Monday, February 26th, 2007
Watching Wild Strawberries tonight for the second-and-a-half time. At the opening scene I am hit by the realization that Dr. Borg is based (in part) on the same archetype which underlies Moominpappa's character. (I am rereading Comet in Moominland to Sylvia for bedtime stories this past week or so.) Also Sara reminds me of the Snork Maiden. Funny... I wonder how much Bergman and Jannsen are coming from the same place culturally.
Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
So last night I finished Against the Day -- I was really loving and getting in to the end of Part IV, but the brief Part V left me pretty confused. I mean I liked that the Chums were diverging from our historical reality -- that seemed to tie in with a lot of the rest of the book -- but them coming back into our history wasn't really set up properly. I'm glad that Kit and Reef and their families wound up together.
Also last night I met Nicholas, to whom I am indebted for his concise explanation of Novi Pazar's history. Thanks, Nicholas!
Sunday, February 18th, 2007
Sylvia and I were shopping yesterday and we thought dinner tonight would be pork chops with sautéed onions and mushrooms. When we were going downstairs to start making dinner (Sylvia learned how to clean and cut mushrooms, which she did very well), Ellen mentioned there was some applesauce in the fridge that would be good with the chops -- and I had an idea. The end result, an easy sauce that is very tasty with pork chops:
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
- 1 lb. mushrooms, in bite-size chunks (roughly cut in quarters)
- 1 apple, chopped
- 2 tangerines
Cook the onions and garlic in about a Tbsp. oil over a low flame for about 20 min. Longer would probably work fine, too. Add the mushrooms and apple, stir, and squeeze in the tangerine juice. Stir, cover, and let steam for about 15 min., while the chops are cooking. Everything should be soft. Spoon over the chops with a little yogurt or sour cream.
Friday, February 9th, 2007
Two other things in my Cygwin setup: mail is aliased to Thunderbird (and I should figure out how to use the Thunderbird command line for stuff like writing mail), and firefox is aliased to start Firefox with the given URL -- this means I can have named bookmarks which seems like a lot of fun to me.
All the code I'm writing at my new job is for Linux machines. My desktop computer is Windows but I spend most of my time ssh'ing to the servers. So, I'm learning how to use Unix. I've been using Cygwin for a long time on top of windows, so I'm using that for my ssh sessions. The transition is going really well -- here is what my environment looks like:
I'm running an X11 server on my desktop; /bin and /usr/X11R6/bin are both on Instead of starting Cygwin sessions using their provided batch file (on top of the Windows command prompt), I use xterm. If you're running xterm on a large screen, start it up with "-font 9x15". I use a Cygwin session as my home base for the computer, which is a huge improvement on always opening "Run" from the start menu when I want to start an application.
I put links to a lot of my favorite applications in the /jbin directory (also on the path); for some (like Notepad++), I put a shell script in /jbin which will reformat a file specified on the command line to DOS path format using cygpath. Other commands are aliased to xterm -e cmd &, so that they will open their own window; for instance all the server names that I use regularly are aliased to xterm -e ssh -Y server name &. It's working out really well; I would recommend it even if you don't primarily do Linux development -- it's making my Windows environment way more versatile and user-friendly. And learning how to write Bash scripts is great.
Tuesday, January 30th, 2007
I am using vim as my primary editor at the new job, and digging it. I've used it a fair amount before but never really enough to give me incentive to become a power user. Today I discovered by accident that pressing '*' in command mode will find the next instance of the word which the cursor is currently inside -- a radically useful feature, something I have cause to do many times every hour -- it is ctrl-F3 in Visual Studio's editor. (Also I figured out that i can paste in xterm -- my lack of a middle button was stymieing me, but it turns out shift-Ins works.)
vim blurs the distinction between command mode and insertion mode a little bit, in ways that I find totally useful. I always hated not being able to move the cursor around while I was editing.
Update: Speaking of blurring the line between command mode and insertion mode, here is a line for .vimrc that I find extremely useful:set bs=2
This will allow you to delete existing text (using backspace or del) while you are in insertion mode, and to backspace over line separations.
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007
In the car today (first day at the new job! First day driving to work!) I was listening to "World Gone Wrong" and thinking God, what an amazing record this is! I haven't listened to it for a really long time. I'm pretty sure that is the album that Dylan was touring when Ellen and I saw him at Madison Square Garden. I need to listen to it more; also I need to get "Good As I Been To You" on CD.
Here is a really tasty dish that I cooked for dinner last night, that I don't really have a name for.
- 3/4 lb. codfish, cut into bite-size pieces
- Pasta -- I used farfalle but I think any noodle would do.
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into pieces
- Butter and flour for roux
Steam the codfish. This takes very little time, like 2 or 3 minutes once the water is boiling. While you are doing that you can saute the bell peppers and start the pasta boiling. Take the peppers out of the pan and make a roux. (Remember to season the roux! I forgot, and salted everything after it was cooked, which was a mistake.) Thin the roux with white wine and/or the codfish-flavored water from the steamer. When the pasta is ready, add the fish and peppers to the sauce and toss it all together; then put that on the noodles and serve.
Monday, January 15th, 2007
Dinner tonight was popular with the family.
- 4 medium-size yellow onions, chopped
- A few carrots, chopped
- 6 smallish red potatoes, diced
- 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- Canola oil
- Cheap white wine
- 3 filets of catfish
- Flour, salt, pepper
Fry the salted onions in a tablespoon of oil, in a stew pot. Add the carrots and potatoes. When everything is sizzling and wet, pour in some wine, lower the heat and cover. Cook over low heat about 20 or 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; toward the end when the potatoes are starting to soften up, add the broccoli. (I added it too soon and it got a little overcooked.)
While the stew is simmering, heat some oil in a skillet and mix flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Dredge the filets (you may want to cut them in half for easier handling). When the oil is hot, start frying the fish -- you will need to do it in shifts. Drain the cooked filets on a paper towel.
When everything is ready, cut up or tear up the fried fish and toss it in with the vegetables, and serve.
Sunday, January 14th, 2007
More thoughts on Vagabond -- I kept coming back to wondering how closely the events of the movie matched the events of Mona's final days, and what Varda's research had looked like. I have an image of her conducting interviews with the people portrayed, and then building on those interviews to create dialogue. I felt so strongly the spectre of death hovering over Mona! Especially starting around the time she hitched a ride with Mme. Landier -- who seemed downright creepy on the second viewing. The final sequence, from when Mona flees the fire, to when she is assaulted by the wine-makers, to her wandering into the field and falling, had me crawling out of my skin. How true to life is that image of the wine-makers carousing and chasing random pedestrians around, dowsing them with dregs?
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