baronessekat: (book)
[personal profile] baronessekat
Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad (Funny in Farsi #2)Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad by Firoozeh Dumas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I found "Funny in Farsi" funnier, I enjoyed the stories in this installment more enjoyable and ones I could relate to more.

this time we get to experience even more of her personal life, both growing up and after being married, and how she had to deal with Parents from a very different culture than what they were living in. The story of her mother, husband and the bright red bedspread had me giggling to no end. Her realization that Jewish Mothers and Iranian Mothers are the same creature, just separated by religion, classic.

I highly recommend both this and "Funny in Farsi" and at roughly 6 hours each, they are both quick listens.

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usability struggles

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:51 pm
cellio: (Default)
[personal profile] cellio

I spend a lot of time on, and am a volunteer moderator for, several Stack Exchange sites. (Mi Yodeya is one of them.) SE has a banner ("top bar") that is the same across all sites. It contains notifications, information about the logged-in user, and some key navigation links. For moderators it contains a few more things relevant to that job.

Until recently it looked like this (non-moderator view):


The red counter is the inbox (waiting messages) and the green one is reputation changes. If there aren't any, you just get the gray icons that those alerts are positioned over. If I were a moderator on that site, there'd be a diamond to the left of my user picture and a blue square with the flag count to the left of that.

They've just changed this design. (Well, the change is rolling out.) Here's what it looks like now (for a moderator):

new, notifications

The most important links for moderation are the last two things, the diamond and the blue box with the number (flags). They're on the far right, where they're less likely to be seen for various reasons. (Non-moderators don't get those indicators.)

In the old design, those moderator indicators -- which are important -- were toward the center where they're easier to see. Also, all the numbers were a little bigger and easier to see.

When this was announced there was a lot of immediate discussion in the moderators-only chat room, during which I got a little upset about the reduced usability, especially those moderator controls -- which had a good chance of being scrolled away in a not-huge browser window, because SE doesn't use responsive design. After I calmed down I wrote a post on Meta about how this was going to make it harder for me to do my volunteer job, particularly with vision challenges. I expected to get a few sympathy votes, some "get a bigger monitor" snark (which wouldn't help, by the way), and no results.

That post is now one of my highest-scoring posts on the network. And I have a meeting with the product manager and a designer at SE next week to demonstrate my difficulties in using this in more detail.

Meanwhile, I've gotten some help with userscripts from some other moderators. It's hacky and a little buggy and it slows down page loads and I have no idea how to adjust some things, but at least I can see my notifications and the moderator stuff is in a better place. It'll do for now.

I sure hope I can get them to bake some of this in, though. The page-load delay is a little disconcerting as stuff jumps around on the screen. (Also, userscripts do not work on my Android tablet.)

Beyond the immediate problem, though, what I really hope for is to find some way to raise a little awareness that usability is hard, designers are not the users, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of usage patterns and constraints, and you need to somehow, systematically, figure out how to design for the larger audience. That's going to be the hard part.

baronessekat: (book)
[personal profile] baronessekat
The Gospel of LokiThe Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am totally kicking myself for letting this book sit on my TBR list for as long as it did. I completely and utterly enjoyed this book and it was made all the better by Allan Corduner's narration.

This book tells the Norse Myths completely from the point of view of Loki, the Trickster god. The first person narration makes it even better.

I've always been a sucker for the anti-hero/bad boy and this was all about him. It gave a great perspective on the myths and I totally LOVED how it ended.

If you like stories of the Norse myths, I cannot recommend this book enough.

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a conversation snippet

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:36 pm
cellio: (shira)
[personal profile] cellio
Tonight at our s'lichot service (something tied to the high holy days), a fellow congregant greeted me and said "I haven't seen you in hours!". (We'd both been there this morning.) I said "hours and hours!". He complained that I was getting carried away.

I responded by saying: "hours" means at least two; "hours and hours" therefore means at least four; it's been longer than that since this morning, so "hours and hours" is not inappropriate.

It was at this point that somebody standing nearby said "oh, that's where I know you from!". We'd both been in a talmud-heavy class a while back.

There are worse things to be remembered for. :-)
baronessekat: (book)
[personal profile] baronessekat
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in AmericaFunny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun book. An enjoyable look at one woman's struggle growing up in the 70's and 80's in California after immigrating from Iran and dealing with being both American and Iranian by culture when her parents were strongly Iranian (pre- Iranian revolution Iranian culture, not what we associate with Iranian culture today).

I found myself smiling throughout the entire book and have already obtained a copy of the author's next book as I am looking forward to more of a glimpse into her life and family.

Highly recommend.

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daf bit: Sanhedrin 60

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:00 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

Blasphemy is a capital offense. Conviction for a capital offense requires careful testimony of two direct witnesses. This poses a problem, as they must testify to what exactly the person said. To minimize the damage, the court sent everybody out except for the witnesses and then told the first witness: tell us literally what he said. The witness did, and the judges tore their garments. The second witness then said "I heard this too" without repeating the testimony. (The mishna then says the third witness does likewise. I'm not sure where the third witness came from, as only two are required.)

The g'mara discusses tearing one's garments when hearing blasphemy. Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel that one tears only when hearing a curse of the tetragramaton, but not when hearing other divine names. Rabbi Chiyya says that one who hears God's name in a blasphemous context today doesn't tear his garments, because if he did the garment would be torn to shreds. But who is R' Chiyya talking about? If we say that he hears this blasphemy from Jews, are Jews so irreverent as to frequently demean the name of God? No, he must be talking about hearing it from gentiles. But do gentiles know this specific name? No, if we're talking about gentiles it must be in regard to any name, and there'd be enough of that to leave one's garments in shreds. The g'mara concludes that nowadays one is not obligated to tear his garments when hearing the curse of a gentile and a curse using another name, but originally one was obligated to tear for both, contrary to what Shmuel says. (mishna 56a, g'mara 60a)

In case you're wondering (I did!) why the second witness doesn't tear his garment on hearing the first witness repeat the blasphemy, the g'mara says it's because he already tore his garment when he heard the original blasphemer. The judges, however, are hearing it for the first time.

baronessekat: (book)
[personal profile] baronessekat
A Distant MirrorA Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure going into this book what I'd think. But I found an engaging and entertaining look at Europe in the 14th Century, specifically France and England and the dealings regarding the 100 Years War. I learned a lot of things that I did not know about the century, and am glad I took the friend's recommendation for it.

I did the audiobook and think the reader was a huge help in keeping me engaged for the entire 29 hours. If it's an option for you, I would recommend listening to this book.

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(no subject)

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:54 pm
keastree: (Default)
[personal profile] keastree

I am sitting here watching Herself's little corn snake travel her enclosure.  Lovely little creature that neatly filled the hole left by Miss Veela's passing in May.  Carnelian started out very shy and skittish, but her snek momma has convinced her that it is okay, and now they spend time together in the chair. 

My snek is shedding, and is thus not zipping around as she usually does.  Miss Ehna will be out and about soon.

Wednesday is the day we get out the snek fooder and let the girls eat. 

I got the stamping started on the baronial favors.  The modified design from Aldrovandi really looks sharp, and the B&B are thrilled.  It is nice to be wanted and asked to be helpful.  I have missed it.

Elbow PT is approved for 8 sessions.  I need to have my doctor order a second round for good measure, and I need to work with the Dr. Jared to get a functional and ambitious home program working for me.  I can fight again, and we want to monitor the progress there, to keep it going the right way.

This week will be practice in PA, and University on Saturday, and then Other Things (tm) on Sunday.

And I need to get my projects going for Kingdom A&S. 

dwolfhunter: (Default)
[personal profile] dwolfhunter
I need a woman...a woman I am not already married to, committed to, a woman to kiss me. To kiss me like she was so thirsty that not kissing me would cause her to dry up and blow away. I need to feel her pulse under my tongue and pinch her nipples and make her moan, twitch and even scream. I need a woman to remind me what it was like when other women besides my wife thought I was sexy...thought I was fuckable, think I am all those things and more. I need to feel her hair on my knees...her lips on the toes of my boots. I need to know...flat, slap-damn know that I still have the baraka in me. I need this to feel whole again. My flesh is a stumbling block & my mind and my heart need to be set alight. I need to raise some cain...and some cane.
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