Todo (2)

This and Lots of That

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here. We moved, then kept on moving until we could move no more. Or at least that’s how it felt. From the quiet fresh and mostly healthy environment in the mountains of Lebanon to the confinements of Beirut, it wasn’t really that much fun. It took a while to get settled, and I could honestly say that after 3 months of that we’re still not there yet. I don’t think we will be settled here in any case, so it’s not that big a deal.
The only problem is that the coping is not the same as enjoying. And the creative process needed for coping is pretty different.
I won’t go on a rant, I still have things to do. I just thought I would share a few things I’ve been doing in the last 3 months or so.

Bread making

We had been thinking about this Moulinex bread machine for a rather long time. Pia did the research and it seemed like the best one we could find in the Lebanese market. We didn’t shell out an extra 60$ for the “Baguette” version as it seemed very silly to pay that much for a simple insert!
Since then, we have been making our own bread. Played around with the recipes and indulged in some “pain au lait” and brioche the first week or so. Then we moved back to our regular whole wheat bread. That smells and tastes just great.
I am still looking for Rye flour, and not finding any. Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.
pics coming soon

Small hacks

Desk lamp

For some reason, I am not able to find anything these days. Or things are simply too expensive to be reasonable. We need a couple of desk lamps, but I couldn’t find anything below 100$. Now tell me this is not crazy! I found clip-on lamps at the Chinese store in Manara for 4000LBP(~3$). But their necks were too low. So I bought a microphone stand for 15$ and fixed the neck of the clip-on lamp on that. Pia was positively impressed and I felt pretty proud of myself. Compare this to prices on Amazon! *sigh*
pics coming soon

Internet TV

I did not hook the TV to the cable/antenna/sat receiver yet. For different reasons (mainly being lazy). I will probably do that soon, but meanwhile I am enjoying getting all the latest TV series and my favourite movies thru a combination of flexget, deluge and xbmc. Oh, and here’s a good howto to get you started.
I also use the official XBMC remote for android and Transdroid (not from market) from my phone to control those. It’s a good combination, pretty easy and I don’t have to think about it. The only problem I have is that the old Dell i6400 I’ve been using as HTPC is slowly dying of old age and I have yet to find a suitable replacement!

Cloud9 IDE

Almost all of the PCs/Laptops we have are in sync. Still using the IDE and re-syncing the files on the laptop after working all day on the desktop (even with the ease of git) is a bit annoying for the lazy programmer in me. And I have been looking for an IDE to use on the road even when I’m out of the house. Enter Cloud9 IDE. Sure it’s nice to work in the cloud, but it turns out they have a standalone version that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles (no problem here). You will need nodejs setup along with a few dependencies and modules. But it’s really worth it. I’ve been playing with a new personal app for the android (and perhaps iOS) to be released soon and doing all of the work (so far) inside c9.

Gadgets wishlist

Here’s my list for the coming months:

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Playing the Mandolin

A couple of weeks I finally received the mandolin after it spent a month touring the USA as FedEx lost it a couple if times.
I wasn’t able to play it the first couple of days because the tuning wouldn’t stick. Then I learned you should always change the strings whenever you get a new mandolin (or ukulele, or even a guitar). The nice guy at Instruments Garage did a great job at stringing the mandolin and tuning it. And he made it a point to let me know it was a cheap one, unlike the one they had in the shop that cost about an arm and half a leg.
I just wanted to try it anyway, and as one guy put it at a mandolin forum, the first mandolin is not a marriage for life, merely a training instrument.
So I have been training with scales and other techniques like tremolo and cross picking (that’s like nose picking only harder). And for fun, I have been trying to play some songs, mostly Arabic. Here’s a list of the ones I would play almost acceptably in front of a lenient audience (family and close friends):

  • سلم عليها
  • طلي اضحكيلو يا صبيه
  • عايشة وحدا بلاك
  • ع هدير البوسطة
  • حلف القمر
  • مقدمة انت الحب
  • Ho Gaya [Indian song]
  • What God has yoked together [#63]

Next on my list is the Godfather theme, Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley)

Needless to say I’m really enjoying it.


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