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ilai: (default)
It's that time of the year! My Teele Square apartment is seeking a roommate replacement for Sept 1. The room itself is 120 sq feet and $775/month. We have free washer/dryer in basement as well as a dishwasher, tandem parking, and 2 bathrooms. If you're looking for a place or know of someone looking please send them my way :)

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/roo/4569506790.html

Thanks!
ilai: (default)
(This is one of those things you see that people share a lot on their computers. I felt like I needed to do it as well.)

I work for a place that helps you pay less to go to different places for fun. We help you find ways to fly and drive as well as look for places to stay. You can use your computer to ask our computers for ways to go somewhere, and ours will go out and search a lot of other computers for the best. Now you can also use our computers to talk to the people who own the fun spots to make sure you have a place to stay while you are having fun!

There are many computers that work with each other to do this job right, and it is my job in turn to make them work well. I am always looking for new ways to make the computers talk to each other so that they are faster and do not do bad things as much. I also make it easier for other people at my job to change the way you use our computers for the better.

What this means is I often tell my friends at work how to better write stuff to tell a computer how to do its job. This helps make it easier for other people to make the computer better, even if they don't know how the computer already works. I also help figure out ways for our computers to tell if my friends at work write stuff that doesn't work, and warn them if this happens.

(I forgot to share the way you can get to the computer that checks the words you use: http://splasho.com/upgoer5/)
ilai: (Default)
Wow, I haven't written anything since the summer.

Right now I'm posting as a way to keep myself awake. If I keep reading books ands magazines I'll doze off and then jet lag will have the best of me. At the Newark Airport I bought a couple Will Shortz puzzle books so I've also been working on some KenKen.

It's been a couple of years since I last visited Taiwan, and this time I haven't been keeping up with the news, so I'm feeling a bit out of the loop. Usually there's media on the plane ride over that would help me feel mentally (culturally?) switched over. But instead I opted to watch some fluff. A long plane ride is not a bad way to finally see Avatar and Desperately Seeking Susan. I also discovered that I'm no longer averse to Arrested Development since I've seen other recent shows that are similarly short on attention span.

I'd forgotten that since red is a lucky color, stock tickers here use red to indicate gains and green to show losses.
ilai: (Default)
This week is Record-a-Thon week at Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic, where volunteers hope to record audio books and audio textbooks for the visually impaired and those with dyslexia. So far I've read for six hours, from a book about Satchel Paige and another bio of Abigail Adams.

As part of my marathon reading, I'm also hoping to raise about $500 for the organization. We help to reach about 22,300 students across New England and a quarter million people in the country. Please help sponsor me by making a donation on my Firstgiving page. Thanks!
ilai: (Default)
One of the advantages of being unemployed is that I can waltz down to Boston Common on a weekday morning, watch a movie, and have the theater all to myself. So it was when I went to see Formosa Betrayed today. I was prepared for something less than perfect, having heard about the film before it came out and having read various reviews afterwards. But I did not expect to be severely disappointed.

Short and lame review dissing the movie )

If you want a cheap two-hour introduction to a little bit of Taiwanese history without much effort, and are willing to suspend disbelief and follow Agent Kelly’s vain attempt to uncover vast government conspiracies, this is the movie for you. Or you can do a little deep-diving by doing some outside reading:

Formosa Betrayed, by George H. Kerr (not actually related to the movie) )

Fires of the Dragon, by David Kaplan (probable basis for movie) )

Alternatively you can visit Taiwan’s national archives (!) and see some Flash-ridden presentations about the 228 Incident and the Formosa Incident (the latter referenced by the protest in Kaohsiung in the movie).
ilai: (Default)
Good-bye Athena account. You were fun while you lasted. You provided convenient storage and ubiquitous access while I needed it, social networking mechanisms until I didn't, and a short-and-sweet e-mail access that slowly gathered more and more junk mail. My user ID and Kerberos principal will probably still linger on, but those will be distant memories in my mind in a few years. So long.

Getting back to Earth, I quite literally talked to a thousand people yesterday, which means my voice was dropping out around six or seven o'clock. Voter turnout was fantastic. In the precinct that I worked there were about 1400 votes out of a voting population of about 2000. By the end of the night I was quite exhausted and non-functional, though part of that could be attributed to my waking up at two in the morning the night before and not able to get back to sleep. By five I just gave up and started my morning routine in preparation to arrive at the polls by 6:30.

And now Massachusetts has a Republican senator again. I'm not a big fan of Scott Brown, but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. Also I don't want to sleep with Brown or Coakley, but I was amused by Brian McGrory's column in the Globe comparing the election to a bad weekend hangover. "Oh, you bad boy. You bad, bad boy."

Addendum: the cheap-ass umbrella I bought from CVS a week ago? It died in yesterday's icky-but-surely-not-windy weather. Maybe I should really go for the "Unbreakable Walking-Stick Umbrella" (video also on Youtube). But it's not foldable :(
ilai: (Default)
It's been a while since I posted, so it's time to catch up! Except the more I wrote the more pictures I added, so now it'll all be under an LJ cut. My last couple of months )
ilai: (Default)
I'm going to Philadelphia to visit family next week, but I'll come back in time for the December 1 concert at the Symphony. Would anyone like to come with me?

According to the web site, the program features violinist Joshua Bell and the following pieces:

Debussy - Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
Stravinsky - Symphony in Three Movements
Brahms - Violin Concerto

http://www.bso.org/bso/mods/perf_detail.jsp?pid=prod3240017
ilai: (Default)
I'm going to see You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown tonight at 8pm. Anybody interested? It's put on by the Longwood Players and features a set designed by the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] brief_life. This is the second and final weekend for the show; it runs from tonight till Saturday with a matinee Saturday at 2pm.
ilai: (Default)
1. Fell out of a plane at 13,500 feet this morning.
2. Drove 75 miles on my first Zipping experience.
3. Yay.

Pictures forthcoming (they're in the mail).
ilai: (Default)
The NPR news quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" is coming to Boston again Thursday, October 8 at 7:30 pm. I missed last year's show and really want to make it this fall. Is anyone else interested?

Tickets go on sale next Monday, August 3 at 10am. The Wang Theatre page doesn't say what kind of tickets are available but it does say they range from $38 to $68.
ilai: (Default)
Western Spaghetti by PES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBjLW5_dGAM

Muppets version of Stars and Stripes Forever, starring Sam the Eagle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDA9NbPAK8o

Fireworks by PES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bmpFCwZbwM

Happy Fourth.
ilai: (Default)
So I was on vacation ("sabbatical") for six weeks since the beginning of May, and haven't really been posting much. Time to catch up on life and stuff, using bullet points!

For the first time, I have
* visited Europe (Italy)
* made last-minute changes to travel arrangements
* gotten a massage (and then gotten another)
* ridden a bicycle without any major incidents (since adulthood--over the Golden Gate Bridge)
* gone to a thesis defense
* volunteered at a blood drive (MIT)
* seen a real IMAX movie (Star Trek)
* had beer from a tower

Otherwise, I've been keeping myself busy:
* attended five concerts and two shows
* seen several movies
* visited lots of museums
* went to a funeral
* helped with a move
* procrastinated and gave up on blogging about my trip to Italy

Since I've returned to work I've done other things too, but those might go in a separate post... if I ever get around to it.
ilai: (powerful)
If you think the 80s is fabulous you should go see Totally 80s at the Arlington Center for the Arts. Here's the description from the Facebook page:

Remember a time when big hair meant big fashion, when girls just wanted to have fun, you couldn't wait to have the time of your life and Cabbage Patch Dolls and the Rubik’s Cube were all the rage? Come back in time on a multimedia journey through the fabulous decade known as the 1980's! Hear the music, catch some of your favorite stars and experience the sights and sounds of this exciting time at Loki's next revue, TOTALLY 80's!

There are two more shows: Friday (tomorrow) 6/5 and Saturday 6/6, both at 8 pm. You can get tickets from the Loki Arts web site.
ilai: (Default)
While I was in Italy1 I read the paper and discovered that it had its first confirmed case of influenza A(H1N1)2, on May 2.

And just today, Taiwan has confirmed its first case, from an Australian doctor who entered the country a day before I did.


1 I should post about this some time.
2 I refuse to call it the "swine flu"--that moniker creates too much stupidity.
ilai: (Default)
Sometimes if I work for long stretches at a time, my wrists, elbows, or shoulders start to hurt. I blame mousing mostly, and typing on the keyboard to a lesser extent.

I would really like some sort of half-physical interface where you can pull items off the screen, look at them and manipulate them, and put them back. For example, if I use my calendar program, I should be able to "peel off" individual appointments as if they were sticky notes on my screen, and "paste" them back in different time slots. I would be able to grab one with two hands and stretch or compress it to a desired length, and get rid of it by ripping it off the screen or scratching it out. If I'm editing text, I'd be able to cut out paragraphs by imitating slicing motions around them, lift them out of the screen, and stick them onto the edge of my monitor while I figure out where they go. Then I could paste them back on the monitor to insert them into existing text.

This doesn't really seem doable, does it. Actually what this sounds like is I'm pretty wedded to the concept of sticky notes and paper. Hmm. I guess for now a touchscreen would do. I also want a pony.
ilai: (Default)
So, the sum of the first n natural numbers is the nth triangular number. And the sum of the first n triangular numbers is the nth tetrahedral number.

Is there a term that generalizes this concept? Something along the lines of a "d-pyramidal number", where if d = 1 you get the natural numbers, for d = 2 you get triangular numbers, and for d = 3 you get tetrahedral numbers, and so on?

I was trying to sleep last night with the Twelve Days of Christmas going through my head and wondered how many gifts were given at the end of the 12 days. (It's 364.) As I was showering this morning I went through several strategies to derive this answer (along the way, lamenting that if I wasn't dealing with integers then I could just do a quick integral, and that my visualization skills in three dimensions is not very good), and on the bus I ended up coming up with (n + d - 1) choose d as the general answer for the nth d-pyramidal number.

(Actually I just had an uglier product--the pithy version of the formula didn't occur to me until I went online searching for the right terminology and found a site that shows the answer in a Pascal's triangle, and made me go, "duh, what I have can be expressed more concisely!")
ilai: (Default)
I was trying to figure out why Adam@Home was looking so weird today when I discovered Rob Harrell's signature in the bottom of the first panel. Apparently Brian Basset wants more time to work on his eerie 50s throwback Red and Rover so he's letting Harrell take over the drawing.

The other weird thing is Frazz's eyes--it looks like someone messed up with Adobe Streamline Illustrator and replicated his nose at a 90-degree angle.

And you can't see it online, but the Boston Globe colored its last page of comics and then didn't print that plate in color. Now why would one do that? You might as well print the original black and white versions then. </curmudgeon>
ilai: (Default)
I'm using my day off to catch up on movies: I'll be catching the 12:40pm showing of Milk and the 3:30pm showing of Slumdog Millionaire at the Kendall. Give me a call if you're interested in joining me for either.
ilai: (Default)
So I consulted a dietitian last week who recommended that I try an elimination diet. This version cuts out all dairy, wheat, and corn for 30 days, after which I am to try introducing one type of food (except for dairy, which is known to be bad) for a week at a time. So I went to Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon, bought a whole bunch of food, and am planning on starting the diet today.

As those of you who've read Michael Pollan know, avoiding corn altogether is pretty darn hard in today's food industry. (Which reminds me--[livejournal.com profile] damselfrog, I'm done with your copy of the book; can [livejournal.com profile] gigglefest borrow it?) Luckily I'm already eating mostly unprocessed food, so hopefully this diet won't be too much effort.

I will probably have to figure out a way to make some kind of wheat-less, corn-less bread for convenience's sake. At some point I'll go looking for other fun grains to try, maybe at Whole Foods or Harvest Co-op; the Trader Joe's at Coolidge Corner was out of quinoa and didn't seem to have any alternative flours (arrowroot, barley, etc).

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Ian

July 2014

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