This ‘n’ That

It’s cold. It is gorram awful horrible effing freaking fraking damn cold. Should I have used commas? My brain is frozen. It’s 10 degrees outside… no wait, 13. Fahrenheit. Inside it’s up to… wait… 70 now. Really? It feels more like 40. Five degrees warmer than it was an hour ago but I’m not feeling it. I’m feeling… cold. Have I mentioned that it is cold?

I got a new phone yesterday. Samsung Galaxy S5. Not too different from my old one, which was also a Samsung. A little bigger, has a nicer camera but I haven’t used that yet. There’s just one thing. So far. Yesterday I put the apps I use most on my home screen – just four, I think, except I can’t remember now what one of them was – and a nice wallpaper, but when I looked at it this morning my apps were gone and there were a couple of new Google icons and the upper half of the screen had a different wallpaper. I hate you AT&T. Damn fraking, intrusive, control-freak corporation! Leave my effing phone alone! It’s mine!

While I’m bitching about stuff, can anyone recommend a good hand lotion? I did have a tube of some kind of gardenia scented “body cream” I bought at Walmart. It smelled nice but that was all I could say for it so when it ran out I bought a huge pump bottle (because huge bottles were all it came in) of Nivea lotion. Oh, I forget which one and I’m not going to go look. It has almond oil in it so I thought that meant it would smell good. It does not. It also does not do what lotion is supposed to do, which is make my skin be not dry and sandpapery.

And I’m cold. Did I mention that it’s cold this morning? Awful, horrible, effing, freaking, fraking…

Random Linkage

Books and Cats – Wonderful! If this place was anywhere in the U.S. I would go out of my way to visit it.

Abandoned Hat Factories – I like the sixth picture, the one of a chart of some kind with a picture of a sewing machine in the center. Of course.

13 Weirdest Types of Jeans Ever Made – I strenuously object to at least half of these being called weird. “Mom jeans” are not weird, they are normal, no matter how many skanky teenagers make fun of them. (Although, to be honest the ones in the picture are a bit weird somehow. They don’t fit right or something.) And overalls, weird? I know someone who might have something to say about that. That said, however, there are a few in there that are definitely weird.

Russian Winter – Lovely paintings by late 19th century artist Yulius Clever

Weirdest Tattoo Ever – Okay, maybe not the weirdest – the whole concept of tattoos seems pretty weird to me – but I dare you to try not to stare at this one if you ever see it in person.

Cats, Beavers & Ducks – Great animal photos. I didn’t see any beavers or ducks but I’m sure they’re there in the archives somewhere.

20 of the Most Famous Cats on the Internet – Awwwwwww…. I loooove #8. And #4. And #12. And the rest of them.

Quotes From Here and There

…I’d still like to punch the person who said, “The reward for doing good work is the opportunity to do more work.”here

One of the nicer news stories of a few years ago that made me smile? In my parents’ town, the members of the local Jewish synagogue went to the Salvation Army and offered to do the cooking for Christmas dinner for the people at the shelter there, so the usual cooks and servers could have Christmas with their families. I also remember the quote from one of the women from the synagogue: “We had to ask a lot of advice in advance; we don’t exactly have experience preparing hams.”there (Wow!)

Sorry, that’s it this time. I haven’t been spending much time reading blogs this week. I have been trying to hurry and finish an awesome book before the next awesome book arrives, which should be today.

This could get old after a while

My grandmother had a green parakeet (budgie) when I was little. His hatching date was within a few months of my birthday. He died when we were 8 years old. He could say a few words but nothing like this little guy.

Scary People

Last night’s episode of Criminal Minds was far from being the creepiest ever but it could be pretty scary for anyone who’s active in social media. The killer, whom the media dubbed The Selfie Killer, targeted people who posted selfies online, in particular those who displayed a certain arrogance or vanity.

If you’re paranoid you might be tempted to stop posting online. I know people who are afraid of social media anyway, for this reason. You could also lock your doors and windows and never leave your house but do you want to live like that? There have always been and will always be scary, crazy people in the world but the media, merely by informing us of their existence, tends to exaggerate in our minds the likelihood of ever coming into contact with these people. Sure, it’s possible and one must be reasonably cautious, but the majority of the people in the world will live their entire lives without ever coming into contact with or being affected in any way by a serial killer and it is no more reasonable to avoid all social media than it is to lock yourself in your house and never go out.

The best defense against crimes motivated by envy or revenge is to adhere to what has been the standard of behavior since long before the Internet existed. Be courteous, be humble, (not self-effacing because that’s annoying and always comes across as fake) do not make fun of or harshly criticize people, not even nameless people such as “anyone who likes Twilight or “people who don’t know the difference between your and you’re (I know… that’s really really hard) and only post pictures that you would be proud to show your grandmother. (Oh, and never, ever tell people on the Internet where you live.)

Yes, I know, I know… “freedom.” But I think we were actually more free when our concept of freedom did not include the freedom to be mean to each other. I never claim to be perfect or above anyone else. Believe me I know the temptation to give people a piece of my mind, to tell people how stupid they are, to preach at people (I guess that’s what I’m doing right now, isn’t it?) and it’s so easy to do on the Internet. But wouldn’t the world be a nicer, maybe even a bit safer, place if everyone (or at least most people) would just be nice?

Space Mission Coverage, European Style

I tuned in to watch the Rosetta comet landing on NASA-TV but I did not see it. Apparently NASA-TV picked up a British broadcast. I was immediately struck by how different it was from typical American coverage of big events. There was a female anchor interviewing people then they switched to a view of the mission control center and all commentary stopped. At first I thought how refreshing it was compared with American TV with anchors and commentators constantly talking regardless of whether or not they have anything to say. It would have been even better if they had actually shown the comet landing.

I expected that they would alternate between views from the probe and views of mission control but they continued to show nothing but mission control with nothing very interesting (to the average viewer) going on – just people doing their jobs and waiting while the suits stood on one side of the room watching. I thought that when it got close to the time for the actual landing they would switch to that. But no. Suddenly everyone in the control room cheered and then they switched over to an auditorium where VIPs were making speeches. After about 15 minutes of that I gave up and turned off the TV. I suppose I’ll get to see some pictures eventually but I was looking forward to seeing it live.

There was probably a live stream of it online but we have limited Internet service out here in the sticks and “streaming” often includes as much buffering as actual streaming. Besides, why have a 50 inch HDTV if you can’t watch live space landings on it?

Mid-Week Music Break

The obscure work that I had in mind for this today is not on Youtube :-( so, something else, something better actually.

I have been really loving Andras Schiff’s recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas #’s 19, 20, 9, 10, 11. Well, I couldn’t find one of those either except for the Lecture-Recital videos. (That’s the way my day is going so far.) So I just picked something off the first page of search results. Honestly, I like this less than any of the aforementioned sonatas but hey, it’s Beethoven.

Live Long, Be Smart, With Science!

A couple of interesting studies. Of course, I know nothing Earth shaking will ever come of these. The frustrating thing for a layperson who is interested in scientific developments is that we read about an “exciting new discovery” and then it just quickly fades away. Nothing happens. Don’t blame science though. It’s science journalism that repeatedly leads us on and then disappoints us. But anyway…

First of all, a very limited study (only 88 patients) found that meditation alters cells. The participants were all cancer patients but it would interesting to see a broader study. Also, perhaps, other studies to see if other relaxing activities have a similar effect. Maybe just taking time to sit still away from electronic distractions for a few minutes every day could be as good as actual controlled meditation? Anyway, it couldn’t hurt, right?

In an unrelated study, scientists at Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that makes people stupid. Oh, this opens up opportunity for all kinds of snarky remarks, but I will limit myself to, “Well that explains a lot!” It’s interesting though, to think that they might someday be able to come up with a vaccine against stupidity. (or at least one cause of stupidity) Just think how the anti-vaccine people (as well as, possibly, some other groups) would react to that. “This is going too far! How dare they try to change the way our brains work! Everyone has the right to be stupid!”

Random Linkage

Cure for Drunks – Oh wow.

Ghost Town For Sale – a lovely place

e-Residency – hmmm… Interesting.

Touchscreen Landscapes – Oooo! Oooo! I wanna play with it!

Awesome Photo Collection – Wow. Really, just… wow.

17 Stupidest Facebook Statuses Ever – OMG! Really? #’s 11, 12, and 15… wow. #14 isn’t really stupid, just a funny misunderstanding.

Fallstreak Hole – Rare cloud formation. I think I’ve seen one of these before.

Contemporary Dance Cats – I’m thinking Photoshop but I don’t care; these are neat.

Distractify – Lots of great, distracting stuff.

Flowering Potholes – okaaaaaaay?

Quotes From Here and There

Also: the older I get, the creepier J. Peterman marketing copy gets. Is this happening to anyone else?here

Of course this entire narrative is utter nonsense from beginning to end, but that never stopped a good story.there

…but every sour review was met by the ringing of cash registers.here

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief.there

The Sentimental Brown Gingham Western Shirt

Oops. I was certain I was standing completely in the shade when I took these pictures. Oh well, this one isn’t too bad. (Stop explaining and apologizing for bad photos, Lynn)

This might seem a bit strange and contradictory, given that I am highly attracted to bright colors and I often lament the fact that so many people are “afraid of color,” but I actually do like brown. It might be at least partly because my mother said I look good in brown. It’s not like she always dressed me in brown when I was little though. I have been picking out my own fabric since I was old enough to point. But anyway, I don’t want to be always surrounded by it like in my dull brown living room but for clothes I like brown as well as all those crazy bright colors and sweet girly colors that I wear so much of the time.

I was in the little quilt shop in a nearby town and saw that they had some really nice quilting weight gingham in about a dozen or so colors, including this brown and I got an Idea! I don’t usually wear anything western styled, not because I dislike it exactly, but more because I don’t want to be mistaken for someone who is into the whole country and western sub-culture. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; it’s just not me. However, in developing one’s own personal style it’s useful to dip into various different cultures and styles… Oh screw it. I don’t have a “personal style”. I just get lots of different ideas and I make them and wear them.

To make this shirt I used the body of New Look 6078 because it fits really nicely (except for one part which I’ll get to in a minute) and I like the curve of the hem – not too much, just right – and I used the sleeves, front band and collar from McCall’s 4922 and I drafted the front and back yoke from scratch. (very simple, actually) I was a little worried that I would have a lot of trouble making the collar fit because it’s a very different kind of collar from the one in the New Look pattern but it went together perfectly. In fact everything about it worked out beautifully. I’m really, extremely happy with the way it turned out. The only thing that is not quite perfect is that it’s a wee bit snug around the hips. I could probably get an extra half inch if I picked apart the side seams and darts and re-sewed them but I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble. It’s not like the buttons are about to pop off or anything like that.

Here’s the back view.

And a close-up of the buttons. I suppose an “authentic” western shirt would have snaps but I love these buttons and I wasn’t trying to be authentic. I just now noticed, looking at the picture, that they are a little off center on the band. Dammit! I guess I should have made vertical buttonholes but horizontal ones are less likely to come unbuttoned if you accidentally make them slightly too big.

This ‘n’ That

Winter is here. Yes, I know, I know. It won’t be officially winter for more than a month, but when it’s below freezing when I get up in the morning – or even below 45°F – it’s winter!

I don’t know if there’s a name for this particular universal law of life but there should be: If you state anywhere on the Internet that you plan to finish a project by a certain date you will not finished it by that date. I did not finish it by the next day and I did not finish it by the middle of this week. So I’m not going to say that I only have to sew the buttons on and I will definitely finish it today. No, I did not say that, will not say that.

Yikes! It’s November. I need to start Christmas shopping already. I have lots of time even for online shopping but I usually start in October, “just in case” something is back ordered or out of stock for the rest of the year and I have to think of something else. I have bought one gift so far and I have two more ideas. That’s it. And there are also two birthdays in our family in December. People, plan ahead. Don’t have babies in December. Or the first week of January.

I can’t remember if I’ve linked to this or not. Found it in my bookmarks. 25 Strange Superstitions From Around the World. It amuses me that Tuesday, not Friday, the 13th is unlucky in Spain and the number 4 is unlucky in China.

[sigh] I have way too many bookmarks. But I will get around to visiting all those sites again eventually. I will! Stop laughing.

Mid-Week Music Break

By the 1980s I had mostly stopped paying attention to popular music. The decline (that’s how I think of it) actually started in the mid-70s. I can remember a brief conversation with a high school friend in late ’75 or early ’76 about the music that year not being as good as the previous two years. It got even worse (from my point of view) after I graduated from high school. It was hugely disappointing that the genre that had been so soul stirring just a few years earlier was becoming increasingly blah. I eventually switched to classical music and found all the excitement I had been missing and more but that would not be for a few years yet.

Throughout the ’80s I kept listening to the same radio station and by “listening” I mean “having the radio on but not really listening,” but there were a very few songs in that decade that did get my attention. This was one of them. I hadn’t even thought about it in well over a decade and then I heard a bit of it on a TV commercial.

Like many songs I could never understand the lyrics except for a few lines that stand out. The lyrics are included on the Youtube page for this video. I’m still not sure what this song is about but it’s still fun.

World’s Silliest Shoes?

I put a question mark in the title because I know that if I declare something “The Silliest” it will be only a short time until I see something even sillier because that’s just the way things work. But these… Wow. I saw the shoes in the last two photos on Facebook. Those are hideous and creepy and… and… Well… words fail me.

But what about the others? I think the snake shoes are the most wearable but of course I wouldn’t wear them.

I like these shoes much better (second photo also first seen on Facebook) though I probably wouldn’t wear those either, only because of the likelihood that I would take two steps and do a face-plant.

I Want My Extra Hour

I like Daylight Saving Time but it has come to an end, as it does every year. Every fall you hear people saying that we will get an extra hour of sleep because we turn the clocks back. Well, it doesn’t work that way for me. I always wake up between 6:00 and 6:30. Sunday morning I woke up just before 6:30, like normal, except it wasn’t 6:30; it was 5:30. I was fine all day, didn’t feel tired because I had woke up at what felt like the normal time. I didn’t feel any need to go to bed “early” so I went to bed at the correct time to get used to Standard Time. No problem. Except, all day yesterday I really felt like I had missed an hour of sleep. I usually cannot sleep in so, yeah, I missed an hour of sleep instead of getting an extra hour.

Wait! What?

OMG! Just when you think the Internet can’t get any crazier someone invents blue waffles. I first saw this image on Facebook.

This made my day, it did. It’s always nice to have a really good laugh first thing in the morning.

Actually, it’s possible that some organic waffles might be blue, if they were made with organic blue corn, but then some organic waffles are just regular waffle color. It has nothing whatever to do with “bleaching agents in Roundup”.

What this meme is really all about is to get you to Google “blue waffles” and take my advice when I tell you that you really DO NOT want to do that. (At least not at work)

Quotes From Here and There

Advertising agencies understand that you can sell a product by making it a solution to an imaginary fear. “Better safe than sorry” sells a lot of widgets.here

Often, movie-makers are not even aware that real science is often more amazing than the lame made-up ideas they come up with.there

… “you don’t necessarily need to get in the middle of some big dramatic fight at school, but just saying “Hi” to someone in the hallways or sitting with someone who sits alone at lunch can literally change their life.”here

…I had trouble finding a reputable source to confirm this nickname. I add this note in the interest of full disclosure, though I will retain the possible pseudo-nickname in the title on the basis of the sheer creepiness of the photo.there

Garlic is anti-bad-stuff. Viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites, cancer, and vampires all hate garlic.here

The execution could have been better but I like the idea.there (I love that first picture!)

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.