Cute gimmick for remembering the Quadratic Formula

So I have a friend who’s taking College Algebra/Pre-calc right now. And she was talking to me about what she’s currently studying in the class, which is parabolas. Graphing them, etc. And she told me she knows how to find the roots to the equation…she uses this:

Never Bet Big unless you have 4 aces to play

“Never Bet” is the negative b. Big is the b^2. Unless is “plus or minus”. 4 aces is the 4ac. And “to play” is the “2a” in the denominator.

Well, I always love finding these little gimmicks to share with students. In my experience, very few students actually have trouble remembering the quadratic formula (after they’ve done enough homework problems with it). But these kind of little memory devices are kind of fun and they enjoy them.

Jim Gaffigan – comedian talks about cake and food

So I follow someone on Twitter named Rich. Who mentioned yesterday that he was going to see comedian Jim Gaffigan in concert. And later he said that he laughed so much his face hurt.

Someone else asked if he’d talked about cake. Well, seems he talks about 80% of the time about food. Cake, bacon, I don’t know what all. So I guess I will have to see this guy when he next comes through L.A./O.C. In the meantime, here’s a couple of YouTube videos…

Boston Marathon…here I come!

Just putting up a quickie post here. Haven’t updated in a long time, but…

I just finished a 10-mile “short” run yesterday, my last long run before I do the Boston Marathon on Monday April 20, 2009. I never wrote here about my experience with my third marathon when I qualified for Boston. That was the 2008 L.A. Marathon. But I did submit something about it to my running club, and you can read my Boston Qualifying story here:

Changes in Leopard iCal

So, on August 24, 2008 I upgraded to Leopard. Been wanting to, but wasn’t sure it was going to end up providing me with all the functionality I needed. Anyhow, had a near fiasco on that Sunday, where Tiger let me drag my own home directory into the Applications folder. Yikes. Talk about my computer suddenly forgetting who I am, all my passwords, all my preferences, etc… Borked!!! Panic!

With my hubby’s help I managed to figure out where the files had disappeared to and sort it out. I backed a lot of data up in the process before moving too much around, and so figured this was a good time to upgrade to Leopard, since a lot of the iPod Touch apps I was interested in (or their desktop counterparts) require Leopard for certain features. Basically, Leopard is required for more and more stuff, so… I took the plunge.

I’m happy to report that mostly everything is working well for me. …

Continue reading Changes in Leopard iCal

Create an ISO image on your Mac

For Tiger OS, but probably works for Leopard, too. This is a method I saw on a Slashdot page regarding making an ISO disk image, and it completely works from the Terminal application.

I tried this in order to make a copy of a DVD from Jennifer’s teacher on the class’ “Famous American” presentations. For some reason it produced an image that only partially played. I didn’t put any time into figuring out the problem or how to correct it. Instead my hubby burned the DVD on a different computer because we just wanted to get it done.

Anyhow, here’s a link to the Slashdot page, and also the content of the article.

Continue reading Create an ISO image on your Mac

Successful Marathon Number Two

Sheila Poses with her Finishers Medal from the Long Beach 2007 Marathon

Last week, Sunday October 14, 2007 I ran the Long Beach 2007 Marathon. Finish time 4:15:12. A Personal Record, even if it wasn’t my dream-goal of finishing in 4 hours. I do consider it a success, especially because I have had no injuries since July and I finished the marathon and am recovering well with no injuries during or after the race.

I guess one of the problems that I have, is trying to make myself wake up early enough. Race start time was 7:30 and somehow I believed it would be good enough to arrive at 6 am, an hour and a half before the start. I should’ve allowed 2 hours minimum, though. Well, hindsight and all that…

Continue reading Successful Marathon Number Two

Bread Making – with Machine or Without

So something I’ve been doing more and more, lately, is more cooking and baking. I have a page over at There you can see my recipes and reviews and photos and so on.

So bread making is one of the big things I’ve been trying lately. I’ve actually made yeast bread four times now. And we’ve even eaten the results! I do not have a bread machines or stand mixer with a dough hook, so I have to make them completely by hand…

One thing I do find is a lot of recipes that call for a bread machine, and do not give alternate directions for making the recipe by hand. Today on the RecipeZaar forums duonyte gave me some general guidelines for converting any bread machine recipe to a “by hand” recipe. Here they are posted below, for reference. Thanks duonyte!

The bread machine is just a method for mixing – any recipe can be converted to and from. I am not sure whether you really mean make totally by hand or whether you mean to use a stand mixer, so I’ll try to cover both.

First, soften the yeast in a bit of water with a pinch of sugar and a tsp of flour. Mix and put in warm place until it foams up. In the meantime, stir together all the dry ingredients. When the yeast foams up, mix it together with the wet ingredients.

Place about 1/3 of your dry ingredients in the bowl, add half the liquid, and stir hard or mix with mixer. Add another third of the dry and remaining wet, and continue mixing. Change to dough hook if you are using machine, add the remaining dry ingredients. If doing by hand, you will probably turn out and knead in the remaining dry. Knead for 10 minutes of so until the dough is silky in texture.

Place in greased bowl, turn to grease top, cover and let rise. This generally takes an hour or so, but depends on warmth of kitchen, etc. Gently punch down and shape as desired. Let rise again. Bake at 375 deg. for about 40 minutes. Exact time depends in part on the shape. If you have a digital thermometer, check the internal temp. It should be between 195 deg. and 205 deg Farenheit.

Let cool before slicing.

The next yeast recipe I’m planning to try is duonyte’s Oat Potato Sandwich Bread

Put a Movie on your Website

If you have your own website, and want to put your own movies on it, one way is to use a third party free service, such as YouTube or Google Video.

But what if you don’t want to use a third party service like that with the accompanying advertising? Well tonight I learned how to make my own movie for my site…

It seems that the common recommendation nowadays is to use a flash video movie for your site instead of other formats.

There are free ways to do this, as opposed to buying commercial software for the task. The link above gives directions for Windows users. I have an iMac, so I used ffmpegX to encode a short QuickTime clip that I had into .FLV (Flash) format. Then I used the FlowPlayer player to play it on my website.

Additional information and resources:

L.A. Marathon Done.

L.A. Marathon MedalSo, the L.A. Marathon
… It was race day: Sunday March 4, 2007. I had run the Pacific Shoreline Half-marathon
in 1:42:00 only 4 weeks ago–a 7:47 average pace–which would seem to
indicate that I could do a sub-four-hour marathon. But I had been
injured only a few days after that, with some kind of groin injury on
my left side. 3.5 weeks of not really being able to follow the training
schedule, not being able to do the 20-miler 3 weeks before the race,
and continuing to try and run, but never being able to go more than 7
or 8 miles without hurting my groin again. I was wearing custom inserts
prescribed by my orthopedist, to correct for a leg-length difference.
But I was beginning to be unsure whether they were really helping me or
hurting me. Two weeks before the marathon, I stopped wearing the custom
inserts and seem to have been getting better since.

I also ran very little at all the week before the marathon…

Continue reading L.A. Marathon Done.

Orange County Half Marathon … done!

So yesterday was the 2007 OC Half Marathon from Newport Center up to the Irvine Spectrum. Actually, there was a full marathon too, but I’m saving that for March in L.A.

Here we were at about Mile 7 (a little over half-way through the race). I’m afraid I’m blocking Miriam from view. Oops!:

We were expecting a cold morning (for Southern California) yesterday…

Continue reading Orange County Half Marathon … done!