Tuesday 29 March 2022

The Wish

Darkness. Silence. Then a faint sliver of light of light forms and illuminates a padded curved wall. Dust motes dance in the sliver as it expands and sweeps gently across the padding. The expanding arc of light moves further and touches a motionless hand. As it expands the reflection from the white padding gradually shows that the wall describes a short tube about four feet wide and seven long. In one wall a bank of instruments lies below a square porthole from which the light streams.

The light sweeps onward and crosses the face of a young man. The look of innocence. Secure sleep contrasting with the ugly gash on his cheek around which dried blood has formed. As the light moves across his face, a faint frown appears and this head moves dreamily to one side. Passing over his face the light falls on his shoulder and onto the badge there. The gold lettering "Interstellar Brigade" and the twin lightning bolts cause a brief flash of coloured reflection on his face,

The illuminating beam crawls away from the man and begins to contract as it moves slowly up the other wall. Eventually it shrinks to a thin line and darkness returns.

The darkness seems complete, but a small red light begins to flash on the instrument panel. A faint hum and hiss enters but ends quickly. A slight shudder shakes the young man and a deep sigh escapes his lips. He screws up his eyes and flexes his hands. He blinks and lifts his head slowly.

Understanding floods into him and his eyes open wide. Panic contorts his features as a cry of fear bursts from his throat. He tosses his head back and pushes against the wall. His heart pounds and adrenalin begins to surge into his system. In panic he grips the instrument panel and pulls himself to the porthole.

Blackness. And a faint smear of light to his left. Stretching around he presses his face against the surface and strains to see in that direction. As he watches a curved green blue line appears and as it expands he finds himself looking down of the surface of a planet.

Letting go of the panel he moves backward in the zero gravity. As he touches the wall, velcro strips on his torn flight suit cling to the padding. Bringing his breathing under control, he looks at the instruments. They seem unfamiliar to him and his brow furrows. A large button marked "General Information" attracts his attention. He presses it firmly.

"Welcome to Delta Systems escape pod number 5", the soft ladies voice began. "As you may be aware, the craft you were travelling in experienced some difficulties. To protect you fully in the case of such an emergency, Delta Systems has developed this escape pod to provide you with a means of survival while a rescue ship arrives. The automatic systems have revived you from your sleep as we are approached by that ship. This pod has air for two hours normal use, but don't worry. You will shortly be docking with the rescue ship and be provided with all your needs. Thank you for flying Delta Systems."

Silence returned. The shock of the mans face melted as a smile swept across it. He threw back his head and laughed. Tears welled up in his eyes as the laughter swelled in him. His laughter changed and he started to cry. Wailing and sniffing as the light from the star streamed back through the porthole and ran obliviously past him as the pod rolled gently around.

He floated stationary for a long time, looking through the porthole as the vista below moved past him. He could see the weather patterns on the planet and watched the onset of evening on the surface. 

"You bastards", he said softly and looked down at the badge on his arm. Reaching across himself he ripped it off in one violent motion.

"Interstellar Brigade", he spat out. "Mercenaries, idiots, cheapskates For god's sake a commercial escape pod! It was supposed to be a military ship not a pleasure cruise!"

He tried to throw the badge away, but it just floated gently to the end of the pod and drifted in the air.

"A rescue ship..", he parodied the womans voice. "There's no rescue ship! I'm stuck in a pod with no guidance system in orbit above a probably empty planet with no food, no radio and precious little air!"

His breath became ragged and his anger rose. "You bastards!", he shouted, banging his fists against the panel. He raged on, "You unbelievable bastards! How could you let men go out in a ship like that? How could you put this kind of shit on board? A commercial pod? Was it going cheap?"

His stopped and closed his eyes. "Money", he muttered. "You got paid and you didn't care." His lip curled and he felt the anger again, "I bet you're in a bar aren't you? When I get out of this I'm gunna..." A wave of nausea rose and he choked it back.

A dry whimper forced itself from his lips. "I'm going to die." He wrapped his arms around himself and squeezed his eyes tight. "Get a grip", he muttered through clenched teeth. Feeling control returning. He opened his eyes and took a deep breath,

He thought about how he had arrived at this point. His outrage at the United Planets approach to the war. His joining up. Feeling superior about convincing the little group in that bar that he was experienced. Showing his talent with the computer. Decided that going with the mercenaries could make a difference. His doubts when he saw the crew and the ship. "Nutcases and adventurers, but I'll make it." Watching the air lock close, shutting off the last views of his homeland.

He felt sadness overtake him as he thought of his parents. They would never know what had happened to him. He tried to breathe deeply but couldn't. The air was running out.

He looked down at the planet below and thought of dying slowly gasping for breath. He reached a decision.

"If I'm going to die, it's going to be on my terms!" And he started to pull at the edge of the instrument panel. It was not firmly held and snapped away after a short struggle. With the panel exposed, he examined the wires behind it. The colour coding told him what he needed, Gripping one he pulled it away from the panel and tore some shielding off with his teeth. Taking the bare wire he stretched it across to a contact. There was a crack and spark as the electricity flowed.

He found himself being pushed back against one wall as a shudder and faint roar indicated that an attitude jet had fired. The gentle movement caused the view of the planet to slow and finally begin spinning  in the opposite direction. The spin grew faster and he could no longer look out of the porthole as it was making his head spin. He leaned back and waited. Already he could feel the temperature rising.

"So be it. A meaningless life. A meaningless death", he whispered.

On the surface of the planet two figures moved carefully through the dark. They wore animal skins and moved with a surety born of intimacy with nature. As they approached the camp fire, the smaller one, a young girl stopped and gazed skywards.

The mother stopped also and turned. "What is it?", she queried.

"Look mother!" The girl cried and as the woman cast here eyes skyward a fiery streak of gold light burst high overhead. The woman turned back to the child. "A good omen!" The child smiled.

"Go on", the mother continued.

"Make a wish."

Wednesday 20 January 2021

A Proposal for using a new National Guard Public Health Agency that integrates vaccine rollout, GND and M4A

Serious question: Could Biden use the vaccine rollout to create something like public clinics (call it National Guard Public Health Agency) staffed by National Guard health workers in each state/county that are cost-free?

This is a bit messy as it it c'n'p from a twit thread. Sorry.

It would not be difficult to use de-mountable buildings instead of tents or gymnasiums etc.

Since the NG could be used as the major delivery pipeline, then it makes sense to have them use some public land to create distribution/staging etc areas.

Then over the time, those buildings become semi-permanent. 

It just seems staggeringly obvious to co-opt the NG to do the vacc rollout. 

But what do I know, I'm just an Grumpy Old (64) Gamer Lady from Australia who would like to see the NG being used for public good.

I know I'm not an American, but I lived there in the 80's and it saddens me to see the slow disintegration. 

Dangit. I wish there was a discord or whatever where this kind of issue can be discussed at length. 

I really think the basic idea has legs. 

Also it neatly fits into the GND where "green zones" could be established on the highway system that could be powered by solar/wind etc. 

I have many gamer friends in the US who can see this working. 

It will take bold big integrated projects to invigorate the people and provide solid results. 

If people actually see the govt doing real things that benefit them directly happening "just down the road" from where they live.

Also fitting into the GND, Biden has said he would be rebuilding the hwy system and it seems to me that having "green zones" built using labor from the local area fits in neatly. 

Good jobs, good education, good pay, good prospects, real direct local impact. 

And switching NG small vehicles to EVs and establishing EV chargers in the "green zones" would spur the move away from ICEs to EVs. 

#StopBurningStuff Seems like a no-brainer.

Monday 5 October 2020

Sympathy for the Don

Please allow me to introduce myself

I'm a man of no wealth or taste

I've been around for a long, long years

Stole a million MAGAs souls on faith

And I was 'round when Hillary

Had her moment of doubt and pain

Made damn sure that Christie

Was ordered home and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you

All I have is my name

But what's troubling you is 

Why so many play my game

I stuck around New York

When I saw it was a time for a change

Attacked Coumo and his ministers

Chris screamed in vain

I'm orange and fat

And I sold MAGA hats

While the virus spread

And the jobs went away

I rode an SUV

Held a presidents's rank

While the virus raged

And the suckers cheered and stank

Pleased to meet you

The candidate with zero class

But I made sure

That Cruz and Graham kissed my ass.

(Woo woo, woo woo)

I watched with glee

While your Reps and Senators

Fought for ten decades

For the parties they made

(Woo woo, woo woo)

I shouted out

Who killed the Kennedys?

I blamed it on Cruz's dad

And Ted still loves me

(Who who, who who)

Let me please introduce myself

I'm a man of no wealth or taste

And I laid traps for sycophants

And laid your party to waste

(Woo woo, who who)

Pleased to meet you

All I have is my name, oh yeah

(Who who)

But what's puzzling you

Is why I have no shame

(Who who, who who)

Pleased to meet you

Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah

But what's confusing you

Is why I have no shame

(Woo woo, who who)

Just as every kamala is a cop

And all the supremicists saints

As news is fake and you listen to me

Just call me Don

'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

(Who who, who who)

So if you meet me

Have some courtesy

Have some sympathy, and some taste

(Woo woo)

Use all your well-learned politness

Or I'll lay your party to waste, mm yeah

(Woo woo, woo woo)

Pleased to meet you

All I have is my name, mm yeah

(Who who)

But what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down

Tell me baby, do you like my name

Tell me honey, can ya take my name

Tell me baby, what's my name

I tell you one time, you're to blame

What's my name

Tell me, baby, what's my name

Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

Oh, yeah

Monday 19 September 2016

Leak this: A Concerned Member of the Rest of the World

From: a.concerned.member.of.the.rest.of.the.rest.of@world.com
To: everybody.in.the.the.corporate@states.of.america.com
Subject: Hello? Hello? Is there anybody in there?

Ok. We've watched the show.
Geting tired.
And worried.
Due to a slight issue with your constitution and electoral college system, you seem to have a problem.
The rest of the world.
It seems like you've missed the point.
We have universal health care and... Oh we don't need to go on. It's all there.
In policies similar to, but not far enough, Bernie.
We have to ask:

What The Fork Are You Doing?
You have to choose between two megalomaniacs?
One will get to the oval office and spin the chair around whooping "I did it! WooHoo!".
And the other will ask where the cameras and lights are for the upcoming series:
- Apprentice: Dept of Justice
- Apprentice: Supreme court

Time to grow up.
Please stop this.
It's just silly.
Stop it.

Sunday 18 September 2016


And speaking of birthdays...
Had my 60th recently.
And received a news letter from my local MP.
Here's a photo:

I threw a tantrum and hurled it across the room.
An admittedly restrained tantrum as I had to maneuver my walker and take my medication.
Ben, being sane and unwilling to face my ungodly wrath, left it where it was.
That was some days ago now.
It's been sitting there like a malevolent pixie jeering at me from the corner.
"I AM NOT A SENIOR!" I mutter under my breath...
I picked it up and it will be going on the BBQ tonight.
I'll be dropping a baseball bat, a roll of barbed wire and instructions on how to insert it into various orifices on my local MPs doorstep when the battery on my mobility scooter has charged.

Monday 29 August 2016

I hate airports and air travel in general

I hate airports and air travel in general.
Recently we had a short notice requirement to fly to a wedding.
And they didn't have business class.
I'd rather have driven as you get to see interesting places, people, trees, green fields and what not.
But airports?
I hate airports.
I sat there gazing at the herd (some of whom were literally unwashed), and felt airports are a metaphor for life.
Heaven and hell.
Blue skies and pain.
Practically strip searched before being allowed entry by stern faced gate keepers.
Sitting on uncomfortable chairs for ages in boredom and pain.
Surrounded by steel, plastic and faux-wood outlets selling rubbish at outrageous prices.
Signs everywhere telling you where you're allowed to go and where not.
Deafened periodically by fake calm voices warning you about leaving your life un-attended.
People milling about desperately clutching their crumpled boarding passes as if it was their personality.
And all balefully watched over by machines of unloving grace.
The air of despair and boredom seemed palpable.
It almost felt like most people had a "running fearfully from" rather than a "running joyously to" mentality.
Then standing in line at the gate desperately trying to be first to get into a tin tube filled with economy seats.
Seats? Torquemada would have taken one look at those bum numbing, elbow crushing instruments of torture and smiled.
Jamming your life into lockers and watching others brutally shove theirs in front of yours.
Having a lower back massage for hours provided by the manic kid behind you.
Drinking excessively to drown out the crying children and trying to sleep through the torture.
Arriving at yet another airport virtually indistinguishable from the first.
Frantically pushing through the mindless milling mass to get to the exit.
Oh yes.
I hate airports.
I weep for humanity.

What's your nomination for the worlds worst airport building?
Terminal 4 Heathrow?
The James Watson building LA?

Monday 12 October 2015

Holy Thor! My blog just got scraped by someone in Israel!

So... Yeah...

I have a blog.
Mostly articles about movies, tech and science.
I get roughly 2,000 to 3,000 views per month.

And recently I posted an article about the recent change of PM in Australia.
It included the word "Palestine".
And on one day... Actually in one hour... I got 1,932 page views.

Wait. What?
I'm not important.
I just comment on some issues I feel relevant to the events of the day.

So just what did my stats show?

Oh lord.
So... I'm not actually saying Mossad have scraped my site.
But seriously...
I have 1,932 pages that feel relevant to someone in Israel?

Wow. Thanks guys.
I had no idea I had written many posts.
Hope you like them.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

So... Yeah... Australia has a new prime minister... Oh. And goats. And a giraffe.

It was a Monday that's why.

What is it with new these people?

And what is it with the "Prime" part?

Now Optimus Prime had it right.
He led the Transformers for years.
So maybe Mal should change his name to "Malcolm Prime".
Maybe he'd last longer.

And just why do they want to be prime minister?

After all, the first thing our new one did is re-affirm the old ones stance on climate change and marital equality.
Why take the leadership and then say the same as the previous nut job?
Is it the money? The groupies?

And apparently they all still think that marriage equality is "Redefining Traditional Marriage."

It's already been redefined dozens of times you dumb ass.

Imagine 4AD Palestine.
So... Here's my father and Ben comes up, points at me and says "Hey. I'll have that one."

"Oh. Ok." says my father and picks up his holy book.

Starts thumbing through it and says "Oh. Sorry. Forgot. I'm an illiterate goat herder. Let's go and see a holy man."

So we all walk off to the temple because the government hasn't invented public transport yet.
Or clean water.

And the holy man thumbs through the holy book and picks one of the many "Traditional" marriages in his book and says:

"Ah yes. Here's one that fits. That'll be three goats and a cow."

And I'm "What the fuck?" although I can't use that last word because it wasn't invented until medieval times.

So Ben says "Wait. Can't I just have her as a slave and marry her later? Kinda like layby?"

And the holy man grits his teeth and says "Well... That is in the book. But the goats and cow thing is the traditional thing at the moment. So there you go."

And I'm stunned and "Seriously? Hey I'm worth more than that. The surgery alone is going to cost more than that."

So I turn to Ben and say:

"Three goats and a cow? No way dude. You want me you gotta get three goats and a giraffe. Haul your ass down to Kenya and bring back one of those fuckers."

He stares at me.

"And don't be thinking you can just lead it into Jerusalem. You gotta ride that bad boy."

"Traditional Marriage" my ass.

I want an AWESOME marriage.

Monday 17 August 2015

Deleting/Reinstalling RubyMine on Mac OS-X

I've been upgrading my RubyMine installation for ages now as new versions and updates have occurred.

Recently I had the beginnings of Settings-Hell where settings vanished or inspections switched on or off randomly.

Furthermore I had a bunch of weird "Open-A-File-And-RM-Switches-To-A-Different-Project" issues.

So I decided it was time to whack it from my machine and re-install it.

For posterity here are the steps:

Next create a backup folder to save your existing install if anything goes wrong:

mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup
mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup/Preferences
mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup/Caches
mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup/Application\ Support
mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup/Logs
mkdir ~/RubyMineBackup/Applications

Next RubyMine and under Help->Register copy your user name and license key somewhere safe (such as the backup folder).

Now move all the preferences, caches, logs and the application itself to that backup folder:

mv ~/Library/Preferences/Rubymine70          ~/RubyMineBackup/Preferences
mv ~/Library/Preferences/Rubymine71          ~/RubyMineBackup/Preferences
mv ~/Library/Caches/RubyMine70               ~/RubyMineBackup/Caches
mv ~/Library/Caches/RubyMine71               ~/RubyMineBackup/Caches
mv ~/Library/Application\ Support/RubyMine70 ~/RubyMineBackup/Application\ Support
mv ~/Library/Application\ Support/RubyMine71 ~/RubyMineBackup/Application\ Support
mv ~/Library/Logs/RubyMine70                 ~/RubyMineBackup/Logs
mv ~/Library/Logs/RubyMine71                 ~/RubyMineBackup/Logs
mv /Applications/RubyMine.app                ~/RubyMineBackup/Applications

(Obviously you may not need both the 70 and 71 folders. Check your machine for the folders)

Now go to JetBrains and re-download the latest version.
Start it up and enter your registration details.

FYI While starting I tend to switch to the "Darcula" theme.

Now shut RM down and do this to start RM under JDK 1.7 or newer:

vi /Applications/RubyMine.app/Contents/Info.plist

Roughly line 87, you'll see this:


Change the "" value to this:


I like more memory as I often have up to 7 or 8 projects open simultaneously.

So copy the rubymine.vmoptions file:

cp /Applications/RubyMine.app/Contents/bin/rubymine.vmoptions ~/Library/Preferences/rubymine70

Now edit the ~/Library/Preferences/rubymine70rubymine.vmoptions file from this:


To this:


Now re-start RubyMine.

Once it's up install your plugins.
I use these ones:

Docker integration
Markdown support
Bootstrap 3
Git Flow Integration
GitLab integration

YMMV but mine seems to be much more stable now.

Friday 24 July 2015

"rvm install jruby-" insists on installing pre1, rc1 or rc2

So... Yeah...

Been eagerly awaiting jruby-9000. And used rvm to install the pre1, rc1 and rc2 versions for testing against micro-services.

Then crashed right into a problem when the final release came out.

I tried to "rvm install jruby-" and it said there was already a cached version "ruby-".

Ok I thought, so I did "rvm list" and uninstalled all the previous jrubies.

Then removed any reference to jruby from "~/.rvm/archives".

Then "rvm get stable".

Then "rvm install jruby-" again.

To my chagrin, it did this:

Searching for binary rubies, this might take some time.
Found remote file https://s3.amazonaws.com/jruby.org/downloads/
...compilation elided...

Guessing that there may actually be a release version on s3, I wget'd "https://s3.amazonaws.com/jruby.org/downloads/"

Luckily that worked and I copied the file to "~/.rvm/archives".

I uninstalled and removed the other "pre1" version and tried again.

But no.
Despite having jruby-bin- in the archives folder, rvm insists on downloading the pre1 version.

Then the "Ahaha!"

After mucking about with rvm --debug and --trace commands I found this wonderful thing in the output (which was frickin ginormous):

+ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  12 > [[ -z jruby-9\.0\.0\.0.* ]]

#Ed: This looks interesting...
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  -221 > command cat /Users/kimberleyscott/.rvm/config/known_strings

++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  -219 > __rvm_version_sort
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  -218 > __rvm_tail -n 1

#Ed: Notice the regex
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  -220 > __rvm_grep 'jruby-9\.0\.0\.0.*'

++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  -463 > cat /Users/kimberleyscott/.rvm/config/known_strings
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/support : __rvm_tail()  0 > tail -n 1
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/utility : __rvm_version_sort()  1 > LC_ALL=C
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/support : __rvm_grep()  0 > GREP_OPTIONS=
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/utility : __rvm_version_sort()  1 > command sort -t. -k 1,1n -k 2,2n -k 3,3n -k 4,4n -k 5,5n
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/support : __rvm_grep()  0 > command grep 'jruby-9\.0\.0\.0.*'
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/utility : __rvm_version_sort()  -167 > sort -t. -k 1,1n -k 2,2n -k 3,3n -k 4,4n -k 5,5n
++ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/support : __rvm_grep()  -260 > grep 'jruby-9\.0\.0\.0.*'

# Ed: and here is the result:
+ 1437712726.N /scripts/functions/selector_parse : __rvm_ruby_string_latest()  20 > new_ruby_string=jruby-

Well... "~/.rvm/config/known_strings" looks like an interesting file doesn't it?

And lo and behold, I can now see how the rvm script decided on pre1.
so I changed this:

# this strings are matched only when partial version was provided

to this:

# this strings are matched only when partial version was provided
#jruby- - commented for safety

And did a fresh "rvm --debug install jruby-".
Loads of green and purple output.
But wayhey! Installed.

rum now shows it installed:

rvm rubies

 * jruby-1.7.19 [ x86_64 ]
   jruby-1.7.20 [ x86_64 ]
   jruby-1.7.21 [ x86_64 ]
=> jruby- [ x86_64 ]
   ruby-2.2.0 [ x86_64 ]
   ruby-2.2.1 [ x86_64 ]

# => - current
# =* - current && default
#  * - default

Hope this helps others!