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Fresh salsa! [Aug. 4th, 2012|12:47 am]
This will look and taste more like that "pico de gallo" stuff but after sitting an hour or two macerates into amazing salsa. Just add all the ingredients in a large bowl, and adjust seasonings (liberally if desired) to taste. For a pot luck, I typically estimate consumption to be about one recipe for every 4-6 people and multiply according to expected attendance.

3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander

salt, pepper, your favorite hot sauce to taste
dried or fresh sweet basil (1 or 2 oz is what I use)
minced or chopped fresh garlic (at least one clove per tomato)
fresh cilantro (1 or 2 oz)
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Passing slower cars [Jul. 7th, 2012|04:01 pm]
You've seen it before: on a four-lane freeway (two lanes in each direction), a driver in the left (passing) lane comes up on someone just "hanging out" there instead of driving more appropriately in the right (travel) lane. In most sane places, the driver in front will signal right, check the right lane, and politely move over - so that the driver behind can safely pass.

I've noticed in certain places, however, you'll see distinctive, idiosyncratic behavior:

Boston: the driver in the rear rides the tail of the car in front (who is already going 15-20 mph over the speed limit) and then ragefully passes on the right at the earliest opportunity if the driver in front does not move; on occasion, the passing driver swerves back into the left lane in front of the slower left-lane driver, in an attempt to make a point; the driver originally in front, having already been passed on the right at least three times, is typically oblivious or deriving some sort of perverse pleasure out of intentionally blocking.

Vermont: a driver attempting to pass on the right would be pulled over and cited, as Vermont State Police have little else to do - except pull over the slower driver as well, for traveling in a passing lane without actually passing anyone.

Seattle: there is no passing; whether on a two-lane or four-lane freeway, drivers in Seattle like to "hold hands" across the highway and sing Kumbaya together at 5-10mph *under* the speed limit, blocking everyone behind them no matter what lane.

German autobahn: the driver in the rear, from 1/4km away, will flash their brights to warn the other left-lane driver in front that they're about to be passed or run off the road; the driver in front, sensibly, hurries the fuck out of the way and gets in the right lane. As it should be.

Got any more to add?
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Annotations - a working manifesto [Nov. 17th, 2011|05:41 pm]
The annotation problem fascinates me. It's an amazing opportunity to create a new and incredible, almost unimaginably rich way to experience content in the digital domain.

I can easily describe what I envision in terms of the digital content delivery options today, and it seems like what I imagine is not a stretch for the contemporary Kindle, iPad, or Nook. The experience would include at least the following abilities:
  • to annotate a text I'd purchased electronically as easily as I can circle words, highlight or underline passages, or write notes in the margins of a physical book - no matter which platform;
  • to attach exclusive luxuries of the digital domain to specific parts of a text, be it hyperlinks, media, or a reference to someone else's annotation on the same part;
  • to easily migrate my annotations from an older edition to a newer edition of the text;
  • to share my annotations with or, indeed, receive annotations from my friends via my preferred intermediary - be it as basic as email or as socially structured as Facebook and Google+ - without having to share more than a reference to the version of the text on which the annotations are based and/or a link to the annotations themselves;
  • to have whole conversations around passages captured as annotations, or even conversations about annotations.
What do we have to do to get there?

Consider a physical book. I never had to look far for an example - my parents' office shelves are filled with tomes and volumes of all shapes and sizes. Both retired language teachers and former Comparative Literature doctoral candidates, over time my parents filled the pages of their collection with at least half a lifetime's worth of margin notes, not to mention streams of underlined text. The end product? An invaluable resource of their own personalized "Cliff notes," customized to their needs and wants - annotations, from which they derived countless essays, a dissertation or two, and in the end an entire career of teaching others how to really read and thoughtfully write.

Far from a limited academic exercise in capturing thought, the process and purpose of annotating one's reading is wide-ranging. Fundamental to recall and abstraction, annotations on a text serve crucial functions in reading, interpreting, discussing, critiquing, reviewing, and studying a text with the ultimate goal of assimilating or learning its content or deriving from it some useful, practical knowledge either in isolation or in connection with other texts or knowledge.

Any doubt on the value of annotations will be dispelled quickly enough with a visit to the average college campus, where dorm room shelves heavy with "required texts" can be found, each volume dog-eared and marked up, its temporary owner's grades directly proportional to the quantity and quality of text underlined or highlighted or notes scrawled in the margins and reviewed before tests and essays.

We've also already evolved annotations beyond the one-way, static, personal response note to an authoritative text: the web is replete with blog upon blog, alongside respected publications, offering users not only the ability to comment on content but also the facility to interact with other commenters - blurring the line between margin notes and class discussion - on just about every imaginable topic. In the process, we learn each other's perspectives and advance understanding to an extent previously impossible without the medium of the internet, or at least outside the austerity of a classroom and the formality of convened meetings.

With the right tools, it's not difficult to imagine a virtual book club as the shape of the classroom of the future.

The development of tools to support new ways to experience text-based content might, fortunately, be under way. Let's just hope it's the "right" way! I think the tools that will successfully transform the experience through mass-adoption will ultimately be based on openly standardized approaches to some critical challenges:
  • Specificity vs. detachability - tying annotations to a particular piece of digital text, without embedding them in the text's container. We see this frequently now with video and audio content on the web - what are the barriers to doing it effectively for text content?
  • Continuity - easily replicate or migrate annotations across editions of a text.
  • Sociability - easily share notes across social and reading platforms.
There are probably others - and they are interdependent. For example, any annotations created on my iPad for a particular edition of a book should be shareable with my Facebook friends reading the same edition, no matter what reader they use. There will have to be tools and standards to support this, or we'll have great difficulty getting to the point where we can see our friends' comments on a text alongside it as we're reading it!
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On friendship... [Sep. 24th, 2010|12:18 pm]
Good friends make you feel safe.
Better friends challenge you.
The best friends help you succeed.
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Well... [Sep. 10th, 2010|06:08 pm]
...long live the new layout. Yay. Or whatever...
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Ugh [Sep. 10th, 2010|04:11 pm]
The current layout in my journal is dead.

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Earl [Sep. 10th, 2010|04:10 pm]
The tapping on a desk in
a cube close enough for listenin'
Reminds me, rings close in my mind
To knocking on a door

Tapping on near desk reminds me

The hurricane is knocking
The juggernaut's advancing
We are retreating

Its eye will pass the city
Not too close
But not too distant
Wetting us with rain

Upon our return
Despite all the churn
Of weathermen, people,
Of wind and of rain
We find

It whimpered along
Too big to ignore
Too small not to fail
And to disappoint

This lover of spectacular weather.

Twitter... [Mar. 2nd, 2010|08:56 am]
Ave Maria Twitter

Hail Twitter, full of grace
Relevance is with thee
Blessed art thou among web tools,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, knowledge.

Holy Internetz, Mother of all Tweets,
Pray for us Twits,
Now and at the hour of our next reTweet.


[Gingerly borrowed, as these things go, from mcgilles via tournevis; translation and augmentation by me. Other renditions welcome.]

For those lacking context: this is a parody of the "Hail Mary" prayer common in the Catholic church:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

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Life, through fortune cookies [Mar. 1st, 2010|12:00 pm]
Received in the past year:

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Cherry - ying- tao` 樱桃
30, 3, 5, 45, 51, 17

Your ingenuity and imagination will get results.
Pear - li' si 梨子
50, 6, 4, 36, 8, 3

Seems people like to give advise, but not listening to their own.
Watermelon - xi- gua- 西瓜
12, 10, 32, 50, 8, 46

Ask advise, but use your own common sense.
Watermelon - xi- gua- 西瓜
10, 28, 20, 12, 1, 29

You were born to be a leader, not a follower.
Vegetable - shu- cai` 蔬菜
27, 49, 41, 19, 36, 46

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers.
To see a doctor - kan` bing` 看病
28, 36, 5, 46, 56, 38

You are admirable, for you remained firm even when troubled by personal relationships.
Be invited - zuo` ke` 做客
34, 16, 20, 14, 48, 31

(In bed?)
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I was up til 3am last night... [Dec. 1st, 2009|09:19 am]
...so why am I not tired?

I am, in fact, feeling more energetic this morning than I have in weeks.

I'm just *waiting* for it to get to me later on in the day. Oh well. Must get on with it.
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