2011.07 minutiae

  • Google Maps seems to think that Cory Hall was designed by M.C. Escher.

  • I have a recurring dream that I'm giving grad school another try but once again can't bring myself to do the work. This month offered up a new twist: I wanted to give grad school another try, but had done so at so many different universities (in previous dreams) that there was nowhere decent left to apply.

  • Naturally I follow the exchange rate between U.S. and Canadian dollars, since I travel back and forth from time to time and have savings stashed in both countries. What I didn't know what that the U.S. has lost well over half its value against the Australian dollar over the past ten years: from A$2.06 per USD in 2001.09 — and A$1.65 as recently as 2008.10 — all the way down to A$0.90 as of this writing. I have A$15 in a drawer here in my apartment — at this rate I may soon be using that money to pay my rent.

  • My Das Keyboard started malfunctioning (after less than a year!), which wasn't too much of a tragedy because while I really liked the feel of the keys, the blank key caps made it difficult to type passwords and trigger shortcuts and things. I don't need to look at the keys when I type language — I just think, e.g., "copper sulfate" and the words appear on my screen without any conscious thought on my part about the actual letters I'm typing or where they're located. But ask me to type Ctrl-C and I need to either look at the keys or drag the keyboard layout out of my subconscious and figure out where the C is. So why did I get a blank keyboard in the first place? Because I use the Dvorak key set, and while on my laptops it was easy enough to swap around the flimsy keycaps, I'm now using a desktop and switching the keys around on a desktop keyboard seemed like a dubious proposition. But with the Das Keyboard kind of a washout, I found myself back in the position of looking for a keyboard that (a) had good tactile and aural feedback (a.k.a. "clicky keys") and (b) had swappable key caps or, dare I dream, was available in Dvorak in the first place. What I really wanted was a Dvorak version of the old buckling-spring IBM Model M keyboard that I had when I was ten. That motherfucker was hardcore. But where the hell would I get something like that?

    Well, it turns out that, as I keep having to learn all over again, the Internet has everything. So I wanted a Dvorak Model M, the Internet asked? Bam. Thank you, drive through. I'm typing on it right now. What a world.

  • One odd thing: since this keyboard is natively Dvorak, I actually had to take Windows out of Dvorak mode because it was remapping my input into a strange sort of Dvorak² that horrified me until I realized what was happening.

  • Paul Ryan derided the cuts in Harry Reid's debt ceiling proposal as "gimmicks," saying that we might as well announce a plan to spend $5 trillion covering the moon in yogurt, then cancel it and declare it a $5 trillion savings. The ironic thing is that spending $5 trillion to cover the moon in yogurt would be stimulative and would therefore do more to revive the economy than any of these idiotic, counterproductive austerity bills.

  • "When Doves Cry" came on the radio and I was singing along with the first verse when it occurred to me that it'd probably been pretty inappropriate for me to do so when I was ten.

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