kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
Paper: currently at the point where every time I think I can write a sentence, I end up disappearing into the rabbit-hole of double-checking references and re-wrangling data for an hour or two. This is A Good Thing, in that it means that I've got to grips with the job in question sufficient to see the small manageable chunks, rather than burying my head in the sand about it. Of course I've just run into a bit of a dead end, at least until I can get my supervisors' input (probably in the new Gregorian year), but happily there are many other paths for me to branch off down.

Relatedly: PhD2048 is dangerous. I'd successfully avoided all previous iterations of the game, which unfortunately meant I wasn't innoculated when this nonsense started doing the rounds.

Foot: bruise came up briefly! Swelling was temporarily visible! Now at the point where I can walk on it around the house a little provided I'm careful and don't push it beyond, ooh, the bedroom-bathroom-kitchen-sofa route before I have a rest. In turn this means I'm wearing the boot a little less (it has so much velcro), which means I'm crossing my legs by default, which means I'm putting weight through my foot awkwardly, which... means I'm wearing the boot more again! But so it goes.

Thyroid: I'm feeling hypothyroid-ish worse again but my numbers are now pushing toward hyperthyroid! Still no autoimmune markers (and all my vitamins et cet are fine), not clear to me that the GP is actually aware that you plausibly want to end up "hyperthyroid" by-the-numbers when treating hypothyroidism, but regardless I'm intending to go back in the new year and ask for (i) free T3 levels as well as free T4 and TSH, (ii) trying adding in straight-up T3 in case there's a conversion problem ongoing, and (iii) a referral to an endocrinologist because I'm really bored of this.

Books: I kinda sorta ended up, on Wednesday, going into Foyles and then Fopp with awesome ex-housemate-C, who was briefly around; in consequence I acquired a present for Adam, an unambiguously-for-grown-ups book by Shaun Tan (I slipped and fell, it was by the checkouts, I flipped through briefly and saw the giant snails and succumbed), some Actual Pink Floyd Of My Very Own (for the listening to on our backs in the dark at 1am, sorry neighbours), and another couple of Carrie Fisher's memoirs (they were two for a fiver, It Had To Be Done). And, er, then going into Waterstones unsupervised, where books were Buy One Get One Half Price, which meant that I acquired a copy of Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race (having had the library ebook automagically evaporate from my device when I was 2/3rds through, due to disorganisation) and Mortal Engines (because I loved the film and wanted to know more about some of the worldbuilding and characterisation that were sketched for the cinema but were clearly explored in a great deal more detail in the source text).
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
"Confidence interval": it me.

[Metadata; transcript not available. The comic is a grid of graphs, titled "Curve-fitting methods and the messages they send". Each graph shows the same data, with a different curve. The subgraph entitled "Confidence interval" is captioned "Listen, science is hard but I'm a serious person doing my best."]
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Yedi Kocalı Hürmüz at the Arcola several weeks ago now, performed by the in-house Turkish-language company (Arcola Ala-Turka), with my friend D. A little rough around the edges (e.g. the surtitles frequently just sort of... didn't) but the energy & the audience engagement were fantastic, particularly in the segments that were just sort of... mini interconnected folk gigs? Lots and lots of clapping (and singing) along. I was very entertained -- there was comedy "whack people over the head with an inflatable stick and over-the-top sound effect" that worked really well -- and I even understood the occasional word and sentence fragment, go me.

2. Baby's first paper has been formally accepted. It is going into various preprint archives as we speak; I will link once it's actually usefully available. (Did I mention how good it is that I fixed the graphics driver issue with my desktop such that it's actually usable? It is SO GOOD.)

3. Off to Cornwall on Thursday, for approximately a fortnight, for the hundredth-birthday-that-isn't, coming back for the middle weekend because Reasons. I am looking forward to it. I will be bringing wild garlic back to plant out. Cornwall in early May is, in my unquestionably objective opinion, the best place in the entire world.

4. Frantically getting lab work finished up for pre-interruption-of-studies before that, so far as possible. Cocked up yesterday in a way that adds an extra week in lab (boo) but it was one I would otherwise have been anxious about not doing (yay), so that's worked out fairly well.

5. British strawberries, reduced in the supermarket. Yes. Good.

6. Started thyroxine (low-ish dose) on Friday last (the 20th). So far no conclusive changes, but excitingly the water is muddied by the part where I finished the most recent course of iron supplementation right before I started the thyroxine.

7. Have had first salad-and-cheese-and-bread dinner of the year on the PATIO. We have a PATIO. It has been WARM. I am very excited by this, and also by linens.

8. I have participated in A Bunch of research recently -- autism + the social model of disability in higher ed, intersection of trans status + disability, Being A Grumpy Tran At Market Researchers for fun and profit (and actually they were really great and give me hope), miscellaneous cognitive function for the long-term psychiatric study I'm participating in (£15 in vouchers, whoo).

9. Voucher has thus far been used on a bamboo travel mug, with a succulent pattern and duck-egg-blue silicone bits. ([personal profile] staranise, I keep restraining the urge to put together the succulent-themed care package you did not ask for and probably don't want because it would be silly to do the Shipping To Canada thing if you don't, but if you'd like preposterous succulent-themed tat let me know and It Will Happen.)

10. I spent a lot of the weekend making friends (at A's step-relative's Significant Birthday Thing) with both nibling S (who has, correctly, decided I am interested in them, and now greets me with enthusiasm) and -- which is what I was going to go with when I started this point -- a ridiculous ornamental cherry, which had the big-blousy-white blossoms as most of its canopy... and one branch, comprising about a third, that had been grafted on from a dark-purple-leaves and bright-pink-flowers tree. It was Good. I went and patted it on the graft and told it it was good, and made A admire it.

(The mint I rescued from the supermarket has established itself sufficiently aggressively that I'm starting to worry for the parsley it shares a tub with. I shall clearly just have to consume more of it.)
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. On Sunday, A & I went to The Postal Museum, including a ride on the Mail Rail. It was great. It was a SMALL TRAIN that went through POST TUNNELS and I was very excited and flappy. Be warned that it's quite cramped; I sat and watched one of the videos and it included a lot of elderly engineers ergo there followed a nontrivial quantity of inexplicable-to-onlookers weeping; I learned things about how the Royal Mail started out (genuinely just for royalty), the origins of the post horn (I knew perfectly well what it was for on Alpine post buses but hadn't put together how it started), the existence of both air mail pillar boxes and pillar boxes with integrated stamp dispensers (which were really very short lived because they fundamentally didn't work very well), and about Travelling Post Offices a preserved iteration of which we're now planning to make a visit to. I also fell down the rabbit-hole of trying to look up procedural differences in how first- and second-class post are handled; A found me a not-as-informative-as-I'd-hoped Freedom of Information request, and I found a video with obnoxious ableism/ageism and backing music but some interesting if irrelevant stuff (phosphorus detectors!). A+ nerding all round, would visit again.

2. A & I have got started on Leverage courtesy of a loan of the box sets from [personal profile] sebastienne and [personal profile] shortcipher.

3. Early this evening I submitted my first first-author paper. It took me four hours to get from "okay, I'm ready to submit" to actually hitting the submit button on the website. Good grief but the interface is terrible. I am feeling pretty good about this, and especially good that the latest night I've had working on it was Monday, when I was poking at it til shortly before midnight and then went to bed and... my supervisor made functionally 0 corrections to the bit I put together (from scratch) in that session.

4. New horn case is excellent, is indeed encouraging me to practice more, and I am very rapidly observing the benefits... just in time for Saturday's concert, or not, as the case may be. But: hopefully will manage to keep up the momentum.

5. I don't think I mentioned here that I finished the Duolingo Turkish tree last week, but I did and for all there are huge chunks that I am Really Not Very Good At Yet I am fundamentally pretty proud of myself for that one, too.

6. I have been spending more social time with people over the last few weeks than I had prior to that and it's been really good. Thank you, all. <3
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
I am in bed in new house. Boxes have been moved such that there are clear paths through everything. Most of the furniture is in the right place, and even my optimistic plan for how to arrange it worked. Our landlord has, so far, been startlingly lovely.

My contact details post has been updated with the new address.

And my supervisor's feedback on the latest version of the paper draft was actually positive, and... yes. Yes. Hello. <3
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. food )
  2. Also food. )
  3. Still food! )
  4. I am still chewing over last week's Elementary, and redemption arcs and chosen family and boundaries and necessities and narrative imperative in tension with multiple kinds of emotional satisfaction, and the things I find myself wanting -- superficially -- from the story, given points-of-view, and the odd and bittersweet relief at instead getting what I need. The murder plots make no sense, but then they mostly didn't ever; I am still very much here for the characters.
  5. My new CEA card arrived in the post yesterday, which means I will stop feeling faintly guilty about "wasting money" every time I go to the cinema. This is a Good Thing, given how much I'm looking forward to Hidden Figures.
  6. I'm having a really tough time writing an abstract this week, for a variety of reasons, but in the face of that I got a draft in more than 18 hours before the deadline that I was actually reasonably happy with, via the iterative-improvement approach to writing. It needs substantially rewriting, but I've demonstrated that my techniques work, and I've got reasonable confidence that the substatial rewriting wasn't in fact me wildly misinterpreting what was going on.
  7. I said no to someone, and it was fine. (And indeed several other someones, which was less fine but which left me feeling better than I would've if I'd stayed silent.) I told someone I'd screwed something up, face-to-face and more-or-less straight away rather than stewing for six hours over sending an e-mail, and it was fine. Both were really difficult, and I did them.
  8. I appear, via UCH, to have found a sustainable set of strength-building exercises to do that are resulting in measurable improvements. I'm dealing with a lot of complicated Feelings about this pretty well.
  9. Some stripy tulips were much reduced in the supermarket last week; they've been sat in a glass jar on the dining table slowly drying out and turning interesting shapes ever since, and they make me feel soothed and safe and at home.
  10. I am forever gently amused by the thing where, when A is around, we sleep under a single lightweight duvet and are frequently too warm. When he's away, I end up nesting in a pile of that duvet, my three-season much-larger covered-in-dinosaurs duvet, a weighted blanket, and a big soft non-allergenic stripy blue blanket -- and I end up comfortably warm, and with a lot of weight on me, and it's very nice to have occasionally.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Thing that are not terrible and also do not begin with P:

1. My baby brother phoned me this evening to vent about SPSS and request tech support as an excuse for catching up with me and it was lovely.

2. I heard someone asking a member of cleaning staff how to get to Leicester Square. There was perplexity and some problem with accents. I provided assistance in the form of detailed instructions, then checked the Earl's Court Thought for the Day on my way out, and it was about unexpected kindness, and I briefly felt less like shit.

3. I'm really enjoying seeing all the Canadians I know on tumblr being dazed and tentatively hopeful about politics. There are multiple aboriginal/Native ministers. The cabinet is 50% women, because it's 2015. The Minister for Science is a scientist who's served on the IPCC. 50% female cabinet appointments lead to 5000% increase in guys who suddenly care about merit in cabinet.

4. My local bike shop has got in a replacement pump head and a new set of tyres for me, and I have in all the necessary parts to peer suspiciously over [personal profile] me_and's shoulder while he applies a theoretically-straightforward fix to my power brick, whereupon taken altogether my big chair will work properly again and it will be a great relief.

5. Hot chocolate. Utterly ridiculous hot chocolate with mixed spice and condensed milk and plum brandy.

6. After having an enormous grump late last week and early this about my literature review (and massive thanks to each & every one of you who provided pep talks) I'm now feeling rather more confident about my framing and approach and am kind of enjoying working on it? Obvious sources of stress are obvious, but. Enjoying working on it. That's definitely a thing.

7. your blue-eyed boys. my e-reader.

8. I have acquired all the necessary ingredients for planned baking (bar buttermilk, which I am happy to work my way around not having). Ergo tomorrow all I have to do is Cook All The Things. (Planned: macaroni cheese, Apfelstrudel, two varieties of apple cake, as much stewed apple as I have jars for, a vat of chickpea thing, a vat of chilli, and the start of lemon meringue pie.) (Prep done tonight: loaf of bread started; fennel and garlic laid out for roasting.)

9. I picked up another bag of apples from my parents' this afternoon, and additionally liberated a jar of quince jelly made by my mother's own fair hand, an avocado, and the aforementioned fennel.

10. I'm not enjoying the shit my brain is throwing at me but I am at least recognising it as distortions, and employing coping mechanisms around it.

\o/

Mar. 16th, 2015 05:15 pm
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
Gave presentation to supervisor (which, because I am an incompetent, was in fact my first run-through verbally as opposed to just sitting and staring at it). She liked it and thinks I am going to be fine. I get on Really Well with people whose attitude to praise is that a dismissive "you'll be fine" means "I am impressed and pleased", heh. I'm bang on the permitted time, and I was talking a little fast but we've rejigged flow so that I'll need to repeat myself less, and aaaaaaaaaaahhh she liked it. She thinks it flows! She thinks I am clear and talk at my audience sufficiently! She has suggested a joke I can tell! (It is a relevant joke.)

(what I am actually doing in person is going "ssssssss" very quietly; it is a small victory hiss)

:-)

Feb. 17th, 2015 09:12 am
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
1. So I was saying that I hoped my supervisor was suitably pleased with my pile of data from this run? SHE WAS. She was, by her standards, extremely effusive; I am basking gently in the glow of having been told that I made the right judgement calls about the slightly difficult mass spec session, that I got a significant amount of good data, that the reproducibility of results was great, that I've done really well with my standard deviations given how low the concentrations I'm working with are. She was just really really nice about my dataset just being... really good work. Basking.

2. I crashed out at 9pm and woke up spontaneously at 6; I had a nice relaxed morning pottering about (packing bag for tonight, eating breakfast, making hot chocolate), got into work at 8am, had my supervisor tease me gently about it (she normally gets in around 7 but today I beat her...), faffed with some more data (including fixing the problem in my 'orrible plotting script that I identified last night after I'd put computers away to sLEEP), tidied my desk, replied to some e-mails, ... yeah, pretty pleased with myself. And I slept super well, so.

3. Help help I am seriously considering setting up a side-tumblr called "kaberants" for the sake of engaging with irritatingly wrong text posts without having them clutter up my set of nice pretty pictures??? (Today's discovery-via-tumblr of the morning: Emily Blincoe's photography.)

4. It is a source of great pleasure to me that it's now light at 7am; soon I will start getting the District line into work again (because it runs aboveground for most of the trip, whereas the Piccadilly is underground for this section). Also, I tamed my hair.

5. Indelicates gig tonight! And I have reason to believe they'll be playing lots of stuff from the upcoming album, which appears to be about SPACE SCIENCE and SPACE ROBOTS and CHOICES and consequently I cry everywhere at it every time :D :D :D :D

(and 6: facesfriend points out to me that if I think he is being ludicrously indulgent of me because he adjusts the toaster to provide me with toast slightly burnter than he prefers it, this is possibly an indication that my perception of myself as Really Difficult To Deal With and Always Making People Go Out Of Their Way is skewed.)

a note--

Jan. 11th, 2015 12:29 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
-- to say that I am doing very well! The absence here has been because I have slightly-to-my-surprise been busy.

I am currently actively reading Saladin Ahmed's The Throne of the Crescent Moon for book club; I have poetry by Audre Lorde, Stephen Dunn, Carol Ann Duffy and Rilke out on loan; I have just finished reading a book by Nnedi Okorafor (Zhara, the Windseeker) and am now intending to read everything else she has ever written. I continue listening to Vienna Teng on loop; I have just watched Elementary S0309 twice and am having lots of feelings about it!

Yesterday I made three huge vats of curry, some rice, and some chapati. I fed lots of people. It will keep feeding lots more of us.

I have code that increasingly does what I want. My slightly scary meeting with my supervisor on Friday was in fact incredibly exciting: I plotted up all of the data I've spent the past 15 months acquiring, and some really intriguing things popped out. The paper we were conceiving as "the ocean island basalts" paper - relating to intraplate volcanism only - looks like I might actually have things to say about all volcanism on the planet. And ergo mantle processes in a much broader sense than expected. Which -- yessss. All of a sudden I feel like my project is taking shape and making sense.

Also received a very pleasing compliment-shaped-thing on the topic of my poetry, aaah.

I have just flung myself through the shower and am heading out to Kew for a little while now with my useless ex and my housemate; this evening we are going to watch a free livestreamed CN Lester gig at 8pm GMT (I seriously seriously recommend CN if you haven't come across them - singer-songwriter, pianist, dealing awesomely with interpersonal interactions and mental illness; plus they're genderqueer so, you know).
kaberett: Zuko kneeling, offering up his wrists (zuko-defeat)
1. I ate raspberries I picked in my mother's garden yesterday.

2. I have worked through another level and a bit of Psychonauts on my ludicrous completionist replay. I appear to have little-to-no interest in the storyline this time around; apparently my patience for the misogyny and sizeism and even cissexism is 0 while I'm still interested in the mechanic. Also, I am playing through MUCH faster than last time.

3. Two meals, lots of meds. (Dinnerfood was leftovers from last week; it meant it was easy and I didn't have to wash up, just put things in the dishwasher.)

4. I continue my Ancillary Justice reread, and am probably going to put off reading the first chapter of Ancillary Sword until I have finished. (And I wept all over it on the tube, as ever - the scene at the beginning on Nilt with the kid whose family member was injured! The way the kid interacts with their mum! I have FEELS EVERYWHERE, every time.)

5. To my complete astonishment, I appear to have managed to tentatively set up a collaboration with someone I didn't previously know who is acquainted with my supervisor, on the merits of explaining my own research and asking tolerably intelligent questions about hers. I am flummoxed, but also greatly relieved (I feel like having set up a collaboration before I've even actually displayed my poster is fairly good going). (I really don't know how to feel about this conference - neither of my supervisors is present, but my head-of-group's wife & my mentor is one of the coorganisers, and two of the other organisers lectured and supervised me during undergrad, and there's an awful lot of people I know from Cambridge hanging around. Also an awful lot I don't, but... still weird.)

6. Wheelchair. I'd otherwise have been in even more pain by the end of the day than as it happens I was.

7. Continued progress on the introductions meme. I will post announcing properly when I'm actually up-to-date, but I've written a small pile more introductions!

8. D has arranged for me to own metallic teal eyeliner. I'm pretty chuffed about this. I mean, I'll have to learn to use it, but if I also acquire some gold + silver I will actually be able to do drag make-up eyes at least a bit?

9. Going via Green Park station (at least when I'm not transferring between Picadilly and Victoria lines) always makes me smile: the station art is lovely, as I believe I mentioned the last time I went to a conference in the area. (It's mostly built out of a limestone full of shells, in the way that means the outside face of the block has depressions for the hollows of the shells; one line of blocks is, instead of limestone, concrete with similar patterns made at like 100x scale.)

10. Because this conference is in Burlington House and hideously inaccessible (... more later maybe; not a good thing to dwell on now), I ended up waiting around a bit for help leaving. This meant that I got to peek behind the curtains at the bottom of the stairs that cover the first geological map in the world.

:-)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:53 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
That mantle sulphides doc I wrote up based on having gone "no, you know what, this stuff is important and we should think about it"? My supervisor agrees to the extent that she's intending to use it as the basis for a grant application and setting up some more potentially exciting collaborations for me. And while the writing deffo stands to be improved, I actually got "good" scrawled on the thing at a couple of points.

This really massively feels like a major milestone in terms of The Self As Researcher: it is the first time in my PhD that I have properly gone "nobody has done this before and I think we need to look at it", and -- I was right. I was right and I'm taking ownership of my project and setting direction. I was right and my supervisor is going to write a grant proposal based on my document, and let me see how the thing is done.
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Discovering that I am in fact the kind of person who will track down a scientific pissing match conducted in the 1860s, half in French, to cite in my transfer report. (I have every intention of citing both papers in the thesis, too.)

Among the indications that it is way past my bedtime, however, is the bit where I was very briefly very confused by the paper in question talking about "ces grands reptiles perdus"... and only realising on triple-checking that I'd finished the thing I first thought of and was well into the thing immediately following it.

My hope that I'd've noticed by now if dinosaur bones contained thallium in significant quantities is, thus far, upheld.
kaberett: A stick figure wearing safety goggles taps their fingers together, standing over a pressure cooker on a stove. (xkcd-science)
... having asked me how long I'd been on the machine for. (Answer: since Saturday afternoon.) I told him I was going to spend Wednesday asleep. He grinned and told me this was the correct decision -- but I wasn't to fall asleep right then. (I mentioned in passing to my supervisor that I was contemplating sleeping here tonight. "... you have the code to [the head of group]'s office, right?" she asked -- because the PIs got so sick of PhD students refusing to go home during machine time that they shelled out for a sofa specifically for us to sleep on that lives in HoG's room.)

On Saturday morning my body decided I hadn't noticed sufficiently that I'm quite stressed at the moment, and concluded that a good way to get my attention was FACIAL HERPES. Meanwhile I've been walking too much: I can tell because the knee with the old cartilage injury has started screaming every time I walk down stairs. I am fairly certain that the last time I washed was Friday. I think I am still wearing yesterday's clothes; I can't remember if I changed them this morning or not.

But this sprint on the machine is nearly over - I have til midnight tomorrow - and I am getting data (and still eating regular meals!). And I am spending Wednesday alternating between sleep and cooking all the things, and in the two hours I spent home yesterday evening while the machine was running without me I cooked dinner and did the washing up and put away laundry and sorted out my pills for the next week and hoovered.

As mentioned, I chatted to my supervisor briefly this afternoon and asked her - she's been poking the very expensive vacuum leak when she gets in at 7am; I'm tending to stay til chucking-out at midnight - whether I'd got it tuned up okay. (There are eleven electromagnets, two quads, and three axes of torch position to adjust every single time you start a run; in addition to the sweep gas flow rate that is currently needing tweaking every hour or so, which is suboptimal, and the nebuliser pressure, and and and. This is why the first day on the machine is, for me, tuning up. Always.) She grinned and told me it was perfect - that she'd gone through two iterations of attempting to improve the tuning right down to the fine-grained settings, and hadn't changed a thing.

And you know what? That was pretty nice.

(Last night I got locked into the building through misjudging how fine I could cut it when leaving for the second time. I had to phone security - "ImpSec" in my phone, obviously - to be let out; thankfully I got someone nice. And then I got a night bus, because at 00:15 on a Monday morning in London there are still buses, which took me halfway home; and I walked the other half reading Octavia Butler and hugging the gingko trees along the A4, a little giddy on sleep deprivation. On Sunday morning I got to bed at 3am, via the Oxford Tube to Notting Hill Gate and hoping like hell there'd be a suitable night bus - and, again, at 2.15am, I only had to wait 5 minutes for one, after I'd got myself turned around twice trying to drowsily follow a map having slept on the Tube. My body is quite right to be kind of unimpressed with me, to be honest, but I haven't yet slammed into the wall. There is no way I can keep pushing myself this hard, but at the moment -- oh, right now, just right now, it's kind of glorious.)
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
Apparently this week I am pondering the construction of the idea of "muse" instead of working on my transfer report.

In particular I am wondering about how other people have conceptualised their relationships with real flesh-and-blood human beings they consider muses; presence/absence, the form of inspiration, and so on, and so forth. I think there is an essay trying to happen, but in order to tease out the details I rather suspect I need to expose myself to a wider range of viewpoints.

Suggestions and discussion in comments very much appreciated.

eta "museum" is "a seat or shrine of the Muses"!!!!

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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