down. And then that there is no way to sort the things I liked.
I want an all-around net experience, either in website or browser form (though browser would probably be more effective and powerful for what all I want from my prime internetting experience.)

I want something that can divide my screen into... lets call them carrels. Customizable configuration and number.
I can do this a bit with Windows 7 and browser tabs. But I want something a bit more... gooey... than that.

Honestly, the only reason I haven't pursued my idea for this thing any further than just wanting it (even with my limited coding and such knowledge) is that I can't think of any way to build a better tagging engine. At least, not without more people on board with a Dublin Core or similar metadata format. Because if no one does the front-end work of tagging things, or classifying them in some system (Dewey, anyone?), at our present level of AI, no computer is going to be able to automatically sort everything and apply tags accordingly.
That's why things stay hidden on Google, I suppose.

Anyway, the vision, I guess.
I want StumbleUpon's functionality, pulling up random sites
(though it would be nice to somehow get things not suggested by users. Truly random websites. That goes back to not having the AI to accurately determine site content. Can't have the program trying random strings of letters/numbers/etc. without some way to determine what it is looking at. (Though, if it were to do this as a subfunction, not directly in the line of use... Forming it's own bank of websites as well as suggestions... Hmm.) Though it would be nice to allow NSFW as a filter so you could 'stumble' porn only, if you were so inclined)
liking and disliking, but I want a third option of 'seen'. Because there are times when something gets pulled up on Stumble that is mildly interesting, so I wouldn't mind seeing more things like it (so I don't want to dislike it) but not so interesting that I want to keep it (so I don't want to like it) but I don't want it to come up again (since I've seen it.) So a third option allowing me to tell the program that I saw the website, and don't want it added to my likes or dislikes would be good.
I would say that I want it to mark every landed page as "seen", but there are times when I skip things on Stumble because it isn't loading well, because I don't have time to look at it long enough yet, or because I think I would like it to come up again sometime, as a surprise, I guess. So I wouldn't want it marked as seen.
Though perhaps something like Google Reader's "Mark Unread" would work instead. Eh.

Anyway. That would be one functionality.
I would also like the option to on-the-fly turn on/off NSFW content, videos, animations and content filters.
I also want a "Challenge Me" filter. StumbleUpon keeps track of what you like and dislike, and formats your experience to you. I once wrote a draft of a post (that never got posted) that touched this. Here is the video I really wanted to show you that explains it a bit:
I want a filter I can turn on that will show me things that fall outside of those bubbles. Just because I never "liked" anything about Prop 8 being shot down from the conservative perspective doesn't mean I don't want to read it. Or that I should never have a chance to be exposed. It would still only show me new things (unseen), but it would ignore the filters of what I've liked/disliked.

Added to these in-use functions, I want post-use functions. This is where I want to attach bookmarking functions to the StumbleUpon functions (as modified above).
PearlTrees is my bookmarking application of choice. It allows me to organize my favourites into, well, trees.
The desire to set my Tree up in Dewey classification is a constant battle between end-use and front-end work. So far the desire for less front-end work has won out.
Regardless, this is part of why I want a 'seen' button on StumbleUpon, for easier conversion to other areas.
I can't find things I've liked on StumbleUpon. I want to be able to categorize them, or have them categorized for me(preferably). That goes back to the top and AI being unreliable.
Yet I don't know how far I've gotten in transferring my 'likes' into pearls as if I remove the like from the item on SU, it will come up again when I go stumbling. And I can't favourite directly from SU to PearlTrees.
It would be nice to have user-end classification, or tags as well. Because a specific site may mean something specific to me, so I want to give it a tag that I can find it by (say, "showmum"). This shouldn't affect anyone else's classification, just mine, within my "browser".

Now, I'm going to snip this here, mainly because I don't feel I'm making much sense and want to draw up some diagrams and junk to clear my head in order to explain better, but also because I have only touched on two of the many things I want to go into the carrels, and this post would get quite long if I didn't.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

GLaDOS is breaking up with you...

Finally got around to listening to the end song of Portal 2. (Yes, I know, been a while.) And this is what I noticed and posted to YouTube, but I wanted to expand upon:

This feels like a breakup song, where the couple have gotten together and broken up over and over again.
If GLaDOS were on the recieving end of a cheating partner.

How to read this: Simple really. The lyrics are bolded, and below them is my continuation/interpretation. Just read down the lines.

I'm going to use the male pronoun for GLaDOS' theoretical partner (TP), just cause I am using the female one for GLaDOS, and I don't want it to get confusing.

Well here we are again
(Kinda obvious, TP is trying to date her again)
It's always such a pleasure
Remember when you tried
to kill me twice?

(The last two times they broke up, TP was rather nasty, and really hurt her emotionally.)
Oh how we laughed and laughed

(When they got back together, she felt good about it)
Except I wasn't laughing
(But she always had the fear/knowledge it would happen again.)
Under the circumstances
(of TP cheating over and over, as well as being cruel)
I've been shockingly nice
(taking TP back again and again.

You want your freedom?
(TP says she stifles him etc.)
Take it
(She wants TP to have it.)
That's what I'm counting on
(Then TP will leave her alone)
I used to want you dead
(TP hurt her, she wanted him dead.)
Now I only want you gone

(She doesn't give a fuck now, she just doesn't want to be with him, or have him around)

She was a lot like you
(This is where things get complicated. She can either be talking about TP's last fling(probably a former friend of GLaDOS'), OR, if TP isn't male/GLaDOS is bisexual, this could be the girl she was with while TP and GLaDOS were broken up, who turned out to be about the same kind of person.)
(Maybe not quite as heavy)
(This fits well with theory 2, if TP was male (if you want literal interpretations here) or if Caroline was a little less serious/deep thinking ("that's heavy, man"))
Now little Caroline is in here too
(Either way Caroline is now in the same boat as TP, with GLaDOS not wanting to see her again.)
One day they woke me up
(Someone other than Caroline and TP finally confronted GLaDOS about this unhealthy cycle)
So I could live forever
(And through this she realised she was worth more, and could have a life.)
It's such a shame the same
will never happen to you

(Probably sarcastic regret that TP will never change/learn/get the happiness of a permanent relationship)

You've got your
short sad
life left
(Tiny little man. Your life has little value, as you've never really learned to love.)
That's what I'm counting on
(It gives her a bit of pleasure that he will never get that happiness.)
I'll let you get right to it
(Go on, go continue your life)
Now I only want you gone
(She doesn't want TP around.)

Goodbye my only friend
(Sarcasm, or could be said that GLaDOS still considers TP her best friend in some respects, or a part of TP's personality is.)
Oh, did you think I meant you?
(Fitting with that, she says this to the parts of TP's personality that she doesn't consider her friend.)
That would be funny if it weren't so sad
(It is sad that TP was/is her only good friend, considering what an ass he is.)
Well you have been replaced
(GLaDOS has a new partner, perhaps the one who woke her up.)
I don't need anyone now
(But she has learned not to put all of her self worth into a person's opinion, and no longer needs other people to feel good about herself.)
When I delete you maybe
(From her memory/life)
I'll stop feeling so bad
(She'll finally feel free, etc.)

Go make some new disaster
(Every relationship TP touches gets destroyed, so he is guaranteed to get into more trouble.)
That's what I'm counting on
(Because then TP will try to come crawling back to her)
You're someone else's problem
(But then she can kick TP back to the curb, as he's someone else's problem.)
Now I only want you gone
(Not my problem, go away.)
Now I only want you gone
(Go away.)
Now I only want you...
(I want you....