Monthly Archives: April 2012

This ‘n’ That

I have updated my opinion on the matter of wearing socks with sandals in public. First of all I have to say that I like fashion rules mainly so we will have them to break. How can one be a fashion rebel if there are no rules? You might remember, if you’ve been reading this for a while, that I said socks with sandals is okay only if the socks are colorful or novelty socks, made to be shown off. Well, here’s how and why I’ve modified my earlier opinion. Last week at Wal-mart I saw the the world’s ugliest toes. They hardly even looked like human toes. They were shaped all wrong and the nails were a yellow-brown color and looked like driftwood was starting to grow out of this guy’s toes. These were science fiction toes. If you have toes like that, my sympathies, but please cover them up with some socks – any kind of socks!

Awww… Leeann rescued a kitten. You are a true heroine, Leeann. I mean really, folks; this was heroic.

And I’ve found a couple more sewing blogs. I just love how on the Internet when you find one thing like you just keep on finding more things in the same category. Zilredloh is written by the cute and talented Liz. She makes some lovely 50′s and 60′s style dresses.

Beyond the Curtains is another sewing blog. Valerie sometimes posts detailed pictures of in progress sewing projects.

One more reason why Cracked is a good name for that site: 18 Unfortunate Offspring of Cartoon Character Mating. I like #15 and #3. (And yes, there are Ponies)

Famous people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I already knew about some of these.

Star Trek docs, a fun list and comparison.

Country Wedding

We went to our nephew’s wedding Saturday. It was lovely. Cutest couple ever. It was in the bride’s grandmother’s back yard, which was even farther out in the middle of nowhere than our house. We first went to my brother-in-law’s house because he had the directions and then we and one other car of relatives caravaned out to the place. We drove several miles down the highway then turned off onto a narrow dirt road and drove and drove and drove, following balloons that had been tied onto trees and fence posts at strategic locations. Finally we came to an open gate that had a “Private Property” sign on it so I thought we were almost there but we drove and drove and drove some more, down this very narrow drive with trees and brush thick on both sides, and went through another gate and drove for a few more minutes before we finally got to the house.

I had no idea what kind of place to expect. Here in Oklahoma a lot of people who live way out in the country think there’s no reason to haul away their garbage and generally keep the place decent looking so I was ready for anything. But it turned out to be absolutely the most charming place I’ve ever seen in person – a cute little brown cottage with a gambrel roof and inside it looked like something from the pages of Country Living magazine. Country style knick-knacks and artwork everywhere. There were two fireplaces, one of which was glass block, which I thought was an absolutely fantastic idea and I’d love to see it with a fire in it. (It had gas logs.) The kitchen had a huge window with narrow shelves filled with antique bottles and glassware. There were various ceiling treatments in different areas. One of the sloping roof sections had a fall scene painted on corrugated metal. It was just an amazing place.

The wedding took place in an open area downhill from the house. The young couple and the preacher stood under a large pine tree. The bridesmaids wore knee length teal dresses and the groomsmen wore matching teal shirts with jeans. It was cloudy and we were all worried that it would rain but it didn’t. One of the bridesmaids stumbled and nearly fell walking down the steep hill but mostly everything went perfectly.

Quotes From Here and There

The actual “man’s work” of the world — winning wars, building businesses, feeding families, protecting the weak from the strong — is generally accomplished by men who can’t bench three hundred pounds. That’s not how Hollywood likes to play it, but that’s the way it is.here (via)

…the best way to find out if something is true is to say it publicly. If it is wrong, you will be corrected. It is only when people are willing to be caught being wrong that the truth will out, that learning will happen.there

Random Linkage

Worst Fashion Abuses (Warning: crude language) I disagree with several of these and I don’t even know what #1 means. My favorite is #5. Absolutely! Just stop that! Seriously what is wrong with those girls? Every time I see a woman with a word printed across her ass I want to take a heavy paddle and spank it really hard. (Which might be what she wants, but not from me.)

Ephemeral Islands – Interesting. (Also, I like the word “ephemeral”)

Logos by corporation

The Happy Train – Ha!

Mission Guide: Earth – Strange

Stone footprints – Nifty!

Dalek dress – No, I don’t want one but there’s a how-to slide show in case you do.

Don’t Panic, I’m Back

My computer had a temporary brain freeze yesterday. It does that once in a while; it’s sorta retarded. (Can I still use that word?) Anyway, here’s something cute to look at while I catch up.

UPDATE: I see Leeann posted this video yesterday while I was computerless. Obviously another case of great minds thinking alike.

Zippers

Today’s Google doodle honors Gideon Sundback, developer of the modern zipper. I suppose I like zippers well enough but I really like when Google has a doodle you can play with.

I don’t like sewing zippers into clothes. I can never make them look nice and neat. I actually avoid anything that requires a zipper and haven’t had to sew one in years but I have a new dress pattern that will have one. I have been contemplating sewing it into the side instead of the back but then I’m not sure how I would do the pockets. This pattern doesn’t actually have pockets but pockets are essential.

Quotes From Here and There

I also might have been more willing to cut them some slack if the high horse they rode into town on hadn’t been a fully tricked-out Cadillac Escalade.here (Seriously! What is the deal with people who drive Escalades?)

…I am a founding member and lifelong president of Fruitcake Liberation Society…there

I mean really- every time I hear some self-important hack call the Eighth “overblown,” I just want to shout “Really? Overblown? Really? How much less blowing did it need, in your opinion, Mr Critic Pants?!?!”here

“Depending on who tells the story, the Prince either recognized the brilliance of the inventor and elevated him to chief advisor… or had the smart ass beheaded.” there

Writing a Better Future

Neal Stephenson wants science fiction writers to stop being pessimistic. Apparently he’s just reading the wrong books. There is still a lot of positive, hopeful science fiction. What is needed is more optimistic sci-fi in the movies and on TV where more kids will see it and be inspired. And we need more gadget driven science fiction. Writers do not predict the future; they say to the young audience, “This is what we need you to invent when you grow up.” Right now practically everyone is telling kids that the future is going to be bad, bad, bad. What are kids going to grow up to be if they have nothing hopeful to fuel their dreams?

One thing I have a problem with is the “no hyperspace” rule. I don’t think science fiction necessarily needs to be 100 percent plausible. Was Star Trek 100 percent plausible? Hardly. But it inspired a generation to support space exploration and invent things like cell phones. FTL ships are vehicles for the imagination and it saddens me that many writers have abandoned them and consider themselves smarter for doing so. To me that’s just another brand of pessimism.

But there is hope in print out there. For example, Neal Asher. His Polity books are violent, bloody and often gross but they also have intelligent machines, cool gadgets, weird body modification, and fascinating aliens and as long as you stayed out of the central action in the stories it would be a great universe in which to live. And there’s Iain M. Banks’ Culture – an entire society living exclusively in space. Someone needs to make blockbuster movies of those or even TV series. Yes, I would rather everyone would just read the books but everyone is not going to. Seeing the impossible come to life on the screen is what is most likely to inspire people, especially the young.

Is the world today really more scary and gloomy than it was in the 60′s when we watched scenes from the Vietnam war and race riots on the news every night and we all feared that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union could happen at any time? And yet, in that environment we managed to find hope that the future would be better. That hope, as well as a few of the gadgets we actually use today, were inspired by a silly little TV show called Star Trek.

It’s Fun Being a Girl

I’ve been discovering a lot of sewing and crafty blogs lately. I think I might have already mentioned Crazy Mom Quilts and Tilly and the Buttons. Now via the latter I have found several more:

Adventures in Dressmaking
A Fashionable Stitch
Thread Square
So Zo…

It makes me happy that there seem to be a lot of women interested in “vintage” dresses these days. I don’t know… maybe it’s just that I’m finding all the right websites and there aren’t really that many but all the pattern companies seem to be selling these kinds of patterns so there is at least some interest. I don’t see many around here. The usual women’s attire consists of jeans, yoga pants or shorts and a t-shirt or tank top. I haven’t tried the vintage look myself. I’m a little afraid that I would feel too silly wearing it. A woman working in the Wal-mart fabric department last week expressed happiness at the return to “ladylike” dresses so maybe there are more of us around who just haven’t come out yet.

…which reminds me of this unrelated item about Sweden’s Gender Neutral Schools. When I first saw that it made me rather sad but I think they are going to discover that girls will be girls and boys will be boys. It’s good to let girls know that they don’t have to be girly girls if that’s just not who they are, but trying to suppress all girly impulses will cause another whole set of girls to have hangups and feel bad about themselves. (And of course the same goes for boys who are not allowed to act like boys.) And ultimately it will not work. You can make people feel guilty and embarrassed about who they are but you cannot change who they are.

Quotes From Here and There

And books can also establish one more facet of someone’s ass-kickingnesshere (Oh YEAH!)

What is easiest to do, alas, tends to get done rather more often than it should, and nothing is easier than to make fun of that which you don’t understand.there (Excellent)

It’s yet another case of the usual sort, isn’t it? When you hear the word “passive”, put your hand on your billfold.here

IT’S CLIMATOLOGIC ATTENTION-DEFICIT PARADISE. The weather changes every few minutes. It snowed. Then it was sunny. Then it rained. Then it was cloudy. Then there was hail. Then it was sunny. Then it snowed. And it was sunny. Then cloudy. Then we went to bed and heard the world’s most incredible windstorm. And it apparently rained after that because the car was wet. You will most likely never be bored with the weather.there (Quite strangely, he is not talking about Oklahoma.)

Recent Sewing Projects

Here are a couple of blouses I finished recently. (Since I always look hideous in timer shots I decided to go headless in these.)

Purple paisley blouse

The pattern I used for this purple paisley is Kwik Sew 3511 New Look6598. I made a slight modification to the sleeves (turned up cuffs) just for the sake of variety. (UPDATE: Oops. I actually used the same pattern (different view) for both of these. Kwik Sew 3511 has a similar overall shape but with a different collar and it has a scoop neck version.)

Green multi-color dot blouse

For this green blouse I used New Look 6598, a pattern I’ve had for a while and have used several times. I bought the fabric from Wal-mart.* I had been seeing it there for months. It kept calling to me and I kept resisting but I finally had to give in. You can only see a little sliver of the pants but those are the ones I mentioned recently. They turned out okay but they could be better. I was trying out a new pants pattern.

I love both of these tops but I think the green is slightly my favorite. I’m working on another Kwik Sew 3511, the predominantly tan and red print on the right in this photo.

I almost forgot, the paisley fabric came from Wal-mart too.

Random Linkage

Can’t stop drinking coffee – I’m not a coffee drinker but I like this. It works for tea too I suppose.

The year 2000 as seen from 1960. That makes two from the same site but I couldn’t resist.

Luxury doomsday shelter – I wouldn’t bet on it being secure against shotgun carrying rednecks who want to save their families too.

The Fish Times

How to Build a Dyson Sphere

Pirate tights – Shiny! More hand printed tights. I would almost wear those. I like the ones with the antique keys. It’s a good thing they’re not in my size I guess.

Teacup chandelier – When I win the lottery and build my huge Victorian dream house this is going in it somewhere.

Homemade taco bowls – nifty idea

Fashionably Geek – Geeky clothing and accessories (via)

Sinus relief system – Hmmmm…

The Six Stages of Inspiration

Art Cats – Wonderful!

Historic Entomology – Fascinating. But probably icky to most people

Willie Nelson in 1965 – Wow. Just… wow.

Cat person – Yet another country music link but… awwwwww.

Steinbeck vs. Kerouac – Interesting

Phone tattoos – WTF?

Crazy Mom Quilts – Great quilting blog. I’m tempted to try something like this but wow that’s a lot of piecing – not my favorite part of quilting, which reminds me, I’ve got a quilt top I need to get back to work on.

So ugly it’s awesome:

cool accessories - Steampunk Squid Pendant
see more Crazy Shoes and Cool Accessories

Cute Little Tune

We go for walks two or three times a week in a park on the outskirts of the Nearby Small Town, where they have a nice, wide, paved walking trail. The last few times we’ve heard an ice cream truck playing the tune in this video – only a short section of it over and over, very badly. You know how ice cream trucks sound. I was unreasonably proud of myself for remembering the name of it so I could look it up and listen to the real thing.

I suppose this is one of those things that people with “good taste” are supposed to hate. I’m not sure. I can never quite figure out stuff like that. I don’t care anyway. I liked it in the 70′s and I still like it.

Brainy Reading

I saw Your Brain on Food in a list of Kindle books for under $5 (a temporary sale price apparently) and, since the brain is something I’m curious about and food is something I love, I couldn’t resist at that price.

The title is misleading. There is very little about food in the book. It is primarily about how neurotransmitters work and how various chemicals (i.e. drugs) affect that functioning. It is written in a simple, casual style that should be easy for most people to understand. The author illustrates a few of his points with occasional mildly humorous remarks and entertaining stories about his former students.

Unfortunately there is no magic substance that will make us smarter but there are a great many things that will damage our brains. Most of those mentioned in the book everyone already knows about. Your Brain on Food just tells how these substances work. The good news is, although there is no food or drug that will make you smarter, there are a few things that might help keep you from getting dumber. Or at least delay the inevitable.

It is not a long book. You could read it in one day if you had nothing better to do. I found it very interesting and I did learn some interesting stuff.

Narcissism

This post about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has one serious flaw. It has NO paragraph breaks, making it extremely difficult to read. Sorry, I had to mention that because not having paragraph breaks is really overwhelmingly bad. But I managed to get through the whole thing. It’s an excellent description of a kind of person we have all met.

As the essay says, we all have narcissistic tendencies. I wonder if there’s something about the modern world that encourages and rewards these tendencies and that’s why we’re seeing so much narcissistic behavior. Perhaps some popular psychological theories, which narcissists allegedly disdain, are actually a contributing factor. The “experts” push self-esteem and self fulfillment and though consideration for others is still taught it is overshadowed by the appeal of thinking about and doing for oneself.

I hesitate to say this because it’s an unpopular viewpoint but I especially hate what has happened to womanhood. Our role used to be nurturing but now young women are encouraged to have careers and to seek self-fulfillment. Those things are fine but it seems to me that it’s translated too far into a culture of Self. Having a career is great, self-esteem and self-fulfillment are great, but we shouldn’t act as if nurturing and other traditionally feminine things are outdated.

Quotes From Here and There

When seemingly everyone is using “It was a joke, dammit” as an excuse, you realize just how unfunny most people really are.here

It was so beautiful yesterday. I had the doors and windows open. I didn’t have any music on at all, just so I could hear all of the birdsong we’ve been missing so much these past long months.there (Beautiful pictures!)

This ‘n’ That

I love this photo. The comments over there make me sad though. Even where politicians are involved not everything has to have political implications. To me it just looks like two famous people who were happy to meet each other.

An update on the “black and white” twins. All I can say is, they’re adorable.

Easter egg tree. Wow.

Incredible Things is another one of those really nifty links and photos sites with all sorts of cool, fascinating and “you gotta be kidding me” stuff. Examples: the Baconery and gumball machine dress. (The last of those would be in the “you gotta be kidding me” category.)

Introverts

Warning: this begins with a brief ad.

Also, 12 rules for dealing with introverts. I think #12 is the most important. No matter what a person’s orientation we should respect their right to be themselves. #2, #5 and #8… I thought those were rules for everyone. Part of what we used to call “common courtesy.”

I’ve never been totally sure that I’m really an introvert but I know I’m not a true extrovert either. Isn’t there something in between? I don’t mind (very much) being in crowds of strangers. A small group of strangers bothers me though. I like to socialize but it bothers me that I often can’t think of anything to say until it’s too late to say it. I prefer writing to talking and it makes me sad that none of my relatives, outside my immediate family, like the Internet (or even old-fashioned letter writing) so I really can’t communicate well with them. I feel like they don’t really know me and never will.

I do like and need alone time but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also like, need and even crave being around other people. And believe it or not, I like attention. My dignity is important to me though. I don’t deal with embarrassment very well at all. Even the most insignificant embarrassing moments haunt me for years. And I hate, hate, hate that many people think that if you’re not laughing, grinning or acting silly it means you’re unhappy. And I hate, hate, hate, that introverts are considered “boring”. Just sit down, be still, listen, give me time to think, and you might find out that I’m pretty darn interesting.

Random Linkage

An open letter to Castle – I agree 100%.

Digital Art Served – A variety of art by many different artists. I like these and these.

Funny Doormats – I’ve seen most of these before but a couple of them are new to me.

Food links – Some very interesting stuff there

Chocolate Millennium Falcon – You weigh nothing in space but you still have mass.

Wind map – Strangely mesmerizing, and it’s a good illustration of why Oklahoma’s weather is so… um… interesting. (via)

Tiny quilts – What to do with those tiny scraps of fabric you just had to save.

I’m not generally a big fan of bunnies but this is kinda cute and Easter is coming up soon so…

cute animals - A Li'l Snack
see more Daily Squee

How in the he…?!

I’m almost finished with a new pair of beige pull-on slacks and they were looking pretty good until I put the elastic in the waist. I used the usual length of elastic but the waist turned out to be too loose, so I shortened the elastic by four inches, which I would normally expect to be way too tight, and it made no difference! The waist was just as loose as before I shortened the elastic. WTF? How can that happen? The elastic itself seems okay but I wonder if I should buy new elastic. I’m thinking of adding a drawstring even though I hate drawstrings. This is a seriously weird problem and I’m not sure what to do about it.

Reading

I finished Player of Games last night. (What I said about the three sexes… a little more detail was revealed later in the book so that’s no longer really a valid post.) This is the second Iain M. Banks novel that I’ve read and the second in the Culture series. I am hooked in a big way. It’s one of the more appealing fictional universes that I’ve encountered.

In Player of Games, Gurgeh, famous for his skill at all kinds of games, travels to the Empire of Azad to be the first person from the Culture to compete in the extremely complex game that everyone in the Empire is obsessed with and believes that no outsider can play well. I found this book highly unputdownable and I was both satisfied and sorry when I read the last page.