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Passing Through Nature
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Date:2012-07-27 18:53
Subject:capturing a substring in bash with sed

Just because it took me FOREVER to find syntax that actually worked, and I wanted to put it in a place where I would be able to find it, and maybe other people would find it too.

For example, to extract "heffalump" from
var="The secret password is heffalump but don't tell anyone"
var=`echo $var | sed -n 's/.*is \(.*\) but .*/\1/p'`
Yes, in sed you have to escape the parentheses with \ to PREVENT them from being treated literally, as opposed to in bash, where you have to escape things with \ to MAKE them be treated literally.
I hopes this helps everyone's secret-heffalump related activities.

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Date:2012-05-05 22:30
Subject:Roadtrip blog!

Alex and I are traveling across the country...so while I'm not updating LJ much, check out our roadtrip blog!

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Date:2010-12-23 15:00

Microsoft Office is being unusually histrionic today:

"The package you are about to open will run a program contained in the package. That program could do anything! It may harm your computer!"

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Date:2010-09-01 19:38

An old observation: Mangoes are evil. I thought I would be all adventurous in the grocery store, trying new things. Unfortunately "new things" turned out to be less "tasty fruit" (although it was pretty tasty) and more "facial poison ivy". Mangoes: they do not fuck around.

A new one: By far my most successful Pandora station is the one based on The Thong Song. I have no good explanation for this.

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Date:2010-03-04 23:20
Subject:The crazies were right!


I just tried a shampoo without sodium laureth sulfate and my scalp problems seem to have practically vanished. This is nuts. I wish I had known about this like ten years ago. I can't believe they put that stuff in shampoo. Time to go read the labels on all the soap!

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Date:2010-02-11 23:14
Subject:The highlight of my day

After disabling Genius, iTunes went from 45% of CPU time to 1%. I can now actually listen to music on my computer without having to restart it every fifteen minutes. Huzzah!!!

PS What the heck kind of optional fun/nice feature takes 45 times more resources than the core functionality of the application?

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Date:2009-12-19 21:46
Subject:The weather outside is frightful!

Currently on hold with Delta to reschedule my flight, which was canceled due to the storm. Hold music: Let It Snow.

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Date:2009-12-08 23:59
Subject:Marrow donation!

I had gone something like the last four years under the misapprehension that Alex was part of the marrow donor registry. Turns out he's not, so we went and signed him up today, and he did a post on marrow donation on Twitter. He used bit.ly to create a link to the page and do you know what? Nobody clicked on it. (Apparently bit.ly has a click counter. Who knew!)

That's because Alex's friends suck.* Boo Alex's friends. Let's show the world that you guys are way better. (Special note to mutual friends: j/k!!)

Srsly tho' if you qualify you should sign up--donating is not (so I have heard) a big deal. Probably you will never get called, and maybe you will end up saving the life of a leukemia or other patient. It's win/win! Normally it costs $52 to register but there is a sale going on for YOU, gentle readers, and it is absolutely FREE OF CHARGE if you sign up now. They mail you some swabs you rub around in your cheek; you mail them back. Simple. Act now, by clicking this toll-free link: Marrow.org. (C'mon--I can't prove that you guys are better if I don't use bit.ly.)

Racial minority and mixed-race donors are especially needed--matching is based on genetic similarity (so people are most likely to match others of the same racial background) and minorities are less than half as likely to find a match in the database as whites are--something like 40% of minorities and 88% of whites find a match.

Again, the link is Marrow.org. Tell your friends!

*Possible alternative explanation: Alex's friends are already registered donors, or are septuaguinarian tubercular cancer patients, or it isn't really possible to sell marrow donation very effectively in 140 characters.

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Date:2009-10-04 15:32

Who decided that for something to be cute it needs to have one or more of the following design elements:

Birds, cats, cupcakes, whales, robots

Whoever you are, I hate you. (Although that black leather wallet with the blue bird was sort of cute...too bad it had snaps instead of a zipper.)

PS I blame Twitter.

Actually this is kind of driving me crazy. I am looking for wall art and my taste is like two inches to the right of what the popular Internet stuff is like--I find it just an eentsy bit too cutesy for my taste (plus, it's sort of getting a little tired right now, I mean these artists are all creative people, so why is the content of this stuff so repetitive?)

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Date:2009-09-25 20:11
Subject:Woke up Canadian

So it turns out that I am almost certainly a Canadian citizen. Who knew? Of course getting the paperwork to prove it will probably take at least a year...

And given that I hated on The Atlantic earlier it's only fair to mention that I found out through an article published there.

Actually this is giving me some weird and complicated feelings. I've never felt Canadian. I'm American; I was born in America; my parents were American citizens; I've lived in America my entire life. And I consider myself extremely patriotic. I vote in every election; I know who's running for alderman. I believe the US Constitution is one of the world's greatest documents. I'm a member of the ACLU. I recently learned that I enjoy shooting things. I've never spent more than a couple of days in Canada, and that was as a kid. I have no real contact with my relatives who live in Canada. And yet...I am a Canadian citizen. When I fill out the application it's for proof of citizenship, not citizenship. And I'm happy about it--I've always heard Vancouver is a nice place to live--but simultaneously I am freaked out. Canada has...a prime minister, right? What's his name? What are the political parties over there? Does this mean I should save my Canadian quarters that the stupid bank gave me in a roll when I was getting change for laundry? Should I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving? Fuck! Not to mention that the law that gave me citizenship is retroactive, so I've been a Canadian citizen my entire life. And yet I've never sung the national anthem once.

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Date:2009-08-17 14:16
Subject:Out of context lede of the day

"The Arctic Sea, missing since last month, was 300 miles off Cape Verde, the Russia Defense Ministry said."


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Date:2009-06-26 17:59

So, two things.

One thing is that I got a survey from the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA). The HAA manages to be exciting by sending ever more ridiculous letters with each mailing. This mailing is about the Harvard Alumni Directory which the letter promises will let you "find out who's who among alumni...[and] who's where" for the low low cost of $100 which is very helpful to alumni who have not heard of the Internet (the letter also says "this may be the last print directory ever produced by Harvard").

Anyway the awesome part is the bit where they ask for your annual household income. This being the Harvard Alumni Association, the options are: 0-50k, 50-100k, 100-250k, 250-500k, 500-750k, 750-1000k, 1 million-2.5 million, 2.5 million-5 million, 5 million+. Leave it to Harvard to make me feel like an underachiever even after I've graduated...they also have a table where you can pick your correct title, including options such as Chief Justice, Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess, and so on. (This is so that Princess Masako and Justice Roberts will have no trouble with the forms, I guess.)

The other thing is, gosh I'm a little out of date here and I figure everyone who reads this LJ has already seen it, but Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Gosh. I just saw it. It was astoundingly good. If by any chance you haven't seen it yet, it's only 42 minutes and you can watch it for free at the link above so go, do it now.

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Date:2009-03-30 00:50
Subject:In which the Internet validates my musical sanity, again

Previously I'd posted about not being the only person to think that the theme song to Duck Tales sounds like the intro to "Footloose". Another thing the Internet has proven for me: there are other people who think that the "Imperial March" sounds like "A Spoonful of Sugar"

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Date:2009-03-20 23:28
Subject:My spoiler-free, definitive thoughts on the finale of Battlestar Galatica


Okay, I guess they kind of wrote themselves into a corner. There were many, many elements of the plot that had no means of possibly being resolved in a satisfying manner, and guess what? Turns out they weren't resolved in a satisfying manner. Still, the whole thing was by turns disappointing, predictable, and befuddling...Season 4, with its emphasis on mysticism and striving toward a resolution of an impossible plot, has been a disappointment altogether.

And Hera, oh God, Hera. Hera who stays completely silent and runs away from her mother, and Laura, and basically everybody she should be clinging to sobbing and petrified, in a combat zone. It reminded me of an escort mission in a video game, you know, the ones where the civilians you are trying to protect act as stupid and difficult as possible. I love how the dynamic duo apparently win the BSG equivalent of like a Universal Lifetime Accomplishment Award from God for picking her up and carrying her a few hundred yards. THAT was their mission in life, for which they were being groomed for years? Laaame. Gaius did a better job of rescuing her on New Caprica and nobody seemed to care about that--heck, Cottle should get more credit for delivering her.

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Date:2009-02-27 23:32
Subject:BSG: Everyone Dies

Actually, I liked tonight's episode. I admit I teared up a little bit during the shared projection, and when Boomer destroyed the ship I was so happy! "That's what you get for treating her like shit, bastards." Plus a little extra jolt of happiness at seeing Roslin upset at Hera missing. Suck it, Laura Roslin! Now that Cally's dead she's probably my least favorite character. Probably not the emotional reaction that the viewer was meant to have, but very satisfying anyway. And next week's previews...it won't happen but man if this show ends with everybody getting sucked into the void of space, that would be awesome, that's all I have to say.

The Cylons can really rock! I just wish they would quit with the suspense and just spill about how Daniel and/or the piano playing dude is Kara Thrace's father because seriously everyone has figured it out by now and it's not interesting.

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Date:2009-02-26 00:53
Subject:Internet browsing

Sometimes when I'm feeling anxious I go to nytimes.com and make sure there's no headline in really big font. I don't even read the headlines, I just look at their size. If there's no big headline, surely the world can't be too badly off.

I tend to be a bit of a negative nelly in this journal so here is something nice I am going to say about a media source. I always forget how much I like Cracked.com. It does a wonderful job of being both funny and educational. Really funny--not just lame jokes--and really educational, not bits of history and science that every educated person already knows. I mean, how many popular humor sites use as their material well-researched arguments against organic food or details on the logistics of the Gunpowder Plot?

There you go. On Friday I will return to complaining about Battlestar Galactica's lack of logical consistency.

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Date:2009-02-14 00:19

Wow. I really think this was the worst episode of BSG to date.* The A plot was exposition and the B plot was also exposition. It was basically a 42 minute straight-up infodump punctuated by BSG's patented total lack of realism (it seemed pretty clear that Anders had decision-making capacity and that Kara should not have been asked for consent; plus, I find it hard to imagine that a technology that allows people to be immortal would just "fall out of use" because of the ability to procreate). I kind of quit following it after a while...there was some kind of war, I guess, and the Cylons helped the people to warn the other people but it was too late, plus something regarding the speed of light...I don't know and I don't really care, I'll just assume that it makes as much sense as anything on this show ever does.

Also--won't someone please think of the children? It's this episode that really did make me think they made the whole thing up as they went along, because they skated right on over the incest angle. Which, seriously, gross.

*Disclaimer: I haven't seen "Black Market".

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Date:2009-02-09 22:30
Subject:Whee, abandoned/unclaimed funds search!

I highly recommend that everybody go search for unclaimed funds belonging to friends and family in the state where they live (you can find your state or province search engine on Google and then go search your heart out, it's all online). It's great and it's so addictive--it's getting to the point where I'm searching for the relatives of people I barely know. But so far, today alone, I've found unclaimed money for my boss, two co-workers, a former co-worker, my grandparents, a cousin, three friends of my mother's, two of my sisters, my brother-in-law, and my boyfriend's aunt and cousin.

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Date:2009-01-24 19:41
Subject:The Duchess of Malfi

I saw The Duchess of Malfi for the first time today! It was by Actor's Shakespeare Project, and I wasn't expecting much, since this was the company that brought you Measure for Measure with an Angelo and Isabella in their late 40s and costumes from Dollar a Pound. They haven't done any better in getting younger actresses--the Duchess was about 15 years too old for her part, and Cariola/Julia (played by the same actress) about 25--but the play was much better, and characterized mostly by some impressively dramatic lighting effects. It fits the play--so terribly dramatic, so over-the-top, deep Shakespearean drama brought to you by an aesthetic that thinks we'll enjoy troupes of madmen giving weird social satire, right after the bit with the fake dismembered hand. (Yes, I know that the out-of-place comic relief is a genre convention, but it's usually done far less bizarrely.) When werewolf!Ferdinand, wearing a straitjacket, is mauling his doctor, the thought went though my mind "best English Rennaisance drama evar!"

Some things come through when you see it that don't after a reading. One thing that did for me was the number of false starts in the play. Ferdinand killed his sister's family and shows her their bodies--how awful! Oh, those were actually wax statues. Bosola kills the Duchess, then sees her stir, and his hope comes back--she's not dead after all! He doesn't have to life with the guilt, and the anger of her brother--and then oh, she actually is dead. Julia holds Bosola at gunpoint, telling him she knows of his treachery--but she turns out to be talking about something completely different. Bosola speaks to the dying Antonio, and mentions the Duchess--"her very name kindles a little life in me" Antonio says, feeling much better already--and then Bosola finishes his sentence "is dead." Webster screws with us the same way that Ferdinand messes with his captive audience.

Another thing that came through is how absolutely batshit insane Ferdinand is. Some people think he's in love with his sister. At least in this version, he wasn't, he was just totally nuts even before his psychotic break. Ferdinand's insanity helps provide a motive for his not wanting his sister to remarry--I guess the implicit one is that he and the Cardinal want to inherit her estate, but she and Ferdinand are twins so it's not like there's any reason her brothers should expect to outlive her. Maybe the Cardinal was planning to have them killed? It's really unclear.

Some lines got laughs that, when you read it, don't seem like they would be funny. "Why do you do this?" and "Foolish woman, couldst thou not have poisoned him?"

The play was not inconsiderably cut, although it's been a while since I read it so it didn't stand out to me too much--though I did notice that the Duchess only had one kid in this version (but she still asks Cariola to give her boy some syrup. Um, your boy is 300 miles away, but we'll get started on it), and she didn't give her speech about the fish, and there was none of that weird business with the sword in her bed with Antonio. I understand cutting for brevity, although I don't know why the other kids were axed--I don't think they actually have on-stage parts. Maybe it was too implausible that nobody would figure out that she was pregnant until the third time? (Not to mention the kids--is she hiding them in the basement or something?)

Although the whole pregnancy figuring-out process, that makes no sense either. Hmm, I've noticed the duchess is gaining weight, and she wears loose gowns even though that's not the fashion, she throws up, and seems tired...I wonder how I can tell if she's pregnant? I know! I'll see whether she eats apricots quickly! WTF? And even after it's been proven pretty much beyond a shadow of a doubt, we still need the paper with the child's horoscope on it for proof. I guess if everyone is so bad at picking up on stuff, it does explain how nothing was detected until child #3.

ETA: Reading through it now I can see they cut a lot of Bosola's bitching and moaning, and a lot of people's talking about how he likes to bitch and moan--they really cut down the malcontent aspect of his personality. That, and the fact that there are no kids for him to kill, I suppose makes him a more sympathetic character. Poor Duchess, kids #1 and #2 really only exist so that they can be killed and you can feel sorry for her and angry at the bad guys.

Also, what is with Renaissance dramatists that they absolutely cannot count? It's well-known that Shakespeare's time schemes make no sense (double time in Othello; and Hamlet's the student's implausible age of 30; and Juliet's age of 13 (okay, that one is probably not a mistake but I like to imagine that it is, because seriously, 13, blech) and the truly weird timeline in The Winter's Tale, with a 16-year gap, not to mention Leontes suddenly becoming jealous of a supposed adultery nine months after it would have happened...) but anyway my point is that this was, I thought, Shakespeare's little quirk but Webster has Bosola two years in the galleys in I.i and less than FORTY LINES later makes it seven. What the hell. (Personally, I prefer to go with two, it's more likely that Bosola knew what he was talking about than Delio did.)

And you know what, because this is my LiveJournal and I don't have to have a coherent entry or anything, so there, I'm watching and really enjoying Deadwood right now, and it strikes me as being similar in a lot of ways. The politics are not dissimilar to the court politics of the play, with all the buying and selling of intelligencers and cutthroats. I even did a little cross-cast in my head...the Duchess would be Alma Garrett, which makes Antonio Ellsworth, and the Cardinal would be Hearst, and Ferdinand would be, hmm, Wolcott, I guess, and Bosola would be, um, Dan Dority, I know it doesn't work because Dority works for the wrong side but it was really holding up well for a minute there, wasn't it?

ETA II: My boyfriend couldn't remember the name of this play and his attempt at getting it right was "Lady Cantilever's Lover".

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Date:2009-01-23 23:26
Subject:BSG is frustrating

So Doc Cottle somehow managed to perform a paternity test on a child without the knowledge or consent of either of the putative fathers, and he can't tell them the results because of medical ethics rules? What?

Also, given that the last time Gaeta was allowed unescorted into a cell, it resulted in his inflicting a near-fatal stab wound on the prisoner, don't you think they would stop letting him do that?

On the other hand, Baltar was back in this episode. Hurrah! I love how he completely makes up his religion as he goes along. And he's being funny again. I hope we get this coup business wrapped up fast so they can get back to the characters I'm actually interested in.

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