Monthly Archives: June 2012

A 45 RPM Memory

My mother had a stack of 45 rpm records that were several years older than me. Of course, when I was a kid that was really old old, antique, ancient, not like we, as adults think of songs from the previous decade. I was fascinated with these records. I liked the idea of listening to something from “so long ago” and I actually liked quite a few of the songs.

My two favorites were Ghost Riders in the Sky and The Wayward Wind. Unfortunately these two were in the worst condition of any of the records in the collection – scratchy and barely playable. I knew that by listening to them I was wearing them out even more so I chose not to listen to them too often. Two or three times a year? I don’t know… maybe more than that. It didn’t occur to me back then that the reason they were so worn out was that they had been my mother’s favorites too.

When I listened to this video a few minutes ago it was the first time I had heard The Wayward Wind in 40 years or more. Sadly, it does not appeal to me at all anymore.

Another song in the collection (I think. I don’t know where I else I would have heard it.) was Stagger Lee. I don’t think I ever liked it a lot but thought it was sort of an odd, interesting song. I didn’t know that it was based on an actual historical event. Thanks, Nicole.

Quotes From Here and There

There is no reason on God’s brownish-of-late earth that the words “HEAT DOME” have to be displayed in letters a state and a half high.here

And I like feed sack fabric. (I also just like the IDEA of feed sack fabric; that flour and grain and chicken meal were once sold in a container that could be repurposed for something else, and that it even got to the point where the container was as important as its contents)there (Me too)

According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, after parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service—literally.here

…two-thirds of respondents to a new survey say that President Barack Obama would be better suited to handle an alien invasion than presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. there

“Free Camera”

Tuesday I finally saw someone in the local Walmart worthy of PeopleOfWalmart.com. This woman was wearing a long black evening gown (at ten o’clock in the morning) that had spaghetti straps that meet in the center back of the dress with standard bra and slip straps showing. So of course I took a picture but it turned out to be way too blurry. Darn.

My smartphone’s camera does about as well as I expected for a phone camera, which is not all that great but it takes okay pictures for a phone if you’re very careful and hold it as still as possible. The thing I really really hate about it is that I usually can’t exit the camera function and have to turn the phone completely off to get out of it.

I am not the geekiest person in the world but I feel that I’m reasonably comfortable with high-tech gadgets. I use them with no trouble, but sometimes it’s a little hard for me to wrap my brain around all the stuff smartphones can do. It wasn’t until Tuesday while I was in the middle of Walmart trying to exit the camera and get back to my shopping list that it suddenly occurred to me that IT’S JUST AN APP! And there are probably a gazillion camera apps out there.

Later at home I started looking at camera apps and it seemed like most of them have more bells and whistles than I really want. All I want is to be able to take a quick picture once in a while and then exit the camera without any fuss. So I went to the computer and Googled “best smartphone camera apps” and after reading a couple of lists found one called Little Photo.

Little Photo is fast and simple but it does have a couple of small problems. On its opening screen you see a picture of a camera and it tells you press to start. When you do it immediately takes a picture without giving you a chance to see what’s going to be in the picture. But that’s okay I guess because it doesn’t automatically save photos so you don’t have to go to the trouble of deleting the lousy photo you didn’t want in the first place. (More about that in a minute.)

To actually take a picture you touch the phone’s back button and it shows you two buttons “Exit to Camera” and “Cancel”. So you Exit to Camera and then you can take pictures. After you take a picture you can tap the center of the picture and it gives you a number of special effect options. To save the picture you touch the phone’s menu button and select Save. As I said above it does not automatically save photos and if you exit the camera without saving the picture it is lost, and there’s no prompt to Save the photo or “Are you sure?” so you have to remember to save it. Also, you cannot come back later and use any of the special effects on a photo you’ve already saved.

In spite of these flaws it’s really not a bad app. It’s fast and easy and takes pretty good pictures. This is the first one I took. I added the White Shine effect. (The original was much darker) After I uploaded it to the computer I cropped it to get rid of most of the TV which took up a good bit of the picture.

My cat on the coffee table

Questions

I like these questions. They are broad, general, and open to interpretation, so I can interpret them as I wish.

Q: If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
A: It depends on what you mean by “forbidden”. If it’s actually immoral or illegal, no, I don’t want it. But if it’s just a matter of political correctness or one group or another getting their panties in a wad over something, that definitely makes me want it more, and not just want it but to show off that I’ve got it.

Q: Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?
A: Is anyone really in complete control of their lives? I can’t control the economy, the weather, the guy driving too slow in the left lane, or who the idiots in my state vote for (although they did vote out John Sullivan so maybe there are not quite as many idiots as I thought) but I can control myself. I have observed that the more people try to control various aspects of their lives the less they are in control of themselves.

Q: If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?
A: Oh, I don’t know… I have a lot of free afternoons. But something different? I think I’d like to go shopping somewhere interesting with someone interesting.

Q: Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?
A: Somewhat uncomfortable. I do live in a disorderly environment and I’m not constantly uncomfortable but certain things being out of order do seriously bug me.

Q: How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?
A: Not a lot. I know where most things are and when I can’t find something it’s usually not anything I can’t live without until it just turns up on its own.

Q: Are you motivated by competition?
A: Yes and no. I’m not especially driven to compete but when I do find myself in a competition of some kind I feel like I have to try to win and that’s why I hate competition because I almost always lose and it makes me feel unreasonably bad about myself.

Q: Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?
A: Not really. I don’t have a problem with either one.

Q: Do you work constantly? or think you should be working?
A: No. I do what needs to be done but I probably should work a little more. For example, I probably could have nice flower beds if I was more motivated to get out in the 105° heat and plant, weed, water and fertilize.

Q: Do you embrace rules or flout rules?
A: It depends on the rules. My answer to this is practically the same as my answer to the first question. I like that there are rules. I follow long-standing rules and it upsets me when other people don’t follow them but “rules” that feel like they were just made up recently by someone who wants to impose their own world-view on everybody else are rules I love to break.

Q: Do you work well under pressure?
A: No, not at all. Pressure makes me want to curl up in the fetal position in a dark corner somewhere.

Q: What would your perfect day look like?
A: A perfect day is one when nothing bad or annoying happens. I have perfect days fairly often. A day spent with family, just hanging out and telling stories is a perfect day. A day alone is another kind of perfect day. Days I spent shopping with my mother were perfect days and a kind of perfect day that I can never have anymore.

Q: How much TV do you watch in a week (include computer time spent watching videos, movies, YouTube)?
A: Hmmmm… when I add it up a week’s worth of TV sounds like way too many hours so I’ll just say about 3 hours a DAY and somewhat more on weekends.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?
A: Is it possible to be both? I always wake up before 7 AM but I’m also always reluctant to go to bed. (though I do, usually, between 9:30 and 10:00pm) If I have to pick one I guess I’d have to say morning because I do really like being up early in the morning.

Q: What’s more satisfying to you: saving time or saving money?
A: I’d have to give a slight edge to saving money.

Q: Do you like to be in the spotlight?
A: Well, I have a blog don’t I? Actually, yes. Sort of. I think. I’ve never had much chance to find out how I feel about being in the spotlight.

Q: Is your life “on hold” in any aspect? Until you finish your thesis, get married, lose weight?
No. All the things I was waiting for have either come and gone or passed me by completely.

Q: What would you do if you had more energy?
A: More of the same things I do anyway.

Q: If you suddenly had an extra room in your house, what would you do with it?
A: A sewing room! We do have an extra room in our house but it’s not just mine. It has to be a general purpose room: guest room (rarely), junk room, and, one day every two weeks, the grandson’s playroom. I’d love to have a room that was just mine that I could make into a totally girly room, all pink and Victorian with my sewing machine in one corner, cutting table in another, storage in some kind of huge, ornate old piece of furniture, and if there was enough room a medallion sofa or loveseat.

Q: What people and activities energize you? Make you feel depleted?
A: I don’t know about “energize”. That seems pretty hard to do but my oldest son is interesting and fun to talk to and I never get tired of listening to him. It’s the same with some of my in-laws. I always look forward to family get-togethers. Dull and tedious people make me tired – people who haven’t read a book since they were in school and who don’t know any culture except pop culture.

Q: Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?
A: Things I no longer want? No. Things I no longer need? Yes.

Q: Do you get frustrated easily?
A: Sometimes, sort of, but not as easily as some other people.

Q: On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get?
A: Oops. Already answered this one. About 9:30 or 10:00 and I usually get about 8 hours.

Q: If at the end of the year, you had accomplished one thing, what is the one accomplishment that would make the biggest difference to your happiness?
A: That’s seems like a weirdly worded question. Sadly, my only goal this year is to finish just one quilt and right now that’s not looking real good.

Q: And here’s another question for you. What questions would you add to this list, to help other people know themselves better? It’s so important, and so elusive.
A: Like Andrea said, there are no questions about books. Perhaps, “What kind of books do you enjoy reading?” My answer to that would be, science fiction, some fantasy but not a lot, classics, historical novels, and occasionally non-fiction but I do most of my non-fiction reading on the Internet. I don’t know what that last line, “It’s so important, and so elusive,” is supposed to mean. Sounds like someone was trying too hard to be profound.

This ‘n’ That

This might be the scariest thing I’ve ever read. It almost makes me want to not go outside, ever. Now I know that vegetarians, if there are any reading this, will be rolling their eyes. I don’t eat a lot of meat but to have to give it up entirely is unimaginable and unacceptable.

Zoopraxiscope is a really neat blog. Lots of interesting photos and links and random notes and observations. Heh.

Lego Turing Machine

Fun fact. I did not know that. That is sweet and cool and awesome all at once.

Tetrachromacy. Curious.

Funny? Or have I just been watching Swamp People too much?

Black Forest Clocks. Fascinating. I love interesting and unusual clocks. I’ve never had any desire to have a cuckoo clock, not even when I was a little kid, but these are, as the article says, “not your grandma’s cuckoo clock.”

The Essentials

Number One Son has posted his annual blog post. It’s Seven Things You Should Really Have When Raising a Child and this is a list that really should go viral.

I must say though, that my reasons for #1, A washer and dryer, are different from his. For a large part of my childhood my parents did not have a washer and dryer and I didn’t suffer too much from having to spend a couple of hours at the laundromat every week. In fact, there were often other kids there and I got a chance to meet and play with kids I didn’t know and that was always interesting and fun. It was only when I was an adult that going to the laundromat became a miserable chore and a horrible and tragic waste of time so while we were still waiting on our firstborn we bought our first washer and dryer. Bonus: get a front loading washer. Little kids love to watch the clothes and the water tumble round and round.

Go read the rest. It’s all good; there’s not much I could add. Makes a mom proud, it does.

Conspicuously missing from the list is Books. I mentioned this and he said, “Of course books… I just assumed that books would be around like food and clothes would be around.” Yeah, you would think. But strange as it seems there are people out there who don’t have books, or they buy books for their kids and none for themselves. Having books and letting your kids see you reading books for fun (and information) is at least as important as having books just for your kids. It shows them that reading is something you can enjoy all your life, not something you do when you’re a little kid and then “outgrow”.

And heeerrre’s summer!

Well, summer is here. Officially. I’ve been feeling like it’s summer for weeks now but it looks like next week we’re going to get a reminder of what summer really means: 100°F.

I’ve been good lately. I’ve been walking for 40 minutes three times a week and not eating too much of the good bad stuff but weather like what is forecast for the coming week makes me want to sit at home in the air-conditioning and inhale buckets of ice cream.

Unlike us humans, moss roses love the hot sun but this one looks fresh and cool with the raindrops.

Moss Rose

Ooooo Gigapixels!

Someday our cameras’ resolution might be measured in gigapixels but the first gigapixel camera is a bit too bulky to carry around in your pocket – 29.5 by 29.5 by 19.6 inches.

Actually, I’m reasonably satisfied with current pocket digital camera resolutions. What I would really like to have is a camera that needs no more light than my eyes need.

This ‘n’ That

Oooo shiny!. I love nail polish but I rarely bother with it anymore. Avoiding touching anything for 30 minutes or more while I wait for my nails to dry completely just seems like too much of a sacrifice. I know there are supposed to be quick dry polishes that dry in only 60 seconds. I’ve tried them. They dry to the touch in 60 seconds but they still can be messed up by anything more than a light touch for a long time. And besides, what’s the point if I can’t get the color I really want? I just recently became aware of the existence of ultraviolet nail dryers (on Tanked of all things) and was seriously tempted for about fifteen seconds but I can imagine all kinds of problems with them. Do they tan your fingertips? And of course, do they really work or is it just something for you to do while you wait for your polish to dry to a light touch and then you still have to be careful for half an hour or more?

We can never get enough of cat bathing stories, can we? I’ve never had an especially entertaining time bathing a cat. Mine usually just cry pitifully and make relatively weak attempts to run away. We had a cat that would actually cry, “No” when we were about to give her a bath. I swear it’s true! I’m not making it up or imagining it. She very clearly said “No.”

Here are some really fantastic creepy crawlie photos. (insects, a couple of spiders and a snail) Seriously, these are beautiful!

It would have been simpler to just wash the car. I am impressed though. (and wondering if some of the images were Photoshopped)

Sometimes I envy British ladies. They get to wear such gorgeous and outrageous hats.

Hmmmm… Perhaps this is why so many people are so fascinated with sharks.

You look silly when you do this. So just stop it! Okay, honestly, I think I may have been guilty of #11 a few times.

Was it the red dress?

I was at the post office a little while ago and a neatly dressed and coiffed old woman came over to me and told me, “Be careful when you leave here. Don’t speed. There’s a cop sitting right over there.” And it wasn’t like we just happened to cross paths. She obviously spotted me from halfway across the parking lot and purposely came to me to tell me that. She was probably just trying to be friendly and helpful but I was a little bit offended that she would just assume that I, a complete stranger, am the kind of person who might need that kind of warning.

I know some people are just like that but I can’t help wondering if the red dress I’m wearing today had anything to do with it. I probably wouldn’t even have thought of that if I hadn’t watched an episode of Brain Games last night that included testing the hypothesis that a woman in a red dress can talk a man into doing just about anything. But it’s not that kind of red dress. It’s a comfortably and wholesomely loose-fitting bandana print cotton dress. But I suppose the color red means “fast” to a lot of people. So should I avoid red or wear it more often to show the world I’ve still got it?

Music, etc.

Last Monday my Sony bookshelf stereo stopped working or rather, to be specific, the CD player in it stopped working. It wasn’t entirely a bad thing because I have hated that stereo since the first day I had it, mostly because the CD changer was excessively noisy and extremely slow. But I really hated having to spend money on a new one and also I was worried that I would end up getting stuck with another one that I wouldn’t like so I procrastinated all week before going out and looking for a new one.

Since I can’t get the local classical station in my house I have been listening to the Sonic Tap music channels that we get with DirecTV. There are two classical channels, “Light Classical” and “Symphonic”. I tried the latter and they seem to play mostly late 19th century and early 20th century music, generally not my favorite era so I’ve mostly been listening to “Light Classical”. It’s not what I think of as “light classical”. They play some very good music, in fact, just not very much of it – a lot of C.P.E. Bach, several Beethoven piano sonatas and J.S. Bach’s 1st Cello Suite, which is all very good but they played that one cello suite three times a day. Come on Sonic Tap! There are five more of them, you know! But I did make a discovery due to being stuck with this very limited music channel: I have to get Andras Schiff’s Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Have to!

Bored and curious, I switched to the New Age channel for a while on a couple of afternoons. You know, it’s really quite pleasant and soothing. That channel had the same problem as the classical channel though – they played the same half dozen artists over and over again all day long.

Well, anyway, Friday Number Two son and I went to the Best Buy in Owasso to look for a stereo. First we had lunch at Pizza Hut. They always have the lunch buffet on weekdays. We had just about decided that we had had enough when our really nice, friendly waitress brought us two platter-fulls of pizza which we did not ask for and did not want. But we took it with us in a to-go box.

Best Buy was disappointing. I expected to have more choices but there were only three and two of them were Sonys and I had already decided that I would not buy another Sony. So I bought the only other available system. It’s a Sharp with a five disc changer, AM-FM radio and a cassette player. It sounds really good and the changer is quicker and less noisy than the Sony. It’s not quite what I’d design if I could design the perfect stereo but it’ such and improvement over the last two that I can’t complain much.

So the past three days have been really good. Got to shopping and have lunch with one son and got a new stereo that I’m happy with, then Sunday my other son, daughter-in-law and grandson were here and we spent the day just hanging out. Now if I can just go one week without something breaking…

Fashionable Stripes

Scientific research suggests that horizontal stripes do not make us look fat. I find that conclusion questionable. First of all, very few of us are shaped anything like the lovely little figure used in this research. Then there’s the psychological factor. Maybe stripes really don’t make a difference but if we look at a, shall we say, rather wide person wearing stripes and we think the stripes make her look fatter does it really matter whether or not we can prove scientifically that they do or do not make her look fatter? Also, the color, contrast, and width of the stripes probably make a difference.

I don’t have a lot of striped clothes. It’s not that I avoid stripes I just don’t happen to have any right now. I have one dress with a floral paisley stripe. This is the fabric. I made the dress nearly two years ago but have never taken a picture of it. I used the same pattern as the first photo in this post and made it with the stripes going vertically in the skirt and horizontally in the bodice. I don’t notice if it makes me look fatter or thinner. Anyway, I don’t know if it counts since it’s not a plain stripe. (Hmmmm… maybe I should experiment with stripes.)

Did you know that stripes used to be associated with bastards, serfs, prostitutes, and Satan? It seems it was we Americans who first made stripes respectable. Ah, such rebels we are!

Not the Same Old “Earth Tones”

Kitchens of a different color. Those actually all look very nice. The most unusual kitchen color scheme I’ve ever seen was pink and navy. I liked it and we might have bought that house if all the other rooms hadn’t been so tiny. (Also the location wasn’t great.)

While I’m on this topic I might as well Google pink kitchens. Lovely! I’m happy with my yellow kitchen though. It’s the next best thing to pink.

Something Different

This was never one of my favorite Beatles tunes but this slow, blues version makes more sense to me. (As always, “your mileage may vary”.)

Just a Few Links

Oddity Central – Great, fascinating site. All sorts of interesting things, like strange food, art, weird people, beautiful places, and more. Best of all they don’t make fun of things like a certain other oddity site I can think of; they just report.

MaDan’s Quilting – A really nice quilting blog. I like this.

Acid Logic – Various articles and columns. Looks interesting but I haven’t really looked at it yet. (via)

Weird earrings

Are 10% of Wall Street Workers Psychopaths? – Well… maybe not but one limited study turned out some suggestive data.

Reading and the Luck of the Annoyed

I went back to my Andre Norton stash and read The Magic Books, three juvenile books in one volume. Fur Magic is based on Native American legends and was sort of interesting. Steel Magic, in which three kids are transported to the world of King Arthur, was the one I liked least. The last of the three, Octagon Magic was my favorite. I really wish I had found this book when I was the age of the girl in the story (11) She is unpopular and picked on by some of the other kids. One day, trying to escape a group of taunting boys, she goes into the overgrown yard of a mysterious old, octagon shaped house. The ladies who live there invite her in and they tell her she can wander about the house and go in any room where the door will open for her. She finds one room with a magical doll house and rocking horse that transport her into the past where she meets other people who have found shelter in Octagon House. I wasn’t really happy with the way the story ended but it was a logical ending.

After finishing that I was really in the mood for some grown up reading and suddenly had a strong urge to re-read Perdido Street Station but I couldn’t find it. After some fairly desperate searching I gave up and decided to download some more books on my Kindle. While I was downloading stuff from Project Gutenberg my Kindle locked up! I tried turning it off and back on again and the screen went completely blank. (The screen on a Kindle is never blank even when it’s off.) I plugged it in for a while and tried again and it still didn’t do anything. So I emailed Amazon via their contact form. Then, since I couldn’t find Perdido Street Station, I started reading another China Mieville book that I have, The Scar, and almost immediately decided that it wasn’t what I wanted.

Amazon responded to my email, saying to call them, so this morning I was going to call and grabbed the Kindle in case they wanted me to try doing stuff with it while I talked to them on the phone; I pulled it out of its case and the screen wasn’t blank anymore. It had one of the pictures it displays when it’s off so I turned it on and it was fine. Everything works like it’s supposed to. So I don’t know what happened and I’m sort of uncomfortable with stuff mysteriously fixing itself like that because I’m always afraid it’s not really fixed and any minute it’s going to quit again.

But that’s not all. This morning I got up and, as usual, was going to put a CD in the stereo and every time I push the button that opens the CD tray it turns itself off. Right now I’m listening to one of the music channels on DirecTV.

It seems like in the last week or two it’s just one thing after another – mostly just lots of little things going wrong – and I’m feeling like, “What next?!” I didn’t mention it when I was talking about the dresses the other day but on the one dress I sewed the bodice on backwards and had to take it apart. After I finally finished that I decided to go back to quilting for a while and I kept having trouble tying off – like the thread had a mind of its own and just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do.

And I can’t say anything about any of this because on one ever understands what’s needed when I have days like that. It’s either I’m complaining too much or else they want to make too big of a deal of it. Sometimes you just need a good, old-fashioned, lighthearted bitching session – not to be ignored or dismissed and not to have someone try to play therapist but just plain old sharing and understanding.

Quotes From Here and There

Why should a ‘jobs report’ have any effect on anything? I’m pretty sure people know whether they have jobs.here (via)

I find something of greater substance in Queen Elizabeth than I find in many of the women that are set up on our shores as “celebrities.”there

I think they are all perfectly explained by “People are weird.”here

If women come from Venus and men come from Mars… then Democrats come from Mercury and Republicans come from Pluto.there (It’s worth noting that both are lifeless and uninhabitable places so not as different as one might think.)

Pink and PINK

These are my two most recently completed sewing projects. I used the timer on my camera so not the best quality photography. I posed in the kitchen this time because it’s our only bright, cheerful room.

First, the subtle and reasonable pink:

Summer dress

I despise taupe by itself but it’s the perfect background color for this charming print of old-fashioned chairs, tables, lamps, birdcages, picture frames and various other household items in vintage-y colors. Originally I had planned to make a blouse but soon after I got it I had a vision of it as the skirt of a dress with a pink gingham bodice. The pattern I used is Kwik Sew 2671 but I modified the neckline and arm openings so I can wear it without a shirt underneath and I squared up the pockets. I am very pleased with the way it turned out.

And now the outrageous pink:

A very pink dress

I saw this fabric last summer and instantly fell in love with it. View the original to get a better look at the print. It has butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, and flowers. I bought enough for a dress without having any idea of exactly what I wanted do with it. Pretty soon I started worrying that buying it had been a mistake. What could I possibly make of it that wouldn’t look like it had been made for some Brobdingnagian toddler? So I waited. I still loved the fabric and didn’t want to rush into anything. Finally the inspiration came to me: a simple A-line with a teal collar and trim. It’s the color of the hummingbirds on the print and seemed like the most “grown-up” color, and I really like pink and teal together.

I used two patterns to make it. The neckline, collar, and shoulders are like Simplicity 4632 but other than that the dress is mostly Simplicity 5010 because it fits me without any alteration, plus I added pockets because pockets are essential. I’m wearing it right now and I’m very happy with it. I wore it to buy groceries earlier and did not receive any comments nor even a shocked or disapproving stare. Maybe everyone was just being polite.

Baby Banana Pepper

Baby banana pepper

It’s about 2 inches long. There are several more but this is the first and largest. This plant is growing in one of those upside down planters. We have two tomato plants also but no little tomatoes on them yet.