April 18, 2007

Bulk view


W and I were talking about Post-It tape flags when he asked me if he’d
shown me his Markham housing map yet. When I said no, he went
downstairs and showed me this map with house locations and values,
school districts and rankings, and other notes of interest—a *paper*
map with little flags all over it.

A paper mashup. Gotta love it!

Geek! =)

Random Emacs symbol: info-title-3 – Face: Face for info titles at level 3.

Multi-modal learning

I’ve stepped up my reading in preparation for my paper, practically
inhaling research papers and books. It’s easy to copy and paste
quotations from PDFs of research papers, but dead-tree books are
harder to handle. I’m relatively happy with the way I’m doing things,
though. Here’s how it works.

When I start a book, I record the name of the book into my voice
recorder. As I read, I note interesting quotations by recording the
page number and the quotation as one file. In this way, I accumulate
dozens of notes. When I have time to encode all of these, I loop over
each file while transcribing whatever I can keep up with. I repeat
each file as many times as necessary.

This has the effect of usual several modes for the information: visual
when I read it for the first time, auditory when I hear myself read
it, and kinesthetic when I type it out.

It’s slower, but I hope it works well!

Random Emacs symbol: global-mark-ring-max – Variable: *Maximum size of global mark ring. Start discarding off end if gets this big.

Arroz caldo

Not content with figuring out that lasagna automatically makes me warm
and fuzzy, W noticed that I often snacked on the instant arroz caldo
mixes that I was thrilled to find at a nearby No Frills supermarket.
He then set about figuring out how to pronounce it (important first
step!), and how to prepare it. We ended up combining several recipes
from the Internet and throwing in *way* more garlic and ginger than
the Westernized recipes called for. We put in too much chicken meat
(will fix that next time), but the rest of it was just perfect –
glutinous rice dissolving into a chicken broth that had simmered to

The only point of disagreement came when I sauteed the garlic
yesterday. I chopped up the garlic and threw it into the pan. W looked
at me in surprise and threw in the sliced onion as well, explaining
that he usually cooks the onion first in order to avoid burning the
garlic. I pointed out that the recipe specifically called for the
garlic to be lightly browned first. We compromised by cooking the two
separately in the same pot, and the dish wasn’t affected.

When I fried garlic again today, though, the reason for this
disagreement came to light. Aparently, Western cooking hardly ever
lets the garlic color. In fact, recipes often make a point of it. For
arroz caldo, though, you *want* crunchy golden garlic. With that kind
of clarification, we came to full agreement.

But look! Arroz caldo! Isn’t he so sweet? And now he’s looking up how
to make champorado, even though he can’t believe that chocolate rice
porridge is supposed to be a breakfast thing.

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach… =)


One of the pictures I lost when I downloaded to /tmp/pictures instead
of ~/tmp/pictures (boo!) was a nicely-lit picture of the lasagna we
baked the other day.

The first lasagna we baked was pretty good (yay Parmesan!), but this
one was much better because of the cheese mixture and the texture of
the top. We followed the instructions on the back of a box of
oven-ready lasagna noodles and used the sauce we’d prepared the day

The lasagna baked beautifully golden, without any burnt bits. I just
*had* to take a picture. I placed it on the counter and took out my
camera. W caught me fiddling with the stuff in the background,
clearing extra stuff away. He laughed and offered to use the lamp on
the table for lighting. “Should I hold it for you?” he asked.

I laughed and decided to take him seriously. I told him how my dad
taught me that food shots almost always look better with back light,
and we fiddled with the lighting a bit before I took a shot.

“Photographers’ daughters,” W said, shaking his head and smiling.

I told him that was what came of growing up around photographers and
food stylists. Maybe I’m just a late bloomer. ;)

But ah, lasagna! I have to confess that I was a little worried when I
was getting to know W because he’s lactose-intolerant and my favorite
kind of lasagna is extra extra cheesy, but he regularly eats more
cheese than I do. And now he knows that lasagna’s one of my comfort
foods and one of my weaknesses… =)

Random Emacs symbol: mouse-autoselect-window – Variable: *Non-nil means autoselect window with mouse pointer.


I showed my thesis prototype to three other researchers at the IBM
Toronto Center for Advanced Studies. They all thought it was a cool
idea! =) I’m going to do my pilot usability test tomorrow. I spent
today typing in my notes from various books… More tomorrow, too!

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Adventures with J: Rhyme time

J asked me if she could take the Shel Silverstein book I lent her to
school tomorrow, because her teacher told them that they’d do poetry.
She loves the Shel Silverstein poems, and has probably flagged more
than three-fourths of the book. I gave my permission, of course.
Because she was so interested in poetry, I suggested that we play a
rhyming game. We rhymed all the way to the supermarket and to my
place. W joined in, even throwing in some gems and groaners. I told J
that if she wants to write poetry, then knowing lots of words will
make it easier to pick just the right word. Maybe she’ll end up
reading more poetry and browsing through dictionaries! =)

J likes drawing and storytelling. Who knows, that could be her path…
=) W and I are both logic geeks, but storytelling is fun too. But I’m
still going to keep thinking of ways to help her develop
problem-solving skills! =) If math is too abstract, maybe adventure
stories would do the trick…

Random Emacs symbol: cd-path – Variable: Value of the CDPATH environment variable, as a list.

Bruised knuckle

The middle knuckle of my right hand is a little darker than the
others, and a bit sensitive to the touch. It’s an interesting
sensation. I’ve never bruised my knuckles before. Heck, the krav maga
folks had to teach me how to punch. =)

But it’s so much fun!

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Lost pictures

Note to self: never ever ever ever ever store thing in /tmp ever ever
ever again, as Ubuntu is smart and deletes things.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-article-strip-all-blank-lines – Command: Strip all blank lines.