Thursday, March 25, 2010


So this post is out of character compared to the others, and I actually thought of making a separate blog for it, but I decided as infrequently as I post to the blog I already have, I might as well continue. The idea was to make a post each day to help me write more regularly. I at least tried the first day but couldn't remember my blog password. Well, after a week I am doing one single post. So here we go . . . .

I like pizza. I've also come up with creative twists on the pizza theme, such as Pizza Soup and Pizza Bread. So at some point I decided to try to eat pizza every day of the week, trying different variations so that things wouldn't get old. I started last Thursday, having had corned beef and cabbage for St. Patty's day on Wednesday. This is what we had.

Day 1: "Normal" Pizza

Mostly normal at least. One pepperoni pizza (the only way one of my son's likes pizza), one supreme (pepperoni, sausage, red and green bell pepper, and onions), and a small white pizza (to use up some alfredo sauce in the fridge). Pizza crust was made from Betty Crocker pizza mix pouches, and cheese was mozzerella.

Day 2: Barbeque Pizza

Crust made from roll dough, sauce was half of a small can of tomato sauce and an equal amount of barbeque sauce mixed with shredded hickory smoked chicken. Mozzerella cheese and sliced smoked sausage went on top.

Day 3: Pasta Pizza

This was my wife's night to cook. Cooked rotini noodles are dumped on a cookie sheet, with pizza sauce, cheese, and sausage put on top to look like a pizza. Follows the theme but is a little different.

Day 4: Pizza Sandwiches

Hoagie rolls split in half work as the crust. Pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni and maybe red bell peppers on top. Can be eaten as open faced sandwiches (like a pizza) or folded up and eaten like a sandwich.

Day 5: Mexican Pizzas

Corn bread is cooked in a round pan for the crust. Tomato sauce with cumin and a little chili powder goes on top with taco cheese, red peppers, and smoked sausage.

Day 6: Pizza pockets (calzones)

I made a couple larger calzones, essentially made like a pepperoni pizza that is then folded on itself and pinched together at the edges. I also made a few kolache like with a small stick of pepperoni folded into a small chunk of dough with cheese and maybe sauce. A few had some broccoli chunks in there too.

Day 7: Pizza cookie

It was my wife's night to cook again, and in case she forgot to make something pizza like I planned on it for dessert. It turned out she wasn't feeling well, so I baked some leftover rotini with sauce and cheese and then made dessert.

The crust was a large sugar cookie, with red frosting for the sauce. I wanted to shave white chocolate on top to look like cheese, but the closest I found was a cookies and cream, which turned out to have more black cookie chunks then I expected. I cut up some sour cherry balls to look like pepperoni, but they kind of smashed as I cut them and didn't look as pepperoni-like as I hoped. But it tasted yummy!

So there you have it. We had pizza every day this week without getting bored or even resorting to some of my more exotic ideas.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Wow--the code actually ran to completion. It claims it only took 32 minutes, but I guess it just feels longer to me because that was 32 minutes after 20 minutes after 10 minutes . . . But the code worked successfully? on the old tried and true data. Now I just need to figure out what it's doing wrong on the new data.


So I'm still waiting for my code to crash. This is mostly a good sign, as it is mostly working for this set of data, but I really trying to get it to work on another set of data. But I'm running it on the data it should already run on to try to figure out why it isn't running on the new data. But there is a lot of old data . . . .

I'm actually on the mountain "observing." Well, not observing yet but commissioning the instruments so that in the near future someone can observe. But I'm not really doing that either. While I might do some "observing," I've learned that an "observing run" is code for getting you to work a lot because you are there for 16 hours/day with no home to go to. I thought having dinner at 8 pm was odd until I realized that was still at least 4 hours until bedtime. So after midnight sometime we stop, go back to our room to sleep, and then come back in the morning to start all over again.

While the hours are long, it is also rather productive to be around the other people involved in the project, because they are experts in various parts of it all--including the code I am trying to debug. Or at least a similar piece of code that they were tasked with debugging. So I think that is most of the idea behind the "observing" run.

waiting for my code to crash

So I'm trying to debug a piece of code. It is really complicated (I didn't write it) and has lots of subroutines that take complicated inputs generated by earlier parts. So it is hard to run the subroutines separately, so I have to run the whole thing and sit and wait for it to crash. Then I try to fix the cause of the crash, start it again, and wait for the next crash.

So I'm sitting here bored most of the time and wanted to find something productive to do, so I googled " debugging doing something while waiting " or something like that (without those quote marks of course). Of the hits that returned that looked like what I was interested in, five of the six were blogs. Not that they gave any productive suggestions, but apparently writing the blog was filling the time for them. So here I am, writing for the first time in a long time. If any one reads this, do you have any good suggestions? Nothing too complicated since I will (hopefully) be switching back from it frequently while debugging.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heavenly Intrigue

I just started reading Heavenly Intrique: Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and the Murder Behind One of History's Greatest Scientific Discoveries by Gilder and Gilder. The subtitle says it all. I've only read six chapters, and the book has already blown away several of the myths I had heard about them. Apparently Tycho lost his nose in a duel with a relative (not a mathematician), and perhaps he didn't die of a bladder infection because he didn't want to excuse himself from dinner with the king, but, if you haven't guessed it already, he was murdered! (I haven't gotten that far, but it does sound much more intriguing than the bladder problem.) Another interesting thing is that one of the reasons Tycho strove to make more accurate observations was to improve the "science" of astrology, as opposed to proving it wrong which might seem more in line with his scientific methods. He thought horoscopes were usually wrong because the astronomical data of the time gave poor predictions to the positions of the stars, planets, etc.

Other than being a murderer, I learned that Kepler wrote a journal in which he referred to himself in the third person and record the names of only his "most lasting enemies" -- twenty three of them. I also found it interesting that "to assist his astronomical investigations he would often formulate "new" mathematical theorems that he would later fine out, somewhat to his annoyance, had already been discovered, htough they were not taught in the school's curriculum."

Hopefully reading this book will also inspire me to start posting here more often.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

blogging philosophy

So I had this idea that I would create amazing blog posts that would uplift and inspire everybody. I also wanted to start with a really good post to make a good impression. But after starting a few drafts, I recognize that as I am just starting out, that is a little too much to ask. So rather than spending a lot of time drafting and editing and waiting to come to closure on each individual topic before I post on it, I will post things as they come. Later I might pull my thoughts together better, so I will likely repeat myself multiple times, but hopefully clearer and better informed as time goes on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where's my overtime pay?

On a topic I will not be directly addressing (whether child labor laws should apply to kids in focus groups) Trent at The Simple Dollar says:
It’s because information work - white collar work - is perceived differently than labor. In other words, work in a focus group is seen as existing under different rules than work in a fast food restaurant.

You can see it quite often in the adult world, where IT workers are required to have their cell phones on at all times. On the other hand, factory workers clock out and completely forget about their workplace. Businessmen are chained to their Blackberries, but waitresses go off duty and forget about the restaurant. Construction workers leave their cranes behind at the end of the day - but other workers come home with a briefcase or a laptop in hand.

Unfair labor laws exist all over the place for blue collar jobs, but not for white collar jobs. Why is this? In the past, blue collar jobs were the ones that could be exploited for profit, as white collar jobs merely existed to manage the work of blue collar jobs.

In the information economy, though, white collar workers are now doing much of the actual productive work, but the perception that white collar jobs don’t demand any labor protections still exists.

A few weeks ago I was waiting for the microwave or something in the breakroom and saw the mandatory FAIR LABOR sign that among other things mandates being paid 1.5 times your normal wage if you go over 40 hours a week. I remember working at the Zero-G Cafe and getting time-and-a-half for overtime, or even double pay for working on holidays. But now as a salaried employee working in the information economy (though also being classified as a full-time student removes me from any protections anyway), that doesn't have any meaning. Working full days and sometimes late days, finishing up projects and checking on data and e-mail while at home in the evenings, and sometimes being on call over night -- 40 hours a week would be a vacation (and yes, sometimes I do work while on "vacation"). And technically, my contract says I'm being employed for 20 hours a week. My paycheck is a better match to that 20 hours a week than whatever I actually do put in, but I guess those extra hours are considered my "schooling" as I work on my dissertation. At least I am blessed to be payed at all and don't have to go into debt for grad school.