I visited my family this week in New Jersey. It’s my grandpa’s birthday so we had a little reunion over here. My siblings are on summer vacation as well, so it’s really nice to see everyone in one place.
My parent’s house is surrounded by trees so I’ve been taking advantage of all the greenery outside. I wish I had this in Philly. I love looking away from my laptop and seeing a bunch of birds flying around. (And the occasional spider.)
I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled into this, but by some stroke of luck I ran into SDF’s Plan 9 bootcamp this week as well, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. It’s surprising how much fun I’m having playing around with a weird operating system. I think it’s partly because it’s fun exploring a completely new system, and I think it’s partly because I’m learning with a bunch of other people at the same time. It also ties in with my interest in permacomputing because Plan 9 is much simpler compared to other operating systems so I want to see what you can do with it.
I’m struggling with the three-button mouse usage, slow browsers, and weird shell, but I’m starting to get the hang of it I think! Right now I’m watching Tea Note #2 and also writing a YNAB-like budgeting app in rc (hugely based on the excellent Plan 9 desktop guide). We’ll see how it goes.
We did a lot of cooking during the holidays, and I think these were my favorites.
I love making ginataang mackerel (mackerel cooked in coconut milk), but this is the first time I actually chopped and cleaned a whole fish! I used to be grossed out watching people gut fish, but it turned out to be pretty ok and surprisingly easy. It was bloody though, so we had to soak it in water for a bit before cooking.
I’ve eaten lumpiang shanghai (fried spring rolls) all throughout my life, but I’ve never actually made it myself. There were a couple of steps, but it turned out to be pretty easy, too. The hard part was probably finding the lumpia wrapper at the store.
We’ve run into budae jjigae (army stew) online before, but we’ve never had it. It looked like such a fun dish, that we decided to try it over the holidays. It was delicious, but we think there are things that we could do to make it even better like frying the spam and squeezing the tofu beforehand.
I have a messy collection of photos (with the occasional screenshots) because I never got in the habit of organizing them in the past. I’ve also been stupidly storing them in a lot of different places (iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, Instagram, etc.), so it’s a bit of a pain to get them all in one place. That’s why I’ve been hesitating to do anything about it because I thought it would take me forever to go through and sort them all.
But the other week I finally had the energy to sit down and sort this digital mess. I got everything that I could into one folder and downloaded digiKam to help me manage the chaos. I slowly started sorting photos into their own albums and also started tagging people.
I’m pretty proud of the result, and now I feel like I’m at the point where I can start sharing these photos. I was looking for a place to host them, and I ended up going with Flickr. Now that they’re not owned by Yahoo! / Oath, I feel good about their future.
Organizing my old photos got me excited about taking new ones, so I also got a dedicated camera as well. I’ve taken most of my photos on my iPhone, but I’ve always been disappointed with the lack of zoom and how pixelated they look when I transfer them to my laptop. So I looked for a camera that’s both better than a phone, but smaller than an SLR and ended up getting the Panasonic Lumix LX10.
I’ve been trying it out this weekend, and I’m pretty happy about it! Here are some test shots that I took:
Test Shots 1:
Test Shots 2:
It’s my first time trying RAW photos, too, and it’s been fun processing those on darktable. Stay tuned for more photos!
Today I got to visit Longwood Gardens. If you’ve never been, it’s basically a huge plot of land filled with a wide assortment of beautiful and pristine-looking plants. I think the last time I visited was 6 years ago so I definitely need to go to this place more often.
It was relaxing and it wasn’t hot outside so we just went on a stroll and gawked at plants for four hours. There were a lot of flowers this time of year so the air smelled sweet and was buzzing with bees.
Yesterday was my 30th birthday! I wanted to celebrate by going on a little weekend vacation. We usually travel, but we decided to stay local this time because of COVID’s resurgence. So we just drove to a different part of town just three miles outside of our apartment to staycation at a hotel for the weekend.
We loved it. We walked around Rittenhouse Park, had picnics, met lots of dogs, and ate good food. Even though we stayed local, we appreciated the change of environment and we saw Philly from a more leisurely perspective.
Last week, we booked a yurt in Mehoopany, PA, and we stayed there for a couple of days. It felt really good to spend some time in the woods and be out of the city. We also made sure to pick a spot that didn’t have any electricity so that we’re forced to disconnect and unhook ourselves from the screen.
There was nothing to do but to sleep, lounge around in a hammock, and read a book (I started reading Dune on this trip.) It was bliss.
We went out to go camping near Salt Springs State Park a few weeks back. Being stuck at home since February have made us hungry for the outdoors. We tried to compensate by going to different parks in the city, but that didn’t really satisfy our need to be in nature.
We felt a sense of calm the moment we stepped into our campsite. We stayed there for a couple of days, and I’m glad that we didn’t have any access to electricity either. We were content with what we had.
I wish this was something that I could do more often. But now that COVID-19 is spiking again in Pennsylvania, I fear that it might take some time before another opportunity like this will come up.