June 28, 2003

A penny saved is money

I've been working on a program for the past few days called Maxim Mixup. It's based on a word game I devised a few years ago with Gary. Here's how it works:

There are 2 players (although I suppose there could be more.) The first player thinks of 2 proverbs (or maxims, aphorisms, etc.) that each consist of two parts (e.g. 'An apple a day' would be part A, 'keeps the doctor away' is part B.) He takes part A from the first proverb and combines it with part B from the second proverb (changing the verb conjugation if necessary):

An apple a day is golden

The second player takes part A from the second proverb and combines it with part B from a third proverb:

Silence is paved with good intentions

The play goes back and forth in this manner, until neither player can think of a novel proverb to use, or both players are laughing too hard to think of anything:

The road to hell leads to Rome

Usually we ran out after only a dozen or so (they don't seem to come up in our everyday conversation, so I don't have them fresh in my mind.) Because of this, I was inspired to write a program to generate them automatically for me. I wrote a simple program in perl, then spent yesterday evening and today refining it, debugging it for the web, and getting it to appear as a webpage.

You can see it on my home page or on its own. It still needs a little work, but the basic elements are there. I also want to change the name (I'm thinking something like Proverbial Mixup might be good.)

My next project is to create a party game based on the same premise. But more on that after I actually start work on it.

(A penny saved is a penny earned)
(Time is money)

Posted by Jen at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2003

Maguire Peaks

We went on our first major hike of the year this past weekend at the Sunol Regional Wilderness. It's a regional park pretty close to our house, maybe about a 45 minute drive. We had been there several times before to go to an area called Little Yosemite, located at the southern edge of the park. This time we went to the northern edge on the Maguire Peaks Loop Trail. The entire park seems to share its space with cows. At this time of year, they were mostly resting in the shade, flicking flies off of them. We saw evidence of cows on the entire trail, though, so they must move around at some point.

The trail is rated as a medium, partly for distance (about 6 miles) and partly for slope (not flat, not steep.) Here's Gary about half an hour into the hike, with Maguire Peaks behind him.
We will eventually reach the base of the peaks, go around them to the left, and climb to the top when we get to the other side. The climb to the top isn't part of the main trail, but we figured as long as we were there, we would head up. And we didn't quite make it to the very top, but good enough to get a 360? view of the area. We got a great view of Mt. Diablo from there, as well as San Antonio Reservoir.

Up to the trail breaking off to the top it had been a pretty grueling climb upwards, even though the trail was just leading us around the peak. Climbing to the top was about my limit, and I was glad to find out that most of the trail after that was either level or slightly downhill. We took what we thought would be a shortcut back to the car with the Upper Peaks Trail and walked on a very narrow path along some pretty steep hillsides. I was glad we had taken that part on the way back and not the way up!

Posted by Jen at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2003


Last weekend Gary and I went out to adopt kittens. In Alameda county none of the pet stores sell cats. Stores have connections with local humane societies, which go to the store every week with the latest kittens and cats for adoption. We went to three different stores before we decided on which ones we liked best. Our goal was to get two kittens at the same time, and preferably ones that were siblings (so we'd know they would get along.)

We found a pair we really liked at the Ohlone Humane Society, Cecil (a boy) and Sissy (a girl). They aren't siblings, but they've been living together with the same foster family for several weeks and get along well. Unfortunately the Society won't let us take them home until they've been fixed and had all their shots, so we won't get them for another week. We'll probably change their names, too. This weekend we went back to the pet store where they were being shown off and took pictures.

cecil.jpg Cecil

sissy.jpg Sissy

cecil_and_sissy.jpg Cecil and Sissy together

We also bought a huge cat tree for them this weekend. It was so big that it barely fit in our friend John's station wagon (we dragged him along to help us with this.) We still need to get some more 'essentials,' like a litter box, food and water dishes, etc. But the cat tree caught our eye as something a cat would really like to hang out on.

We don't actually know that we'll be able to adopt them. I filled out a long application, explaining what I would do if they ever got fleas or were sick, and stating that everyone in the household wanted cats, that no one was allergic to them, and that we'd never declaw them. Supposedly they are going to do a house inspection, too, but this hasn't happened yet. I'm happy that such organizations exist to help people and cats find each other, but it's a little annoying to think you're adopting a kitten and not actually be able to take it home for several weeks.

Posted by Jen at 08:05 AM | Comments (5)

June 18, 2003

Doll Head

My sister gave me a doll head for my birthday this year (the third one she's given me!) Unlike the first two, though, this one was unable to sit upright. This was due to a large wooden ball protruding from her neck, presumably there to give her head movement when it's attached to a body.

But alas, this head wasn't going to get a body anytime soon. When my dad was here in May he took the neck apart to try to figure out how we could get it to stand upright. His solution was to build a small stand, which he finished and sent us a few days ago:


It's quite a charming display piece. Eventually I will find small bell jars to fit over all the heads, and have small brass plaques engraved with some Latin scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Posted by Jen at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)