27-31 July

27 July: I spent most of the day playing Race Into Space and writing this Let’s Play.  Writing up games takes more time than actually playing them.  In the background, I’ve been listening to Let’s Play Phoenix Wright: Justice for All because, frankly, it’s more time-effective (like cost-effective, but with time, which is a more limited resource) than playing it myself.

28 July: David’s in town for a workshop, so we grabbed dinner.  After flipping through places closed on Sunday evening, we settled on Humphrey’s La Jolla Grill, which is apparently related to this swanky place.  Cheese plate was nice, the butternut squash risotto was delectably buttery.  David’s doing well.  He’s in full grad student mode, but this workshop gives him time to visit his brother and gf (who’s got something gig in California for the summer?).

29 July: Learned that brilliant.org is hosting a programming/game theory contest called the Hunger Games (you probably need a login to read that).  Seems interesting.  If I have time, I’ll try to code an entry.

30 July: Lisa’s going away dinner was tonight (Lisa is the company’s graphic artist).  I had an orange & cream (kinda like a creamsicle) Italian soda.  In the almost a year since I joined the company, we’ve said goodbye to two people and brought in three people (well, it’s not clear precisely when Kyle started).  A fourth will start in two days.  I feel like I’ve definitely lost my The New Guy status when people consult me about how part of the school works or I find myself trying to make the new person feel welcome (that is a strange position for me).

31 July: Bunbury spent the night hiding under the table on top of the chair.  So, of course, he’s hungry in the morning because he didn’t eat dinner last night.  (I know this because I woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble getting back to sleep.)  Instead of going into his pen to eat, he signals to me to feed him.  Oh, bunny…

My phone has updated to Jelly Bean 4.3.  Google Now knows every site I visited for the past few months and can ask if I want to consider “researching” some more, even if many of them because someone sent me an off-color link.  Kinda creepy.

I brought some cilantro back from the Taco Shop and made guacamole with it.  Maybe a bit less onion next time.  However, the lime and cilantro really do give it a nice kick.  But can’t make a whole meal out of guac, and I had a lot of onions, so I made Japanese curry too.

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26-27 July

Thursday 26 July: Shadowrun has been released for PC.  Added to my wishlist.

I don’t ordinarily eat beef, but I saw a tri-tip for half off at the grocery the other day, so I splurged a bit.  I decided to use this recipe.  I’m out of lemon juice and onions (I know, I know…), subbed canola for soybean oil, and made garlic salt from garlic powder and salt.  Let that marinade overnight.

For dinner, I grilled the rest of the pork loin.  It didn’t have good browning, so I cooked it a bit longer at medium-high.  Better coloration, but now overcooked.  Eh, I don’t want undercooked pork anyway.

Friday 27 July: Grilled the tri-tip for lunch.  Underdone.

Most of the office spent lunch and 0.5-1 hour around that time solving a puzzle.  Have I mentioned how awesome my job is?

I’ve been playing a lot of Pocket Planes recently.  It is extremely mindless, and I don’t know why I’m playing it.  Yet I have played enough to have a dozen 4-capacity aircraft flying from Paris to Tokyo.

Language universals

Random thought I had on the drive to work: human languages are predisposed to certain behavior for physiological and/or neurological reasons: vowels are largely a function of what sounds our mouth and tongue can easily produce and what sounds are differentiable to the human ear; syllable structure has a lot to do with lungs powering speech; labials are some of the easiest phonemes for babies to articulate; etc.

This has been used humorously by many YouTube videos transcribing a video phonetically into another language.  However, a lot of these transcriptions are a bit of a stretch.

Okay, the possible space of sounds is very, very, very large, but there are a lot of languages and they have large vocabularies and number of pairwise combinations of languages is very large too.  It seems like two syllables appearing in different languages happens occasionally, a two-syllable word is a coincidence, and anything more just doesn’t happen.  Why isn’t there some phrase in language A that means something else in language B?  This calls for a Fermi calculation…