Monthly Archives: January 2013

Random Linkage

How many Freudians does it take to change a lightbulb? – This might be the best lightbulb joke ever. But I’m not sure about that because I can’t remember any others at the moment.

Artist Pierre Bonnard – New to me. Interesting and very nice.

Early 1900’s Paris in color – Wow!

Bomb – Great comic!

Finding Lost Rooms – Interesting.

Jupiter Embroidery – Nifty!

Groundhog Day Cookies – Cute

Heat Sensitive Business Cards – Great idea to make your boring old business cards stand out. At least until everyone else does the same thing.

Communication flowchart – Haven’t read it all yet but that looks about right.

Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches – Hmmmm… or, I guess I should say, mmmmm…

A History of Spacesuits

Making the Best of Bad Situations – a fun photo gallery

Reading Miscellany

I finished reading book one of The Mongoliad. It’s okay but not great and as I was reading it I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t bother to continue with books two and three but then I get to the end and there’s no kind of conclusion nor even a logical break. It just ends in the middle of the action. So I don’t know. At first I thought I really wanted to see what happens next but after a couple of days I’m already starting to think, “Eh… I don’t care.”

I found Mongoliad when I was searching for books by Neal Stephenson but I wasn’t paying much attention because I didn’t realize until I received the book and actually had it in my hands that it was written by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E. D. deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo. A seven way collaboration! I generally tend to prefer single author books though I have read a few good two author collaborations and one really good three author collaboration.

Before Mongoliad I was reading Don Quixote but stopped in the middle of it. I started it again and read a couple of chapters. I’m almost halfway through it now. Picking it up again after a break was no trouble at all. It seems to be a good book to do that with. I think I will eventually finish it but the way I’m going it could take years.

I really wanted to get back to science fiction for a while so I ordered a few more books. I just started The Parasite by Neal Asher. I usually buy science fiction in paperback so I can share but used copies of this book start at over $100! Thank goodness for Kindle. So far I’m liking it. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’m in the mood for. (Yes, I know. Shut up.) Paperbacks on the way: Africa Zero, also by Neal Asher, and The Peace War by Vernor Vinge.

This ‘n’ That

I just found Windows2Wearables, another sewing blog, this morning.

For you people who like tentacles (not that fond of them myself) here are 29 Pieces of Titillating Tentacle Decor. Okay, I’ll admit, a couple of the chandeliers are… uh… interesting. Here are more chandeliers.

Skylarking – science fiction blog by M.D Jackson

Mynah birds are like people. I haven’t watched any of these videos yet. This makes me a little sad because my mom always wanted a mynah bird. By the time I could afford to buy her one as a gift she lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pet birds.

Geoff’s Favorite Poetry – I love old school, minimalist websites. I really do. I mean, I like a little color and personality but there’s something very pleasing about the simplicity.

Homesick Texan – Oooo! Recipes!

Adventures With Tigergirl – Another great sewing blog.

The wrong maple leaf – Oops. Believe it or not I can see how that could be considered a Really Big Deal.

How smart is your cat? – A cat IQ test. Mine are just average, I guess.

This is weird.

Winter Rescue of a Summer Top

The only reason anyone ever needs for doing something out of season is, “because I wanted to,” but I want to explain this anyway. Pretty Grievances has had this Jungle January thing going on all month and it is, without exception, the best online party ever. So of course I’ve been feeling the pull to participate but I don’t have any animal prints in my stash and I don’t want to go buy something that normally wouldn’t tempt me just for some silly Internet thing no matter how much fun other people are having. Then I thought of this insect print top that I’ve been meaning to try to refashion and I thought, “Hmmmm… There are insects in the jungle.” But no, these are the wrong kind of insects. They’re just common, North American garden insects. So, no Jungle January for me but I just had to give Anne and Jungle January credit for having kick-started this project that I’ve been putting off for a while.

Here’s a closeup of the fabric.

Garden insects fabric

I found it when I was searching for a frog print fabric for a quilt I wanted to make for my sister-in-law and, as you can see, it was irresistible. Unfortunately, I made it into this:

My new summer blouse

It’s Simplicity 3535. It looked so cute on the model on the pattern envelope. On me, not so much. It wasn’t even comfortable to wear. It felt too big and poufy and the square neckline was way too wide. I loved the fabric and thought, “I’m going to wear it anyway,” but I didn’t. I put it on a few times, intending to wear it but immediately took it off and hung it back in the closet.

I’ve been planning to try to do something with it for quite a while. I kept thinking that, surely as much fabric as there is in it I can make a cute little top of some kind. I had several ideas but I finally decided it had to be a TNT (tried ‘n’ true) pattern because I didn’t want to risk this lovely fabric on an experiment.

It was hard to get started. Ripping something apart always feels a little bit wrong but once I started I realized I wasn’t destroying a good garment; I was taking a lovely fabric that was trapped in a bad garment and setting it free to be something that could be appreciated.

I did it entirely with stuff I already had on hand. The pattern is Simplicity 9872. It’s a tunic so I knew I’d have to shorten it quite a bit. I had a piece of pale yellow fabric left over from a quilt. (The print is quilting cotton also.) I used that for the yoke. My previous experience with this neckline is that one side always wants to flop down, even if I use a fairly stiff interfacing so I added a button loop and a shiny, clear button from my leftover buttons drawer. When I tried it on before hemming it I decided it needed a strip of yellow at the bottom too. And so…

Ahhh… much better. This is definitely a summer top but it is still January so I layered it over a rarely worn pale pink turtleneck. And suddenly I have an early spring outfit, as well as a summer top.

Garden insects top

Quotes From Here and There

TV Tropes may be the most effective time suck on the entire Web; it’s the pixel equivalent of those potato chips you couldn’t eat just one

If you went to school in the good old days, much of what you learned is wrong.there (Yeah, we knew that. But if you’re a modern teacher don’t be smug. I’m sure part of what you’re teaching now will turn out to be wrong 20 years from now.)

My great-aunt Sybil came to the door, wiping her hands on her apron, the house full of the scents of

… it takes a longish time for onions to reach maturity, a time measured in almost hourly fatherly glances at the current status of the preciously swelling globes with their practically individual names as the months crawl along in onion time, making the onions themselves all the more like diamonds one has fashioned by hand.there

Random Linkage

Flood surfing – This looks like the sort of thing Oklahoma rednecks would think of to do but the picture was actually taken in Australia. Come to think of it, that’s not surprising either.

Internet vs “Real Life” – Probably true for some people. Great illustration.

Tense – Hah!

History of weeds – Oooo! Gotta get that book.

Historical maps

Video Game Food – Looks good!

Business cards of famous people – Asimov’s is great! (Thanks)

50 Facts About Skin – I already knew a lot of these. More interesting links

Four Way Fun and Simple Thrills

I can sort of understand city dwellers not understanding how four way stops work. I mean, they’re still dumbasses, but at least we can understand why. It’s not a part of their everyday driving experience. But when someone in my neck o’ the woods doesn’t know what to do at a four way stop it is inexcusable. I was on my way out to Wal-mart to get “a few things” this morning. There’s a four way stop not far from here. When I got to it there was one car in front of me and a newish red Dodge pickup on the cross road, coming from the right. (This is what we call heavy traffic around here.) I don’t know which one was there first. The car went first after stopping so then it was the pickup’s turn. The guy in the pickup waved for me to go ahead. I guess I should have been happy to get to go when it wasn’t my turn but instead I was pissed off at his failure to follow the rules so I waved impatiently for him to go and he did.

When I got into The Nearby Small Town I found that someone was working on the lights at the busiest intersection in town and they were flashing red for both streets. We all know what this means, don’t we boys and girls? It’s a temporary FOUR WAY STOP! I was in the left lane to be ready for the left turn into Walmart. There were two vehicles stopped in front of me. Immediately in front of me was a pickup and in front of that was a car, of which I could see nothing but a bit of the roof through the windows of the pickup. The car kept sitting at the light while several cars in the right lane of our street and ten or more on the cross street were stopping and going like they were supposed to.

Finally the poor confused person in the car decided that the only way any of us were going to get anywhere was if he went through the light. (I couldn’t see the driver so I’m using the default “he”) The person in the pickup was blonde and female so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that she followed the example of the person in the car, though she didn’t wait quite as long to go.

I believe that there is balance in the universe, even if we don’t always see it. When I got to Walmart, the first non-handicap parking space in one of the two rows nearest the entrance was empty. Normally I would have passed it by because I actually prefer parking farther out but after the whole four way incident it sort of felt like a gift so I pulled into it, feeling much better about life, the universe, and everything. Then it got even better.

I suppose most people would see the fact that I can get excited about anything found at Wal-mart as a sign that my life is pathetically dull, but I prefer to think of my ability to find happiness in ordinary experiences as a valuable life skill which puts me far above those who seek more exotic thrills. Walmart now has California Olive Ranch olive oil, one of the brands on the short list of genuine olive oil. I’m getting near the bottom of my huge plastic bottle of canola-oil-pretending-to-be-olive-oil and I’ve been thinking that I will order some from Amazon since none of the stores around here have any of the real olive oil brands. The little bit of fake olive oil that I have left is enough to last two or three weeks, but I needed a couple of other things on the same aisle so I looked at the olive oil just because I was there and there it was in a beautiful, square, dark green glass bottle. Yes, I love the bottle. It’s beautiful and vintage-y looking. You don’t see many products in glass anymore. Glass seems to say, “Trust me. I’m real.” I bought it and I keep fondling the bottle and I can hardly wait until I run out of the other stuff.

A few months ago we started buying Dannon Greek Yogurt. I think it’s a good choice, even though it is higher in calories than regular fat free yogurt, because it is higher in protein. And it doesn’t hurt that it tastes really good and has a creamy, sort of pudding-like texture. My only complaint has been that it comes in so few flavors, but starting last week several new ones appeared at Walmart. Last week, along with the usual flavors I bought orange cream and latte. I expected to dislike the latte but I bought a couple of cups of it anyway because that’s the way I roll. It was actually… okay. I didn’t really like it a lot but I wouldn’t mind having it once in a while. Today we were down to one lonely cup of blueberry yogurt so I went to buy more and found two more new flavors: banana cream and toasted coconut vanilla which I had for lunch as soon as I got home. It is heavenly! Definitely buying that again.

One final bit of good luck as I left the store: The parking spot directly in front of my car was empty so I got to pull through instead of backing out. I took an alternate route home, though I think the light was probably working properly again by then, and the drive was pleasant and uneventful. Life is good.

Science Linkage

Getting a Handle on Your Future Self

Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense

The Science of Choosing Space Pioneers – They will probably get it wrong. I think they should forget science and look to history. Some of the most successful colonists have been misfits and adventurers – people who didn’t fit in back home.

Biomimicry in Fashion – I think Charles will like this one.

Nature Photography Contestmore

Link between trees and human health

That’s My Boy

This is “Number One Son”, (a.k.a. Hippie (he used to have long hair)) of whom I write so often. Obviously that’s the only reason I’m showing you a video about a muffler but with my tiny but diverse readership it’s not inconceivable that one or two of you might find it interesting or even useful. (Audio is missing from part of the video, only about a minute or so)

It’s All Over But the Party

I guess you could say I have a “strange relationship” with football. A few weeks before the start of the NFL season I start looking forward to it. Sometimes I even get into “Oooo I can hardly wait,” mode. And then the season starts and I really enjoy watching football. But, usually, a little more than halfway through the season I start loosing interest – not hating it, just getting a bit bored with it and by week 12 to 14 I’m thinking, “I am so ready for football season to be over.” Then there are the playoffs and I start getting interested again. I start getting excited about the Superbowl. It’s silly but I actually like the hype and holiday-like atmosphere of Superbowl Sunday.

And then it’s all over. The first Sunday or two after the Superbowl I sort of feel like, “What now?” It’s almost like a kind of disorientation. This seems weird, even to me, but I actually like the noise of football. I am not one of those people who leave the TV on as “background noise” but there’s something about football noise that is sort of… I don’t know… comforting, I guess. It’s a relatively steady noise – the crowd noise and the constant chattering of the commentators. Sometimes the noise will go up in reaction to something happening in the game but overall there’s a uniformity to it. It’s almost like music.

But after a week or two I start to appreciate the freedom from football. Suddenly we can watch anything we want to on TV. Or we can turn it off and go outside and watch the grass growing and the clouds floating by overhead. It’s not just a freedom to do other things, which, honestly we had all along; it’s a freedom from thinking about football.

Yesterday’s game between the Patriots and the Ravens was good. I am not a Ravens fan but, since “my team” didn’t make it, I was hoping the Ravens would win, 1) because they were playing against the Patriots and 2) because Ray Lewis is retiring and it would be very cool if he went out with a Superbowl win. And if the 49ers win? I’ll be a little disappointed but not too bummed out. I don’t hate the 49ers and it’s been a while since they’ve won a Superbowl so I can just think, “Oh well. At least it wasn’t the Patriots again,” and be satisfied with an all-around good season.

Quotes From Here and There

The glass is definitely half full, not half

I’m still unsure if this is a prime example of German efficiency, or some sort of subtle psychological torture.there

You need to be thoroughly misinformed and you need the confidence to act precipitately on the basis of that misinformation. here

It’s worth noting that both Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke have since denied that HAL represented IBM, and have claimed that the “one-letter shift” between the names “HAL” and “IBM” is purely coincidental.there

This ‘n’ That

Six Terrifying Beach Sculptures – Not exactly what I would call terrifying but mostly not lovely to look at. The whole idea of beach sculptures makes me sad. Natural beaches are perfect and do not need any adornment. The only sculpture I want to see on a beach is the occasional sand sculpture that will disappear with the next tide.

11 Words You’re Probably Mispronouncing – I knew most of these but a few were a surprise to me. I do my best to be correct when it comes to language but sometimes, if everyone mispronounces a word and the correct pronunciation has become almost completely unknown, saying it right can actually make you sound like an idiot.

How to Have the Body You’ve Always Wanted – Hah! That would not be the body I’ve always wanted.

Computer learns obscenities, has memory wiped – Just wondering… will this someday be considered a violation of AI right to free speech?

Charlie’s Diary – The blog of Charles Stross. Seems like I’ve come across this before.

For cat lovers – Social networking for cats and their people. I love my cats (Well, I love one of them and tolerate the other) but I’ve never tried to start a Facebook page for my cat. Come on, people! More cat and dog links

Anne at Pretty Grievances is currently hosting Jungle January. I wasn’t planning to participate but this latest bunch has me thinking. Animal skin prints are really not my thing, which is why I had thought I wouldn’t be joining the fun, but there’s way more to it than that. Hmmmm… I better hurry. January is more than half over.

Quotes From Here and There

There’s a theme again this week.

Less is more. But less is more difficult than it

Although explosions are most definitely a bad thing, it’s kinda awesome that I now get to add “dodged a gigantic fireball of doooooooom” to my list of accomplishments in life.there

I got paid to make fun of Rush Limbaugh – a dream come truehere

Leave this device in your yard for a week, then watch as the problem of loud music from passing cars solves itself.there (I almost wish I had that problem so I could test this.)

Random Linkage

Drought – Oh, so that’s the problem.

Edible Geography – Very interesting blog

Disparate Disciplines – A sewing and crafting blog

Weirwood Station – Another crafty blog. The first time I saw it I thought it said “Weirdwood” and I still can’t get that out of my head. Stupid brain.

Professor X at His School – Heh. Nice.

Comiques – Commentary on life in comic form

Vintage style public service posters – We need to really put these up everywhere.

Friends – awwwww

Sci-Fi Movie Kit – I need that. I’ve been suffering from a shortage of sci-fi lately.

Historical Myths About Real Scientific Discoveries