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My Monday in Miniature

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

This evening, shortly before 10:30, Ms. S. starts the dryer.

It's a comforting sound, a hum and a buzz, a gentle rumble as the asymmetry and imbalance of jeans and socks tumble out of rhythm.

Did I accomplish what I set out to do today? I meant to bake a loaf of bread, write on Goethe, and learn a new trick with computers (or with programming).

After getting up but before showering I proofed some yeast. The bread I ended up making was of a very wet dough, and so kneading it by hand wasn't much of an option. It has good flavor, though a bit more salt might have helped. It toasts nicely, and Ms. S. found that it helped make a nice veggie-burger-and-roasted-red-
pepper sandwich.

Aside: one red pepper, relatively thinly sliced, first blistered in a dry skillet and then with a teaspoon of olive oil until appropriately blackened or browned in places, and sweet. A pinch of salt here and there. Dried on a paper towel to aborb any unwanted oil. Dellicious alone or on a sandwich or in a salad.

My Goethe work proceeds, albeit slowly. I did not get the essay written, but I started by outlining it. As a preview, not of my work but only of work on the topic, at least tangentially, I can offer "The Damnation of Newton" by Frederick Burwick [1], pages 99 onward, dealing not only with elements of "Zur Farbenlehre" (On the Theory of Colors), but also with "Faust II," which Goethe only completed in the last year of his life. Goethe's original Faust-work was highly Storm-and-Stress related, but then he published 'part 1' during what we would call 'Weimar Classicism,' and the work on 'part 2' continued from there, covering the last several decades of his life, meaning that it incorporates almost all of his mature interests. Burwick's interest here is to a great extent about polarity. He's also looking a bit 'forward', into or toward Romanticism, a literary period/movement with which Goethe has a strained relationship. My approach tends to be the reverse in a way, looking more to tie Goethe to the late Enlightenment, albeit it an idiosyncratic way.

And computers?

It's been a few days since I checked in on the Django project, and since then -- as of Nov. 27th -- the first beta for 1.5 has been released. [2] And I'm rather excited about it. Back in October or so they released the 1.5 alpha, but while it promised exiting features -- as far as I'm concerned --, especially the pluggable user module, alpha software is not ready for general use. Beta releases? Not ready for production, but for trying out? Certainly.

1.5 provides support for Python 3 (3.2, they say), which is nice evolution in the code base.

And today I learned a bit, albeit it briefly, about 'Dart' (originally 'Dash') [3], a Google-sponsored attempt to eventually replace JavaScript. I should have heard of it earlier, but I'm not a professional (web) developer, and it only appeared in 2011. At first I was mildly exciting by it, then merely intrigued, and then I had to deal with that bitter taste at the back of my throat: we've all known for years -- more than a decade now -- that JavaScript is a disastrous monstrosity, and so of course we want something better, something newer, but for all sorts of reasons practical and political, Dart is not it. A critical comment leveled by Douglas Crockford ties things together nicely [4]: "So, I've thought for a long time ... if I could take a clean sheet of paper and write [a new language] that retains all the goodness of [Javascript] ... I would not have come up with anything like Dart."

So did I accomplish my three tasks today? Yes.

Furthermore a fourth was enacted, one I'd originally crossed off. Originally I'd planned on going grocery shopping, perhaps while Ms. S. slept, but I realized that (1) I had enough of most of the things I need/cook to wait several days and that (2) one of the things Ms. S. wanted to get was best purchased somewhere I wasn't going. But then -- once she was up, had 'breakfast,' etc. --, as the bread baked, we decided on a short, brief shopping excursion to pick up only a few items (can we get in the '20 items of less' line? Yes ... and I still prefer '... or fewer,' but it's a battle I won't fight). For me? A half gallon of vanilla soy milk, a carton of eggs, some coffee, some oats, some walnuts.

Thinking or speaking of soy milk ... tonight, as I sign off and prepare for a bit more work before a bit of late night television (Ms. S. and I have one episode of 'Oz' left (the warden died tonight, as did Omar ... which saddened me, but Omar's glimpse and flash of brilliance before his death was a thing of beauty), and we got in "Fallen Angel" over in 'The X-Files'), I get something I've not had for months: a cup of steamed milk.

Last winter, even or especially after I'd begun dieting, I often finished the night with a cup of steamed milk, usually with vanilla, nutmeg, and/or hazelnut syrup. But then I cut back on the dairy, eventually cutting it out, and steamed soy milk just didn't have the same appeal, though it, too, can be quite tasty. Back in Madison there was one year when I taught at night that I'd leave my night class, walk over the hill, hit State Street, and stop by 'Fair Trade Coffee' for a whole milk steamer with hazelnut before catching a bus home. It was a routine. For Thanksgiving I ended up getting heavy cream, half-and-half, and some whole milk for the pies and the mac-and-cheese (and the ice cream I never made). And I might as well use them.

Ms. S. is now at work. Time for time-shifted HIMYM, 'Bones,' and/or 'Castle' before bed.


[1] Burwick, Frederick, "The Damnation of Newton: Goethe's Color Theory and Romantic Perception" books.google.com/books?i

[2] Django 1.5 beta 1 released www.djangoproject.com/we

[3] Dart www.dartlang.org/

[4] Dart (programming language) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da
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