sputnikhearts: laptop (laptop)
If Kara writes a new blog post, she will want to log into Wordpress to post it.

If she logs into Wordpress, she will see that she needs to update her Wordpress installation.

If she tries to update her Wordpress installation via wp cli, she will get weird cURL errors.

If she tries to investigate the cURL errors, she will discover her MySQL process is obsolete and needs updating via migrating data. This has nothing to do with her error which turns out to be a hosting issue, but she's still going to want to fix it.

If she tries to migrate data, she will have to make a new user for the new MySQL process.

If she makes a new user, she will have to figure out why she can't seen to grant it @#$%&*! privileges.

If she figures out all of the above, then voila, she will have successfully migrated her data and her website is loading correctly!

... and then she will want to write a new blog post all about the experience.

(By which time the cURL issue will have magically resolved itself, because it was completely unrelated ... but it's good web admin practice even for a n00b, right? laughingcrying.gif)


Apr. 25th, 2016 02:45 pm
sputnikhearts: suu from clover (suu)
Have started using Martha Stewart recipes. I know, so corporate. But in this world where everyone is an expert, self included, sometimes I just want a simple recipe--in this case, poached chicken breasts, not exactly the epitome of edginess--with some freaking Professional Quality Control. See also: why the NPR podcast empire is so pervasive among my demographic. I could spend hours slogging through various badly produced variations on Yet Another Podcast About Quirky Ephemera, or I could ... queue up Surprisingly Awesome.

(I bounced super-hard off Memory Palace though.)

P.S. That one-pot pasta really is all it's cracked up to be. My mods, because I can never resist: more garlic, more tomatoes, more basil. Bouillon cubes. Add other veggies at will. It's not haute cuisine but it's ridiculously easy.


Made some progress on writing and related professional development last week (?!) I don't know how it happened (?!), given that pretty much every day consists of me stumbling around frantically trying to finish projects in a blur of exhaustion. But I guess everyone else in the world is doing the same while feeling the same way, right? The human condition according to me.


I may finally cave and go to Lush this weekend to get some more bath bombs. The one and only I have ever tried (I believe it was the now-discontinued precursor to the Rose Bombshell) left a gigantic mess of various flower petals in my tub, which rather cancelled out my enjoyment of the immediately prior bath, because I also had to scrub the wet tub while eight months pregnant. XD But the Sakura looks safe ... and I have my normal center of gravity back. Mostly.
sputnikhearts: laptop (laptop)
Thanks to the lovely friending meme over at [personal profile] jadelennox, there are some new faces here! Hello and it's nice to meet you!

I'm Kara. I'm *mumble* years old, I consider myself a recovering scientist. For almost a decade I performed basic biology research, with a focus in genomics. Right now I'm a full time science writer on staff, specializing in renewable energy technologies. Thus: science non-fiction pays the bills so that I can write science fiction and fantasy at night! A sweet deal IMO.

In June I want to to blog a little bit more; I've had a lot on my mind lately. I had a few slow weeks w/r/t the origfic writing and that inevitably leads to some navel-gazing about what I am doing, why, my goals, etc. I also want to talk about the non-writing aspects of my life more (media consumption! science! cooking! knitting! sewing! family!) because they're present and important and enjoyable, especially when I get yet another rejection email, ha.

And if you would like to request a post on anything in particular, just ask! In July I think I'll do one of those memes where people request topics for days of the month.
sputnikhearts: (so much love)

2013 was infinitely better than 2012. I escaped a terrible job, found a new job, and sold my first two stories. It's not perfect, but I'm grateful for what I do have. It's more than I ever thought I would achieve, to be honest. If nothing else, 2013 has shown me that most things are possible, if I work hard and work smart.

As icing on the cake, at the end of 2013 I won not one, but two drawings! (Or maybe not enough other people were participating, hmm?)

One is from a subscription drive for Crossed Genres. They need 300 more subscriptions to stay in business throughout 2014, and in my opinion they publish pretty great stuff, so if you have a few bucks lying around, please consider tossing it their way. They publish monthly issues (which are free) as well as individual titles. I won a free ebook, and I availed myself of Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older, which has been a fantastic read so far. I love urban fantasy, I love New York and all cities from the POV of someone who loves it with all their heart, I love Older's sure and musical prose. I recommend it wholeheartedly. From the webpage:

A 300 year-old story collector enlists the help of the computer hacker next door to save her dying sister. A half-resurrected cleanup man for Death’s sprawling bureaucracy faces a phantom pachyderm, doll-collecting sorceresses and his own ghoulish bosses. Gordo, the old Cubano that watches over the graveyards and sleeping children of Brooklyn, stirs and lights another Malagueña. Down the midnight streets of New York, a whole invisible universe churns to life in Daniel José Older’s debut collection of ghost noir.

The second is a Kindle and ebook drawing from ReAnimus Press, which is operated by Andrew Burt of Critters and many other things. (Quick plug for Critters: I am a regular participant, and I find it immensely helpful; I credit my two sales in part to feedback I received there!) I won a free ebook, which I haven't picked yet, so I can't tell you anything about it. I'm thinking I'll pick up Ben Bova's The Craft of Writing Science Fiction that Sells.

And now I'm off to a job interview! Happy 2014, may it bring everyone great things.

sputnikhearts: (in old towns)
Recently I went to Germany -- mainly Berlin, but also a day in Lübeck -- for three days, followed by Sweden -- mainly Stockholm, but also a day in Malmö -- for three more. Pictures are forthcoming ... blame J, they're on his camera.

Berlin: I didn't realize just how much of Berlin is still under construction. East Berlin wasn't able to pay its share of WWII debts, and so when reunification took place, West Berlin assimilated those debts; they are still not entirely paid off. And much of East Berlin is still not recovered -- I don't mean just depressing prefab buildings, I mean a lot of buildings destroyed during WWII still haven't been rebuilt, because of lack of money and/or interest from East Berlin government. Said government would have happily continued demolishing buildings that weren't destroyed enough for their taste -- especially religious buildings -- but Berlin is actually built on swampland, thus many of the bigger buildings actually serve as counterweights for each other. So, the engineers came back saying that tearing down too many things would fatally destabilize other parts of the city. And so various buildings stayed, in various degrees of ruin. One day I'd love a list of buildings spared only so that the entire city wouldn't be destroyed with them. Talk about invisible urban detritus.

I also went to Potsdam and saw Sanssouci, which was gorgeous from the outside. Visits to the interior are very limited and we didn't buy a pass, but I hear it's quite nice as well. Have to admit I spent much of that trip imagining Reinhard, Kiercheis, and Annerose wandering around the grounds.

We then took a train to Lübeck, a port city and former capital of the Hanseatic League. We went to an organ concert at Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church), which was where Dieterich Buxtehude innovated pretty much all the modern organ techniques. Bach supposedly walked for three days just to watch this dude play, and Handel also came to learn from him. The story goes that Handel and a guy named Mattheson competed to be his successor, only to learn that the price was marriage to his oldest daughter, a traditional request at the time. I don't know what she was like, but that turned off them both of them within the day. Anyway, Marienkirche possesses something like the world's largest functional non-electric pipe organ, which is pretty amazing to think about because after you play a note, there is a substantial delay before the note is heard. I do not know whether organists need to wear earplugs, or if they can hold two melodies in their head, but it has got to be mentally very difficult to play something where you're not getting immediate audio feedback. Or perhaps that's why so much organ music is repetitive and harmonic in a way such that you can layer bars 1-4 over bars 5-8 and still have it sound pretty damn good. Like a secret concert that the player gets to have in their own head.

Also, Lübeck had quite a few other very old brick gothic churches with those incredibly tall spires. The interiors are not crazy opulent the way, oh, Westminster Abbey is, but it's a different feeling--that of getting through seven hundred cold hard winters.

We took an overnight ferry to Malmö. The vast majority of travelers were German, Swedish, and Russian, and it was operated by a Finnish group, Finnlines. So as you would imagine, the lingua franca was ... English. XD Spent the next day relaxing, and we took a train from there to Stockholm.

From two tours, I learned that Sweden -- after they managed to kick out the Danes in the 1500s and after a brief attempt at invading Europe ending in the 1800s -- has made its fortune on wisely staying out of trouble, and after the troublemakers had finished tearing each other to pieces, selling them conveniently flat-packed furniture reconstruction materials, ie, steel, copper, and wood. This by the way is why I think present-day Nordic countries have gorgeous cities and are so well run: for the last 500 years, they have not been bombed to shit, or colonized, or occupied, or dragged through periods of civil instability and resulting atrocities that change the character of a nation. I believe thoroughly in path dependency for how national characters are shaped. This was one of the nicest and chillest places I've ever been; I like to think it's because they remember a whole lot of good, which goes on to beget more good.


Jun. 16th, 2013 05:26 pm
sputnikhearts: (Default)
I went to Target to do some pre-summer-vacation shopping.  I achieved a very small umbrella, but was foiled in my attempts to get a cute summer dress.  EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE DAMN STORE WAS MADE OF RAYON.  What is this fuckery.  I'd heard the price of cotton was high (thanks, NPR) but it must really be high.  Came away empty handed, since clothing is one area where I don't compromise.  If I don't like even one part of it (and I can't fix it/get it easily tailored) then I leave it on the rack.

I don't generally like synthetics for my own wearing purposes, but please do not take this as a prescriptivist post. XD

[Insert rambling about how horribly US farm subsidies are mismanaged and skewed towards agricorps instead of actually helping small farmers or field workers grumble grumble grumble no one tell my boss I said this okay]


Apr. 3rd, 2013 09:43 am
sputnikhearts: (Default)
Thanks to [personal profile] troisroyaumes for inspiring this, sigh XD

This isn't stuff I wish someone else would get me, it's stuff I want to get myself. Divided into two categories.

tenth commandment, anyone? )
sputnikhearts: laptop (laptop)
I used to have a running bet with myself whether I’d get published in Day Job (scientist, for a certain value of scientist) or Night “Job” (fiction) first. Well, that’s been answered by a review committee. In a few weeks my name will be part of the lineup for a paper in PNAS*. And some indeterminate time after that it’ll be on another piece of non-fiction writing that I’ve been working on. Both pieces are utterly unrelated to anything fiction-wise (and, more to the point, are under my Nom de Science) so I won’t spam the links here. Sorry to have made you read all this way before saying so, whups.

* Since I live within a reasonable distance, I plan to celebrate upon publication by taking the issue in question and perhaps a bottle of coke that has been … enhanced … and parking myself on the steps of a certain structure with both items. If you see a strange woman being dragged off the hallowed marble steps, stop and say hi!
sputnikhearts: (Default)
Post linking to discussions of "lost" rivers of the world.  Figured this audience might be interested.

I was away at a Thing last week/end and I spent some time flailing around trying to describe and recommend the Rivers series and the Matthew Swift series.  Rivers was easy (just steal the cover line "Harry Potter Becomes A Copper"), but Matthew Swift was damn near impossible, because yes okay there's a plot but really, one appreciates it far more for the worldbuilding.  I think I drunkenly flailed something to the effect of YOU NEED TO REALLY ENJOY 'URBAN' AS A CONCEPT and it's like modern urban meta-fairytales sort of just read it okay.

(And in the end I tossed in "sorcerer comes back to life, doesn't know why, goes off to kill people in his quest for revenge.")

Anyway, this called attention to the apparent fact that I "enjoy 'urban' as a concept" and maybe I will get some books to think about it.



Heather Sommer

Your first time out of the country
of your own skin, I didn’t bring a map.

You always hated that I’d been lucky
enough to pick my way through streets

I couldn’t pronounce to find cathedrals,
graveyards. If you were a city, you said,

I’d only like to know your suburbs.

If you were a city, I said, I’d like to know
your poor neighborhoods, your inner parts.

Read your graffiti. Drink your tap water.
Feel your smog and dirt stick to my sweat.

Hear your orchestra of sirens and gunshots.
I’d know which of your streets to walk.

If you were a city, I’d expect to be robbed.
sputnikhearts: girl walking in fog. from amelie maybe? (girl in fog)
Went to a party reluctantly tonight; it turned out to be an awesome function featuring copious amounts of shawarma, booze, and linguists.  Had lots of great conversations and I was very flattered by one of said linguists, who said in a tipsy wistful manner that she wished I'd been one of them.  Well.  I do too, some days, but I think it would have gone poorly for the same reason that I'll probably always be the one stuck doing the wet-lab experiment instead of the one sitting in an office thinking about them: I'd much much much rather be the one writing or translating the story, than the one philosophizing about said doings.  For me the theory will always only be a means to improving the practice; I'd never be satisfied with the study alone.

(It did motivate me to do a bit more of the urban fantasy translation, but that one's very hard, not due to the language, but instead the incredibly dense references to folklore and religion woven into the prose.  I could just translate the words, yes, but that would be massively cheating the reader.  Should I ever do this thing, I'm pretty sure I'd spend more time on footnotes than on the text itself.  Haaaaaa.)
sputnikhearts: (umbrella girl)
1. I actually don't mind the LJ changes that much *ducks* but I'd be perfectly happy if more people came to DW. I wonder if the subject line change will destroy all kink memes (and anonmemes). Now regretting, mildly, deleting the fannish DW journal. Oh well, regrets are pointless.

2. I came upon Rainer Maria Rilke's "Some Reflections on Dolls" in which he describes his nightmarish, visceral loathing of dolls. Granted he had a large assortment of issues to work out with dolls, the foremost being that his mother tried to pretend he was a girl and gave him dresses and dolls and called him "Sophie." Nonetheless, there's something more there:
... I pass over the intimate, the touching, the deserted, thoughtful aspect of many things, which, as I passed them, moved me deeply by their beautiful participation in human living; I will only cite in passing quite simple things: a sewing clamp, a spinning-wheel, a domestic loom, a bridal glove, a cup ... If we were to bring all this to mind again and at the same moment to find one of these dolls–pulling it out from a pile of more responsive things–it would almost anger us with its frightful obese forgetfulness ... it would lie before us unmasked as the horrible foreign body on which we had wasted our purest ardour; as the externally painted watery corpse, which floated and swam on the flood-tides of our affection ...

One: as noted, "we're freaked out by dolls and puppets and masks and distortions to the face because we’re programmed to carefully search faces, and abnormal patterns ring atavistic alarm bells." Two: I think that on top of ingrained human responses, Rilke really did see death in his dolls. There is a time when a child thinks a doll is a toy to be animated with imagination, and then the child realizes that humans are mortal, and begins to perceive dolls as lifeless things that don't respond to love and longing and sadness any more than people who have died. Other objects are warm and comforting because they have never changed and will not as long as you lavish care and attention on them, but dolls before and after the realization of mortality are two different things. It is possible for dolls to die, and Rilke's did.

The bit on Rilke was copied from my writing blog entry, "Rilke's Dolls."  Feel free to comment anywhere.
sputnikhearts: (birds)
  • Reached the really, really awesome part of Perdido Street Station, reading madly. What's truly amazing is that Mieville isn't actually creating that much new stuff; 99% of these are tropes I've seen before, but he handles them so well. I'm sure this is a total cliche but I do feel like New Crobuzon is an excellent metaphor for his own writing -- crowded with a million styles and genres that all are tied together by some mysterious junction that links all his works. Anyway I AM NOT DONE YET DO NOT SPOIL ME OR I WILL COME AFTER YOU. [personal profile] lacewood mentioned that it has a Bad End so I am on tenterhooks, auuuuuugh, but enjoying the ride.

  • (Also, is it just me or is this book seriously obsessed with body fluids. It's like a 14 yo boy trying to see how many times he can get excrement into a book.)

  • Went to Borders last night, trying to take advantage of their liquidation. Of course the rest of the city had the same thought and I didn't find most of what I wanted. But I did pick up a copy of Iain M. Banks' Surface Detail, which I bought actually because I read a somewhat critical review ... whose criticisms made me really, really interested in the book. XD;;;; Sorry?

    J is out of town most of next week, which is sad for me but I plan to make the best of it and write lots. Already stocked up on canned food instead of cooking mats XD;;;;; I know it's degenerate but hey, time saved! Besides, I really don't enjoy cooking when it's just for me. XD;
  • sputnikhearts: (le petit prince)
    I finally decided to start reading up on semiotics, which is the study of symbols/signs -- in the ways that humans generate, parse, and use them -- and all the processes that depend on symbols/signs, such as semantics, communication, etc.

    You'd think I had already done some reading if only for the sake of appearances, ahem, but I had always resisted. My resistance was not based on not believing in semiotics. On the contrary, I believe it too much. Humans by necessity process the world in signs and symbols because face it we just don't have the cycles to do otherwise. When I see an object from many angles in multiple instances, I compress them all into one symbol that signifies the object, instead of thinking each view represents a different object altogether*. When I receive many experiences, I learn from them by generalizing to "the big picture" -- another "sign". In fact we do this to our detriment (thinking everything is a monolith is just one of many symptoms ...). In the end we need symbols and signs for shorthand, we need keys to efficiently retrieve the tons of data entries swimming in our brains.

    So as you can see it would be so easy for me to become (if I haven't already skirted that line) something like a first-year philosophy major who goes around analyzing EVERYTHING OMG EVERYTHING IS A SIGN AND WHAT DOES THAT SYMBOLIZE and thinking that eeeeverything is miiiiindblowingggg. Woooooooooo! I couldn't stand that much obnoxiousness and neither could you.

    And yet, having blathered all about this, I've been pretty engrossed in the reading, especially because I think that semiotics is a valid angle to approach how we think, and thus informs slightly more "practical" (or at least more provable) fields like, oh, linguistics and natural data processing, etc. I don't really intend to work on those things but I'd be silly not to think they matter and will be very powerful when they are finally worked out better. And it also gets at things that I like to read and write about, namely memory and experience. It's always helpful to have more material/resources if only for bullshitting purposes, and if that's the way my interests lean ...

    (Especially since now that I've read up on the basics ... suddenly Italo Calvino's The Uses of Literature makes 80% more sense than before. But that's a ramble for another day.)

    * Borges said this much better in his brilliant short story Funes, The Memorious.

    This was originally posted at Another Likely Story. Feel free to comment wherever.
    sputnikhearts: (le petit prince)
    This isn't my writing, and it's not even technically about writing, but it was so wonderful that I really wanted to share it. John Adams, composer, gave the 2011 commencement speech for Julliard. If left to my own devices I might quote the whole thing, but here one part I particularly love. He wrote it for artists, and I hope that he won't mind too hard if I try to grab a few crumbs for writers?

    The arts, however, are difficult. They are mind-bendingly and refreshingly difficult. You can't learn the role of Hamlet (no less write it), you can't play the fugue in the Hammerklavier Sonata (no less compose it) and you can't hope to move effortlessly through one of Twyla Tharp's ballets without submitting yourself to something that's profoundly difficult, that demands sustained concentration and unyielding devotion. Artists are people who've learned how to surrender themselves to a higher purpose, to something better than their miserable little egos. They've been willing to put their self-esteem in a Cuisinart and let it be chopped and diced and crushed to a pulp. They are the ones who've learned to live with the brutal fact that God didn't dole out talent in fair and equal portions and that the person sitting next to them may only need to practice only half as hard to win the concerto competition.

    And the wonderful, astonishing truth is that the arts are utterly useless. You can't eat music or poetry or dance. You can't drive your car on a sonnet it or wear it on your back to shield you from the elements. This "uselessness" is why politicians and other painfully literal-minded people during times of budget crises (which is pretty much all the time now) can't wait to single the arts out for elimination. For them artistic activity is strictly after-school business. They consider that what we do can't honestly be compared to the real business of life, that art is entertainment and ultimately non-essential. They don't realize that what we artists offer is one of the few things that make human life meaningful, that through our skill and our talent and through the way that we share our rich emotional lives we add color and texture and depth and complexity to their lives.

    The entire text can -- and should! -- be read here.

    This was originally posted at Another Likely Story. Feel free to comment wherever.

    Sorry, I gave in XD. Started to crosspost purely writing-related stuff to/from my "real" writing blog, so, you know, if you're bored and want to drum up some traffic ...
    sputnikhearts: (le petit prince)
    2011 Asian American Short Story Contest. Judges are Yiyun Li and Porochista Khakpour. Goes until May 16, 2011.

  • Open to all writers of Asian descent living in the United States and Canada. Previous employees, consultants, or volunteers of Hyphen or AAWW are not eligible.

  • Limited to unpublished short stories; no novellas or excerpts from novels. No required theme.

  • Up to 6,000 words in length.
  • sputnikhearts: (umbrella girl)
    Inspired by Sabina. And apparently I'm a lot busier than I realized?

    ♦ finish the Python self-teaching course. Actually J and I are starting a mutual pact. Every evening from 9-10 PM (exact time negotiable) we will force each other to work on a foreign language ... he's studying Mandarin, I'm doing Python. ^^; I guess this isn't just an April thing, though I'd like to finish my course by then.

    ♦ actually sit down and finish the G-test script

    ♦ job apps, though to be fair this is likely to go quite a while =_=;;;;;;;

    ♦ next IB round

    ♦ alternatively, forgo next IB round (sorry Sonya) in favor of starting origfic for other purposes

    ♦ various things around the house: have roof checked, clean gutters, fix water guard of chimney, get a start on finishing basement, finish filing taxes, get car emissions checked ... I think that is all if not most.

    ♦ finish D&D campaign design

    ♦ translate next chapter of manga

    sputnikhearts: (le petit prince)
    I went out for my birthday dinner in the state capital last night. In the not-even-all-that-fancy restaurant I saw more ties than I had seen in probably the entire last year (this says more about me than about them).

    ... I wonder how dry cleaning businesses are doing these days.
    sputnikhearts: (together)
    My wonderful wonderful wonderful husband bought me a Kindle!

    We've both been sort of going back and forth on whether or not to buy one forever, but this is for various reasons an excellent strategic purchase as well as an awesome early birthday present!

    It may turn into a joint-custody Kindle (and let's be clear, I am totally happy to share it with him!), but I get naming rights :D
    sputnikhearts: (daydreamin')


    傻瓜力量大!!!! is going to be the motto to my life from now on. *nodsnods*


    Feb. 18th, 2011 10:09 am
    sputnikhearts: (together)
    A reminder: there will be very little - I hope nothing, really - ever locked or filtered on this journal. So that access I granted you is probably meaningless *g* (I agreed with Sabina's heuristic when I saw it XD namely if I have to filter it, it probably doesn't belong on the internet, at least, not for my intents and purposes.)


    sputnikhearts: (Default)
    Kara Lee


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