Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

from my friends at laphroaig


(from yesterday)


infelicitous phrasing

A sentence found in the wild (of college papers):
“Scientifically speaking when we view something of color light is reflecting off of that particular object…”

Ignoring the lack of commas, but “something of color”?

Briefly, Google hit tallies:

“person of color” ——- 4,040,000
“persons of color” —– 2,650,000
“people of color” ——- 14,000,000
(“women of color” + “woman of color” = 5,840,000
“men of color” + “man of color” = 8,460,000)


“thing of color” ——— 40,200
“something of color” — 38,700 
(Two orders of magnitude fewer hits!)

Hmmm. Sounds like a task for Language Log.

socrates WOULD say that

socrates WOULD say that

new computer! a tale in pictures.

starting at the beginning

look, mom!

the cpu is IN! and seems to be flanked by ... tiny engines?

now this is a heatsink

thermal paste applied, heatsink IN! also what looks to be another engine, this time a V8. (actually it's the chipset: intel p67.)


quick fast-forward through some relatively uninteresting steps to.... DONE! power supply on the bottom left, network card above that, and graphics card (with fan) above that, heatsink you remember, two sticks of bright blue ram to the right of it, and column of drive slots on the far right (one holding an intel 120gb SSD!)

for contrast: my insanely old, very first personal computer, thank you, and may you rest in peace.

my sweet new tower (er, "chassis"... can you believe it's called that?)

and from the side

and my sleek new keyboard: ultra-thin, laptop-style keys, and SOLAR POWERED.

and of course it's wireless, and got the black-white thing going on

power meter that brings up an awesome screen when i press it, telling me how much light it's getting and how much charge it has

FINISHED! (despite the old monitor and a crappy, not pictured mouse, both which will be replaced eventually...)

Nepal, part ii: the bad.

Okay, finally: on to the bad stuff about Nepal.

First: it’s unbelievably dirty. There’s garbage everywhere (I had a lot more pictures than I fit into this post), and there’s not plumbing everywhere, so in addition to the smell of garbage, there are other, equally unpleasant, smells.

The next thing is obvious, but needs explicit noting: the lack of creature comforts. I know that’s supposed to be part of the charm, but I must be immune to it. Somehow, dirty water and spotty electricity just don’t appeal to me. Add to that the constant risk of foodborne illness, the fear of poor medical care, unsafe tap water, having to turn on a big gas tank in the bathroom for hot water…

only at the very end of my trip did someone bag this garbage. before that, it was sprawled out all over the street, just near a row of school outhouses.

SO. MUCH. YELLING. And other noise, too: Every morning at like 6:30 the woman next door would do puja, which involved her sing-chanting and ringing this godawfully shrill bell for several straight minutes. DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING. To be fair: I’m not saying I think she shouldn’t have done it (as if my annoyance were more important than her religion), just that I found it really annoying. Definitely something I’d have to get used to if I spent more time there. (Nic seemed to not even register it.)

stray (read: unclean) dogs ... not dead, despite appearances, just sleeping during the day

The next thing is admittedly silly, but the whole time I was there I was afraid there would be an earthquake and whatever building I was in would crash and I would die a sad, hot, dirty death away from my family. Turns out we missed it by only a little while (it happened a couple of weeks ago, and turns out it wasn’t as bad as was predicted).

more garbage

It’s also horrible to be a tourist because there aren’t a whole lot of them, especially not in the area we were staying, and there are no social taboos against staring. Hello Sartre, hello alienation.

a thin layer of grime coats everything (especially you)... and this is with a weekly cleaning lady

A contingent fact about my trip was that Nic’s friends came to visit from India and basically needed a lot of hand-holding, as they’d never left India or really been tourists before. They basically seemed to just want to visit Nic, not Kathmandu. They weren’t really interested in the food or sites. They also had crazy dietary restrictions and were very unclear about their plans, both what they wanted and what they intended to do. (Culture clash: “Let’s meet at 7” meant “Let’s meet sometime after the sun sets, you know, whenever though.”)

munna: the strong, silent type... who wouldn't stop listening to backstreet boys on his phone.

Also, getting ripped off because you’re a tourist. That’s always nice. Even though Nic had been living there for a long time and speaks fluent Tibetan, he’s white. So suck it, us.

manoj: the jovial hindu ewok (<-- come ON, right???)

The streets are scary because in many places, there aren’t sidewalks and people ride by on their loud, fast little motorcycles and don’t really care that you’re in the street. Also the traffic is just insane. There aren’t discernible traffic laws (or anyone to enforce them), and it seems like sides of the road and right of way are more driving heuristics than anything else.

that was a nice motorcycle, but there are lots of fast, mean crotch-rocketeers, too...

Anyway, that’s enough being a downer for now. I can’t leave on that note, so here’s one more picture of a dog – not stray – who was just a fluffy little ball of love and adorbz:

he was chewing on nic's shoelaces a little bit, too.

Next up: the weird!

interim post: alexa meade

All right, sorry about the delay. I’ve been putting it off because I’ve been spending WAY too much time on the computer lately… ironically, doing research for a new computer that I’m going to build.  (Parts have almost all arrived, building will commence soon, pictures to come.) Anyway, I don’t like spending that much time on the computer, so I’ve been neglecting to update.

In the meantime, though, an article about this artist came up on my Google Reader, and it’s too awesome and interesting not to share. (Click to go to designboom’s article.)

(back!) nepal, part i: the good.

In response to the recent outcry for vacation pictures, I give you the first of a four-part series (it sounds arduous, I know, but I promise it’s mostly pictures).  First will be what I liked about Nepal; second, what I didn’t like; and third, things that were otherwise weird or notable; fourth will be Bangkok.  (Alt-text (hover over pictures) for facts and stuff like that.)

So Nepal is sort of wedged between Tibet, China, and India, which means there are a lot of different cultures coming together.  There are Buddhists of different varieties, Muslims, Hindus, and some Christians.

Parts are really beautiful: all kinds of ornate religious buildings, mountain skylines and sunsets, brightly colored clothing and food, and greener than green rice paddies.

One notable sight was Swayambu(nath), a huge Buddhist stupa on top of a really tall hill.

Also known as the "Monkey Temple".

Prayer wheels that encircle the base of the stupa.

At the base of the hill, a monk rests. A dog too.

Nearby, there's a new park (I forget what it's called) with three giant gilt statues. L to R: Manjushri, Buddha, and Guru Rinpoche.

Just a tad of Chinese influence ... also soccer.

A really big, colorful prayer wheel. It's blurry because it's spinning!

Another famous religious site is Pashupathi(nath), an important Hindu temple to Shiva (the destroyer!). We couldn’t go in because only Hindus are allowed entry, but we saw some of the inside from the hills around the temple and got to see the grounds.

The golden calf ... (watch out, Jews and Christians)

A row of lingams.

Hanuman, the Monkey King!

One of the most beautiful places in Kathmandu, I’m convinced, is the Garden of Dreams, built by one of the kings of Nepal, Kaiser Sumsher.

Her face was like the moon. Her eyes like lotuses. Her mouth, like a lotus. Ears, also lotuses.

The central lawn.

The plaque says that the marble broke in the big earthquake in 1934, but the leaves were added as a statement about making the best of what you get and adapting to the capriciousness of life (probably for financial reasons, too).

A big, rotten beam.

Nic was staying in the part of Kathmandu called Boudha.  It’s where all the Tibetan exiles live.  The main stupa is a pretty big deal.

Boudhanath: The stupa at Boudha.

Hoisting the prayer flags.

Landscape with rice paddies and cow.

Rice paddy with monk.

One thing that I wish we’d adopt here in the west: the use of umbrellas as parasols.  I don’t like it when the sun beats down on me.  It’s way too hot, plus it’s bad for your skin!  But it was totally normal here to walk around with a parasol.  (It was also totally normal to find skin products with whitening agents, not coincidentally.)

Everything was really inexpensive, too, which was awesome.  I got some supplies for my Etsy jewelry and a bunch of cool souvenirs and gifts.  We also had a couple of really nice meals that were dirt cheap relative to US prices.

Speaking of food, it was fun to see the different flavors.  Lots of mangos and mango flavored things (I drank a lot of mango juice), cardamom and black currant candies and cookies, pani poori, and in general lots of Indian food and flavors.


Stay tuned for more…