winterthunder: (da Vinci - mastery)
Oh. My. God.

Go watch this. Now.

Watched it? Good. Please join me in being blown away.
winterthunder: (burn books)
This is the best theory I have seen yet for the current - Amazon rank - debacle.

And that is all I have to say.


Feb. 11th, 2009 01:38 pm
winterthunder: (Default)

For those of you wondering what you can do to help the victims of the brushfires in Australia, head over to [profile] australia_aid. I created the community as a central location for anyone offering or auctioning something in return for donations. Feel free to browse and bid or buy the items listed or offer something yourself. There is also a post on [profile] hpequality with a list of offerings.

I've put up one 5,000 word short story and one landscape painting, since I won't be getting a paycheck for another few weeks and most of that's already going to paying off the money I've had to borrow from my parents recently.
winterthunder: (spirit)
My dad came home with the news today that the News and Observer is going into their third round of layoffs and consolidating to two daily sections. They also stopped paying into their pension plan. He now thinks they'll be among the majority of mid-sized papers that won't survive the recession.

Raleigh without the News and Observer... it's a sobering thought.
winterthunder: (side effects)
Around this time last year, I went in to Student Health hoping to switch from an extremely expensive medicine to a less pricey one and I walked out with a problem that would lead me through a year of migraines, allergic reactions and generally unacceptable answers from the specialists I went to. By November it was clear to me that Western medicine was offering me a choice between debilitating headaches and a lifetime on a medication that would lead to osteoporosis.

Having tried and walked away from homeopathy (liked the idea, hated the practitioner), my first thought was to try it again. I quickly realized that finding someone who practiced on my standards would be well nigh impossible. But in the process of searching I came across something that I thought deserved more attention.

EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, is best described as the bastard child of a threesome between accupressure, talk therapy and positive thinking. By tapping on a series of points while speaking positive mantras, you can collapse traumatic experiences, encourage your body to heal more quickly and change the outlook with which you approach life. There are claims of cancer cures, lifting years-long depression and eliminating pain.

I was, understandably, very skeptical. So skeptical, in fact, that the first time I ran across the concept I dismissed it as crap and went on with my business. But it kept showing up here and there, and eventually, as I got closer and closer to the conclusion that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life on a daily preventative that would cause long term damage, I took a closer look. For someone who's practical and scientific based, the website is off-putting. There are so many claims that seem impossible, and they claim success using EFT to everything from PTSD to the common cold. As my other options ran out, however, I put that aside for a closer look.

Unlike most scams, the EFT site sells only their library of instructional DVDs. In fact, they give you the basic instructions for using EFT for free. And two to three times a week they send out a newsletter with new success stories and EFT applications from around the world. After reading the newsletter for a few months, not one of the names mentioned in the stories was repeated, nor were any of the stories themselves. I figured if this was someone in a basement somewhere cranking all this out, I had to admire his commitment and imagination. The website also has a list of practitioners, including a couple in my area. I figured at this point I had nothing to lose, so I e-mailed them.

The woman who got back to me seemed a bit odd, but very earnest. Her fee for an hour-long session was $35, which was much less than I had paid for both my unsuccessful homeopathic treatment and my current trips to various specialists. I figured I had nothing to lose and booked an appointment to go over with [profile] wild_stars because I figured that a) I'd be more comfortable with her there and b) if this was some trap to lure two college students in for some nefarious purpose, between the two of us we could probably take them down.

It wasn't a trap, and we spent two and a half hours talking and tapping on everything we could think of related to our various health problems. I came in with a full-blown migraine and walked out with nothing left but the residual soreness that comes from hurting so intensely for so long. [profile] wild_stars and I both agreed that we were skeptical still, but we'd wait and see how things progressed. I proceeded to begin cutting back my daily dose of the migraine preventative.

During that first week on a reduced dose, I had four migraines. Each one came on quickly and progressed to the point where I couldn't stand up. Each time, I pulled into a room by myself and tapped on them. And each time, I skipped through the 24-36 hour process of sitting on my bed, unable to stand or lay down, popping as many (or sometimes more) painkillers as was safe and waiting for the thing to succumb to the drug onslaught or end on it's own. Instead, with 10 minutes of tapping, I would arrive at the post-migraine soreness, which would disappear within the next hour or so.

I got in contact with the practitioner, thinking that perhaps there was some emotional reason I couldn't get rid of all the pain at once. My past has some pretty big demons in it, after all, and I didn't think it was possible to get rid of all of that in just one session. Instead of scheduling me to come in again, she replied with suggestions on how to end my tapping rounds to clear up the soreness and told me she'd be available if I thought I needed another session, but she hoped I wouldn't.

It's now been three days since I took my last dose of daily preventative. The only headache I've had since that week was the result of me banging my head into the shower wall, and never came close to being a migraine. I've turned my tapping attention towards some of my other health issues, things that the doctors gave up on curing long ago and I had just learned to live with. I wonder how far this can go. Could I, for instance, overcome several generations of osteoporosis in my family and live out my life with strong bones? Can I smooth over the dry skin which has plagued me for as long as I can remember and spend, not just a day without itching constantly, but the rest of my life? Can EFT help my sister, my brother, my parents, my friends?

I don't know where the limits are. But as I go into my third migraine free week and my third day without medication, this seems as close to a miracle as this admittedly cynical person can get. For those of you out there who live with conditions that Western medicine has given up on curing, please, go check this out. I'd like there to be miracles for more than just me.
winterthunder: (moon)
I've finally gotten through reconstructing as many of my playlists as are reconstructable, and come up with a list of what's missing from this summer's round of magical moving music.

Some of this is music that I bought and some of it is music that I was given. I have no idea what falls into what category. I do know that I don't have the funds to buy replacements for all this right now, and I refuse on principle to pay twice for the same material. If anyone has any of the following albums or songs and would be willing to upload them for me, I would greatly appreciate it. I'd also be willing to return the favor, if I have something you're looking for. :)

So, without further ado:

My missing albums )

Some of my playlists had just a few songs missing, but others disappeared entirely. I've grouped together the songs from missing playlists in hopes that some of you might have downloaded the playlist and still have it hanging around.

My missing songs )
winterthunder: (Default)
I'm still awake, so it still counts!!

Happy Birthday, [profile] wild_stars!! You're amazing and I don't know what I would do without you. :) I hope you had a wonderful day!
winterthunder: (inkwell)
And now the [community profile] go_exchange reveals are up! I wrote Teatime with Brother Francis for [personal profile] toasty_fresh! And my gift (which I was remiss in pimping at the time, due to traveling without reliable internet) was art(!!!) by the wonderful [personal profile] ghot. It's a beautiful watercolor of Agnes Nutter knitting a Gryffindor scarf!! :D

Go look and tell her it's amazing!

And here's the re-post of Teatime, for my own purposes and for those of you who may not have read it yet. I'd never written in the Good Omens verse before and I was really apprehensive, but it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. I'm pleased with how this turned out and I'll be back next year!

Title: Teatime with Brother Francis
By: [personal profile] winterthunder
Rating: G
Word Count: 2552
Summary: Nanny Ashtoreth knew that something was wrong far before anyone else, even Brother Francis.

True to form, little Warlock had taken forever to fall asleep. )
winterthunder: (dragons)
SUP/LiveJournal: D

They just laid off half of their US staff including all product managers and engineers. (The numbers are apparently wrong, it was 13 out of 30 fired.) The fired employees had no advance notice and no severance package. Really classy, SUP. And, as [personal profile] scrottie has pointed out, it's not going to be easy to replace these people.

On a happier note, however...

Bank of America: A

Someone stole my credit card number and started using it to make fraudulent online purchases yesterday; they had caught it by this morning and called me. I gave my permission to close the account and I'll have a new card by the end of the week. No expense to me, minimal hassle, all I have to do is sign a form that they'll send to me verifying that I did not make the fraudulent purchases. I can't say I've ever put much thought into what it would be like to have my credit card number stolen, but this is certainly way less of a problem than I thought it would be when I noticed the charges on my account last night.
winterthunder: (computers)
In return for her forgiveness of around $400 in boarding fees for Tyler, I have agreed to take on the maintenance of my breeder's website. It is, to put it bluntly, a mess. The person who is "maintaining" it now is overcharging for the domain, hosting and work, and hasn't updated anything since July. Kristy plans to tell her she's fired when her bill for the new year arrives, and she isn't at all sure that this person won't trash the entire thing on her way out the door. Kristy, unfortunately, does not have the passwords to access the actual files, nor does she know where the site is actually hosted. Thus, I am trying to pull as much information from the site now, so that I have it if I have to reconstruct it later. I've run in to somewhat of a wrinkle, which I'd appreciate your thoughts on.

The pages were initially coded in HTML, then re-coded in Java. During the re-coding, whoever was working on it at the time added a hiding function.

script language="javascript" !--begin hiding

The hiding function does exactly what it sounds like and hides every bit of code that goes into the actual page when I try to view the source code. I'm not as familiar with Java, but as far as I can tell the hiding function is intended to prevent non-java enabled browsers from seeing a tangled mess when they view the page. I'm running Firefox 2, which is Java enabled, so is there any way to get around the hiding function and view the source code without knowing the passwords to retrieve the actual files from the host?

In lieu of the actual source code, I've taken screen shots of every portion of the website and saved all the images. I caught a lucky break in that there's an older version of the site, coded in HTML, still present on geocities, so I've pulled down that source code wherever it's practical. Is there anything else I can do to make the transition as smooth as possible if the current person tries to wreck the place on the way out?

Also, in the event that this woman refuses to give up the passwords to the hosting company, what are my options for re-creating the site elsewhere? I'm not certain whether the domain name is registered to Kristy or this woman, so we may be looking at purchasing another domain. If Kristy owns the domain, can I move the domain to another hosting company without it being removed from the one it's currently on?
winterthunder: (Default)

Two majors, four and a half years, one semester in Spain and two summers interning in California. Some amazing friends, some equally amazing professors, several hundred pages of papers written and several thousand in class notes.

Damn. I did it. I'm graduating!
winterthunder: (Default)
Oh! And I forgot, one more thing, then I'll stop spamming you and go read a book. :D My [community profile] smutty_claus fic was posted!! It's a brilliant Draco/Ginny with a believable post Harry breakup plot, great characterization and a beautiful sex scene! Go give my secret author some love, especially since the author's note said the fic kicked her rear. I'm so glad she persevered!

Like This Has Anything to do With Harry Potter
winterthunder: (sleepy tiger)
I am done! DONE!! DONE!!!

winterthunder: (beginning)
Umm, what?

Judge in Australia decides that Simpsons porn = child porn

Sorry to the Aussies on my f-list, but are the extra strong UV rays getting to y'all down there? Who could possibly miss the difference between Simpsons characters and real children? The Simpsons are yellow and have four fingers instead of five...
winterthunder: (elements)
This is the first year I've put one of these up (I think...), but I've found a couple of things on other people's that I can do, so I'm putting up one of my own to join the party!

How to Play
Step One
- Make a post (public, friendslocked, filtered...whatever you're comfortable with) to your LJ. The post should contain your list of 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related ("I'd love a Snape/Hermione icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for _____ on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV.") The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.

- If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.

- Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ, so that the holiday joy will spread.

Step Two
- Surf around your friendslist (or friendsfriends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now here's the important part:

- If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes someone's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use—or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free—do it.

You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf—to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not — it's your call.

There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.

My wish list :) )

I'm stopping at 5, mainly because I'm having difficulty thinking of anything else. Mostly what I need is more time!
winterthunder: (tiger)
In my oh-so-long and varied experience, I have never run across a company that needs taking down more than ETS. For those of you who don't know (or who tuned out my previous rants on the subject), this is the company that administers the GRE, along with several other standardized tests. Back in August they bilked me $140 when they refused to allow me to reschedule the my session, which I had missed due to a migraine. Now, as I'm trying to send my original test scores to the grad school I want to apply to, I find that they charge $20 per test report. Ok, pricey, but par for the course, right?

When I try to fill out the online form, it says my testing number is invalid. WTF? I'm copying it straight from their receipt. Ok, whatever, I'll call. Their automated system runs through a long list of things I'll need to order my report online, then, at the very end, comes this:

"The charge for ordering over the phone is $12 in addition to the fee of $20 per test report. Please enter your credit card number to begin."

OH, FUCK NO, I DON'T THINK SO!!! Your online system isn't working, so you'll charge me more to call and do the order over the phone??? Fuck that. I'll be faxing in my order, and when if you have issues with my confirmation number, you can call my cell and work it out for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE.

Aren't there anti-monopoly laws or something to rein these bastards in?
winterthunder: (vote)
Holy Shit, y'all. No one cares now, but I think North Carolina is going Obama!!! He's up 28,000 votes with 95% of precincts reporting. This is an incredibly red state, and it just might go blue!!

winterthunder: (vote)
I'm too tired. I don't want to get up early. I don't want to stand in line. My vote won't count. No one will listen. The line will be too long. I don't know who to vote for. Both candidates suck. I have to work. I have class. I have to go to the doctor. I have no gas in my car and gas is too expensive. Half the country isn't going to vote either. No matter who I vote for, the country is screwed. There might be a terrorist attack. I'm scared. I'm angry. I don't want to make waves or rock the boat. I have no idea what they do anyway. They are just figureheads. They are not real. They are good at shaking hands though. What would Jesus do? What would Allah do? What would Buddha do? Nine people are going to chose the president anyway, right? They did last time. I applied to the Electoral College- all I got was a measly rejection letter. My home is 3000 miles away and I can't go home to vote. My ballot will get disqualified. Why can't they e-mail me my ballot. I don't know how to mail an envelope anymore. My dog ate my absentee ballot. I've never much liked elephants or donkeys. My single vote will not change this election. Someone else will vote for me. I don't know where to vote. My pregnant chad gave birth to the wrong candidate. The ballot is too long. My parents don't vote. This is only the evil of two lessers. Traffic jam. Hurricane. Locusts. Server crash. al-Qaeda. Nuclear meltdown. Tornado. Godzilla. The Boston Red Sox. Elevated terror risk. France. Too poor. Too rich. Too weak. Too right. Too wrong. Just too busy...It doesn't matter.

There is no excuse- go vote.

I've voted. Have you?
winterthunder: (beginning)
I came home from a day of dismembered fetuses and assurances that yes, indeed, I was going to hell, to find my lovely roommate, [profile] dragonsprout, attempting to burn down the apartment. Well, I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but the effect was the same. There were flames. Large flames. In a frying pan. She had the presence of mind to transfer the pan to the (thankfully empty) sink, where the flames merrily danced higher than the faucet and we traded incredibly constructive comments such as "Oh, shit!" and "Do we have a fire extinguisher?" and "I don't know" and "I can't turn on the faucet, get me water!"

I'm relatively sure you're not supposed to put water on an oil fire, but fortunately for us the oil must have burned off almost entirely by the time I donated my drink to the cause. A splash of water, a leap of flame that touched the cabinets above the sink, and we were left with one very blackened pan and a lot of smoke. As we struggled to see the ceiling through the dark cloud, something occurred to me.

"Why didn't the fire alarm go off?"

"Umm, that's a good question."

Procuring a 9 volt battery has suddenly shot to the top of the list of things to do tomorrow...