Concussion Update (by )

Just a quick update - I have improved drastically, went to the Drs yesterday and he is pleased with with the fact I can plan knit and colour in even though I can't follow patterns or do my own drawing. Writing still hurts, reading still hurts and gives me virtigo.

I am bored but hey I'm felting like a fiend, I made wings - they glow. I am not up to using the image uploader yet - I'm barely using the camera and the quality of pictures taking is shocking.

This will all just take time but it should be a full recovery - I have fine motor skills back and no longer slur - speech is still slower than normal but as I was a fast talker this is only evident to people who know me. I also take a while to answer some things or think of the word - it's weird but I do normally get there. Sadly this also means I solve problems several hours after they needed solving - I am not used to not being able to see ways to solve/get around/sort things out.

I am very behind on work, I dread to think about how many emails I have. I am taking it easy and waiting for my brain to sort itself for another 4-6 weeks depending on headaches, I am going to the clinic about the polyp/lumps in my sinuses in August, I am getting sorted. I am enjoying colouring in but it takes forever, writing this is taking for ever and is harder than I could have thought.

I am still very tired and need to get away from noise as I start to have trouble processing information and sensory import. I've not been able to watch TV or films or fair ground rides or highly patterned clothing. I sleep and get dizzy but this is now a lot less than it was.

Feeling thick would be a good discription and the reading writing stuff is the way I remember it from infant school - I used to get vertigo then - that was the dyslexia - is it that now? Has the concussion made that worse? I am distracted but can now keep hold of my phone - I've completely lost my keys though but then not really allowed out on my own anyway :/

I think I've fucked up part of my career again at least temporarily and I am hacked off about that.

There is still a bump, a phyiscal ouchy lump that sits there in my hair and the whole area hurts if I laugh but hey I've started to laugh, I take a while to get jokes but I was often slow at that and then laugh and laugh once I got it but this is more so than that.

The girls have mostly been brilliant and poor Al... well he's been the hero once more. I dry brushed my hair for the first time today as lump was still bleeding/weeping before - I am a frizz ball but it's stinging so I don't wont to put serum or anything on the hair and I learnt at the weekend that putting my hair up can pull on the lump area - not nice.

I am getting there - thanks for the well wishes an d patience and help.

Ugarit 2.0 released (by )

Unless I messed up the release process, Ugarit version 2.0 is now available from the Chicken Scheme egg repository.

What does this mean to you, dear reader? Not a huge amount; you can go and read the release notes at the bottom of the Ugarit documentation page for the fine detail. But, to summarise:

  • The beginnings of archival mode! As well as storing chains of snapshots of a filesystem, as Ugarit has always done (generally to be used as a versioned backup system), Ugarit vaults can now also store "archives", which are groups of files or directory trees identified by arbitary metadata, such as "This is the song 'Ooofarno' by 'Bobby and the Beaters', which is track 11 out of 12 from the 'Fishes In The Sea' album", or "This is a photo of Aunt Mavis taken at 13:58 on the 3rd of August, 2020, at Uncle Bob's 100th birthday party", or "This is a PDF of a paper by Donald Knuth on ternary numbers, called 'Simplified Arithmetic in Base Three'". You can then find things by searching on this metadata, which is much, much, nicer than creating trees of directories to organise all your stuff into. The user interface for getting things in and out of archives is still a bit minimal - but I have plans to fix that.

  • The way tags are stored has changed. Ugarit 2.0 will read vaults created by prior versions happily, but when it writes to a vault, it'll write new-format tags (which have type information as well as a pointer to something), which old versions of Ugarit won't be very pleased to find.

  • We now store a "metadata block" in every vault, pointed to by a hidden tag (we didn't used to be able to hide tags, so old versions of Ugarit will show you a funny tag, and complain if you try and do anything with it, as it's a new-format tag). This stores a vault format version number, so we can better handle incompatible changes to the vault format going forward; and as it's hashed and encrypted like any other block, it means you'll get an instant error if you try and connect to a vault using the wrong hashing and encryption settings, rather than bizarre errors further down the line.

  • We've made it possible to store large logs in the vault. When we do a snapshot or an archive import or something, we keep a log of warnings and recoverable errors that cropped up while doing so. This is stored as a file attached directly to the snapshot or import object, so it can be arbitrarily large.

  • Added log.sexpr and properties.sexpr files in the explore-mode interface, inside every snapshot or archive import object, which let you access the log and the metadata. These are files you can extract, or you can look at them with the new cat command.

  • Added a cat command in the explore-mode user interface to dump a file to the screen for viewing.

  • Added a client-side cache of snapshots and imports, which significantly speeds up the exploration of backup histories and archive metadata. Optionally, you can make the cache persist between sessions, otherwise it's made afresh for every explore session.

  • As well as the existing ability to fork a tag into two tags that share the same history (applicable both to snapshot tags and archive tags), added the ability to merge two tags into one, melding the two histories into one. This includes some exciting logic to combine those histories for display in explore mode!

  • Added a new sqlite backend, which provides a storage inside a single file, managed by sqlite. I wrote it to make testing easier, but it's a useful storage backend in its own right!

  • Tidied up the Ugarit internals, splitting the core up into a load of separate modules. This makes development easier for me, and means nothing to users.

So what's next? I want to improve the usability of archive mode - right now, it's quite easy to import a bunch of files, but you have to hand-edit a text file to provide metadata beyond what it can automatically extract (currently just basic file information, plus whatever it can extract from ID3 tags and Ogg metadata); and then you can explore the history of the archive (as a series of imports) through the explore interface, or use a command-line tool to search for files, and then extract them or stream them to standard output.

What I want is:

  • A shiny (web-based?) UI for searching the archive, seeing thumbnails of images, and the ability to download files with a single click or to perform bulk editing operations on metadata with ease and panache.

  • A music player, that lets me pick music from an archive to queue, or to be given an arbitrary search criteria to find music to random-play, playing direct from the archive.

  • A way to pick photos and assemble them into galleries, which are then publicly visible through a Web interface. Sarah wants to be able to put sequences of photos together, as well as individual photos that don't form parts of sequences, into multiple albums, for her blog publishing stuff (which is often quite image-heavy). The current image publishing framework I threw together for her years ago is a bit limiting now, and quite clunky to use.

  • A mountable filesystem that lets me access archives, either in a generic manner (with auto-generated directories for every property, and every value of that property, containing all files with that value of that property) or with customised directory layouts (such as presenting my music collection as /music/ARTIST/ALBUM/NUMBER:TITLE.EXTENSION, with all the capitalised bits generated from the metadata). I'd like to do this by adding this to the explore mode virtual filesystem, and then having that mountable.

Concussion (by )

For all of the time I've known her, Sarah has been poorly. When we first met, she was being investigated for a bowel problem, and she also suffered shoulder pain from a bike accident when she was a teenager. When she was pregnant with our first child, she had an exciting array of complications, and took many years to recover from the experience; she had mobility issues and pain due to a separated pelvis, lacked energy, had reduced sensation in her legs, and so on. The second pregnancy was nowhere near as bad, but Sarah still bled for months afterwards due to problems with her womb lining.

However, some months ago, while trying to lose weight, she cut wheat from her diet; and a load of niggling health problems she had reduced significantly, while her energy levels rose. She suddenly found it easier to lose weight, and things were looking pretty rosy.

However, this meant that she wasn't certain of her limits any more. Last Sunday, she was dancing, and found that she could now dance hard, and didn't need to keep stopping and resting; until she was suddenly dizzy, and stumbled backwards off of the nice soft grass and onto a concrete path, where she fell over backwards and hit her head hard on the ground.

I didn't see it happen; I was looking the other way, but Jean called out to me, and I saw Sarah lying on her back. She was instantly surrounded by people, and a paramedic was at hand almost immediately, so other than providing my cloak as a blanket, my role was reduced to holding her hand and helping Jean to pack up our things so we could leave.

This led to a thrilling trip in an ambulance with her neck immobilised, and several hours in A&E being examined and X-rayed.

Sarah with concussion, and her neck immobilised

Thankfully, this revealed that she had no structural damage to her spine or skull, so she could be released from the collar and head restraints, and sent home.

Jean was a star throughout; she rode in the ambulance, with Sarah's glasses and phone and medication, while I followed in the car, and helped the ambulance staff by verifying the truth of questions they asked Sarah to check her memory function. She didn't panic, even though it was clearly stressful for her, and did all the right things.

On Monday, Sarah mainly slept. On Tuesday, my father and stepmother visited, and we had a day out; Sarah was still speaking slowly and having short-term memory problems (forgetting where she put things, mainly). But on Wednesday she was struggling, with her speech slurring and often struggling to remember words for things, so she spoke haltingly. So we took her back to A&E, where she was given a CT scan, which thankfully confirmed that she didn't have any bleeding inside her skull (which would have been bad news). So she was let out again, and told to come back if she wasn't better in another week and a half.

At the time of writing, a week after the accident, she still has difficulty concentrating for long conversations, and can't concentrate on reading or watching TV or anything like that for more than a few minutes at a time. If she tries, she starts to struggle to think clearly at all, and her speech worsens. I've not kept track, but she sleeps through the night and probably spends at least a quarter of the day napping, and has to restrict her waking hours to mentally non-taxing tasks. Loud noises cause her pain, and I've been having to work from home to keep an eye on her and to keep Mary from bothering her.

So, it looks like she has Post-concussion Syndrome; this means she may be better in a few weeks - or may well be like this for years. Apparently about one in ten people still have symptoms after a year.

Her personality is intact, and her memories all seem to still exist; she just has to take her time to find them, which makes conversation difficult at times. But she can't do any of the things she loves to do, because sustained concentration renders her zombie-like within minutes. Unless that clears up, her career in writing, crafts workshops, and science communication will be over. I feel reasonably confident I can leave her looking after herself at home now, but she won't cope on days when Mary is not at nursery, so if things don't improve my job may become awkward until Mary starts at school in September, too.

So, for the time being, all we can do is hope it gets better!

Geo Bake Off – Geologist Despair (by )

Sisters and their epic geo-cake

I mentioned the Geological Society's Bake Off to Jean - this is the result - she's been planning it for weeks!

cake top view complete with zome in sections

The girls are seriously proud of this 7 cake monstrocity.

Cakes all bakes for the geo bake off

They have certainly enjoyed eating it :)

Mary eating geology cake

Jean eating geology cake

There is a lot of hidden stuff that went into this cake.

One of the themes was mud which is why there is chocolate orange mud flows :)

The chocolate mud flow on volcano cake adding chocolate mud flows to volc cake

But there were all sorts of challenges and Jeany decided she wanted to try and complete as many as possible.

So within the river valley there is structure for a cross section.

The river valley complete with internal cross section

And then she just got plan creative - with the structure of the cake and I believe some youtube research.

Within are the mazi-bones

These are the marzi-bones fossil human ancestors or related species buried in a cash by volcanic ash - they may or may not have already been dead when this happened some more excavation will have to occur to find out!

What's within the mud close up cake

The top layer of the Mud Tower is a chocolate gravel lens between a sandy mud and a volcanic ash.

chocolate gravel lense between the sandy mud stone and volc ash

You can see the colour difference really well in this photo.

Mud tower with slice talen out

Here is Jean cutting open mud tower to reveal whats within.

Jean cutting into the mud tower cake

Spoiler... the chocolate gravel lense.

chocolate gravel bed hidden between two layers of cake mix

Here's the river valley with birds foot delta - at this stage the volcano is dormant or extinct.

River valley cake close up

This is the main part of the cake with Mud Tower and the ammonite loaf as zoomed in bits and the past hidden behind the lush "hill".

cake top view complete with zome in sections

Of course there is a hidden volcano and... erm Jurassic Park toilet death scene...

icing lava and Jurassic Park toilet death scene with t-rex

Making the dude out of icing

The geologist hammer was another challenge - but being Jean it is a geo-thor hammer so is the wrong shape (to be honest she sneaked a time travel train into it so I was amazed there was no tardis). I did the writing.

Geo-Thor hammer made of icing

Within there is an ammonite - this one was completely and utterly Jean's own idea and it worked and she is soooo happy she is taking it into school tomorrow :)

The ammonite within cake loaf

This was the tense moment of cutting in and finding out if the idea had worked. It's a bit flatter than intended but we agreed it's had metamorphic stuff happen to it thanks to the volcanos proximity.

Jean cutting her hidden fossil cake

The cake did kind of over flow but that's not surprising - here's how it was made...

bottom layer of cake mix for hidden fossile cake swiss roll ammonite in you go ammonite loaf ready to bake hidden amaonite cake splurged

icing hammer before writing Jean's hidden fossil load with icing hammer

Did I mention that she called this cake collective - Geologist Despair.

Geologist Despair Cake

Geologist Despair the cake that rocks

Volcano before lava.

volcano cake before lava

She did try to put structure inside the volcano but it didn't work that well.

Strips within the voclano cake didn't really work Inturnal structure of the voclano cake

The volcano was fun to put together - she remembered Dino-Mountian I'd made her for her 5th? Birthday :)

Marshmallow fluff cake glue Filling the volcano cake with chocolate frosting

How the river valley was put together...

creating the internal structure for a hopeful cross section valley cake four types of rock ready to bake! River valley cake with ash and mud inclinded layers chocolate butter icing from different angle chocolate orange butter icing for mud base grass for the hills added to the river valley cake River valley cake with birds foot delta

One time travel train and it's in a tunnel - the tunnel was the challenge :)

Time travel train coming out of icing tunnel between the two time zones of voclano cake

And before the tunnel, infact she did a lot of icing moderling for this.

Train added to cake sans tunnel making lava moulding the icing decorations for the cake

Of course Mary pulled her weight too :) Mainly with rolling out icing and smearing chocolate everywhere!

Mary rolling icing for the cake

She did most of the Mud Tower by herself :)

chocolate coating the geo-cake

Stack of cake Choclate flop Mary coating mud tower in chocolate Mary adding the chocolate gravel Cake stake chocolated Marzipan tree Mud crack cake

Mary put chocolate gravel leaking out of an erroded side and some other bits including sticking out marzi-bones :)

Mud tower with grit and boulders and bubbles and cracks

Mud cracks were a challenge - Jean went with the existing cake cracks and made the lonely tree which was another of the challenges.

Look at those mud cracks and the lonely tree cake

Lonely tree... did I mention the lonely tree?

Lonely mazipan tree

Other general cakey making pics...

Jean and Mary sorting cake tins for geo bake off Alaric and Jean sieving flour Jean putting cake battery into bee hive tin to make a volcano cake adding the chocolate fragments mixer hard at work food colouring and choc powder for different types of mud

Creating the Marzi-Bones...

icing sugar in mould ready to make cake decs marzi bones are go agglomerate possibly glacial deposit created with chocolate and spongue cake Ring cake with chocolate inclusions etc Jean adding the bone cash to the cake Surprise marzipan remains can see the colours of the mud tower bottom cakes better and therefore the strucuter

maripan skull

I really love this idea :)

The marzi bones

Creating T-Rex...

mixing green and white icing for t-rex icing t-rex needs a trim

icing t-rex ready to go

This has been EPIC - it took 3 days to make the cakes - Alaric is taking Mud Tower into work tomorrow etc... Both girls have enjoyed it so much and of course we used home grown eggs. The cakes themselves range from chocolate orange to mint to vanilla and strawberry in flavour. There are three icings and marzipan involved and some of the cake is me friendly ie gluten free (the volcano) and some is Mary friendly and so on.

Jean was a little sad as she had meant to put Mary Anning in and a geological map too but she forgot and just don't ask her about how atomically correct her loo death scene is ok.

St Georges Day (by )

Red, White and Blue

It's St Georges Day about a dragon and a knight
About tea and cake and a fairy tail fight
So fly high the flag of red and white
Be proud and loud but loose the racist shiite
You know Anglos were once the foreign ones - right?
As was St George killed in his persecuted flight
Remember that when you mock the immigrants plight
And that it's the mix that makes for England's might

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