July 15, 2007

Parry Sound

July 15, 2007 - Categories: travel

One of my friends had recommended the 30,000 island cruise around
Georgia Bay, so we made a side trip to Parry—a tourist town halfway
between Sudbury and Toronto. We managed to pull into the parking lot
*just* as the boat was filling up with people. Good thing, too – ten
minutes later and we would’ve missed it completely!

The Island Queen was a stately three-decked ship with gleaming white
sides. As I stepped onto the deck, a crew member smiled a hello. He
told me that since I had such a nice camera, I should make sure not to
miss the Hole in the Wall and the crooks and crannies of the islands
we would pass by. A Toronto Star reporter had been there just a few
days ago, he continued. I nodded and cradled my camera close, thinking
how much better my dad’s pictures would have been had he been there!

The scenery was just as spectacular as the brochures promised. The
Hole in the Wall was a narrow, twisting corridor through granite
cliffs almost close enough to touch. As the passage widened into
harbors and passages, it seemed that every bend revealed a solitary
house couched in windswept pine. Some of the larger islands had
clusters of cabins and even beaches with park benches.

Seeing all the lush greenery, W remarked that he was no longer quite
as concerned with his carbon footprint.

These remote hideaways reminded me of one of the points made by *both*
of the books I was reading: it doesn’t actually take obscene amounts
of money to enjoy the luxuries commonly associated with the lifestyles
of the super-rich. I’m sure that a determined vacationer could find a
short-term rental here. Reflecting on the amazing scenery passing by
us, though, I felt a twinge of dissonance.

This isn’t my dream. Many people aspire to going off and having their
own private island, but not me. I like a bit of green, yes. I happen
to be fond of good postal service and public transit, and I wouldn’t
want to rely on airlifts in order to get to the hospital. Besides, I
like the bustle of the city, with endless things to do and so many
people to meet. So that’s probably who I am: a city kitty, at least
for now.

Still, as I snapped picture after picture from the white rails of the
ship, I wondered—what this place must look like in the fall, with all
the maple trees aflame!

I’ll upload pictures soon. I have around a thousand photos to sort
through. Experience has taught me that my little laptop is nowhere
near up to the task. Fortunately, W.’s desktop is more than twice as
fast as my computer, and the program I found (kphotoalbum) allows me
to quickly go through pictures. A friend had recommended keeping even
the bad pictures so that we could learn from our mistakes, but who has
the disk space and attention span for that? No—I’m going to
ruthlessly discard anything that’s blurry or can’t be salvaged with a
little photo manipulation in the Gimp.

My photographs can’t do justice to the place, though. It was
beautiful. And you know what? I *know* we have beautiful places like
that in the Philippines. I know because I’ve seen the pictures taken
by my dad and my sister on their adventures throughout the country.
Sure, most of our forests have been stripped by logging and other
uses, going as far back as the slash-and-burn tactics used by
pre-Hispanic Filipinos—but there’s hope. If Sudbury could plant over
three million trees in order to reclaim a barren moonscape wrecked by
nickel mining and huge ore roasting beds, then the Philippines can
too.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-empty-thread-mark – Variable: *There is no thread under the article.

Emacs tidbit: DVI and LaTeX interaction

July 15, 2007 - Categories: emacs, pimpmyemacs

Skimming the help.gnu.emacs newsgroup can turn up all sorts of amazing
tidbits. For example, I occasionally write papers using the LaTeX
markup language for scientific documents. This allows me to produce
professional-quality typeset papers, particularly when equations are
involved. (I used that *so* many times in university!)

I just found out that you can click on the typeset document (the DVI)
and jump to the source code. Here’s what David wrote on help.gnu.emacs:

That’s easy. This feature is called forward and inverse search. It’s
explained in the AucTeX manual. If you use auctex just hit C-c C-t C-s
(I don’t know if this also works within the build-in tex mode). This
enables the TeX-source-specials. With the source-specials on, Emacs
will start xdvi with further options. xdvi will start displaying the
page where the point is set in Emacs (forward search). When you click
any line in xdvi simultaneously pressing Ctrl you return to Emacs with
the point on the corresponding paragraph. This works also with other
dvi viewers, but you have to configure them to use emacs server for
inverse search.

Wow.

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Random Emacs symbol: default-fringes-outside-margins – Variable: Default value of `fringes-outside-margins’ for buffers that don’t override it.