Happy Father’s Day

Posted in blog, family, personal at 12:21 am by wingerz


Most of my childhood memories of my dad are around our weekly routine. Riding with him to school in the morning, reciting poetry or quizzing him on I-ching hexagrams. Hearing the garage door open at 7pm, signaling dinnertime. Hanging out on the couch together for a bit while he read his newspaper and listened to me read Chinese before he went back to doing some work on the computer (It used to be a terminal. A real terminal.). On Saturdays we’d go hiking in the morning and have dim sum afterwards. On Sundays I’d typically accompany him to his office at Caltech. The afternoons would pass slowly, as I wanted to go home. Oftentimes I would be encouraged to work on math problems or sent to the campus library to confirm bibliographic references (physically going between the 7th, 8th, and 9th floors of the Millikan Library to look up journal article authors, volume numbers, and page numbers). Highlights of the long day would be lunch at Carl’s Jr. and half an hour of kicking a soccer ball around at the athletic fields.

But all of that comes from my memories, and these ones are the strongest because they were enforced week after week. I’m not sure what my dad was like when I was a baby but I got some clues this past year. When Camille cried, he recited Chinese poetry for her enjoyment. He mentioned being more interested in hanging out with her once she’s developed some abstract reasoning powers so that he can teach her math. He didn’t change any of her diapers.


The word routine has all sorts of negative connotations, but ours rejuvenates me. Every morning when Camille wakes up, I am the first person that she sees. I’m not sure which one of us is more excited to be there – her because she can be liberated from her crib or me because she is ready to hang out again. And then there’s the hour or so at the end of the day where we eat a leisurely dinner (Camille doesn’t dine any other way due to her small mouth and passable motor skills), romp around the family room, and read a story together.

The routine is punctuated by exhilarating miniature milestones. Yesterday Camille stood up once while she was trying to get out of my lap. I didn’t think much of it because I don’t really count something as a milestone until she is able to do it repeatedly and deliberately. Today, she kept standing up on the bed (and throwing herself backwards and forwards – we’ll have to talk to her about that), and it was awesome. We didn’t even know this was a milestone; people usually just ask “Is she walking? Is she talking?” No one mentioned the standing, but of course it makes sense in retrospect.


When my parents came to visit over the holidays, we spent an afternoon in Half Moon Bay. Camille and my dad were on the same nap schedule so we left them in the car together while my mom, Wing Ning, Cameron, and I went for a walk. After a while we got an anxious call from my dad. I heard Camille bawling in the background, undoubtedly hungry. I hurried back to the car. When I got there, my dad was holding Camille tight, expertly soothing her, and she was no longer sad.

My dad always knows a bit more than he lets on. I can imagine myself in Camille’s place in his arms over 30 years ago.


Back to the blog

Posted in blog, personal at 8:24 am by wingerz


The past month has been quite busy. In addition to starting the new job, I went out to CA twice (once to celebrate my sister’s college graduation, once to visit Jen) and Montreal (to attend Matt & Amy’s beautiful wedding). Brian & Tina, Caroline & Brandon, and John all came to Boston to visit. Meanwhile, our refrigerator broke so I had to throw out all the food (including lots of ice cream) and get that taken care of as well.

My new laptop arrived several weeks ago, and I’ll be getting back to posting photos once I get my monitor calibrated. The photo-processing backlog has grown to several months, and I’m eager to get back to them.


Photography feed

Posted in blog, photos at 8:51 pm by wingerz


A few days ago Brian collected and posted a list of his reader’s blogs. As a result of being included, I noticed some extra traffic coming to my site. To accommodate new readers I’ve set up a feed for my photography-related posts, which is perfect for fellow photographers who aren’t all that interested in my occasional post about the Semantic Web and video games.


Recently Dugg on the Sidebar

Posted in amusing, blog, development, technology at 6:45 pm by wingerz


Digg is not the best source of news, but it certainly is amusing. Lots of fun YouTube videos and an occasional interesting blog post or article. Comments are usually good for a laugh too. Users submit links and other users digg it up or bury it down. For the most part I only monitor the popular stories.

I threw together a quick-and-dirty WordPress plugin to show the last 10 things that I dugg in the sidebar. You can do it by sourcing some Javascript from digg (it just does document.write()s – no JSON). Rather than rely on that, I curl it every few minutes and source the local copy instead.

A quick scan of the current headlines makes me quite happy.


Blog Reorg

Posted in blog, development, technology at 7:09 pm by wingerz


One of the weird things about programming is that you can spend a good amount of time doing something like refactoring or reorganizing your code and you feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards, even if no one notices.

I’ve heard that it’s good to have some area of focus for your blog. Unfortunately, there are a variety of topics that I enjoy posting about. Rather than set up two blogs, I’ve decided to separate the content into four main areas:

  • Technology: Work, coding, techy stuff.
  • Food: Eating in and dining out, hopefully with a lot of drool-inducing photos.
  • Games: Video games and other diversions, mostly Nintendo fanboyism.
  • Personal: Life events and observations, along with wacky stuff that comes my way.

The few lines of code that I had to write/update dealt with feed generation – I just wanted to be able to pass a category name to the function that creates feed links. I also had to modify one SQL statement so that it would fetch comments on posts in a specified category rather than all comments on all posts. WordPress’s comment feed code was RSS only, so I decided to use Feedburner to expose the feed in other formats.

I’m still playing around with the category hierarchy. I’d also like to make it more obvious that there are four areas, probably by applying a different theme to each one.

In the end, I’m not sure how much of a difference this will make because I’m surrounded by engineers who love to play video games and cook.