Quotes From Here and There

There’s a lot to be said for “dumb” hardware.here

Let me assure you, I’m doing my best to refrain from using expletives.there (Warning: Turn down your speakers)

Contrary to what seems to be the orthodox futurological opinion, self-aware machine intelligence will not take over the world and destroy us all.here

It was then that I really began to appreciate that in order to understand change you really have to sit still.there

And More (lazy blogging) Links

UPDATE: I have to add this one: Best! Typo! Ever! (Seems a bit questionable though. The S and the Y are nowhere near each other on the keyboard.)

Old UK Photos

Paintings by Rob Gonsalves – One of my favorite artists. I have seen some of these before but more than half of them are new to me.

Reclaimed Mines – Useful things to do with abandoned mines.

Strange and cool things found while hiking

Photoshop Your Dreams

Mid-Week Music Break

Another cold front is headed our way so how about a few minutes of spring? (To be honest, I picked this one mainly for the photos. The music is nice, nothing special, IMO.)

Random Linkage

Wondermark – Exceptionally well-drawn social commentary comics. I like this one. And this one.

Rotary Snow Plow – Scary/cool! And Train Fanatics is a pretty cool site.

Open Domesday – I was going include a link to this in my post yesterday but I forgot. It’s “the first free online copy of Domesday Book,” an 11th century census of England.

The Bayeaux Tapestry – Something else I meant to link to yesterday. Very interesting.

No Big Bang? – New origin-of-the-universe hypothesis. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere. The Big Bang has become such a firmly fixed idea.

InsectaAwesome kinetic lamps!

Millennium Falcon Quad-copter – Admit it; you want one.

13 Things – In particular, #2. I don’t want to live in Paris but if I did I would want that to be my home.

Icehenge – Beautiful!

If you’re squeamish about bugs you might want to skip this video but I hope you’ll watch it because it’s seriously awesome.

English History

It has always bothered me that I know very little of the early history of England. In U.S. public schools all we get is maybe a paragraph briefly explaining what feudalism was and a mention of the Battle of Hastings without saying why it was important. Never mind; just remember that it happened in 1066. That’s all you need to know. So, when The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris showed up in the Kindle monthly specials list I pounced on it like a kitten on a catnip-filled toy mouse.

The book covers nearly the entire 11th century and I was surprised at how much detail is actually known about this period in English history. Apparently just about everyone who could write (and that wasn’t very many people at that time) was writing a book or chronicle or something about what was happening in the world right then. Of course these writers were as likely to be biased and revisionist as political writers today but Morris compares sources – where they agree and where they disagree – and comes up with a pretty good picture of events and life in 11th century England.

I can see how a lot of people might find this period in history extremely tedious – the battles, the brother and cousin murders, the land grabs, and so on – but in this book it is well told and filled with dry humor. For example:

If we had to sum this new society up in a single word, we might describe it as feudal – but only if we were prepared for an outbreak of fainting fits among medieval historians.

I consider this book a great find and there are a couple more books by the same author that I intend to read.

Quotes From Here and There

With the stroke of a pen they had repealed every law in Arkansas.here

…throughout history, cheese has proven to be the most stolen food item in the world.there

I would have thought it difficult to keep up, not to mention boring for your partner and confusing for your children. — here

Did you know the average eight pound cat in the prime of her life can exert 1700 PSI in the flexed extensions of her feet, each of which has 96 claws apparently sharpened daily to a fine-honed razor point? Science is so much fun.there

Old Friend, New Friend

I posted this on my sewing blog yesterday.

I inherited my maternal grandmother’s treadle sewing machine when I was 18. I had done a little sewing but this is what really kick-started my sewing life. It never occurred to me to keep it just as an antique sitting in a corner, something to set plants on, or turn it into a desk or something. (sacrilege!) It’s a sewing machine! Besides that, I always liked the idea of being different, of doing something almost no one else does.

It’s not pretty. It was already old and beat-up-looking when I was a small child but it sews like a dream. I have sewn everything on it from the most delicate fabrics to some really heavyweight stuff and the things it can’t do, like buttonholes, I learned to do by hand. I am, frankly, quite proud of it and what it can do. I have never felt limited by it at all.

In all these years I have never had any desire to have a modern electric machine. Until recently. A couple of things caused me to change my mind. Last fall I was doing a blanket stitch to finish the seams on a pair of jeans. It’s a fun stitch; I always enjoy it, but, for the first time, I started thinking, “I could get this done faster if I had a modern sewing machine.”

Another thing that happened is that I got older. (Wait! Really?) When you’re in your 20s and you use a treadle sewing machine, exclusively, you might be cool and a bit of a rebel, but when you’re 50+ (No! That can’t be right! I demand a re-count!) and you use a treadle machine, exclusively, you’re just an old woman who can’t handle modern technology. So I hinted that I might like a new sewing machine for Christmas and I got this one:

I like it. It has lots of nice specialty stitches, most of which I will probably never use, and it’s almost as easy to use as the treadle machine. My original intention was to just use it for things like finishing seams and buttonholes but I have made one “outfit” (a set of knit pajamas) on it and I think I might always make knit garments entirely on this machine. The old machine sews knits just fine but it’s nice to be able to finish the seams neatly. I tried using it once to make buttonholes. I think I will probably continue to make buttonholes by hand.

I will continue to use the old machine most of the time. I’m in the middle of making a shirt on it now. But it’s nice to have the new one for certain things.

The Truth About “Superfoods”

Here’s an interesting and useful article: A Closer Look at Dr. Oz’s 15 Superfoods. You’ll notice that many of the health claims made for these foods are at least partly true. It’s just that Dr. Oz and the many other people pushing the idea of “superfoods” have turned it up to 11 when it really needs to be turned down to about 5. And, you know, that seems to be a problem with much of what you see these days both online and in the the “real world” – everything is turned up to 11.

I know that’s not exactly an original thought; everyone says that. But it just seems like it keeps getting worse. There are so many people wanting attention and yes, I want attention too. I want 1,000 page views a day and 50 comments on every post. But I can’t bring myself to turn up the drama like some people do. I’m not even sure it would work for me if I tried.

Wow, that really went off track. This was supposed to be about food. If I could get the whole world to pay attention to me – if I could have my own TV show to tell everyone what to eat – my advice could be summed up with that ancient phrase, “All things in moderation.” Some foods are better for you than others but too much of anything can be bad, so eat just a little more of the good things and less of the bad things. But who would watch a show like that?

Random Linkage

Amber and Teal – I like limited color movies but it was more fun when it was a novelty, not every other movie you see.

Encyclopedia of Pasta – Actually, it’s a pasta chart showing what all those different shapes are called.

Rescued Film – Undeveloped rolls of film from WWII.

Frozen Lake in Siberia – Beautiful and amazing! (via)

Ned Hardy – a wide variety of photos, gifs, and videos; some cute, some beautiful, some funny, some weird

Outdoor Murals – Wow. Some of these are wonderful. Favorites: San Basilio, Sicily, ETAM Cru Psychedelic Wall Mural, and the two in Philadelphia.

Quotes From Here and There

An instant Doofus award to the criminal for what Massad Ayoob terms “A sudden and acute failure of the victim selection process.”here (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

…it’s almost as if Bach didn’t so much create his music as present it, as found, from some primordial realm.”there

German slang for light bulb is “die Glühbirne,” or “the glow pear.”here

Always before in their nomadic life there had been a goal — a sanctuary of hollow tree, snug heart of bamboos — surely this terrible grind must end somehow.there

This ‘n’ That

* I’ve gone and done it! I started a sewing blog. Yeah, just what I need, another online thing to neglect but most of the sewing bloggers will not read this blog because it’s not exclusively about sewing. I might still post some sewing related stuff here.

A couple of problems already with the new blog: When I tried to create a blogroll it kept telling me to “correct the error in the form” but it didn’t tell me what error and I didn’t see anything wrong. All I know to do is try again later. The other problem is that photos I upload to Blogger appear on my phone and apparently cannot be deleted. (I took the photos with my camera, not my phone.) You know… Google has this motto, “We’re not evil” but they are into everything and everything is connected. They own Blogger now and gMail is on my phone so… Maybe this is just a sign that I’m over the hill but it’s all just a little bit creepy. Another thing is that anyone who sends mail to my gMail account appears in my contacts list on my phone so I have complete strangers in my contacts list. It tells me I can “hide” them but I can’t delete them. Good enough I suppose but I don’t want anyone in my contacts list – or any pictures – that I didn’t put there myself.

So anyway… I posted a question to the Google help forum but no one has answered yet. I guess I solve the photo problem by continuing to use Flickr instead of uploading photos to Blogger but it would be nice if everything would just do what I want it to do and not do anything I don’t want it to do.

* We are in the process of buying a new pickup. We’re getting another F150. We had our old one for over 18 years and it probably would have kept going for another 10, at least, but we thought it was time. Better to buy when there’s no urgency. That way you can tell the salesman to stuff it if he’s not being helpful. The salesman we are dealing with is very nice though, and not in that professionally “nice” salesman kind of way. He really is nice. Our truck won’t be at the dealership for about a week but they went ahead and took our trade-in and gave us a loaner to drive until our truck arrives. The loaner is a crew cab – really scary big truck. I quickly got used to it after driving it a little bit though and I can hardly wait to get ours. It’s so high tech I feel like I’m driving the starship Enterprise. Our truck will be just slightly smaller – a “super cab” which is just a little smaller than a crew cab, I think. Their terminology is a bit confusing.

Do you get emotionally attached to vehicles? Sort of like they’re one level below pets. You know… first human family members, then pets, then cars and trucks. Or maybe for some people it’s the other way around, especially here in Oklahoma. Family is just family but nothing comes between you and your dog or your truck? But anyway, 18 years is a long time to have something in your life. We’ve never had a pet that lived that long. The oldest was about 15 years I think. So it’s a little sad but I’m actually over it already. I’m thrilled about getting a new truck. It has an automatic transmission so not only am I happy, my left knee is ecstatic.

* It’s cool and windy today, after being nearly 80°F yesterday. But it’s still not bad, at least the temperature isn’t too bad – mid 40s – but I am getting very tired of the wind. For the most part I actually like Oklahoma weather. We rarely have the same kind of weather long enough to get tired of it (except maybe the heat and drought in mid to late summer) and it’s an endless source of entertainment, especially if complaining is your favorite sport.

Super Sweet Vanilla Butter Cookies (Beta Version)

I needed some cookies yesterday. Yes, needed. The grandkids were here and you absolutely need cookies when the grandkids come over. So anyway, instead of using one of the gazillion cookie recipes I have I decided to just throw some typical cookie ingredients together. (Inventing is fun and satisfying.) They turned out to be possibly the most awesome cookies ever. (With one little flaw that had nothing to do with taste)

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

I mixed all that stuff together in the usual manner (I know; I’m terrible at writing recipes.) spooned lumps of cookie dough onto cookie sheets and baked at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes. As I said, they were awesome! Everybody loved them, especially the husband. They were very sweet so if you like less sweet cookies you might want to cut the sugar to just one cup. The problem? They spread out and turned out to be extremely thin. I would post a picture but they’re all gone. So, how do I make them thicker without changing the taste or texture?

Quotes From Here and There

This clock may not be exactly “steampunk”, but it certainly tickles the dials-and-knobs delight!here (Oh my! I really do need to win Powerball.)

“A pedant or grammarian, I think, is the worst possible judge of literature—except the general public.”there

That flash of light is the first clue that the technology is too good to be true.here

Plagued by an apparently incurable case of idiot’s whimsy, yesterday I decided to perform all my household chores as though I were creating a work of art.there

Aliens and Spaceships and Bombs! Oh My!

The 5th book I have read this year is My Other Car Is a Spaceship by Mark Terence Chapman.* Present Day retired U.S. Air Force pilot Hal Nellis is kidnapped by aliens and offered the choice of either returning home to a peaceful retirement or training to pilot a starship and fighting pirates. No points for guessing which option he chooses. This book is full of action from beginning to end – lots of shooting and bombs and destruction but also an interesting plot with surprises and intrigue. Pure fun and escapism. I highly recommend it to any space opera fans out there.

* I read the Kindle edition.

Random Linkage

What Happens When You Stick Your Head Into a Particle Accelerator – Don’t try it.

Wonuts – Dear Internet, please stop showing me food. I’m trying to quit.

All That Is Interesting – A site that perfectly lives up to its name.

17 Aerial Photos

23 Solutions to “First World Problems” – a few good tips in there

The Rise of the Spider Goats – Longish article that I want to read later.

I may never eat another Cadbury Creme Egg after seeing this

ITFM – Funny and odd stuff. I like this. And this. (I’m pretty sure the gray building is in front.)