~/.diary schedule

8:30 9:30 CS21A at F227
10:30 11:30 CS110 at F227
11:30 12:30 CS21A at F227
13:30 15:30 CS139.3 at F227


Had somewhat more successful mini-contest. More fun with BlueJ. CookOrDie: angel hair pasta, meatballs.


Priorities - A: high, B: medium, C: low; Status - _: unfinished, X: finished, C: cancelled, P: pending, o: in progress, >: delegated. Covey quadrants - Q1 & Q3: urgent, Q1 & Q2: important
B33XMerge from E-Mail from Michael Olson (PlannerModeCompletedTasks)
B0XWrite labs for conditionals (SchoolWork)
B0XPost contest results and sample data (SchoolWork)
B0XReply from E-Mail from Lori Uy (SchoolWork)
A5XWork on FurtherStudies from 2004.06.26
A0XWork on FurtherStudies from 2004.06.27
B2CReply from E-Mail from Lori Uy (FurtherStudies)
B0XCheck out EmacsWiki#RecentChanges from 2004.06.28
B0XWork on PlannerMode from 2004.06.28
A0XWork on FurtherStudies from 2004.06.28
A0XDo some SchoolWork from 2004.06.28


2. Teaching reflections


Dr. Sarmenta finished the lecture on Java Basics and started on Conditionals. I'm worried that the students might find the discussion on preincrements and postincrements a bit too abstract, as they don't have use for that yet. Dr. Sarmenta thinks it's wiser to get the topics out of the way, and since he's senior for that section, well... Anyway, I'm going to postpone that topic until I get to for loops, where it really makes sense.

I'm also worried about the long discussion on conditionals and grouping statements with braces. He spent a lot of time pointing out possible bugs. I guess this is a good thing because otherwise the students might pick up the bad habit of making small, random changes to their programs in order to get things to work, but again, it felt somewhat disconnected.

I started my MIS class with a quick overview of the exercise. I explained a few of the quirks, then moved on to conditionals in the context of the bank account exercise. I explained it in English and then showed them the Java code to do it, which they dutifully copied down. I also showed them how to use the debugger to investigate the behavior of the if/else structure. I felt good about trying to follow the BlueJ way of making exercises.


Armed with more examples, I went over methods of justification again. They understood the contrapositive immediately when I used English examples, and they were surprisingly familiar with the various examples for proof by contradiction. Loop invariants are a little bit clearer now, but they still need a lot of practice identify the statement S and proving it holds true before, during, and after the loop.


Mini-contest. Okay results; a number of people solved at least one problem, and Mark got all 3. I should be moving into searching and sorting soon. I guess I'll have to cover normal sorts so that people using the Online Judge know what to do. I should also cover the shortcuts...

1. Angel hair pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce

Categories: CookOrDie#34 -- Permalink
My mom bought me a package of angel hair pasta on her grocery run yesterday, so I thought it would be nice to give it a try. I remembered meatballs in tomato sauce usually accompanied angel hair pasta, but I had no idea how to make meatballs. A few hurried Google queries turned up many variations, most serving way too many people. Fortunately, my sister Kathy (visit her website and sign her guestbook!) was online. She gave me a basic list of ingredients and told me everything was to taste.

See, "to taste" is Rather Difficult for people like me. I was certain she doesn't mean taste the raw meat, but the average cooking time I saw in the various recipes was fifteen minutes, and that kind of turnaround doesn't make it easy to experiment. I resigned myself to getting the proportions all wrong. Binary search _so_ doesn't work with cooking.

I managed to pull through, though.

Meatballs in tomato sauce (way too much; around four times what I actually needed): Serves 2, with leftover meat mix

- 1/2 kg ground beef - 1 diced/minced/mangled onion - 1 egg - 1 cup crushed crackers because I couldn't find bread - Lots of Italian seasoning - A few dashes of salt and pepper - 500g tomato sauce (I tried the three-cheese sauce; very nice)

Mix everything. Roll into small balls. Put around 8 balls in a saucepan with a little oil. I think this makes the texture a little crunchy, which is a good thing. Pour tomato sauce into saucepan and cook on medium (although it was a bit high, actually) for 15 minutes.

I had extra tomato sauce. Maybe I just need 400g. I don't think 250g will cut it, though. Meat made enough for 26 meatballs, and 4 are perfectly all right for 1 serving (with angel hair). I should probably cut down to, say, 1/8 kg. That means figuring out what to do with the egg and the tomato sauce.

Angel hair pasta: follow instructions on package. Basically: 1" or so diameter bundle, boiling water with a little salt, two minutes.

After the initial paranoia about meatball poisoning, I found myself actually liking it. The three-cheese flavor really helped raise this from a boring tomato sauce meal to something pretty funky, and the sauce wasn't expensive. I should probably mix in more spices so that the meatballs are more flavorful.

Realization: This combination of smooth sauce + chunky meat nicely complements angel hair pasta. The sauce sticks to the pasta and flavors each strand, while the chunky meatballs provide contrasting texture.

I think I should concentrate on finishing the rest of the meatballs and the pasta before starting on a new dish. Have to clean out my freezer, you know. It looks like this will be pasta and meatballs week!