Stage Fright

Giving presentations at work has made me realize something.

I don’t actually have stage fright.

I’m simply afraid of not knowing what the fuck I’m talking about in front of other people.  It happens more often than I care to admit.

I’m perfectly able to get up and talk IF I know the subject, have some idea of what I’m going to say, and have something (anything!) to refer back to in order to help keep me on point.  Like a PowerPoint presentation, or an index card.

All these years I thought it was stage fright that gave me the dry mouth and jitters.  Now I realize that I rarely know anything about anything, and have less to say about anything, and that’s what made me nervous.  Who knew.  (Obviously not me, hardy har.)

vim, screen, and bracketed paste mode

A little while back an update was introduced, somewhere, that has been driving me nuts.  I didn’t record exactly when it happened or what changed.  I suppose it doesn’t matter now.

The behavior wasn’t easy to pin down at first since it was the confluence of several things: 1) pasting 2) into vim while 3) using a non-xterm terminal like mate-terminal and 4) inside a screen session.

The behavior exhibits in several ways:

  • Pastes appear to be incomplete, or (more correctly) some number of characters at the beginning of the paste go “missing” and actually become commands to vim
  • Pastes are complete but they’re bracketed with \e[200~content\e[201~
    • some people report 0~content1~ instead, but it appears to be the same phenomenon

What’s going on?  It’s a feature called “bracketed paste mode”.  You can google it read up on it, it has some utility.  As far as I can tell it’s related to readline.  But more importantly, there is a fix.

Add this to your ~/.vimrc:

" fix bracketed paste mode
if &term =~ "screen"
  let &t_BE = "\e[?2004h"
  let &t_BD = "\e[?2004l"
  exec "set t_PS=\e[200~"
  exec "set t_PE=\e[201~"
endif

source: https://vimhelp.appspot.com/term.txt.html#xterm-bracketed-paste

Mathematicians

As a mathematician, I take care not to be caught doing philosophy. When I buy my copy of Philosophy Now, I ask the newsagent to wrap it up in a brown paper bag in the hope that it will be mistaken for a girly-mag.

Mike Alder, Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword

Cape Cod 2018

Another change of venue this year: Wellfleet, MA.  We seem to be creeping further up the Cape every year.

Day 0: Driving and Arriving

We left the house around mid-afternoon, planning to arrive fashionably late.  Our intention worked as planned; we rolled into town around 6 pm and got busy making a pasta-and-meatball dinner for everyone.

After a short dinner, we took everyone to the closest beach to let the little ones burn off some energy.  The Fox family had been on the road since morning, and rolled in around 7pm; the kids were exploding with pent up energy and excitement.

mayo beach at sunset
Mayo Beach @ Sunset, Wellfleet MA

Day 1: Rain!

Meghan and I woke up on our usual schedule, 6am.  (This continued for the duration of the week.)  The weather was forecast to be poor, and it proved true for most, but not all, of the day.

We headed out to a full-size super market in search of a coffee maker (the house’s was AWOL) and groceries for dinner.  I prefer to spend a little extra money rather than pack the car with perishables.

After breakfast, the weather cleared enough that almost everyone headed to the beach — I stayed home and napped to catch up on a week of poor sleep, and missed seeing a Great White shark off Marconi Beach.

Dinner turned out to be an unpleasant adventure: we had picked up a pair of roasting chickens that morning, but after unsealing the packages we discovered that the fowl had gone very foul.  Tim and Kelly started cranking out their dinner planned for the following night, and Meghan and I dashed back to the store to get our money back.

After dinner and the little kids had gone to bed, we sat down to play Cards Against Humanity —with Alpha and Beta.  It was a night that they will not soon forget… nor will I.

Day 2: Chatham

I woke up early to a beautiful day and took a bike ride around the perimeter of Wellfleet.  The ocean side of the cape was still socked in with fog, but the land and western side were clear.

fog at white crest beach
The fog bank on the ocean side stopped abruptly at the edge of the water.

After breakfast we took a ride down to Chatham for some shopping and lunch.

Top Shark: Artist Mary Dunn Cauley, Middle Shark: Pati DuVall, Bottom Shark: Dennis Predovic

We introduced the Fox kids to Ponyo.  Tim and Kelly don’t seem to be big on anime, but the kids were fascinated.  (Sorry, guys!)

A documentary of Ted Williams premiered on PBS that night, which was important to Joan, so we cleared the deck, got the kids in bed, and watched with her.

Day 3: Marconi

We chose to go hiking around the Marconi Wireless Station on Tuesday.

artsy-fartsy picture of some snow fencing

Quinn and Beta looking out over the sea.
Listening to the Navy Band at the Old Salt Pond Visitor’s Center at the National Sea Shore.

Day 4: Biking and A Guest

Meghan and tried out the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which has a trail head in Wellfleet.  Our goal when we started was Marconi Beach, but the ride was so easy we kept going and made it to Orleans before turning around.

Kappa sleeping on the couch, take 1. He refused to sleep in his own bed until we bought child-proof door handle covers. We found him like this on Tuesday morning.

While we were gone, the Foxes hit Mayo Beach in Wellfleet.  When Meghan and I got back we headed to the beach with the girls as the Foxes were leaving.  We stayed about an hour and a half, and came away with minor sunburns, but the water was warm and the swimming was easy.

We hosted a friend of Joan’s who lives on the Cape, and her young daughter, for dinner.

On this night an issue withe the youngest of the Fox clan, Kappa, not going to bed at bedtime became particularly troublesome.  We pledged to find doorknob covers the next day so that he would have to stay in his room at night, even if he wasn’t going to go to bed.

Day 5: P-Town

After a very slow start to the day, we headed to Provincetown with Joan while the Foxes went back to the beach.

We started at the far eastern end of the main drag and worked our way westward.  People watching in P-Town is always an adventure.  The girls are still young enough to not really notice how bizarre the crowd is and have more fun shopping.

Day 6: Cape Code Lighthouse and Pilgrim Monument

Meghan, Alpha, and I spent the day being tourists.

We checked out the Cape Cod Lighthouse, where Meghan went up –and down– the spiral staircase of the lighthouse.

Quinn climbing up onto the light platform of the Cape Cod/Highland’s Lighthouse.
Quinn and Megh at the Cape Cod/Highland Lighthouse 7/27/2018

We then went to the Pilgrim museum and tower in Provincetown.  I, however, was the only one to climb the tower.

View up the Pilgrim Monument
View from inside the Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown, MA.
I was curious about how good a picture from this distance would come out. Very surprised everything is as sharp, considering the haze!
detail of view from top of pilgrim tower
The view of Provincetown Light from the top of the Pilgrim Monument tower

After dinner at home, the adults stayed up to watch Jaws with the RiffTrax overlay.

Day 7: Leaving

We were supposed to vacate the house by 9 am.  We missed the time by less than five minutes (WE were ready, but the Foxes have a small army to move.)

We ate an excellent breakfast at Laura & Tony’s kitchen, and hit the road for home.  Others in the party were hitting the beach one last time, but we were all ready to be home.

Assorted Snapshots

Mom hanging out, waiting for breakfast 7/28/2018
Cousins on the Group Shark Bench. Chatham
Will they swim or won’t they. Marconi Beach at the Cape Cod National Seashore.
We’re off to the Cape! 7/21/2018
A view of the fog over the ocean from the top of the Nauset Light House.
Quinn and Megh climbed this amazing lighthouse. The view from the top was breathtaking
Delta and Kappa when we woke up. Kappa had been on the couch all night, apparently. This was escape # 2.

600Inside the Nauset Lighthouse

Cape Cod/Highlands Light House
View down the Cape Cod/Highlands Lighthouse. There are a combination of a ladder, several platforms, and stairs, all made of cast iron.
View of the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown, MA from the Cape Cod/Highland Lighthouse’s windows.
View up the inside of the Cape Cod/Highlands Light House.
Beta and Delta looking for shells
Kappa and Baba waiting for breakfast
Alpha took a nap on Quinn’s lap for an hour or so.
Getting ready to climb the Nauset Light House! Kelly is having fun talking to the docent.
Delta and Kappa with Kelly “up to their ankles” which meant they totally got their shorts wet.
Delta checking out the Nauset Light.
Kappa checking out the Nauset Light.
After we all got in on Saturday night, we had a dinner of pasta and meatballs, and took the kids out to work off some energy and collect some shells at Mayo Beach in Wellfleet.

Tuscan Chicken

I took a risk and made this for the first time to serve to my mother-in-law. (hi Joan!)  It came out awesome with a half-hour’s worth of work, including prep.

tuscan chicken as served
I messed up and failed to notice that the peacock design was upside-down. Otherwise, this is one of the best presentations I’ve made for a completed recipe.

By itself it’s very keto-friendly, but it screams to be served with a pasta side.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

We made this in a 14″ cast-iron skillet, which was the perfect size.

Steps

  1. In a large skillet add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat until no longer pink, maybe 3-5 minutes per side.
  2. Set the chicken aside on a plate, wipe down excess oil from the skillet.
  3. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Whisk or stir over medium high heat until it starts to thicken.  Keep the sauce in motion so it doesn’t caramelize and burn into the pan.
  5. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes; let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Pairs very well with rotini or egg noodles.

Source: https://therecipecritic.com/creamy-tuscan-garlic-chicken/

Maine 2018

We made an impromptu trip to Maine with our friends Sam and Joanne.

There’s a back-story: we were supposed to be camping this week with Sam and Joanne (and others) but a conflict with school forced some to cancel, and eventually everyone canceled.  Since we all had the time off already scheduled I had the idea for a quick road trip with S&J.  Meghan made the arrangements when they bought in, so game on.

dock and reflection
Found this very stereotypical Maine view while biking on Friday morning

Day 1: Foul Weather, Destination Southport

We left home on Thursday.  S&J had the longer drive, but our house was on the way so we met up here and caravaned the rest of the way together.

A bundle of rain followed them from Connecticut, and would continue to follow us all the rest of the way.

Meghan and I neglected to pack until they arrived, as we were running around all morning doing chores, so they got in a short, much-needed break from driving in the rain.

We rolled into the Ocean Gate hotel around 5 pm.  We had rented three rooms: one for S&J and their son; one for Alpha and Beta; and one for Meghan, me, and Butter-the-dog.  We were spread across different buildings in the resort, but the girls were close to S&J so that was ok.

Our room, unlike the others, had a full kitchen — indeed, that was one of the selling points for us.  It was billed as “not having a view” but that was a lie: the view was, in fact, beautiful.

sunrise
Sunrise on Saturday morning. I didn’t mean to wake up at 5 am, but I’m glad I did since I got to see this.

We went out to dinner at a tiny-but-tony restaurant called Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor.  The food was excellent, btw.  Joanne went high-end and got a “lobstertini,” lobster meat served in a martini glass, but most everyone else went basic with burgers or fish-and-chips.

group photo
Sitting down to dinner at Oliver’s. Everyone was tired. and nobody but the server saw me taking the picture, which is why everyone looks bored

We did check out some of the “traditional” Maine sight-seeing, which is to say we took pictures of the fog:

foggy harbor
The very foggy view from Oliver’s [click to expand]

Day 2: Swimming, Shopping, Dinner at Home

Sam and I started Friday off with a bang: we went biking.  The kids started off with fun: they went swimming in the pool.  Meghan and Joanne started off with style: they took a dip in the hot tub.

After everyone felt ready to start their day, we packed into the cars and took a short ride to Boothbay Harbor.  It was hot so we had an ice cream lunch.  The girls shopped, while I took Butter on a walk up and down the main drag.  She’s truly an adorable dog and we stopped to talk to several people that wanted to “say hi” to her.

sam in kayak
Sam braved rumbles of thunder to discover that a nearby island is not, in fact, an island.

We all took a siesta in the late afternoon back at the hotel, except for Sam who ignored the impending thunderstorm and went kayaking.

After a brief downpour and a bit of lightning, we got going on our planned “traditional get together” dinner: spaghetti and sauce.  This is why the in-room kitchen was important, you see.

For years, when we lived near each other, we would gather at one house or the other and feed everyone with a simple pasta, meat sauce, and garlic bread dinner.  From time to time we do it even now, but the drive is much longer.

I made the pasta, Sam made the garlic bread, and the kids watched TV.  This was about as traditional as you can get without being home.

preparing dinner

After dinner I washed up while everyone else played a game at the table until bedtime.

Day 3: Freeport and Home

Our stay was intentionally short because we were trying a too-good-to-be-true hotel and everything came together last-minute.  Much too short.

After a big breakfast we packed up and rolled out, destination: Freeport.  Sam had only passed through Maine before, never stopping, and Joanne has never been at all.  Both wanted to see the main L.L. Bean store in Freeport.  Meghan is always game to go there.  I walked around with Butter while everyone wandered inside the store for an hour because I just can’t even.  We also made time for the Ben and Jerry’s store, of course.

We made our final leg home, where S&J paid us a final visit before making their way home as well.

Meghan Makes Rank of “Captain Jack”

Our friend Sam is scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop.  In order to teach the kids knots he put together a knot board to tie eight of the most important knots to know.

There are ranks.  “Captain Jack” is when you can tie all eight, in under two minutes… while blindfolded.

We are very proud of Meghan, who missed being “Fleet Admiral” (all eight, under a minute, blindfolded) by mere seconds.  She beat the pants of every member of the troop, including Sam’s own son.  Fortunately for my own ego we had to leave and could not try for Fleet Admiral one more time.