Wednesday, January 30, 2008


My alt.chi paper was accepted! (27% accept rate) It's work I did with Crysta years ago that we just haven't been able to publish, so we decided to go for the alt venue at CHI. The title is "Location and Activity Sharing in Everyday Mobile Communication" and it's a study where we had people record their mobile phone calls (with both parties permission of course!) and looked at why people share location or activity information with each other while mobile. If you'll be at CHI, definitely come to the talk!

Also meaning, I'm going to Florence in April!!!! :) Anyone in Europe around that time, let me know! I need to book tickets soon-ish and definitely want to take a week for fun while out there.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pasta Yia Yia

Last week, I visited the restaurant Lula in Logan Square for the first time with a friend from 826. So many people I know had been raving about this place and I was definitely looking forward to giving it a try. They definitely didn't disappoint and it was some of the best food I've had in a while. I had the polenta with some very interestingly prepared potatoes on top and Meredith had the Pasta Yia Yia, which is this pasta dish with cinnamon and feta. I tried a bit (sans feta) and immediately loved it.

Today I was thinking of making some lunch and thought I'd try to make a completely vegan version. It turned out quite well for not having a recipe and making do with what I had on hand. For those looking to try it out, here's approximately what I did: The sauce was simple, just melt down some "butter" (smart balance) with about 1 teaspoon of sugar and a few hearty shakes of the cinnamon shaker. Chop up some firm tofu into super tiny pieces (to approximate for the feta) and cook them in a little bit of oil. Cook some pasta, and throw it all together.

Such a good lunch! :)



Back when I was living at Student House, we used to have these Tetris tournaments and I'd be playing/watching for hours on end, eyes transfixed on the little four block shapes tumbling downward. Usually after hours of that, I'd have these crazy dreams with falling blocks. Sometimes the dream was about the real game itself, other times I was doing other things in the dream, but the background of my world was falling little pieces.

So this weekend, after finally getting my wii back from the Nintendo repair shop, I've been playing a ton of guitar hero (it's so addicting!). And sure enough, last night I had a dream with little colored notes flying at me in all varieties of crazy combinations. However, unlike the previous dream, in this dream I just started laughing which woke me up.

OK...I think it's time to put down the guitar for a bit and go for a run and finish reading The Corner!


Monday, January 21, 2008


I think I've watched more TV this long-weekend than I have all month :) Today I was watching an episode of Nova on absolute zero. They had a segment on Kleppner and how he lost the race for bose-einstein condensate and missed getting the nobel prize. Kleppner was my freshman physics (8.012) professor and he gave a whole lecture in that class on his search for the condensate and how he lost. Now there's a TV show on that.


Sunday, January 20, 2008


It's been a very frigid weekend here in Chicago. Wind chills have been in the -20's F with temperatures right around 0F. Needless to say, I've been spending lots of time at home in the warmth and away from going outside. Many of you know that I bought the DVD set of the whole My So-Called Life series a few weeks back, and I took the opportunity of being locked up inside to watch the whole series this weekend.

I was totally reminded of how much I loved this show growing up and how much of an influence it had on me in high school. The characters are just so real and relateable and the stories so true to life. Watching it all again there's so much of myself that I can see in Angela, Brian, and the rest of the cast. The show was on in the middle of a giant multi-year crush I had and it was like Angela was just taking the words out of my mouth.

I remember being in high school and being so sad when they canceled the series after that first year. Every week I would count down the days to a new episode and play with the rabbit ears on my little tv in my room so I could watch it. This was not a show I'd ever watch with my parents at 15!! They talked about drinking, drugs, sex, relationships, parents, school - just everything that's on a high schooler's mind. And they captured it all with the intensity and uncertainty around it all that fit in directly with the real experience. Such a good show!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

good day...

It's been a good day so far...

1) I got out notifications for posters and demos at Hotmobile.

2) I just reserved a copy of Guitar Hero III for Wii to be picked up this evening

3) In 4 hours I'm about to see a bunch of friends I haven't seen in a very long time for our annual pre-cubs-convention dinner at Gino's


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

tech callers...

I hated Tech Callers when I was at MIT, and I still do :) (to those not from MIT, Tech Callers are the people who cold call alums and ask for money) So the one that called me today was trying to guilt me into giving by saying she really wanted to win a Dunkin gift card by getting more donations tonight. So not cool. No money for you!


Monday, January 14, 2008


So I just finished watching a special episode of Chicago Tonight on WTTW about the transit woes of the city. It's really incredible to me how much politics and backstabbing is going on in the state government here. For those not from the area, here's a little backstory...

The CTA (runs the el and the buses in Chicago) has had three "doomsdays" in the past year where they were about to cut service drastically all over the city making it virtually impossible to get around on public transportation along with a huge rate increase. Each time, springfield passed temporary increased funding and brought them out. Last week, the state senate passed a comprehensive transit reform bill that would let the CTA continue operating (but not revitalize) the system. At the last minute, the governor vetoed the bill saying that he wanted seniors to get free rides state wide. Now all of this is because he really wanted another version of the bill passed and was pissed that they voted for another one. Now the CTA has no idea how much this will cost and will probably be underfunded again if they have to give seniors free rides.

In related news, the house speaker was on the show and basically just kept saying how much he hated the governor and how the governor betrayed all of the state government. Which is true, but it came off quite mean.

So in the end, there's a public hearing wednesday at 2pm at the Thompson center and then the senate reconvenes on Thursday to try to pass this new one. CTA doomsday #3 is this weekend. Let's hope people can still get to work on Monday.



I'm officially signed up for the Disney Marathon 2009. ahhhhhhhhhhhh!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

old friends...

I've seen more old friends in the past week than I have in a long time. In the process, I have now become addicted to Guitar Hero and totally have to get it for my Wii once my Wii comes back from the Nintendo repair shops. This afternoon was spent ice skating with an old high school friend downtown and then running into an old co-worker who invited me to give a talk in his class at De Paul. Should be fun! I love randomly running into people in the city :) And then the train ride back from the city was spent with the Sunday Times which is something I haven't done in a while, but totally miss.

Hopefully this should be a less-busy week.


Saturday, January 12, 2008


I went for a nice run today at the gym which is a welcomed change from the lack of exercise I've been getting lately. I'm trying to get back into a 3-a-week routine and today was the official kick-off! I've got the Shamrock Shuffle 8k coming up in less than 3 months and the napa to sonoma 1/2 marathon in june, so it should be a good year of running!

I'm always looking for people to run with so if any of you want to run a race with me or just run a training run outside once the weather gets nicer, just let me know!


Friday, January 11, 2008


There's almost nothing that I love more than writing a paper. No matter how hectic life is or how much I'm down about something, writing always lifts my spirits and just makes everything all right. This week I had the pleasure of submitting a new paper and working on final edits for another one that was already accepted. And this totally got me back in the happy groove. Add to that a lecture at Northwestern that I attended yesterday, tutoring a very fun and crazy group of 2nd graders at 826 on Wednesday, and a wonderful dinner last night with a very very old friend that I hadn't really had a conversation with since we were like 14, and it was just one of the best weeks I've had in ages.

Now it's time for a relaxing weekend and some paper reviewing for a conference.


Friday, January 04, 2008

2007 in books...

Last year was a good year for reading. Here are the totals:

Books read: 21
Pages read: 7497
Avg. pages/day: 20.5



You know when you're just having an awesome day or week and you are just dying to run down the hallway and do a cartwheel? That's definitely how I felt today! But I had my laptop bag on so I just walked out of work. The past two days have been filled with fun at work. I spent all of yesterday downtown working on some design stuff for one of my projects. Working downtown involves long train rides which I love for catching up on reading and the team downtown is a ton of fun to work with as well. Also these past two days I've been working on a few publications which always puts a giant smile on my face! I'm preparing a submission for alt.chi and soon will be working on revisions on our CHI full paper that was accepted.

Anyway, just lots of fun things going on here. Working downtown and working on papers always lifts my spirit. Next week should be fun as well and filled with lots of fun after-work activities too!