February 2001

11 Feb 2001[link to here]

I've been horrifically busy in the past few weeks, but today I decided to treat myself to proper food, which generally means cooking something simple from scratch. I like the convenience and flexibility of eating out, but there are a few drawbacks. Cost is the obvious one, but quality of the food and the experience are also factors.

Restaurants generally optimize their food for how pleasant it is to have in your mouth, ignoring how it will make you feel over the next ten minutes, hour, day, year, week, decade, etc. The geeky AI term for this would be that they have a high discount factor for future return. A less geeky way to describe it would be that the restaurant expects their customers to die shortly after leaving the restaurant, or to act as if they think they will. I place more value on my future happiness than most people do, so many restaurants aren't catering to my tastes.

In addition to making better food than most restaurants, I enjoy preparing food. It's a good break from whatever else I'm working on, and can be very relaxing. And really, my kitchen is conveniently located inside my house, which is great when I remember to stock it with food.

I like eating onions, but I used to hate chopping them. My eyes are unusually sensitive to onion-mace, and I generally have to run screaming from the room shortly after the chopping begins. I've heard many supposed remedies (clenching various wards between my teeth, chilling the onion), but nothing helped enough to make the process pleasant. After many years and many tears, my then-housemate Jason revealed the one true method, which seems obvious in retrospect: wear goggles. Since then, I've received much mocking in the kitchen, but nothing that brought me to tears.

12 Feb 2001[link to here]

I'm going to be running the sound board for Speedzoo tomorrow morning on KKUP. Before tonight's rehearsal, I'd never touched a sound board and I'd only heard Speedzoo once. Crazy, no? You can listen online if you time it right (8am-9am PST).

13 Feb 2001[link to here]

Every now and then when I spot someone else's typo, I have a brief moment of cluelessness, failing to comprehend how that typo could have happened, until I remember that most people still use the old QWERTY keyboard layout. Today I saw a typo of my own quoted in some email, and it had a similar effect because I'm not used to seeing Dvorak typos. I guess there's just no satisfying some people.

Irony: my spell-checker didn't know the word "cluelessness".

15 Feb 2001[link to here]

I enjoy speaking precisely. It'd be easy to go overboard (and some people think I do), but there are plenty of cases in which precision clarifies without complicating too much.

I also like using slang occasionally. I like the contrast against my otherwise formal-seeming phrasing. I like showing that there's not always a big difference between an intellectual and a bumpkin, that word choice isn't always a good indicator of sophistication, and that we're all bumpkins anyway. And lots of slang is just friendlier.

For these reasons, I like saying "y'all". English doesn't have another good second person plural pronoun. I say "howdy" a lot too. They both started as jokes, but they grew on me. They're still jokes, but the joke is on me as much as on everyone else. I think the world needs more howdying.

I also try not to confuse "all" and "each". There's a difference between "You all have a house (collectively)" and "You each have a house (of your own, not shared with other people I'm addressing)."

Today I found myself wanting to say "y'each".

16 Feb 2001[link to here]

18 Feb 2001[link to here]

Clinton's justification of the controversial pardons he granted is well written and compelling, but one of my favorite bits was something the paper slipped in at the bottom. It says, for eternal consistency of format, and for those who hadn't recognized the name or figured it out from the content of the article, "William Jefferson Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States.".

22 Feb 2001[link to here]

Today, while biking back from a meeting, I saw a Sparrow parked at the Mountain View train station. It's so cute! Alas, it only has a 30-60 mile range, little cargo space, no passenger space, and costs $15k, but it costs much less to operate and maintain than even my efficient (30-34mpg) Saturn and pollutes less.

On the NY Times web site, there's a link to "Personalize Your Weather". I wonder how that would work.

23 Feb 2001[link to here]

A few weeks ago, Steve was in town and took some photos and movies of me playing with some of the toys I've made and tricks I do with them. Today I finally selected some photos and movie clips, re-encoded the movies, and put everything online.

28 Feb 2001[link to here]

I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is deep-southerly I know a ham hock from a handsaw.