Monday, October 30, 2006

Pirate Pooh (paca)

On Sunday, there was a Halloween party at B's daycare, known by us as "playground school". We went out Friday night looking for costumes and B chose Winnie all by himself. This morning, however, he saw my pirate earring and his sword and added them to the collection to make Pirate Pooh. Note the gold earring on his ear. The sword is the one I've mentioned before that has been his favorite toy for a long while.

Next up we have N and B. N's fairy wings kept flopping to the side. She also made paper flowers which once were stuck all over her, but they kept falling off.

And here we have me as a pirate - without the earring and sword - and B. We are decorating pumpkins with crayons and stickers.

And the whole family. I actually didn't have this goatee until Saturday. I remembered I was going to be a pirate when shaving, so I left it.

Here are some of the other kids who were there. Cavegirls...

I think we counted 6 Spidermans. But here we have... Percy Shelley? It is a university day care.

And here are Batman and a Princess. N informed me that the girls in pink dresses with wings are fairies and the girls in pink dresses with crowns are princessi. There were a LOT of pink dresses.

They had Trick or Treat Street which were boxes and houses lined up from wich they give away treats. I got put in one and when B saw me, he joined. He was actually very, very helpful and seemed to like giving out treats more than getting them. We are giving out little things of playdough. Maybe if it had been chocolate, it would have been different. From the inside...

Looking in from without.

And the view from without

B closeup at home later

And me and B in the kitchen. I liked this pic of me. N says my eyes look expressionless or dead or zombie-like. But then I am an eighth zombie. B is not covering his eyes here. He is taking a picture with his 1 mm long eraser shaped like an ice cream cone. You go, imaginative son!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pacatrue - Minion (paca)

I've mentioned the Evil Editor blog a couple times already. One "service" he provides is making fun of query letters. Another is posting the first 150 words of a novel (submitted by a blog reader). The blog readers then submit continuations of the stories that are intended to amuse. The idea is to twist the story in a way you wish it would go while keeping the tone of the orginal. I have now been the author of five continuations there, including today's.

Here's the link. The original author is in black; the continuation is in color. Also, each of these has been edited by Evil Editor in some way.

Opening 68

Opening 71

Opening 77

Opening 107

Monday, October 23, 2006

Llama Update

I find myself not making good use of my weekends. I think it's because I'm lazy. For about a month or two I was spending the vast majority of the time working through the Wheel of Time books. For those of you who haven't read them or now about them, there are currently 11 books and a short one is over 600 pages. So it took a while to work through them. Now there's one more, maybe two more to come, but Robert Jordan (the author) has acquired a terminal illness, which means I'll probably never find out how how Rand "dies and lives again", what Morraine has been doing with the Aelfine, and who killed Asmodean. So that's why I'm all for stem-cell research... so this guy can get cured and finish his books. Ah, I'm so callous.

I've finished those books though... this weekend I spent most of my time playing game after game of Civ4. It's fun, but I can't win a war for the life of me. I don't like war mongering, and when the Mongol hoard gets tired of me not giving them free tech and declares war on me, it's all over. Oh, I can usually survive, but the resulting carnage puts me so far behind the other civilizations that it's all over. Bah.

Well, the point of this post is to update everyone. I've told most people privately but haven't yet confirmed it here... I will be staying here in Bangkok for another year. I am travelling home for Christmas, though. I'll have about 2 1/2 weeks in Baton Rouge and the 'Boro. I leave here on Dec 14, arriving at the Baton Rouge airport on December 16 at 12:18 PM. I'll leave again on January 3, 8:20 AM. I'm hoping my dear, sweet older sister can pick me up and drop me off! If not, I'm sure we can make some other arrangements.


The Liberals Will Sell You Out (paca)

N's mother has twice now given N and I a subscription to The Sun Magazine, which publishes poems, photography, short stories, interviews, and personal essays. They are a bit on the left so that if someone writes a letter to the editor espousing a mainstream Democratic view, they are likely to be criticized as right-winger in the next issue. Anyway, it's a literary magazine that obviously N's maman thinks highly of. She is into that sort of thing. She used to be a French prof; worked to get a famous Moroccan poet to come give talks, etc. Basically, she thinks highly of art, reading, literature, ... Crazy stuff like that. Whenever she signs us up for the mag, she typically puts both our names on it, so the thing comes with a highly unusual form of address with 3-5 words in the name.

Due to this, it is clear that the Sun will sell their mailing list to anyone who wants it. Or at least we are now on the official "bleeding liberal" mailing list. Whenever the subscription begins, a few weeks later, we start getting letters from NOW, Amnesty International, the ACLU, etc., all with the weird Sun names for us. A few days ago, we received a catalog whose title seems to be "Make Art not War: Vote the Rightists Out, US Out of Iraq, Choose Choice, How to End Global Warming." Inside, it's a million and one ways to turn your political and social views into bumper stickers, posters, t-shirts, etc. It covers a hundred issues from immigration to feminism to native american rights to anti-war to Bush sucks to unions to global warming and all right down the liberal list. One interesting bit is how certain opinions on all of these matters are supposed to be shared among those with a liberal bent, when really, what should your interpretation of climate models have anything to do with your view on reproductive rights?. Makes me re-think whether or not I, with my "objective" personality (see below), really have reasoned beliefs or just rationalized ones.

In the end, though, if the choice is between being on a conservative list and receiving ads from Dobson at the Family Research Council or being on the liberal one and getting stuff from Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch, then I'll choose the liberal one for now. I can always toss the catalog for Che Guevarra t-shirts in the garbage.

I'm becoming British (paca)

I keep finding myself wanting to write like I have a summer flat in Oxford - England, not Mississippi, where I did live for 2 years and some. I wanted to write an email to someone yesterday to say that I had "posted" the letter she requested. I want to spell "humour" and "colour". I get confused on whether a word should have an 's' or a 'z' in it. I'm beginning to say 'cheers' regularly as a goodbye. At least, I do say 'howdy' for hello. Someone shoot me though if I start saying "sshhedule" for "schedule". There's a bleeding 'c' in the word for a reason.

Well, tally-ho. My flat is dark and I can't find a torch to get from the loo over to the lift.


Notices from child care (paca)

B has been at his new daycare since August and still seems to enjoy it. We call it playground school, since it has a big playground out front. The main problem with it is that they follow the university schedule exactly, which means they close for 2-3 weeks for Christmas. In theory this would be fine, but I work through university breaks, so we will be paying additional child care during that time.

Anyway, one remarkable thing the school does is every day they send out an email to all the parents saying what the class did that day. Each student is listed in at least one sentence saying some activity they were engaged in during the day. N seems to love these emails. She mentioned today that she was going through withdrawal over the last few days without access to them. Myself, I scan for B's name and then ignore the entire rest of the email. I don't need to know that Akele finger-painted today. This of course means that I am a horrible father, which I've always known. I would love to post one of the daily emails for you, but since they are full of children's names, I guess I won't. Each one has a subject heading like "Marvelous Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Theoturgical Thursday, etc." Is theoturgical actually a word? Will you accept Thorasic Thursday? Thelonious Thursday? Thermidor Thursday?

The school also sends on Sunday the "preview of the week". Since this is name free, I will post it for you:

October 23 – October 27
Preview of the week…

In the construction corner, the natural elements will remain in the block area for another week. Having the natural elements reside for a while creates a sense of challenge that some children crave in their creative creations. Other children might take a little more time to feel comfortable incorporating the natural elements in their block building. While for others, the natural elements and the blocks provide a sense of comfort and security.
Constructing with the colored flexi blocks will also resume for another week at the sensory/science table. There are so many opportunities for learning, the colored flexi blocks provide with connecting, stacking, designing, sorting, language, etc… Just like the other centers and activities the list can go on and on for opportunities of learning through play. In the art area, at the easel, we will continue collaborative painting with the lime green paint on a large mural. The children enjoy painting all over the paper without individual paper limits. At the art table, we will also carry over the collaborative work by continuing with mural drawing with thick markers. As for the collage table food stickers on a tablecloth will be available. The food stickers will attract the children to take a closer look and peeling off the stickers will assist the children in exercising their fine motor skills. On the menu for this week will be delicious Life cereal and icy cold milk
at the food table.

The children have a blast nurturing the garden with tons and tons of water and love. This week we will be planting pumpkin seeds in pots donated from our decorative pumpkin in the class. If you have the time, stop by and lend a green thumb to in our gardening expedition. Beautiful music can be heard as the children compose songs they create while experimenting playing the xylophone on the deck under the big, shady tree.

Extend the knowledge from school to home we will be enhancing these words at our food table:

Stay balanced,

Teacher Names Here

Paca again:

It's good I don't write these. My email would be something like, "We're going to have some blocks out and some paper stuck to a wall. Mary's bringing in a couple boxes of cereal that she got at Sam's super cheap this week. We'll be practicing the word 'no', 'stop', 'don't do that' and 'WTF are you doing?!'."

Oh, yeah. Man, I'm tired. It's fun to see the ornery paca coming out. And yes by and large this is my ornery side. I actually do have a temper, but usually it bursts and disappears in about 10 seconds. Far too short to sustain over a blog entry. The only way it sticks around is if I bottle it up and brood, which I'm decent at doing. But if I were to start cursing in a blog entry, well, then I wouldn't be bottling it up.

Damn it.

I so need to get over my meta-humor.

Right after college, my dad paid for me to take a battery of psychological tests from the Johnson O'Conner company, which are supposed to be good at discovering your natural abilities and limitations. In theory, people who find employment that lets them frequently utilize their natural talents are happier. I found it interesting and useful and if someone else is paying the significant bill, then I can recommend it. I killed on number series (you know, continue this: 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, ..., or, 2, 3, 5, 9, 17, ...), something musical/auditory, a vocab test, and I have an "objective" personality, which means that I can see both sides to an issue pretty clearly. Recommended occupations were economics, management I think, interpretation, music, etc. I did miserably at assembling some 3-D puzzle piece where I had to envision in my head where things should go and rotate the image and the like. I scored like 15% on that, meaning virtually everyone is better at it. I also bombed on inductive logic of some sort. This surprised me, as the very thing I do well in academia is reading massive amounts of data and finding a pattern. Anyway, the point of all this? My objective personality, in their sense, is so strong I cannot but see not just two sides of an issue, I also always move up to the meta-view of it, and then move up another level to make fun of my meta-level.

Back to work.

Maybe that should be my tagline.

P.S. I remember N getting angry with me once back when I was getting my philosophy degree because I just didn't have or couldn't give an opinion on some matter of personal importance. I always thought at the time that this was my philosophy training gone awry: I was becoming a skeptic about my own ability to know anything. It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is. (By the way, there are at least three different meanings to that word, and probably more.) But it might have been the "objective" personality coming through. Since I can frequently see the other person's point of view and understand it, it makes it harder to just act.

On the other hand, maybe I was just lazy.

See, meta-humor.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Efficient paca time (paca)

I am a pretty hard worker, but I'm not a terribly efficient one. I've always wanted to be a "work hard, play hard" kind of guy, but I'm actually a "work slowly for many hours with periodic time wasting breaks since I'm working so long" kind of guy. Usually I make up for my inabilities to manage my time my working incessant hours. Evidenced here as I am in the office at 12:22 AM writing this and I have a little more work to do before I go home. I could be doing that work; instead I am blogging about inefficiency. However, I'm going to have to be better than that for the next few days as N is about to disappear. She checks into her hotel 1.5 miles down the street from me on Wednesday to staff her big annual conference. B and I don't see her again until Sunday during which she will sleep and recover anyway. So no more going back in to school at 10:00 to make up for the goofing off earlier in the day.

I will also miss my wife as well.

I guess B and I could hang out at the strip clubs like we normally do when it's N's free night, but the dancers all concentrate on B as the cute one anyway, so what's the point?

Note 1: I've never actually been to a strip club. I assume B would have a hard time getting in, but I think it is accurate that the strippers would find him cute - and me rather skanky for bringing a child there.

Note 2: N's free night is not the only night she is free. It's not like she takes care of B 6 nights a week and me one. Instead, there are 5 "both parents at home" nights; 1 paca night; and 1 N night. N also does take are of B by herself during the day on Sunday. But I usually have B from 5:00 - 6:00 each week night and now I take care of him for 2-3 hours more when N is at her ceramics class on Saturday. So I don't feel too bad.

Note 3: If you are justifying everything with long notes, then maybe you should just delete the original.

Note 4: I should be working.

Note 5: There is no note 5.

Note 6: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Note 7: In fact, those who do expect, alright, forget it. Cardinal, read the charges.

Note 8:

Woman 1: Morning!
Waitress: Morning!!
Man 1: What've you got?
Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon, spam, egg sausage and bacon, spam spam egg sausage and spam, spam bacon egg tomato and spam, spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam and spam.
Woman 1: Have you got anything without spam?
Waitress: Well, there's spam egg bacon and spam.
Woman 1: That's got spam in it.
Man 1: Well, it's not got as much spam as spam egg spam sausage and spam, has it?
Woman 1: I don't like spam!
Main 1: Well, I'll have yours then. I love it! I'm having spam spam spam spam spam baked bean spam and spam.
Vikings (singing): Lovely spam, wonderful spam! spam spam spam lovely spam, wonderful spam!

Note 9: I used to know that all by heart; now I'm giving the expurgated version - the one with out the robin.
The one without the robin?!! They've all got the robin! It's a standard British Bird!
Well, I don't like them... they wet their nests.

Note 10: See Note 4.

Note 11: See Note 5.

Note 12: Feel free to insert your own random in-joke that only two other will get in the comments.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Visa renewal (Llama)

First of all, glad to hear Paca and family survived the earthquake.

We've had some flooding here in Bangkok; I tried to take some pictures, but the worst of it occured at night and I couldn't get a good shot. That one night I wound up wading the 1/2 mile or so between the office and my apartment. The deepest spots were about mid-calf height, or about 1 foot. Keep in mind this is in one of the wealthiest, most touristy area of Bangkok that they usually do their best to keep dry.

Finally, today I went to renew my Visa. The whole thing, including lawyers fees, will total about 700 dollars. 50 of that is designated "special service"... which, in American parlance means "bribe."


My first earthquake (paca)

I saw that the Hawaii earthquake made some headlines so perhaps most of you have heard that we had one. It was centered on the Big Isle and thankfully was on land, which meant that it did not trigger a tsunami. It was felt all the way over here on Oahu.

I happened to wake up right at 7:00 or so on Sunday and five minutes later, there was this rumbling that I just couldn't figure out. It felt like a massive truck or the construction equipment across the street shaking the house. But there was no sound really, and I just couldn't figure out what was going on. My best thought was a massive plane going overhead but whose engine vibrated so slowly that it was beyond human hearing.

As you can guess, 1) I've never lived in an earthquake zone and 2) I wasn't really awake.

Turns out I was basically right about the low frequency shaking, but it was the whole island and not just the street.

N was still sleeping at this point and I was still clueless about what this could be. However, I had the feeling that I should grab B out of his bed. So with the earthquake dying down, and one picture falling from the wall, I scooped B up out of his bed and wandered towards the door trying to figure out if I should be in or out. We did tornado drills in school, not earthquake ones. By this time, N was up and, well, not happy.

Despite the fact that she was sleepier than me, she figured out what was going on much faster because she thought of the tsunami possibility when I still wasn't sure what I had experienced. Supposedly, in a tsunami, Waikiki is liable to be flooded up to 5 floors and we live on the first. There were no tsunami sirens yet but we grabbed our box of important papers (birth certificates and such), my backpack, and headed out the door, going up towards the mountains of Manoa valley where it's tsunami safe. The idea was to sit in a McDonald's there having breakfast until we found out if a tsunami had been triggered or not. Unforunately, by this time, the power company's seismic failsafes had quicked in and there was no power on the entire island, making every store closed and empty.

We ended up sitting in my school office eating some lukewarm oatmeal and crackers. After about an hour or so, we all went back home, still no power, and I read for a little while N entertained B. Then, when a couple hours total had gone by and it was clear there was no tsunami, I headed back up to school to read articles. Sunday is daddy work day. No computer work on the journal, but I could still read by leaving the door open.

The day went fairly normally after that except for the whole no power thing, which meant no power in the house to cook, refrigerate, or run fans, virtually no stores, and no traffic lights. By the time I left school around 3:00, a Safeway had opened. Basically, there were emergency lights in the aisles and they had powered up the cash registers. All bread, water, and ice were long gone, but I found a head of lettuce and an avocado for a salad dinner, as well as the next to last package of English muffins.

When I got home, N and B had had a relatively normal day with a trip to the beach and a long walk.

We then dined by candle light and took another walk around Waikiki in the dark with a tiny flashlight and this little flourescent glow stick that N had bought as a Halloween treat the day before by chance.

Virtually, every store was still closed, but there were tons of people walking around in the dark, since there was nothing to do in a stuffy, powerless hotel room for several thousand tourists. The ABC convenience stores managed to show why they are so successful. They had people lined up outside each one. A manager would take a customer in with a flashlight one at a time and accepted cash. Some people waited in line for an hour to get a bag of Doritos and a bottle of water, but at least ABC managed to stay open, while all the competitors were dead. There was one food stand with a generator serving food. And there was one single store in all of the 5 or 6 blocks of Waikiki that we walked which was wide open with lights fully blazing and packed with customers - the Loco Boutique bikini shop. Everyone else who had a door open was operating on dim emergency lights or a limited propane generator. This place was fully lit and showing it off to the world, blasting some of the only major light to be seen for blocks. So 12 hours after an earthquake, you might be waiting an hour for the last Snickers, but you can buy a brand new bikini, no problem.

Around 9:00 everyone went to bed and I read some by candle light. Then, with lots of shouting, the power came back on around 10:30. I turned the light back off and went to bed. Today, most things are back to normal.

And that was my earthquake experience. The biggest casualty was the milk and these fillings for a new round of dumplings that I had made up on Saturday afternoon. C'est la vie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Goat Skin Pants theme song (paca)

I'm really pretty damn excited about this. Here we have a link to the brand spanking new "Goat Skin Pants - the Theme Song."

No, really. Here it is. It's a 5 meg mp3 file.

I created it in Apple's Garage Band music software. It's basically 9 tracks, 32 different Apple loops, and a lot of me being silly on vocals. Since everything is made of loops that are only a few measures long, you can't do melody, so I had to keep things interesting by fading in and out various voices.

For better or for worse, except for some echo, all the voices are just me hovering right over my Mac's microphone. No other processing. The closest to my natural voice is perhaps the middle section which is my homage to Falco's Rock Me Amadeus. Or perhaps three words at the very, very, very end. Otherwise, I'm always trying to do something a bit weird.

I hope you enjoy it. I was going for delightfully awful (but I managed to find a couple really nice grooves along the way). I think it is best loud, so if you have headphones, try them out instead of a tinny computer speaker.

And when you get to the last section, the answer is English, Chinese, Thai, French, and Japanese. In that order. Then mixed up again.

Challenge Results

I am editing this post because my links have been picked up by Google Image search somehow. I don't really know how, since all I did was link. But it has and I am getting 200 hits a day from it which is driving me insance, as it swamps any and all other statistics. I don't think this will help either, because it will be in Google Cache for some time, but, well, I gotta try something to make them all go away.

Now, this didn't turn out quite like I expected in that 1) the submissions were few, 2) they were all from women, and 3) all the submitters were in my family. So what we really ended up with here is women selecting pictures of women for women to vote on.

Works for me.

Since there are only a small number of pictures, I will post links to all of them in no particular order.


Despite the fact that I previously admitted to being infatuated with Laetitia Casta in the mid 90's, I had no hand in choosing this whatsoever. Warning, before clicking the link, this pic is sort of artistic semi-nude. Maybe open at home.


So, dear readers of this blog, are they attractive? Moreover, are they attractive to you? You may certainly post anonymously if you wish to get carried away. Getting carried away is encouraged as the purpose of this "Challenge" was to be silly. After all, I am the one who posted earler about how attractive a world-changing accomplishment like winning the Nobel Peace Prize is.

By the way, I notice some common characteristics about our four women, besides being actresses or models, what do you see?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Challenge Update 2006 (paca)

OK, the deadline for picture submission is a mere 26 hours away. That's midnight Hawaii time. So far I have received a grand total of 1 submission. Time to send stuff my way. If you don't want me to have your email address, the anonymous comment route is open and waiting.

I had planned to do a hot guy for the straight guy challenge next, but if no one cares....

Green curry in pictures

Here are the pictures from Monday's "simple green curry". First up, we have the cake tin with the removable bottom all set and ready to go, lined nicely with two layers of aluminum foil. Remember this. It's important later.

I didn't want to wait to defrost the chicken, so I dumped these three thigh pieces in frozen.

And here are our lovely ingredients. OK, it barely, barely all fit in here. That's one big honking potato. Obviously, a very natural modification to this recipe is to leave the potato out and cook a bed of rice.

Ingredients chopped.

Below we have our famous green curry paste. Add a teaspoon or two, depending on your love of spice. Those Thai Kitchen guys should send me a check for this.

What should be next is a lovely picture of all the ingredients in the cake tin, all nice and green, right before the cover of aluminum foil goes on top for baking. However, in this case, remember that cake tin with the removable bottom? Apparently, it leaks. So the next step here is to notice a huge pool of coconut milk and chicken broth all over your counter. You dump everything in the first big pot you can find. And you curse at something. But it all tastes OK anyway. Oh, I'd stir a couple time while cooking. The length of time will depend on how big a portion you are making.

P.S. The table cloth there was brought to you by B. It's one of his paintings. Also, the ingredients may not be clear. That's potato, carrot, mushrooms, green onion, and fresh basil.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Hot Chicks for the Straight Chick Challenge(paca)

Over on the Miss Snark literary agent blog recently, she posted a picture of George Clooney lounging in a pool without a shirt and, get this, smirking. Clooney with a smirk? Since when? There were then 50 comments from people - the large majority being women all agreeing that Mr. Clooney was scrumdidiliumptious. There was one comment which amused me, which was roughly: "I am posting this comment anonymously. This is because I think the picture is hot. And I'm a man."

So this pic was hot enough that even a straight man could appreciate that it was hot.

I kept running into some of this when I was thinking about my Hawaiian Hotties Handbook. I could easily find a hot woman to interview about how she became so hot/healthy, not that I ever spoke to anyone, but with the men I always had this delay. I'd see some guy jogging covered in muscles and the rugged chin and only about 10 minutes later, I'd think "wait, I bet that guy was hot!"

So with all this in mind, here is the challenge. Miss Snark found a picture of a guy that made a straight guy acknowledge his hotness. Now it is our turn. Introducing:

The Hot Chick for the Straight Chick Challenge 2006!

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to find a picture of a woman that 1) you yourself think is incredibly attractive and 2) you think is so obviously attractive that even a person who isn't attracted to women will get the point. The challenge is open to all - men, women, straight, bi, gay, trans.... Find a pic that even your wife, girlfriend, partner, sister, mom would admit is sexy. You may send the link to the picture either to my email at

p a c a t r u e at y a h o o dot c o m (symbols coverted, spaces removed, of course)

or in the comments.

I will keep the identity of the submitter secret if you don't want your wife knowing that you know the adresses of 6 fans sites dedicated to Eva Longoria. I will then choose some representative sample of the pictures and post them here. Finally, all of the straight women will inform us if we succeeded.

You have until midnight on Wednesday in Hawaii to send me the link. That's 5:00 AM in Texas and Lousiana, 11:00 AM in Morocco on Thursday (I will be really shocked though if my mother submits a picture, so suprise me, mom!), and some time in 2009 in Thailand. On Thursday, I will then diligently scroll through the pictures, no matter how much I hate it, select some sample, and post the results.

Will it be

Monica Belucci?
Aishwarya Rai?
Jessica Alba?

But remember you are trying to find someone your wife would find attractive. Act accordingly.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Lucas does Lord of the Rings

Here is a You Tube spoof of George Lucas doing Lord of the Rings. I don't think the creators are big fans of The Phantom Menace.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Day in the Life (paca)

In blatant imitation of the llama from a few days ago, I will now tell you of a typical Paca day in excruciating, I mean fascinating, detail.

This was my Wednesday, October 4.

N had an early meeting this morning, so she was up by 5:00 AM at least, and was gone before I got up. B and I then got up around 6:45. B ate some raisins while I shaved and then a bowl of cheerios while I showered. I think he watched a He-Man episode as well. Season 2, Volume 1. We got dressed and B went on the back of the bike to head to day care. We arrived at day care around 8:15. We washed our hands, B settled down to eat a banana, and I left to school.

I park my bike in my office around 8:30, gather my books for French Phonetics class, and my article that I have to present tomorrow (Thursday) entitled, "Efficiency and ambiguity in an adaptive neural code." This paper is not for French phonetics, but for the Machine Learning class.

I walk over to the cafeteria where I order two scrambled egg, two portuguese sausage, one tater tot, and a tea. I then sit down, do my French homework in about 5 minutes, and then spend the rest of the time reading about the adaptive neural code. At 9:30, it's off to French phonetics, where we work on various rounded vowel sounds in french. After French, it's up to the department where I start printing out articles I think I will need to read in order to understand what the hell they are talking about in the adaptive neural code one. After a library stop, it is off to my office where I do a little journal work and read some blogs for about 30 minutes, then voila, it's Acoustic Phonetics class. We are talking about hearing, especially with regard to intensity and frequency.

1:15, class is done, so I spend about 10 minutes telling my prof about the project I have in mind for both the machine learning and the acoustic phonetics class. I want to take a corpus of English intonation and use the machine learning techniques to estimate predictability of frequency. Sort of. Prof prints out a recent paper looking at intensity in a corpus. This turns out to perhaps be the best 10 minutes all day, because I might be able to use this same corpus as my data. We will see. Then it's a quick run to grab a bowl of chili and a diet pepsi for lunch.

At 2:00 J-W comes by. She's the person I had been helping edit the dissertation. However, she's largely done with that now because she defended the dissertation last week, so I joke about calling her Dr. J-W. Then we discuss possible projects we'd like to try doing together. She's Korean and all the ideas revolve around sort of cross-cultural things. She's into ethnography and socio-linguistics. I'm into phonetics, intonation, and theoretical / cognitive stuff. To keep this short, I will just say we throw several research ideas around. We also discuss possible stories for fiction writing.

3:00 I do a combination of journal work and blogging, and then realize I need to get away from the computer to get some work done, so I pack everything up for the great Thursday presentation and head outside to read that same damn adaptive neural code article some more. At 4:45, I pick B up at day care and we head home on the bike as always.

Today is running club day, so I won't be back to do more dinner cooking until almost seven. So I put some artichokes on and do dishes while B snacks a little and watches, well, you can guess. 5:45 we head down the street to the Nike Running Club. My knee's been acting up, so I decide to keep it to the 3 mile run today, which is to Ala Moana Beach Park and back, instead of the 4.4 mile course, which goes to Ala Moana Beach Park, around Magic Isle, and back. The really good news is I set a new best time for me, which is a flat 30 minutes. I don't know if I can really go faster with the stroller. The problem isn't how fast you can go with it; it's that you cannot easily get around obstacles, like people walking on the sidewalk, and you are always getting stuck.

B and I get home and it looks like N has added corn dogs to our artichoke fiesta. Dinner happens. N then kindly takes over B around 8:00 and I head off to a MacDonald's down the street to study. You can't study inside the house when B is awake. So over 2 hours, a McFlurry, and a Diet Coke, I finally finish the freaking adaptive neural code article. I then add in "Entropy and Information in Neural Spike Trains". I get home and then add "Adaptive Rescaling Maximizes Information Transmission" to my repertoire between 11:00 and 12:30. I still haven't written the actual presentation yet, but that's what tomorrow morning is for. From 12:30 to 1:15 AM, I write this blog entry, then it's off to bed.

See you all at 6:45 or so again tomorrow to rinse and repeat.

P.S. 1: Around 5:30, I call the jury duty hotline and learn that the trial for my group has been canceled. To be honest, I am not sure if I am happy or not. It would have been different, anyway. They do warn me that I might be called again later in the year. The voice mail lady wants to make sure I have something to think about.

P.S 2: The Dr. J-W thing isn't really a joke. She's supposed to get the last signature tomorrow and will really have the title. I'm very pleased for her. She has worked a long time for it.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick hits 85 (paca)

1) I remember watch David Blaine's first magic special on ABC a few years back. This was when he was just getting big and he did card tricks more than freezing himself in a block of ice. The most amazing trick to me seemed to be when he would walk up to someone and ask them to choose a number between 1 and 100. Then he would guess the number "37". Wow! I thought. How does he do it? It turns out that for whatever reasons people just choose certain numbers a lot, especially "37". Then the magic of TV is that you just show the time he gets it right and leave out the rest.

2) Rebel paca. A few days ago I received a letter in the mail that said prominently on the front envelope, "Do Not Bend." It was credit card junk mail addressed to an occupant of this apartment of a few years ago. I immediately bent the letter in half and squished it. I then threw it away so I will never know what havoc I created.

3) I've been called up for Jury Duty. I was supposed to report today (Tuesday), but Hawaii has a phone number set up that you call the night before to find out if your group has really been delayed. Turns out my pool, as well as pools J and K, are now supposed to report on Thursday. Of course, we then call again Wednesday night to find out if we are really supposed to go. It seems like a process designed to cause maximum disruption in one's personal life. But what do I know? I should not complain. At least, they give a phone number to call.

4) Self-defeating paca. I redid the low carb thing for the last two weeks. I wasn't perfect but there is no denying that not a single side dish of carbs passed these lips for two weeks straight. Monday morning I woke up and got on the scale to discover I had not lost a single pound. Therefore for lunch on Monday I was hungry and ordered the regular loco moco. Not the mini, mind you, but the regular. Two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, topped with two hamburger patties, two fried eggs, and covered in brown gravy. That'll teach my body not to lose weight when I eat properly!