Monthly Archives: July 2010

That’s a Dog?

The creature in the third of these three dog photos is the most WTF-looking dog I’ve ever seen. Seriously, what is that thing and what planet did it come from?

“Firelight Cottage”

If you’ve ever looked at a Thomas Kinkade painting and thought it was nice but sort of dull – that it needed a little something to make it more interesting – you might like the Firelight Cottage t-shirt. I think Thomas Kinkade paintings are just fine, if not exactly high art, but I have to admit I like the t-shirt.

No More “Blowhards”

There are some things, even on the Internet, that you just sort of feel will last forever. 2 Blowhards was one of those things but they have announced that they are shutting down.

I used to read 2 Blowhards almost every day but in the last few years I’ve haven’t read it very much and now that they’re quitting I want to finally tell the reason why. Once in a while, amidst all the varied cultural topics, one of the Blowhards would post some commentary about pornography, as if it were a legitimate art form. At first I tried to be open minded about it. It would be easy enough to skip over those posts. But it bothered me enough that after a while I quietly removed 2 Blowhards from my links page. After that I still checked in on them once in a while, but less and less as time went by.

In spite of that one little issue I still, as always, thought of 2 Blowhards as an elite blog, contrary to the way they seem to see themselves. They have always been absolutely courteous and demanded that commenters be on their best behavior too, which I appreciate, but whenever I commented there I always felt like a country hick crashing a white tie affair. Though they were nicer about it than most, the Blowhards have much the same mindset concerning flyover country as most people in the big coastal area cities. I’m not criticizing, not really. It’s just the way things are.

But anyway… I don’t want this to come across as being entirely negative. I always did like 2 Blowhards and I’m sorry now, that I got out of the habit of reading them. Donald Pittenger, my favorite “Blowhard” in the later years, has a blog, Art Contrarian. I will definitely read it. At least for a while. You know how it is. So many blogs. You can’t keep up with all of them.

Score!

Oh! Oh! Look what I found at Wal-mart for $1.50 a yard! It was love at first site.

Fabric love at first site

This one will not spend one second in the stash. I’ve already cut it. It’s going to be another cool summer dress.

A Few Links

Meaningless T-Shirts – a blog devoted to making fun of t-shirts

Adorable Microcars – Some of these are pretty cute but not practical for me. I need more room to haul stuff.

When Chuck Norris Gets Bitten By a Zombie – Hah!

Friends of Irony – “Ironic photos.” Lots of funny and odd signs.

Neatorama Art Blog – I hadn’t noticed this before. Indie artists. A lot of interesting work. I love the colors in Ellen Eilers’ folk art paintings.

World’s Most Famous Rabbit

We’ve been having some connectivity problems lately so I didn’t get around to mentioning that yesterday was the 70th “birthday” of Bugs Bunny. And all those cartoons that were made before I was born are still funny. Some of them might be even funnier because there are things I get now that I completely missed when I was a kid. I need to watch some of those again soon. It’s been a while.

Sew Insulting

Everyone who sews has probably run into this. Someone admires the dress or blouse you’re wearing and asks where you bought it. You tell them that you sewed it yourself. In tones of profound amazement they say something along the lines of, “Wow! You can’t even tell. It looks just like it came from a store.” This is intended as a compliment but it is actually insulting, not only to the individual seamstress but to the entire craft of sewing. It assumes that factory produced clothes are necessarily superior. I can’t help but think of the “Shindig” episode of Firefly when the snooty girl insulted Kaylee’s dress by saying, “It looks like you bought it from a store.”

These “compliments” are completely innocent of course. People equate uniformity with quality. The problem is how to educate people without coming across as a jerk. Opinions are difficult to change; mindsets, nearly impossible. If you try to explain to people that their “compliment” is actually an insult they will just think there’s something wrong with you. And, to be honest, those of us who sew buy into this mindset too. For years I took such “compliments” as they were intended (while thinking that people really don’t pay attention to details) but sometime in the last few years I came to realize that such statements are left-handed compliments at best. You never hear someone say, “Wow! You bought that from a store? It looks just like you made it yourself.” And if someone did say that to you, you’d probably think it was an insult because it’s part of our mindset to believe that mass produced goods are superior.

There’s another misconception that goes along with this: the notion that people sew mainly to save money. I sometimes hear people say, “You can buy clothes from Wal-mart for less than you can make them yourself,” suggesting that there’s no point in sewing anymore. But why would I want to buy clothes at Wal-mart and look like everyone else who shops there when I can make clothes that are one of a kind? The “sewing to save money” thing has only ever worked if you compare home made clothes to high-end clothes. You can buy a dress for several hundred dollars or you can buy the material to make a similar dress for less than $50. So if you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing something that came from Wal-mart or Target then you can save money sewing.

But that’s not why we sew. We sew because we can imagine a garment then make it. We do not have to settle for the limited choices available in stores. We can have any kind of clothes we want whether they are currently in style or not. And we sew because our mothers sewed and our grandmothers and great-grandmothers sewed and we like the idea of carrying on the tradition. Mostly, we sew because sewing is fun. Looking at fabric, planning, buying fabric and patterns, the actual sewing, seeing the finished product – it all makes one feel very good.

Reading

I finished reading The Line of Polity by Neal Asher. I think it might be my favorite in the Ian Cormac series so far but they’re all so good it’s hard to pick a favorite. If you like spaceships, strange planets and bizarre, scary alien creatures and can stand quite a lot of violence and gore you’ll like Line of Polity. It’s a fairly complex story involving a cruel and corrupt Theocracy, a pair of runaway slave laborers, rebels, an insane arch enemy, and lots of weird and scary alien creatures.

I have to share with you my favorite sentence in the whole book. I don’t know why, exactly, it’s my favorite, only that it made me laugh and it has stayed with me for some reason.

He caught a glimpse of an array of glowing green eyes below a domed head, the muscled column of a body with more limbs than seemed plausible, and a whiff of quite horrible halitosis.

Great fun. I’m ready for more.

100 Science Fiction Books

I saw this list of 100 Science Fiction Books Everyone Should Read and decided to do the “bold it if you’ve read it” thing. (Everyone? Really? Or just all science fiction fans?)

The Postman – David Brin
The Uplift War – David Brin – I’ve read a couple of Brin’s books but not these.

Neuromancer – William Gibson – Just started it so I won’t count it yet.
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
Foundation and Empire – Isaac Asimov
Second Foundation – Isaac Asimov
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett
Rogue Moon – Algis Budrys
The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. ClarkeDeserves its place on the list. Really mind-blowing book.

The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
Armor – John Steakley
Imperial Stars – E. E. Smith
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
I read the first four of the “Ender” books. They’re okay but I wouldn’t put them in the “must read” category.

Dune – Frank HerbertAwesome! I read all three books in the original trilogy and two or three of the later sequels. Those (the later sequels) weren’t worth the time.
The Dosadi Experiment – Frank HerbertDidn’t care for this one. I actually don’t even remember anything about it but I know I’ve read it because I remember being disappointed.

Journey Beyond Tomorrow – Robert Sheckley
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas AdamsI probably shouldn’t count this one. I know I read some of it, about 30 years ago, but I don’t think I finished it.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
Valis – Philip K. Dick
A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – I keep thinking I really need to read some PKD but haven’t got around to it yet. Something else always seems more interesting

1984 – George Orwell
Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
The Time Machine – H. G. Wells

The Island of Doctor Moreau – H. G. Wells
The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
From the Earth to the Moon – Jules Verne
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
Nova Express – William S. Burroughs
Ringworld – Larry NivenI liked the concept of the Ringworld better than I liked the story

The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The Unreasoning Mask – Philip Jose Farmer
To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – I’ve always wanted to read this one because of the title. I’ll get around to it someday.

Eon – Greg Bear
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
Lightning – Dean Koontz
The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison
The Fifth Head of Cerebus – Gene Wolfe
Nightside of the Long Sun – Gene Wolfe
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs*UPDATE: Yes, this is the one I read. I wasn’t sure because I couldn’t remember the title. Had to look it up.

Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester
Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
Doomsday Book – Connie Wills
Beserker – Fred Saberhagen
Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. LeGuin
The Dispossessed – Ursula K. LeGuin

Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes – Another one that I want to read because I really like the title.

The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
Star King – Jack Vance
The Killing Machine – Jack Vance
Trullion: Alastor 2262 – Jack Vance

Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. HeinleinI’ve tried reading a couple of other Heinlein books but this is the only one I liked

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
More Than Human – Theodore Sturgeon
A Time of Changes – Robert Silverberg
Gateway – Frederick Pohl
Man Plus – Frederick Pohl
The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
Mission of Gravity – Hal Clement
The Execution Channel – Ken Macleod
Last and First Men – W. Olaf Stapledon
Slan – A. E. van Vogt
Out of the Silent Planet – C. S. Lewis
They Shall Have Stars – James Blish
Marooned in Realtime – Vernor Vinge
A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor VingeLoved it!

The People Maker – Damon Knight
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Contact – Carl Sagan
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – Started it but didn’t get very far. I might have made more of an effort but the pages started falling out almost immediately and based on the little I’d read I didn’t feel it was worth putting up with loose pages. I have read the first two books in the Mission Earth series. Those were sort of fun and there’s a good chance I’ll eventually read more in that series.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Jack Finney
Planet of the Apes – Pierre Boulle

I will definitely read more of the books on this list but not all. Everyone who reads science fiction could probably come up with a list of “100 books that everyone must read” and they would all be different. And they would all be right – except for the “must read” part.

eBook Wishing, II

Updated

I was having a bit of conversation about e-book readers with my oldest son in the comments so I thought I would expand on that post with a little more of my thinking.

PRICE – Although I’ve complained about prices, it’s not the primary thing on my mind. Nook is the cheapest at $149. That’s actually not too bad but I wouldn’t buy based on price alone. If I find a reader that I definitely want, based on its features, then I will decide whether or not I want it badly enough to pay what it costs.

WIRELESS INTERNET – Oh, yes yes yes! I want! The most expensive PocketBook has wi-fi, not 3G. The Kindle has 3G. The $199 Nook has 3G. The $149 Nook, wi-fi. I do really, really want the wireless Internet capability. But I could live without it (maybe) and I haven’t made up my mind whether or not it’s a must have.

DOWNLOADS – As I mentioned in the comments to the other post, I mainly want to be able to download free books from sites like Project Gutenberg. Kindle does have this capability. Nook? I do not know. (Barnes & Noble’s website is not as informative as it could be.) PocketBook? Yes. If I had a Kindle I might buy e-books from Amazon.com but that’s not primarily what I have in mind and, frankly, I don’t want something that is likely to make me spend more money. And there’s another issue that I’ll mention farther on.

SIZE – The Kindle is not bad – too large to put in my purse and carry around with me everywhere but a good size for reading. The Kindle DX is not only too expensive, it’s too big. Don’t want one. The smallest PocketBook would be easier to take with me and the size is adequate for reading. I don’t know the exact size of the Nook but I’m guessing it’s similar to the Kindle.

STORAGE – Nook and Kindle both say they hold 1500 books (2 Gb) which seems like all anyone would ever need but my experience has been that what seems like several times what you could possibly ever need usually turns out to be not enough in a surprisingly short time. The PocketBook takes up to a 32 Gb SD card. Or at least the two larger models do. They don’t specify on the 360.

BATTERY LIFE – Two weeks on the Kindle if you’re only reading books; no more than half that if you’re connecting to the Internet. Now I wonder how many hours a day they’re estimating that you’re going to spend using the thing. I would like to know more about the battery in the PocketBook.

There are more features I won’t go into all of them. Overall, it looks like the Kindle is probably the best value but there is something that bothers me a lot. You might remember a while back there was a bit of an uproar about Amazon deleting copies of a book from their customers’ Kindles. I can’t remember exactly how that came out. They apologized, refunded customers’ money I think? I would not have been satisfied with that. I would want the book back. When I buy a dead-tree book the store I bought it from does not send someone to my house to take that book away from me when they discover that there’s a problem with the copyright. Regardless of whether or not they made things right, it seriously bothers me that Amazon, or anyone else, is even capable of doing such a thing. For this reason I am extremely reluctant to ever buy eBooks.

I have read several complete books online, including a couple of very long ones. Most people do not like to read books online. I don’t have too much of a problem with it except that when I read a book online I am stuck here at the computer. I can’t take it and read it in bed or outdoors. This is the reason I want an e-book reader – so I can download public domain books and take them anywhere. Just a minute or two of browsing at the Project Gutenberg site and I start desperately craving an e-book reader – any e-book reader. Must! Have! NOW! But then I think about my digital camera. I looked and researched and waited and waited for a long time before I bought one. Then, almost immediately, I started seeing much more advanced cameras for half what I had paid. Sometimes it almost seems like they’re waiting for me to buy before they come out with the new, better, lower priced models.

So, I don’t know. Right now I’m still leaning strongly toward the PocketBooks and hoping that someone will come out with an e-book reader – very soon – that’s better and cheaper and not tied to any particular retailer.

UPDATE: A huge thank you to EdH for the link to Best-eReaders.com. I’ve read most of the reviews. I skipped over the most expensive ones and haven’t got around to the last few yet. The Nook is definitely eliminated from the race. No TXT files and shorter battery life. There are several very nice readers but none that leaped out at me and said “I’m the one!” I am very very interested in the PocketBook 601 which, apparently, isn’t for sale yet and they’re still keeping the price a secret.

The Kindle? You know, if I had a Kindle 2 I’d probably be reasonably happy with it but it’s not really what I want. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny things like free wireless Internet access. But I live in a dead zone so that would only be useful to me when I leave home and the Kindle is big enough that it’s not convenient to carry around everywhere so that feature would be of limited usefulness to me. What I really want is just a good, small, not too expensive e-book reader that I can use mainly to download free public domain books and so far the PocketBook is still looking very attractive to me.

UPDATE II: Possible new favorite: the Acer Lumiread but I want more information, starting with the price.

UPDATE III: The Cruz Reader looks pretty nifty too. But enough of this. I’m going to be looking at these things for months, at least. I promise I’ll blog about something else soon.

Quotes From Here and There

“It seems somewhat common that people who are neither alien nor Asperger syndrome types have no conversation skills.”here

I was surprised, as this particular species is very close to extinction, even in the wilds of places like YouTube.there

What do people do when confronted with scientific evidence that challenges their pre-existing view? Often they will try to ignore it, intimidate it, buy it off, sue it for libel, or reason it away.here

eBook Wishing

I think I might might want one of these: the PocketBook reader. Just like those big, popular e-book readers, they’re still way too expensive but they do all kinds of useful things like TXT, PDF and HTML and a whole bunch of formats I’ve never heard of, plus image files too.

The 302 is the fanciest one and therefore the most expensive. It’s the only model that has WiFi capability. Does this mean I could use it to surf the Internet? That would be very cool. The 301 comes in pink, which of course is not important at all but I do like pink. But, I think if I was going to get one these (which I almost certainly will not) it would be the 360, not just because it’s the lowest priced but more because I like the size. The description does not say what size SD card it takes. The others take up to 32 Gb but they leave out that little detail on this one and that makes me wary.

Anyway… I’m just thinking about that. I like that it’s not a Kindle or a Nook and as I said I like the smaller size. I am rather impatient to get one of these little toys but I’m inclined to wait a couple more years to see what else comes out, hopefully at a more reasonable price. Still… note to certain people who will, in a few months, be asking me what I want for Christmas…

Pretty Pictures

The music in this is bland and uninteresting but I love the simple pictures and bright colors – the children’s storybook look of it all. (Found here)

The Golden Age Is Now

Classical Music’s New Golden Age is a very long essay but worth every minute it takes to read it. I was going to say that the commentators who are constantly moaning about the impending death of classical music and insisting that in order to “save” classical music we must make it more like pop music really need to read it but those people are so emotionally attached to their belief in “dying classical music” that they are probably incapable of seeing things any other way. But everyone else, do yourself a favor and take the time to read it. Here are a few choice excerpts.

Berlioz’s exuberant tales of musical triumph and defeat constitute the most captivating chronicle of artistic passion ever written. They also lead to the conclusion that, in many respects, we live in a golden age of classical music. Such an observation defies received wisdom, which seizes on every symphony budget deficit to herald classical music’s imminent demise. But this declinist perspective ignores the more significant reality of our time: never before has so much great music been available to so many people, performed at levels of artistry that would have astounded Berlioz and his peers. Students flock to conservatories and graduate with skills once possessed only by a few virtuosi. More people listen to classical music today, and more money gets spent on producing and disseminating it, than ever before. Respect for a composer’s intentions, for which Berlioz fought so heroically, is now an article of faith among musicians and publishers alike.

* * *

Listeners and performers remain divided over whether the music of Bach and Mozart is best realized by a nineteenth-century-era orchestra using contemporary methods of expression … or by a small period-instrument ensemble seeking to re-create earlier performance techniques.

But regardless of such disagreements, the value of the movement to our musical life has been indisputable. It has unleashed arguably the most concentrated rediscovery of lost music in history. Composers that had lain silent for centuries—Jean-Féry Rebel, Johann Friedrich Fasch, Heinrich Ignaz Biber, to name just a handful—are heard again. Hundreds of groups of specialists are busily digging into twelfth-century plainchant and thirteenth-century troubadour traditions. Unfamiliar repertoire by overly familiar composers is also being restored. The Naïve label, in one of the greatest recording projects of the early-music movement, is releasing all of Vivaldi’s operas. …

Oh wow! Must have Vivaldi operas!

The caliber of musicianship also marks our age as a golden one for classical music. “When I was young, you knew when you heard one of the top five American orchestras,” says Arnold Steinhardt, the first violinist of the recently disbanded Guarneri Quartet. “Now, you can’t tell. Every orchestra is filled with fantastic players.” Steinhardt is ruthless toward his students when they’re preparing for an orchestra audition. “I’ll tell them in advance: ‘You didn’t get the job. There are 250 violinists competing for that place. You have to play perfectly, and you sure didn’t play perfectly for me.’ ”

* * *

The poise and exuberance of these budding performers can be breathtaking. At the 2007 finals for the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, a young tenor’s eyes shone with the erotic power of commanding that massive house, a smile of mastery playing over his lips, as he flung out the high Cs of “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s La Fille du Regiment. (The moment was captured in the documentary The Audition.) A self-possessed black pianist from Chicago, Jeremy Jordan, coolly unfurled the feathery arpeggios and midnight harmonies of his own virtuosic transcriptions of Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Saint-Saëns at a Juilliard student recital this year. Beneath Jordan’s laconic demeanor lies a deep belief in classical music. “It’s not as if kids don’t like music like this,” the lanky 20-year-old insists. “Liszt, Wagner, Chopin—it’s beautiful; it just takes one hearing.”

* * *

The radical transformation of how people consume classical music puts the current hand-wringing over an inattentive, shrinking audience in a different perspective. Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony premiered before an audience of 100 at most. These days, probably 10,000 people are listening to it during any given 24-hour period, either live or on record, estimates critic Harvey Sachs. Recordings have expanded the availability of music in astounding ways. The declinists—led by the industry’s most reliable Cassandra, the League of American Orchestras—do not account for how recordings have changed the concert culture beyond recognition.

* * *

The much-publicized financial difficulties of many orchestras during the current recession also need to be put into historical perspective. More people are making a living playing an instrument than ever before, and doing so as respected and well-paid professionals, not lowly drones. There were no professional orchestras during Beethoven’s time; he had to cobble together an ensemble for the premiere of his Ninth Symphony.

* * *

…professional orchestras in the U.S. today dwarf in number anything seen in the past. In 1937, there were 96 American orchestras; in 2010, there are more than 350.

* * *

…there is ample evidence of a continuing unmet demand for classical music throughout the country—especially in places that can’t afford the salaries and long seasons that America’s unionized musicians expect. This March, the New York Times’s invaluable Daniel Wakin chronicled the travails of the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra as it slogged through a poorly paid nine-week bus tour to smaller cities and towns around America—places like Ashland, Kentucky, and Zanesville, Ohio, which are “hungry for classical music programming.”

That’s just a small sample. I hope all the music lovers out there will take the time to read it all.

High on Sound

Great comment on the i-dosing nonsense:

Perhaps most importantly, what will happen if the kids move onto harder stuff like Steve Reich, Philip Glass or even Janet Cardiff’s installation, “The Killing Machine”?

I’ve never heard of that last one but there’s an idea – spread the word that music by these composers is “mind-altering” and that no one, especially young people, should listen to it and it’s sure to at least triple in popularity.

Random Linkage

Crazy Things Parents Say – funny and sometimes weird

Monster Bike – Judging by the accents, this is in the UK(?) More evidence that redneck culture is not limited to a certain region of the U.S.

Exterminators were here – Hah! Hilarious. Sevarina has a lot more fun stuff.

but does it float – Art and photography. Wonderful!

Blastr – a sci-fi news site that I hadn’t seen before

GetReligion.org – Taking the mainstream media to task for the way they report on religion. I don’t necessarily share these bloggers’ viewpoints but it is well-written and interesting.

Atlas Obscura – Strange and fascinating places around the world.

A Dribble of Ink – Fantasy and science fiction, including cover art.

Knitting Clock – cool gadget

Rainbow conspiracy – If there’s anyone in the world stupider than this I don’t want to know.

Ninjabread Men – Kickin’ cookie cutters

Offshore Oil Strike – A board game! Relax, it was released in 1970.

Want It or Need It?

Do I really need it or do I only want it? I think I have more angst over that question than most people. I tend to think of most things as wants rather than needs. How we define needs depends on ones culture, income and personal experience. Do we really need electricity? Of course we do, and yet, millions of people in other parts of the world manage without it.

Yesterday as I was about to get dressed and not finding anything in my overly full closet that I wanted to wear, I decided that I really need more light breezy summer dresses. The day before I had worn this dress, just about the most comfortable dress ever, and wanted something else like it. But do I really need more dresses? No, not really.

Last summer I hardly wore dresses at all but lately it’s been so hot I feel like I cannot wear anything else. I have some things in my closet that I like that are not practical for right now – like dresses with sleeves. Isn’t it funny how much of a difference even short sleeves make when it’s hot? And there are the skirts. I don’t look good in skirts anymore and, anyway, I’d rather not wear anything with a waistband when it’s this hot so I don’t wear skirts very often but I have several that I still like a lot and keep hanging on to.

I have a number of garments that I’ve been meaning to re-work to make them more wearable. For some of them I need fabric and notions and I want to go to the “local” fabric store – in Tulsa which is not really all that local for me – because I need to match colors. Fabric.com offers swatches of some fabrics but not the solid color Kona cottons that I need and I don’t quite trust the website to show the colors exactly right. Besides, I would really like to go to the fabric store with my daughter-in-law. I’ve been procrastinating because I would rather go pick her up than to arrange to meet and possibly have to wait a long time but I’m terrified of the highway between me and her. But I’m going to do it – soon. Really.

When it comes to completely new stuff though, I always spend a lot of time thinking about it and questioning whether I really need it and, deciding I don’t really need it, questioning whether I should or shouldn’t buy it anyway. I need to spend more time sewing and getting stuff done then maybe I’d feel a little less guilty about buying more stuff. My latest excuse is that it’s too hot. I’ve been trying to avoid using heat producing appliances in the afternoon and that includes the halogen floor lamp that I use for sewing, and the iron which is often needed in sewing. And I have the hardest time changing my routine and doing stuff like that in the morning instead of wasting time on the Internet like I’m doing right now.

Another want vs. need that I’m beating my head against right now is shoes. Have you ever heard of a woman who even thinks about whether or not she needs shoes? I have around 10 pairs of shoes, I think, and I look at them and it seems like a lot to me and yet, lately none of them seem quite right. My feet get tired of all of them rather quickly. I wear the flip flops a lot but after a while I get tired of the strap between my toes and my other sandals are too heavy and they make my feet tired. The cheap little white Dr. Scholl’s shoes are surprisingly comfortable but they’re not very breathable and my feet get hot and sweaty after a short time. And the insoles are starting to come loose and bunch up. Strangely though, the cure for wanting new shoes is actually looking at shoes. None of them seem quite right. I manage to find something wrong with all of them.

I’ve been thinking about trying to sell some of my old stuff on eBay – like some patterns that I bought back in the 80′s and never got around to using and a few that are used but still in good condition. I’m a little wary of eBay (something else that you’ll probably find strange) but if I could make a little money off my old junk maybe I’d feel better about treating myself to something new.

Maze

This is a great drawing. It’s one of those that makes me really wish I had that kind of talent. Be sure to click on it to make it bigger.

It’s Alive!

News Flash: Blogging is not dead.

We knew that already, didn’t we? Blogging is for when we have more to say than what will fit in Twitter’s 140 character limit. Blogging also gives you more of a feeling of “home”. This is my place; I can decorate it however I like and make my own rules and ignore those rules when I feel like it. Twitter is more like people hanging out together in a public place. I “tweet” sometimes too. I like the little conversations and seeing what other people have to say. Just because something new comes along doesn’t necessarily mean the old thing has to die. We didn’t throw out the radio when we got the TV; we just started using it differently.

Thanks.

Something Pretty

I like this. (I was going to put it here but embedding is not allowed.) The English horn is one of my favorite instruments but there isn’t much music written specifically for it. We mostly hear it in beautiful little moments.

I need a clone

There’s a book by David Brin, titled Kiln People. In it people can make copies of themselves and have them go out and do stuff they don’t have time to do or just don’t want to do and then upload the copy’s memories at the end of the day. Right now I’m thinking it would be nice to be able to do that.

I need to call someone to come fix the air conditioner. Fortunately, it’s not totally dead but it’s working way too hard and not cooling as well as it should. My husband could fix it except that it’s now illegal to fix your own air conditioner. Actually, it’s illegal for unlicensed persons to buy the refrigerant needed to fix it. My cat (Dax) is sick and I need to take her to the vet. It was about time for another allergy shot anyway but she’s laying on the living room floor like a slug, not moving. Also, I need to go to the store because we’re out of a couple of things we absolutely cannot do without.

Coordinating the last two things would not be a problem but having to wait for the A/C guy might make things difficult. If he says he can come today. It might be several days, in which case, problem solved but I’m really hoping he can some soon.

I’m not used to having to wait on people to come fix things. There was the phone a while back. I waited for days for the phone guy to come fix it and I just about reached the point where I was ready to go drive around and find an AT&T truck and kidnap the guy and drag him to my house. I expect that the air conditioner repair people will be more efficient because they have competition but there will be waiting involved and it’s driving me crazy just thinking about it. Oh well. It’s 8 o’clock. Time to make a phone call and get things started.

UPDATE: The air conditioner repairman can’t come until Thursday. I am both relieved and annoyed at the same time.