DW Markup

Apr. 23rd, 2017 12:29 pm
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While composing this morning's link roundup, I got a little bit of practice in editing html, because I'd copied article snippets to the DW rich text editor and wanted to give the page a somewhat uniform appearance rather than a mishmash of fonts.

Usually what I've done in the past is just copy the source as plain text, and add in any embedded links manually. Copying the source as rich text saves me that step, but it also preserves the font formatting, which in general I don't want to do. All in all, deleting or editing the font formatting takes more time than just copying the embedded links.

So, it was good to get the practice, but it took an inordinate amount of time (especially with my very modest html skills). And it reminded me of one thing that bothers me about composing on DW: I'm not seeing the formatting buttons on the html tab, only on the WYSIWYG rich text editor. The LJ composing page lets you click the buttons in the html editor and see the code as it is applied, which I find useful.

Hoping DW will consider adding this feature as well. Or is there a work-around I don't know about?

Linkage

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:23 am
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On living with Hebrew. Alan Mintz: '...Hebrew isn’t quite like other languages. Many of the American Hebraists who taught my generation never lived in Palestine, but their Hebrew was richer and more robust than that of most of their counterparts in the Yishuv (the Jewish settlement in Palestine). There, aside from the strange case of Itamar Ben-Avi, the son of the pioneering Hebraist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922), the members of the first generation to be actually raised in the language were born only in the ear

ly 1930s to parents who in many cases had learned their Hebrew in Europe. In short, nativeness in Hebrew is a relatively recent phenomenon.' Follow the link for the whole thing, including, in particular, the teaching of modern Hebrew on college campuses.

David Hardy and Boys' Latin.“I invite anyone who doubts what this does for our students to come to a graduation and watch 100 black boys sharply dressed in caps and gowns and proudly reciting their school pledge in Latin,” says the school’s chief executive officer, David Hardy. “Not only is this an unexpected sight, it defies the low expectations society puts on young black men.”...

How America watches North Korea. 'Whenever a U.S. official says the American government is closely monitoring the situation in North Korea, aerial snooping is undoubtedly an important source of that information. ...'

Berkeley mayor member of Facebook Antifa group. ''Mayor Jesse Arreguin was revealed to be a member of the anti-fascist [sic] group, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), on Facebook. BAMN orchestrated the violence that shut down a scheduled lecture at UC Berkeley featuring Milo Yiannopoulos in early 2017. Arreguin is allegedly also friends with BAMN leader, Yvette Felarca, on Facebook.

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http://www.weeklystandard.com/iran-on-notice/article/2007730

'By certifying that Iran is in compliance, the Trump White House simply complied with a legislative milestone, designed to keep the administration that brokered the agreement honest. Critics of the deal, eager for stronger action taken more quickly, should probably see certification not as a disappointment, but as a delay.

It does not signal, the Trump official told me, that this White House has concluded the JCPOA serves American interests. Rather, certification is a placeholder during the review process. It is buying time for the administration to muster its resources while it plans how to move forward on Iran. ...'
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I've been away from journaling for a while, but I'm still here.

LJ/DW drama - I have no plans to quit either LJ or DW, there are things I like and don't like about each, but for the foreseeable future I'm planning to continue posting on both. If I post photos it'll be to LJ 'cuz it's just easier, I'm too lazy to go through a third-party photo sharing site. Hopefully DW will be able to add that capability soon. Other than that, I don't play favorites.

Work - I am still working at TheBank, and it's been getting easier. I don't plan to be there indefinitely and I am keeping my eyes open for new opportunities, but I'm more comfortable with the job now and I'm glad I stayed with it. "L'fum tza'ara agra." (No pain, no gain.) 

Education - Don't look now, but I'm learning html.  Finally decided I wanted to know more than links and bold tags.

Life - I'm still living at the Admiral, and if I play my cards right, I might just be able to get my income up enough in the next few months to be able to keep staying here.  Decided it's a goal I'm willing to bust my ass for, plus I don't want to have to move again.  Related:  amid some very complicated feelings, I'm planning to start going to the liberal synagogue in this neighborhood once again.  Will post more on this later.

[RELATED:  Blog post from 12 years ago about "the shul I don't go to." 

http://asher813.blogspot.co.ke/2005/04/shul-i-dont-go-to.html ]

New Job

Mar. 27th, 2017 01:55 pm
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I start work tomorrow morning at 7am!

Itkafya

Mar. 13th, 2017 05:40 am
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This article on focusing the distracted mind popped up on my LinkedIn feed and it caught my interest.  According to their research, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen say, the ability to focus consists of two distinct processes:  enhancement and suppression.  Enhancement means focusing on the things that matter, and suppression is blocking out the things that don't.  As we age (and this begins at about age 20), our ability to focus starts to weaken, specifically because of a deficit in the suppression function. 
The attentional decline we experience as we age has more to do with our inability to filter out distractions, not our lack of concentration. If you think it’s hard to pay attention now, just wait until you age a few more years.

As it happened, the latest issue of the Lubavitch International monthly arrived the other day, and in it I discovered Shmuel Loebenstein's article on itkafya.  Itkafya is a Talmudic word without a counterpart in Biblical Hebrew; it's related to a number of words meaning "to seize, overpower" (Jastrow, p. 1693) and the word itself means "suppression" or self-control.  Loebenstein cites a study that showed multiple benefits when children were asked to delay gratification (eating a marshmallow) by exercising self-control. 
... what better Aramaic word is there than iskafya (“itkafya” in Sephardic pronunciation), a word beloved of the kabbalistic ancients and equally embraced by Chasidic moderns. ...
When Chasidic philosophy lauds iskafya, the suppression of the animalistic instinct in ourselves, it is not talking about afflicting ourselves. It is about self-restraint, the battle between the ego and the id, the mastery of our character over our urges and instincts. You want to practice iskafya? Try not talking gossip for a day. Try befriending a person whom you dislike.

I've been struggling with mood issues lately, so this information is a good reminder of both the challenge and the potential in choosing what kinds of thoughts I dwell on, and which ones to let go.

Hub Plug

Mar. 7th, 2017 07:54 am
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With the final demise of BlackBerry OS, I had to give up my Blackberry in favor of an Android phone, and I found myself missing one of the core features of BlackBerry OS: the Hub, which aggregates all of your email, text, phone, and social media messages in one feed. Oh and it uses push notifications for email so you get your emails immediately instead of waiting for a periodic server query.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blackberry.hub&hl=en

Fortunately BB now makes Hub as a 3rd party app, and I'm now happily running it on my Samsung. The paid (ad-free, with full features) version is just 1$ a month tacked on to my mobile bill and it's going to be well worth it.

http://crackberry.com/blackberry-keyone

BTW BlackBerry is still making BlackBerry phones, but the new ones will be running on Android. I'm really looking forward to the new KeyOne aka Mercury, and hoping to buy one as soon as I'm able to do the discretionary spending thing again.
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https://www.illinoispolicy.org/story/forgotten-illinois-newton-and-the-reality-of-americas-heartland/

Newton faces many of the same trends as other downstate communities. Jobs have left, residents have moved, and politicians aren’t listening.

The sense of community, though, remains strong. Jonathan Broscious, a pastor at Newton’s New Hope Church, moved to the city in 2013 after attending school in Pennsylvania and growing up in the Washington, D.C., area. His wife grew up in Newton, and the city’s strong sense of community has made Broscious happy to call Newton home.

“I went to the bank – this was maybe six months after I moved here – and I went to make a deposit,” Broscious recalled. “I’m not the kind of person who has his account numbers memorized or whatever, so I walk up to the teller – and I’ve never talked to this girl ever before in my life. And I walk up to her, and I say, ‘Hey, I need to make a deposit but I don’t know what my bank account number is. I can give you my driver’s license or my debit card or something if you needed to figure it out.’

“And she said, ‘Oh no, I got it; what account do you want me to put it in?’ She knew exactly who I was because evidently she’d seen me walking with my wife and knew who my wife was.”

It’s not difficult to recognize people in Newton, a city of 2,800 people covering less than 2 square miles. The close-knit feeling is everywhere. ...
 

Read the rest at the link.  Of interest to Allaboutweather on LJ.

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To keep my mathematics circuits free of cobwebs I've been reviewing facts from algebra. Looking at the Law of Cosines, I noticed for the first time that it contains an expression familiar from vector math. Under the Wiki entry for 'Dot Product' I found this very cool proof: if you let vector C represent the vector between the endpoints of A and B - that is, A-B=C vector-wise - and you square both sides (using the dot product), you get the Law of Cosines. That is, C dot C equals (A-B) dot itself; and you expand the latter as a binomial square-of-difference. That's where the "-2AB cos c" term comes from, it's the same as "2 * (A dot B)".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_product#Application_to_the_law_of_cosines

I've started poking through my old Dynamics textook too, to see if there was anything forbiddingly difficult therein, and I don't think there is. Just for kicks I skipped ahead to take a look at Sample Problem 17.5, where you've got two rigid rods hinged together with the end of one hinged to a surface and the free end on a frictionless roller. The strategy involves finding something called the "instantaneous center of rotation" which is given by drawing lines perpendicular to the moving points (i.e. along the radii of an imaginary wheel) and finding where they intersect. It's a cool concept, and I will probably think about it every time I see a book slide down flat after losing its grip on the bookend. Anyway, if I ever manage to earn a college degree before I die, I'm still interested in engineering.
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It looks like Portland may be seeing the last of winter weather, finally. Forecast calls for clear skies for the early part of this week, then some rain, but no more freezing temperatures.

I'm coming to the end of six months at my current gig, and starting to look around for something that pays better. Meanwhile the downsizing continues apace, with regular trips to Powell's to lighten the load of surplus books.

Getting ready to move forward to the next phase of life.

Driving

Jan. 31st, 2017 07:41 am
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So, I've been driving around town with this crazy woman in my car.

She talks too fast and too much, as if she's had way too much coffee. She gives me confusing, contradictory directions, takes me on seemingly random detours, and can never seem to make up her mind what she wants me to do. She is, literally, driving me crazy.

She is Google Lady, the voice of the Google Nav on my Android phone, and she's the one I've gotta follow when I do my deliveries using the Uber app. She makes me long for the soothing tones of my longtime companion, Garmin Lady, but I guess you can get used to anything.

Last night I thought I'd try to get along without her for a run. Big mistake. The delivery was just straight down Burnside and I thought "Oh I'll just go down Burnside and turn right on 1st." Except that I don't know the city as well as I thought I did: you can't turn onto 1st from Burnside, and I ended up having to continue across the bridge to Eastside and turn around - using the nav, of course. Google Lady had had the last laugh. I felt compelled to apologize.

"Okay, Google Lady, I'm sorry I doubted you - "

"To use voice command, say 'OK Google', and then ... "

* sigh *

It's going to be an interesting relationship.

PDX Peeps

Jan. 30th, 2017 02:20 pm
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What's your favorite thing to do / thing to see / place to visit in the Portland area?

Favorite coffee spot?

Favorite night spot?

Favorite indie movie house?

Favorite Atlas Obscura destination?

Most interesting experience?

Favorite area destination for a day trip? (Say, 20 - 100 miles radius from the city.)

Any interest in local LJ/DW meet-ups?
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Was planning to drive some deliveries yesterday (Sunday) but fatigue and housework got the better of me, and except for my lunch date I spent the day at home.

The good news is, I got well rested up and am looking forward to doing some driving tonight. I'll look at it as a chance to explore new places in the neighborhood.

Last night before bed I decided I was tired of looking at the four walls of my room, and needed something both visually stimulating and relaxing. Realized I hadn't logged in to Flickr for a while, and that turned out to be just the thing.

With the weather getting better, I am going to start planning an out-of-town day trip soon.
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I've had my new phone for about two weeks now and I'm happy with it. I bought a handsfree headset at the same time, in preparation for my debut as an Uber delivery driver, and started wearing it daily. I thought it would be hard to get used to (I'm of the generation that grew up with corded dial phones) but it became natural almost immediately. I forgot to put it on today and it feels weird *not* having it on.

So, I stopped by the Uber Greenlight location on the Eastside last night - my first time dealing with any of the staff in person - and they were great. A guy named Paul helped me and he was very nice and professional. And I'm officially ready to start driving! I'll turn on my driver app tonight after my day job and we'll see how it goes.

And my social life is moving right along ... got some dating happening, yay. Details anon. For now, got to get to work at my day job!
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The weather today was milder and mostly fair, bringing a much-needed thaw to the city and the roads in particular. I'm on track to work something close to a full week for the first time in seemingly forever. (Worked a short day Tuesday due to road conditions, but I was able to make up some of those hours tonight.) Regular employees at the Clinic get compensated for snow days, but I'm a contractor so I'm just out the money.

The good news is I got a call from my agency yesterday to check in and see how I'm doing. (I'm approaching the six-month mark at this gig.) I told them, truthfully, that I like the people I work with and have no complaints about the work, but that in the near future - after I've passed my 6-month obligation - I may be looking to make a little better rate of pay. So the agency guy said he'd talk to my boss at the clinic and see if he could work something out. Fingers crossed.

I'm almost at the end of 'Tar Baby' - I'm listening to the audiobook at work, and reviewing in the dead-tree edition after work - and I hope to get a write-up done this weekend.

The two Crock-Pots I ordered are sitting in the kitchen waiting to get used. I've promised myself that this coming week will be the week I start practicing making cholent, in time for next Shabbat. Anybody know any good, easy cholent recipes? (Meat and/or meatless.)
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Portland, Oregon is near the Pacific coast and it's generally a mild climate. Two inches of snow is a lot for us. Last week we got eight. The city had to borrow snowplows and sand trucks from Seattle.

And the temperature has stayed below freezing since then. Now the snow is supposed to start melting today and tomorrow ... just in time for a monster storm that's supposed to dump tons of rain on us Tuesday and Wednesday.

So, lots of fun.

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