Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Close inspection will reveal that cookie-making was left to my brother and me this year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cut to the Darwin

Earlier today, I was walking to the library when a man offered me a copy of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin off the stack he was holding. This is a first for me - normally I get accosted by Christians of various stripes with New Testaments or LaRouchians with comparisons between Obama and Charlie Chaplin. I asked him if he was affiliated with something and he told me it was the 150th anniversary of the book. Not really an answer to the question.

As it turns out, this is just another prosthelytizing scheme - evangelist Ray Comfort writes a looong introduction about all the possible problems with evolution how intelligent design and creationism should be taught in schools alongside evolution.

Welcome to another tactic: pretend to care about science in order to promote creationism.

I am all for having the works of Charles Darwin around my apartment, but I'm not so into the idea of having Ray Comfort's.

I did a quick redo of the book design and let my brain rest from impending exams.

The original book:
And my version:
His eyes are creepy. In retrospect I should have realized this would be the case before cutting them out. I didn't actually spend any time planning or considering - it was pretty spur of the moment, as I'm sure one can see in the precision of the lines.
The Ray Comfort part:
The actual Darwin part:
The back cover:
The red line was cut from scrap from the cover and crosses out Ray Comfort's name, and the photo of darwin was taken from a page I removed and is placed over Comfort's final words before the book ends.

And now the philosophical question ensue!
Is it hypocritical of me (with my dislike of censorship) to literally cut Comfort's ideas out of this book?
Does this count as bowdlerizing, even though it's just my edition?

As this is my personal copy, it says "The Origin of Species on the Cover," not "Ray Comfort's Origin of Species," and I am not in any way infringing on or preventing the distribution of Comfort's ideas, I am going with the premise that this is just a symbolic reclamation of Darwinism and a wonderfully therapeutic way to take a break from surface integrals.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Make Yourself an Old Fashioned Cellphone Handset

With a basic understanding of electronics, a soldering iron, and a spare phone, it isn't too hard to make a cell phone handset. Since people have been asking me how it is done, my more electronically savvy father has written up a guide to doing it yourself, which I have put on instructables for your convenience.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


With the guidance of my father's superior knowledge of electronics, I've hooked up an old receiver from an old broken rotary phone to work with my cell phone.

It certainly does get me odd looks on the street.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Playwright Box: Page 6

Still have a few more pages archived

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Playwright Box: Page 4

I'm pretty sure this is based off one of the actual plays. Yes.

Also, I've lost my wacom pen, so I might have to leave everyone hanging about the ending. Or at least I would if anyone was paying attention or knew what was going on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Playwright Box: Page 3

Bonus points if you know where I sketched this.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Playwright Box: Page 1

Oh right, forgot about this thing. I'm all distracted by things that aren't the internet. Here is the first page.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Playwright Box: A Tale for Confused Children

Hint: this is the cover page. Further pages will follow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Very Favorite Alchemist

Sure, everybody talks about Bacon and Flamel. But really, can he even compare to the wonderful 15th century alchmist Sir George Ripley?

Sir George Ripley wrote his alchemical treatises in verse. And it is awesome.

Read him. Then create the philosopher's stone.

If anyone knows what sort of meter he is using, do tell. All I know is that reading it while right on the verge of falling asleep gives it a wonderful cadence.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Strawberry Pie

It has been excessively hot in Seattle lately. There is something about high temperature here that make them somehow much higher than the same ones in the Bay Area. I hear tell of mugginess. It might also be that the dorms never turn off the heaters.

But tonight there is a cool breeze, and I have baked a strawberry pie (the only oven is 3 floors away from where I sleep, which is inconvenient, but a bonus when it's really too hot to cook). I think this is a sign. A sign for me to eat pie.

This pie was much more organized and orderly than my apple pie, possibly due to my using a recipe.

Only slightly modified from the one I found at They use far too much sugar, and clearly don't cook in a dorm.

1 deep dish pie crust shell
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 tbsp. sugar, divided usage.
1 1/2 qts. fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
4 tsp. cornstarch
Whipped cream

1. Prepare pie crust according to directions for empty baked crust, cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and roughly 1.5 tablespoon sugar, stir until smooth; spread into bottom of baked crust.
3. Puree (or chop finely, if you lack pureeing abilities) half of the strawberries.
4. In a pan, combine pureed strawberries, remaining sugar and cornstarch. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens (about 7 to 10 minutes).
5. Remove from heat, stir in remaining strawberries. Let cool 2 minutes, pour into crust. Refrigerate at least 3 hours (does anyone actually do that? Eat it right away, people, live a little!); serve with whipped topping. Serves 8. Well, maybe just 4.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Random sketch: Spin Out

I am back from Maker Faire with a brand new sunburn! It was good times as always, but lacking in fighting robots. Still, tesla coils, things on fire, clever people, contraptions. I cannot complain.

On a wholly unrelated note:

This is actually a page of my diary. Don't go reading it.

The odd blur/nonblur affect is stuck in to make sure it's illegible, on top of being in code, tiny, and a bit sloppy. Not that I'm paranoid about my ciphers or anything...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dormitory Apple Pie


1 granny smith apple
4 sheets filo dough (by which I mean a massive package or two of filo dough that you will be eating every day for the next few weeks to avoid being wasteful)
Excessive amounts of butter
Cheddar cheese (sharp is best)
Brown sugar
1 roll aluminum foil
A knife
1 washcloth (optional)

1. Pile ingredients into a precarious stack and carry them down 3 floors to the kitchenette. Run back upstairs as necessary for whatever you forget.

2. Wipe mysterious substances off kitchenette countertops and lay down a sheet of foil.

3. Fail to preheat oven. If oven is occupied by an abandoned cake, hope that someone comes back for it.

4. Slice and core the apple, aiming for a largish surface to volume ratio.

5. Construct a tray from aluminum foil to hold apples and bake them at whatever temperature. Hint: pinch the corners of the foil tray in to increase structural integrity and make it possible to retrieve apples.

6. Construct a small aluminum foil bowl with handle in which to melt butter. Put on a burner set to medium to high heat. Switch to a burner that doesn't smoke when turned on.

7. Lay out a sheet of filo dough and brush with butter. By brush, I mean drizzle a bit on and spread around with the knife used to cut apples. Repeat for about 4 layers, give or take.

8. Remember that the apples are still in the oven and pull them out with the washcloth (if available) or very gingerly with ones fingers or corner of clothing. Turn the temperature to 400 degrees F if you haven't already.

9. Eavesdrop on people coming in to wash dishes.

10. Place apples in the center of the filo dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and a small amount of sugar, and slice a thin layer of cheddar cheese over the whole business. Add some butter for good measure. At some point, realize that the apple to dough ratio is off and set aside excess ingredients for later culinary experimentation.

11. Fold the filo dough around the apples and try and get it to stay in place. If it rips, cuss at it and cover over the hole with a new layer of filo dough.

12. Construct a foil tray and carefully transfer the pastry to it.

13. Put it in the oven.

14. Wait a few seconds, then reopen the oven and put some butter and, if desired, sugar and cinnamon on top.

15. While the pie bakes, use combine remaining ingredients as your fancy strikes, construct trays for them from foil, and put them in the oven, too.

16. Stare in the oven window until the pie is golden brown. Remove from oven using washcloth or ill-advised combination of fingers and clothing

17. Eat the pie using the knife while sitting on the floor staring in the oven window at the stuff that is still cooking until that, too, is golden brown. Try to remember to turn off the oven and burner.

18. Hide the remaining results of your cooking from prying eyes and carry it all back up to your room. Eat it before someone asks what it is and you feel obligated to offer them some.

19. Update your facebook status to reflect the deliciousness of the resulting pastry.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Practical Demonology

I absolutely adore The Lesser Key of Solomon (free online here:, a 17th century grimoire detailing "the ceremonial art of commanding spirits both good and evil."

The book is surprisingly readable and fun - it combines the absurdly bizarre statements and absurdly mundane. The spirit Agares takes the form of "a fair Old man riding upon a Crocodill, very mildly" and Gusion takes that of a Xenophilus (obviously). But their powers, while often dramatic and supernatural, also cover friendship counseling and help with geometry homework.

So I've compiled a quick and easy list of which demons to call to solve your daily problems (the parenthetical numbers indicate the order in which they appear in the book, for your convenience). Cross reference with the helpful details provided here:

Do you need.....

General advice?
Talk to Marbas (5), Gusion (11), Purson (20), Berith (28), or Asmoday (32)

Help with friends?
Try Amon (7), Barbatos (8), Botis (17), Glasya-Labolas (25), or Forneus (30)

Tutoring in...
Arithmetic? Ask Asmoday (32)
Mechanical engineering? Marbas (5)
Philosophy? Buer (10)
Astronomy? Morax (21)
Geometry? Asmoday (32)
English? Bune (26)

Demonology: not just for historical esoteric crazies anymore!

Friday, May 15, 2009

iChat Skills You Probably Shouldn't Have

Altering iChat logs is actually really easy.

The top is a copy of the original conversation, unaltered besides the name blotched out, and the following ones are some different ways I altered it.

I used my trusty hex editor. I can't make any one piece of dialogue longer (although I'm sure that there is a way), but to make it shorter, I just replaced letters with spaces that ichat ignored.

Should I make a tutorial or something?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Drink-Climate Equation

I have a fairly accurate (if approximate) sense of the outdoor temperature when I'm at work (making espresso drinks), despite not being able to see outside. The more iced drinks, the warmer it is, and an increase blended drinks (like those rather questionable smoothies-from-a-box) only really begin to sell when it gets into the 70s (Fahrenheit).

So far, I haven't been able to get hard data on the correlation between the proportion of cold drink sales and the outdoor temperature, so this formula is entirely hypothetical, based on my general impression rather than any comprehensive study of sales. Oddly enough, I actually have other things to do when at work... I suspect that k might vary by location - the Seattle standard for a hot day, I've found, isn't quite the same as that of Los Angeles.


d=total drinks
c=cold drinks
s=smoothies and blended drinks
k=the drink-climate constant
t=outdoor temperature

And now I know the whole internet is just frantic to go get me a bulk of cafe sales data. Right? Right?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Extra Bracelet Links

....make very good earrings.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alien Abduction? Vampire Bite? Alien Vampires?

Two mysterious upside down 'v's on a person's shoulder:
Very mysterious.

Current hypotheses:

1. alien abduction
2. very small vampire
3. ^__^
4. evil corporation
5. small, Zoro-like personage with initials V. V.

Any other explanations?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Some links to odds and ends, old and new, where I've turned up on the internets

as seen on page 16:

can't take much responsibility/credit for this, but nonetheless:

I'm still a bit confused about why this happened, by I can't complain:

page 83 if you have the actual magazine:

and for good measure:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cookie Sierpinski

Detail had to be sacrificed for the sake of surface area. Tasty, yes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Everybody Loves Typewriter Keys

I got one of those lovely typewriter key bracelets as a gift a long while back, and as I don't wear bracelets very often, so I made a little extension - some chain with the same sort of clasp as the bracelet.
As a result

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Human Cookie Sprinkles

Pulled from the tastier version of Watchmen that didn't quite make it in the comic and film world...

And it wouldn't count as baking without the obligatory skull cookie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Watch Case Bracelet

I've always loved and collected watch insides, and over time I've also amassed a few cases, some quite beautiful. For lack of anything better to do with them, I made them into a bracelet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day Part II: Someone is Leaving Out Information on the Internet

The Wicked Teacher of the West may do me a great honor, but leaves out some important details of her story. Naturally, I am righteously outraged: someone is wrong on the internet! Well, leaving out important details on the internet, at least. So, in the traditional and time honored way, I am writing a pithy but searing rebuttal!

What her post leaves out is that she, as my middle school computer science teacher, was the one who piqued my interest in computer science. I am immensely indebted to her for not only providing the opportunity of making Lord of The Rings digital madlibs in perl (ah, the obsessions of my youth), but for encouraging and providing countless opportunities for me to do more than just my classwork. A large percent of the Things I've Done she mentions were made possible by her.

So how's that for a smackdown, huh? I think I have a beautiful future ahead of me in blog flame wars.

And by the way, thanks for being my tech heroine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Skeleton Ada Remebered

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

My first attempt at doing a relief in sculpey - good times.
Based of this picture

Monday, March 23, 2009

Space Earrings

They go with my dress made from an extra-extra-large Cylon shirt.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


From my turning-everything-I-find-into-earrings phase, the cephaloearrings.

In a hollywood heist style move, I turned one of the earrings into a necklace and wore it to my high school graduation, in clear violation of the rules. It was pretty epic, I had to hide it in my robes and get it through the full pat down and inspection.

So goes my life of crime.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paper sierpinski

A small break from revising english papers:

And for a sense of scale:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pie for Pi Day

Strawberry rhubarb is the path of truth.
Also, of delicious.

Happy pi day!

Try and use $0.84 when you spend money today.

Also, I am very impressed by the girl who set the new pi reciting record at my former middle school's pi day celebration. Not only is getting 256 digits totally awesome, but it is also 2^8. If this were an adventure film, this would be a vital hint. I think it is fair to say that my middle school is way cooler than your middle school. Another girl did 50 digits in Spanish.

I think a school is doing something right when Pi Day is a bigger deal than Christmas.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sierpinski Triangles!

Introducing my newest idée fixe: The Sierpinski Triangle!

Starting with....

....a sierpinski journal entry
written during math class, fittingly enough, although we weren't talking about anything terribly related, and none of the writing has much to do with math...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chartreuse is a Shade of Red

It is time to clear up the issue around chartreuse. It's a reddish color.

That is all that I have to say.

(actually, it couldn't hurt to point out that it's.... finals time! so posting will hit a lull)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day

f(x,y)=√(xy) levels 1-2, the first column is black=1, grey=0, the second column is done by diagonal lines, one direction for one, the other for 0.

see here

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prose Poem: Morning Shift

Morning Shift

I like to think of her as the woman with the space ship, a classic style flying saucer loft with a kitchenette, great location above a bakery or independent café, a bus stop nearby. Not red plastic or shiny chrome, but a subtle matte or twill – the fashionable fabric of the hour. Its landing gear is smooth as a designer heel and its port holes curtained with the priciest silk that can be bought on the intergalactic market.
  Her white hair whispers from beneath her jaunty beret, like a low resolution photograph of the milky way, and the wrinkles on her face are firm and definite from her travels, she wears them like diamonds. And she knows: the French don't set the fashion trends, she goes to the source, where the light reflecting off their purse-clasps will only be seen by earth long after it has gone out of style. And she knows: her scarf lies just so against the neckline of her coat and she can carry it off when the gravity changes and the sky is flaming orange. With pursed lips, having stared down the widely-feared armies of be-tentacled Europans, she condescends to wait in line to buy a fruit cup and a meat pastry, six dollars and eighty four cents.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pretty Binary Functions

Following up my previous post about visualizing 3D binary, some prettiness from different two variable functions (at a much higher resolution). Note that the first level of the third function is the background of this blog. It used to be the first. I changed my mind.


First row left to right:
f(x,y)=(cos(x)+3)*(sin(y)+3) levels 1-4, 
f(x,y)=(cos(x/pi)+2)*(cos(x/pi)+2) levels 1-4, 
f(x,y)=(x^2)*(y^2) levels 7-8, 

Second row left to right:
f(x,y)=(log(x))*(log(y)) levels 1-2,
f(x,y)=(x^4)+(y^4) levels 6-9, 
f(x,y)=(x^2)+(y^2) levels 6-9

Monday, February 16, 2009

3D Binary Patterns

I've been doing multivariable function in math class, so I started thinking about graphing binary in 3D. I've been stacking 3D sets of binary words for ages now, but I'd never done anything more interesting than that. I'm not sure how mathematically rigorous this is, but it is pretty, and that is enough.

First, I drew out a few levels of f(x,y)=x+y on this scale, filling in the z-axis with the binary place value (a cube set on z=1 is in the 2^1=2 place value, so it has a value of 2).

Here is a diagram, rotated so that the pattern is easier to see:

This is not very informative, as all the information below the surface layer is hidden. To remedy this, I switched to considering each place value layer separately, as shown below for all the cubes at z=0 (or the place value 2^0=1)

In order to produce these digitally with my limited graphical abilities, I used a bird's eye view of each place value layer. I wrote a quick program to generate the patterns for my using the formula I worked out a while ago. Here is f(x,y)=x+y at z=1, 2, and 3:

Stripe-y, but not very interesting. 

f(x,y)=x*y, on the other hand, is just plane awesome. Shown here are the first 5 layers:
I don't know if this really qualifies as a fractal, but each decreasing level is a one quarter size approximation of the one that came before. If you try mentally stacking these views, it looks a bit like Cantor's comb, if it was a stool instead of a comb, and a bit more complicated.

The fact that binary produces fractally patterns (fractally is now a word) is not surprising. The most obvious binary pattern, just the numbers 1-31:

(isometric diagrams made with this)