Old Daily Shows--October 2002

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Wednesday October 16, 2002 Symphonies

Today, I passed the Symphonic Repertory Exam. More to follow eventually, if there's luck.

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Saturday October 26, 2002 Jumbled life

Today marks a return after a longish absence, and with any luck, I'll be back more to stay. I've finally, after however many entries, gotten around to writing my own automatic-archiving software for the Daily Show, meaning that, with even more luck than the previous request, I'll keep the page size to a minimum.

It's weird how clutter, be it physical or virtual, makes it hard to get anything done. I've been avoiding writing anything for weeks, for a bunch of reasons, but chief among them was the fact that I haven't done any serious archiving in four months, and going through and doing it all by hand was going to take hours. Massive pain.

A hundred twenty-nine lines of Perl later, I have a happy script to do it all for me, and also do something I've been meaning to do forever, that being permalinks. Whenever I write an entry now, it's automatically--and most important, immediately--added to the archive and relevant month pages.

So why do it myself? Why not use Blogger or Blogspot or Diaryland or Movable Type or one of the others? Partly it's that the reasons for switching aren't particularly strong, but I think the real reason, the one that undergirds all the others, is that I want to have created as much of the material for my site as possible. I really enjoyed figuring out how to do the archiving mechanically, and figuring out a useful way to implement it. It was relaxing, in that weird coding-at-2/3-(daylight savings)-in-the-morning kind of way.

Working, eventually, on converting to XML and/or XHTML, which is currently defined as getting used to typing tags in lower case. Ben speaks to this in one of his recent posts, and it's a weird mental adjustment.

So, what news, pray tell? I'm a finalist for the Watson Fellowship about which I wrote. Need to finish revising my application, in a big way. I passed the Symphonic rep test, so I'm now a Music major as well as a CS major, which is a big weight off my back.

Today, Eliz and I went to the Swarthmore Friends Meeting's annual Jumble Sale--a big church garage sale, pretty much. I bought two things: an old copy of the PostScript programming manual, and a cloth tote bag suitable for carrying groceries. Susie, Elizabeth, and Eileen have converted me to wanting to use cloth bags rather than plastic ones, where possible, and so I've been on the lookout for a decent (cheap and well-made) cloth bag, and I found it at the Jumble Sale for 50 cents. The book was a quarter.

I was also pleased for finding a beautiful blue teapot, which I pointed out to Elizabeth. She liked it, and bought it. We had tea from it this evening, Earl Grey brewed from leaf rather than bag, and were both amazed by how much more homey it felt to have tea from a teapot rather than cups. So nice. Earl Grey with honey and cream and a backrub from the woman I love. These are some of the best things in life.

Last night, I went with various people to hear Solas live at Bryn Mawr. Awesome Irish music; I covet Seamus Egan's fingers with an ardor that would make Moses blush. He's their flute/banjo/guitar/whistle/everything player, and he's really, really, really good. Nifty cool.

And then there's the digital camera. I've been debating back and forth in my mind the virtues of buying one. The fact is, lately, I haven't been taking pictures, though I've wanted to, and the mental limitation has been the expense and slow speed of film processing--if I shoot color, I have to pay and wait; if I shoot b/w, I have to take the time to develop and print it. A digital camera will plug into my computer--I spend lots of time in front of it already. It'll also obviate the need for scanning the pictures, so I can put them up here if I want to.

There are two models I'm seriously considering right now: the Canon G2 and the Canon S30/S40. I've used a G2, and it's a heck of a camera. The S30s are similar cameras in a smaller body, with different controls, and I wanted to try one out in person to get a feel for it, so after the Jumble Sale Eliz and I walked to the Springfield Mall (smaller than our mall in northern New York, if you can believe it), and I went to The Camera Store.

They had the camera, of course, but they didn't have any batteries for it, and so I could only test out the general size of the controls. That said, I think I like the G2 slightly better. True, it's bigger, and will take more space, but I found my hands to be big enough that the smaller controls on the S30/S40 were fairly uncomfortable. So I think I may have made my decision, and now it's a case of working up the nerve to choose to spend that much money on a camera.

Why now? I feel time here slipping away, and the only visual record of it is in my head, for the most part. When will I see these people or places again like this? I don't have a camera that does candid photography well at all, and though I've never been a huge fan of it, there are times when it would be really nice. And then there's the artistic side of it. I really liked learning to use the all-manual SLR my dad lent and then gave me--I liked the mental shift that came with taking photographs to interpret, rather than merely record, a scene. I haven't been doing it, I think partly because of the film thing. Who knows. Maybe I just covet gadgets.

Walking back from the mall, Eliz and I saw a chipmunk popping out of a hole in the side of tree. Inside the knot, he'd made a little house for himself, and was just leaving as we walked by. In a flash, he was back inside, but he poked his head out again soon enough, and watched us as we stood very still watching him. He darted into his house again, and then ran down the tree and across a sidewalk onto the steps of the Swarthmore Meetinghouse. A quick pause to look at us again, and he disappeared into the bushes.

I got out the flashlight that I always carry, and we peered into his den, careful not to touch it and leave our smells on the entrance. It was a comfy space, protected from rain, wind, and all but chipmunk-sized predators, and it seemed evident that it was a home, rather than just a cache for winter food. Wonderful to see--we've both got a strong liking for chipmunks, and it's great to indulge it. Yay!

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Sunday October 27, 2002 Apple pie

Though I got up at a reasonable hour today, intending to do work, I stayed in my room, without so much as walking out the door, almost until dinner time. I slept and woke fitfully for a while, never really attaining restful sleep. I ate some of the smoked Cheddar that my parents sent me over fall break, and was cheered by the memories of home. Later in the day, I spoke with them on the phone--so wonderful to hear familiar voices.

Eliz and I (a year and six days, now) made apple pie this evening, having conspired to make pasta and then failed to enact our conspiracy due to lack of energy, interest, and available counter space. Simple oil crust and apple mixture, but so wonderful when it was done. Good to smell, and my whole room smells of apple and bread-things. I set them on one of the cork trivet-things my parents sent me, and felt wonderfully domestic. Later, I had a stroke of inspiration, and while Elizabeth and Susan ate pie seated on my floor while I rewired part of my room, stringing an unobstrusive brown extension cord behind fridge and dresser and under the door of my closet into the pantry. I clipped an old light that I had onto the shelf, plugged it into the extension cord, and voilà: a closet light that actually works, something I've been wanting for weeks in my pantry of celebrated domesticity.

I didn't get too much work done tonight, of course, but that was mostly okay. It's late again, and I should sleep. Observant readers, however many remain, will note that the Daily Show is now fully up-to-date and archived; using my new script, the archiving for the last four months took me 12 minutes this afternoon. Yay for Perl and the time to learn about it.

I've decided, I think. Action waits for the fullness of time, but the choice is probably made.

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Monday October 28 2002 Stuff going weirdly

Today, I tried to get a haircut, only to find that the haircutting place was closed, again, during business hours. Grar. I then attempted to buy a digital camera, only to find that they're out of stock and won't be back in for a month. Grar.

On the other hand, I had very good apple pie for breakfast this morning, which was good for the spirit. Tomorrow I will rise and take a midterm in computer graphics, and it will be okay, I hope.

Also, if you haven't seen this yet, go and give it a look. Definitely worth your time and attention.

And to the friends I don't thank enough, you're great.

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