Archive for November, 2011

The newest funny things Avery says:

“Mom! it’s winding!” pronounced with a short i in winding and meaning the wind is blowing. It’s also a transitive verb: “Mom! My hat is going to wind away!”

“Sure, I can have…” as in “Sure, I can have a toy box like that.” after seeing a toy box she likes on TV. Or “Sure, I can have long hair to the ground like Rapunzel.” What she really means to say is “Mom, I want that.”

Avery’s latest favorite thing is to have me tell her stories about how Abby, Zoe, and Rosita from Sesame Street visit her at her house. Usually the stories have to involve a tea party, dancing, or going to church. She loves for me to tell her about how Abby, Zoe, and Rosita come to nursery with her.

Avery with a big apple on her head

The apple doesn't appear as big in the picture as it did in real life.

Avery really likes to wear dresses, which is a problem now that it’s cold outside. We have a fight every morning when it’s time to get dressed. One day I let her wear her thin and sleeveless little summer dress and threw her out on the balcony to play until she got cold enough to want to come in. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite cold enough out (It was probably 50 degrees or so) and she played for a good half an hour before I made her come in. I’m a little surprised no one yelled at me for doing it. Hungarians are very sensitive about children getting cold outside.

We found a hand-me-down winter dress that I will let her wear inside with tights now, but it’s gotten quite cold outside the last week or so, so I think it’s pants and maybe leggings underneath them until we’re somewhere warmer. She asks to wear the Winter dress everyday. Sometimes three times a day.

Avery has mostly given up naps at this point. She still takes one maybe once a week or ten days, but she’s typically up all day. She likes to watch movies while Evelyn takes naps. Or paint. She was really excited about finger painting for about a week and a half this month.Avery in her Halloween tutu

Avery is very into High School lately.  I think she got this vague idea of something called “High School” from a friend who has older sisters approaching High School age.  Now everything cool happens in High School and sometimes random stories begin with “When I was in High School.”  My favorite one so far is “I play with ponies in my High School.”  She meant “My Little Ponies”, not the real life kind which might be acceptable in High School.

Note: Rachel started this but had to get on an airplane before she put pictures with it.  So I thought I (Ivan) would finish it for her since all the pictures stayed with me.  So if it doesn’t end well, blame me.


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Especially today I have much to be thankful for.

For starters we had thanksgiving dinner tonight. My lovely wife cooked a 2 (two) pound turkey, stuffing, squash, her patented garlicy mashed potatoes and the ever lovely berry pie. Of the turkey we have exactly one breast left. Of the mashed potatoes we have a multitude, but I have a feeling they won’t last long.

Thanksgiving feast except for the pie.

Here's a picture of everything except for the pie. Oops.

The kids were delightful today. I don’t have prostate cancer. It’s movie night for Mommy and Daddy. And of course many other things too numerous to count.

Probably the best thing about today, or at least the most unexpected good thing, was that I was able to help a fellow student. I had offered to help her with some LaTeX problems she was having. There were tons of errors in the file she sent me and I couldn’t help thinking to myself that she wasn’t very good at LaTeX. As proof that you shouldn’t judge (and should always backup), I found out that her hard drive had crashed and the specialist had only been able to recover the pdf files (he didn’t speak English, nor she Hungarian, so perhaps there was more that could have been done but it’s too late for that now). Her earlier latex files were all missing. So she had copied and pasted all the text into a new file and was going through trying to make it all work again. She said she wasn’t too worried about the text (since she could copy/paste), but she had some large derivation diagrams or something like that. She’s studying philosophy and doing her thesis in logic of temporal what-sa-ma-hu-sit.

On a lark I asked if she still had the recovered files and she said yes. I did a quick grep and noticed that there were some files, “jpeg”s and “mp4″s mostly, that contained at least parts of her old latex files. So then I collected all the files that looked promising and ran strings on them to collect all the text into one big file. It was still working on that when I had to leave (there were about 50,000 files with LaTeX-looking parts and it was over 1 GB when I left). Of course the majority of that file is junk. I then gave her some instructions on how to proceed. Namely to run split -p to break it into smaller files containing (hopefully) either all junk or all useful information. Then she’ll use some bash and grep to delete all trash files leaving her with only her old latex files. Hopefully there won’t be too many duplicates.  If it had finished before I left I might have tried to use diff to eliminate duplicates.

Just in case your hard drive ever crashes and your latex files weren’t recovered properly, here’s what to do. First open a terminal. If you don’t know how to do this please do not follow the instructions here. Get your nephew to help you or something. :-) Please note that I am typing these from memory and haven’t actually tested them. If you don’t know what you are doing please simply read for your own enlightenment.

  1. cd /path/to/where/recovered/files/are
  2. grep -lr -e 'usepackage' * > ~/interestingfiles.txt
    • This looks for files which have the usepackage in them. This is something that all but the simplest latex files have. It saves the names in a file for later.
  3. export IFS=$'\n'
  4. for f in $(cat ~/interestingfiles.txt) do strings "$f" >> ~/strings.txt; done
    • This runs strings on each of the interesting files. Note that we need to set the Internal Field Separator to just a newline otherwise file names with spaces will cause problems.
  5. mkdir recovered
  6. split -a 100 -p '(begin|end){document}' ~/strings.txt ~/recovered/possible.
    • Here we split the file into smaller files at begin{document} or end{document}. Since this is how latex files begin and end we are hopefully separating the wheat from the chaff.  Note that we need to set the suffix length (-a) big enough to accommodate the potentially thousands of output files.  100 is almost certainly overkill, but hey, who cares.
  7. for f in ~/recovered/possible.*; do grep -E 'usepackage' "$f" || rm -i "$f"; done
    • We delete any of the newly split files which don’t have usepackage in them. They are almost certainly full of junk.

Note that the last step is potentially destructive so I added -i to the rm command, which will prompt you before deleting any of the thousands of files and hence be very annoying. After you have verified that everything is working properly you may remove the -i. Of course recovering other types of files will require changing the regular expressions used. That is left as an exercise to the reader, or at least it’s left until you actually have to do it.

It’s nice to be able to help someone who has really had a bad accident, and it’s nice to know that my computer skills aren’t completely useless now that I no longer work for Omniture.

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Avery’s first glasses

Avery’s glasses finally came in today, after 3 weeks due in part to a labor problem at the lens factory in Germany. You can see that her left eye is much worse (+9.5) than her right (+1.5).
Avery's glasses showing how much thicker the left lens is

She’s very happy with them. After all they are purple and that’s her favorite color. It’s a little weird seeing one eye so much larger than the other, so I hope it will improve with time. It seems like there should be something they could do, and maybe there was and I just didn’t know how to ask for it in Hungarian.Avery and her glasses from the front

Here she is dancing with joy.Avery dancing with her glasses on

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Wednesday a friend drove us up to Visegrád, a castle north of Budapest on the Dunakanyar (Danube Bend). It’s known as Fellegvár, the Cloud Castle, because it sits on the top of a mountain with a commanding view of the Danube. You can see Szentendre island with its Roman ruins, and the town of Nagymaros on the opposite bank, and of course a tactically significant portion of the Danube. Unfortunately for us the air was quite smoggy and so the view wasn’t as nice as might be hoped. Even had it been clear though, I think I would have preferred the view of the castle from the Danube. The observant reader will recall that we already posted this picture taken on our trip back from Esztergom.

Visegrad castle from the Danube

Visegrad castle from the Danube

The castle itself has been reconstructed and has a few exhibits: one is about weapons of the time and the other covers the hunt and how important it was. I particularly liked the hunting exhibit and the coats of arms. Someday I will have someone talented design a coat of arms for me, but I don’t know what would appear on it.Coats of Arms

Avery loved running around the ruins but her favorite part, and Evelyn’s too, was the crow’s cage. Unfotunately, they didn’t have a way to lift it off the ground or we would have gotten the full effect. I couldn’t stop thinking “Ma-a-a-a-d-ma-a-a-artigan” to myself. I should get one for the kids. It would be a great place to send them for time out.

Evelyn and Avery in the cage
Dad and girls in the Crow's cage

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