Photo circle shots

I recently ran a “photo circle”, consisting of a small group of people sending prints of their own photographs to each other. It was a fun way to prod myself to take non-kid photos.

My four photos were:

Photo circle: sun in the eucalypts

I took Sun in the eucalypts in the late afternoon of Easter Sunday, as the sun was sinking behind the eucalypts at Centennial Park’s children’s bike track. I tried to take one with the sun shining through the trees but didn’t get the lens flare right. I like the contrast between the sunlit tree and the dark tree in this one. It feels springlike, for an autumn scene.

The other three are a very different type of weather shot, taken during Sydney’s extreme rainfall of late April and very early May:

Photo circle: rainstorm

This one has the most post-processing by far: it was originally shot in portrait and in colour. I was messing around with either fast or slow shutter speeds while it poured with rain at my house; I have a number of similar photos where spheres of water are suspended in the air. None of them quite work but I will continue to play with photographing rain with a fast shutter speed. In the meantime, the slow shutter speed here works well. I made the image monochrome in order to make the rain stand out more. In the original image the green tree and the rich brown fencing and brick rather detract from showing exactly how rainy it was.

Photo circle: Sydney rain storm

This was shot from Gunners’ Barracks in Mosman (a historical barracks, not an active one) as a sudden rainstorm rolled over Sydney Harbour. The view was good enough, but my lens not wide enough, to see it raining on parts of the harbour and not on other parts. All the obscurity of the city skyline in this shot is due to rain, not fog.

Photo circle: ferry in the rain

This is the same rainstorm as the above shot; they were taken very close together. It may not be immediately obvious, but the saturation on this shot is close to maximum in order to make the colours of the ferry come up at all. I was the most worried about this shot on the camera, it was very dim. It comes up better in print than on screen, too. The obscurity is again entirely due to the rain, and results in the illusion that there is only one vessel on Sydney Harbour. Even in weather like this, that’s far from true. I felt very lucky to capture this just before the ferry vanished into the rain too.

Weekend womanscraft: winter warmers

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

Anyone who has spent Thursday night/Friday in NSW is probably in need of some winter warmers, at least! What’s warming your innards this season? Here are a few recipes of ours, household style (that is, very imprecise measurements).

Cream of mushroom soup

Closeup photo of about ten button mushrooms

A few handfuls of button mushrooms.
Half an onion.
About 800mL of stock, possibly somewhat more if using a stove top.
About 100mL of cream or sour cream, or some mixture thereof.

NB: I prefer and recommend sour cream but my co-cook despises it, so we tend to make it with cream.

Preparation: Chop up the mushrooms and onions. Fry the mushrooms and onions together. Add the stock and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer briefly. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth.

Photo of mushrooms and onions in a frying pan

Alternative preparation: Chop up the mushrooms and onions. Place in slow cooker with cream and stock on low for 4 hours. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth.

Optional additions: we don’t cook anything much in our house in winter without thyme and bay leaves. Be sure to remove the bay leaf before blending.

Serving suggestion: grind pepper over the result.

Closeup photo of a bowl of cream of mushroom soup

Slow cooked chicken drumsticks

An appropriate number of chicken drumsticks.
A 400g tin of diced tomatoes for about every 8 drumsticks.
About 100mL of stock for every drumstick.
A splash of white wine.
As many olives as you think sounds good.
Optional: onion garlic, thyme, bay leaf, etc.

Preparation: roll/dip/immerse the drumsticks in plain flour and briefly brown them in a fry pan (perhaps with onions and garlic). Place them in a slow cooker with all other ingredients and slow cook on high for 4 hours.

Serving suggestion: we serve with couscous.

Red lentil daal

For this we follow a recipe pretty closely, namely Stephanie Alexander’s recipe in The Cook’s Companion. It’s very similar to her published recipe in Fairfax’s Cuisine, except we haven’t been using chilli or mustand seeds.

I’ve also tried this in a slow cooker (don’t pre-soak the lentils, have all the pot ingredients in for 8 hours on low) but it ended up being too smooth for my tastes (I have a very strong aversion to some types of very smooth food, namely well-mashed potatoes, ripe avocados, and a few other things, and this daal went into that range).

Closeup photo of a bowl full of daal, with fried onions on top and brown rice behind.

Apple crumble

Closeup photograph of cutup apple being placed in cooking vessels.

Another dish where we follow a (simple!) recipe closely, specifically Donna Hay’s recipe for individual portions. We had great luck also, when we had some passionfruit to spare, juicing several of them and mixing the juice with the apple slices for passionfruit crumble.

Closeup photo of an individual portion of apple crumble, just after cooking.

A few other warmers you might fancy:

  • Skud’s apple and oat crumble for breakfasts.
  • Tom yum goong can go either way, seasonally, but at this time of year if you make it spicy enough it will warm most of the lower half of your face.
  • Lemon delicious pudding, another great dessert to make in one container or individual portions.

What’s warming you, this winter?

Anti-pseudonym bingo

This article originally appeared on Geek Feminism.

People testing the Google+ social network are discussing increasing evidence that, terms of service requirement or not, Google+ wants people to use their legal names much as Facebook does. Skud shares a heads-up from a user banned for using his initials. Then, for example, see discussion around it on Mark Cuban’s stream, Skud’s stream and Sarah Stokely’s blog.

Let’s recap really quickly: wanting to and being able to use your legal name everywhere is associated with privilege. Non-exhaustive list of reasons you might not want to use it on social networks: everyone knows you by a nickname; you want everyone to know you by a nickname; you’re experimenting with changing some aspect of your identity online before you do it elsewhere; online circles are the only place it’s safe to express some aspect of your identity, ever; your legal name marks you as a member of a group disproportionately targeted for harassment; you want to say things or make connections that you don’t want to share with colleagues, family or bosses; you hate your legal name because it is shared with an abusive family member; your legal name doesn’t match your gender identity; you want to participate in a social network as a fictional character; the mere thought of your stalker seeing even your locked down profile makes you sick; you want to create a special-purpose account; you’re an activist wanting to share information but will be in danger if identified; your legal name is imposed by a legal system that doesn’t match your culture… you know, stuff that only affects a really teeny minority numerically, and only a little bit, you know? (For more on the issue in general, see On refusing to tell you my name and previous posts on this site.)

Anyway, in honour of round one million of forgetting about all of this totally, I bring you anti-pseudonymity bingo!
5x5 bingo card with anti-pseudonymity arguments
Text version at bottom of post.

What squares would you add? Continue reading “Anti-pseudonym bingo”

Sexist joke bingo

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

In collaboration with Hoydenizens and others, a bingo card for arguments in defence of sexist jokes, specifically, the variants on “but it was FUNNY”.

5x5 sexist joke bingo card
5x5 sexist joke bingo card

Text version at bottom of post.

Extra suggestions:

  • the catch-all “it’s just a joke”
  • “why the fuss? it was one itty bitty teeny weeny joke!”
  • “you don’t understand my culture at all”

Don’t forget your bingo basics, that is: “One only gets to yell BINGO! if somebody on the internet is advancing an assortment of those arguments simultaneously.” Sometimes, for extra Internet points, you might be able to play (‘ware, porn images) porny presentation bingo or general anti-feminism bingos I and/or II simultaneously.

You can use this bingo card under Creative Commons Zero, that is, public domain (without credit and freely modifiable). Here’s the SVG. There’s a version at the Buzzword Bingo generator that randomises the square placements and uses full sentences, if you are so inclined.

This bingo does assume a male joke-teller, the management acknowledges that it is not only men who tell sexist jokes.

Text version:

sorry, but I found it funny oversensitive much? take it as a compliment wasn’t even sexual he’s not used to women
so cute when you’re angry actually at men’s expense heard a woman tell it once edgy satire of our PC society you heard it out of context
your complaint is what’s sexist you seem very uptight about sex FREE SQUARE: LOL wasn’t meant that way thought police
my wife thought it was hilarious works when I’m with friends just his way I’m offended by your complaint you’d tell it about a man
attracted attention to his message you enjoy being offended absolutely no sense of humour I found it funny and I’m a woman acceptable on TV

Links to Women in Free Software groups

I gave a 5 minute lightning talk at OSDC entitled Women in FOSS groups (meaning groups for women involved in Free Software, rather than about women in Free Software groups, I could have done a better title I know). It was mostly an attempt to jam Adam Kennedy’s lightning talk about Acme::Playmate, which featured lingerie shots of women (and maybe topless shots, I didn’t want to watch it, being quite firmly and viscerally of the belief that there’s a very small amount of sexual desire I like at my open source conferences). So mine featured pictures of women, fully clothed, with labels like Linux user and AI researcher.

For more on Kennedy’s talk, see Richard Jones’ entry about it: Jones was the chair of the session that Kennedy gave his talk in.

I’m not putting my slides up for a few reasons: bits of them only make sense in the context of that particular jam; other bits only make sense if you hear me say the words that went along with them; and finally while I got permission to use them in the talk, I didn’t get permission from all the women whose pictures I used to stick said pictures on the ‘net.

However, the last couple of slides were a list of links to groups for women using and developing Free Software, and Paul asked if I could provide them in a place where people would have a chance to write them down. Fortunately, these were even prepared earlier:

  1. LinuxChix’s list of groups for women in computing generally; and
  2. LinuxChix’s list of groups for women developing Free Software (and Free Culture, in the case of WikiChix).

My talk at OSDC: the Planet Feed Reader

I gave a thirty minute presentation at the Open Source Developers’ Conference yesterday about the Planet software and the associated communities and conventions, focusing more on the latter since one of my reviewers suggested that the social aspects are more interesting than the code. My slides [PDF format, 2.1MB] are now available for the amusement of the wider public.

Much of the discussion of history was a recap of my Planet Free Software essay and the discussion of Planet conventions was a loose recap of accumulated wisdom, including:

  1. using bloggers’ real names, or at least the ones which they attach to email (usually real names) in addition to common IRC/IM handles is useful for putting faces to blog entries to contributions;
  2. once the convention of using real faces and real names is established, people get upset when the conventions are broken (quoth Luis Villa: I’m not sure who/what this ubuntu-demon is, but ‘random animated head without a name meandering about doing a lot of engineering work to fix a problem that should not exist’ was not what I was looking for when I was looking for information on planet ubuntu); and
  3. life blogging is of interest to an extent, many developers would actually like to feel that they’re friends with each other, but the John Fleck case on Planet GNOME shows that there are limits.

Much of the rest was due to Luis Villa’s essay on blogging in the corporate open source context, but as I wasn’t allowed to set assigned reading to the audience I was able to pad out by half an hour by including that content.

Mostly it was a fun experiment in doing slides in a format other than six bullet points per slide, six slides per section, six sections per talk format; incorporating badly rescaled images in various places; and using Beamer so I was surprised to end up hosting a Planet BoF (Birds of a Feather) session, discussing it from the point of view of someone running a Planet (the editor). Some of the topics that came up were:

  • trying to start communities via Planet sites, rather than enhancing them, by, say, starting a environmental politics Planet;
  • the possibility of introducing some of the newer blog ideas to the Free Software world (like carnivals);
  • allowing a community to edit a Planet, and editorial policies in general;
  • potential problems with aggregating libellous or illegal content (another reason some editors apparently insist on real names);
  • alternative aggregators;
  • banning RSS in favour of Atom;
  • whether it is possible or wise to filter people’s feeds without their consent;
  • moving to the Venus branch of Planet; and
  • making Venus trunk.

I may propose a blogging BoF at and, if I do so, I’ll even plan some discussion points, which will make it less random.