Monthly Archives: May 2012

Interpreting Prime Time Weather Reports

Last night while we were watching Criminal Minds and CSI (one of the few nights when we watch anything on the “Big Four”) the local CBS affiliate was doing the “Scary! Big Significant Scary Weather Event! Scary! Panic Time!” thing. So this morning it occurred to me that you can tell what the weather is going to be not by what they say but by how often they say it. If they completely preempt the regular shows for non-stop weather coverage there will pretty definitely be some precipitation and possibly some thunder/lightening and wind. If they only break in occasionally for an update there’s not much more than a 50 percent chance of anything happening – maybe a good rain but nothing really unusual. If they only run warnings at the bottom of the screen and that annoying little weather map in the corner that’s too small to see the weather on but big enough to block out the opening credits or English subtitles you’re trying to read, there’s a tiny, miniscule, extremely small chance that there will be a few teensy drops of rain.

Last night they were just breaking in occasionally and talking about 80 MPH winds and golf ball size hail. I heard just a little thunder and apparently it rained a little bit. You can’t really blame them though. If they’re not trying to stir up panic some people won’t pay attention and will later cry, “Why didn’t they warn us?!” if something really does happen.

This Is Not a Sewing Blog

False start weekend is over and this short week started out good. I bought the required spool of thread and actually worked on one of the dresses I had tried to start and I almost finished it. The sewing notions I ordered are supposed to arrive next Monday or Tuesday but I’m hoping they will be early, like the last time I ordered from this online retailer.

The last thing I completed, last Thursday, was a slip, made of cotton lawn. As I was sewing it a thought suddenly occurred to me: “This must be what angels’ robes are made of.” I don’t know where that came from. I’m not entirely sure I even believe in angels but if they did exist and were just like those we see in paintings. Anyway, I’m a little bit amazed by cotton lawn – that the same fiber that is used for jeans and t-shirts can be made into something so fine, light, and airy. I have one dress made of lawn and I want more but it’s so fine and delicate it seems like something I should only wear on “special occasions” and I almost never have special occasions.

After the dress I worked on yesterday, and the other one I started, and the shirt I’m going to make for my husband, I don’t know what’s next. I don’t think I have very many more summer fabrics in the stash. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what I have. If I run out of summer stuff I might go ahead and sew some fall things while I’m in the mood. I really should focus on the quilt for a while so I can get it done this summer and start on another one. I am working on it a little every day but I feel like I should spend more time on it. But you know all about “should,” right? You know how that goes.

Starting and Starting

In the last few days everything I’ve tried to start, I’ve discovered I didn’t have everything I needed. Friday I started sewing another dress and was quite excited about it but this pattern uses bias tape for the neckline and armholes instead of facings (I knew that; I’ve used this pattern before.) and I had forgotten to buy it. I needed a few other things so I went to Wal-mart and of course they were out of bias tape in the color that I need. They also did not have plain shirt buttons which I need for the next shirt I’m making for my husband.

The cost of shipping is no more than the cost of the gasoline it would take to drive to the nearest fabric store, about 40 miles away, so I went home and ordered the bias tape and buttons. Later I still really wanted to be sewing something so I decided to start the next project, another dress. And discovered that I don’t have the right color thread. I have at least 50 partially used spools of thread but as usual none of them were the right color.

I was not going back to Wal-mart and fight my way through the weekend crowds just for a spool of thread so I decided I would work on the next quilt top even though it wasn’t what I was in the mood to do. It’s going to be made mostly of fabrics I already have that I originally bought for other projects but then changed my mind, plus a piece that was in my mother’s stash, but I did have to buy a couple of small pieces to go with it. I thought I had everything but as I started cutting I realized that I had miscalculated and didn’t have enough of one of the colors.

Well, I could still do some work on the quilt top with what I already have but at that point I just quit. I read a book, and a magazine, I checked Facebook a couple of times, I played Mahjong on my phone, I watched the birds outside, I watched a little TV. That was my weekend. Now I have to go to Wal-mart again and then maybe I’ll get to start and finish at least one project this week.

Old Favorite – New Favorite

We saw Dark Shadows Thursday night. I was a huge fan of the TV series when I was about 9 to 10 years old so when I first heard they were making a movie I thought, “That’s just wrong! It’s sacrilege!” But then I started seeing the advertisements and… well, you know… Tim Burton, Johnny Depp. How could I not go see it even if I did think Depp was wrong for the part of Barnabas Collins. And the verdict is…

I loved it. It was delightfully goofy and Tim Burton-ish, as you would expect, but it also had enough of the feel of the old TV series to satisfy the desire to indulge in nostalgia. The music was great too – lots of early 70’s stuff and an appearance by Alice Cooper.

Several of the stars of the TV series, including Johnathon Frid, had cameos but I totally missed all of them. I must see it again.

As I was watching the movie I realized that I really don’t remember very many details from the TV show. It’s not like Star Trek which I have been watching over and over again all these years. It was on for a few years and then it was gone. So it’s really hard for me to say how well the movie compared to the original. Which, maybe, is a good thing. Anyway, the important thing, it was a lot of fun.

First Lines

It’s been a couple of weeks since I first saw this list of 100 Best First Lines From Novels. (via) I have been procrastinating because I intended to go through them and agree or disagree with all of them but I’ve had more interesting and productive things to do and can’t really get motivated to comment on a list of 100 anything.

So, this is not to say that I won’t perhaps, weeks and weeks hence, decide to come back to the list, because it really seems like it should be a fun thing to do, but for now I will just share one of my favorite first lines.

A blue snow was falling on the roof of the embarkation lounge, where it melted and snaked across the glass in inky rivulets. –Neal Asher, Gridlinked

What a visual, huh? Don’t you want to continue reading and find out more about this place with the blue snow? That’s what a first line should do – make you want to keep reading – but at the same time it should be reasonably simple. Don’t try to pack too much into the first sentence. Intrigue but do not confuse.

This ‘n’ That

I love when something I have always wanted to believe turns out to be true. “…daydreamers’ minds wander because they have too much extra capacity to merely concentrate on the task at hand.

Mr. T is 60 today. Linked article includes five facts about Mr. T and a video of him singing.

Weird Home Remedies That Actually Work. I knew about ginger. They confirmed that one on Mythbusters.

Tea With the Vintage Baroness. Hmmm… I don’t remember bookmarking this but I’m glad I did. Vintage clothes and other stuff. Linoleum used to be much prettier and more interesting.

So you want to be swimming in money? Well, personally, I’d rather spend it but I’m glad there are people out there who have enough time on their hands to figure out stuff like that.

As I said on Facebook the other day, Bermuda grass should be used to make rope to hang anyone who actually plants the stuff on purpose. I’m always a little bit shocked and dismayed when I see bags of Bermuda grass seed at Atwoods. I think I got most of it out of the flower bed in back where it was taking over. Now I need some more stuff to plant back there. Most of the flowers I planted there a couple of weeks ago aren’t doing very well which kinda makes me wonder if I should even bother. I saw some kind of red flower at Lowes that was very tempting but it cost $19 so I’m thinking maybe I should just plant a $20 bill instead. It would probably grow just as well.

A Day in May

Today my mother would have been 79. For several weeks I’ve been thinking about what I would say on this day but I really don’t have anything… so, just a flower.

I know that, like me, Mom didn’t have just one favorite flower but she liked moss rose a lot (and so do I) and I’ve somehow got it into my head to think of it as “Mom’s favorite flower”. Maybe that means something; I don’t know. Anyway, I know she would have loved this orange one.

Moss rose

Dreaming in Color

I dreamed about kittens last night. That’s not unusual; I dream about kittens a lot, but these were especially interesting. We just found these kittens – really fuzzy ones – playing outside and immediately said we weren’t going to keep any of them because we already have two cats.

Then I noticed that one of the kittens was gray, white, and pink – nothing loud, just a nice, soft, shell pink. Then I noticed another one that was brown, white, and turquoise and decided that’s the one I had to keep.

There were a bunch of kittens and I think there might have been more than one pink one but I can’t remember what they all looked like. One was just black and white but in a sort of odd stripey pattern but not like normal cat stripes but not really impossible either, just a little unusual looking. That one was the only boy and I think it’s interesting that my weird brain got that part right (that almost all calico cats are female) while it was coming up with freaky stuff like pink and blue kittens.

Isn’t it funny that even the weirdest dreams seem perfectly logical and normal at the time? I thought the pink and blue kittens were a little unusual but not much more so than ordinary calico cats. I was extremely disappointed when I woke up and realized that I was not going to get to have a brown, white and turquoise kitten. But then I got to thinking… surely they could genetically engineer pink and blue cats. I mean they can create goats that make spider silk and mice and even monkeys that glow in the dark so why not blue or pink kittens? Huh? I want my brown, white, and turquoise kitten. Someone get to work on that right away! (I would settle for the pink, gray, and white one if that would be easier (but no hairless cats! I want lots of fur!))

Random Linkage

Gimcrack Hospital – A great blog full of fascinating, bizarre medical history. Wow!

New Vintage Lady – Excellent blog. Sewing and other vintage-y things.

CatsInfo.com – A really nice site for cat people.

If Bands Were Sandwiches – Link found in this great Link Dump.

Geekologie – Hmmmm… name looks familiar but if I’ve ever visited it it’s been a long, long time. Some interesting stuff there.

Intervention – Okay, go ahead and laugh but don’t be too surprised when it really happens.

Building the Enterprise – But would that be a copyright violation?

Bamboo Bikes – hmmmm…

Mirror Lake’s Photostream – Beautiful bird pictures. See also, Fat Birds. Both via Joanne Casey.

Cats! – and dogs and lots more. A long list of animal links.

Webomater – Nifty retro future stuff.

Unique and Strange Scissors – Oooo! Oooo! I want that first one. Or the one with the dragon or… I actually have a pair of the laser scissors. They’re good scissors but the laser is pretty much a useless gimmick.

“I want to believe” – Ha!

Bizarre Furniture – Do not want.

Globe Chandelier – Do want. Sort of. My ceilings aren’t high enough and it really wouldn’t go with my decor. (The decor I dream about. Shut up.)

funny cat pictures - Classic LOLcat
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Identity Theft?

This week’s episode of Eureka was fun. They did the old body swapping thing, with the swapping happening randomly and at hilariously inconvenient moments.

This trope* has been around a long time. The earliest I remember is the famous Captain Kirk/Dr. Janice Lester switch in Star Trek: TOS but I’m sure that is not the earliest example. (*Beware of that link. If you’re not careful you could be trapped for hours upon hours.)

The thing I find interesting about body swapping or snatching is watching how well (or how poorly) the actors portray someone else. My favorite was in Fringe earlier this season (or was it last season) when Olivia (Anna Torv) was invaded by William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) It was downright uncanny! Of course it’s easier when the swap or snatch involves characters with really distinctive speech mannerisms but Torv is brilliant at this sort of thing. She also gets to play two subtly different versions of her character.

So anyway, let’s discuss this. Do you have any favorite examples of body swapping or snatching? Or do you just find the whole thing silly, lame, tiresome and done way too often?

This ‘n’ That

It’s Monday morning and I got nothin’, so let’s see how far I can go with nothing. Mother’s Day was nice. When your kids are all grown up all you really want for Mother’s Day is to spend a little time with them.

I’ve been a sewing maniac lately. In just the last few days I finished a shirt for my husband and a pair of slacks for me. I have another shirt and another pair of slacks I want to make and… and… well, I know there’s a whole lot of other stuff but I can’t think of what I’ve got for spring and summer. I have several fall fabrics that I didn’t get around to last year and I know there are more spring things but I can’t remember them right now. The pants are sort of necessary projects. I need them to match blouses I already have.

I need to be working on the quilt more. I have a couple more quilt projects in mind and I might go ahead and get started on the tops. I have all of the fabric for one and most of the fabric for the other.

We planted more flowers Saturday and put down mulch and we need to go get more mulch. Never can figure out how much to buy. And there’s another flower bed that I need to go pull the bermuda grass out of. I hate that stuff. Did you know they actually sell seeds for bermuda grass? People actually plant that vile weed on purpose? And there’s another flower bed that I keep having to pull baby elm trees out of. The flowers I planted a couple of weeks ago are still alive but they are also still the same size. Come on, dammit! Grow! Come on babies, you can do it. Come on and grow. Pretty please.

Memories for Mother’s Day

This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mother. The first Mother’s Day that I don’t get to pick out a pretty card to send. The first Mother’s Day that I don’t get to call and talk to her. If I could thank my mother for just three things it would be these:

Reading. I can remember going to the bookstore and picking out Little Golden Books before I could read. My mother read to me then and continued to read to me long after I could read for myself. Perhaps even more important, she liked to read, herself. I grew up knowing that reading was a normal thing people do for enjoyment. I actually went through a phase of several years when I didn’t read very much but I picked it back up in high school. My mom didn’t just give me books, she gave me worlds and all of history.

Sewing. My mother showed me how to sew on a button when I was seven years old. Other than that she did not teach me to sew. She had taught herself and didn’t really know how to teach someone else how to do it. But some of my earliest memories are of watching her sew, seeing clothes take shape, and of going to the fabric store with her, looking at all the pretty fabrics and picking a few that I liked best. I grew up knowing that I didn’t have to be limited to whatever ready made styles and colors the stores chose to offer. When it came to clothes I could have anything I wanted. And, since my grandmother and my aunts sewed also, I grew up thinking of sewing as just a normal thing that women do. It came as a huge surprise to me the first time I ran into someone who seemed to be impressed that I sew. But I can’t imagine not sewing. I can’t imagine being stuck with only the clothes available in stores like Wal-mart and J.C. Penney and the like.

Of course, I sew more than I strictly need because sewing is fun and shopping for fabric is even more fun. Mom and I continued to make occasional trips to fabric stores all her life. It was a shared pleasure – one of our favorite things.

Simple Things. It was harder to pick a word to describe this one. We enjoyed many little things – things that would make other people go, “So what?” Flowers, even weed flowers, autumn leaves, pretty dishes, pretty greeting cards and stationary, cats, other animals, various odd-looking things, funny things, and just hundreds of little, ordinary things that are beautiful and fascinating if you stop and take a minute to really look at them. Thanks to Mom, the world is much more interesting to me than it is to most other people.

But now, my world is also much lonelier.

Mom and Me

Sew Bold

This dress is interesting. I don’t care for the pattern so much – dresses and tops with wide neck openings don’t work for me. Mostly I like that the fabric is a huge print and you could do something similar with a different neckline. I don’t think I would have thought of making something like this. I often see big prints that I like but I can’t think what to do with them.

A Car Thing

I have to admit that I don’t really get the “guy cars vs. chick cars” thing. Oh, I have a general idea of the characteristics of each but when it comes to specific cars I’m often wrong (Well… according to guys, at least) but ever since I first saw this Fiat commercial (which I love, btw) during the last Superbowl I’ve been thinking that the Fiat 500 Abarth is a chick car and that the reason for the commercial is to convince guys that it’s not.

That’s not a bad advertising strategy. The Abarth is cute and cute usually equals “chick car.” Unless they can convince the guys that it’s sexy. Women don’t care. You rarely hear a woman say, “Ewwww, I can’t drive that. It’s a guy car.”

So what about it, everyone? Am I wrong (again) or is Fiat trying to sell a chick car to guys?

Random Linkage

Sea and Land – A gruesome and fanciful illustrated book from 1889

Turtle house – Ugly but interesting.

“The New Land” – More discoverers of America

Otamatone – Awwww, look how cute it is. This is what you buy for the children of someone you really need to get even with.

Most Intriguing Sci-Fi Opening Credits

126th Anniversary of the Invention of Coca-Cola – This actually deserves a post of its own but I don’t have anything to say about it except, “Yay Coke!” I’m going to celebrate by drinking the last Coke Zero in my fridge.

Cartography Nails – Nifty!

epic win photos - Leaf Chair WIN
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