Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mobius Knitting Pattern Updates

Well, I finished the knitting part of the Screaming KnitFit Mobius Hat. I think it turned out very well, but then Screaming KnitFit patterns always do.

See for yourself:






The cuff on this is a real mobius!

I have a few things to add/change to the instructions (which are mostly written), and then it needs to be proofed and edited. I have a few photos of the hat in progress that will make it easier to see what you're doing. Some people have a hard time visualizing what's going on, so seeing how it's supposed to look at a particular point can assure you that you're doing it right, or warn you that you've gotten completely off the track.

But then, I want to take some pretty photos of it so that the whole package will be attractive. After a bit of thought, it seems like this is the perfect time to buy a head and bust mannequin to use while taking the photos. The whole idea of this project is to make some money, but it seems that the old saying "You have to spend money to make money" is true.

I want to make both a scarf and a cowl to go with this (so the knitter has a choice), and of course, my Screaming KnitFit mitts pattern is perfect with this (with the same fun fur type trim around the cuff). I'm thinking about writing a pattern for mitts that really match, though.

So far, I've perfected the SKF Mobius Cowl to go with it:





This required a lot of knitting that was done and then torn out, but I think it's turned out well!

I started out with a vague idea, which turned out not to work at all. But it showed me the problems with the project, and I eventually figured out how to deal with those problems.

I'm thinking of making each pattern available separately, and also available together for a lower price than the separate pieces. Then, if you want the hat and scarf, but not the cowl, you can buy just that, but can get all the patterns at a discount.

At this point, I don't have enough yarn left over for a scarf. I went to JoAnn Fabrics on Friday to get more, but they didn't have any of the right color. I could kick myself because when I bought this originally, they had two more balls of the same dye lot, and I didn't get them.

I do have about a ball of yarn left, and I'm thinking about making mitts to match with it. I will get more yarn and do some kind of a scarf, and/or some other kind of neck warmer. But that's going to take time. I'll have to either take the bus as far as I can toward Michaels and then walk (and hope that they have some of the same yarn in the same color) or order it over the internet. I'm thinking internet and waiting is going to win.

I was going to start on the pattern for the mobius hat with the cabled cuff, but didn't have yarn for it on hand, so I ordered it. It's arrived (as announced in a previous post), and I'm thinking of switching over to that series of patterns until I can get the rest of the yarn to finish at least one set.

Here's a photo of the Cabled Cuff Mobius Hat I made for Kyle, and this is sort of what I'm aiming for:


My plan is to keep the same look as this hat (witch was knit in Plymoth Encore Tweed in Grape Jam), and maybe make the instructions a little simpler than the way I knit it originally. I made a pretty simple scarf to go with this, but I want to write instructions more like the cowl above incorporating a cable. I may make the cable on the hat and cowl (and the scarf I want to go with it) a bit different looking. This is going to be a real challenge.

I plan to include a chart to put the heart that's on this hat onto one you might want to knit, but I'm also going to attempt to include instructions to put a star on it instead, so there's an option. So, for instance, if you're knitting these for twins, you could make them slightly different.

I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to do the cable for the cuff on the hat, and I'm thinking about that. I want it to go with the cowl pattern I'm going to write for it, and that's presenting some problems, so I'm starting with the part of the cowl that's going to be fairly plain just to get a feel for the yarn.

I have to say that in spite of being acrylic, the Starlette Tweed yarn I bought from Mary Maxim is just yummy soft in my hands and every bit as pretty as the picture.


I cast on, and then realized this is a heavier worsted weight than the worsted I used for the SKF version, so redid it on fewer stitches. Here's what it looks like now:





I expect to be nearly finished with this section of the cowl by tonight when I give up and go to sleep. It doesn't look like much so far, does it?

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There's almost nothing on TV tonight. This is a good evening to break out the DVDs and enjoy things you haven't had a chance to watch in a while.

I watched The Tudors on BBC in America when they had that marathon over the weekend a few weeks ago. The thing I didn't understand about it (and the thing that the people who schedule these things had a problem with, too) is that they numbered the episodes instead of naming them. Then they started numbering from the beginning at the beginning of each season.

So, BBC showed episodes numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 from the first season, and then 6 from the second season, and then continued with 7, etc. from the first season to the end, and then continued with 1, 2, 3, etc. from the second season. Since I didn't understand the numbering system, I recorded and watched the first season (with the exception of #6, which didn't fit with the rest), and didn't record the second season because I thought they were rerunning the batch they chose to show.

Now, each Wednesday, they're showing the episode from the last week, and a new one (which will be shown again next week), etc.

Tonight, they'll be showing episodes 5 and 6 from the first season, which I'm going to record and watch so I can see what I missed.

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I'm mostly over whatever was wrong with me last week and over the weekend, but I don't want to push it, so this is all I'm going to write today.

Have a wonderful evening!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Happy President's Day!


Congratulations to all those out there who got a paid holiday out of the deal!

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I've gradually been feeling yuckier and yuckier over the past few days, and it finally dawned on me last night that I'm actually sick.

All this seems to have started on Thursday (possibly Tuesday), but it took me until last night to realize that the lump under my ear that hurts, the sore muscles, The desire to take a nap all the time, the ache all over, and the food that wants to escape via the nearest exit shortly after I eat it might be trying to tell me something. It took a thermometer that told me that I had a low grade fever to make it actually sink in.

I spent a lot of last night too tired to keep my eyes open, but not able to actually fall asleep.

So, I've given myself the day off. Usually, I have a mental list of things that I plan to accomplish in a given day. But today, I can do anything I want. Take a nap, have some chicken soup, whatever.

So, I'm going to sign off for today. I feel like I'm rambling anyway, and I'll do better another day.

Hope you're feeling better than I am!

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Oh, wait! I found some neat knitting things on the internet that I wanted to tell you about, and nearly forgot!

Knit Picks has a new yarn out called Aloft! It's a mohair and silk lace weight yarn! I've wanted a fuzzy mohair type yarn in the past and looked in their catalog and gave up in disgust, but I (and you) don't have to do that anymore. Don't forget, you could knit two strands of this together to get a different gauge and a quicker knit!

Jimmy Beans has a broken knitting needle exchange program. If your knitting needles break, you can get them replaced through them for much less than buying new needles. Their plan only covers certain brands, but it's a big step forward for knitters!

Lion Brand Yarn has a really nice pattern out for a unique scarf! You'll have to sign in (if you've already signed up) or sign up, but it's free, and the scarf is terrific!

Have a great evening and don't miss Chuck or Castle, both of which are new! There's a new Being Human on tonight, too, on the Syfy Channel, but I saw the first episode of the original Being Human on BBC in America on Saturday, and the new one can't begin to compare to it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Robin!

Happy Birthday, Robin!

Holly's boyfriend, Robin is having his 40th birthday today! I say again, 40 isn't old if you're a tree. Happy birthday!

Robin doesn't have a Facebook page, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, but I did send him a text message earlier today. He's also lucky enough to have today and tomorrow off of work, so he can celebrate in style.

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For you knitters out there, this is the last week of Knit Pick's book sale. They have fabulous prices on a lot of wonderful books, so check it out!

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Update on the Mobius Hat instructions: The Screaming KnitFit version of the instructions are almost finished. I've been writing as I knit so that I won't miss anything you need to know in the instructions. I should point out that this is the easy version of the hat without the cables, so it has a plain cuff.

I'm almost finished knitting the actual hat itself, and I've been taking photos as I go along. I have just the top of it to do, and the trim around the cuff. Now I just have to invent what I'd like to design for a scarf and cowl or something to go with it, knit it and write the instructions. Oh, and because of the complexity of the construction, I need to put together a table of numbers to go with it. Example: if you're knitting at 5 stitches to the inch, you should have X number of stitches.

I've ordered the yarn for the cabled mobius hat, and it was shipped out yesterday, so it should be arriving soon. A lot of the instructions for the hat at least will be able to picked up from the instructions I'm writing now, but there will be a lot of charts and other things, and I'll probably make the accessories differently.

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I've been having lots of problems with my new TiVo, but some of them were because I didin't understand some things about the new version. Some of the problems haven't been solved, but when I called Comcast to ask them if they were making the problems, I got a recording saying that there is an outage in my area. So, I'm going to wait and give them a chance to fix it before I go nuts over it.

It's insisting that I don't get some of the channels that I was able to get as recently as yesterday (early), and that I've had for the past four years. There was an outage in the past that did that, so that may be what's wrong. We'll see, eventually.

The sad part about all this is that Flix had A Boy and His Dog on last night, and that's one of the channels that went out. I thought I'd talked about this earlier on my blog, but only mentioned the movie.



A Boy and his Dog was a short story written by Harlan Ellison because another writer said that his stories were so dark and twisted that he should write something cheerful and fun and challenged him to write a story with that title.

So, Harlan wrote a novella with that title about the aftermath of thermonuclear war. The dog's name is Blood, he's telepathic and smarter than the boy. He keeps trying to teach the boy, Vic, (Don Johnson, in his first movie) history, but it's hard work because he isn't interested. The reviewers at Amazon have done a much better job than I could of telling the story, so click the link and read. The only thing I can add is that Harlan Ellison said it's the only thing he wrote that was filmed and he liked the filmed version. Although Harlan was not only an advisor on Babylon 5, but appeared in it and pretty much got his way because every time someone wanted to do something different from what Harlan wanted, Joe Strazinski always sided with Harlan.

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There's a new Big Bang Theory on tonight! That's always a cause for celebration.



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Right now, the temperature outside is 65 degrees, which means it was probably around 70 for a high, like it was yesterday. I'm already feeling it with the heat as "off" as I can make it, the windows wide open, and a temperature of 85 degrees in my apartment. I'm hoping for highs of around 50 between now and late April, which is when they turn on the AC here.

I ran into someone the other day who was waiting for the elevator, and they remarked about how warm it was in the building, and that was a cold day, when we could cool off by opening the windows. Once it starts to warm up, it's a sauna in here!

Have a wonderful evening and keep cool!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watson!

In case you missed Jeopardy the last two days (and in case you're lucky enough to read this while there's still time), they've had a computer named Watson as a contestant on Jeopardy the past two days, and will have it play a whole, continuous game today! So if you're reading this before 7:30, go tell your DVR or TiVo to record it, or go watch it on TV!

Speaking of all this, I wanted to watch it yesterday, but was foiled by my TiVo. I spent a lot of yesterday on my new TiVo.

The TiVo people had what sounded like a fabulous offer for people who have a TiVo HD (or who don't have a TiVo) to upgrade to a TiVo Premiere. It sounded like a fabulous offer, anyway.

The person I ordered it from on the phone drastically misrepresented it.

It turns out that I was not ordering continuous service, as she led me to believe, but a whole new service with a whole new contract, and the responsibility to keep on paying for service on the old box, which I quite clearly stated that I didn't intend to use.

The advertising clearly stated that I could return it within 30 days free. I was told on the phone that returning it would be free, but when I called them to return it, they said I'd have to return it at my expense.

I called them and tried to straighten all this out, but they refused to budge on any issue!

Apparently, if you're a victim of their false and misleading advertising and statements on the phone, the only recourse you have is to ask them about returning it. My advice to consumers is that if they don't live up to their end of the bargain immediately, just tell them you want to return it. Otherwise they'll politely treat you like dirt.

The result of my inquiry into sending it back was that they gave in and gave me everything i had fought for on the phone earlier with no success, which was what they had promised in the first place. Although they've always been polite on the phone, this is the first time during this fiasco that they treated me like a customer rather than as a punching bag.

At least, at this point, they say they're going to give it to me. But they've said that before and not done it. I'll believe it when I see it.

As for the fun yesterday, it took at least two and a half hours to install it. This was not because I had a problem installing it. The installation was fairly simple. I transferred the cables from the old box to the new one with no problems. I also transferred the cable card.

And, I should mention that if you're transferring a cable card from one TiVo box to another, you have to call the cable company and give a tech the cable card number plus the number of the box it's now in. Comcast techs were busy, and it took me a while to do this. Which was not their fault. Probably the first problem I've had with Comcast which wasn't their fault!

Doesn't sound all that time-consuming, does it? Well, it's not.

When started, the box said that it needed to update some programming, and that it could take up to an hour, but probably less. So, I did that, and it took a little more than a half hour. So far, so good.

Then it came up with a little sign that said that it had to install all the programming it had just downloaded, and that would take at least an hour, possibly more! And you don't have a choice at that point.

I really wanted to watch Jeopardy, but was stuck.

I finally got everything up and running just in time to see Watson bomb on the last question.

So, I'm going to stop writing now so you can go watch, but I'll write more about this soon.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Once again, it's that day dedicated to lovers! I wish you all many, many valentines this day!

If you're a history nut and want to know more about Valentine's Day, Wikipedia has lots to say about it, and you'll feel absolutely stuffed with facts if you read the entry!

You can find out about the stages and chemistry of love here!

Or, if you want to look at it another way, FX put Mr. and Mrs. Smith on for Valentine's Day earlier today. They're not replaying it, but you might want to watch it on DVD for a weird take on the season.

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If you're a knitter and would like to celebrate Valentine's Day with a sweepstakes, check out the one on the Knitty blog. They're giving away two sets (large and small sizes) of Hiya Hiya stainless steel interchangeable knitting needles to one lucky winner!

Also for knitters: find out how one school is using knitting to teach a lot of different subjects.

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In more knitting news, I've ordered the yarn to make another mobius hat so I can take more photos and make some accessories to go with it while I write up the instructions.

Here's a photo of the hat (which was also in yesterdays blog post). I think it's relevant because it has a heart on it, although I'm also going to make a version with a star. I'll include directions for both.


I guess the star version would be especially good for Christmas.

I ordered the yarn from Mary Maxim yesterday. It's their Starlette Tweed yarn in the Mariner color. It's the featured color at the top of the page, a soft blue.

Yeah, I'd like to make it in wool, but I couldn't find a nice tweed (which I wanted) in a pretty blue (which I also wanted) at anything near a reasonable price. So, there we are. I haven't tried the Starlette Tweed yet, so I'm a little worried about the quality, but I've gotten nice stuff from Mary Maxim before, so I have my fingers crossed.

Since I don't have a lot of money begging to be spent on yarn at the moment, I'm opting for speed in getting it knitted and getting pictures taken and the instructions written.

In the meantime, I'm going to use some yarn I have on hand to start knitting and writing the Screaming KnitFit version of this hat. I have nearly four skeins of Wool Ease in Violet, which is a cool, dark purple, plus part of a skein of some furry yarn (not Fun Fur, but that could be used). I'm using a different brand of furry yarn because it nearly matches the purple yarn.

Since it's in my stash, I can jump in and start knitting tonight, and go get some more furry yarn later in the week.

New topic here, but still about knitting: I ordered an Addi lace circular needle from Jimmy Beans Wool last Wednesday evening, very late (probably around or after midnight), and it was in my mailbox waiting for me to pick it up on Friday morning! That's slightly more than one day! I think they deserve a silver star and a mention for that fabulous service!

I'm thinking about getting another pair of Addis to make the mobius hat, scart, etc on. I'm really in love with these needles. If you ever tried the Bryspun circular needles and loved the points, you'll love these, too.

The points are a bit concave, which lets them have a point that's not too pointy, but still lets you do K2tog and other increases and decreases plus lace knitting without having to fight with the needles to do it. They have a clear resin coating which seems to let your knitting slide as well as the nickel-coated ones or the grey resin coated ones when you want your knitting to slide, but has enough grip that the last few stitches of a row don't try to escape the way they do on the slicker needles.






 They're just a dream to knit with! I love tools that work well!

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Tonight, there's a brand new Chuck, and I'd be surprised if they didn't put in something about Valentines Day!

There's also a brand new Castle!

The network is saying that they're still showing new episodes of Hawaii Five-O on Mondays, but they've been showing reruns on Mondays for a while. So, I'm not sure.

So, it's a hard choice between that and Warehouse 13, which is a hilarious rerun tonight.

My sister also recommended Harry's Law, which is in the same time slot, but I'm finding that they usually rerun it on Saturday night, so, as usual, there's a way to have three shows that are shown at the same time, but watch them at different times. I just have to wait until Saturday.

But, unfortunately, not all four.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Catching Up

As you know, I've been having internet problems, which has been discouraging me from blogging as frequently. By the way, they're not over. There are so many things that could be wrong, and I've been working through them one by one, and haven't found a definitive fix yet. All that troubleshooting has been using up time that I could be blogging, too. Or doing other things.

So, I'm going to catch you up on all the stuff that's been happening. A lot of people have been commenting on a hat I made on another website, and I've referred them here, so there may be a lot more people reading this blog.

To them, I'd like to say "Hello!" and say again that I cover many topics in a typical post, and separate them with some asterisks, so if you're not interested in a topic, skip down to the next break.

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On Wednesday, Holly and I went over to the VA Hospital in DC, and picked up my new hearing aids. This sounds quick and simple, but wasn't. They had to be fitted, and I had to learn how to insert batteries, turn them on and off, clean them and take care of them, and use the bluetooth aspect. They can also be plugged in to things like my home phone so that I can make and get phone calls without having to hold the phone up to my ear.

I have a loop which uses bluetooth or can be plugged into something, but they didn't send the cord to connect it to something else that way. I bought a cord on Thursday, but the connector is big and chunky, and the jack in my phone is in a little dimple with a rubber cover, and I can't plug the cable in all the way because the end of the cable has that big, clunky plug, so I'll have to get something else.

First of all, they work so much better than the ones I had before! Some high sounds and sibilant sounds cause a tiny feedback squeal, but they make human speech so much more easy to understand. Part of this may be that I went through part of the learning curve with the earlier aids.

One of the neat things about these is the way they look. My old aids were skin-colored hard plastic, and if you happened to see them in my ear, looked more like a malignant growth.

The new ones look more like jewelry!






The aids themselves are a metallic navy blue, and are very pretty! They don't look as good in this photo as they do in real life. The connection between the aids and the earmolds, and the earmolds themselves is a translucent soft plastic.


Here's a photo of the earmolds in their soft, clear plastic. You can see a bit of how pretty the blue metallic finish is, just above the earmold.

Isn't that close up photo amazing? It's all thanks to the wonderful camera that my sister gave me for my birthday! Thanks, again, Lynn. I find the camera doing something wonderful that most cameras have trouble doing and it just amazes me almost every week.

The best part is that I can hear so much better, though. These are an amazing experience!

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And now, to the knitting content!

I put up a photo of the Mobius hat that I made for Kyle two Christmases ago on a knitting website connected with facebook, and I've been getting many comments on it.

Everyone wants the pattern, and I never wrote one out. I've decided that I'm going to do it, but since the original is in Wisconsin somewhere, and I don't have it to photograph, and I'll want more photos for the instructions, that I'm going to knit a new one and write up the instructions and report on my progress here.

Just so we're all on the same page, here's a photo of the hat I'm talking about.


I also did a simpler version of this hat for the daughter of a friend the same Christmas, and I think I made a similar one for Holly, too. I plan to write the directions for the simpler one as a different pattern, and I'll write a pattern for a scarf and cowl to go with each of them. Here's the other hat. Both had scarves, but I didn't take a photo of the scarf for the hat with the cable, so I'll have to make a new one in order to take photos and show the construction as I go.





This hat (unlike the other) has a cuff that's actually a true mobius strip. The one with the cable has a fake mobius.

I plan to have several lines of knitting patterns, and this second, easier, mobius hat will be part of my Screaming KnitFit patterns. These will be a group of patterns set up by a lazy knitter (me) to be really easy to knit. They'll have unconventional construction meant to minimize finishing (I don't like to have to sew things together), and, best of all, you'll be able to knit them using any weight yarn. Most of them will let you start knitting, and check a little while after starting for gauge. If it's good, you can just keep knitting. If not, you can consider it a gauge swatch and rip it out and start over again. And by gauge, I usually don't mean "16 stitches to 4 inches" I mean "Is it too stiff or too loose?" They will mostly let you ignore gauge and just start knitting, have minimal finishing, and will actually fit.

I chose the name because I used to love Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and loved the name even more. I also wanted to give the idea that these were easy knits that fit, and while I was in Basic Training, I had a barracks-mate who used to talk (all the time) about her mother having screaming knit fits, and I always thought that was an amusing way to express it.

I've already written three Screaming KnitFit patterns (although I didn't call them that then) that are available in printed form, but I plan to republish them as PDFs since I'm getting more and more requests for them. You can see the current printed patterns here. There's a listing for a Christmas stocking that I haven't taken down yet, and I'll write a pattern for that, too, soon.

The hat with the cable on the cuff will be one of my Unconventional Knits line. They'll be things that for one reason or another will actually need to be knitted in a particular weight yarn at a particular gauge. Sorry, guys. No getting around gauge swatches here!

They'll also be things that are knitted in a more conventional way, frequently with separate pieces knitted flat and sewn together, although this particular hat will need no sewing. When you're done knitting, you're done! That covers the "conventional" part of the name, but these will be special in some way, which is why I added the "un" at the beginning of conventional.

Stay tuned for more information!

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I went over to the library yesterday, and noticed that the ice on the lake is starting to break up. It looks like Spring may still be far off, but it's on it's way!


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There's a Burn Notice marathon on USA today! In honor of Valentine's Day (which is tomorrow, by the way, happy Valentine's Day!) they're calling it a Heart Burn marathon!

If you're into a Valentine frame of mind, there are a lot of that type of movie on today and tonight. Check your local listings.

Next Saturday, the original Being Human will be all new on BBC in America as part of their Supernatural Saturday.

I've got to go now, or this post will never get up on the internet.

I hope your weekend has been wonderful, and wish you a fabulous week!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

Once again, that time of year has rolled around again.

Yes, folks, it's Groundhog Day!


Opinions seem to be divided about whether the groundhog saw his shadow in my area. When I first woke up, it was overcast here, so it would have been impossible to see a shadow. But then it cleared up and it's been sunny all day.

In Pennsylvania, they have happier news. Punxutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so it's (theoretically) going to be an easy balance of Winter. Let's hope he's right. We got enough snow last year where I live for the next five years, so we deserve it.

In Atlanta, their local groundhog agrees with Phil, so it's probably going to be an early Spring both North and South of here.

For those of you who want to celebrate it with a movie, one of the Encore channels is playing Groundhog Day all day to day, over and over and over again, kind of like in the movie.


In old Gaelic folklore, it's also St. Brigid's Day, also known as Candlemas and Imbolc, which may have been a precursor to Groundhog Day.


 Are you completely bored with this yet?

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I've been knitting like a crazy person on some Christmas presents for some people I won't see until next week. Unfortunately, that means that I can't show you pictures and spoil the surprise.

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In other TV news, the second of the two Human Target episodes that we missed a couple of weeks ago will be on tonight! The first of the two was repeated on Monday along with a new Chuck. If you have a TiVo and don't want to miss Human Target, I suggest that you program a season pass for it. Fox seems to be persecuting it the way it did Firefly!

And although NBC said they were going to show a new Castle on Monday, they didn't and instead showed a rerun. Shame on you, NBC!

Back on the subject of tonight, there will be a rerun of Supernatural, and it will be on at the same time as Human Target, natch! You didn't think that as much as the networks seem to hate Wednesday, that they'd conveniently put the good things on a different times, did you?

Speaking of TV, if you live in the Northern Virginia area and you'd like to get a TiVo HD, leave a comment. I have one for sale for a limited time for a low, low price and a 5 month contract for service (it won't work without the service). More details are available to commenters. I won't bore you with them here.

I'm still having lots of problems with internet, so there still won't be a lot of posts until I can get that ironed out. Sorry, but it's such a fight to get something up.

Have a fabulous week, and I wish no more snow to all the people who have already gotten too much!

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