Color Change

I did a little redecorating for spring. If you’re still seeing pink try refreshing the page. I already sort of miss the pink background. Chances are it will be back someday but for now I wanted something to go with the dandelions.

One Author

If you could only read the books of one author for the rest of your life who would it be? Several writers give their answers.

Tough question. I would want to choose someone very prolific but also good. Those two things don’t always go together. On the other hand, I could pick someone not so prolific but highly re-readable. Or I could pick someone who writes really long books, like James Michener. But if I have to pick only one author I want it to be a really good, prolific science fiction author because that’s what I find the most entertaining. Best of all would be prolific, long books, highly re-readable. So… I haven’t really answered yet have I? Well, it’s a tough question.

Spammers Must Die!

I just had a brilliant idea for an episode of Criminal Minds. A serial killer is tracking down spammers and murdering them in really bizarre and horrible ways. The team do their job as usual but some of them express regret that they actually have to stop the guy. When they finally catch him (or her; it could be a woman) he says something like, “You can stop me but you can’t stop us all. Spammers have to die. Everyone knows that. They have to suffer for what they’re doing.” And the show ends with Garcia announcing that there’s just been another spammer killing.

Random Linkage

Giant Arrows – Fascinating.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – I haven’t been to this one but there is a pharmacy museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma that is quite fascinating. I could spend hours in there just reading all the labels on the old bottles. There’s some scary stuff there.

The Secret to Happiness – Well, temporarily at least. But we knew this already.

Fuel from seawater? – Interesting, but experience tells me there will be a catch.

Kitschy Living – Oooo! Kitsch! An awesome Tumblr!

It’s Funny to Me – A funny pictures blog. Some actually are funny, like this one.

Rock stars and their pets

Cherry Blossom Watching

Button Globes

Nerd Approved – A blog of cool, nerdy stuff.

Again and Again

The problem with remakes. While I get his “too-soon-ness” reasoning, remakes of older classics bother me even more. I just roll my eyes at the Spider Man reboot. “Didn’t they do that just a few years ago?” But in the case of well known older movies (60′s, 50′s, 40′s…) remakes sort of horrify me. I think people should see and appreciate the originals. They were classics for a reason. Would anyone dare to remake Casablanca, for example? Oh good heavens, I hope not!

If Hollywood is out of ideas why not dig up forgotten movies – whether 20 years old or 60 years old – that were poorly done in the first place and make a quality modern version? But I seriously doubt that they are truly out of new ideas. The problem is that the money counters want guaranteed success (understandable) and the way to get it seems to be with names that are familiar to people. (less understandable, to me at least)

Quotes From Here and There

You people are so crunchy, I can’t even keep up with you.here (Ha! Reference to people being crunchy reminds me of this tshirt)

After consulting many blogs and wardrobe planning books, I have learned that I am what is called a “table top dresser.”there

But let’s be honest, it’s impossible to study the past without feeling something. Confusion, fascination, excitement—this is what motivates historians to spend their days poring over obscure manuscripts.here

Word spacing, one assumes, was not quite so high on their list of priorities.there

In one of those crazy coincidences that can fuel an entire cottage industry preying up those easily duped by conspiracy theories, April 22 also happened to be the birth date of the leader of communist revolution in Russia, Vladimir Lenin.here

Introvert/Extrovert: Nature or Nurture or Both?

We keep trying to categorize people. That’s not entirely wrong; we can’t help it. It’s the way our brains are wired. The problem is that we too often believe in the absoluteness of our categories. Everyone is either an introvert or an extrovert right? Could it be that’s not true – that maybe some people are somewhere in between or a little of both?

Suppose nature made you an extrovert. You like attention and love being around people. But then you go to school and the other kids reject you or even outright bully you. In time you come to feel that being a loner is safer. You discover that being alone with your own thoughts can even be pleasant. You are an introvert. But if this happened to you couldn’t you still retain some latent extrovertedness? Because it’s your nature, crave the company of others and secretly long to be the center of attention but because of your experiences never be comfortable with the attention you crave?

Or maybe some people are just born in between? Craving company or craving solitude, at different times depending on mood?

Yeah, More Sewing Blogs

See, here’s the thing. I’ve got these in my bookmarks and I can’t remember if I’ve linked to them already or not so here they are, possibly again. I need to just add them to ye olde links page but I keep telling myself, “You can’t keep them all.” Packrattery happens in cyberspace as well as realspace which is why I have a links page instead of just a few links in the sidebar. (And yes, Firefox spellchecker, “packrattery” is a real word and I spelled it correctly. I should know because I just now made it up myself.)

Anyway here are the sewing blogs, each with an additional link to my favorite recent(ish) post.

Wanderlost – Ooooo! 40′s

u&mii – Nice! An American dress in Britain

Lucky Lucille – And more 40′s fashion and fabrics appropriate for sewing them.

Cashmerette – It’s tea time dahlings. I think I’m really going to like this post if I can ever get all the photos to fully load.

Seamstress Erin – Wow. She sews, she knits, she even strings pearls.

Lin3a Rosa – Ah, you know I can’t resist sewing links.

Inside Out Style Blog – Actually not a sewing blog and not really a blog. It’s all about style, like How to Style Print Pants. I don’t know if I could ever do print pants myself but I do sort of like some of those print pairings.

Oops, almost missed one…

Sew Smitten – She finds wisdom from a tea bag.

A Very Mixed Review

The Last Revolution by R.T. Carpenter was on Amazon’s list of monthly (or was it weekly?) Kindle specials. It was very cheap, and it looked like my sort of thing. It is a more or less average colonial rebellion story. In this future all the nations on Earth have been consolidated into just three nations and there is a Council, which has its own military “to keep the peace.” Alden, a member of an elite unit in the Council military, ends up working with Lunar colonists who are fighting for independence. It’s actually a reasonably entertaining story. Not great but it is a kind of story that I enjoy.

On the negative side, this book needs some intensive editing. It is full of obvious mistakes that made me feel that the author was a high school student who struggles to maintain a C average in English. Just a few examples: He used the word “formerly” when he meant “formally,” “disposed” when he meant “deposed”, “diffuse” when he meant “defuse”, and, most hilariously, “yolk” when he meant “yoke”. There are a number of awkward or confusing sentences, especially near the beginning of the book. Worst: “They moved past him towards the large windows that faced the street.” There are only two people in this scene. If “they” refers to those two people, as it must, then who is the “him” that they move past? Another problem was that transitions between flashbacks and the story’s “present” are handled rather awkwardly. There are also what are clearly just typos, the most frequent being failure to leave a space between words, as in “itwas” or “threedozen”.

The ending leaves readers with a big mystery. There will be a sequel and I will probably read it in spite of all the very annoying flaws in the first book because, you know, I have to know what happens next. I just hope the author discovers the value of proofreading, editing, and correct vocabulary before he publishes the second book.

Star Trek Continues

The coolest Star Trek reboot you’re probably not watching. How come I did not know about this until now? Of course, only the original is the original but this looks, possibly, not bad. (I know, glowing review, right? “Not bad”) Unfortunately, due to our primitive Internet situation we have to limit the amount of video we watch but I might try an episode one day when I’m not planning on doing anything else online for the whole day.

Random Linkage

Zoological Atlas – Lovely 19th century illustrations

Vintage Ads – That first product is hilarious.

Itchy Feet – “A Travel and Language Comic” – These are really good.

Wound Man – a middle ages medical illustration

10 Inspiring Bookshops – Ooooo! Want to visit that one… Want to visit that one… Want to visit that one…

15 Famous Landmarks Zoomed Out

Who Would You Pick? – Well… Beethoven. Duh!

Angkor Wat on Google Street View – Wow

Ancient Stories Linked With Geological Events

Foodiggity – food art and culture

Wine Barrel Hotel – Cozy

Mini Star Wars Adventures

12 Famous Shipwrecks You Can Visit

15 Bizarre Human Body Related Facts – I already knew #6. #15 is especially interesting.

25 Things You Might Not Know About the Web – Yeah, I knew most of these and a few, like #25, are just opinions anyway.

The War Between Butter and Margarine – Interesting history. I buy Land O’ Lakes Light Spreadable Butter. My mother only used margarine and I did too until a few years ago when I started seeing articles that margarine might actually be more unhealthy than real butter. I like the idea of using something real (even if it’s really only half real)

Something Neue

I just got my first Neue Mode pattern and there are a couple of surprises. First, the envelope is huge. It doesn’t fit in the little plastic drawer/bin where I keep my patterns. The other surprise is that there are no directions. That wasn’t a total surprise because the order confirmation email said that I would have to download the “sewing guide” and included a link to this PDF. That’s it. One page.

I’m not worried about it. I’ve been sewing a long time and rarely look at the directions anyway. I’m sure I can figure it out. But if you’re new to sewing and are not particularly adventurous you might want to hold off a while on trying Neue Mode patterns. One thing – it doesn’t say so directly but I’m getting a feeling from this “sewing guide” that this pattern is intended for knits only which is not what I had in mind for it. I really just got it for the asymmetrical yoke and had radical plans that would end up with a dress that looks almost nothing like the cover picture. Oh well. I’m still confident that I can work it out somehow.

Oops

Yesterday I finally, after procrastinating for months, uploaded an updated version of my infamous links page. This morning I discovered a mistake. A mistake of the “How the hell did that happen?” variety. Oops. I don’t have time to deal with it right now but hopefully it won’t be months this time before I get around to fixing it.

Quotes From Here and There

Dr. Boli hardly knows what to say, not least because he seldom thinks about what he is doing when he writes. This reader’s question has led him to undertake an exhaustive analysis of his own handwriting for the first time, and he has concluded that his goal in forming letters is the same as his goal in everything else: to achieve the greatest effect with the least effort.here

Like an ice skater, the Earth leans into its curve, tipping its northern continents towards the Sun, packing more sunlight into every square inch of surface.there

Sorry. Only two this week. I’ll try to make up for it next week. Or the next. Maybe.

Spring Miscellany

Today is a big day. Well, not really. Today is the first time this year that I am wearing a spring/summer dress. It’s this one, since I’m not planning on going anywhere today. I briefly considered wearing the crazy pink one. Anyway, I love dresses. They feel so free. That’s why this is sort of a minor big deal to me. It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow though so it’s not quite time to put away the slacks yet.

It is definitely time to start summer sewing (I’m almost finished with a long sleeve cotton blouse, which I hope to be able to show off tomorrow but probably won’t get around to until early next week.) but I just realized that I do not have anything to sew that does not require some notion or trim or lining or something that I do not have yet. So I will have to either go to Tulsa in the next day or two or order stuff and wait a week. The latter is probably what I’ll do. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to take a short break from sewing. I can still work on that darned quilt that I’ve been stalled on for what seems like forever and I’ve got a couple of quilt tops I could be working on. But I’ve got the bug. I have pretty pieces of fabric that I want to sew now.

Remember I was talking about homemade shoes yesterday? Well, I was looking for the soling material and found these Xero Shoes kits. They’re very minimalist sandals. I don’t know… I don’t really like the look. I did also find the Vibram soling sheets at Amazon. That stuff is EXPENSIVE but there are some other brands. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to jump off into shoe making yet but I’m thinking about it.

Interesting article about the Hobby Lobby case. I don’t know what to think about this. I’m not familiar with the site but I’m sure it’s not exactly unbiased. (I saw this on Facebook) I’m not normally a very politically committed person. I don’t make purchasing decisions based on politics. It just gets too complicated. But I have to admit this thing with Hobby Lobby has really bothered me and made me not want to go there anymore. I don’t shop there very often but they have a small sewing department that is a little better than Walmart’s and there’s one closer to me than Tulsa. If what the article says is true it’s still not enough to make me completely change my mind about the case but it goes to show that the issues are more complex than the talking heads make them out to be and people on both sides of the political fence ignore anything that is inconvenient for their side.

Well, I don’t want to end on a political note but I’m fresh out of relevant and interesting [/sarcasm] things to say at the moment so how about a couple o’ cats. All together now: AAAWWWWWWWW….

Handmade Shoes

More than 20 years ago, probably closer to 30, (damn!) I bought a book that told in detail how to make shoes. I really wanted to give it a try but it seemed like too much messy, tedious work and, since this was before the Internet, even obtaining all the proper supplies would have been a bit of an ordeal so I never got around to it. But lately I started thinking about it again and, of course, did some googling.

Here is a serviceable pair of hiking shoes. The exciting thing about these, for me, is that you can buy Vibram soling by the sheet. I’ll have to look into that.

Of course, if it can be imagined someone is already selling it on Etsy. Those are quite nice and very professional looking.

Instructions for making your own shoes. This is pretty close to what I remember from the book. For some reason the idea of making a custom last is the most off-putting part.

More shoemaking instructions. This might be the author of the book I bought years ago (I’m sure I still have it somewhere) and these are more like the kind of shoes I had in mind (the flats of course) – something cute and comfortable to wear with dresses.

And more instructions at WikiHow

Finally here are the results for “homemade shoes” on Flickr. (Quite a few of the photos that came up are NOT, in fact, homemade shoes.) There are a lot of people out there doing this. I’m not confident in my ability to end up with shoes I would actually be willing to wear out of the house but I am getting closer to making an attempt.

False Conflict

I keep finding more reasons why Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome.

He says several things in this video that I particularly like. At about 3:50 he says that “maybe there is something in the brain’s wiring that prevents some people from becoming atheists.” In a way, I don’t want to believe that because I don’t like to believe that a certain way of thinking (whatever it is) is “pre-wired” but, on the other hand, this explains a lot and, as I (and others) have said before, brains are weird. I also respect him for trying to avoid politicizing science, though that’s often impossible.

I wish I could introduce Neil deGrasse Tyson to my grandmother. Actually I wish I could introduce a lot of people to my grandmother. She was extremely conservative. She thought almost everything on TV was immoral in one way or another. It’s probably not surprising that she objected to I Dream of Jeannie but she even considered The Lawrence Welk Show immoral because when the young ladies on the show danced and whirled around you could see their knees and (gasp!) sometimes even their thighs. From knees to belly buttons to kids smarting off at their parents there was no show so wholesome she couldn’t find something wrong with it. (and we’re talking about the 60′s, when TV couples slept in twin beds) She had similar opinions about real life behavior. You might assume from this that she was an unpleasant person but she wasn’t at all. She was usually cheerful and pleasant and never preachy but when certain subjects came up she would certainly tell you what she thought.

My grandmother read the Bible every day and believed in it and considered it a guide for living but one thing she did not believe was that the world was created in only six days. She understood that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. I can clearly remember when I was very small she explained to me that both Genesis and evolution were true because the Bible said that to God a thousand years were as one day, which, of course, she also did not take literally. The world was not created in six thousand years any more than it was created in six days.

That one person could believe both the Bible and the true time scale of evolution and that humans evolved from a single cell, up through amphibians, small mammals, primates, early hominids to modern humans, does not compute for some people but I say, “Why not?!” We all believe things that are much more unlikely than that. My grandmother did not care for conflict. She did her best to educate her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews but was content to leave strangers to believe anything they liked, but I know that if asked she would have said that creationists reduce God to human scale because they are not capable of grasping anything greater.

My grandmother was actually very interested in science. To her, science was the study of God’s creation so you had to get it right. I’m sure there are people who would say that she was cheating, that she had been convinced of the scientific truth of evolution but still couldn’t let go of religion. Perhaps there’s some truth to that. So what? People manage to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas in their minds all the time, maybe because these ideas are not really as opposite or mutually exclusive to one another as some have been led to believe. Maybe someone with an agenda decided that a conflict would be to their advantage, created one, and convinced a lot of other people. Oh man, I wish I had that kind of talent! The talent to convince people. Well, if I can’t maybe Dr. Tyson can – the kids at least.

Just a Few Links

Eye Placement in Portraits – Interesting. Could apply in photography also.

Chateau de Gudanes – Restoring an abandoned French Chateau

Shoppe – “inspired goods by independent makers” I haven’t looked around much yet but my first impression is “awesome!”

The Doorstep Railway – Wow. Talk about living next to the tracks.

12 Essential Peppers – A few of these are new to me.

Wanderlost – An excellent sewing blog

People Who Suck

First of all, I want to say (even though you all know this already) spammers suck. This morning I had 46 spam comments, which I suppose isn’t too bad; at least it wasn’t in the hundreds; but it’s a lot more than I usually get. Besides the obvious, another thing that really sucks about that, for me, is that when I have a lot of comments waiting for moderation I always think that maybe one is a genuine on topic comment from a real person – someone who just found this blog or a lurker coming out of hiding – but that hardly ever happens and I think, “Why do I keep hoping?” I’m like a silly child waiting for an impossible wish to come true.

Anyway, that’s not what I really wanted to talk about. The particular Person Who Sucks that I want to talk about is the person in the little maroon car who pulled out in front of us yesterday. We were driving slowly through The Nearby Small Town, which is generally the only way one can drive through The Nearby Small Town because the traffic lights suck but that’s another story.

Anyway (Did I just start two paragraphs in a row with the word “anyway”? Sorry) we were on our way home from Lowe’s where we had just purchased a bunch of “six packs” of pansies and two quart size pots of violas. We were in the Subaru, the back seat was down and the plants were sitting, unsecured, in the back. I think you see where this is going. The little maroon car was sitting in the left turn lane and suddenly decided they didn’t want to be there anymore and moved over in front of us. We managed to avoid hitting them but the plants and especially the dirt in the pots went flying all over the car. I swear this incident violated the laws of physics (or something) because we ended up with way more dirt in the car than was actually in the pots to begin with.

We got the plants home and planted safely in the ground and the car vacuumed out and life goes on, but Person in the Maroon Car, you still suck. You have no idea what you caused. You don’t care. You only care that you didn’t have to wait in the turn lane another second. There’s a little part of me that still wants to hunt you down but I’ll just have to leave that to karma.

Quotes From Here and There

I kind of love it. A lot. Maybe because the wings are FULL OF POCKET, but probably mostly because I’ve always wanted a carapace.here

I personally have always considered committees as proof that human beings evolved from animals that had tails and liked to chase them.there (via)

” My theory with dresses and fashion is all about everyday is a celebration, everyday is worth dressing up for, everyday is awesome.”here

While melody is certainly important in classical music , nice hummable melodies alone do not great music make . What matters is what the composer DOES with those melodies or themes. This is what creates masterpieces.there

If you’re wondering what that repeated thumping sound is, it’s echoes of me hitting my head against my desk.here

Now I can’t even afford my third yacht!”there

Sewing Things

A long, lovely yellow skirt – I love it but that much yellow on me is probably not a good idea. I might have to get that pattern though. It looks interesting.

Lampshade – Love it!

Flowers and Frocks – A San Francisco Opera costume sale. Lovely! I would love to be an opera singer just to get to wear these things in public.

Windows 2 Wearables – an excellent sewing blog I recently discovered

Fat Quarter Challenge – Make an adult garment using 9 fat quarters. Wow. I kinda want to be in on the fun but I already have more than half a dozen projects screaming, “Make me next! Make me next!” and the whole idea is sort of making my head spin.