Jun 28, 2012

Remapping my keyboard

I've remapped my keyboard from the normal, QWERTY layout to a more stream-lined layout called COLMAK.

I've only had it converted for a day or so now, but it feels pretty magical. My fingers move a lot less distance to type each word.  COLMAK moves all the most common letters (arst-neio) under your fingers, reducing the amount of stretching your fingers must do to reach the keys. A lot of the minor keys get left where they stand. (So qw/zxcvb).  I'm already up to 20 words per minute with it, and I'm liking the deliberateness it forces onto what I'm going to write.  Every keystroke has to be planned and thought through.

Research has shown that thinking in a non-native language increases the rationality of your thought process -- the jury's still out on whether the same can be said about typing schemas.

For what it's worth, the brain remapping process reminded me a lot of the same pain I went through when learning to separate out Spanish and Portuguese in college. (For the record, that took about 4 months.  I'm in the hours range with COLEMAK still, and it already is light-years ahead, adjustment wise.)  In fact, I would bet that it's largely the same learning process.  The trick, for me at least, is to map over a different part of the brain, or convincing your self this is a new skill almost entirely, so that the old key mappings don't make "logical" sense anymore.  When my fingers reach for an old key, I rationalize why that's not the key I'm looking for.  Something along the lines of "well of course, that's N, the real K is hiding here", and then hitting the correct key. :)

Jun 17, 2012

Burger King -- Where's the onion?

A friend of mine visited for the weekend from DC, heading back today via bus.  On the way to her bus stop, we made a quick pit stop at the bathrooms at the Burger King on Canal St.  The first bathroom door I tried was locked, so I went to the counter to, ostensibly, order fries, but casually also ask for the bathroom key.

In an attempt to be more "healthy", I forewent the fries for the onion rings.  They tasted good, but after one I grew tired of the outer batter, and decided to peel it off and just eat the fried onions.

At first, I just thought the onion was disintegrating.  As I dug through the layers of fried batter, the ring just seemed to pull apart.  The crunchy outer ring was easy enough to remove, but after a layer, the batter turned stretchy and hollow.  With nothing but more stretchy batter inside.  THERE WAS NO ONION.  I had forgotten my glasses at home and it's entirely possible that it was chopped up and included on some microscopic level, but according to my 50/40 vision (far-sighted), it appears that Burger King is now selling "onion simulated batter rings".

I paid $2.17 for well-constructed fried dough.

Just for kicks, I looked up the nutrition facts (see below).  One medium order has 5 grams of sugar and 1080mg of sodium.  Compared to a small order of fries (which is MORE food, by serving size gram, fyi), that's twice the sodium.  Looking back, they didn't really taste that salty, which explains why those 5 grams of sugar are necessary.  Extra salt, extra sugar, no real vegetable -- how is this an onion ring again?

Saitug Palability Rating: Not terrible, if you can get over the fact that it's over-priced fried dough
Food Description Honesty Rating: Pants on Fire

Source: http://www.bk.com/cms/en/us/cms_out/digital_assets/files/pages/MenuNutritionInformation.pdf

Jun 14, 2012


It happened again today. A dream came true. One of those strange waking dreams where I don't believe I'm dreaming. And then it happens and you realize that you weren't, really dreaming, merely staring through your future eyes.

It makes it hard not to take any dream seriously, no matter how strange it is.

This particular dejavudream had to do with subways signs and street corners, just a situation that I had been in before. I may or may not have been tripping on a frozen custard from ShakeShack at the time of the sighting.

How do I know that it's deja vu, that I'm not just remembering some sight that I've seen before, or that I'm just having a strong emotional reaction to a place?

Because I'll wake up the next morning after the dream, and I'll think about how weird it was. And then, maybe a few days, maybe a few years later, it happens. So I've lived it thrice.

I've been having strange dreams in New York City. All of them are epic in proportion, but completely forgotten by the time I rouse myself. It's hard to wake up, because they're so real, so compelling. My alarm clock goes off at 7:30 am. It's often 10:30 before I can pull myself out of dream world though -- dreams punctuated by a ringing noise and timed swats at the snooze button.

And how can you argue with dreaming if you're a victim of dejavu? Perhaps there is a great evil that I'm fighting off in my dreams every morning. The only dreams I dejavu are the ones where everything ended up all right. How can we know? My alarm clock is the real villan, attempting to pull me up to consciousness before reality is saved in Dreamworld.

And that is why I was late to work this week.

A Memoir

- I like reading memoirs written by authors
- You do realize the idiocy of that statement, don't you?
- You know what I mean.  A memoir by someone that's a writer by trade.
- No, you said author.  Not writer.  By definition anyone that's written a memoir is then an author.  That's any memoir ever written.  Why not just say that you like memoirs?
- But I don't like every memoir - stop being so tautological!
- Stop making tautological assertions if you want me to stop pointing out the tautology of them!

Silence.  The sound of an ego losing it's grandstand, of an argument being won, a shift in the understanding that exists between two people, however minor.

Jun 4, 2012

New City

I arrived in New York City (wow thatlooksgoodonpaper) yesterday.  Moved into my apartment with nary a hitch, strangely enough.  I keep expecting the sidewalk to explode, or the subway trains to crash, or my bags to disappear down a sinkhole, or a glacier the size of Manhattan to descend upon, well, Manhattan.

None of these things have yet to come to pass.  I am quite disappointed.

My apartment's on the lower side of LES, right at the intersection of Chinatown.  This means there is fresh produce and bubble tea practically at my doorstep.  Win.  Fun Fact: My building is also home to the SWAN project.  Draw from that what conclusions that you will.

As a first impression, this city feels like a giant outdoor playground.  This may be because it is filled with young people.  They're everywhere and they're young.  Late teens, early twenties. Ok, so that's kind of me but I'm on the upper end of the lower twenties.   I'm guessing all the older twenties, younger thirties all hang out in Brooklyn.  Yeah, that's it.  They're all in Brooklyn.

Todo: Come up with a sight seeing list for the week.  Phone home about bubble tea.  Find some of that restorative youthful night cream.  Buy a pillow.


‪some days I remember the lies you told me and i laugh at both of us‬ ‪at me, for wanting so badly to believe you‬ ‪at you, for having t...