Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Friday!

Not a lot to talk about today. I've become unbelievably boring due to trying to find a computer that I can afford. I found a fabulous one on ebay yesterday and bid on it, and it disappeared overnight! So, I looked around and found another one that's almost as good to bid on today. This one has hardly been used and comes with discs for all the original software (i.e., just the OS) and the manuals, not to mention a leather case!

The one I'm probably going to get is not a netbook. It's just a smidge bigger, so the keyboard is 95% of full size, so it's actually useful for typing. You can see more about it here. One of the big advantages of this model is that it was popular very recently, but it's at the stage where a lot of people are buying new ones and want to sell their old ones. There are quite a few of them on ebay, along with replacement batteries, keyboards, power cords, etc.

As with netbooks, it doesn't have a CD/DVD drive because of lack of space, but it does have 2 USB outlets, good for plugging a USB keychain drive, and a place to plug in SD cards. Since my camera also takes an SD card, I can transfer photos easily, or use it to add a drive with no hassle.

It also has not only wifi, it also has bluetooth, and reader comments have mentioned that it syncs easily with their bluetooth phone. Which means that I'll be able to be on the internet anywhere if I have my phone with me.

I'm sure you're tired of this by now, so I'll go on to something else.


The yarn for the Christmas present arrived today, and I love it! Knit Picks is the best! I was all set to take some photos and show off here, and then I remembered that Holly reminded me that the person I'm making the present for reads my blog, so, no photos for you!

I barely got my order off to Knit Picks, and then I found out that they just came out with a brand new set of Options interchangeable needles. These are called Zephyr, and they're acrylic. They look (in the photos) like they're either translucent or clear, probably clear. Now I just have to order a set of tips to see how I like them. They're on sale for about $45 for a set, which is a big discount!

I ordered a set of Harmony tips to try them out, and there were a few things I didn't like. First of all, in spite of the fact that many people think the colors are pretty, I think they're ugly. The individual colors would be pretty if they were a solid color, but no, they're stripes. The colors also make it difficult to see what you're doing while trying to count stitches. One of them also disassembled itself while I was knitting with it, and dropped about 50 stitches in a complicated lace pattern! Yes, I know that you can reglue them, but that's a known problem, and I don't see anything happening to prevent it in the first place. Yes, I know that many people are in love with the Options Harmony needles, but I don't happen to be one of them.

I suspect the Zephyrs might have the same problem with separation from the connector, but we'll have to see. I think that there's a big chance that I could like these. If nothing else, they should be airplane safe! They also mention that some of the the smaller size needles are not totally rigid, which might make them easier on the hands.


Holly finally got up the courage to go to the dentist yesterday. I wish she'd done it sooner. By waiting, it means she's lost a tooth, and not under good circumstances. It involved the words "bone graft" in the description of what was done, which didn't strike me as a good omen. We had a discussion yesterday via text messaging due to her not being able to talk. She's going to have to have the tooth replaced, similarly to the tooth problem I'm currently having, which I hope to get fixed soon, if the county gets funding for it's dental health program.


It's a usual Friday night on TV tonight. Reruns of Ghost Whisperer, and a new Eureka!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


In my last post, I said several things about the future that did not come to pass.


I was looking at the wrong day when I said what would be on TV. It was not, in reality shown on Monday night, but on Tuesday night.

And I intended to put up something biographical yesterday. But I seem to be suffering from terminal shyness.

Also, computer problems.

When I got my iMac, it was a present from a friend, and it was not brand new. The keyboard would sometimes type two letters when I hit a key only once. The mouse would sometimes jump to a totally different location on the screen just as I was pressing the mouse button.

Now, it periodically locks one key on, and just keeps typing the same key. The key isn't stuck down. I don't know what's wrong with it, but it's an occasional challenge.

And the mouse has gone from a mild annoyance to almost impossible to deal with. I'm using the keyboard for scrolling and stuff as much as possible. It quit working at all (once in a while) until it was unplugged and replugged in months ago. Then that happened with increasing frequency. Now it's to a point where I have to unplug it and replug it in each time I want to point and click. Sometimes I have to replug to point and then again to click.

If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's because of input problems.

I am taking steps to replace the keyboard, and, more urgently, the mouse. I'm amazed at how expensive replacements are, though.


I was amazed that I got some feedback from the last post!

The supernova I provided a link for is 190,000 light years away. Without thinking about it, it seemed like it would be a long time until we could possibly have any effects from this. But when I actually stopped and thought about it, it seems like it must've happened 190,000 years ago since we can see it. So, the question is, how fast are these effects traveling? If they were traveling at light speed, they'd already be here. The next question is, will there be any noticeable effects here on earth?

The article didn't answer either of these questions.

There is a link on the article, which will take you here. They didn't answer the questions, either, but the article has some incredible photos of supernovas. There's an article here about the birth of a different supernova. The photo above is Kepler's Supernova, and you can find out more about it, and other supernovas here.


I talked to John yesterday, via instant messaging chat, and he sent me some of the photos that he'd taken at Comic Con.

This first one is of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jamie Kennedy signing autographs.

The next one is of one of the power girls at the con. John said that there were many, many power girls, and I think there's a whole page of power girls that were just at SD Comic Con, but John said that he particularly liked this one, both for her costume, and for choosing a costume that was perfect for her body type.

Unfortunatly, he didn't get the name of this lovely lady. If you know who she is, give us a shout. We'd love to credit her with having such great taste.

And we have yet another mystery photo. John swears that the person on the left is "somebody famous," and is sure he knows who the person is, but is suffering brain freeze. And I can't say that I am any better at the "name the famous person" game. So, if you know who this is, let me know in the comments, and you'll be putting up a credit for the photo.


There's a thunderstorm getting ready to strike, and I want to get off the computer right away, so I'm going to stop posting now.

Have a great evening and don't miss Leverage!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chicken Soup

The apartment I live in is really a joy in so many ways. One of the good things about it is that each apartment is isolated from all the others.

The walls are fireproof and soundproof. We have regular fire alarm tests and have all been given instruction on what to do in case of fire: stay in your apartment and keep the door closed, and wait for someone to escort you safely from the building if it's necessary. The walls are fireproof, and if your apartment isn't on fire, it's safest to stay there.

I was worried that my TV would be too loud and bother others, but I was told I could turn it up as loud as I wanted, and nobody in another apartment would hear it. The sound does escape a bit under the door to the hall, but not through the walls.

And I think the space under the door is responsible for the wonderful smell in my apartment right now.

Somebody is making chicken soup! And it smells heavenly! I'm not really hungry, but the smell is, like popcorn, one of my favorite smells. I have a large cache of canned chicken soup left from the last time I had a real apartment that I haven't exhausted yet, and I suspect that I've already decided what to have for dinner.


I've mentioned a few times that I'm on Twitter, and that there's a widget in the sidebar where you can read updates in between blogs, but today I found out about something I hadn't heard of at all: Plurk. I've joined (I'm lostarts--hi!), but I'm still trying to figure it out.

Twitter doesn't give you a lot of help, and neither does Plurk. Twitter has lots of supporting sites that tell you how it works, though. Maybe Plurk does, too. I'll have to check.


John went to SD Comic Con over the weekend, and took lots of photos. He sent one of them to me via phone without any caption or explaination, and here it is:

I keep thinking I should know who that is with him, but at this point, I haven't got a clue.

Anyway he said that there will be more photos. I'm not sure if they'll be on his blog, or if he's going to send them to me, but I can't wait.


Well, I'm about to plunge into knitting for Christmas. I placed a Knit Picks order today for yarn for a Christmas present for one of my granddaughters. I don't think she reads my blog, so I can probably show photos when the yarn arrives, and even update photos of how it's going.

I have also started on knitting Christmas stockings to sell in my Etsy shop. I'll keep you updated on that, too.


Well, tonight we have a rerun of Medium on, and, on ABC Family, Bridge to Terabithia. I know, that's a children's movie, but it's a good fantasy story, too.


I'm thinking about doing something biographical one day a week, and I plan to start it tomorrow, so brace yourself. It'll probably start slow, and (hopefully), pick up speed as time goes on.

In the meantime, have a great evening!



Breaking News!

There has been a Supernova in a neighboring galaxy, and the shock wave is headed straight for us!

Brace for impact!

It's only 190,000 light years from earth!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Comic Con Is Winding Down

Children of Earth has already started on BBC in America and will run all day until it's done, followed by the new Doctor Who episode, Planet of the Dead!

Last night was the first showing of Being Human, too. They're the science fiction channel this week!

Speaking of being a science fiction channel, there's been yet another article about the name change from SciFi to SyFy. I wish they had thought about imagining greater and improved the programming rather than just changing the name.


Report from John at the front lines at San Diego Comic Con:

Hi! Wish you wuz here ;) Humid and sweating...and crowded, but cool in other ways! Would call but too loud to hear. Bye!

I wish I could be there, too!

There's not a lot happening around here other than that. Check on twitter or in the sidebar for updates of the aftermath of Comic Con.

Have a great weekend, even if you're not at Comic Con!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oracular Orb

I don't know if any of you know about Neil Gaiman, but he's a fabulous, award winning writer.

He first came to my attention for writing the Sandman comic books. These are fabulous stories with a mythical quality that are top-notch writing. I love them. He's written way too much for me to go into it all here, so click the link to find out more.

Anyway, He has a blog, and on that blog is his Oracular Orb, which is a "serious instrument of divination."

Click the link above to experience the orb yourself. Instructions (which are hilarious) are included. Make sure you follow the directions, or it will tell you you're doing it wrong! I'm going to put a link to it in the sidebar so that you can find it in the future.

If you happen to have a G1 phone through T-mobile, you can get this as an app for your phone. If you install it on the phone, you have to actually shake the phone to make it work. I love it on my G1!

If you follow the tweets in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter, I frequently retweet things that he's put up there, or you can use it find him on there and follow him directly.

Whatever you do, find out more about him if you don't know about him already.


Tonight, Children of Earth continues with the excitement unabated! Don't miss it on BBC in America.

Oh, and there's a new Burn Notice on tonight as well.

They're both scheduled at the same time, but they both repeat later, so you don't have to miss one or the other. If you don't want to stay up late, choose Children of Earth to watch, and catch Burn Notice sometime later in the week.


I spent most of the time that I usually do on a post by typing up the instructions to my comfortable socks. I want to wait until tomorrow to proof it, and it still needs photos. But it will be up soon.

In the meantime, have fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Steve Canyon News!

Check out the new post on John's Steve Canyon blog! As usual, John has lots of Steve Canyon news, but he also has a bit about me, too.

John will be going to the San Diego Comic Con tonight and this Sunday, so if you see him there, say "Hello!" and ask about Steve Canyon! Copies of the DVDs will be available to buy at the con.

There's Wi-Fi there, and he'll have his laptop with him, so he'll be Tweeting while he's there, and his tweets will be available in the sidebar tonight and Sunday, along with interesting tweets from others at the con. I'm so excited about all of this!


Today, before packing to leave for the con, I had a chance to talk to John, and he had just talked to some people at the Smithsonian, and was excited about some stuff on the internet about some of the Star Trek models. You can read these two articles here and here. John was lucky enough to get to see the model before it was displayed, while it was still stored in the old red brick museum building. This was the building where they originally hung Bevo Howard's biplane, the one that I got to stand next to and touch at the air show in Charleston on Armed Forces day in 1963.


Today is Day Three of Children of Earth. It's been so good so far. I want to say a billion things about it, but I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'm totally frustrated about it. It's fabulous, though!

There's one thing I can tell you about without it being too spoilery. As is usual with these things, they kill Jack. I'm sure you're not surprised. But they do it so thoroughly that he comes back without the clothes that he was wearing. When interviewed about it, Eve Myles said "There was the Barrowman, wearing handcuffs and a bit of dust." She also said "I had nightmares for weeks. It was horrific!" Then she giggled "And I want to see some more!"

So, if you missed Jack in the altogether, you can see him tonight in the rerun of Day Two before they go on to show Day Three, or you can see the whole series rerun in sequence on Sunday on BBC in America. Check your local listings! Oh, and the DVD will be available on Tuesday (click the link above).


This is a short post today because I'm not feeling especially well. Nothing serious, just really ragged.

I hope you're feeling better than I am. Have fun with Children of Earth tonight!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eclipse Tomorrow!

Here's information specific to tomorrow's solar eclipse. It's got way more precise and specific info than I can put up here, including where it can be seen in totality, and exact times. A less technical article is here.

But if you just want to know how it works, check it out here. This article is quite interesting. I thought I knew how eclipses work, and in a very general sense, I did. But there's a lot more to know. There's more than one kind of eclipse. The one tomorrow is a total eclipse, and may have something to do with the fact that the moon is currently (today) at perigee, or at it's lowest altitude.

Our moon is in an elliptical orbit. That means that sometimes it is closer to earth's surface, and further away at other times. When it's closer, it has a greater ability to block the sun. When it's further away (at apogee) it has a smaller apparent size (just as anything further away looks smaller), and cannot fully cover the sun as seen from the earth.

One of the things that tomorrow's eclipse, combined with the perigee means for us here on earth is that the moon will be at it's lowest, which means higher tides than usual, but in addition to that, it will be lined up with the sun, creating an even greater gravitational pull than just the perigee alone would cause. The combined gravitational effects of these two celestial bodies will mean exceptionally high and low tides, and will increase the possibility of extreme meteorological effects and also raise the probability of seismic events.

So, be on the lookout for these possible side effects from the eclipse.

As for viewing, it won't be visible in the United States, or anywhere in the Americas, or even Europe or Australia, really. It will be happening in the general area of Asia. You can see much more detail from that first link. You will also be able to see it on NASA TV! Scroll down in the article for more TV viewing information, and don't forget to check your local schedules to be sure of times.

This photo is of earth during a total eclipse. It was taken from the International Space Station 230 miles above earth, during a total solar eclipse at about 4:50 a.m. CST Wednesday, March 29, 2006.

I am in total awe of this photo. I've never seen anything like it.


It seems strange to talk about anything as mundane as television after all this, but here goes.

Children of Earth will be continuing on BBC in America tonight with the second episode (called Day Two) of the miniseries. For anyone who missed it last night, they'll be rerunning Day One tonight right before Day Two, so you can catch up.

For anyone who really misses out, they'll be rerunning all the science fiction shows they're showing this week on Sunday. That's right! You can spend all of Sunday glued to BBC in America and see all of Children of Earth, the Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead, and the first episode of Being Human! I love BBC in America!


I'm sorry there hasn't been much in the way of knitting new lately, but Knit Picks has been having a sale on books, and I bought a copy of Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, two circular needles, and two balls of sock yarn. So, I've been knitting my old standby comfortable socks on two needles. They're plain and ordinary looking, but they are comfortable. These plain socks are giving me a chance to try knitting them on two circular needles, a technique I've never tried before. There are a couple of things in the book that I haven't tried yet, but so far, there isn't anything that isn't just plain common sense. In fact, I wonder why she bothered to write a book about it at all. The toe for toe-up socks is ingenious, and something that would become a stand-by for me if I were going to knit toe-up socks. But I doubt that that will ever happen unless I can find a way to make a good heel in that direction.

The instructions for standard heel-flap heels is always written correctly. The heel flap should be as long as it is wide. But you can tell by the photos of socks made from these patterns that nobody ever does them that way (except the Yarn Harlot). The whole reason I like hand knit socks is that the heel is longer, which means you don't have to pull them up all the time! But you can see clearly from photos of socks made from these patterns that from the side, the heel flap looks square. Since you're looking at it from the side, though, that means that the heel flap was stopped when it was half-way to where it should've been stopped.

All of the heels I've read instructions for that are knit in the toe-up direction are short, like the heels made wrong from the top-down. In short, I don't like any of the toe-up heels I've read directions for so far.

My daughter's father has diabetes, and she tried some socks made specifically for foot problems on his recommendation, and loved them. She said they're the most comfortable socks she's ever worn.

The features of these socks is that they are snug around the ankle and foot to keep down swelling, and to keep them from rubbing in your shoes. But the toes are looser and less restrictive to let your toes be happy.

Anyway, I took her description of what was so wonderful about these socks, and wrote a pattern of my own for them. And she's right. They are comfortable. They don't look like anything special, though.

Real soon now, I'll write up the instructions for these socks and publish them on my blog with a link to the pattern in the sidebar where I have the links to my other patterns.

Please note that there are lots of links in the sidebar to free patterns, some written by me, and some from other people. I hope you haven't been missing out on that.

In the meantime, enjoy Children of Earth, and the eclipse!

Monday, July 20, 2009

40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing!

40 years ago we became a space faring race.

The moon landing took us that one giant leap into our future as space travelers.

We became a race of people who were able to actually leave the planet where they had been born!

What a mind boggling concept!

We also got a new perspective by being able to see ourselves from space. In some ways, that may be the most telling result for us from an emotional standpoint.

You can read more about the moon landing here, and also the efforts that lead up to it here.

I feel like I'm being a downer, but as a race, what has happened to us? We had our heads in the clouds, and were doing unimaginably wonderful things in making progress as a race of intelligent beings who were growing up. I expected great things from humans.

But 40 years later, here we are, having taken that one glorious step forward, now sitting and squabbling over how little everyone has. We seem to have completely forgotten about the glory and progress that is our birthright, if only we would embrace it.

When I started to write this, I planned an entirely different message. A message about how exhilarated it made me feel. The pride of accomplishment I felt as a part of a race of beings who had pulled ourselves up out of the mud, and gone traveling! This was the first step into a glorious future.

But then it never happened.

Sure, we're putting up satellites to provide some creature comforts, and NASA keeps trying to make some progress, but we seem to be so wrapped up in our own comfort and selfish needs that we've lost the spirit of adventure, and we're well on our way to wrecking the environment on our own planet, both ecological and in other material ways.

The biggest loss is in the spirit of exploration and adventure.

And that's where the wealth of the future lies.

I only hope that we grow up enough to realize that before it's too late!

Outer space exploration has made so many of our everyday conveniences possible. Read a description of a book called Inventions from Outer Space. An excerpt of the description reads:

I was amazed at the breadth of the technological applications of some of the inventions. They ranged from athletic footwear to water filters to sewage purification using hyacinths; from special swimsuits that resist drag to keyboards for the handicapped to a g-force protection bed; from dichroic glass used in jewelry to ergonomic seats; from urban planning to body scanning diagnostics. X-ray technology developed for the lunar probes and mars landers are now used in the hospitals for diagnostic imaging, and ocular scanners are a direct by-product of lunar imaging systems. Infrared satellites are also being used remotely for archaeological purposes on Earth. There was also mention of the development of a self-healing computer...

If we fail to continue our outward exploration, we'll be failing the whole human race.

We need to get inspired all over again!


Don't forget! Children of Earth will start tonight on BBC in America.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm on the Internet!

The article about me is finally up on the internet, and you can read it here. Doug added some great photos, and video. John sent him the photo above. I didn't know he had a copy of it.

Yeah, that's me on the Suzuki 550. As you can tell, it was taken a while ago. After that bike, I had a Suzuki enduro, and then later a Yamaha RD 400 cafe racer, which was a real trip.

Here's more about Bevo Howard, too.

I am just speechless at how well that blog post turned out.

Read it! It's exciting!

Meet John Ellis!

There's a post up on My Star Trek Scrapbook that features some art by my friend John at the end.

They did an earlier post on him, and it's a bit more representative.

I've been watching for these posts for a while and missed them, but I didn't want you to miss them. He gave them some other art that hasn't appeared yet, so I think there will be more about him soon.

And there's another post I put up within the last hour right behind this one.

We Have a New Element!

Well, it seems I was confused about something, and that is the definition of an element.

People learn to talk by listening to people talk. Babies listen to their parents and others who happen to be nearby, and eventually add meaning to the sounds they hear so that they understand what is being said.

In school, when they tell you about a new word, they give you a written or spoken definition. But after using words for a while, they acquire nuances in our minds, subtle shadings of the original definition, until we'd be hard put to define the words without using the same word.

One of those words for me is element.

I know that at one point in time someone defined this word for me, but somehow along the way, my personal definition of this word went something like this: A substance that is a basic, pure chemical substance, such as helium, hydrogen, oxygen, iron, copper, silver, gold, etc. Pure silver is an element, sterling silver is a compound, an alloy made mainly of silver, but also containing other elements to make the silver harder, thus making it practical for jewelry.

But they are adding a new element to the periodic table, and the new element is made by combining other elements, which is where I begin to be confused. This new element is made by fusing zinc and lead. The fusing part is where I begin to lose it.

So far, they've made a whole atom of it on two different occasions, for a total of two atoms. I know when you get this high on the periodic table that atoms start to be unstable, and it stands to reason that you don't want to get too much of it together in one spot or you'll precipitate an explosion. But two? Two atoms who haven't even been introduced to each other? And one only lasted "an instant." It seems a little skimpy to me.

But I'm guessing that, being scientists, they know what they're doing. And they've finally proposed a name for this new element, Copernicium.


For you science fiction fen, you should be aware that the fabulous SF roller coaster ride is beginning today on BBC in America. At three this afternoon (here), they will be showing reruns of five Doctor Who episodes to get us in the mood for what's coming up this week.

There are two episodes from the first season of the new Who: the two-parter, The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. The Empty Child is one of the most frequently cited as scary in the list of new Who episodes. It's chief feature is that it's the first episode where we run into Captain Jack Harkness, and he's a lovable rogue and con man, traveling in time.

The next three are from the third season finale, and are Utopia, The Sound of Drums, and The Last Time Lord, which also involve Jack.

In my opinion, they should have just continued to the end of season one with Boom Town, Bad Wolf, and The Parting of the Ways. The last two explain how Jack came to be (for all intents and purposes) immortal. Rose also wears a scarf in Boom Town that I would love to copy. It's beautiful!

So, they're getting us in the mood for the new Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead, which will be shown next Sunday, but they're also getting us ready for the big news this week, Children of Earth, which is a five-part story that will be shown every evening this week starting on Monday, preceded by an inside look at the hub. Each day's new episode will be shown after a recap of the previous day's show. In the spoiler-free reviews I've read, each one of the five parts has left their audience jumping up and down and screaming at the end, so expect this to be something you'll get involved with.

Not letting us up for a moment this week, the BBC is following Torchwood with Being Human. This is the premier of a new series about three "flatmates" who happen to be a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost. I haven't seen this one, but I have heard good things about it.

As if all this weren't enough, it will be followed on Sunday by the new Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead. What can I say? It's Doctor Who! What's not to like?

There's another Merlin on NBC tonight. I'm beginning to think of this as something someone from another planet wrote after hearing the Arthur story, but couldn't remember it right and didn't know much about Arthur's era. Once you do that, and stop looking at all the things they got wrong, it's an OK series. The original story contains enough scope that they could have done this and made it historically accurate as well as true to the legend. I suppose that part of my problem is that shows like Doctor Who and Torchwood have lead me to expect intelligence from the BBC, and sometimes that expectation is misplaced.


Holly and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince yesterday.

It was far better than I could have hoped for! With a few relatively minor quibbles, I loved it!

The quibbles involve the fact that it would be impossible to fit the whole book into a movie. I knew that going in, and I knew they were going to have to cut a lot of it. There is one quiddich game, and the rest got cut. But the teams do have some neat new uniforms. I want a quiddich robe like theirs!

As expected, a lot got cut, but what's left is far more of the book than I ever thought they could cram into a movie. And it's wonderful!

Order of the Phoenix had so much cut out of it that it wasn't even a coherent story anymore. If you hadn't read the movie, I'm sure it didn't even make sense. But I think Half Blood Prince stands alone. You can see it without having to have read the books first, and it will still be a coherent story.

There is one scene that was made up of whole cloth, and came out of left field. It also could have ramifications for the next movie, but I won't spoil it here.

The bottom line is: you should go and see it if you haven't already.

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Netbook Jones

Within the space of this week so far, several things have changed for me.

These things have only changed in my head so far, but that's the most important place to start.

The first of those things is that I was reading the Drex Files, which is a science fiction blog (see my post from earlier in the week). Anyway, he did a blog post about the Steve Canyon DVDs I've been working on. I made a comment on a later post about something in a Steve Canyon strip, and he asked me to write about myself for his blog: my experiences in the Air Force, and also my experiences with science fiction fandom and friend of John Ellis. What that means is that there's a lot to write about.

I told him that he wouldn't get it all at once.

Anyway, earlier this week I sent him some photos: two newspaper articles about me, two sketches that I did, and a photo of John and Holly and I. Then, I sent the text for the "Adventures of Jo in the Air Force" article. It was rather long, and I told him he could cut whatever he wanted.

It was still long, even though I left out the time I was back late from leave during basic training and wound up climbing over the fence and getting back on base illegally so that I wouldn't be late, and a lot of other amusing stories, such as stopping the stock car races at the airport at Walterborough Airport so we could land and watch the races.

I still have to write the story of my misadventures with John.

And all this got me thinking about the next article and writing in general. About a year and a half ago, I decided to write a book. Actually, I decided to write several books. I even started writing them. But somewhere along the way, I stopped.

I think it's time to get back to writing.

In the meantime, earlier this week, my poor old original iMac (you remember the big old original ones?) started telling me it can't contact some internet sites. It still works well for editing photos, page layout, drawing, doing Steve Canyon DVD covers, etc. I don't have to upgrade it to have it be a very useful tool.

But I can see that it's the beginning of the end for it on the internet.

Yes, I upgraded my browser. I can't upgrade my operating system, because a newer OS just won't work with the processor in the Mac. And the newer browser is the newest that will work with my OS.

So, it's about to become obsolete for anything on the internet. Not now, not tomorrow, but real soon now.

I had been thinking I'd like to have a small notebook computer for writing and accessing the internet.

Then yesterday I read Crazy Aunt Purl's blog.

Crazy Aunt Purl is Laurie Perry, who has a wildly popular and usually very funny blog. She also wrote Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair. And one of her favorite things to do is travel. She most recently went to Ireland. She also sometimes posts about really neat products that she's found.

Anyway, yesterday, she put up this post. If you scroll partway down, you'll see the cutest little computer ever. There's a link to Amazon in her post. You can also see it here, and there's an upgraded version with more features for not much more money here. And if you plan to travel anytime soon, she has a batch of tips in this post.

When I first looked at it, I didn't think it was real. I thought "Wow! That's a really BIG glass of whatever she's drinking!" Then I looked at the passport in the photo, and decided that it is really that tiny. And when I checked on Amazon, I found out that I could actually get one for about $250, including shipping! The upgraded version is better, and is available for more like $300.

I'm in love!

I wrote to Laurie, and she was nice enough to write back with a long, detailed letter about netbook computers, which is a whole different thing from laptops. She recommended a Mac Book. Well, I'd like one, too, but the netbooks are about a third the price. The difference in price is the difference in getting one in the foreseeable future, and getting one someday, maybe.

She pointed out the keyboard is really small and that she wouldn't like to do a lot of typing on it, and maybe I'd like one of the newer, slightly larger netbooks better, and sent me a link to this Acer netbook. I have to say (from the standpoint of an artist) that the fact that it's blue is a big emotional factor in it's favor. Scroll down in the description and see how pretty it is.

The theory that the keyboard is larger may not be completely true, though. It's about an inch wider, but the Eee has a keyboard that goes as close to the edge as possible. The Acer has at least a half inch on either side of the keyboard, so I don't think the keyboard is really noticeably bigger. And I'm really biased toward the Eee because the buttons next to the touchpad wrap around the front and are intended to be hit with your thumbs, which is how I always try to use a touchpad. But a review of the Acer says that you can tap the touchpad instead of using the buttons which is probably how I would wind up using it. Decisions, decisions.

I'll keep you up to date on further developments.

I'll quit boring you with this now, and we can get back to our regularly scheduled post.


I'm so sorry about saying that Eureka was on the other day. It was actually Warehouse 13, which is good enough that John said he hoped it would remain on the air. I was in the middle of writing my Air Force article, and wrote "Warehouse 13" and then turned on the digital TV guide, and it said Eureka (they were rerunning the last two week's episodes right before the new Warehouse 13), and thought "Eureka is on Tuesdays. What's wrong with me?" Well, it was on Tuesdays, but it just changed to Friday the week before, and my subconscious hadn't caught up. Anyway mea culpa.

Anyway, and all-new Leverage was on last night on TNT, and it was wonderful! I hope you caught it, but if you didn't, it'll be on again sometime before next week.

Tonight, we have The Listener, and The Mentalist, a new Burn Notice, and later, Doctor Who on SyFy, this week, The Stolen Earth, the second part of the three-part finale from last season. Check it out, its so good!

I have a lot to do, so I'll see you tomorrow! Have fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

Yes, today is Bastille Day, and I hope all of you are enjoying it immensely!

I have had the privilege of actually being in France on Bastille Day, and of actually seeing the Bastille (not on Bastille Day, though).

Do click on the link above and find out more about it.


I've been writing a lot about science fiction and a selection of other things, and promising some knitting info, and finally, here it is.

One thing I'm starting to do (in an effort to raise some money) is knitting Christmas stockings to sell on Etsy. What could be a better Christmas present for someone who you haven't a clue what to get. Most people don't actually have a Christmas stocking, and these will be shiny! Literally shiny! And you don't have to worry if it'll fit! Unless you want to put a really big present in it.

Here's the beginning of the first stocking that I'm making for sale. All of the yarn that will be used is/will be shiny in some way except for the yarn right around the edge at the top. I suspect that part will get more wear, and the non-shiny yarn will be sturdier. The fuzzy yarn is even shiny. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't show it well. I'm going to have to find a good way to photograph this that will show off the glitz.

I got some yarn on sale a few years ago from WalMart that was called Red Heart Holiday Yarn, and I really like it. But there is a very small selection of colors to choose from. Since then, I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Until about a week ago. JoAnn Fabrics sent me an ad, and not only do they have it, but it's on sale! I was so excited! Until I clicked on the ad, and found out that they have "upgraded" their website, and now all I get are error messages.

I fumed and worried about this for a few days, and even upgraded my browser, which didn't work.

Then, Sunday night, I woke up out of a sound sleep with a great plan for how to make my own holiday yarn! I don't have a spinning wheel for nothing!

So, you've blown it, JoAnn Fabrics! I would've bought a batch of yarn from you, but now I have a better idea, and you've lost the sale. By upgrading your website, you've said to me (very clearly) that you don't need or want my business. I may (or may not) stop in to the store, but you can forget about me as a customer for your website! Good bye!

I have a few projects going at the moment, and one of them is a vest.

Remember the variegated yarn I bought to make a scarf? Well, I came across a copy of The Knitting Experience: Book 3 in the Library, and borrowed it. I love this book!

It's the natural extension of the two previous Knitting Experience books, and it's got so much neat stuff that I've never seen anywhere else. It has instructions for knitting back backward and purling back backward. Yes! You don't have to turn your work if you're doing something with fairly short rows that's simple! And it shows Kitchner stitch for garter stitch! There are so many gems in this book that I really want a copy.

So, anyway, there was a sweater in the book that's done in tweed stitch with two rows of one color alternated with two rows of variegated yarn. If you choose yarns with the right colors and shades to mix, it's beautiful!

Well, I didn't want a sweater, but I really need a vest, so I got just a bit more of the multicolored yarn and combined it with some navy yarn I bought to make a rug (I'll make the rug later), and started this beautiful vest.

The sweater in the photo uses the wrong side of tweed stitch for the right side of the sweater, and I like that. But I also like tweed stitch. So, since I'm making this in once piece, I can wait until I'm almost completely done to decide which side I want out. Actually, I could make this reversible if I was willing to forgo pockets. I'm not willing to do that, though. So here's a photo showing both sides of the fabric.

The right side of tweed stitch is shown on the bottom of the photo, and the right side is at the top.

The color in the multi yarn is pooling, and it's giving almost a tie-dyed effect in the finished fabric. I like it!

Here's a close-up of the right side of tweed stitch. Keep in mind that this photo is a bit washed-out, and the colors are actually stronger, more like the colors shown above.


Tonight is an all-new episode of Eureka! And we're finally going to get to see the episode of Better Off Ted that they cancelled last week. Unless, of course, they do it again. Better Off Ted was scheduled to be shown up until the last minute, and then they chose to show something else.

There's a lot of other stuff I'd like to talk about today, but I have some things I promised someone I'd do.

So, have a great evening!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shore Leave Sunday

If you've been following my Twitter posts over in the sidebar, you've had a small taste of the Shore Leave experience, and I have to say, I enjoyed it. There were rumors of who was drunk, who attracted more than half the female population of the con, the second most popular person at the con being a 'droid, who called who what, who missed out because they were at the filk sing, which guests sang karaoke, and reviews of local Chinese restaurants (traditional at cons).

It wasn't the same as being there, but if you missed it, you can catch up here. There are links to photos of Klingons and 'droids as well as people just having fun.

I'm hoping to do the same thing for Pennsic later this month.

This will be short because I want to get back to watching Harry Potter movies on ABC Family. If you're a fan, you should check it out because they're showing a large assortment of trailers for Half Blood Prince during the commercials.

While watching BBC in America last night, I found that we're going to have one really amazing week later this month, starting on the 20th! The first thing up will be Children of Earth (Torchwood), shown over 5 consecutive nights from Monday through Friday, the premier of Being Human on Saturday,  and the Premier of the Doctor Who episode, Planet of the Dead.

My DVR is having a hernia this weekend, but it'll be bleeding internally after that week!

Speaking of watching BBC in America last night, they reran the episode of Primeval that was inevitable, and that I had been waiting for: the one where a dinosaur goes to the Middle Ages and is chased by a Knight through another anomaly into the present.

I really have to go watch Harry now!

I hope you've had a great weekend!



This whole thing with Shore Leave has started me down memory lane as far as SF cons are concerned. Which led me to discover something interesting. For years, at every con I went to, there was another con-goer called Filthy Pierre. He was in evidence sitting in hallways, playing wonderful songs on a keyboard. Well, my discovery is that he has an entry in Wikipedia! Yes, everybody's friend, Filthy is immortalized in their pages!

What started me off on this is that I wanted to find out the dates and places of upcoming cons with an eye toward maybe going to some of them, and, as everyone knows, Filthy is the person to contact about that.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Well, Children of Earth, the whole-third-season/mini-series of Torchwood, has finished showing in England. Us poor Yanks have yet to see it, but you can find out more about it here, and here. It will be on BBC in America starting on the 20th of July, and will run each evening for five nights.

I wish I could comment with authority on this, but I can't because I haven't seen it yet. It sounds like it will be chilling, though.

Shore Leave, the science fiction/Star Trek convention, continues through this weekend. I can't be there, but I'll be retweeting stuff in the side bar, so check back for updates, or follow me on Twitter by clicking in the sidebar under the tweets.

ABC Family will be showing most of the Harry Potter movies all weekend. The first movie, Sorcerer's Stone  is about halfway through as I write this, so get on over there if you don't have the DVDs, or if (like me) you can't watch them because the input for DVD on your TV is broken.

Sorry there isn't some knitting input today. I'm finishing up some boring stuff that's not worthy of photos or conversation, but I'll be finishing up a neat project later today, and starting another project later today, and both of them will be photo and discussion worthy, so there will be more to see soon.

Hope you're having a great weekend, and that the weather where you are is as stunning as it is here!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Steve Canyon Review!

I've been waiting for this new review of the Steve Canyon DVDs to come out, and it's finally here! And it was worth the wait! What a great review!

I'd love to take some of the credit, and I guess I helped, having done the covers (I did the colorization of the photo above), but the real hero here is John Ellis, who wanted to do this project, and is managing to do it against great odds in the form of a failing economy. He's my hero! He let me know about all of this in a hit-and-run instant message today.

Please notice the name dropping in the form of Rick Sternbach, who designed a lot of the art for the more recent Star Trek TV series, and was co-author of Star trek, the next generation : technical manual / written and designed by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda ; with a special introduction by Gene Roddenberry. And please notice that he's the first person to comment on the blog article.

I was lucky enough to meet Rick years ago, when John and I were at MonCon doing advance publicity for the first Star Wars movie. John and I were on our way to see Forbidden Planet, and Rick said he envied me because I was going to see it for the first time. And well he might. It's an impressive movie.

The photos in this post are phenomenal, too, for any fans of Air Force hardware in the form of planes! Planes are one of my favorite things! The photos in this blog post are great!

I have to take a short break and calm down before I continue writing.


I don't know if you have noticed, but I now have Twitter posts in the sidebar, so you can get instant updates throughout the day, and during times (like yesterday) when I get distracted with other things and don't post, and days when I go to the Sheep and Wool Festival or the RenFair. The box with posts has a time-traveling slider on the right, so if you miss something, you can go back and see it. If you only check it once a day, you may miss some stuff, because I'm finding I update frequently during the day. So, now there's a reason to check this blog several times a day (or follow me on Twitter--click the link at the bottom of the Twitter box).

If you're on Twitter, it's Follow Friday, so there will be links to neat Twitterers, today, too. If you're a knitter, there are some recent links to spinning/knitting contests with some great prizes, and links to some more science fiction info, too.

One of the contests is the Berrocco Sock Competition. This sounds like fun! Click the link and check it out!

There's another contest going on for the ABC series, Castle. I know it's not SF, but it stars Nathan Fillion, who is always worth watching, even if he's not playing the captain of Serenity anymore. Check it out here and below.

As you can see, the entry deadline is soon, so you'll need to get busy!

I think there was another contest or something important that I've forgotten to tell you about, but put it up on Twitter. Check the sidebar!


I'm sure I had ten other things I wanted to say, but Eureka is on SyFy all day and the new second half of season three will premier tonight, so I want to get back to watching it.

Have a great weekend!



It's Harry Potter weekend on ABC Family starting tonight. They'll be running a batch of the movies, and in case you've forgotten, Half Blood Prince is opening on Wednesday! Only five more days to go! And the countdown timer at the bottom of the page has a link to more HP information at the bottom. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Science Fiction Review

Well, I watched Warehouse 13 last night, and felt it was the best I could have reasonably hoped for.

A series needs a lot of establishment, and this had all it needed, and got into the action right away. It will just get to be more fun as the series goes on and we get to know the characters better. Io9 says it best and at great length in this review of the first two-hour episode. I should mention that it's not a wishing lamp, but a teakettle, and it's not Pete who makes the wish. If you missed it last night, it'll be on several times during the coming week. Check it out!

As an artist, I was drawn in by the steampunk theme of the warehouse and it's contents. There's an interesting juxtaposition of modern tech and antique stuff, such as Artie's computer, which is sleek and modern, but has an old typewriter keyboard. It makes me feel better about my old iMac.

I also liked some of the references to the inventors of some of the tech. Oh and Renaissance buffs will be interested to note that this week's artifact (in the second half of the episode) was (supposedly) once owned by Lucrezia Borgia, and made by an alchemist. So there's some heavy Ren vibes, too. At least in the second half of this episode.

As you may, or may not be aware, Torchwood is currently airing it's third season mini-series in England this week. One episode of the five-part series, Children of Earth, will be shown each weeknight, starting on Monday. So two parts of the story have already been shown. Io9 has a review of it here. Since I live in Virginia, I haven't seen it, so can't really say much about it. It will be on BBC in America starting on July 20.

As many of you know, there was an episode of Dollhouse that was filmed, but never aired by Fox. Little by little, more information about this episode is leaking out. It will, or course, be on the soon-to-be-released DVD.

Io9, once again, has some information on this for all you fen who are waiting with baited breath.

You can get to see the actual episode on the DVD when it's released later this month on the 28th here:

Which leads me right into Comic Con. There will be a special, limited edition of Dollhouse available there, also later this month.

Comic Con in San Diego will be starting on the 23rd, and running through the 26th. John has plans to go, and I'm so envious! I'm going to try to get him to gather some information for you on the con. Wish I could go.

Oh, and speaking of SF Cons, someone on Twitter was talking about getting ready to go to Shore Leave, which is apparently this weekend. I'm going to have to be more alert and plan for something like this so I'll have the likelihood of possibly going.

I was just reading over the page, and Howie Weinstein's going to be there! I haven't seen him in ages. I met him at a private party also called Shore Leave in the '70s.


There has been lots of knitting going on, but not a lot that's worth photographing. There will be photos soon, though.

Sorry this post was so heavy on SF and light on knitting!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quiet Tuesday

Warehouse 13 will be on today on what used to be the SciFi Channel, but is, of today, the SyFy Channel.

Rumor has it that they paid a lot of money to change their name to something silly. They wanted to expand their possibilities, but there are so many possibilities that they haven't even begun to explore even without expanding them that I fail to see the point. Just rerunning some of the worst SF ever shown, e.g.; Chupacabra, Dark Seas; Grendel; and Beowulf is something we could have all done without. OK, I can see rerunning them once a year or something, but three times each month is a bit repetitious. 

But the premier of Warehouse 13 will be on tonight, and the concept has so much  possibility that I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and expect something earthshaking.

If you miss it the first time it's on tonight, it will be on later, and then several times later in the week. SyFy really wants to make sure that you don't miss this because of a lost opportunity, so they're showing it over and over, which is hopefully a good thing.

For those of you who don't know, I have a Twitter account, and have installed a Twitter widget over on the right hand side in the sidebar for instant updates.

Oh, and by the way, Stargate Continuum is currently on SyFy.

Lots of knitting to do, but nothing's done yet. I'll get some photos up soon, though.

Have a great evening!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I had a whole other post in mind for today, but came across some information that I think everyone should have access to in these troubled economic times. As I've said before, I don't want to call this a recession because it's really a depression. If you don't believe me, read up on what happened during the Great Depression. We're currently missing the dust bowl, but that's the only major difference between what's happening now and the Great Depression.

Anyway, I found a whole website devoted to dealing with the current depression. It's called Recession Wire, and the particular post I started with was this one, about how to deal with being laid off. Some of the information seems to apply to people who have lost a job, and anyone else who needs some extra income. Check out the link for Discounts for the Unemployed. At the bottom of the list, "Government Money for Your New Career" seems like a winner, but only contains some very general information, with no starting point for where to look, and no links to more information. 

And I just found another one of their Just-Laid-Off Checklists. This particular one is less about concrete steps you can do to make some money, and more about how to deal with the emotional impact of a lay off or being fired. And believe me, this part is every bit as important as making more money.

Each of those posts has a list of related posts at the bottom of the page, so there's a lot of information there.

If you belong to a subscription service like Google Reader, it might be worthwhile to add them to your list of blogs to read.


I don't know if I mentioned this on my blog, but there's a sweepstakes currently happening on Twitter, and today is the last day to enter (moved up from the 10th). The final prizes will be awarded tomorrow at 10 am Eastern Daylinght Savings Time (I think). They are/were giving away 10 MacBook Pros, one a day. But they made such problems for Twitter that they've decided to give all the remaining ones out tomorrow. So, if you have a Twitter account, check here for more information.

And while I'm on the topic of something for nothing, check out the Family Dollar 50 Days of Giveaways. It's possible to win a car or an extremely large screen TV as well as many more prizes. And if you enter and don't win, it makes a very sad sound.


I ended up my weekend pretty late last night after having spent most of Sunday watching movies on TV and knitting. Unfortunately for the knitting part, I noticed late in the day that I'd dropped a stitch early in the day, and it had ruuuuunnnnn! I'm a big one for fixing mistakes like that, but this was such a disaster that I wound up frogging almost everything I did yesterday and starting over almost from scratch.

The movie watching was fun, though. I saw: Live Once, Die Twice; The Avengers; and Independence Day.

Live Once, Die Twice was a good thriller to watch once. Unlike some movies that I want to see over and over, it was pretty much finished when it was over, but it was an enjoyable one-time shot.

The Avengers tried hard, but it had a lot to live up to, and just didn't manage to succeed. In the New Avengers, Joanna Lumbly wasn't Diana Rigg, but she was good, and she had Patrick MacNee to work with. But neither of the stars made me care about them or like them very much. I enjoyed the supporting cast much more than the stars, Eileen Atkins as Alice, a machine gun toting little old lady agent was the hit of the movie. And Jim Broadbent made an excellent Mother. I was especially interested in him because he'll be playing Professor Slughorn in the new Half Blood Prince movie. 

I guess Independence Day doesn't really need a review because everyone must've seen it by now.

Off the topic of movies, but still in a science fiction theme, don't forget that Warehouse 13 will be premiering on what will become (tomorrow) the SyFy Channel. This premise has the capacity for total failure or completly fabulous. I'm hoping for fabulous. And I'm prepared for a slow start. SG-1 was OK when it started, but it took a little while before it really hit it's stride. So did Babylon 5, one of the best thing that's ever been on TV. Blakes 7, however hit the ground running!

Well, my DVR is full, and I need to catch up on the knitting I flubbed yesterday, so I'm going to run.

Have a great week!



I found this great article about a newly-found black hole that's different from all the others, and I thought you might enjoy it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July Aftermath

Well, the 4th is over, but it's still the holiday weekend, and I plan to enjoy it to the very end.

Holly and I went out, did a quick errand, and had dinner together, always lots of fun. She showed me a fun new app for the G1 phones, and now my phone makes a Star Trek communicator chirp when I get a text message, and also whoops and says "Incoming transmission" when I get a phone call.

We came back to my place for fireworks. We watched fireworks on the mall in DC on TV, and also watched them live out the window. 

For a rather extended time, the fireworks in DC were so constant that it looked like fire was just raining down on DC! I have seen more sophisticated displays (and seen them in DC), but this really outdid them for sheer volume. There was no time that the sky didn't have something exploding in it.

My window showed fireworks from about seven different displays in the local area, although the ground displays weren't really visible. We did catch the finale of a very close display, though, and before it was totally dark, there was a short batch of fireworks that someone set off in the commuter's parking lot next to the apartment building.


Other than that, I call your attention to the fact that there are only 11 days until the Half Blood Prince movie opens. If you want to wear Harry Potter knits to the movie, you don't have much time left to knit/buy them!

I'm making this a short post because I want to enjoy the rest of the weekend (what's left of it) and get back to my HP knitting.

I hope you are all still having a great weekend!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope you have a wonderful, happy, safe Fourth of July weekend!

I'm taking a little vacation from all my usual topics to get into the spirit of the holiday, and just explore some neat things.

First of all, use the internet to find the best professional fireworks in your area and go see them rather than trying to set off your own.

For those of you who are curious, check here to find out how fireworks work. If you persevere through the pages, there's a table and animated display that shows you what each different  type of firework is called. I think it's the chrysanthemums that I like best. 

You can also take a founding fathers quiz, if you really know where all the founding fathers resided, but this one is more frustrating than fun.

One of the neatest things I happened to find today was an article about sand castles. You really need to click on this and see some of the things people have made!

Here's one of the castles from the article that I particularly like, but some of the others are bigger or more impressive in other ways. Notice the fence and signs in the front of the castle. I suspect this is a lot bigger than it looks without other reference points. You really want to check them out.

Happy Independence Day weekend!

Friday, July 3, 2009

More Sky Phenomena

As you may have gathered from yesterday's post, I love sonic booms. So it's not surprising that I was looking around the internet for more photos and info.

Well, I haven't found more info (so far), just more listings of essentially the same article. But one of these relistings had information about some other interesting sky phenomena, popcorn clouds (called Mammatus clouds), that've been happening lately, and here's more info about it.

Here's a photo from near sunset on the 21st of June taken from my window. Not quite popcorn clouds, but similar.

And here are some really neat, unusual clouds, taken in the last two weeks of June.

This explains why I've been seeing such amazing sunsets for the last couple of weeks. We've been having days that are quite warm, consistent with Summer weather, and that usually inspires thunderstorms with their spectacular cloud formations around sunset, and I thought that's what was causing it. But it might not be the only cause. Here's one of the recent sunsets, from the 23rd of June.

I hope you've got a great Fourth planned, and are having a wonderful weekend!