Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday Was Fun!

Yesterday was really fun!

Holly and I stopped at Michaels first. They have finally gotten in all that Spring yarn that they started to promise last January! Some of it is nice, too. I just wonder how they've stayed in business since January. I haven't been checking all the departments in the store, but I have to say that the yarn department has had a lot of bare space in it for at least four months, most of it with signs telling people that the wonderful Spring yarns are coming. Spring projects should have been finished around March or April, so I'm a little confused about it.

We went on to the T-Mobile store, where they gave me a song and dance about the balance of the money having been applied to my bill. It would have been nice if I had known that, though. I have to go through my bills now and make sure that the money actually was applied to my bill. I don't think it was, but I could be wrong.

We also went to WalMart, and then to Ruby Tuesday, where we had fun talking, as usual.

Before she left, Holly modeled the new Hermione hat I made for the Harry Potter House Cup KAL/CAL. I found out that I ordered more than a generous amount of yarn for the hat, I ordered enough for two of them, and I finished the second one last night. I'm now thinking about making matching mitts.


And a side view.


While we were there, Holly was playing with my camera and took this photo of me. I'm really getting to look old!


Well, the Harry Potter movies are on ABC Family today, plus my DVR is almost filled, so I'm going to get back to watching fun stuff on TV!

I hope you've had as much fun this weekend as I have!

Friday, May 29, 2009

USA, Canada and the EU attempt to kill treaty to protect blind people's access to written material

Neil Gaiman has a post up on Twitter about this, which is how I found out about it. 

He says he's on the side of the blind people. 

So am I! 

Read about it here. So far, I've only read the article. I keep thinking there must be more to this than is in the article. I'll be doing more research, and I thought you might like to, too.

Why would anyone want to block the access of blind and disabled people to the books that you and I can buy?

Anyway, you can write to President Obama at this email address: comments@whitehouse.gov

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I mentioned friends who've got a lot of financial problems yesterday. They're stuck, like a lot of us, with agreements made before the bottom dropped out (like a mortgage and car payment) while having an ever-decreasing income to deal with it. This not only includes them, but a number of otherwise unadoptable animals that they've given shelter to. They have a nonprofit status as an animal shelter, and all donations are tax deductable.

If you can help, use the donate money button in the sidebar, and mention that it's for my friends, and I'll pass it along.

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It just doesn't seem like Friday anymore without Dollhouse and Ghost Whisperer!

But on Sunday, there will be a dragon thing on SciFi starting with Dragonheart and followed by Dragon Sword, both excellent movies to watch with kids. Unfortunately, they'll be moving on to Grendel, one of the most awful movies ever made.

Have a great weekend!

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Addition:

I was corrected when I sent an email to the above email address. There is now a contact form here. Please use that instead.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stupidity!

The universe is going out of it's way today to show me how many stupid people there are in this world. Some of the examples are just dumb and even funny, but some verge on fraud and medical malpractice.

I was just watching TV via Comcast.

First of all, who in the world at ABC came up with the idea that it would be absolutely spellbinding to watch a spelling bee? It's right up there with golf for excitement and thrills! They could have started rerunning Ugly Betty, but no, they apparently think the public is really committed to watching children spell difficult words.

Anyway, they get to the commercial, and there are national commercials which Comcast blocks out so that they can show local commercials that they get paid for. They keep telling me they don't, but this is an example of how they actually do.

So a commercial starts out for the new movie Up. You hear a knock at the door, and see an old man walk to the door and look through the spyhole in the door. Here they change to another commercial, and you see a beautiful young woman getting dressed! 

I'm sure that the humor was inadvertent. Due to their high rate of messing up, this must have been entirely accidental. This is actually the least obnoxious mistake that Comcast has made in its entire history.

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I got a bill from T-Mobile that I needed to get straightened out. The first problem is that I had a program on my old Sidekick 3 phone which had a $1.99 per month charge. I bought a new G1 phone from them on 26 Feb 09, so the charge should have stopped, effective that date. The bill testifies that the charge not only was not stopped and that they still want me to pay for it, but it also says that they want me to pay for this "service" that I'm not actually getting, THREE TIMES EACH MONTH! So, I called them to get it straightened out. They promised me that it would be fixed, but they promised that for the future, not right now. It has to go to the billing department to be fixed.

So, I'm still slightly annoyed that although they promised it will be fixed, it currently isn't.

Then I go on to ask questions about the billing for my new phone, and discover that although I wrote a check for $102.99 (and they got paid $102.99), the person in the store (who apparently can't read or count) reported to T-Mobile that I paid $68 instead. Now I have to go over there and yell in the store. I'm really not happy with this. It said the amount on the check. I told her the amount of the check. And she was still stupid enough (or larcenous enough) to write down $68!

So, now my only recourse is to spend money and time to go over there on the bus and prove to them that they have an error. And if I go on the bus, I'm going to be in serious pain by the time I get home! I am past anger and into rage over this!

My bad temper from all this was helped along by the fact that I'm having to fill out all sorts of forms about my financial situation for a couple of government agencies, with the attendant frustration over questions that don't really explain what they're asking, coupled with all the fun of looking up all the paperwork to prove the information I've put on the forms.

But then I get a call from my daughter, Holly. Her blood pressure is dangerously low because an incompetent doctor has taken someone with a perfectly acceptable blood pressure and convinced her that she has high blood pressure and should take medicine for it. The result is that here blood pressure is now so low that she can't stand up without feeling faint.

I hate doctors that just want to sell drugs! I run across them all the time! There was an idiot (apparently the word  "endocrinologist" is synonymous with "moron") at the VA hospital in DC who wanted to prescribe a drug that nearly killed me the first and last time I took it. He was really determined, too. He kept insisting that it couldn't have possibly have caused what it did, even though the labeling carries a warning that it can do that! He seemed to want to kill me just so that he could sell some drugs, which is especially weird because the government would have been paying for them. Everything that fool wanted to prescribe was injurious to me! So, after a trip all the way to DC, I still had to go see another doctor if I wanted to avoid death, because he absolutely refused to prescribe anything that wouldn't cause harm to me.

Which is reminding me of another idiot doctor at the VA who looked in my ear and pronounced it healthy. It's NOT, and I'm thinking that rather than going over there and giving back the hearing aids, I think I'll go over there and try to get some actual help, for a change.

As if my mood wasn't bad enough after all this, I talked to a friend who has been desperately trying to hang on through this depression that they're calling a recession, and he's losing the battle. 

They plan to turn off his electricity tomorrow, his girlfriend's car was just repossessed, and the bank has been telling him that they're renegotiating the mortgage and there's nothing to worry about, he won't lose the house, but they're also telling him that they're about to foreclose. I wish I could help, but I'm in nearly as bad shape as he is.

I'm at a point where I want to hit something!

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ABC will be having a show on Friday evening entitled Un-Broke: What You Need to Know About Money. With any luck, it'll be more helpful than the stupid thing that was on last week, where they showed you how to save a but of money on things that were already outrageously expensive.

But there's some good news:

Pushing Daisies will be on ABC on Saturday evening! Obviously, it's a rerun (because it's been canceled),  but Pushing Daisies is always worth watching. Check your schedules and find the wacky pie-maker with a supernatural ability, his dead girlfriend, and their friend, the knitting detective!

I hope you've been having a better day than I have!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Thought I Had Nothing to Say, but It Turns Out that there's Lots!

I started out thinking that I had nothing to say today, but it turns out I was wrong.

The fog colored yarn (Merino Style) from Knit Picks came yesterday, and last night I cast on for a copy of Hermione's grey hat. So far, I've gotten four inches of it done, and will probably finish it tonight unless I run into a snag. I'm designing it as I go along, so there are no guarantees.

This is how far I've gotten:


This is what it looks like in the only photo I've been able to find:


I wish they'd shown the top of the hat. I originally just assumed that it all came together at the top like hats like that usually do. The thought struck me today that from what I can see, it's possible it's got a pom pom on top! But, of course, there's no way to tell!

The lace holes will look bigger when it's actually on someone's head, and the 1x1 rib will look more like the photo when it's stretched out.

I have to say that I absolutely love Merino Style! It may be just the most wonderful yarn available that you don't have to spin yourself. And it's not expensive, either. If this turns out well, I'll publish the instructions! I'm writing them down as I go along.

Yes, I know there are instruction on Ravelry, but that one was intended for a child, and I don't think it matches the photo as well as I'd like. Plus I'm writing this to fit an adult, namely, me. Actually, it's not impossible that there will be enough yarn left over to make another one. I ordered more than I thought it would take. 

We'll see.

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Terry Gilliam is doing a new movie called The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus! If you click here, you can scroll down the page and find some information about it.

It sounds amazing!

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I ran across information about a new series coming over from England. It'll be on BBC in America, of course, and it's called Being Human. Click on the link and read the article. I think I'm going to love it!

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Timeline will be on the SciFi Channel tomorrow night!

Have a great evening!


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Addition:

My sister sent this to me today in an email:

Quote of the day:

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.

If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.

If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.

If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.

If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.

She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This Is Bizarre

Check out this news story from China. You'll have to follow the link. I can't possibly do it justice. 

I've seen this in a couple of places where people can comment, and the comments are all very mixed. The general reaction seems to be bouncing back and forth between horrified and laughing.

The weirdest part is that I knew someone who probably would have pushed the man off the bridge. My family will know immediately who I mean, but I don't want to admit it publicly.

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My package from Knit Picks arrived today! Such an event is always cause for rejoicing! I got a pair of Harmony tips in size 6, and three balls of Merino Style in fog. Or mist. Or something. It's light grey, and it's going to be used to make the copy of Hermione's hat from Half Blood Prince. It's for a class in the Harry Potter House Cup KAL. I intend to wear it to the movie, too.

The first thing I have to do on this project is write the instructions. So, I'm going to get busy and do it.

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There's a brand-new Reaper on TV tonight, and unless I'm mistaken, it's the season and series finale. There are a lot of people who are very unhappy about this. I'm not terribly enthused that it'll be off myself.

There's a rerun episode of the The Mentalist tonight, too.

And tomorrow night, there will be the Monster Quest episode about the Jersey Devil on the History Channel. I grew up with Jersey Devil stories, so I'm looking forward to it.

Have a great evening! I hope the weather people aren't promising you three more days of rain to go with the two we've already had like they're doing here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day and Towel Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

I wanted to make that headline red, white and blue, but the white wouldn't have shown up and I had to settle for red and blue.

In honor of the day, I have some clippings from the Maple Shade Progress that I just scanned this morning about me. They fit right in with the Memorial Day theme. If you click on them, you can see them large enough to actually read the text.

The first one was published around the end of October, or the beginning of November in 1962.


The second one was probably published in December of the same year.
If you notice, the second one has a credit for the photo--the photographer asked me to be in the photo partly because I was the only woman in the Aero Club at the time, and partly because he wanted to meet me. We later got married, so I guess it was a good way to meet me. 

Flying was one of the most fun things I've ever done!

Check out John's Steve Canyon blog, because he said he's going to write a Memorial Day post, and going to put my photos in it! That's a generic link to the blog because he hasn't gotten the post up yet. I can't wait to see it!

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Holly and I went out yesterday and visited Michaels, where I got a really nice, tiny vacuum cleaner made especially to pick up spilled beads and other small craft parts, and JoAnn Fabrics where I got a plastic container to replace the broken pencil case I've been using for holding small knitting stuff.

We also stopped at WalMart for a while and I bought a copy of the book with the story of the new Star Trek movie. I had been thinking about going to the movies to see it again (it's soooo good!), but the book was a little cheaper, and it was written by a friend of mine, Alan Dean Foster. John and I met him at MonCon in West Virginia in late Winter or early Spring right before the very first Star Wars movie came out. 

He and John and I were doing advance publicity for the movie. He, however, had been out to the studio where they were finishing it, and he got to talk to a lot of people that were involved that John and I hadn't gotten to meet. The thing that seemed to tickle him most was that the banthas were actually "elephants in drag." That's the way he expressed it. They told him that the elephants seemed to really enjoy dressing up!

One of the best things about meeting him was meeting his wife, JoAnn. She and I got along well.

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Here's where I had gotten to on my shawl two days ago. I was inspired to take the photo because it's about one quarter done in the photo. Yesterday, I did the 8 pattern rows that put 42 flower designs across in one row. I'm a real Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan, and couldn't resist noticing that.

Today is also Towel Day, by the way. Fans of Douglas Adams traditionally carry a towel with them all day on the 25th of May, and you may remember that I knitted a towel in the Towel Day KAL last year.


As is usual with lace, it looks like something that was wadded up and left in the trash for a week. The true beauty of lace doesn't emerge until it's blocked, so the photo is mainly to show how big it is at the moment. In the photo above, it was sixteen inches, measured along the front edge, and stretched to approximate the stretching that will happen during blocking. 

As of last night when I measured it, it was over 18 inches, and I've done some more knitting on it today. Considering that it averages six more stitches for each right side row, it goes pretty fast in the beginning, and slows significantly as progress is made.

It's intended to be about thirty six inches long measured along the front edge after blocking, so you would think that eighteen inches would be half way, but the halfway point is really at about twenty four inches as measured by yarn usage. The rule with these things is that a section that has a certain measurement uses enough yarn to knit the next section to half of the previous section's length. 

I'm into the second of four balls of yarn that have about 44o yards in each ball. And I'm more than 1/4 of the way through, so I think I'll have enough yarn, with just a little over to make it comfortable instead of close. I'm not so sure about having enough beads, though. I just used 1/4 of the beads that I bought, but I plan to use a pattern for the border that's more heavily beaded, so I may (or may not) need more beads. We'll just have to see.

After two days of perfect, fabulous weather, I woke up to rain today! And the forecast says that it'll be raining for the rest of the week! I'm glad Holly and I got to go out yesterday instead of today.
 
I hope the weather where you are is better than it is here! Happy Memorial Day! And don't forget your towel!

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Addition:

I just read a tweet by Neil Gaiman, and he said something about a show on Sundance tonight called Dreams with Sharp Teeth, and mentioned Harlan Ellison. Read more about it here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Start of the Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day weekend is here, and it's been frustrating for Holly so far.

She came out her front door today and discovered that the five million people who attend the church across the street from her had, with the help of a bus, double parked all up and down her street and blocked in her car. And as if that wasn't enough, there was a parade, complete with marching band going down her street.

I asked her why Rolling Thunder wasn't also in the parade.

She called to say that she couldn't make it today, but that she'd go out around midnight and move the car to a place where she'd be able to get it tomorrow.

She called back later to tell me that she'd enjoyed the new Star Trek movie so much that she decided to see it again, but that they had sold out all the tickets, and she couldn't go. I wished her less frustration for the rest of the weekend.

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I have gotten one quarter of the way through my shawl today, which was the deadline for the end of the month for my Charms OWL assignment in the Harry Potter House Cup KAL, so I can quit worrying about that. The yarn for the copy of Hermione's hat hadn't arrived as of yesterday, and the post office has been instructed not to leave packages here on Saturday, so I probably won't get it before Tuesday.

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Practical Magic will be on tonight. Check your TV guide, and enjoy! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CBS Is Helping Us Save Money

There was a show on CBS at 8 pm that said it will help you save money. Well, if you earn a quarter of a million each year, it might help. For somebody like me, it would be a disaster.

They started off by telling me that I could save money by only spending $7 per meal. The fact that I spend less than half that for a typical meal, and often less than a dollar means that this would not save money. They did recommend thrift stores, and that was a good tip, but something I already do when possible.

Other than that, they showed how to have a wedding for about five times what I spent on both my weddings combined, and how to get 4 round trip flights to 3 European cities and Tokyo for $600, which is where my perceived reality differed so much from theirs that I erased it from my DVR.

Actually, if I didn't need the space on my DVR, I might have saved it for it's ridiculousness. They said they could save me $120,000! 

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I have gotten to about 13 inches long on my shawl, measured along the front edge. I need to get to 16 inches in order to have completed one quarter of it for my Charms OWL in the Harry Potter House Cup KAL. So I'm far enough along that I'm reasonably sure I'm going to make it by the end of the month. Since it's an OWL, I have three months to complete it, but I have to be a quarter of the way through by the end of this month. 

I'm hoping to get a hat like Hermione will be wearing in Half Blood Prince done for Muggle Studies, too, by the end of the month (see the last post).

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I still don't feel good from all the walking, and have not mustered up the courage to walk somewhere to get a screwdriver, so I'm still sitting on the chair that hurts, so this will be a brief post. I'm planning to walk to the library, CVS (for the screwdriver) and Safeway tomorrow. 

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, and if you live in the DC area, get out there and watch Rolling Thunder!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Little Progress

I've been swatching for the shawl I'm knitting for the Harry Potter House Cup KAL on Ravelry. Well, I've been finishing up some Mrs. Figg String Bags and swatching.

I have the pattern settled for the beginning of the shawl, but I still don't have a good pattern that I like for the border around the bottom, and haven't even started to try anything about the edging that I'd like to put on. I could, conceivably, just do a picot bind off, but I'd really like a nice edging.

But I finally got impatient with not starting. We're more than half way through the month, and I have to be at least a quarter of the way through the project by the end of the month. I'm doing an OWL for Charms. OWLs are a three month project. So, I do have time, but still have to be about about 18 inches along, measured on the front edge by the end of the month.

Since I do have a pattern designed for the beginning, I thought I ought to get started on it. Here's what I've got as of this morning:


I'm using Knit Picks Options needles with the nickel finish, but I'm thinking I might like to use Harmony tips for this because they'd be just a little less slippery, so I ordered a pair of tips in size 6 today. Getting another set of tips in the right size will let me experiment with stitch patterns for the border without having to keep switching the tips from the shawl to the swatch, too.

I already did a project for the regular charms class, and I have another small project planned. They asked for projects that could be worn in the muggle community without making the wearer look odd to muggles, but that would identify that person to the magical community as a witch. I'm planning to make a lucet cord which can be tied into a bow around almost anything that the person is wearing/carrying in blue with silver knitted stars on the ends. It seems obvious to me that tying such an article to my handbag (which is blue) would identify me as a member of Ravenclaw. Not to mention what a great Christmas ornament it would be!

I'm planning to make another project for muggle studies. We were asked to make an item from muggle TV or movies to help us look more like muggles and blend in. While placing my order at Knit Picks, I ordered three skeins of Merino Style yarn in fog to make a hat like Hermione will be wearing in the  new Half Blood Prince movie which will be out this July. 

This is the only photo I've been able to find of it so far. There are instructions for copies of the hat that I've seen, but I didn't think that any of them looked enough like the photo to suit me, so I'll be designing my own for this one, too.


Sorry to put all the science fiction and stuff in yesterday's post and all the knitting in this one, but that's the way it worked out.

Have a great evening! Oh, and there's a new The Mentalist on tonight along with a new Reaper!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dollhouse to Get Second Season!

I just caught a Twitter from Eliza Dusku, and she thanked Fox for something. 

I checked it out and found this. Apparently, they'll be showing the episode that's really last, in addition to including it on just the DVD and they've renewed it for a second season! The Fox channel's Dollhouse site doesn't seem to have mentioned anything about it, though. You can find more information about it here and news about Chuck and Dollhouse being renewed here. I couldn't be more happy about this! They also mentioned that Heroes will also be back.

In the meantime, despite May sweeps month being almost over, there is a whole new summer season to look forward to. Burn Notice will have a marathon on USA on June second, third, and fourth, and will be back with new episodes on the fourth of June at a very early hour (1:15 am)! Another USA show that's already back on is In Plain Sight on Sunday evenings. Neither is SF, but they're action/adventure, and lots of fun.

In July, we have tons of great shows coming back! They include: Torchwood with Children of Earth, and I think I'm becoming brain dead because I can't think of any more of them at the moment. As soon as I publish this, I'll think of ten others.

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There's a new post up on the Steve Canyon blog, and if you have red/blue 3D glasses, you can see some photos in 3D. It looks to me like you'd need red/green glasses, but John says not. I tried it with the amber/blue glasses I scored to watch Chuck the day after the Super Bowl (which is what the glasses were intended for), and they don't work. But if you have the right glasses, I think you'll be impressed to see three dimensional photos right on your own computer!

John is so creative!

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I hope you got to watch Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy over the weekend. It's sitting on my DVR, waiting for me to watch it. I think I like the original version better, though.

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I actually have the new chair for my computer, but have to track down a phillips head screwdriver to finish assembling it. In the meantime, I don't like sitting here. It makes my back hurt (although that's gradually going away). So I'm going to quit writing now.

Have a great Monday!

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Addition!

Warehouse 13 is one of those great shows starting in July. So is Eureka.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Armed Forces Day!

Happy Armed Forces Day!

Not that I'm actually doing anything to celebrate Armed Forces Day this year, but you could if you wanted to. There are instructions here for how to have a happy AFD.

In the meantime, I salute all the members and former members of the Armed Forces of the United States!

I have more news in connection with this, but I'll have to wait until I inform the people involved before I can make it public.

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In a slightly related story, I got my copy of Volume 2 of the Steve Canyon DVDs today! I just got home from going out with Holly, and haven't watched it yet, but the outside and inside covers look great as do the disc labels. My DVD player is having a problem with it's connection to the TV, and I don't know exactly what's causing it, so I have to straighten that out before I will be able to see it. But you can read more about it here.

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Holly and I went on our weekly trek to fun, this time to AC Moore, where I bought a skein of Tweedle Dee that I've been drooling over for quite a while. I plan to make a Crazy Aunt Purl Beret with it.

I also got a "task" chair from WalMart, and will be using that as soon as I manage to assemble it. I've been wanting this for more than two years, ever since I moved in here. Not only will I be able to use it for the computer, but I can use it for sewing once I get a table to put my sewing machine on.

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SciFi is having the new episode of War of the Worlds on today, followed by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The first episode of the new season of Primeval will be premiering later tonight on BBC in America.

And Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be on (I think) ABC tonight.

I hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Friday!

Yesterday, I went to the library, and on the way, I noticed that the local ducks had a batch of ducklings. They were just too cute. I had to take a photo.


Here's the Earth Day Bag that I got the pattern from Ravelry, all finished.

It's OK. The construction, in general, is ingenious. The stitch pattern is intricate, and needlessly complicated and it biases. The author of the pattern says that the bias isn't a problem, and when you've used the bag a bit, it doesn't seem to bias as much. So there was a lot to like and a lot to dislike about this bag.


So, I started changeing it to suit myself. Here it is partly knit.


And here's the finished bag. It's a lot more open, which means it's bigger and will hold more without really using more yarn; the stitch pattern is much simpler, and it doesn't bias. When it has something in it and stretches, the pattern looks even better.


I'm calling it the Mrs. Figg String Bag. 

At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Mrs. Figg is coming home from the market with canned (it clanks) cat food in her string bag. Hence, the name.

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There's a new Ghost Whisperer on tonight!

May has traditionally been sweeps month, so there's been a lot of good stuff on the air. But this year, sweeps month (in May) ends on the twentieth. So last week and this have had a lot of season finales, including Dollhouse. This is the last Friday that's considered part of sweeps month, and I don't know if the episode of Ghost Whisperer is the season finale, but I'm glad there's something new to watch tonight.

Have a great Friday evening, and a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lost Finale and Steve Canyon!

The finale of Lost was on tonight, and it scored (to my knowledge) a new first in television.

At the beginning of the episode, they show someone spinning. And for the first time ever on TV, the person is actually spinning! Then, he gets up and goes over to a warp-weighted loom, and presumably starts weaving. I didn't see any actual weaving take place, but the warp-weighted loom was dressed correctly, and ready to weave.

There's lots to see in this episode, and if you've been watching Lost, I hope you recorded it, because you're going to want to watch it several times (at least).

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Thanks to the Knitty blog, I found a lot more information about string bags for my current interest. They have links to several sets of instructions for market bags, and there's also a contest for market bags (you have to send them a photo of yourself and your favorite bring-it-home bag. Check it out.

They also remind us of WWKIP Day (World Wide Knit in Public Day), which is next month.

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The Steve Canyon Volume 2 DVDs have arrived from the factory, and are now being sent out as quickly as John can slap labels on them and get them to the post office. Read more about it here.

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Sorry it's been so long since I posted. I'm gradually feeling better and recovering from all the walking at the Sheep and Wool Festival, but the chair I have in front of the computer really hurst if I sit in it for more than a few minutes. I mean it starts hurting while I sit in it, and then continues for quite a while afterwards. So, I've avoided sitting there, so it's hard to post and avoid the chair.

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I went on a shopping trip to WalMart today, and I am wiped out, so this will be a very short post.

Ah, I forgot to mention that the new season of Eureka will start sometime in July!

Have a great Thursday!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope everyone who has born a child had a very happy day today!

I have had an absolutely wonderful day today!

Holly arrived at 10:30 today, just as she said she would. Unfortunately, I woke up about two minutes before she arrived. But it was all OK.

She took me out to get all the stuff from WalMart that I would've gotten last Sunday if I had had the forethought to be prepared for it, thus saving me a lot of discomfort and dampness (this was the first day for two weeks that it hasn't been raining, plus it's supposed to rain Monday, too). My back is a lot better, but still wouldn't have been happy with having to walk to the bus, and come back on the bus carrying a bunch of heavy stuff. 

We went to an early dinner at Ruby Tuesday and had fun (as usual) just being with each other.

This was followed by the new Star Trek movie!

I have to say it was excellent! I loved it to pieces. I will mention some overall impressions, and I don't think I'm giving too much away here, but if you absolutely don't want to know anything about it, skip the rest of this paragraph. It starts back at the beginning, and tells a story about how the Enterprise crew got together. The wonderful part is that they've gone back to the beginning with a whole new group of actors to play the old characters from the beginning. This story involves time travel, and it changes things so that all the stuff that happened originally may be completely changed. So we have the characters young again, and a chance to tell all new stories from the beginning should they choose to do so. And why wouldn't they?

OK, no more spoilers from here on in. J.J. Abrams did a fabulous movie, with a great story. The story had all the old characters, who were acting so much in character that there was a lot of the movie where I knew exactly what a particular character would do, and, in fact, I was able to say some lines along with the characters on the first run-through. At the same time, the situation had so much in it that was unexpected, and so many actions and reactions that were unexpected that it was exciting, non-stop action/excitement/fun all the way through!

I've had a wonderful day!

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I also want to wish a belated happy birthday to my brother, Jeff!

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

I kind of took yesterday off to let my back get in better shape for today. I don't think he'll see it here on the internet anyway, but I still want to wish him a happy birthday, which was yesterday.

I have to get back to being nice to my back instead of sitting here making it hurt more.

All the photos I promised will be up real soon now.

Oh, I nearly forgot: I watched Doctor Who and Torchwood on BBC in America yesterday, and they were full of trailers for the new season of Primeval, which starts next Saturday, and also (and this is the part I'm really excited about) trailers for Children of Earth, the next Torchwood story, which will be on in July (they're not pinning down exactly when). They didn't say anything about the new Doctor Who Season, though, and I'm disappointed about that.

I hope you've been having as good a weekend as I've had!

Friday, May 8, 2009

String Bag

I started a string bag to take with me to the MSWF, but, since I started it so late, it became a project to knit at the festival. While I was there, I saw another bag that I liked better, and today I finally got around to frogging the bag that I started. The more I looked at the new bag, the less I liked the way the first one was turning out.

The bag I saw at the fest, was the Earth Day Bag from Ravelry. I think that link will only work if you are on Ravelry. The construction of the bag is ingenious. I love it! I don't really like the way she wrote the instructions because of ambiguity, and she chose a stitch pattern that's (in my opinion), needlessly complicated and that I don't find attractive.

After some searching, I found out two things. 

First, Ravelry doesn't have an on-line stitch dictionary. This surprised me because they've had every other kind of information that I've ever looked for there. But after a bit of thinking, I realized that it could take years and years to get all of the stitches up there.

Second, after a search through my own stitch dictionaries, I found two stitches that I think would be more attractive, and are simple enough that you can memorize the pattern after a couple of repeats. I'm finishing up my test run with one of them right now, and so far, I like it much better than the stitch pattern provided.

The stitch pattern in the Earth Day pattern is 8 rows and not intuitive. I had to keep a strict count and read the instructions for each row all the way through (except for wrong side rows, which are "purl across." This stitch pattern also biases. The framework of the border and handles helps cancel that out, but why even start out with a problem? 

I knitted a sample of the pattern I was thinking of using, and after the first few rows, it was not only memorized, but obvious what row I was on, so all I had to do was knit it. So far, I like mine better. The only thing I still haven't been able to test is whether it will stretch out too much, mainly because the bag isn't even finished.

I finished one bag according to the provided directions and used it yesterday, and it performed well.

Photos in my next post.

More knitting news on a different topic: I finally got the OK to go ahead on my Charms OWL project for the Harry Potter House Cup KAL/CAL I got a message today that I have passed the written portion of the OWL.

OWLs run for three months, and are big projects. The Charms OWL this semester includes shawls, so I'm going to do the beaded three panel shawl I've been designing. There have been photos of this on Ravelry, and there will be more as it progresses. So far, I'm still in the swatching stage.

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I want to apologize to Holly. I got it all wrong. She didn't have a muscle problem, but torn ligaments. That sounds very painful to me. I got a text message from her saying that she's feeling better than she was except for the haze from the massive amounts of ibuprofen prescribed for her.

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The SciFi Channel will be showing a Eureka marathon during the day on Sunday. That's Mother's Day, and I don't know how that relates, but I really like Eureka, so I'm not complaining.

Tonight, we will have a new Ghost Whisperer, and the season finale of Dollhouse! And it will be more fun for me because I know that my sister will be watching them, too.

Don't forget that BBC in America is rerunning Torchwood. There will be two episodes of it on Saturday, along with more Doctor Who.

Have a great Friday night! TGIF!

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Addition:

You have to read the Panopticon today!

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Another Addition:

For fans of Dollhouse, check out this post on io9.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rapunzel's Felted Tower

The last stop for us on the tour of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was at the skein/garment/etc. competition.

There were some really impressive garments in the competition, but the thing that I will remember best is the felted tower for Rapunzel.

Here's an overall photo of the tower.


Followed by a close-up of Rapunzel, herself. Note the flowers growing on the tower near her.


Not only was the tower three dimensional, but parts of it extended past the base of the tower, including Rapunzel's hair, which was braided and hung freely from her window at the top of the tower and coiled itself at the base of the tower. She's even wearing a beaded necklace.


Some real towers have gargoyles or other decorative stonework protruding from the side, and this one was no exception, with decorative "stone" roses extended from the sides. Beautiful!


This photo shows a bit better how the roses extend from the side of the tower.


The side of the tower has a vine growing up the side of it. The roots of the vine also extend off the bottom of the tower onto the table, looking as if they are growing from the table.


The vine also has little, felted flowers growing from it.

There was a lot of detail that I can't really show here. The software didn't want to let me show this many photos. I was amazed!

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John has announced the release date for the newest Steve Canyon DVD! Check it out!

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I am still having problems with my back. I am more and more convinced that I strained some muscles. So, of course, it hurts like the dickens, but I don't think it's done any permanent damage. I'm at a point where I can sit, stand, or walk without too much problem, but moving from one of those conditions to another is still very painful. For example: sitting is OK, but getting up hurts. Once I've stood up (and given it a few seconds) it's OK again, but if I start walking, it hurts for the first 10 seconds or so.

Which is giving me a lot of sympathy for Holly, who did something similar a bit more than a week ago, and didn't see the worst of the effects until after the Sheep and Wool Fest. She and Robin went to Annapolis and went canoeing (which she hasn't done in years). Apparently, she did something to some muscles that suddenly let her know they were unhappy by causing a lot of chest pain, to the point that she wound up in the emergency room wondering if she was having a heart attack.

I'm sorry for her that she's in pain, but if it has to hurt, I'm so glad it's a muscle problem rather than a heart problem.

That said, muscle problems hurt!!! I'm feeling sorry for both of us.

***********************

All this has made me post less than I would like to, and leave out stuff that I would have liked to mention, but missed out on because I was distracted by my backache.

Yesterday and this morning, I caught some really good movies on cable. Last night, I caught They Live not too long after the beginning. It's one of my favorite science fiction movies, and seems to have a lot to do with our current financial crisis. When it was over, I found Duck, You Sucker on another station, about half over. This is a good movie for the first viewing. It's a very offbeat cowboy movie set during the Mexican Revolution. I loved it in the theater. But it wears off quickly.

Today, I caught Enemy Mine by Barry Longyear. This is an excellent SF movie about two soldiers on opposing sides of an alien/human war. They crash land and are stranded on a planet together. I love this movie.

Check your local listings if you're interested, because these are stations that tend to show a movie several times over the course of a week. I think they were in the many Encore stations.

We have another new episode of Supernatural tonight (I think), and I know we're getting to the end. This may be the season finale.

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Check Out Crazy Aunt Purl!

My back is still hurting from the sheep and wool festival and I have to go to Safeway, which means more walking, which is what got me in this shape in the first place, so I don't really feel like sitting here (in pain) and writing the really great post that is left on the subject of the festival.

So, I happened to come across one of Crazy Aunt Purl's posts that's better than her usual run of posts and I didn't want you to miss it. So, check it out here. And be sure to watch the video. It starts off slow, but gets progressively more absurd as it builds up steam. Enjoy!

Have a great evening, and I'll try to write that fabulous post tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wow! I just started to type "Happy Cinco de Mayo!" and blogger filled it in for me. So, I've had this blog for a whole year, now!

I feel like I should have some kind of contest or something, but I can't think of what at the moment.

Oh well, happy Cinco de Mayo anyway!

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To continue information about the Sheep and Wool Festival: brace yourself for the fun part!

Yesterday was just about stuff. Today is about the people and the fun.


Lynn got down here on Friday around six, and we went out for dinner, did a couple of errands, and came back to watch Ghost Whisperer, Dollhouse, and Moonlight.

We got out the door just a little after ten the following morning, and headed North to the fairgrounds. The weather report called for rain all weekend, and we got some showers on the way up and just a bit more than a shower at one point. We phoned the rest of the party, and they were already there, and Holly walked down to the entrance to meet us. Then we tracked down Everett, Jeff, and Ashton. After that, some really heavy shopping ensued. I tried to stay with the group, but, as usual, got way too distracted by all the great stuff for sale.

I made it through one of the barns that lead toward the back, one of the barns all the way in the back, and the big barn before I got to the point that I really needed to sit down and find some food.

Everybody got together back in front of the big barn, where all the food is.

We sat and nibbled on various stuff and had some great conversation. 

I suspect that Ashton completely misunderstood me at one point, though. He was standing there with an ice cream cone in his hand, and ice cream smeared all over his face. I asked him if he was totally bored yet, and he shook his head yes (mouth was full of ice cream) in an energetic way with a big smile on his face.

Not only did we have fun talking, but we wound up including a batch of other festival-goers in the conversation. I got compliments on the poncho I was wearing, and I pulled out my current knitting project, and a woman on the bench next to me said how much she loved the color. I held my project up to the project she was knitting, making it obvious that they were exactly the same color and shade, and said something like "Gee, really? I never would have expected that." Everybody giggled.

We stopped another woman who was passing to compliment her on her string bag and ask her about the pattern. If you're on Ravelry, you can see the bag here. From that link, you can also find the instructions through Ravelry. Since then, I've bought the instructions and am making an Earth Day bag. I hate to say this, but I'm finding a lot of improvements that could be made in the pattern. The construction is absolutely ingenious, but I don't like the eight-row stitch pattern that it uses. I feel it's needlessly complicated, even though the center of each right side row is either (YO, K2 tog), or (K2 tog, YO), and the WS rows are all purl across. The beginning and end of each RS row is different, and the stitch pattern biases. Once the borders and handles are on, the bias won't matter, but I think there must be an easier-to-memorize stitch that would look even better. I will be searching for it. I may have already found it, but I want to finish the first bag before I start changing it around.

Back to the festival. We did some more walking through the barns that go from the front to the back of the grounds, and managed to get separated again. For the second time since I've gone to the festival, I went to look at the poster, skein and garment, etc, competitions. All I can say is WOW! I plan to spend most of the next post telling you about one of the winning projects. It's totally amazing!

While I was going through all the winning entries, I got a call from everyone else saying they wanted to leave and that I should go to the front gate. I persuaded them all to come back and look at this one project, and then they finally dragged me off to dinner.

We stopped at the Double TT Diner on Route 40, and all had a fabulous dinner, and lots of good conversation.

There was some more rain on the way home, but not a drop fell while we were actually at the festival (unless a couple of drops fell while I was in the big barn). We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was overcast, sure, but the temperature was pretty close to perfect. At a couple of points I wanted to wear my poncho, but a lot of the time, I didn't. So it was right around most comfortable temperature, with just a tiny bit that was either too warm or cool. Oh, and you did NOT want to step off the paved areas! I suspect that if it hadn't been paved it would have been as bad as the mud fest that was the Fall Fiber Fest one year. All-in-all, a perfect day as far as weather was concerned. When Lynn and I got back, we noticed that the ground was all wet, but it wasn't raining when we went in.

Lynn and I watched a little TV and sat and talked (or tried to) and both fell asleep. Eventually we turned off the lights and went to sleep deliberately.

On Sunday, Lynn, Holly and I went and did some errands, including walking around the new JoAnn Fabrics near here, and had dinner at Ruby Tuesday, and then we all went home. Lynn had an uneventful ride back to New Jersey, and the whole weekend was wonderful.

Well, I did way too much walking, and my back is still letting me know how unhappy it is about all that walking. Oddly enough, it doesn't usually bother my back, and I don't know why it did this time. I am otherwise recovered from all that walking, but I've been having a lot of lower back pain from it.

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John got all the masters over to the factory for the second volume of the Steve Canyon DVDs. He expects to get the proofs back at any moment, check them, and give the go-ahead!

I'm excited!

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My back hurts and I'm going to lay down flat on it and finish reading Breaking Dawn.

Have a great evening, and if I don't post tomorrow, It'll be because I'm giving my back a break.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back from the Sheep and Wool Festival

I had an absolutely wonderful weekend! There's so much to tell that I won't be able to do it all today, so you'll be getting more of the story this week.

For starters, here's some of what I bought while I was there: 



First up is the bone lucet shown above. Wow! a lucet that's nice. And it's made of bone. The distributer is Lacis, and the place I bought it is Carolina Homespun, which has always been one of my favorite places to shop at the festival.

For those of you who don't know, a lucet is a device used to make cord. It's essentially a two pronged knitting frame, similar in effect to a knitting nobby or a spool knitter to make knitted cord. You can see a spool knitter here, but you have to scroll down. With a spool knitter, the tension is determined by the spool, by how far away the nails are. With a lucet, you pull each stitch up snug, so it produces a much firmer cord. 

The cords are useful as drawstrings or laces, and a lucet is a handy thing to have around. One of it's big advantages is that it can fit in a pocket, along with a small ball of yarn that can make many yards of cord. It's a very handy walk-around project, something to take with you to fill idle moments while producing something useful at the same time.

Susan's Fiber Shop had a complete lucet kit with a plastic lucet for sale at the festival, and I should have grabbed it while I had the chance. I'm intrigued by the idea of the bobbins, especially since they keep the yarn from sliding off the fork. The same lucet with bobbin is now available in wood, so don't worry about me calling it plastic.

Susan's is my favorite shop at the festival. She always has something new, and she always has the greatest stuff, and she spends most of the weekend while she's there teaching. There's usually a small group of people standing around blocking things up and watching here demonstrate stuff. Just ask her how to spin, and you'll find yourself at a wheel with a handful of wool before you know it. Or ask her how the combs work and she'll show you.

Anyway, in the next photo, the two big batches of fiber at the top are four ounces each of wool/tussah (80%/20%) from Bullen's Woolens. They're hand dyed, and I'm thinking about making a single of each color and plying them for a combination of purple/blue yarn. I think it's going to work well.


Under the wool/tussah, is some 100% silk yarn that I bought from Mangham Manor, although it was made by Oasis Yarn. It's called Seduction on the label, and all you have to do is touch it to understand why they named it that. There's a whole 100 grams there, and I'm not prepared to say at the moment what I plan to do with it.

More festival tomorrow.

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Today is the first post of the brand new Craft Corps News blog. I've just discovered it (thank you, Vicki Howell!) and haven't really had a chance to explore it, but it looks like it may be fun. Enjoy!

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Doctor Who has been having adventures with Rose all day on the SciFi Channel today.

Chuck and Heroes are over for the season, but there's a brand new, two hour episode of Medium on tonight.

More news tomorrow! Have fun 'till then!

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Addition:

My sister sent me an email. It said:

It was once said that a black man would be president "when pigs fly." Indeed 100 days into Obama's presidency...... Swine flu!

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