Creepy Country Songs

My dad liked country music so I grew up with it. It is really not hard at all to find creepy country songs. Many of them bothered me, even when I was a little kid, with the way they seemed to be sympathetic to murderers, drunks, and cheaters. But anyway, check out this list of 10 Creepiest Country Murder Ballads.

I haven’t listened to country music since the 70’s (except for the “background music” at Atwood’s and a few other local stores and I don’t pay any attention to that) so there are only four songs on the list that I’m sure I’ve heard. I might recognize one or two others if I listened to them. (Which I’m probably not going to do)

Found here at the end of a post full of much better music. (IMO)

Plaid!

(I had a much more clever title for this post when I was thinking about it yesterday but I forgot what it was.)

I like plaid but I am a little bit afraid of it. I wasn’t always but then I started reading sewing blogs and discovered that one is expected to match the plaid not only across the front but also the sleeves, at the side seems, and pretty much everywhere. It all seems so overwhelming now. This time I tried, I really did but I didn’t account for the bust darts which make it pretty much impossible to match the sides and the sleeves. Oh well. My experience has been that nobody notices those details unless you point them out, and the sewing bloggers never read my blog anyway so why stress over it.

I have just one comfortable, casual long sleeved shirt made of lightweight cotton that is perfect for days when it’s cool enough for long sleeves but still too warm for really warm clothes. I wear it a lot when the weather is like that so when Denver Fabrics had a sale on shirting I bought three pieces. This is the first one of those. I love this fabric, the colors and the texture. It has heavier threads running through it, sort of like in a “ripstop” fabric but at irregular intervals.

Just for fun I thought I would try a more animated pose than my usual and (unfortunately, perhaps) it turned out to be the best picture.

And here’s a view of the back yoke.

This is another New Look 6963. My third and I still haven’t used any of the sleeves that came in the pattern. (but I will) I love this pattern but there is one thing about it that I don’t like: it has a back neck facing instead of a yoke lining. I made the first two with the facing but I made this one with a proper lined yoke. You can see the first one here. I haven’t photographed the second one. This pattern has two different backs. The bug shirt has a pleated back. This one has darts that you can just barely see in the second photo.

Speech! Speech!

What’s the Greatest Speech in Science Fiction and Fantasy?

That’s a tough one. On Facebook, where I first saw this, a lot of people liked Malcolm Reynold’s “I aim to misbehave” speech in Serenity. Someone mentioned the V speech. I do agree that both of those are great. When I was a little kid I loved Captain Kirk’s speeches. (It seemed like he was always speechifying) They seemed so moving and profound. (Like I said I was a little kid.) But which one?

I always hate to declare one of anything to be The Best because I know that I will almost certainly remember something even better later, but I’m going out on a limb and saying that surely one of Captain Picard’s speeches must be the best. But again, which one? Well… this certainly must be a top contender.

What are your favorites? (From any science fiction or fantasy movie or TV show)

Random Linkage

Facultative parthenogenesis – Interesting. I didn’t know they could do that.

Good for what ails you – I must try to use more turmeric. (How do you pronounce that anyway? I just discovered that I’ve been spelling it wrong my whole life.)

The world is ending – This is great.

Aron Wiesenfeld – Beautiful and fascinating art.

Beauty 30s-40s Style – How can anyone not prefer these over today’s living stick figures?

Don’t Mess With Twitter – Why Twitter is just fine the way it is and should not change.

Pointless Websites – Wow. Just wow. I must check out every one of these.

Weird Devices From the Past – Wow. (I keep saying that this morning.) I have seen a few of these before.

Twig Light Fixture – Want! But darn it, it’s a one of a kind. I have twigs in my back yard. Tempted to see if I can build one of my own.

Addams Family set in color

Space Colonies – Where should we build first?

Tea and Kittens

And finally… only football fans will understand why this is amazing.

Quotes From Here and There

To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.here

The next time you see a light bulb used in a cartoon as an image of a bright idea, remember at which end of the bulb the genius really lies.there

Ah, that’s why I felt I’d heard the tune before.here

It was a dark, moody night, I’d been chasing dead leads like a dog with a broken tail chases a rubber shoe down a blind alley full of tears and cynical calicoes.there

This deadly assassin claims hundreds every morning. It’s probably in your house right now.here

Technology is not (just) a smartphone with an app for locating a flunky to make you a sandwich.there

This ‘n’ That

Comment spam has been really horrendous lately. I used to get, usually, no more than 20 a day. Since last Saturday it’s been 300 – 500 a day! The first time comment moderation is stopping it all but I still have to take the time to delete all of them.

Someone once said that spammers should be crucified along side the highways. Right now that seems like a pretty good idea. But then I think, why litter the countryside with so much garbage. Let’s just publish their real names and addresses. But then I think, no I have a better idea. Let’s make them pay. Literally. Someone needs to come up with a system to automatically charge spammers by the minute, with the proceeds going to the website owner, minus a small percentage to maintain the system. Five cents for each minute until the spam comment is deleted, even if it is held in the moderation queue for that time. I would be wealthy!

* * *

As you probably know there will be a partial solar eclipse late this afternoon. So of course it’s raining today. They do say that the clouds might clear out in time for the eclipse and I bought some eclipse shades so I’m ready just in case. I tried them out yesterday. These things are really dark. Put them on and you can’t see anything at all except a dim orange disk in the sky.

* * *

A new creepy high tech way to power high tech devices. Actually the article calls the devices “theoretical” and the inventor said she did it “to provoke the thought about how far will we go to in order to ‘feed’ our addiction in the world of declining resources.” Okay, yeah, whatever. Maybe I read too much science fiction (Come on, that’s not really possible.) but it seems like a reasonable idea. Not that I would ever use one of them myself.

* * *

I do like one of these 10 British Flavors Americans Will Never Widely Appreciate and there are a couple of others I would try. I went though an Earl Gray Tea phase for a several years, actually starting before Captain Picard made it popular. I still like it okay but not as much as I used to. Kedgeree doesn’t sound too bad except maybe the egg, though I could probably tolerate that part of it. I have always wanted to try Marmite just out of curiosity though I’m sure that I would hate it. But the one I really want to try is Irn-Bru – “sort of citrusy with a hint of ginger that leaves a long lingering finish”. That actually sounds very good.

* * *

I think most of these Forgotten Words should probably remain forgotten but I really like tardigradous – “Slow-paced; moving or stepping slowly.” It reminds me of one of my favorite animals.

Calories Don’t Make Sense

Dear Fiber One,

Regarding your “90 Calorie Brownies”: First of all let’s get our terminology straight. That is not a brownie. It is a soft cookie. Actual brownies are about twice as thick. The main point I would like to make, however…

WTF?! 90 calories? In that tiny little thing? How the heck did you manage to stuff 90 calories into a little cookie? (Yes, it’s a cookie, like I said, not a brownie.) And you put it on the box in great big letters as if it was a good thing. Wow. That’s some really audacious marketing.

Also, how do you expect a person to eat just one small cookie? Or even just one brownie if they were actual brownies, which they’re not. So two of these things would be 180 calories. That’s getting to be a bit much for a little snack. Might as well eat ice cream. Or real brownies. (I know, I know… fiber. So I’ll make it a banana split) And if you eat the whole box, which is what a normal person would do, (Thank goodness I’m not normal.) that would be 540 calories. Yeah, I’m definitely eating ice cream instead. I wonder how much fiber there is in a pint (okay, half a pint) of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

Reading

300 Suns by Allan J. Ferrenberg is one of the more unputdownable books I have read recently. In the near future a huge alien starship arrives. The aliens refuse to show themselves or to communicate in any way. Soon they begin putting satellites into orbit around Earth. Scientists, the military, and politicians are divided over whether or not the aliens are hostile and what, if anything, to do about them.

I don’t want to post any spoilers but I do want to say, “Hello, Hollywood? This would make an epic disaster movie.” Also, I was able to figure out what the aliens were up to one chapter before it was revealed in the story. I do like surprises but I also like being able to figure things out. I was not entirely pleased with the ending but it wasn’t a bad ending. My quibble is just over details, I suppose. Overall it was a very entertaining and worthwhile read.

Thank Goodness It’s Monday?

It was sort of a sucky weekend. There was no Big Bad thing that happened, just several small and medium bad things that felt hugely bad for some reason. I guess it actually started the middle of last week with the antique indigo stretch denim that I didn’t get. I did search to see if I could find it anywhere else. I couldn’t but even if I had found some the same color on another website there wouldn’t have been any way to be sure it was the exact same thing. The denim I missed out on had 35% stretch. Most online fabric retailers don’t tell you the amount of stretch and in my experience “stretch” denim is usually not actually very stretchy at all. Maybe 5%?

Anyway, as I said, I did order some of the light blue stretch denim. (20% stretch) It was supposed to arrive via US Mail on Saturday. But Friday, as I was headed out to go buy groceries, I noticed that our mailbox had fallen down. There used to be a huge problem with mailbox vandalism in our area so we made a super vandalism resistant mailbox. It totally worked for vandalism prevention but it weighed well over 100 pounds so I couldn’t put it back up by myself. We decided to buy a new, lighter weight but still sturdy mailbox to replace the old Superbox but didn’t have time to put it up until Saturday afternoon so we didn’t get any mail Friday or Saturday. This is not a big deal. I wouldn’t have got around to doing anything with the denim for several days or possibly a week or two anyway but still… I was expecting it on Saturday.

Saturday I went to a local quilt show. That should be fun, right? Well, it was nice. I did enjoy seeing all the gorgeous quilts. But there were two things that partially spoiled it for me. First of all, it seemed like I was the only person there who didn’t know anyone else and I felt alone, left out, and a little like I didn’t belong there. There was one woman there who started a conversation with me but she saw someone she knew and abandoned me mid-sentence. I can understand that. I really can. When you see a friend in a public place you don’t want to let her get away without talking to her, but still, it sort of made me feel like I was still that little girl who was only good enough to talk to if there was no one else around.

The other thing… I’ll be honest, a big reason why I even went to the quilt show was that a local quilt shop that I’ve been to a couple of times said on their Facebook page that if you stop by their booth at the show you could get a 25% off coupon for their store. 25% off? That’s huge! Well, I stopped by their booth and I didn’t see any coupons. The person attending the booth was talking to someone and I didn’t want to interrupt so I walked around a bit more and came back and she was still talking. I hung around for a bit and finally gave up and left without a coupon. It’s just as well. I certainly don’t need any more quilting cotton and yet I’ll probably buy some from eQuilter pretty soon because they have several fabrics that I’m finding particularly irresistible right now. But you see, this was a multi-level disappointment. Thursday I went to visit my brother for a while and I refrained from going to the the quilt shop over there in his town because I knew I was going to get a 25% off coupon from this quilt shop over here. And I like the selection of fabrics at Sager Creek Quilts better. (I don’t like their website and have never ordered from it because their images are too small and I can hardly see what I’m getting.)

The people who work at the local quilt shop are all very nice and one lady in particular is especially friendly and always seems so happy to see me, it makes it a pleasure to go there. Without the coupon as an excuse though, I probably won’t go there at least until next spring. Sager Creek Quilts, while they have a better fabric selection, the guy who is usually working there when I go there (I think he is the owner or is married to the owner) is sort of dour and reserved. Not really unfriendly but not fun and makes me a little uncomfortable to try to talk to him so it’s usually all business when I go there. It’s almost an hour and a half away so I probably won’t go there again anytime soon either.

Finally, to top off this less than fun weekend, my granddaughter was sick yesterday. She was supposed to have her 1st birthday party. I wasn’t excited about the party itself. There would have been a bunch of people there I didn’t know or barely know but I’m disappointed for her sake and sorry she’s not feeling well.

So that was my weekend. I’m actually glad it’s Monday but I’m a little nervous, wondering what else can happen.

Quotes From Here and There

Because of the way our brains work, something rare and exotic is much scarier than something that’s familiar.here

I would be irresistible to the ladies if only I had bright blue inflatable throat sacs…there

… it’s “only drudgery if you’re reading it for school.”here

…we are constantly barraged with health claims in popular culture, and evidence based medicine is the science of how we know what does good, and what does harm. Every popular claim is an opportunity to learn about the relative merits and downsides of randomised trials, systematic reviews, cohort studies, laboratory work, and more.there

She Who Hesitates Doesn’t Get the Fabric

I have been looking for some stretch denim that is actually noticeably stretchy for ages. I found some black denim and made an amazingly comfortable (if not exactly fashionable) pair of jeans but no one ever has any faded blue stretch denim. But finally I found it! [rays of heavenly light, angels singing] Girl Charlee, which very helpfully gives the percent of stretch, had two nice stretch denims: one, a “light indigo blue” and the other one “antique indigo”. I really wanted the antique indigo but I waited several hours trying to decide whether I wanted to get some of the light blue also or only the antique indigo. I decided to get only the antique indigo but when I went to order it they only had one yard left! (Oh the humanity!)

Naturally, I was devastated but I ordered some of the light indigo denim. I will keep checking. Maybe someday they will get some more? I have one big complaint against Girl Charlee. They are one of those online fabric retailers that only sell in whole yard increments. I am sure that this contributed to my not getting the fabric I wanted. How many of the people who ordered the antique denim had to order more than they actually wanted? 3 yards instead of 2 1/2 yards, for example. Perhaps there would have been enough left for me if other people hadn’t been forced to buy more than they needed. I have learned my lesson though. Never hesitate to buy fabric.

Dreaming

Okay, I do have something to say about that after all.

Yesterday I linked to this article, 10 Interesting Facts About Lucid Dreaming, and a commenter, Ken, said he was surprised that I didn’t have anything personal to say about the subject. Actually, I bookmarked that article a long time ago with the intention of saying something about it but I could never think of more than a short paragraph, a couple of sentences at most, and I thought, “No one likes dream posts anyway,” so I finally decided to just link to it. But…

I do usually, at some point in my dreams, realize that I am dreaming. When I was a kid I learned to wake myself up when I was having a bad dream but I have never controlled what was happening in my dreams. Most of my dreams now days are pretty cool – like my own personal sci-fi movies. I once had about a dozen or so Klingons over for dinner but most are more original and really weird and I often wake up wondering, “How did my silly brain manage to come up with that?”

Besides the “sci-fi” dreams I sometimes dream about houses, usually like we are looking at a house to move into. The last time we did that in real life was almost 19 years ago but we spent six months at it and it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago so maybe that’s why it has stuck with me. It has been a while since I had one of those but I actually had one last night. This one was a little different. Someone wanted us to “house-sit” for them while they were away and the house was huge and luxurious and had awesome closets. One was so big it even had a clothes conveyor. The whole dream was mostly about the closets, which makes sense because lately I have been desperately wishing for bigger closets.

A couple of things about my dreams that might or might not be a little odd: 1, I almost always dream in color. I don’t think that’s so strange because of I’ve heard a lot of other people say they dream in color but I used to hear and read that “most people” don’t. 2, I often see and read words in my dreams, usually on signs or product labels but sometimes books. I have read a number of times that one way you can tell if you’re dreaming is that words are all jumbled and unreadable but that’s not true for me. Sometimes they start out sort of indistinct somehow but I can stare at them and make them clear enough to read.

Today Is Not Columbus Day

Yesterday was Columbus Day – the traditional day that is. When I was a kid Columbus day was really just like any other day, just like it is now. We still had to go to school if it was on a weekday but we got to do something different like color a picture of three wooden ships or maybe watch a film. It was used as a teaching opportunity but most of the stuff we were taught back then was wrong.

Now Columbus Day is just a Monday off for government employees and a day when I have to remember that I don’t need to go get the mail. For the perpetually offended it is another excuse to take offense and to post holier-than-thou rants on the Internet. And it is a somewhat problematic day. Columbus didn’t even know that he discovered anything – he was even wrong about the size of the Earth – and his voyage and landfall led to a lot of bad history as well as the good that those of my generation were taught in school.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Columbus Day just went away. Oh, I would be a little sad but I would get over it in about five minutes. The worst thing about getting rid of Columbus Day would be having to listen to the uproar from those traditionalists who are more vocal and political than I am. But seriously, when you think of all the great people in history who do not have their own special day, is Columbus really any more deserving of his own day? There is no Benjamin Franklin Day or Thomas Jefferson Day. There is no Ferdinand Magellan day, no Nikola Tesla Day or Thomas Edison Day, no George Washington Carver Day, no Neil Armstrong Day. The list of explorers, inventors and statesmen for whom there is no special day could go on and on. There are not enough days in the year.

So why Columbus? Well, he was significant for what his accomplishment ultimately led to even if he had no idea. The Vikings discovered America long before Columbus but they only stayed for a while and then left the continent as they had found it. After Columbus, Europeans just kept coming and coming and coming. For good or ill, the voyages of Columbus were the beginning of something that changed the world as nothing else ever has. So maybe that does deserve a day. Maybe it should even be a much bigger day. But this has been talked to death already. Maybe a better question would be, “Do government employees really deserve a day off that most other people don’t get?”

Random Linkage

Alexander Alland – Brief post about the photographer of “hyphenated Americans”

Emergent – Just headlines, true, false, or unconfirmed

Scrambled Eggs and Serifs – A history of typeface names

Fun With Oxygen – Chemistry is kinda fascinating, don’t you think?

Six Singing Sci-Fi characters

31 Useful Gadgets That Might Even Change Your Life – I don’t think any of these would change your life but there are a few useful ones, a few fun ones, and a few that might make you say, “Huh? What?”

Old Book Smell

Stain Solutions – Useful

They Wrote That?! Halloween Tales From Classic Authors – A very short list. I have read A Rose For Emily.

People Named Hitler – I have wondered about this. I always assumed most would have changed their names.

A bunch of cute comics

Historical Sass – a great collection of photos

Space Colony Art From the 70’s – I have seen a couple of these before.

Curious Places – I love this!

Endless Geyser of Awesome – Another really neat blog

Quotes From Here and There

Of all the pro-education stuff our parents did, that may have been the subtlest but one of the most important: if you don’t know something, don’t just shrug and go “meh,” go find out.here

And while all partner abuse is unacceptable, it is especially problematic when domestic abusers are literally the people that battered and abused women are supposed to call for help.there

It’s all about the avoidance of catastrophe.here

The cumulus cloud of apathy has formed above our heads and is raining down a waste of time upon us; an absolute downpour.there

Showing Off the Sewing, Worthy or Not

For a couple of weeks I was feeling uninspired and didn’t know what I wanted to sew so I decided it would be a good time to sew something boring and practical: a denim skirt. I know you can’t see the whole skirt – not a very good way to show it off – but in the pictures it looked a lot longer than it actually is so I cropped off the bottom of the picture. It’s actually about mid-calf length. (I would rather have taken these outside because the flash does me no favors but the neighbors are putting a new roof on their house and I could just imagine them saying, “What’s that crazy lady doing over there taking pictures of herself?”) Anyway, here it is:

I made the blouse about three or four years ago. It’s a Kwik Sew 3511. I never go tucked in because that emphasizes the granny gut. (which I’ve had all my life and I hate it now as much as ever but somehow it is a bit of a relief to be old enough to refer to it as a “granny gut”) I really like the way the whole outfit looks.

Here’s a detail pic. (The color of the denim is more accurate in the first picture.) I’m not happy with the buttons but I wanted to get it done and not go on a long frustrating search for “exactly the right buttons” so I just used a couple of leftover 5/8 inch shirt buttons I had, thinking, “I can always replace them with some nice ones later,” but I probably won’t bother.

And the pocket with the hidden opening. I’m always very afraid to show the insides of anything I sew. This is really a leap for me so be kind. (Yes, those are hand stitched buttonholes. Because I can. And it’s fun.) (I did not make the quilt.)

And finally, a less “dressed up” look with the skirt and a top I made a couple of months ago. I didn’t show off the top when I first made it because I felt like it was a FAIL. The fabric, a cotton/rayon blend knit, is sort of twisty and it made the hem uneven, but I sort of like it anyway.

I am now back in a sewing mood and want to make 10 things at once. I just finished a blouse this morning. It has long sleeves so I’m going to wait until the temperature drops a little before wearing/showing off that one. I am getting ready to start a rain poncho, which I will need soon. After that more long sleeved shirts, I think. I have some plaids that I am eager to get into.

Infinite Directions

A week or three ago there was a brief conversation on Facebook about fantasy and science fiction. Someone said something about not liking the direction that a lot of modern fantasy is going. I responded, saying that I don’t read a lot of fantasy but that the same was true of me and science fiction. But then, later, I thought, “Why did I say that? Is that really true?” I was thinking of some of the near future sci-fi and “hard” sci-fi (No FTL) that I’ve seen in recent years and which critics seem to be saying is “the future of science fiction,” the direction it’s going, and some of that is really good, but more often I’d rather just read some good old fashioned space opera. Damn the scientific plausibility and just entertain me!

If you ignore the critics and the hard “SF” nerds and really look at what’s out there, you see that there are books to take you in any direction you want to go. One of the first authors I thought of when I was rethinking my comment on Facebook was Neal Asher. Definitely original, what you could call “a new direction”, and yet, at their heart, his stories are good, old fashioned space opera, with strange planets, weird aliens, and FTL to get you there in less than one lifetime.

Independent and self published books are becoming more common. I have mentioned a few of these before: A Door to Truth by J.S. Johnson and The Last Revolution by R.T. Carpenter, to name just two. These authors have been inspired by the same books, movies and TV shows many of us have loved and they have their own original ideas so you get some really good stories (in spite of the fact that some of these authors really need to improve their proofreading skills) that might never have made it into print if they had been stuck trying to get past the traditional gatekeepers.

But what I really wanted to talk about is the book I just finished reading and one that I am eagerly anticipating. Let’s start with the one I just finished: Space Chronicles: The Last Human War by Dean Sault. The story begins some 300(?) years after Earth was completely destroyed in a war between several interstellar empires. The surviving few thousand humans are living in benevolent slavery on the planet Tanarac. The Heptari, a reptilian race, have apparently just discovered that there are still a few humans left alive and want to kill them all. Or at least they’re using that as an excuse to attack Tanarac. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot so I’ll just say, if you like space ships and especially epic battles between space ships you must read this book.

I have two more sci-fi novels and a non-fiction book (no wait… two of those also) in the queue, plus all those classics that I’m going to read someday, and I’m not sure what I will read next. But the big important one that I’m waiting on – and I have to wait until November for it – is Stardancer. I have been reading Kelly Sedinger’s blog, Byzantium’s Shores, since 2002, I think, and I have read some of the short stories he has posted there, and I think I know something of his taste in fiction, so I know this will be good. I’m going to try to time my reading to be done and ready for Stardancer when it comes out but if I’m in the middle of something at that time I will likely drop it to read Stardancer immediately. I don’t seem to be very good at reading two books at once. I usually end up dropping one even if I don’t intend to.

And He Sings Too

I had heard that Mike Rowe sang opera but I hadn’t heard the whole story before.

And here’s how you sing The Star Spangled Banner if you can’t hit the high notes.

Random Thoughts, Observations, and Complaints

To whom it may concern: When you are turning, please move all the way over into the turn lane. (if there is one) Don’t slow down to two miles per hour with two wheels in the turn lane and two in the regular traffic lane. We can make an exception for 18 wheelers but anyone with four wheels or fewer… no excuses.

Dear Mother Nature: Are you drunk? Have you been doing drugs? It’s October! Not that I really mind 85°F. I’m a warm weather kind of person. I just worry that you might try to make up for all this nice weather a couple of months from now with several weeks of -10° and a foot of snow, or worse, half an inch of ice. Please don’t do that.

Chocolate flavored cereal is always a little disappointing to me. It seems like an awesome idea but it’s never quite good enough. That said, Fiber One 80 Calorie Chocolate cereal is not bad and 80 calories per serving? That’s almost kinda like a little miracle. (This is not an advertisement. If it had been an advertisement I would have used the word “awesome” again.)

October? OMG! It’s October! I need to start the online Christmas shopping already or at least start thinking about what to get everyone. (And there’s a very important birthday in the family in less than two weeks!)

Speaking of early Christmas shopping, Lowe’s had their Christmas decorations out already in September! Way, way too early. At least wait until after Halloween. Halloween decorations are nice too.

Though I haven’t mentioned it lately, I have been sewing. I’m actually working on several things. I usually never work on multiple projects at the same time. It just makes me feel more like I’m not getting things done. Anyway, I might get around to showing off something tomorrow. Or Friday. Or someday.