Busy Day

It’s been one of those days when time just seems to get eaten up.  It’s nearly 7pm and my todo list is growing instead of getting smaller.

I’ve spent a few hours today contacting people about TPF’s participation in this year’s Google Summer of Code.  The deadlines for this project are so tight.  Students only have from March 29th to April 9th to apply.  Now if this was something that was worked on full-time it might not feel like such a rush but it’s a lot of work for the volunteers involved.  I’m really impressed with the dedication given to this project by Jonathan and his team.

I’ve been trying to get my email under control.  It’s hard to believe that only two weeks ago I managed to get my inbox to zero.  I have gotten much better at managing this but I still haven’t found a good way to deal with the emails that contain difficult or time consuming issues.

I’ve also wasted quite a bit of time waiting on my laptop to catch up with my brain and fingers.  I think the time has come to buy something faster.  It’s not just the time spent waiting on it that causes me problems, it also makes me feel agitated. This change in my mood makes me less productive and more likely to sound irritated when I am responding to something.  When it comes to machines patience is a virtue I lack.

2 Responses to “Busy Day”

  1. Norwin Says:

    The fact that your brain runs faster than your laptop is a real tribute to your mind.
    I find it to be the other way round…

  2. karen Says:

    My mind has a tendency to flit all over the place and I expect my computer to keep up.

Ada Lovelace Day: Jacinta Richardson

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.  Since I am involved with the Perl community it seemed natural for me to begin there when trying to decide who to write about.  I found it quite difficult to pick one woman.  At times we bemoan the small number of women in the community but every one that I have met has been impressive in some way.

Last year I met Jacinta Richardson at YAPC::EU.  I had heard of Jacinta’s work.  I knew that she had been awarded a White Camel award, I knew that she was a successful Perl trainer, and I knew that she wrote Perl Tips.  Last year I got to see that she is also a great conference speaker, and to see first hand why she was given a White Camel.  Not only is she technically brilliant but she also has a desire to bring out the potential in other people.  She really wants to see improvement in the Perl community and is willing to work hard to see that happen.

Even though I have only known her for a short time Jacinta’s impact on the Perl community has affected me.  Without Jacinta’s support and encouragement I would never have been a keynote speaker at OSDC Australia last year.  Being given that opportunity is making it easier for me to prepare for this year’s conference season.  Thank you, Jacinta.  I look forward to seeing your future achievements.

3 Responses to “Ada Lovelace Day: Jacinta Richardson”

  1. jonasbn Says:

    This is the first blog post I am reading today. It is Wednesday and more importantly it is Ada Lovelace Day.

    I am somewhat blank on what to write, I was thinking about writing about hackers and hacking and the evaluation of individuals based on merits rather than age, nationality, race and gender – an important trait of the open source community and Internet in general, which we should emphasize more.

    But perhaps it is better to write something along the lines of what you wrote, pick a female in tech and write a presentation of her – after all there are quite a few to pick from, perhaps not in number, but in merits and they all stand out.

    My only worry is that I would not be able to give such a precise and nice presentation as you did of Jacinta Richardson.

    Happy Ada Lovelace Day,


  2. Ada Lovelace Day: Karen Pauley Says:

    […] the house, I sat down at the computer. Going over the list of recent tweets, I fell over the first blog post on Ada Lovelace by Karen […]

  3. karen Says:

    Jonas, I also found it difficult to start my blog post. I think mainly because I’m used to writing about whatever comes to my mind and not about a subject that someone else has decided on.

    I was going to say that I’m sure that you will find inspiration for your post, and it seems that I’m right as I have just read your post.

    Thank you for your kind words.

Beef Bulgogi

I wasn’t able to find the right leaves to wrap the beef bulgogi in. I ended up buying a large salad cabbage. It seemed to work well though I think Marty got a bit carried away…

Beef Bulgogi Marty Style

Beef Bulgogi Marty Style

2 Responses to “Beef Bulgogi”

  1. Hails Says:

    Ha ha! I get laughed at when I’m eating bulgogi, because I like to wrap up a bit of everything in my leaf – by the time I’ve done that, it’s a bit big to eat in one go. I always attempt it even though it’s messy, but then I’ve never taken it quite this far! Must get salad cabbage and try it Marty style…

  2. karen Says:

    He had such fun eating that. The cabbage leaves, which I normally see shredded, are huge. It’s one of his favourite foods and he also loves to wrap up a bit of everything and try to fit it in his mouth.

    Mind you he usually makes less mess than me. He claims I haven’t learnt to eat properly!

Lost in Translation

I try to read some Japanese everyday.  Today I was reading Daisuke’s post about his todo list for the Japan Perl Association.  While reading about volunteers and administration I came across a word that I couldn’t understand. It was in katakana so I could sound out the word – buresuto  (ブレスト).  And since it was in katakana it’s probably a word borrowed from a language like English.  The only word I could come up with was “breast” and why on earth would he be talking about that?  So, I asked my friend, what is ブレスト?  And she said, “oh that would be breast”.

I told her that really it couldn’t be because it made no sense.  She came and read the whole sentence and still looked completely confused.  She asked me if it could be a technical term related to Perl, but nothing that sounds like that came to mind.  I looked it up in my dictionary and it told me that the word was “breast”.

I went and got a better dictionary.  The word means “brain storming”.  There are times when the Japanese create words from English words by taking the start of each word and joining them together.  So, for example, “pasucon” is a shortened form of “personal computer”.   And it seems that “buresuto” joins the start of brain and storm.

6 Responses to “Lost in Translation”

  1. Tatsuhiko Miyagawa Says:

    I think a paper dictionary doesn’t work for these types of newly created words — Web resources such as wikipedia works best 🙂

  2. karen Says:

    I have never thought to use wikipedia to find this sort of Japanese word. The only time I have used it is to find words for cooking ingredients. For these I knew the English word, found them in Wikipedia and clicked onto the Japanese page. I’ll have to make more use of it.

  3. Norwin Says:

    I will have to suggest this the next time someone points out that brainstorming is not politically correct, and should not be used. Though a “breast conversation” may not be politically correct either.

  4. karen Says:

    It would certainly raise a few eyebrows 🙂

  5. Norwin Says:

    So, I’ve been accidentally thinking about this a bit further. From your logic above, the Japanese word for breast was borrowed from English. So does that mean that the Japanese had no word for a breast until they met the English?
    That does seem odd…

  6. karen Says:

    That would be odd indeed. The loan word probably came in from the term “breast stroke”. There are many sporting terms in the Japanese language that have been borrowed from English. I still get amused during the F1 to hear about cars driving “sido by sido”.

White Day

Today is White Day, the day when men in Japan buy gifts for women. This is to balance out Valentine’s Day, when women buy gifts for men.  Although Marty doesn’t like these commercial holidays he still bought me some beautiful white roses.

White Roses

White Roses

Creative Frenzy

I got email this morning reminding me that Script Frenzy starts in April.  The challenge is to write a 100 page script in a month.  This doesn’t interest me as much as the novel writing challenge NaNoWriMo did.  I’ve no idea what I would do with a script if I wrote one.  Mind you that’s not a particularly good reason not to try; after all it’s not like I let anyone read the novel I wrote in November.  I then thought that it might not interest me because I’ve never written a script before.  But the more I thought about it the more scripts I remembered writing.

I wrote my first script for a play when I was 10 years old.  I have no idea what it was about but I can remember the rehearsals with the members of my primary school class.  After that I wrote sketches for the drama team I was part of, and I can remember quite a few of those.  I continued to do this until around my third year as an undergraduate.   I realise now that I stopped doing quite a few creative things at that point.  I stopped sewing clothes, knitting, playing the clarinet, and writing.  I suppose I had to focus on my science degree and getting qualifications so that I could find a job.  Or maybe I just changed the focus of my creative energy, as it was at that time I started to learn to program.  I did continue to compose music until my mid-twenties but at some point I stopped doing that as well.

In the past year my desire to be creative has led me to knit, sew, write, sing, and play.   The odd thing has been the reactions of other people.  When I told one friend that I liked to knit in the evenings they started to talk about how I could maybe sell the things I make.  When I said I wanted to write I was asked if I wanted to get a book published.  When I sing I’m asked if I want to get a job singing somewhere, or heaven forfend, if I want to audition for something like the X-factor. And last week when I was altering clothes I was asked if I was considering becoming a clothes designer!

Is there only value if there is money involved?  Why can’t I write for the sheer pleasure of seeing words form on the page.  Or knit so I can admire the material and the patterns I can make?

3 Responses to “Creative Frenzy”

  1. Stray Taoist Says:

    Money involved? Yes, yes there does. Or at least something high(er) up the symbol stack.

    As it happens, the current (mental) book I am reading (sort of) addresses this issue. Hippy capitalism is a bit odd, but he makes a somewhat intriguing case. Money/pop culture/frivolous entertainment are what drive us onwards.

    Value, you see, your symbol expressed in another way.

  2. Jessica Marie Says:

    Mmm, yes my mom is very concerned about this, always telling me to turn my hobbies into money-makers. Then they wouldn’t be hobbies, would they? That’s half the point.
    Then again, my mom’s only hobby is exercising, and she works at a gym…

  3. karen Says:

    @marc I aware that there are a variety of things that motivate me. I think I just get surprised that the one most mentioned to me is money.

    @jessica For some people their dream job involves their hobbies, but I think I’m more like you and want my hobbies to remain just as they are. I imagine that if I had to knit for a living that I would grow to resent every row.

Finger Licking Good

I made a faux pas last night.  I was eating roast chicken in an American Brasserie near Roppongi Hills.  Normally in a Japanese restaurant you are given a towel to wash your hands before eating.  But since this was an American style restaurant they didn’t do this.  After I had finished eating my dinner I picked at the chicken with my fingers while chatting.  I was interrupted by a waitress who rushed over with a towel.  At first I thought she was giving this to me so I could wipe my hands once I had finished eating the chicken. But she took the towel out of its wrapper and wanted me to wipe my fingers before I continued eating.  I like eating with my fingers, and I forget that in certain circumstances it will horrify the people around me.

Pin Cushion

My fingers are sore.  I kept stabbing them with the sewing needle I was using earlier.  It must be years since I tried to alter a garment by hand.  The alteration looks good but it took me longer to do than it should have and I kept missing the fabric.  I imagine that I’ll get better with practice.  Earlier this evening I was able to keep knitting whilst watching T.V. in the dark, but my knitting needles aren’t quite as pointy as that sewing needle was.

Tissue Paper Man

A while ago I joined the Perl Iron Man Challenge to motivate me to write more regularly about Perl.  I’m not sure how successful that has been.  I was reading Leonard’s post about how he finds it hard to come up with a topic every week, but he has managed to do this for eight months.  I think the longest consecutive run for me was eight weeks.

I should have things to write about as I am working on a variety of community projects.  But lots of what I do isn’t overly exciting and I find it hard to be inspired to write about it.  Even when I am really pleased about something, like Dave Mitchell’s grant being accepted, I can’t think of anything much to say.  Maybe someday I’ll get better at this.

2 Responses to “Tissue Paper Man”

  1. Tim Heaney Says:

    Yes! I would like to apply for Tissue Paper Man status, as well!

  2. karen Says:

    Some day I’m hoping to be really inspired and get to Stone Man.

Food Substitutions

Living in Japan can make it difficult for me to buy certain ingredients.  I try to find suitable substitutions, I use natural yoghurt instead of crème fraiche, milk soured with lemon instead of buttermilk.  But sometimes I can’t find what I need.  While I was chopping soup vegetables this morning I was thinking about how great it would be to be able to buy parsnip.  I have never seen a parsnip in Japan.  There are some other tuber like things in the supermarket but I have never bought them.

I’m not the only member of my family to make food substitutions.  My great-uncle used to make dinner for his mother, my great-grandmother, and he didn’t always have what he needed.  Apparently, if he didn’t have enough salad vegetables he would go out into the garden and pull up some weeds and substitute grass for spring onions.  I’m not planning on doing that with my soup but it didn’t seem to cause my family any harm.  So maybe I should just try cooking with some of the strange looking tubers in the supermarket and not worry so much about having the exact vegetable.

2 Responses to “Food Substitutions”

  1. Jessica Marie Says:

    I love the word ‘tuber.’

  2. karen Says:

    I suppose it is one of those words that sounds a bit silly.

Green Sweater Monster

Yesterday I finished knitting the sleeveless tank-top I started when I got home in February.  It’s the first seamless project I have tried.  I didn’t have a problem with the technique, but I do have a problem with the finished size.  The pattern is based on chest circumference and I picked the size according to that.  It fits me perfectly around the chest, but it seems that it’s expecting me to have some sort of mutant stomach to go with the chest.

If I had been less excited about starting to use my new circular needles I may have taken the time to calculate the size of the bottom of the top, but then again I might not.  It never occurred to me that the pattern actually makes something that is 16 inches (40 cm) bigger around the bottom than it is in the chest.  The picture looks O.K. but it is showing the smallest size which has less of a difference between the two measurements.  The person wearing it isn’t shaped anything like me but people modeling clothes rarely are.

Maybe it’s supposed to flair out but it looks a bit more like I’m hiding something up my jumper.  I’m thinking of either giving it seams and taking it in, which defeats the purpose of my seamless knitting, or knitting a belt to go with it.  It’s not all a complete disaster.  I have learnt a new technique and I now know that basing something like a jumper on one measurement isn’t going to work for me.

3 Responses to “Green Sweater Monster”

  1. Jessica Marie Says:

    Oh dear, and all that work. You could always rip back and re-shape it, couldn’t you?

  2. Norwin Says:

    I’m finding this a little hard to visualise, but it sounds to me like you have knitted a cone with sleeves. Do you know any cold Daleks?

  3. karen Says:

    @jessica I suppose I could rip it back, but most of the shaping problems are at the bottom, and it was knit from bottom up. I think I will make a belt for it. And keep it to help me with future shaping. I used inexpensive wool I bought in America, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

    @norwin – I never thought of that. I could be a fashion designer for very short Daleks…

Slow Cooking Success

It’s not long after noon and already tonight’s dinner is simmering in the slow cooker.  Yesterday I made Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Ale Stew. It had a lot of flavour and I would definitely make it again.  I mostly followed the recipe but I had to change the ale.  The local supermarket is no longer selling cans of Guinness so I made do with a dark Ebisu stout. I don’t drink Guinness so I’ve no idea how similar the two things are but it was the best substitution I could find.

The only problem with the stew was that it made me think of British bar food and large chunky chips.  I don’t have anything to cook chips in and even if I did they don’t fall under my definition of healthy food.  But I couldn’t help thinking of how well they would have gone with that stew.

Home Cooking

I have been trying to find ways to make it easier to eat well.  I’ve noticed that I get tired around 5pm and sometimes I just can’t be bothered cooking.  This can lead to eating fast food or snacking to try to increase my energy levels.  While I was in America my friend used a slow cooker to make breakfast.  I hadn’t seen a slow cooker in years and had forgotten how useful it could be.

I bought one at the weekend and at the minute the room smells of the beef and ale stew I prepared at lunchtime.  I am hoping that being able to prepare dinner in the morning will stop we eating rubbish at night.

2 Responses to “Home Cooking”

  1. Chastity Says:

    Excellent work! Crock pots are one of the best inventions ever. I love that it just has the food ready right when I walk in the kitchen. So great. Can’t wait to hear about all the delicious stuff you make!

  2. karen Says:

    Today I’m making Chili. I am quite excited by the slow cooker. The recipe book I got has some interesting dessert ideas that I want to try.

    Mind you yesterday I seemed to spend hours chopping vegetables. As well as the stew I made a Tomato and Red Pepper soup. It did take a while to chop everything and remove the skin from the tomatoes. Tasted amazing though. I was really surprised as it was the first time I had made a blended soup.