Friday, July 22, 2011

Not at Comic Con

If you're reading this, you're not at Comic Con.

If you were at Comic Con, you'd have much better things to do (unless you're standing in line waiting for a panel).

But for those of you, like me, who aren't at Comic Con, there's a Not At Comic Con Giveaway sponsored by Tor Books. There will be a lot of SF swag not available at CC, including a batch of books.

So, go on over there and post a comment to enter.


Every time I get on Twitter, I get the spinning beachball of death for half the time I'm on. Everybody's trying to tweet!

I searched for #SDCC earlier today, read a few Tweets, and discovered there were 200 new Tweets. I clicked the button to download them, and by the time they'd loaded, there were 20 more Tweets!


John Ellis will be at Comic Con on Saturday, and I've asked him to do a lot of tweeting. If he does it, I'll be retweeting here. He always finds fun people to talk to, and may or may not be able to send photos this year.


I intended to write all sorts of funny stuff here, but I'm finishing up a course of antibiotics for a sinus/ear infection I've had for a while. Wednesday, I felt a lot better than I have in a while, but yesterday, my sinuses tried to drown me again, and some of the symptoms are worse. Ditto today. I just can't get it together to write some more. At least most of the body aches are gone. And now I know that those aches are from the infection!

So, have a wonderful evening, and, hopefully, I'll be in shape to write something truly witty tomorrow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

San Diego Comic Con Is Already in Full Swing

I'm finding Tweets and photos from SDCC and tweeting or retweeting them (mostly retweets) so all of you who, like me, want to be at Comic Con, but aren't.

If you're a knitter, keep an eye on the tweets and retweets in the sidebar, because there are some free knitting patterns I'm tweeting about!

In the same vein, there will be a new cartoon show about a mythical Gene Roddenberry when he was a child. You can read more about it at the link. Be sure to scroll down. There's a cartoon at the end that I like.

I've been hampered in posting this by Comcast, which is running so slow that I've spent as much (maybe more) time waiting for stuff to load as I have actually reading or blogging stuff! It's either that or every website on the internet is running slow. I could understand it if it was only Twitter or only some other site, but it's everything!

Later addition: I waited a while, hoping that Comcast would finally start to work, but it's still glacially fast. I'll continue to try to update things on Twitter, but I'm giving up on posting for now.

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Moon Day!

Happy Moon Day!

Forty two (an auspicious number) years ago, a human being set foot on the moon for the first time!

For you older people, you probably remember where  you were and what you were doing at the time. For you younger people, it was an amazing event!

You can find more information on the Moon Landing here. In case you weren't paying attention, that was two links.

So, my opinion on all this is that I should do something loony today to celebrate! Actually, the most loony thing I can think of to do is to buy some of the moon. I can't afford it, but you might be able to.

Yeah, I know it's not expensive, but I'm broke.

Maybe next month for my birthday.


If you like the Harry Potter scarf from yesterday, you can make a matching watch cap (if you use the same colors) with the instructions here. The link is also in the sidebar, so you can find it any time.


Coming Attractions!

There are a couple of things coming up that I'd really like to go to, but won't be able to due to budget constraints and health reasons.

Can't get to San Diego Comic Con? Neither can I, and I'm all broken up about that. It's probably the biggest comic, science fiction and fantasy con around these days and it's happening this weekend! Actually, there's a preview night tonight, and one of my friends will be there tomorrow evening.

Another friend (John) will be there sometime over the weekend. So it's possible I'll get some first-hand accounts up here.

So, I propose a rerun of last year, wherein I collect the best of the best of Tweets about SDCC, and retweet them. If you don't have a Twitter account, you can follow them right here in the sidebar. See, over there, on the right, where it talks about Twitter?

It's not much, but it's a tiny taste of the con, and if it is the same as last year, there'll be lots of links to see photos taken there.

While you're checking Comic Con here, you might want to check G4, which will be broadcasting live from Comic Con at various times over the weekend (and then rebroadcasting the live shows later, if you miss them).

The other thing that's really breaking my heart to miss is Pennsic! If you click the link, you'll find out that it's a Medieval wargame held in Western Pennsylvania for two months in August. Actually, they've moved the dates up, and it now starts at the end of July, specifically July 29th this year.

Actually, Pennsic is far more than just a wargame. There is that, and a lot of Pennsic is built around that, but there's much, much more. To begin with, it's over 10,000 people getting together and living essentially the way people lived in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

SCA also has University classes, where they teach just about anything that was done during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and not just in Europe, but in the Middle and Far East. There are classes in blacksmithing, bellydancing, carding, combing and spinning wool and other fibers, period names and naming, period recipes and cooking, jewelry making, leather crafting, shoemaking, fletching, and much, much more. Just because I haven't mentioned it, doesn't mean they don't teach it.

I'll be doing the same thing with retweeting the most interesting stuff from Twitter, but I'm also going to try to blog almost every day, and include something that you would encounter in University classes if you were there. Since I do a lot of fiberarts, that's mostly what you'll be getting. If I can work up to real ambition, I might even show how to lucet some cord. I have a bone lucet that I bought a while ago and haven't used yet. This would be a good time to break it out. There were cords all over Medieval clothing, so this was a useful thing to know.

About the every day thing, I already know that at least two days (probably in a row) will be taken up with personal, time-consuming stuff, and I don't expect to be able to blog on the third or fourth of August, although I'll try.


I have lots of stuff to do, so I have to get going.

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter Scarf

I clicked on an email yesterday from Knitting Paradise. This is a group with a forum. On the forum were a lot of questions about how to make a Harry Potter scarf.

I was amazed to see that most people couldn't figure out how to do it, so I thought I'd publish instructions that I've never written down before, but that let me make a batch of Harry Potter scarves. This is set up to make the kind of scarf that is closest to the ones in the movie in the easiest possible way.

Harry Potter Scarf

Yarn needed:  Choose a yarn that's about a DK or light worsted weight in the school colors of your choice. I'll discuss colors at the end of the instructions. For a wide-stripe scarf (like in the first two movies) about 220 yards of each color. For wide and narrow-striped scarves (like in the third and remaining movies) you'll need about 420 yards of the main color, and 120 yards of the contrasting color. This can be acrylic, wool, or a combination of the two. You might want to give some consideration to the washability of the scarf if it's for a child.

Tools and notions needed: 
  • One 16 inch circular needle in the size you use for DK or light worsted. I'd choose a size 7 or 8, but you need to choose a size that gives you a nice, supple fabric. Not too tight or too loose.
  • At least one stitch marker (occasionally, these pop off. You only need one, but I would want to have some extras in case of loss).
  • Scissors
  • A hardback book (any of the Harry Potter hardback editions are perfect).
  • A garment steamer or steam iron (if you don't have either of these, you could wet block it if you know how to do that, or look it up on the internet).
  • An insulated cooking mit (silicone works best). This is optional, but may be helpful if you're steam blocking.
  • Crochet hook that's an appropriate size for the yarn. The size is not important because you won't be crocheting with it, but you'll be pulling the fringe through, so it has to be big enough. You can use a latch hook instead of a crochet hook, and that might even be easier.


Using main color, cast on 80 stitches. Place a marker, and knit in rounds for the length of the scarf following directions for type of scarf.

Wide Stripe scarf:  Knit with MC for 4 inches, then switch to CC for 4 inches, and repeat for length of scarf, ending with a MC stripe. Change colors at the marker, knotting yarn together with a square knot, and leave ends inside the tube, trimming ends to about 4 inches. You don't have to darn these ends in. When the scarf is about 72 inches, ending with a MC stripe, bind off. You can make the scarf shorter for a small child. It can be tried on to see if it's so long the child will trip on it.

Wide and Narrow Stripe scarf:  Knit with MC for 6 inches, then switch to CC for 4 rows, switch to MC for 6 rows, and back to CC for 4 rows. Repeat this sequence for length of scarf, ending with a wide MC stripe. Change colors at the marker, knotting yarn together with a square knot, and leave ends inside the tube, trimming ends to about 4 inches. You don't have to darn these ends in. When the scarf is about 72 inches, ending with a wide MC stripe, bind off. You can make the scarf shorter for a small child. It can be tried on to see if it's so long the child will trip on it.

Finishing:  Lay the scarf out on an ironing board or other steam-resistant surface, making sure that the jogs for the color changes are on one side edge. If the yarn you used is overtwisted, the jogs may not line up, but twist and flatten the scarf with your hands so that they do line up along the edge. Steam the scarf with a steamer or steam from a steam iron. Do not press down with the iron. You can pat it into shape using a mitt type pot holder over your hand (silicone ones work great at keeping your hand safe from the steam). Let the scarf sit until it's dry and cool. The scarf should now look professional, and the ends should lie flat. If they don't, though, don't worry. We're going to fix that with the fringe.

Choose the MC, and wrap it around a hardback book 7 or 9 times. Do count the number of wraps and make them consistent throughout. The number of wraps is less important than consistency. If it looks like you're short on remaining yarn, you could go down to 5 wraps for each fringe. Once the proper number of wraps has been made, cut the loops on the side of the book that opens. There will be a natural indentation where the pages are so you can get your scissors in there.

Insert your hook (crochet hook or latch hook) through both thicknesses of the scarf on the end, about a quarter inch in from the side, catch the middle of the loop of yarns (fringe) you just made, pull through the scarf, and pull the ends of the fringe through the loop. Pull the ends of the fringe gently to tighten up the lark's head knot you just made. Make another clump of fringe on the other side of that end, about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Then make another MC fringe in the center of the end. You can fold the end in half to see where the center is. Make another MC fringe equally spaced between the center fringe and one edge fringe (fold again to see where that is), then do the same thing between the center fringe, and the one on the other side. Switch to CC, and make a fringe between each of the other fringes. This will space them out equally and give you the same number of fringes that alternate in color.

Fringe the other end the same way. Place the scarf on a table, with the fringe at the edge of the table so that just the uneven ends of the fringe stick out over the edge. Trim off the ends of fringe that are too long by cutting along the edge of the table.

Wear and enjoy!

House Colors

Griffindor: MC is burgundy, CC is gold.

Ravenclaw: Book colors are: MC is a medium blue, CC is bronze, which is between gold and copper. Movie colors are: MC is navy, CC is silver grey.

Hufflepuff: MC is yellow, CC is black.

Sitherin: MC is Green and CC is silver.

That's it! Good luck on making your very own Harry Potter scarf!

Friday, July 15, 2011

John Ellis!

About 35 years ago, at August Party, I started talking to the stranger next to me. We had only exchanged a few words when Jacqueline Lichtenberg came by and introduced us to each other.

That was the start of a friendship that has lasted about 35 years (next month).

Here's John on a WSFA cruise on a tall ship:

Here he is doing what he does best:

Having John as a friend is a fun ride! I've gotten to meet all sorts of interesting people. He seems to know everybody, and is quick to point out everybody's strengths and accomplishments at every opportunity. And he's also big on creating opportunities, not only for himself, but for those around him. He's a fabulous artist, and knows film making from from one end to the other. He's produced, directed, and done almost every other job you can think of involving film making.

Things I've done that I might never have done if it hadn't been for him:

  • I worked on several movies, including Invader and New Genesis (which had the working title of Twilight of the Dogs, and will always be referred to as Twilight by me).
  • Miscellaneous work on some other films.
  • Doing the covers for the Steve Canyon on DVD TV shows.
  • Helped put on at least three science fiction conventions in a major role, and a few others in a minor role.

I got to meet:

He's not only been the best friend, but has enriched my life in so many ways! He's also improved the lives of everyone around him.

And now you can read about him on Wikipedia! He's got his own listing here!

And here's a recent photo of him in front of an Apollo capsule:

He's one of my favorite people ever!


Oh, and I just found out that I was nominated for a Shorty award last Fall! I didn't get it, but I feel it's an honor to be nominated!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peter Diamandis’ Laws for Life

I was on Facebook today, and my friend, Steve Sheets included this link for Peter Diamandis’ Laws for Life.

I love this so much!


Unfortunately, the first thing I need to fix (rule 1) is Blogger. You many or may not have noticed that this blog is published on Blogger. Earlier this week, they removed a beautiful, elegant, easy-to-use interface, and replaced it with what looks like the first try at a really clunky, difficult, problematic way of publishing a blog.

I have loved Blogger, but this mess is enough to make me investigate trying another way to post my blog. They've taken precision tools that are a snap to use, and replaced them with crayons, but not so easy to use.

I won't enumerate all it's flaws, but this has to be fixed!

If my blog isn't up to snuff for a bit, that's the reason why.


I got on the internet today, and there were all sorts of conflicting reports about Social Security. A statement by the President that Social Security may not be paid on the third (when I get mine), and other reports that it's separately-funded, and will go out no matter what.

There are many people who depend on SS for their income. They spent their lives paying into SS, and now, when they need it, the possibility is that it may be pulled out from under them is just not acceptable. Particularly when it seems to be proposed as a way to allow millionaires to cut their taxes. They should be grateful. I realize that the US income tax on over a million dollars is a lot, but it's nothing compared to England, where the Beatles song, Taxman is accurate: "One for you, nineteen for me!" and "Be thankful I don't take it all."

I can't help thinking about a song I loved back in the '70s, called Streets of London by Ralph McTell.

In spite of being so sad, it's very beautiful. I'm afraid that this is what we're going to be seeing all over the US, possibly very soon. I live in a building where virtually everyone is on Social Security, and the whole apartment building may be emptying out next month if the Republicans have their way.

In case you're feeling sad from that song, here's a ragtime medley, also by Ralph McTell. It seems to be mostly Windy and Warm.

Here's a version of Windy and Warm for comparison.

It's always been one of my favorite songs!

That cheered me up a bit!


Tonight we'll be having a usual Tuesday night line-up on TV.

We have White Collar and Covert Affairs on USA, and The Nine Lives of Chloe King on ABC Family.

I know that Chloe is a kids or teen program, but, like Harry Potter, it's good. Possibly not as good as Harry, but worth a watch.


I want to try posting a photo, too, just to see how the process works with this version of the interface, so (hopefully) here's a photo of some kind. I haven't decided what I'd like to put up here as a test.

This is just a photo I had hanging around that seemed funny. The process for putting up photos is almost the same as it was.

I have some yarn ordered, and I really thought it would be here today. Maybe I'll have some knitting input for tomorrow or Thursday!

Have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sweeps Month!

I mostly just wanted to comment on the fact that now that we're halfway through the sweeps month, Syfy seems to have suddenly figured that out, and is now putting on their new shows.

Monday night, we have three premiers. Eureka and Warehouse 13 have season premiers, followed by Alphas, which is a series premier.

I can't actually recommend Alphas, because I haven't seen it yet, but the trailers look good.


Blogger has taken an excellent interface, and changed it all around. While it did that, it removed a lot of features, and made it malfunction in various ways. I can't deal with it at the moment because I have other things to do, so this is all there is to the post.

Except that I hope you've been having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ghost Story is Coming!

On the 26th of July, Ghost Story, the new Harry Dresden book, will be out on the stands and available for download.

If you just can't wait, Penguin has given us the first chapter ahead of time! You can read it here! I just did, and I can't wait to read the book!

If you haven't read any of the Dresden Files books or seen the Dresden Files TV show, you're really missing out! At the very least, you should get the first book, Storm Front from the library. You'll be hooked!


If you love flying or planes, check out the last two updates on the Steve Canyon on DVD blog. John gives you an update on how things are going on the release of the last DVD, and Independence Day wishes!

I'm kind of in a rush today. Lots of things to do, so that's it for this post.

But I'll be back soon with more stuff.

In the meantime, have a great short week!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

Google has been putting this up on their search page today:

I've been celebrating the holiday already this weekend!

Last night, nature put on it's own fireworks display for me. There was a thunderstorm that approached from the West. I watched it for more than a half hour before it got close enough to rain. The whole thing lasted more than an hour and put on a spectacular display!

I've also been eating cheese dogs and corn on the cob and other fun stuff this weekend along with a TiVo fest of all kinds of good things I've recorded! I plan to continue watching great TV, knitting, and having a great Summer style dinner!

I'll be watching fireworks live from the Washington Mall on TV, and live out my window tonight!

I hope you're having as much fun!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July!

It's the first of July. I hope the month is a happy one for you!

I also want to wish everyone a

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

I hope you have the best Fourth of July weekend ever!


The very last piece I needed to make my new TV work arrived yesterday morning. I spent the early afternoon assembling everything, making sure everything was plugged together correctly, and testing it all.

I now have a functioning RCA High Def TV! Even the DVD player is hooked up!

Eventually, I'd like to get a 32 inch TV, but that's going to have to wait until I get some more money.

Last night, I watched a movie I'd TiVo'd the other day. It's called Secondhand Lions, and I loved it! Here's my review on GetGlue, so I don't have to type it again. This is a great movie that you can watch with a kid, and you'll both love it!


I came across a fabulous giveaway for all you knitters! Around the middle of July, Simple will be giving away a Namaste Laguna bag, a matching wallet, and an assortment of Oh Snap bags to one lucky person! There are a lot of different ways you can enter, so read the entry instructions carefully!

I happen to want the Eggplant color if I win. Holly has a different Namaste bag in eggplant, and it's beautiful! They have a new bag that will be out in the middle of July, called the Mini Messenger, and here it is in eggplant so you can see what a gorgeous color it is:

So, go enter today for your chance at a Namaste bag, wallet, and Oh, Snap set!

Hope you're going to have a fabulous weekend!