Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer should not be ending!

I just need two extra weeks of August.  That would be perfect.  Where are those time turners when you need them?  My research is hopping along, but I still have a lot to do.  (Note wonderful three people who read this blog:  you will hear that a lot until I finish this which could be all year).

Knitting:  I have yet to finish the socks.  I have started a new project:  a knitted chimp.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I am knitting a monkey stuffed animal.  So far I have the body, the backside of the head, 1 and 1/2 arms completed.  The pattern was features in a magazine by the designer extraordinary : Alan Dart.  His designs are amazing.  You cannot tell me this is not the cutest dragon you have ever seen?  The details are amazing (check out Medieval Mice for an example).

Well, I better get back my research.  Reading, revising, writing, and designing are on the menu today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fun Filled Times: Research and Knitting

I spend most of my days working on my research.  A little programming, but the majority of my current time is spent reading and writing.  A lot is reading search results and picking out what I am actually wanting.  (Initials of one of my topics is similar to a major company making for some interesting searching).

In the evenings, my break is watching tv and knitting.  Warehouse 13, Psych, and Leverage are currently my knitting background.  I am currently knitting presents for others and trying to decide my next project.  Yes, I will finish those socks, but that is my "to-go" project so I am saving it.  Anyway, next project possibilities:  A monkey, a sleeveless sweater, hat/scarf set, or a lacy wrap/scarf.  I have recently purchased yarn for all of these.  OK, I slightly lie.  I have yarn for multiple hat/scarf sets and lacy scarfs.  Of course, once I narrow down the project, then I have to narrow down yarn choices.  Choices, choices, choices!  Which project should I pick next?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Movies I Watch Every Year

In the heat and mugginess of the summer, I like to stay inside and watch a good movie.  (I also get a lot of good knit time in while watching these movies).  These are movies that I try to watch sometime each year.  Why?  Because I think they are just that good!  (Included are a few made for tv movies, but I count those as movies).

The list of yearly watch movies (in no particular order):
  • The Lord of the Rings (I personally prefer the extended editions)
  • North by Northwest
  • Anne of Green Gables (all three parts)
  • Murder, She Said
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • The Thin Man
  • Wall-E
  • The First Wives Club
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Miss Potter
  • Clue
  • The Muppet Movie
  • My Fair Lady
  • NetForce
  • Dial M for Murder
  • The Princess Diaries
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Star Wars (Episodes I-VI)
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces
  • The Da Vinci Code

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why is Knitting Like Software Engineering?

On a quick side note:  I (and my computer) managed to survive a second try at yoga.

Now on to why you started reading this post in the first place.  You were just trying to know how I was going to relate those two topics!  These topics may seem to be unrelated but I have come up with a quick little explanation.

During software engineering process you often toss out more code than you finally use in the end.  The tossing out can be for various reasons:  found a better way, changed the design of other components, not needing the component, redesign, it only was needed once and was really short, combining multiple similar components, etc.  I think I remember something about tossing out 70% of the overall code written for a project.  Anyway, throwing away and starting over is often a requirement or a good thing.

Knitting has frogging.  (No I am not making that term up my non-knitting friends.  Need proof:  read this).  Frogging involves completely starting over or preparing the yarn for a new project.  Like with software engineering, frogging happens for a bunch of reasons:  mistakes, dropped stitches, deciding that the project does not work with the yarn/needle size, you just don't like the project, need to make the item bigger or smaller, etc.

Summary:  Both are hard to do, but it is often for the best.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trying a Little Yoga

(Or "Trying not to fall over on my computer")

I was standing at the checkout of a grocery store (the third one in a single day - don't ask).  Anyway, a magazine caught my eye, it was all about Yoga.  I have done some pilates in the past (key word here is past) and I had thought of taking it back up.  I also wanted to introduce a few changes and thought some basic yoga might be interesting.  I especially like the stretching portion of yoga.  So to end a long story, I bought the magazine.

I got out my mat (read: dusted off my mat after spending 10 minutes hunting for it) and opened the magazine to an article with some basic positions and stretching.  What did I learn?  It is nearly impossible to read the magazine and try to do the position at the same time without falling over.  If I wasn't falling over, I ended up partway and then couldn't see the magazine.

Of course, this is nothing wrong the magazine.  I highly enjoyed reading the articles!  So, I decided to dust off some episodes of beginners yoga I got off of iTunes first.  The instructors talk you through the activity so reading is no longer an issue.

Of course there was still one little tiny problem, when balancing do not look down at the computer screen with episode running.  Do not ask me how I know, just trust me.

P.S.  The computer is fine.
P.S.S I love that the iTunes tv shows include exercise videos.  This way I can take it with me via my iPod.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bring on the Funny...

For my regular readers (wait...who am I kidding...) or more accurately the people who have stumbled onto my blog for some reason: you may or may not know that I am in the middle of working on an important step in my research. This means that I do the following things:

  • Rarely leave the house
  • Spend most of my day legitly staring at my computer screen
  • From the last statement, I should add making up words
  • Drinking wonderful ice tea (black current is my personal favorite)
The unfortunate side effect:  I feel slightly like a mole or maybe that was because I watched The Wind in the Willows on Dvd.  (There was a tv series too).  I have felt that I needed to bring a little funny into my life (and take regular breaks) every so many hours.  As this is a blog I will point you in the direction of some internet related funniness.

To Keep the Mole-Like Feelings at Bay List:
  • Cake Wreaks: Hilarious on weekdays.  Amazing cakes on Sunday.  Plus it is about cake what other reason would you need?
  • (The Customer Is) Not Always Right:  I think the title is self explanatory.
  • Check out the products at Despair, Inc.  Try not to laugh too hard ;-)
  • Article Circle Cartoons: This comic included penguins and polar bears.  (Why are you still here reading my blog?  Did you miss the part about the penguins?)
Well, that is all I have to talk about today.  Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What's in a name? (Or Notes to Self Regarding Coding)

A couple of months ago (read: end of spring semester), I started writing so code (in java if anyone cares). It all started when I wanted to test some I was considering for my research. Attempting to be smart, I decided I would just write the program for reuse later. Now, that was not my mistake. The mistake was what came next: thinking I would brilliantly name all of my classes really good long descriptive names. My logic being that months later I would easily be able to use the code for the final intended purpose!

I have learned a new lesson: really long names are often just as problematic and did I mention a pain to type? However, I had no problem trying to figure out what was what. I think that was mostly due to the massive comments I left myself too. I have heard the wisdom that descriptive names make the code more "self documenting".

So the question really is: is there a balance between being descriptive and just being silly? Is it better to have names that are only 5-15 characters long? Or is 25+ characters just right or too long? Is it only really long when it gets over 45 characters? (OK I feel like the Goldilocks of programming at the moment...) Does the long names actually make the code less clear?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wait...I have a blog?

I really should update this more often! But I have been very busy with graduate school and my research. I also decided to make a change to the look of the blog with one of the cool new templates. Maybe this will encourage me to come up with a whole blog of something important. Or (more likely) not. Now I understand micro-blogging, it is easier to come up with just 140 characters!

I have been spending most of my spare time knitting. I am finally getting to be halfway OK at it :) I have enough scarfs to last me for the next few years. Made 2 sweaters so far (1 more successful than the other). Learning socks was a interesting experience.

Anyway, I have a point...maybe. Hmmm...I forgot. Oh right, knitting + grad school + randomness + geekiness = blog. This should be interesting.