September 2006


A warning to those who use the LaTeX package pstricks to make figures for papers : the macro “\psdots” will use a Type 3 font in the image that may cause your pre-press PDF validity checker to get annoyed at you. To avoid this you have to use “\pscircle,” which for me means a lot of cutting and pasting.

UPDATE : See my earlier experience for more pstricks + type 3 fonts issues. This time, however, the dashed lines were completely fine, so that makes me think that the IEEE PDF engine was even more confused than this one.

The paper ballot that I was given for the IEEE general elections is misprinted! The two candidates for IEEE-USA President Elect are switched with the two candidates for Member-at-Large. The biographies/statements are printed correctly in the book, but the ballot is all wrong. What kind of an operation are these guys running anyway?

As a further note on the Information Theory Society ballot, one thing that was missing was a statement from any of the candidates — I basically had to make a decision on which 6 to vote for based on what I thought of their research, how they have comported themselves in talks, and (in a very few cases) personal interactions. None of these things really have much to do with how well they would do at running and organization, and there are certain policy issues which I think need to be addressed. It kind of makes the whole election thing into a referendum on research quality. I hope that changes in the future.

UPDATE : IEEE sent me a new ballot in the mail — that was pretty fast! Color me impressed…

If you’ll forgive the Seinfeldism, what’s the deal with “amusingly named” coffeeshops?

  • Daily Grind
  • Sufficient Grounds
  • Perks of the Job
  • Common Grounds
  • Drinky the Crow’s Kaw-fee Hut (ok, not really)

Is it that people are more willing to take the terrible puns before they’ve had their coffee?

What’s liberal about liberal arts? The Graphic Novel.

As she did from time to time, Chanterelle struck a social-realism pose to collect her thoughts.

Man, where do they get these books? (Via CT).

Via Greenleaf Music, a wonderful video of Don Cherry doing his thing. I’ve already bought up tons of Dolphy, but the master of the pocket trumpet is underrepresented in my collection, I think…

I recently received my IEEE Information Theory Society Board of Governor ballot. It says there that

On the ballot card, names are listed in randomized order, no preference is intended.

Leaving the grammatical issues aside, what does this mean? This is the information theory crowd, so they should have told us how they were doing the randomizing! I mean, we’re supposed to get excited by that stuff, right? A more freewheeling (and incorrect) take on it is that they sent a different randomized ballot order to every one of the “over 6000″ members of the society. Since there are 15 nominees for the board, there are a total of 15! = 1,307,674,368,000 different orderings, which would make the ballots-alphabet highly undersampled. Given that Alon Orlitsky is one of the candidates, perhaps that would be more appropriate…

The Frank Gehry Cocktail:

Now surround each shot with artistically-arranged panels of sugar, pin a strip of lime-peel to the top of each with a silver cocktail pick (?) or toothpick and draw the peel around the drink, thus holding it together. Serves two. (Hint: to drink, use the sugar panels to scoop up the gelatin.)

Broadway slightly after 40th. This is a Korean BBQ place that’s slightly out of the way from the main Korean drag on Telegraph. If you’re willing to pony up a ridiculous amount of money to be stuffed to the gills with meat grilled at your table, rice and an array of 20 little dishes of pickled things of unknown provenance, this is the place for you.

In case you’ve never been to a Korean BBQ, the tables have a hood and a grill at the table — you order various sorts of marinated (and sometimes unmarinated) meat that they then bring to the table and grill for you. There are some kind of wood chips in the grill to give a little smoky flavor, and the meat comes pretty de-fatted, which makes it all the better. We tried the saeng kalbi, which is unmarinated kalbi meat with a sesame oil dipping sauce. We also had a spicy pork thing that was not for the faint of tongue. Next time I come here I want to bring a larger group and also some Korean people to help explain the food better. This will be after my pocketbook recovers, of course.

A big thing to draw me back is that they have naeng-myun, a cold soup that I really like and haven’t had in years.

883 Island Dr. #C-2. Angelfish is supposed to be the Alameda’s big secret — a sushi place hidden away in a strip mall near a golf course in the outter reaches of the city. The fish was excellent, and that is the number one reason to go here. That being said, I was little underwhelmed by some of the things we got and the overuse of mayonnaise on the menu (mayo in maki seems unnecessary to me…). The black cod appetizer was a nonstarter with me — the whole flavor of the thing was off and the mayo-ed potato salad put me off. The fresh octopus was smothered in mayo as well. We had a sashimi plate and a bunch of a la carte nigiri and maki as well. There were a lot of those rolls that I don’t like as much — tempura things with avocado and so on. Next time I go I’m going to stick with the fish, since the sashimi, by itself, was excellent, especially the tuna and salmon. For that quality, the price can’t be beat.

1713 Webster near Pacific. I think East Ocean may be my new favorite place for dim sum. Rather than hunt for parking near Legendary Palace in downtown Oakland, we just drove through the Webster tube and into Alameda. We showed up at around 11 and were seated in under 5 minutes, which is almost unheard of when going for dim sum. The food itself was pretty good — I’d rate it almost better than Legendary Palace, and certainly less greasy. The place is small compared to Legendary Palace — more the size of Yo Ho — so the dishes come out still hot. We had a small group so I didn’t get to try that many things, but I did have most of the old standbys. The only disappointing dish to me were the Shanghai dumplings, which were a little dull. I didn’t see a lot of specialities on offer, so I can’t evaluate how much a connoiseur would like it, but as long as you’re not looking for something fancy, this place can’t be beat.

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