The Real Answers

For some reason – I can’t figure out why – online quizzes are fun, even though the multiple choice questions rarely give me a choice that is anything close to what my real answer would be. So, just for fun, I’m going to give my real answers to a quiz. I’m thinking I might make this a regular or semi-regular “feature”. Or I might not. You know how that goes.

This morning’s quiz is What City Should You Live In? Oh, what fun! I already know the answer to that one but let’s go.

What is the background for your ideal walk? – Woodland trails, preferably with a few hills.

Which of the following seasons do you prefer? – Summer. (Strangely, the quiz left this season out of their choices.)

Which of the following means of transport suits you the most? – Ford F150. Or whatever brand of pickup we end up with next. It’s almost time.

What kind of music describes you? – Bach

Where do you like to eat? – At home. Or at someone else’s home. Or at a nice family restaurant. I don’t care, I like variety.

What is the main quality of every town? – I can’t pick just one. I like multiple good qualities.

What kind of tourist attractions do you prefer? – Museums

Which of these hobbies could be yours? – Okay, I have to admit, shopping is a good answer or I could have picked painting if I had any talent for that sort of thing. My real hobbies: sewing, reading, and spending too much time on the Internet.

What do you like to read? – Science fiction, historical novels, and classics, but if I have to pick just one… science fiction.

What is your ideal party? – A back yard barbeque with lots of relatives.

And, my real answer to “What City Should You Live In?” – You should not live in any city. You should live far out in the country on several wooded acres but near enough to a medium-large city to drive to it once in a while.

The Cream

I keep seeing these on Facebook: 58 Luxury Master Bedroom Designs, 51 Grand Living Room Interior Designs, 124 Luxury Kitchen Designs.

Do you notice anything about these? They are undeniably gorgeous but the majority of these rooms are overwhelmingly cream, ivory, beige, or similar boring colors. The conclusion is obvious. Wealthy people are boring and have no imagination. I just don’t understand this aversion to color that so many people have. Maybe I’m just a kid at heart because these look better to me, though some are a little too modern for my taste.

Random Linkage

50 Most Hilarious Signs – Most hilarious? I’m not sure about that but some of them are pretty funny.

Animal Print Bedding – These are gorgeous! But, the thread count is quite low for the prices and no fitted sheets. They’re not even complete sets. That’s a good thing I guess. I’m no longer tempted.

Maple Glazed Salmon – a recipe

Turning Pages – Ha! Just like mom does it. Almost.

Strange History Blog – I’m sure I’ve come across this before and forgot about it. It’s worth keeping track of so hopefully this time I will.

Mars Greenhouse – Maybe.

Ocean in an Opal – Beautiful and amazing!

Fat and Furious Burger – Strange photos of hamburgers. And photos of strange hamburgers. A couple of them might be NSFW.

The Double Tree of Casorzo – Interesting.

Butterfly Tongues – I didn’t know that but it makes sense.

YouTube and Netflix Shaming ISPs – It’s a start. I’d really like to shame someone for the lack of unlimited Internet service in my area.

The Case For Crappy Passwords – Uh, no. I like this idea better:

Quotes From Here and There

Certain words do not sound right together.here

I suddenly realized there was only one thing that could have happened, and sure enough, when I looked in the drier, there it was.there

“It’s perfect clear
That I’m not really here,
For I haven’t a thought in my head.”
here

There was some anaesthesia too, so the needle sliding into the shoulder joint capsule was not too bad, but it’s wearing off now and I’d like to bite somebody.there

At any rate, preserve me from the collective unconscious. I’d prefer to be a lonely brain, rolling off-course and lost in the rough like a shanked golf ball.here

These same divas also suggest making a muslin at the very least for the bodice. Being a hard-headed sewist I did not.there
(That sounds exactly like me.)

A New Favorite

It seems like I always start these posts apologizing for the photo. This one isn’t bad but I wish it was better. The one that would have been the best was out of focus. In this one the breeze is blowing the skirt around and it’s a little far away to see details but other than that I guess it’s okay.

This is what they call a Frankenpattern – bodice from one pattern, skirt from another. I keep making this same basic shape of dress (which is probably why all the sewing bloggers ignore me) but these are the dresses that I wear the most so it makes sense to sew more of them instead of something fashionable that I wouldn’t wear as often. Overall, I’m very happy with it. It has a side zipper and it’s one of my all time worst zippers but I never re-do zippers because I figure there’s a one percent chance it will be any better after the second try and a 50-50 chance it will be worse.

The buttons are from this bag o’ buttons. This bag had a lot of one of a kind and two of a kind buttons and it turned out that there was only one of the buttons I originally had in mind to use and only two of my second choice. The only ones of which there were three were the ugliest ones, so I pouted for a while and thought about buying buttons but I finally decided to just use the ugly buttons. I quickly got used to them and now they don’t seem so bad.

As I was starting on the buttonholes I realized that, since there’s a side zipper, these buttons don’t actually need to be functional but it was too late and it’s okay. For some reason, I like that they’re real even though they don’t need to be.

The fabric is lightweight and crisp with a nice tight weave, which I find to always be the case with batik fabrics. I like batik prints but it’s the fabric itself that I love and I wish I could find traditional florals and fun novelty prints printed on the same kind of fabric but that seems to be very rare.

So, bottom line, I love this dress. It couldn’t be more perfect for hot summer days. If we ever get any of those again.

Spam of the Day

Your goal is to breed all the different dragons available to you

Well, actually, there aren’t any dragons available to me but I like the sentiment. Maybe it’s meant metaphorically. Yeah that has to be it. I must try to figure out what it means. What a way to start the day. If I got a few more like this I might almost look forward to spam.

Picking Flowers

When I was a kid I was fascinated with close-up photos of flowers, insects, and other small objects and I was frustrated that my mother’s camera and my first camera could not focus closer than about four feet. As an adult I have owned two 35mm SLRs and I’m now on my third digital camera. I love digital cameras. No worries about “wasting film”. I have hundreds of pictures of flowers. I sometimes think, “Why?” They’re just taking up space on the hard drive. I’m probably going to go through all the pictures and delete a bunch of them. “Someday.”

As to why I keep on taking pictures of flowers, a thought occurred to me as I was uploading these latest flower pictures: Taking a picture of a flower is a substitute for picking it. I get to pick flowers and leave them where they are, to live a little longer. So here are a few of the flowers I “picked” a few days ago.

Reading

I do not know J.S. Johnson, author of A Door to Truth but there is what you could call an indirect family connection. Without that connection I probably never would have read the book simply because the title does not appeal to me at all. So perhaps I shouldn’t judge a book by its title? But if you can’t judge a book by its cover and you can’t judge a book by its title how does one choose which books to read? Anyway, I am glad that I read this one. It is an interesting story.

Because of the connection I mentioned, I feel hesitant to write very much about the book. It honestly is a very good story so that’s no problem. It’s just, you know… talking about a book written by someone I could very likely end up sitting next to at a family picnic someday. This situation really lights up the “what if I say something stupid?” node in my brain.

You can read a little bit about the book in the author’s Introduction. Here there is something that bothers me and, though I am very reluctant to say anything, at the same time I have to because trying to make people understand what science fiction is is sort of a cause for me. Johnson writes:

“A Door to Truth” can be loosely defined as a science-fiction story. I’ve struggled with categorizing it from the moment I knew what I wanted to write about. The story has to be called science fiction, because it requires some science and is certainly fiction.

[...]

But it is a story of “why” vice “how,” and this is where I struggle to justify it as science fiction.

I have been reading science fiction for well over three decades and I have read hundreds of books. Science fiction is very much about “why”, far more so than “how,” though “how” certainly plays a part. So many people have this mistaken idea that science fiction is all about space ships and blasters and cartoon-style heroes and that it’s full of techno-babble. Science fiction is as much about spaceships and blasters as mainstream best sellers are about houses and furniture. Science fiction explores human nature, culture, and the “why” of things by putting people in situations that could not happen (at least not yet) in the real world. It explores possible futures and speculates about the ways people might behave in those futures. Sometimes it questions what we are doing in the present and warns about where it might lead in the future. Science fiction is an extremely broad and inclusive genre. Sometimes it’s just for fun but it is often serious and often very political.

A Door to Truth is unquestionably classic near future science fiction. And it’s good. Read it.

Random Linkage

African Art Village – Beautiful

42 Custom Kitchens – These are gorgeous. I couldn’t begin to pick a favorite. One thing I will say about all of them though is that they need more color. I will be SO glad when everyone gets over the “earth tones” thing. I mean, I know neutrals have always been popular but I can remember when you had a choice. Now you go into any home improvement store and all you see is 50 different earth tone tiles and 50 different earth tone countertops and so on.

46 Best Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes – I need to get back on Twitter and start following this guy. Love the one about the chicken and egg. Also the one about Terminator.

Classified Oops – a few unintentionally amusing ads

Roman Limestone Quarry – the interesting history of an ancient hole in the ground

The History of Autocorrect – I disagree with the statement that, “Without it, we wouldn’t be able to compose windy love letters from stadium bleachers, write novels on subway commutes, or dash off breakup texts while in line at the post office. [...] Because we know autocorrect is there as brace and cushion, we’re free to write with increased abandon, at times and in places where writing would otherwise be impossible.” Not true! Not true! Not true! The first thing I did when I got my smartphone was to turn off autocorrect.

Neuroprosthetics – Science fiction keeps on becoming fact.

Animals in the News – long list of links

Elephant Octopus – a fantastic mural

Madewell Musings – a blog I want to take a longer look at later

Martin Bailey Photography – Wonderful.

Darth Stove – Awesome!

Just Add Monsters

20 Bizarre Flavors of Food – These weird food lists are always fun. I would try some of these. Ginger ale Kit Kat. I never eat Kit Kats but that doesn’t sound so bad. (and the cheese flavored Kit Kat) Bacon flavored soda? Oh I’d have to try that just once. And jalapeño flavored ice cream? You can get that at Sonic. (chocolate jalapeno shake. No, I haven’t tried it yet)

Quotes From Here and There

Weird is a wayward wordhere

No one goes to see movies about nonviolent conflict resolution. They see movies about robot dinosaurs destroying tall buildings.there

I am 100% certain that the hacking of entertainment industry’s security features provides better entertainment for these kids than the entertainment we’re trying to prevent them from stealing. Let that sink in for a second, then try not to bust up laughing.here

This ‘n’ That

I’ve gotta get this book. Maybe. I need to somehow get other people to read it. Or is that the wrong attitude?

Interesting article about guiding the output of bees and silkworms to make art and materials. The “bee plastic”, produced by a specific species of bee found in New England, has a lot of potential. And of course we’ve all heard of spider silk from genetically engineered goats.

The idea behind I Know Where Your Cat Lives is a little bit creepy but it’s actually a fun site and I don’t see any way to search for a particular cat or even a particular country. I could get hooked on this site. This morning it keeps getting stuck on one picture from Japan that’s not even a picture of a cat. Thanks, Fillyjonk (via email) (UPDATE: By zooming and dragging the satellite view I managed to get to my local area and even find my house. (!) My cat isn’t on it.)

You’ve heard of “mommy blogs”. Well, No Idea What I’m Doing bills itself “a daddy blog.” There’s a lot of talk about poop, just like on mommy blogs, but mostly a really fun, interesting, and well-written family blog.

In Space No One Does Laundry

This is a really good article by astronaut Chris Hadfield. (Remember when everyone knew the names of all the astronauts?) 6 Ways Movies Get Space Wrong. It’s not the usual “OMG! That’s so fake!” kind of list that you might expect given the title and the website. It’s a lot of mundane little things that you probably never thought of. Except #5. I’m getting sort of tired of the “How do they go to the bathroom in space?” question. But even that one has a couple of details that I hadn’t read before.

Found on Facebook.

A Nice List

Going by this list of 12 Stupid Things Truly Nice People Don’t Do I am a nice person. Well. Oh no, I guess I just broke rule #4. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.

#8 is a particular pet peeve of mine. People who are too helpful are the most difficult people to deal with because, usually, they sincerely think they are being nice. They can’t imagine someone not wanting their help or that their “help” might actually be the opposite of help and no matter how many times you tell them you don’t want their help they just keep on helping. I call this pathologically helpful.

Random Linkage

“Average” Women Around the World – Oh, I am so below average.

Peachridge Glass – antique glass bottles

The Mystery of Blood Types – Longish article. Interesting.

CIA Style Manual – Writing tips from the CIA

Consume Consume – great photos

Bunny Food – a Tumblr devoted to silly animal pics

Cat Amusement – another clever way to entertain your cat

3-D Calligraphy

Rainbow Wasp

Fairy Sculptures – Lovely

Quotes From Here and There

Think about it—in science fiction and fantasy, isn’t invisibility a super power?here

I feel like people don’t tend to see the eighteen balls I’m successfully juggling, they only see – and point out – the one I happened to drop.there

“But nobody said we were not allowed to have points of view. The exercise of personal taste is not the same thing as imposing personal opinion.”here

I know it’s just a movie and just entertainment, but the bad things were just sooo bad I couldn’t get to my “fictional characters” place and enjoy it at all.there
(Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately?) usually when I am told a movie is “really bad” my curiosity demands that I see it, even if I had no intentions before reading the bad review. Besides, sometimes I like bad movies.)

How Lame! She’s Talking About the Weather Again

Yes, I know but seriously? This weather is amazing. It is the middle of July and it’s currently 63°F and last night one of our local meteorologists said that the temperature “might not make it up to 70°” today. Rain and a high of 69° in Oklahoma in July. It’s not unprecedented. I can remember one 4th of July cookout when we were all wearing sweaters or flannel shirts (or wishing we had brought one to wear) but still, on those rare occasions when we get summer weather like this it always feels amazing. (BTW, why does “meteorologist” not mean “one who studies meteors”?)

Aside from the unusual weather we’re having today, this summer has not been really hot hot, which is nice, but the other side of this nice weather is that every time we’ve had a pleasant summer it has been followed by a miserable winter. I would rather deal with a hot summer and a not too bad winter than have a cool summer and a horrible winter.

In other news, we picked our first tomato yesterday. I’m planning a big dinner salad with chicken and feta cheese tonight. It’s the kind of meal I normally plan for hot days. Tonight I should be serving soup of chili. But I have the tomato and I don’t want to wait. We’re not expecting another 90 degree day until next week.

Bugs!

If you hang out here a lot you might have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for bugs. Oh, I have no desire to get up close and personal with them but I do find them quite fascinating. So I had to have this fabric from eQuilter. I am in dress mode this time of year but I almost immediately knew this fabric had to be a New Look 6963. (I wish I could show you what the background color really looks like. It’s an amazing color that you just can’t see in a photo. It’s bright but not insanely bright. It’s just a really interesting color.)

NL 6963 is one of my unused patterns that I wrote about earlier this year, one that I didn’t think I would get around to using anytime soon. Surprise! It’s my new best friend. (Well, among patterns anyway) It was fast and easy to make and it is loose fitting without looking like a sack. Well… everything loose-fitting looks somewhat like a sack on me but it’s much better than my former best friend big shirt pattern. (What did I ever see in that thing?) And I love love love this shirt!

Instead of going on a long frustrating search for “the perfect buttons I picked some navy ones from my button stash. I cut some bias strips to finish the armholes and they turned out better than my usual. My only disappointment is that identical bugs ended up side by side on the front. I would prefer that they were more random.

(The pants are new also but they’re kind of awful and I’m glad you can’t see more of them in the photo.)

The Proust Questionnaire

I had never heard of the “Famous Proust Questionnaire” until I read David Bowie Answers the Famous Proust Questionnaire on Brain Pickings. The questions all seem pretty basic, the makings of a really lame blog post, but questionnaires are one of the things we bloggers do, so here goes.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? – the simple things in life

What is your most marked characteristic? – I really don’t know. You’d have to ask someone who knows me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? – My sons.

What is your greatest fear? – Losing people.

What historical figure do you most identify with? – Never thought about it. There are a number of historical figures I find interesting but “identify with”? None of them really. And, we don’t really know historical figures do we? We only know what historians tell us about them. I’m not saying that’s necessarily inaccurate but it is certainly incomplete.

Which living person do you most admire? – My husband. He can be annoying sometimes but he’s really an all around great guy.

Who are your heroes in real life? – Good writers, novelists.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? – Lack of confidence, being easily intimidated by certain kinds of people.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? – Arrogance.

What is your favorite journey? – My daily walk to the mailbox. We have a really long driveway so the walk to the mailbox and back is close to a quarter of a mile.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? – Being a “self starter”. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help getting started.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse? – Really. (But you knew that already, didn’t you?)

What is your greatest regret? – That I worked while my kids were growing up.

What is your current state of mind? – A little bored.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? – I would have the extended family (and by that I mean in-laws) get together a lot more often.

What is your most treasured possession? – At first that seems like a very tough question because I tend to “treasure” my possessions probably too much so I’m tempted to say “all of them” but when I think about it for a minute it’s actually easy: My sewing machine. It was my grandmother’s, a Singer treadle machine. It’s really beat up looking but it sews great. I have had it since I was 18 and I never have any desire to sew on anything else.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? – Not sure. I don’t think I’ve ever been there.

Where would you like to live? – Right here. A fancier house would be nice but I want it right here.

What is your favorite occupation? – Sewing. Or reading. Or just sitting on the front porch looking at my front yard, listening to the birds, etc.

What is the quality you most like in a man? – The ability to engage in an intelligent conversation.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? – The ability to engage in an intelligent conversation.

What are your favorite names? – Not sure. I like names that are interesting and uncommon but not too weird.

What is your motto? – The secret to lifelong happiness is to learn to love weeds.

Tunnels of Music

Here’s another one from an extremely fascinating series of videos. I posted the one of Flight of the Bumblebee last week. Here’s another one. It’s even more fun toward the end where it gets busier. And there are a few others: Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy.

Quotes From Here and There

And, in terms of even broader perspectives, the study brings to mind a quote from Blaise Pascal: “All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”here

Existence itself is not a hack.there

I hope that it’s not just me who thinks that having speed bumps in front of a JoAnns is funny!here

Just Move!

Another type of driver to add to my list of “Drivers I Want to Drag Out of Their Cars and Slap Really Hard”: the driver who sits in the middle of the driveway that I’m trying to turn into and furiously motions for me to “go ahead.” Seriously, people who do this, what the hell is wrong with you? You can see that I am in the turn lane, my turn signal is flashing and I am in a car not on a motorcycle therefore there is not enough room for me to turn into the driveway. What do you expect me to do? Jump the curb and drive across the grass?

People do the same thing in the grocery store. They block the aisle you’re trying to turn into and try to get you to go on. Listen people, if “being polite” inconveniences someone it is not polite.