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August 23, 1998

Lazy Sunday

Word choices tend to be more simplistic when I use the dictation software, not because of specific limitations on the software; but due to my perceptions of what I think it can do. Some of it is grammar related, my speech grammar has little relation, when it is continuous, to my written grammar. I'd choose less complex grammars when speaking for flow. Amusingly enough when given the time to think out each word, the resultant language is more like when I type.

The continuous speech recognition paradigm creates a need in me to spit out entire phrases rather than construct sentences in the style and grammar that is unique to my way of writing. When I type I normally create structures which are more complex rather than less, and the continuous speech recognition depends, in part, on context and grammatical patterns. I did not and do not believe that its language patterns fit mine. The discrete recognition system gives me the flexibility to choose my words individually, and seems to free my mental processes from the strictures that I imposed on them.

The only problem is that the discrete system is less stable.

It's possible to lose an hour's worth of work to a glitch in the system. That can be more frustrating than simple inflexibility. So, I will see what is to come of the new system. Though, honestly, it's more of a mental limitation on my part, I think, than any real limitation on the software. I just need to think, more, of exactly the word I want to put down before I say them to the application.

Sunday was mostly spent writing and cooking. John went off to church without me as I wanted to sleep late after staying up so late. He went to church and came back both with his dad and half a crate of peaches. I, in the meantime, did nothing more than dictate two journal entries and followed through on the plotting that I'd done the night before. Now, I had a complete structure for how the story would work. The peaches, however, interrupted my work by thoroughly distracting me.

Every summer I have this short, intense love affair with summer peaches. There really is nothing else like a softly ripe summer peach. The warm, fuzzy soft skin that gently resists the bite until the firm, sweet, juicy flesh underneath yields so deliciously. That golden, warm color and pale silver frosting of fuzz, the flow of nectar down the throat. This year there is a new variety called Golden Globe, which is slightly paler than most peaches. They are large and lovely to the sight as well as to the bite. Every year there is a man who sells peaches by the crate. He only sells peaches, and only sells them at the time that they're ripe. We buy from him every year as he's never disappointed us.

I had one for lunch, and it was as good this year as any other.

Around 2 I went out to shop for dinner. John wanted me to make dinner for his dad's birthday, and wanted it to be special. So I planned on the garlic-rosemary chicken with white wine sauce, a zucchini risotto, the last of the stringbeans, and a finish of cinnamon ice cream with cut peaches. I bought everything I needed, plus five pounds of extra lean hamburger, which was on sale for a dollar a pound. I first took care of the hamburger, by packaging it up into freezer bags. Each freezer bag contained four 1/3 lb balls of ground meat, on the principal that the balls would be easy to separate once it was frozen. It's always useful to be able to get individual portions from the freezer.

The next several hours were given over to cooking. The only time that had been established for dinner was 6 p.m., so I aimed for that time. When it was 20 minutes till things were done, I told John and his dad that food was almost done. They said that they would be done in just a bit more time then I said it would take for dinner to be done. It turned out that they hit a snag just before completion, so they took significantly longer. While I could hold things for a while, the extra half an hour and even more time for showering took its toll on the food. The white wine sauce caramelized under the chicken, and I had to rescue it by pouring out all the fat and pouring in more wine. I guess one could call it a three reduction glaze, if one were inclined.

Luckily the risotto was more patient, and after I stirred in the Parmesan it turned out quite well. Everything else was very good, and the ice cream was better for having the time to cure. The cream in cinnamon were excellent partners for the fresh peaches, and everyone enjoyed their desserts. I think I'm going to have to use that ice cream freezer more often, but it was just barely able to handle the custard from an entire pint of half and half. I know the one cup recipe does just fine, and it might be better to do smaller batches more frequently.

I guess it was a lesson in how to time things in the future. I'll have to cut more slack in schedules when construction is concerned.

After his parents had gone home, and the full day both inside and outside the house, the two of us just collapsed on the couch. As usual, I didn't pay attention to my hands while I was cooking, and my left wrist was throbbing. Oops. That wasn't good. So, we just sat and watch TV, two fairly bad shows from the USA network. At least Blade had actors who had taken enough martial arts to at least stand correctly, and I have to admit a certain weakness for La Femme Nikita as I so loved the movie, the French version i.e. the original. There isn't all that much that can compare to the original movie, not even in movies, so the low-budget TV show didn't have a chance; but I always expect more.

One worrying thing was that my hands still ached even after the weekend of rest, I would have to plan my usage for the next week, and keep the typing frequency down.

Brought to you by Dragon System's NaturallySpeaking.

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