blackeiderdown: (Default)
FYI: I can't cook. Unless the dish is scrambled eggs, it flops in one way or another.

September 10: Mushroom Bourguignon with Brown Rice

I bought $6.00 worth of mushrooms. Let me get back to you on this.

September 11: Coconut juice
Hammered a nail into a fresh coconut at 6:00 in the morning. Shook coconut until the juice dribbled into tupperware.

September 16: Mushroom Bourguignon with Brown Rice
I boiled the bourguignon too much. It had a disturbingly creamy texture and tasted too strongly of oregano. The missing moisture would have balanced out the oregano and the butter-flour mixture that I used for thickening.

September 23: Kitchen Sink
I had other things that I wanted to get done this weekend. After buying groceries for the mushroom bourguignon, I had lots of leftover vegetables and a jar of tomato sauce to dispose of.

October 1: Baked sweet potato, gazpacho, garlic-almond lamb
I attempted to bake sweet potato fries twice this weekend. The thinnest pieces always burned before the larger pieces fully dried out. Thankfully, I liked the sweet potato regardless of the texture.

On Oct. 1st, I was on call all day and had to stay near a computer. I got out of bed to make gazpacho and to bake sweet potato. The gazpacho--one of my few repeat projects--turned out edible but a bit too watery. I probably put one too many tomatoes in the blender.

One of my dreams is to make restaurant-quality gazpacho. I had really good gazpacho in France at a restaurant that specialized in fresh fish. I have yet to actually find a recipe that provides more insight into gazpacho than my mother's European recipe book. If I ever locate a superior recipe, then I might actually make progress on my ideal gazpacho.

One glass of that French gazpacho probably cost me as much as all of my grocery store ingredients. At least I have that going for me.

Alternately, maybe I need to move to Kansas and grow tomatoes. Homegrown Kansas tomatoes are lovely and might improve my gazpacho significantly.

(Given that I have yet to actually visit Andalucia and eat the genuine article, should I even be writing about gazpacho?)

I also tried baking lamb. Since I had raw garlic and almonds sitting in the fridge, I threw both into the marinade along with rosemary.

I probably overcooked my lamb. (Rare? Medium rare? What do these terms mean?)  The lamb drippings proved rich enough to almost make me nauseous. Maybe I used too much olive oil? 

October 8th: Sriracha Lamb Bone Kitchen Sink Soup

Before I started cooking the soup, I sauteed vegetables and almond slices. Then I let the bones from last week's lamb sit in a simmering sriracha broth for a couple of hours.

Even if I put some distance between myself and the broth, it made my nose and sinuses itch for about an hour. The broth also stained everything that it touched. 

After the broth simmered, I put in a can of black beans, a can of tomatoes, and the sauteed vegetables and almonds.

Although the broth made me sneeze, it actually tasted really good. 

blackeiderdown: (BW Edith (Overcome))
The NNIA faces down a new threat: mice.

The mice got into our desk drawers and ate any food. They also chewed holes through plastic packaging, consumed foam ear plugs, and gnawed on plastic or metal. The mice even went after one agent's tampons.

Although the NNIA has hired amazing talent, we have to employ more mundane methods to deal with mice. Our many variations of coffee-bean magic have proven useless against this threat.

I hope that we eventually get around to putting wire mesh in any suspicious holes. Mice periodically infested my home until pest control blocked all of the gaps in my brick walls.

As for traps? My house mice seemed smart enough to avoid traps. Could I have even ended the infestation if I failed to catch the entire breeding population?

At work, breakfast scones will be sitting out in the office kitchen over Labor Day. The office will be quiet this weekend. Those mice will have ample opportunity to explore. 

When I get back to the office next Tuesday, I will probably discover that all of the breakfast scones have gone missing. 

This infestation spikes my ire. That amateurish attempt to make a Cheerios box read every agent's mind? Not so much.

blackeiderdown: (Sweatdrop (cat))
That renegade agent has animated the fridge, the microwave, the water dispenser, and the sink! Whenever I go into the kitchen, the appliances just stare at me without blinking or making any noise.

I am honestly surprised that they all still work. Normally inanimate objects stop performing their original functions after someone magically gives them life.
blackeiderdown: (homestuck)
My commanders have warned that they will put me on the front lines in the future. For now, they have conscripted me as one of their several odd-jobs guys. I am doing the magical equivalent of
  • repainting signs
  • rewiring the facility
  • updating forms
  • fixing leaks in the plumbing
  • etc.
Ironically, I have gotten a pay raise and a higher yearly bonus after transferring to a position that arguably requires less specialization. (The pay raise has little do with my transfer. Everyone in my unit is getting a pay raise.)

Although numbers have stepped up their attacks on humans' magical systems in recent months, morale in my unit remains high. Someone was animating all of the electrical appliances just yesterday. Our water dispenser stared at me with wobbly black eyes as I attempted to get to water for tea.

Uh oh

Aug. 6th, 2017 04:47 pm
blackeiderdown: (Default)
My commanders moved me to the front lines...I lack the training for this job. X0
blackeiderdown: Character study for G & A (the country and the city)
My old art is still on LiveJournal. At some point, I may upload some of it up to this blog. 

In the meantime, have some newer art.

(I really need to get around to drawing a real subway or a light rail.)
Character studies )
blackeiderdown: (homestuck)
  • Everything that I cook is some variation of melted cheese on toast. I just baked mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes after tossing them in salt, olive oil, and worcestershire sauce. I put the mix on toasted sourdough with melted cheddar cheese.
  • I really want to know what anonymized browsing histories look like. If ISPs in the US eventually release so-called 'anonymized' browsing histories for all of their users, could those third parties cross-reference Web addresses in browsing histories with links in social media and blog posts? Someone might figure out how to do this even if ISPs aggregated browsing histories in order to avoid linking browsing histories with a particular user ID. (If an ISP does associate browsing history with a particular user ID, then browsing histories and social media posts become much easier to compare.)
  • If someone has to invent technology that can read my brain, please, please come up with a way of recording my dreams before I die.
  • I need to come up with some life goals other than "Make enough money to survive in retirement".
  • Somewhere along the line, I tied my sense of self-worth to how many algorithms I understood and how many technologies I learned to use. At the same time, I would rather watch television than study in the evenings.
  • I would like to ask a video game programmer how many algorithms that they know just to find out where objects are in relation to each other in 2-dimensional space. 
  • I would also like to ask the creators of Darkened Skye about all of the silly bugs in the game: falling through an invisible hole in a cave to my death, discovering the underside of pond graphics, letting me skip battles by allowing me to climb over the top of a flying ship...

blackeiderdown: (Default)
Other agents fight on the front lines in the on-going war against walking, talking numbers. In my line of work, I rarely see the powerful impact that they can have on business operations and infrastructure.

However, numbers are closely allied with Time. If a report takes too long to run, the numbers can swoop in and cause the report to fail entirely. When numbers cause a report to crash, they cut NNIA agents off from valuable intelligence.

Another agent is working on a defense for our report generator. I hope that his solution will provide me insight into how I can prevent my own spells from becoming a similar weak point.

blackeiderdown: (single feather)
I am in the process of migrating a blog that no one but bots ever read. Regardless of whether I have readers, my new URL sounds cooler.
So what am doing now?
As I mentioned in the past few posts, I finally decided to graduate the NNIA academy and join the war on walking, talking sentient numbers. Given my background in Diplomacy and Propaganda, I gravitated toward communications. My spells assemble reports for agents who monitor the NNIA's magical architecture for weaknesses. 
While I often find my current assignment challenging, I also miss the NNIA academy. My assignment involves a lot of routine. As a student, I had to constantly cram new information into my brain and take on difficult projects. I also liked being able to walk around campus and to take the bus every day to academy.
Now I have a car that has too many unnecessary features such as Blue Tooth and a moon roof. I sometimes even dream that my car can fly and float on water.  
What are the pros of working? I get to associate with competent, brilliant people and to gain experience working on production spells.

What advice would I give to students at the NNIA academy?
Hunt aggressively for internships.  
blackeiderdown: (orange dirk strider)
This game is amusing. Shall we try again?

Finish a 5000-word story.

Learn a new programming language.

Build a website.

Get static-cling prints made of my rubber duck sketch. (So close!)

Get out of the country for at least a week.

Learn how to make a dichroic glass pendant.

Perfect one contact juggling move.

Take pictures of cranes. (Done)

Learn how to sing without straining.

Visit that books on tape store that I saw today.

Ridiculous resolutions:

Meet an artist sketching in a forest.

Learn to fly.

Get my artwork in a museum.
blackeiderdown: (dirk strider)
I hardly challenge myself, huh? My New Years resolutions are always things that I expect myself to accomplish. Maybe I should get a little more ambitious...

Learn to sing without straining. (Failed)

Learn to read music. (Failed)

Finish an art piece of something transparent or shiny. (Failed? I am working more on birds now than glass)

Program the ducky portal game. (Failed)

Help someone without expectation of financial reward or college credit. (Achieved)

Hold off on finishing Homestuck until May. (Why should I add to the chaos?) (Failed)

Learn to administrate a server. (Failed)

What I really did:

Started learning contact juggling

Found out that I am the furthest thing from ambidextrous

Painted a baby California Condor on a mug

Painted a pug and a chihuahua on a bathroom tile

Drew a psychedelic stork

Held down a job for a year

Sought out people with similar interests

Established that I can make a decent sketch of a person (wearing glasses and a hat) in an hour

Learned new technical skills
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
Real Hogwarts house: Hufflepuff...Although I might fit in with Ravenclaws, I absolutely refuse to answer a riddle every time that I need to get back to my dorm.

Elements: Air or fire

Favorite punctuation mark: !

Favorite programming concept: enum

Favorite magic systems: rune magic, dream magic

Favorite fantasy trope: Dreams are doors to another world
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
Cellular automata + video game magic engine = ?

blackeiderdown: (single feather)
1. Build and market a unique magical application. (April: I got a different professor than I anticipated. Ended up designing a balloon ride reservation system instead)

2. Find the best way to clean up all the clones at my office. (In the worst case scenario, my office will have to trade a house for the necessary cleaning tools.) (April: Spent most of my time either A) Looking for the runes in a spell that rejected incoming data and B) drafting self-updating statistical displays for the NNIA's potions branch)

3. Graduate from the NNIA Academy. (April: This is probably still going to happen.)

4. Get a job. (I would like to say "Start a career." This statement could be overly optimistic.) (April: No, I do not want to move to California. Go away.)
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
If you are a madam of a  Red-Light-district establishment, stay open by

  • making donations to territorial fairs and community improvement projects

  • acquiring a liquor license if your local government heavily taxes liquor

  • renting your property from key members of the community

A Letter

Mar. 26th, 2014 11:04 pm
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
Dear Haskell,
  Have you stolen Prolog's neck scarves and SQL's pants?
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
1. Juggle all the parentheses.
2. Prostrate myself before the Queen.
3. Pass Numerical Psychology III.
4. Pass Numerical Psychology III.
5. Pass Numerical Psychology III.
6. Pass Numerical Psychology III.
7. Pass Numerical Psychology III.
8. Pass Numerical Psychology III--
9. Ahem. Juggle some more parentheses.

June 3, 2014: All resolutions met!
blackeiderdown: (single feather)
Training the AI through his dreams only worked as long as the dreams provided him some kind of positive feedback. If those dreams failed to live up to reality

As a more than a mimicry of human life, the AI responded to the same kinds of reinforcement that human beings did. His programmers would have to do better than to make the AI's positive reinforcement a higher score or cheese at the end of a maze.

I hope that my department impresses me more next semester. Although my AI class was interesting (I learned how to train my Pavlovian Pacman player, how to write recursive Prolog, and how to store n-grams in graph form), the other course only taught me how I should conduct myself more professionally.

I want to be a professional who gives my colleagues more than a day's notice; who keeps track of seemingly "missing" colleagues; and who gives criticism using emotionally even, easy-to-understand language. As a writer, I find my last goal particularly interesting to think about. Would I feel comfortable with being a poetic grader? How would words like "vomit" affect the students whom I was grading?

Here are, perhaps, questions that merit research: Does a style manual exists for coders? Are method names automatically nouns although we (or just I?) think of them as code components that perform specific actions? (For example, would you write a Java method that shuts something down as "shutDown()" or "shutdown()"?) What other ways exist to store and search n-grams besides parse trees? Just what is the best way to train a robotic arm to flip pancakes?
blackeiderdown: (grub)
I recently painted the Homestuck character Rose Lalonde onto a plate:

Rose Lalonde of Homestuck

Since I had to finish the painting within two or three hours (the painting place's policy), I had no time to add more than one coating of paint to the plate. I was also experimenting with new drawing techniques and failed to make Rose look very human. My basis was a posable wooden figurine.

Despite all the painting's technical flaws, I still consider completing this painting in three hours (+10 or more hours of preparation) an achievement.
blackeiderdown: (Sweatdrop (cat))
The IEEE citation style almost seems designed to get students into trouble! You should number sources based on the order that the sources appear in the paper. If you reorder sections of your paper, you have to renumber your sources. I have seen papers in which the authors probably reordered their sources incorrectly (and successfully frustrated readers like me).

I have thought about how to "fix" this problem. You can cite authors by name in the text and replace the names with numbers using the replace function--but only once you have completed your final draft.

IEEE citation has one (dubious) advantage: you refer to your sources by their numbers instead of by their names. For example, say that you would ordinarily refer to the fifth source in your final draft as "Anderson and Clive." Instead of writing "According to Anderson and Clive...", you would write "According to [5]...".
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