Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Comcast Really HATES it's Customers!

Well, I planned to spend the three days of this weekend doing nothing buy spinning, knitting and watching TV.

Spike is showing the entire Star Wars saga, from beginning to end. In spite of doing advance publicity for the original Star Wars movie along with John Ellis, and watching all of the episodes multiple times, I realized that I've never seen them in order back-to-back with no interruptions before, and I thought that would be a fun thing to do today.

Comcast is obviously against me doing that. It's been off the air, and completely disconnected twice today. No TV, no internet.

For at least 20 minutes each time!

One more time you're off the air, and I'm seriously thinking about canceling getting TV from you!

Thanks for trying so hard to ruin my weekend!

I hope everyone out there is having more fun than Comcast is charging me for!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Wish I Could Replace Comcast TV with Something that Works!

OK, I know I said something nice about Comcast last week, but I was wrong, wrong, WRONG! They are the worst provider of TV service in the US and possibly the world!

I frequently can't watch one whole minute of TV without the picture breaking up/going to black/freezing, and the sound goes out for a short while at least three times in an hour show, and It has declared "This DVR is not Authorized on this Network" and then turned itself off at least three times in the last three days! Usually, during a recording! It also can't access most of the digital TV guide information, and now often displays what it can with big green hash marks through the listings!

Tomorrow we are going to try again to do what was supposed to happen last week on Wednesday. They were going to replace my DVR, but after six calls to me to be certain that I was going to be there, and that I still wanted the new DVR, plus three hours of waiting for the repairman, nobody showed up!

Last week, they said they'd be here between 2 and 5 pm, but this time they just said "Friday." So, I'm going to be stuck here until they show up. IF they show up, that is!

If they still have them available on the third of June, I'm going to get a TiVo! With a TiVo, maybe at least I'll be able to get the digital TV Guide, which is only possible to get in bits and pieces on my Comcast DVR.

Maybe, when I fast forward through a commercial, the TiVo won't display the picture from one part of the show while giving me the sound from another part. Maybe I'll be able to see the TV guide with some certainty for more than an hour in the future (which I can't do with my DVR).

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On to TV content, which is a much happier subject, although not much, considering that it's Memorial Day Weekend, and most networks seem to have decided not to bother showing anything that anyone would want to watch because they think nobody will be watching over the holiday anyway. I can't help thinking that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Stations that do not think this way include BBC in America, which is showing a lot of Star Trek Next Gen and Doctor Who this weekend, and ABC Family, who are making it a Harry Potter weekend (again). They won't be showing Sorcerer's Stone or Chamber of Secrets, but will be showing Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix. You may have seen them before, but if Comcast (by some miracle) actually does arrive and gives me an empty DVR, I wouldn't mind recording them. So, I'm mentioning it.

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For all you knitters out there, I found a fabulous pattern for a shawlette. I like it so much that I'll be putting a link to it in the sidebar. I can't wait to make it!


What a fabulous, easy pattern! It could theoretically be knit in any weight yarn. I love those kinds of patterns!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! I hope to get out enough to see some of Rolling Thunder this weekend! Have fun!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Towel Day!



It's Towel Day, and I hope you're a hoopie frood who knows where his towel is today!

That first link is sort of a "Hitchhiker's Guide" kind of link. This one is more of a "Encyclopedia Galactica" kind of link.

If that doesn't make sense to you, read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy immediately! I mean it! Read the whole thing, all of it! Right away!

And do have a great day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Lost!

The writers of Lost chose to take the easy way out and not explain or wrap up anything! I don't know why they bothered to call it a finale! The last show didn't live up to the rest of the series in any way, shape, or form. I feel betrayed and cheated! I don't want to throw out any spoilers for anyone who might have missed it, so I won't say any more.

If you have seen it, here's an article about it that's far more unbiased than I am. This article has lots of spoilers, so be warned!

But if you'd like a laugh, my friend, John put this up on his Facebook page.



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We're about half way through the last week of this round of TV sweeps, so as with Lost, we're seeing lots of season finales. It ends on the 26th (Wednesday), so after that, you can expect the pitts from such stations as SyFy, who has decided that nobody watches them on holidays, so why not show only junk then? Actually, I tend to think they're wrong because I'll be watching TV all Memorial Day weekend, only a lot of it will on BBC in America, who will be showing lots of science fiction on Sunday (starting at midnight) and Monday! Check your TV guides!

One of the finales is Chuck, and they're promising that it will be good (but then again, so did Lost!). Whatever the quality, we'll certainly be getting more quantity because they will be showing two hours of it! I'm braced for impact!

Since there's nothing remotely good on Tuesday or Wednesday (I really miss Eastwick!), tonight is effectively the end of good TV in the US until July.

If you have a DVR or TiVo, you'll be able to see the finale of The Big Bang Theory, too!

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I've been doing more spinning. It doesn't look like much on the bobbin, so I didn't bother taking a photo, but I think it's going to be exceptional.

In the past, I've mostly been spinning for SCA garb or for lace, so a nice, smooth yarn was what I was going for.

This time, I'm deliberately making slubs, although not to the point of ridiculousness, but there will definitely be more texture in this yarn. I haven't made up my mind if I want to ply the blue/white singles with a solid medium blue singles or with itself. The medium blue is a bit warmer color than the variegated.

Hope you're having a marvelous Monday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

LOST Weekend!


All you Losties probably already know that he grand finale of Lost will be on Sunday night.

Make sure you don't miss out on the rebroadcast of the very first, two-hour pilot, being aired tonight, though. Tomorrow night, they'll hit all the highlights of the story so far, and then show the two-hour series finale!

They said they'd answer our questions. They said that they'd let us find out what's been happening all this time.

I hope they're right! There have been a few clues this year, but no real answers yet.

So, set your DVRs/VHSs to record all this.

You're going to want to watch it again.

You know you will!

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BBC in America is going to be showing the newest Doctor Who episode tonight, too. It's Vampires in Venice, right after the rebroadcast of Flesh and Stone. Where I live, it's on during Lost, but they'll be showing both of them two more times later in the evening and on into early morning, plus Vampires will be on Tuesday evening, so you don't have to miss Lost to catch it!

In case you aren't paying attention, there will be a lot of science fiction on BBC in America this week. Torchwood will be on during a lot of Monday, and they seem to be making Tuesday evening dedicated to science fiction, including another rerun of Vampires in Venice. This Tuesday, however, there will be a lot of Primeval, starting at 11 am. Keep an eye on them all week, though, because they seem to really be caught up in the science fiction thing this week! Check your local listings.

I've heard that The Legend of the Seeker will not be returning after this season, and that means the series finale will be coming up soon, so don't miss it on the CW, Sunday night (if that's when it comes on where you live). I'm really disappointed that it's been cancelled.

I'm going to go and do a little spinning, run some errands, and enjoy all the fun stuff on TV this weekend!

I hope you have a weekend that's as much fun as mine is going to be!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fiberarts Update

Ever since the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I've been thinking a lot about spinning. I got some (4 oz.) roving that's 50% merino, 25% silk, and 25% bamboo, and it's a dream! It's space dyed in one color, and goes from navy blue to natural white, with all the shades of blue in between represented. I'm spinning it with some slubs in it, and I'm going to ply it with some medium blue corriedale that I'm making slubby, too. I'm pretty sure I have a lot more of the med. blue, so I'll probably have a solid yarn to mix with it in a project. Here's the variegated blue.




And I've not only been thinking about it, I've been doing it! I have about half a bobbin of the medium blue spun, and I just started on the variegated blue yesterday. This is what I did yesterday.




I also got 8 oz of the same stuff that's hand dyed with lavenders and blues. It's in two 4 oz bags, and the bags don't seem to exactly match, so I think I'll use one bag for one ply and the other for the other ply and make it a slubby two ply. MAYBE, I might even sell it in my Etsy store!




All of the roving shown here is from Bullen's Woolens, and it's just dreamy, and a joy to touch or spin!

Oh, and while I was at the Sheep and Wool Festival, I got a bag to hold a sock project. It's a Hiya Hiya small project bag. The good part about it is that I can close the zippered top most of the way, and the yarn feeds out through the space left, and it's got a small zippered pocket inside to hold stitch markers, sock needles (I like to knit most of it on two circular needles, but the heel is much easier for me to knit on double points, so I like to have the double points with me for when I get to the heel.


The sock that's shown with it still needs the cast-on yarn end woven in, but it's a sample of the yarn I bought on Mother's day. I love self-patterning yarn! It's Red Heart Heart and Sole yarn in toasted almond.

I also bought a beautiful pendant knitting needle sizer from Carolina Homespun, although I believe it's distributed by Deborah's Garden. The one I bought is the light lavender one, and it's much prettier than it looks in the photo! I have to get a cord or chain for it!


I also ordered some stitch markers yesterday. These are being sold by Seeking Sanity on Etsy, and she's currently having a sale of some really beautiful stitch markers. She's about to move soon, and would rather sell her stock than move it, so check it out if you're in the market for stitch markers because she's got some great deals. The ones I ordered are, first a set of small markers (left) for socks. The end-of-round marker is a lavender glass, and the others are blue goldstone.




The medium markers on the right are a pale lapis, and very pretty. She's also made me a set of medium markers in blue goldstone. They were shipped today, and I can't wait for them to arrive! I was just looking at her site and found another listing for stitch markers that I like.

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For you science fiction fen, here is a reminder that Towel Day is rapidly approaching, and you should prepare your towel now! Towel day will be next Tuesday, the 25th of May!

As you can see, carrying a towel on Towel Day is mandatory, but there are a lot of other ways that you can celebrate. You'll have to scroll down pretty far on that link, but there are all kinds of celebrations all over the world, plus other ways you can celebrate, such as wallpaper for your computer.

42!

Oh, and if you don't understand that, you urgently need to read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Oh, and BBC in America has started showing Doctor Who and some other SF shows in the afternoons and Tuesday evening. Check your local listings for exact times!

Tonight, we'll be seeing a brand new Fringe and The Mentalist! If you check your guide and find a rerun of The Mentalist, keep looking. There'll be two episodes on tonight!
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I keep meaning to mention this and keep forgetting. My granddaughter wanted to buy some of the Sookie Stackhouse books, and asked me to put them in my Amazon store. So, I created a whole separate section for those books and videos. Check it out here. It has an advantage if you're shopping Amazon anyway. Amazon lists the first few books with the number of their order in the series, but quits after the first three or so. Then it's hard to figure out which is the next book. These are all listed in order, ending with a collection of short stories and the DVDs of the TV series.


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Comcast really surprised me yesterday!



First of all, they called me three or four times on Tuesday, to ask if the problems that have been going on for more than three years had magically healed themselves the way Christian Scientists think they can do. After being told that no, they hadn't magically gone away, they called me several more times yesterday to ask if the problem had cured itself, and did I still want someone to come out. I assured them that I did.


Then, nobody showed up!


Well, they told me that the supervisor (instead of a regular repairman) would be checking the whole building, and might not come to my door, but that was before I requested a new DVR.


I didn't realize until last night that he must have come and fixed whatever was wrong with the building. It took about a half an hour of watching before I realized that I had a crisp, clear picture that wasn't freezing or breaking up every 5 minutes or so. The sound didn't cut out at any point, or drastically change it's level, either! And the closed captioning continued to display, not fading out every so often. Then I started watching some recordings on my DVR, and, while not perfect, they were much better than they had been! I don't know what he did, but I can't help but wonder why he didn't do it thee years ago.


I have to say that I'm stunned and amazed! I'm almost afraid to say this out loud (because I'm afraid that if I say it, it will all go away), but I think they actually fixed it!


If this keeps up, I could even get to like Comcast!

I'm rethinking my need for a TiVo. I'm sure that I'd like a TiVo better, but it costs money, and the DVR I have didn't. It's a hard choice.



Well, I'm going to go do some spinning and enjoy my newly functional TV reception!


Have a great evening!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting. . . for Comcast

Comcast is sending out a supervisor to check the wiring in the building I live in. This is a major improvement in their service, and it only took three and a half years.

I talked to them Sunday about this, after the CW was freezing and changing the sound levels drastically, at random while I tried to watch Legend of the Seeker. It's entirely possible that this was really the network, and not Comcast, but this is the first time they didn't insist it was the network and not them. They seem to have changed their approach to dealing with problems on the phone and are now actually dealing with problems on the phone. Before, calling them only got you excuses for why it wasn't their fault, and therefore, they didn't have to fix anything.

Monday night, I called them on the phone after the DVR forgot that I had told it to record three programs that night, I reprogrammed it to record those three shows, and it recorded two of them and failed to record the third until I manually started it recording, and then stopped 1/4 of the way through and gave me a black screen, then displayed a notice that "This DVR is NOT authorized to operate on Comcast" and then, turned itself off! I requested that they bring along a new DVR to replace the hopeless, waste of space and money  that they had given me.

Now, I'm not so sure that I want to replace it.

Yes, it stops part way through a show and claims that it's the end of the program, and then fights with me not to show the rest, even though it's recorded the rest. Yes, it has erased some shows that I wanted to keep. Yes, it fails to show me the some (sometimes all) information in the digital TV guide, thus making it difficult to impossible to record shows. Yes, even though it usually shows me some guide information, it never shows it all. Yes, it turns itself off at random during recording a show but usually turns itself back on after a few minutes and records the rest so that you have a few minutes that aren't recorded at all. And much more.

But it malfunctioned from the very beginning. It's just as bad now as it was when I first got it.

So, the question is, do I want to trade a malfunctioning DVR that's got lots of stuff I want to watch on the hard drive (including some shows I haven't seen) for a malfunctioning DVR with nothing on the hard drive. And I should take into consideration that there's nothing to watch on TV tonight that's worth tuning in for, except In Plain Sight and Jeopardy.

Especially considering that the woman at the counter at Comcast told me that when they get DVRs that are returned because they're malfunctioning, they wipe the hard drive and give them out to the next customer who asks for one. I was flabbergasted! I'm not surprised that they do that, but I am surprised that they let customers know that they do it!

There's no Comcast truck outside yet. They always park it where it's going to block traffic until they leave, which makes it visible from my window. He's got one hour left of the time frame they told me he would arrive. And I still haven't decided.

I bought a "TiVo" from an independent manufacturer on Amazon, and I've discovered that some TiVos have severe connectivity problems, and the one I bought is one of them. All of the ways I can connect this one will mean I can only watch or record one show at a time.

I discovered that the TiVo people are having a sale on their boxes. They are introducing their new, "Premier" series of TiVos, and they really want to get rid of all the older boxes so they can charge more for the new ones.

I was all excited last night, because a refurbished lowest end TiVo only costs $50. But I had a problem ordering it online, and I called them.

Their representative explained to me that the lowest priced one was essentially the same box I already have, and has all the connectivity problems of that box. The one I already have has a DVD recorder/player in it, though, and I'm planning on connecting it later today to see if I can get the DVD recorder/player to work to at least play DVDs.

The TiVo box that will do what I thought the other one would do costs $100 (refurbished). So, I'm thinking about getting that one next month when I have some money, unless they've sold out of them by then.

Still no repairman. I'm still trying to decide if I want to replace the malfunctioning DVR with a different malfunctioning DVR.

Hope you're having a better day than I am.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dreaming...

It's a chilly (55 degrees), wet, rainy, overcast day here in Northern Virginia, or NoVA, as the locals call it.

In New Orleans, it's 86 degrees right now, and mostly sunny. 

The other night, Robin came home ticked off about something. He said he was tired of living in such an expensive place, and said he'd been thinking about moving to New Orleans and starting a restaurant/bar.

Well, he's been thinking about starting his own restaurant ever since I've known him, so that's nothing new. The New Orleans part is, at least for me.

Holly's reaction was that she's been thinking about it ever since they went there for Mardi Gras last year. I get the impression that Robin was surprised that she'd been thinking the same thing he had.

So, Holly's been looking at real estate listings, and finding some interesting things.

They've been saving money for a while, and real estate prices are low enough there that they can probably buy an apartment building with four apartments. Not finance. Just go and buy outright. 

The plan is that they would live in one apartment, I'd have another, and they'd rent out two more apartments. I'm guessing that electricity and water would be included in the rents, so the rent they collected would pay taxes, utilities, and give them some profit every month (until something broke down). Which would mean that they'd be living free (and making some kind of a profit) and I'd be living nearly free. And I'd be able to get some other cable company instead of Comcast!

All of this is just dreams and thinking about it. There have been no decisions made as yet.

My thoughts on it range from "How will Lynn be able to visit?" and "No more Sheep and Wool Festival!" to "Wow, no more rent! If I save my money, I can buy a TV that's not broken!"

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Speaking of Comcast, I was trying to watch Legend of the Seeker last night and the reception was horrible! It would be OK for as much as three minutes, then the picture would freeze, the sound would go off, and I'd have to wait about 10 to 15 seconds. Then the picture and sound would start again (from the new location, skipping a section of the show), with the sound at a drastically different level, ranging from nothing to stick-your-finger-in-a-light-socket-loud! 

I called them and they refreshed my DVR. None of the rest of the channels seemed to be having problems that were more than usual.

After being refreshed, it seemed to work for about 10 minutes. But the second I hung up with them, it started all over I called back and they said they'd send out a supervisor (not a repairman) to look at the wiring in the entire building. I've only mentioned about thirty times that everybody else in the building that I've talked to has been having the same problems I've been having, and somebody seems to have finally heard me. So, they'll be out Wednesday, and look at the wiring in the whole building!

Which probably means that TV will be off for at least part of Wednesday afternoon.

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I read something today that says Legend of the Seeker has been canceled. They did seem to be building up to the very end, so I'm not entirely surprised, but I am disappointed. I like that show!

Legend of the Seeker comes from the Terry Goodkind books The Sword of Truth series of books.

Tonight, there will be something on SyFy (tonight, late) called The Sword of Truth, and I can't find much about it anywhere. I'm not sure that it has anything to do with The Sword of Truth series of books, but I'm going to record it, just in case.

There will be no Supernatural on this Thursday evening because Sweeps month is almost up and they're reserving the last week for a two hour Smallville, If you watched last week's episode of Supernatural, you know that the end of the season was very final. I've been looking around, and from what I can find, I don't think it's been cancelled. Remember back when they opened the gates of Hell, and we didn't get to find out what happened until the next year? Well, this one wasn't like that. 

Stop here if you don't want a spoiler. 

This one ended with Sam in Hell (this time), but Dean had gone back to his girlfriend and the kid that he thought (for a short while) was his son. Then they panned out the window of a happy family moment, and you could see someone watching from outside. They panned back more, and it was Sam, so apparently his stint in Hell wasn't as bad as Dean's previous one.

Oh, well. If it's back on next season, I'll be happy.

We've had a full day of Ghost Whisperer on SyFy, and it's going to continue right on into the evening! On broadcast TV, there will be a brand new Chuck, Big Bang Theory, and Castle.

On the subject of science fiction, I was talking to Holly last night and I recommended a really good movie to her. It's called Vibes, and stars Jeff Goldblum and Cindy Lauper, and I love that movie! I looked it up on Amazon because I was telling her about it, and it's available (at long last) on DVD! It was previously available only on VHS. I can't wait for the next influx of money to get it!

Vibes

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Well, that about does it for a chilly, rainy day in NoVA. Have a great week!

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