Blog: September 2019

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Rosh Hashana and the season of repentance

Rosh Hashana, the new year and the Day of Judgement, begins tonight. We've been in a season of repentance for a little while, but we kick it up a notch now through Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

One of the things we focus on in this season is repentance for errors we have made, intentional or unintentional. In Judaism, teshuva (repentance) isn't just about feeling bad that you did something; the process requires regret, making amends, apologizing to the ones you wronged, and endeavoring to not repeat those mistakes in the future. (The rabbis say that the true validation of teshuva is that you were in the situation again and didn't repeat the mistake. This is, obviously, the part of the process that is partly up to God.)

The problem, of course, is that you have to know you screwed up before you can fix it. If I have wronged or hurt someone, I would like the opportunity to do teshuva. This is not a blanket "if I've offended you please accept my apologies" post, because I don't know how I can do teshuva for things I don't know I did (or know I did but don't know were problems). Instead, this post is a request: if you are reading this, if I have wronged or hurt you, I ask you to contact me privately and give me the opportunity to correct the matter. If correction involves public action it will of course be forthcoming.

I want to screen replies to this post to make it easier for people with Dreamwidth accounts to respond, but I don't see where on the posting page I can do that. My email address is this journal name at and DMs are open on Twitter. I'll be offline for the holiday for two days starting soon, but I will respond to anything I receive.

Thank you.

Summer CSA, week 17

  • large heirloom tomato
  • sweet potato
  • fairytale eggplant (I've never heard that name before)
  • bunch of white turnips with greens
  • green bell pepper
  • large acorn squash
  • 7 McIntosh apples
  • 6 Bartlet pears
  • 4 assorted mild peppers, to be identified
  • bunch parsley

The preview email said the pepper medley would include green peppers, no-heat jalapenos, cubanelles, and poblanos. I'm not sure which of these peppers are which. The one that looks like a green bell pepper doesn't smell like one and makes me think poblano. The pictures I found of cubanelles are various colors, with the only green being light green -- don't know if that's what I've got there. Anybody who can help with pepper identification, please speak up. :-)

I sometimes stuff acorn squash with apples; I might try pears for a change. I'll roast the turnips, maybe with a mustard sauce. I sauteed the greens tonight with ginger, shallot, and red and yellow mini-peppers from the last share. The eggplant will be all for me because Dani hates eggplant; I might bread and fry it.

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A few vacation pictures

I wrote about this trip in this entry, but it was getting long so I decided to segregate the pictures. I didn't take a lot of pictures, so these aren't representative of the mix of the whole trip. They're just some pictures I thought were interesting. Read more…

Surprise vacation

A couple years ago friends of ours took a trip with a "surprise travel agency", which was not a thing I had previously known existed. Basically, you give them dates and a budget, fill out a dating profile interest survey, tell them what cities you've been to recently or visit regularly already, and they plan a trip for you. A week in advance you get a long-range weather forecast and some packing suggestions/hints. The day before you get an updated forecast. At the time they tell you to be at the airport, you get email with your boarding passes and find out where you're going.

(Ok, they also send you a paper packet a few days in advance, containing things like attractions at your destination, where your hotel is, information about your return flight, and so on. They tell you not to open this until you get to the airport. You could cheat, but we didn't.)

The folks we used, Pack Up & Go, describe what they do as "weekend getaways", but somewhere in the FAQ is the information that, yes, you can tell them when your weekend is, so we were able to book a Sunday-through-Tuesday trip. They did a good job of planning an interesting trip that took into account our survey responses including write-ins. We used write-ins to flesh out broad categories that were checkboxes: yes we like live music but not loud music, yes we like museums and we are, in particular, science and technology geeks and prefer history to paintings, and a couple other things like that. With our survey we sent a pretty strong "culture good, learning great, beaches and sports not interesting" signal. We also noted that we needed vegetarian food options; by saying "options" we meant to convey that one of us cares, but we learned that we should be more explicit next time. (Not bad -- just that Dani would not have otherwise gone to a vegan restaurant, I don't think.)

So, with that preamble, we went to... Read more…

Summer CSA, week 15

  • 1 bulb fennel with fronds
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 1 honeydew
  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 8 mini peppers ("snack peppers") (yellow, red, orange)
  • 4 bartlett pears
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch red radishes with greens

Small share got: fennel, roma tomatoes, pears, corn, white potatoes, shallots, "semi-hot block peppers" (?).

I've roasted some of the past corn and made corn fritters with some (making kind of a mess of the "remove raw corn from ears" part). This week's email included a recipe (warning: site full of invasive ads and crap) for Caribbean boiled corn on the cob that I might try. The recipe fails to mention when to add the coconut milk, but I think it's implied by the series of photos.

I might make pasta with roasted fennel and lemon with the fennel.

Alongside the share I got a bag of Japanese eggplant (because I've never had that kind and I like eggplant). That'll be for me; Dani hates eggplant. I can have eggplant while he's having whatever I do with the green peppers, which I don't like. I'll roast some of the eggplant and I invite other suggestions. These are the long, skinny ones.

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Young coworkers

Last week the director of engineering sent email announcing prizes for an "improve our tests" hackathon. He labelled one prize (about finding and fixing the most bugs) as "write yourself a minivan".

Later, in response to questions, he sent a copy of the 24-year-old Dilbert strip.

Over the weekend our CTO, in response to questions, sent email explaining what a minivan was.

I'll be over here, weeping into my prune juice and yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

Hardware upgrade

I finally emerged from analysis paralysis and things being out of stock and did I say analysis paralysis? and bought a mechanical keyboard. It came today, so I haven't done much typing on it yet, but ooh, first impressions are very positive!

I bought the WASD V3, with Cherry Silent Red switches and no dampeners. (I asked; they said with Silent you don't also add dampeners.) I made one small modification (see if you can spot it in the picture), and otherwise played it straight. (Part of the analysis paralysis was ooh, colors! but how does what I see on the screen compare to reality? should I ask for samples?. Ok, I guess technically I made two modifications, because I did change the color scheme.) Read more…

Windows: accessibility obstacles

I got a new laptop at work last week, so naturally it came with Windows 10. Some of the software my group uses requires Windows; I'm currently still on Win 7 on my old machine. (And haven't gotten updates since last November. Eventually IT would have noticed. But even aside from that, the machine is five years old and starting to become unreliable.) The migration has been...challenging, with some accessibility regressions I don't know how to fix.

On Win 7 I defined a custom theme which had the following important properties:

  • Window background is not bright white but a light tan: bright white backgrounds hurt my eyes a lot, especially over a sustained period. This is set at the OS level, so all applications get it by default.

  • Font size for menus, window titles, and assorted other UI elements is increased so I can actually read them.

  • Colors for the title bars of active and inactive windows are very different so I can easily spot which window is currently active.

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