Headlines for Monday:

  1. My own place (250 words)
  2. Tea Party 2: Attack of the Eclairs (600 words)
  3. Ethics approval! (39 words)



1. My own place: 21:02

Another paean to the joys of having my own place! I'm coming to *like* not having other people around, at least once in a while. To sing at the top of my voice, to do my chores in a state somewhat less than presentable (it's a little too warm here--I should look into getting two stand fans), to simply relax... Ahhh.

I'm treating myself to a face mask. Green, of course, and with a towel wrapped around my head--just like in the movies. The tea tree oil smells fascinating and stings just a little bit. (It's said to be good for pimples.) But there! Girl.

Still, this picture would not be complete without my reading lamp, a delicately curved tea cup with Earl Grey tea (there's a story behind that, too), and Jon Bentley's excellent and not at all dated compilation of columns: "More Programming Pearls: Confessions of a Coder." I loved the essays on algorithm analysis. Two made me think and go hmm - Floyd's algorithm for randomly sampling M integers from the range 1..N, and Hoare's algorithm for efficiently finding the median of a set. Geek.

I think I'll do more hand-laundry today. I like doing that. I'm also considering getting more cushion covers so that I can change them, if I can find non-Ikea ones that are also 72x72cm. Then I have lots of e-mail and blogging to catch up with... Life is good!

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2. Tea Party 2: Attack of the Eclairs: 22:24


  • James Iveniuk
  • Wayne Young
  • Jessica Young
  • Simon Rowland


  • Eclairs (happy! ;) )
  • Ambrosia apples
  • Clementines
  • A marvelous assortment of tea, from which Simon chose Mountain Spring Jasmine

Wayne and Jessica helped me make eclair shells the night before, which proved to be quite an adventure. We followed the recipe from the older edition of Joy of Cooking. I have the new version, so I can't include the recipe for the choux pastry until I copy it from him sometime. Here's the one I used for the frosting, though.

Joy of Cooking p1003

1. Boil 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan. Well, I had a little less than 3/4 cup of table cream left over from tea last Sunday (no one took cream), so I topped it up with a bit of whole milk.

2. Add 8 ounces of chocolate, finely chopped. I wasn't sure if the baker's chocolate squares were 1 ounce each, so I tested it using the displacement method of measuring that Wayne taught me. I put in eight squares, which seemed just about right.

3. Stir until most of the chocolate is melted.

4. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

5. Stir very gently until completely smooth. Well, taste it, and then panic as you realize that unsweetened chocolate really is unsweetened. Dig out brown sugar container left over from cookies from before the move (yay cookie ingredients!). Add sugar to taste.

The resulting dessert was yummy, although a little too soft and rich. Also, I need to learn how to make it look prettier. Maybe a light glaze next time instead of a thick chocolate filling?

I also bought a box of six varieties of tea bags. I'm thinking of using the neatly-divided box to present other teas when I'm done, although it'll take a while to get through 120 tea bags. (Had one today!) I picked up Mountain Spring Jasmine organic green tea from an upscale grocery. Yup, definitely starting a tea collection. Maybe I should reduce the proportion of chocolate desserts so that people can savor the tastes of the tea instead...

Bought jam and fancy white bread, too. (Fancy? White bread? Eh?) Fighting the urge to break out into song from the Sound of Music.

Oh, and bought easter lilies! They smell wonderful. I hope they last longer than tulips. Note to self: find a low-care, pretty, fragrant perennial...

I had a lot of fun catching up with James. We talked about interpersonal relations and communication skills, a topic naturally proceeding from his mention of "Keys to the VIP", the idea of which appalls me. James left at around 5:15, which gave me some time to sort things out before Wayne, Jess and Simon arrived at around 5:30. They stayed until 6:30 and chatted with each other while I packed up.

Oh, and I have a pretty new teapot - glass with a built-in tea ball that you can raise and suspend using a jointed rod in the lid. Clever design. Got it from Winners.

Great things this time: Kicking people out at just the right time. =) Also, having time before the party to prepare in a relaxed manner. Next time - less food? Or maybe a focus on fruits and jams. I should take a look at the weather forecast. If it's cold weather, I'll bring out the chocolates. If it's warm weather, I'll announce a fruit- and jam-oriented tea party...

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3. Ethics approval!: 22:35

Yay, got ethics approval for my usability study! Now I just have to work on polishing up the prototype and making sure that it's testable...

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