scrap pad

addressing my cover letter

discussion of ways to address in formal letters:

To Whom It May Concern:
Dear Sir (Ma'am):
Dear Mr. (Ms./Mrs./Miss) Such and Such:
Dear (the person's full name):

Yours truly,
God bless,
Yours sincerely,
Sincerely yours,

In the same thread, someone else mentions that "Dear Sir/Madam" should be paired with "Yours faithfully" while "Dear Ms Smith" should be paired with "Yours sincerely"; I don't understand why, though. (post)

I'm uncomfortable with "Dear Sir or Madam" because I'm unaccustomed to addressing anyone as "Sir" or "Madam", so I chose "To whom it may concern". And I closed with "Sincerely yours": shouldn't faithfulness be evident in sincerity?

halloween candy

candy corn as venn diagram. via kael.

p.s. it's interesting how flickr photostreams are often themselves blogs; mine is certainly an account of things I've been doing; other peoples' are blogs about architecture, design, pets, or even images from the web (actual web-logs!)

drying food on screens

The only suitable screen material for drying food is stainless steel. Galvanized and copper screens react with the acid in fruit, aluminum reacts with sulfured fruit, and fiberglass can leave splinters. Copper screen specifically reacts with and destroys vitamin C. from: equipment for drying food.

mmm beans

nutrition information for dried beans: to get the most out of beans, eat them with a grain (like rice) and a source of vitamin C (like collards).

shipping containers 2

interesting configuration: stacking two shipping containers in an L shape.

shipping containers

shipping container housing link dump. I've wanted to live in one of these for years and years. (via uncertain principles, I think)

tofu frosting

Vegan Tofu Cream Frosting Recipe: I'm skeptical, but willing to try this as a substitute for cream cheese frosting on carrot cake.


this is awesome: a conference on internet joke/memes, with guests like the creators of Homestar Runner, Dinosaur comics, and I can haz cheezburger.

yahoo pipes hit counter

hit counters in Yahoo Pipes. I'm using yahoo pipes to mash together the 'full' RSS feed for, for now.

feed parsing issues

I've been using MagpieRSS to aggregate some feeds (new design/content on It's straightforward, has caching built in, and handles RSS 1.0, 2.0, and Atom feeds. But isn't UTF8-compatible. Somewhere after fetching the feed, in the process of morphing it into an object, characters get lost.

The source RSS is already in UTF8, Snoopy (the HTTP client included with MagpieRSS) picks it up as UTF8, and MagpieRSS already has an extremely painful looking UTF8 fix... what gives?

A possible solution is to use the "Universal Feed Parser," which would involve writing some Python. Or, I could dig around in MagpieRSS itself.

leopard might actually be awesome

I'm always grouchy about new OS versions, but parts of this list at waffle prompted my first non-'eh' response to Leopard:

  • No more renegade printing apps. Previously, the rule about printing was that everything was in System Preferences, except if it wasn’t. Now that’s not the case - nearly everything is easily reachable from the Print & Fax panel.
  • Printing on the whole sucks way less. In a move about 5 years late, Page Setup is no more. It has ceased to be and gone to meet the great new Print panel in the sky, where it joins reasonable presets and an active preview with page flipping. Bravo.
  • No more Internet Connect either - it too is in the System Preferences network panel.
  • ...

PNG colors

Ah-ha moment: Photoshop embeds a color profile into PNGs, and that's why colors in PNGs render inconsistently with web colors. This is fixable by running them through GammaSlamma on the Mac, or PNGCrush on the CLI or in Windows. (via)


"How to disarm 10 difficult client observations/requests". via I-forget-who.

latitude and longitude

Get Lat Lon - simple tool to find the latitude and longitude of a point on a map. by simon willison.

growing rice

Megan on growing rice in California. interesting!

some things I have learned this fall

how to...

  • knit hats, scarves, and some sweater elements
  • use the flickr api
  • play my grandma's new favorite game, "Telefunky"
  • manipulate Illustrator paths
  • use php sessions, simplistically
  • make herbal honey
  • talk openly with my mom

still on the list, I want to learn to:

  • use some javascript best practices
  • make chard dumplings
  • use subversion
  • knit more (perfect OCD pastime!)


google is making IMAP available for gmail. IMAP vs. POP. If I ran an email client on more than one computer with my gmail account, I would change my prefs, but for my use POP is fine.

weird use

bookmarking color schemes with weird. via.

heard on the tv

a tv commercial for Bangor Savings Bank that went, approximately: "Go Red Sox! Go Patriots! I'm proud to live in Maine."

movie editor

SimpleMovieX: lightweight mac os x movie editing app. daringfireball RSS feed sponsor. "basic editing operations... Lossless editing and saving in native format..."

photo nav

interesting photo browsing layout. I like the straightforwardness of having all the information in a solid block. not sure how I feel about the nav block color being matched to the photo: (another example).


Megan on Obama: "The stuff he says that sounds conventionally crazy ('Of course I'll talk to any world leader who wants to talk to me' and 'I'm not interested in punishment') is straight from conflict resolution practices. Well settled, not even controversial, in conflict resolution circles."


FreeRice - a vocab quiz. for every word you get right they donate a tiny bit of rice. difficult words! via uncertain principles.

pecan pie gone crazy

modular pie-cosahedron at Instructables. awesome. when I grow up I'll learn to be a tinsmith.

radio show/podcast

interesting storytelling/science radio show: WNYC - Radio Lab. mentioned by Ira Glass on This American Life (#336, I think?)

bad word anger

List of Bad Words - this makes me angry. translating "fag" to "homosexual"? "ho" to "woman"? "spic" to "mexican"? is "gay" really a bad word?

my problem with the site isn't so much that they're offering insulting and incorrect word-substitution filtering, but that they're doing it with a wink. Their "Bad Word Filter" comes preloaded with "Type some Fucking Words Here, Asshole" and their header image is a smiling 50s housewife with her finger to her lips. If they were serious, I could pull my wool over my eyes and write them off, but saying ho==woman and calling it funny doesn't work. *hate hate hate*

web accessibility videos

Videos of people using assistive technology to browse the web. (via adactio on responses to web accessibility.)

food safe plastics

Safest Reusable Plastics for Holding Food and Water. via Food Karma Alert.

Food Karma Alert

Food Karma Alert - blog on food safety issues. tries to give action items for every post. via megnut.

from the bottom of Food Karma Alert, for future reference:

Is there an identifier on organic foods?

Yes, produce in the supermarket has a PLU (price look up) code on it. Here's how to decode:

  • a 4 digit number (usually starting with the # 4), like 4011 is conventionally grown
  • a 5 digit number starting with a 9, like 94011 is organic
  • a 5 digit number starting with an 8, like 84011 is sourced from a genetically modified plant

php forums

super simple php forum script: Cruciforum. via simon willison.

squash soup

made this for dinner: Butternut Squash Apple Soup Recipe (plus garlic and ginger, minus nutmeg).

sql joins

SQL Joins as Venn Diagrams. via simon willison.

sounds delicious

Pumpkin Spice Truffles. I've never made chocolates.

(long) short story

Light: this is a story by Kelly Link that I really enjoyed, but I don't know what to say about it.

new mac graphics app roundup

lots of new image editors for mac os x have been released over the last month or two. for future reference: there are the new bitmap image editors Acorn, Pixelmator, and eventually Iris. Vector-based drawing tool DrawId joins Lineform and Inkscape, which have both been around for a while (two years? one?).


I was reading this page on chard the day I did all my chard and collard freezing. Their other veg pages look good for basic preservation techniques.

dvd player

DVD etc. player - plays divx on disk via a usb port or on a disk, as well as regular dvds. via mark pilgrim.

dogs pulling scooters

my aunts have a scooter that they hook their dogs up to: Diggler Scooters. I think this is hilarious.

recommended by some dude at the common ground fair

Orion magazine - nature / culture / place.

kale chips

recipe for kale chips in a dehydrator. I currently have access to a pressure canner, a soy milk maker, *and* a dehydrator. It's like Christmas.

near future cooking project

Fried Green Tomatoes. making these soon.

today's cooking project

Vegan Eggplant "Parmesan". I'll try it out tonight, I think.

OLPC case study

OLPC Peru/Arahuay - OLPCWiki. via simon willison.

oatmeal blogging

porridge series.


who I am