2006 Archives

new board

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i just got a new skateboard... well, sort of new. i was just going to replace the trucks, but it turns out the board and the hardware (apparently that's what you call the screws and stuff) were nonstandard, and i couldn't be bothered to drill new holes in the old board. all i have to say is... new trucks (Indies)... my quality of life has significantly improved.

new Palm

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i just bought a new (well used, but new-to-me) Tungsten T3 to replace my aging Palm m500. it's so nice... color really makes a difference, and the higher resolution is great. Now my Chinese dictionary (PlecoDict) runs blazingly fast, and I can actually fit all the dictionaries into memory without an SD card, though now I want to add even more data to it. it can do photos! though, why i would ever need to carry around photos in my t3, i don't know.

it's too bad that Palms aren't so in vogue anymore. the company basically did it to themselves, which is sad, because it really is a nice platform. i just wish it had unicode support, then i could do things like carry around the picuris lexicon with me. hehe. As it is, i'm looking forward to the new version of plecodict, which will be able to have supplementary databases in sqlite format.


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Wow. I got absolutely nothing done today. Although I did show up for Tibetan class, which I suppose is an accomplishment.

I spent all day watching TV. X-Men 2, interspersed with Arthur and various bits of The People's Court. Then after dinner it was Heroes, this new show with that Weiss guy from Alias. It's kind of cool, and they have a geeky Japanese guy as one of the main characters. His "blog" on nbc.com is actually amusing. The guy who plays his best friend is kinda cute, I looked him up. It turns out he's Korean American, but apparently he speaks Japanese too. The bits with them are all in Japanese with subtitles.

Some day I will learn Japanese.

new Zach asked me about my not having a significant other. It turns out (as we were talking) that he's completely unfamiliar with the online scene. I was kind of shocked. He's so innocent!

Pepe says I have to go out and meet lots of people. Where am I supposed to find time to do that? I barely have time to watch TV all day!

I'm actually procrastinating on the papers I'm supposed to lead a discussion about on Wednesday. I suppose I just need to make an outline, make copies of it, distribute them in class, and start droning on. Bleh.

I've been trying to review one lesson of Tibetan a day, and I got through 8 lessons before they started getting hard. The early lessons look so easy now. I've also been inputting the vocab onto the computer with this Core Data app I cobbled together, so hopefully I'll be able to quiz myself when I'm bored. I think my brain has reached its limits of Tibetan, though. All I did over the weekend was read stuff.

Stacey and Jaymie are visiting this weekend, that'll be exciting.


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i'm afraid of plastic and food. It's a known fact that polycarbonate plastic (#7), the type that some Nalgene water bottles are made out of, can leach BPA. And apparently, plastics #1-#6 all contain phthalates, used to soften the plastics and prevent them from cracking, but they also cause hormone imbalances.

Of course, the plastics industry claims that plastics are safe, and that plastics have not been proven to leech poisonous substances, or at least not at high enough concentrations for people to care. On the other hand, no one has proven that plastics are safe either. The USDA apparently recommends that you only use plastics for their intended purpose (e.g. no cooking in trash cans, no reusing single-use items), but i wonder if that's enough.

Plastic use in the co-ops is actually kind of frightening. Apparently it's standard practice to use old yogurt containers as cups, food storage, etc. And people like to run these through the sanitizer (high temperatures) and use them over and over.

Big Buddha

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Maybe it's because it's the only tourist destination I've specifically gone to on this trip to Hong Kong, but I keep thinking about the Big Buddha at Lantau Island... It turns out it's actually relatively recent, finished in 1993, which means it wasn't finished the first time I visited Hong Kong (in 1992, if I reckon correctly). I'm not sure exactly what it is... giant Buddhas are (1) impressive (2) peaceful, and (3) kind of useless. I mean, in a good way. That's why they're so great... The wikipedia page on it (look up Tian Tan Buddha) lists other large Buddhas in the world, and I think I've now put them on my mental list of things to see.

In Hong Kong

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I've been writing in my journal almost daily about boring stuff like research progress, but I suppose I should throw a bone, so to speak, to my regular (*cough*) blog readers.

Today's the first day all to myself in Hong Kong. I got in on Monday night, went to the phonetics lab on Tuesday, and have been basically working all day every day, running subjects and trying to do some data analysis. When I'm not in the lab or at Manki's place, it's basically too hot to do anything else.

I still think taking the airport bus and sitting in front on the top level is the best way to get in/out. The view is excellent.

The university itself it pretty small. It has, like, one building. The phonetics lab is the best (the only?) in the region, and they actually keep running all through the summer--no such thing as summer break if you're in grad school here. Thank goodness I'm at Berkeley. They also have super-long weekly lab meetings.

Today I went to Ngong Ping (昂坪), where the largest sitting Buddha in the world is. I must admit, it really is super-cool, and the trails on the Lantau Island (大嶼山) have excellent views. You can see the airport and Tung Chung (東涌) and the Buddha and stuff. I took the MTR in, which is an experience in itself and only 20 dollars (HK)! Then I took the bus up, which actually goes up and over to the south side of the island before climbing up to the Ngong Ping. Then I had a great vegetarian meal, and then I climbed up the 234 (or so) steps up to the base. After that I hiked around Nei Lak (彌勒) Peak. I'll post pictures when I get the chance. Then I thought I might take the new sky-tram thingy down, which I think officially opens on the 24th, according to the MTR web page. But apparently it had been starting and stopping all day and there was a huge line of people there and they were thinking of busing the people away because it was having problems. So I took the bus to Mui Wo 梅窩 and took the ferry back (which was only $11!). All in all an excellent day.

I will now hunt for food...

I am a member of Phi Beta Kappa. It's the only reason I was ever able to shake Gerhard Casper's hand. I still have the picture.

I also occasionally get The Key Reporter, the society's newsletter. In the latest issue, I came across this absolutely hilarious letter:

Say "You're welcome."

This concerns Jean Rhodes' article entitled "Is It Possible to Be Too Thankful?" in your Fall 2005 issue. Every single language with which I am familiar has the equivalent of some form of "You're welcome" as a proper reply to "Thank you." I say "proper" deliberately because it is a matter of etiquette, decorum and just plain decency to let someone know that you have heard what they said and are replying thereto in kind. I once knew a woman who became positively speechless when my two daughters said, "You're welcome," to her "Thank you." I was stunned to hear the woman say that no one had ever replied that way before! Sadly, I view all this as yet one more example of America's declining ethos and morality.

Eugenia M. Krauser
Flushing, N.Y.

heh. i need to use "ethos and morality" more often in my writing.

粽 == pache?

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it's that time of year again... I went home last weekend and grandma had made some 粽 [tsʊŋ²⁵]. I brought some back, gave one to Kevin (he's one of the few people in the house who can really appreciate it), and I had one this morning. I've seen it in a restaurant once listed as "Chinese tamale", and then Lauren told me about the pache that she had in Guatemala, which are pretty much the same thing--they're rice wrapped in banana leaves with stuff inside, and there's a dessert kind and a savory kind, and the dessert kind has chicken and a cherry in it, apparently. She'd actually told me about it in September or something, but I forgot. In Guatemala it's a Christmas treat, but she got sick of them because she was forced to eat the dessert kind every day for days on end. Anyway, Lauren surmised that paches must have been a post-Columbian exchange era thing, because they're made with rice, not corn.

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last week at our graduation party, Malissa gave a speech. Aside from the best graduation advice she's ever gotten ("always pay your bills on time"), she talked about what a great house we've built, basically from scratch. She said at the beginning of the year, she was really having doubts about living here, since there was practically nothing set up--not even our walk-in fridge was ready. Then one day, she was walking through the kitchen, and someone (me!) asked her if she wanted to help put the shelves together for the fridge, and she was like, YES! For me, it was kind of touching that such a simple thing--a request for help--could have such a memorable impact on someone. Of course, I remember it too--maybe not the actual asking, but the constructing of the shelves. It was me, Malissa, David, and Tim, and I think someone else who couldn't make it to dinner with us... Malissa said that this year turned out to be the best year she's had in Berkeley.

This being my only year in Berkeley, what Malissa said really makes me stop and think, and appreciate what I have. It's true that certain things that people do in the house do annoy me; but the advantages of living here far outweigh the minor annoyances. First off, I'd probably be extremely depressed if I was living in an apartment by myself. And you learn so many things living in a house and having to take care of things yourself. It's always interesting to listen to/watch Pepe (our maintenance manager) talking about/doing maintenance stuff. And, I don't think I'd've ever considered being a house president if the house wasn't new and everyone was just as clueless as I was, and then I got to go to Ann Arbor and learn about co-ops nationwide, and being treasurer/workshift manager of our food buyers' club means i've learned about dealing with money and people, and we (as a house) have learned all about co-op bureaucracy through the whole house-naming affair. My goal for next year: learn to cook better (and more).

incidentally, we have someone in the house now who once wrote on his blog that the house is filled with "rich yuppie graduate students" who have "turn[ed] the place into a Victorian estate". He was complaining about the "open house" that the USCA put on at the beginning of the year to appease the neighbors. He clearly didn't understand the demographics of our house at all, and I think he mistook our new-to-berkeley enthusiasm as antidisestablishmentarian merriment. Oh well.

It's summer semester now, and we've got lots of new residents moved in, many from I-House. It's weird with so many of our first-year residents gone. I'm sure the house will adjust, but I'll actually be gone in about two weeks.

Ah, summer time. Time to watch House and CSI.

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So, I've officially survived my first year in linguistics grad school. I suppose I was slightly crazy taking 17 units this last semester, but the whole point was to make my second year easier, so if you catch me trying to take lots of classes next term, stop me.

I still managed to get an A in Tibetan, even though I actively tried to do less work this semester. I'm a bit worried about the fall, because I want to do quality work for STEDT and for Keith... it's like having two jobs. And this is on top of being workshift manager. And BLS... dear goodness.

In other news, I'm switching rooms. My new room will have windows facing the sun.

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i just went to ling-chi wang's retirement dinner, sponsored by ethnic studies and the CAA (Chinese for Affirmative Action). he's really inspiring, he's done so much... his politics are definitely not my dad's type, though. i think i remember my dad mentioning his name once... he didn't like him.

one thing i learned: the KMT sends (or they did) assassins to kill people they don't like in the US, like Henry Liu.

during his speech, he talked about how being awarded for doing good deeds isn't so much an award for yourself but a sort of recognition of everyone involved. he said he thought of himself as a catalyst. I guess it's true, if you want something to get done, it's really best to get lots of people on board, which kind of goes against the "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself" adage.

the other things is to have lots of contacts. you can't meet with the A.G. unless you have contacts.

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semester's winding down... i keep making lists of things i have left to do, but some of them seem impossibly large. Like "Syntax Paper".

We're almost done with the taichi sparring set, too, which is kind of amazing considering Sifu was gone for like two weeks. I've really only learned the second half of it, though.

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i didn't win any fabulous prizes.

What I should have done is go through the 30 previous posts and not posted any of the items other people posted, thereby increasing my chances of hitting the "mystery freeware item". But I was doing it at like 4am, and didn't have the patience.

so I saw Charles today (who, by the way, thought my last posting here was from 2005. Ha! Now you have to buy me a watermelon.) We went up to Coit Tower, and as we were walking across the parking lot, I said "Oh, someone was killed here just a few days ago", and apparently this disturbed some of the tourists.

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Ever since FreeMacWare.com featured Phoenix Slides,
I've gotten zillions of downloads. I'm very impressed.

There's actually lots of great free software for the mac. Here's five, featured on freemacware:

  1. AntiRSI - reminds you to take breaks, very important!
  2. Google Earth - it's so cool...
  3. Audio Recorder - it's a one-trick pony, but it does it well
  4. QuickSilver - everything plus the kitchen sink... I use it all the time
  5. Taboo - this'll save you if you accidentally hit cmd-q in Safari with gazillions of tabs open

So this is my freemacware contest entry... maybe i'll win fabulous prizes!

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Here's more proof I have (or had) a three-vowel /r/-colored vowel space: Just now, David said he couldn't clean his keyboard because he didn't have an airblaster. I thought he said he didn't have an "earblaster", and then realized that couldn't possibly be right.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

2005 is the previous archive.

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