31 July 2007

Would It Be So Wrong...

... to hope that John Roberts's epilepsy gets worse? Not enough to really hurt him, mind you, and nothing at all like Pat Robertson's praying for the death of Supreme Court Justices. Just, perhaps, inconvenience him enough to make him want to take an early retirement. Preferably in February of 2009.

And Since We're Talking Politics...

...I highly recommend this article by Gary Kamiya in Salon. This paragraph, in particular, is worth essential reading:

Most Americans now believe that Bush's decision to invade Iraq was a terrible mistake. They see that it has turned out badly, and think that it has made us less safe. But there is another, less discussed reason why the war was an act of madness: War always has unforeseen consequences. Making war is like playing dice with God -- using His dice. This is why war should always be a last resort. What's stunning about the Iraq war is that its architects not only ignored this obvious truth, but also ignored the consequences that could have been, and were, foreseeable. To start an unprovoked war on false pretenses and pie-in-the-sky promises of a vast regional transformation, besides being unethical, is an act of almost cosmic folly. To put it in Christian terms, it is the cardinal sin -- the sin of pride.

More Simpsonization

David was considerably more difficult to do, which I suppose just says that I am naturally more cartoonish. I'm not sure that's a good thing. Anyway, this is the closest likeness I could come up with:

30 July 2007

A Weekend in the Woods

We had a really nice couple of days camping with my folks up on Moosehead Lake. I hadn't been up there in years and David had never been there. My parents usually drive up a few times a year to take pictures of moose, but none of us had ever camped at Lily Bay State Park, where we had reserved a campsite. No knitting occurred while we were there, but shortly after we set out I finished up my first Dulaan item for 2008.


The park is just about as lovely as you could imagine and, with the exception of one heavy thundershower that swept a good bit of mud under our tent, the weather was wonderful. An added bonus for David was the chance to indulge his pyromania and sit by a campfire both nights. He also got in a kayak for the first time ever and did a bit of paddling around, but I don't have any photos of the event. I do have this one, though.


The moose were fairly elusive this trip. We saw one just before we got to Greenville Thursday evening, when it was too dark to get a decent photo, and then I managed to get this one of a smallish (as in, around 600-700 pounds small) cow moose.


She looked relatively young, so I'm guessing she was one of last year's babies.

Coming home, we swung out to Jackman, which is near the Quebec border, in hopes of seeing more moose. The moose hunt proved fruitless, but there were still some wonderful sights to be seen, like this overlook view of Attean Lake as the storm clouds rolled over the mountains.


As fun as it is to go camping, I definitely need to figure out something better for my back to sleep on. We tried an air mattress this time, but I'm not sure that it's any better than the camping pads we already have (aside from keeping us drier after the deluge). I may just need to get thick foam pads and sew covers for them. At least I was able to come home and get a reasonably good night's sleep before returning to work.

Knee Update

The doctor felt that the problem is one of patellofemoral syndrome, which is supported by the fact that x-ray films of the joint were quite clean. So I started seeing a physical therapist to see what we can do about it, and he feels that strengthening the vastus medialis muscle should do the trick.

I actually got a call from the physical therapy office Thursday as I was trying to pull things together for the camping trip that they'd had a last minute cancellation and had an opening in half an hour. Since my only other option was to wait until late August, I jumped on it and got a series of exercises to work on. I was admittedly not as diligent with them as I should have been over the weekend, but there wasn't always a good place and time in the woods. My next visit is this afternoon, so we'll see how it goes.

Simpsonized Me

This particular bit of silliness comes courtesy of Jean. She had the link, and so naturally I followed. I'm not sure if we'll see The Simpsons movie before it hits Netflix, but we both really like the show. Anyway, I think it's a rather good resemblance, for a cartoon character.

25 July 2007

Favorite Uncles

Posting might possibly be a bit sparse this week. My brother's kids are visiting for a few days, and we're dropping them off Thursday on our way to spend a couple nights camping up on Moosehead Lake with my folks.

This evening, we took the kids over to the Nubble Lighthouse at York Beach and got some ice cream (not from the lighthouse, but from a stand nearby).


Tomorrow they want to go see the Old York Gaol, and as it's supposed to be a scorcher, we shall definitely be spending some time at Seapoint Beach.

Visitors not withstanding, a little fiber action did take place. I knit a tiny bit on the Dulaan hat and actually pulled out my Hitchhiker to do a little bit of spinning. I haven't sat at the wheel for a few months now, so it was long overdue and very nice to watch and feel the wool as it drafted out and spun. I have so much fiber that needs to be spun, I really need to sit down regularly to spin a bit of it at a time.

22 July 2007

It Is Finished

I was really good. I went out and mowed and raked the lawn before I sat down to start reading in earnest. And then I managed to set it down for a few hours while we went out to dinner with Franklin, Sister Sue, and Brother-in-Law Phil and had a very nice time. Then I was just going to read a little bit longer before bed. The sun is just starting to come up, and I just finished it. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. And that's all I'm saying about that.

21 July 2007

Un Amuse-mains

Knitting monogamy is not easy for me, and yet, I have been rather monogamous for the past couple months. I finally broke down, though. With the prospect of working two nights in a row - 30+ hours of work in two days - and sleeping in a tiny overnight room here at the clinic, I decided it was time for a little something easy & mindless. The knitting equivalent of a palate cleanser, if you will. So I picked up a ball of Friendz Blendz I had gotten at Spa from my friends Pogo & Marcia at Friends' Folly Farm and cast on for my first new Dulaan project for 2008.


Just a basic two-layer hat - circular cast on working out to full diameter, then tube, purl turning row, more tube, then decrease to point & cast off, invert one side into the other & voilà. Lots and lots of plain and easy stockinette. I'm kntiting it fairly loosely, so there's been a bit of laddering, but I expect that'll come out in the wash. Because the photo was taken with the cheap work camera, the colors appear horribly washed out.

I like the pointy top because I think it makes the hat look a bit like a stupa.

Deathly Hallows

So the book has officially been released now, and I shall be headed to Portsmouth when I get off work to go pick up my copy, doubtless one of many who shall be waiting in line. I won't be absolutely devastated if I should inadvertently come across a spoiler before I've finished, but I'm hoping not to and trying to avoid it. For those who are planning on getting it but are worried about spoilers, I shall not be posting any information about the plot on this blog. Neither shall any commenters, since those have to get through me first.

19 July 2007

An Early Night, Relatively Speaking

It's about 2:30AM, and I'm off to bed shortly. I have to get up early for a doctor's appointment. Because I've never had another medical professional properly evaluate my bum knee, I'm going to see someone at the family practice so that I can be referred to an orthopod and not have Aetna refuse to pay for it.

Because, you know, after 16 years of dealing with this, how could I possibly be expected to know whether or not it needs to be dealt with by a specialist? I just figure it'll cost them more money, which will serve them right, and hope I can get an appointment with an orthopod in a timely manner.

I shall be working the next two nights in a row. We usually don't work back-to-back nights like this, but I agreed to do it so that one of my coworkers could take her kid to Mugglefest. Sounds like a good time, but I'll be picking up my copy of Deathly Hallows after I get off work Saturday morning. I was going to wait, but I figured I'd rather find out the big ending-of-all-endings for myself. Plus, it gives me the entire weekend off.

Knitwise, I switched off to the third color combination on the vest swatch (no pics yet) and it is looking nice - a bit lighter than I'd originally envisioned, but perhaps not bad for wedding wear. Tonight I've been toying around with the herringbone stitch used in the popular My So Called Scarf, figuring out how to do it in the round and playing with techniques for doing increases and decreases within the stitch pattern for shaping. No pics of that yet, either, but I think I may be onto something.

14 July 2007

Broken Record

I feel that's what I'm starting to sound like when I talk about work lately. Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. Last night was no exception, though actually quite a lot better than Wednesday night, which was brutal. Last week I started the Couch-to-5K training program, thanks to Cheryl, and had been doing fine. On Thursday, though, my left knee, which has given me intermittent trouble since an injury 16 years ago, just wasn't going to let me do it, even with a brace. I'm convinced that all the running around between disasters Wednesday night is why.

Anyway, that's enough of that. Maybe I should talk about the pretty little wetland right next to the clinic and all the foxes and deer and songbirds that we get to see because of it.

Or maybe I should have before this happened to it.


Motherfuckers. And of course, the law allows them to do that so long as they put in some mechanically aerated and heavily chemicaled pond somewhere else because, you know, water is water. If only a sinkhole would swallow them up.

Vest Swatch Update

Circumstances haven't lent themselves to getting very much knitting done lately, but progress is being made slowly on the vest swatch. You can see a bit more contrast than I had expected with the second color combination, but I still think it's a little more subtle than I want.


I'll probably switch out to a lighter background in a few rounds and then try that for a half pattern repeat. I need to get moving, though, so I can get to work on hashing out shaping details on the actual sweater.

11 July 2007

How to Make a Web Banner in Slightly More Than 3 Easy Steps


So the Mafia tapped me to be co-administrator of a queer group she started up on Ravelry. As long as there are no business meetings, I am fine with this, but she also asked if I knew how to make a web badge and banner. Little did she know.

I really have very little innate artistic talent. I don't draw or paint or sculpt or make pretty things out of wood or papier mâché. I have, however, played around with Photoshop just enough to be dangerous. So I whipped out the banner you see above. And by whipped out, I mean the following:

1. Google "rainbow flag" and find a suitable image. Copy it.

2. Paste into a new Photoshop file and resize it to the dimensions of the banner.

3. Apply Gaussian blur to get rid of the sharp demarcation between the stripes. This is for the background, after all.

4. Create a new white layer and adjust the opacity so that the colors aren't too deep to make text difficult to read (Brightness could be adjusted, too, but I find this way does a better job).

5. Go through every font in Font Book to find just the right one (Harrington won. Dontcha just love those e's?).

6. Insert text.

7. Adjust size and positioning of text.

8. Go back online and google "ball of yarn". Decide that the ball of yarn pendant on a pet rememberance jewelry site is your best bet. Copy it & paste into another new Photoshop file.

9. Sharpen edges on the ball of yarn several times.

10. Adjust contrast on the ball of yarn way the hell up.

11. Take 12 tries to get the @&*^@*&%^)* elliptical marquee tool just right over the ball of yarn so that it can be cut and pasted into yet another new file.

12. Shrink the ball of yarn down so that it will fit onto the banner.

13. Apply the graphic pen filter to the ball of yarn to make it look like a "drawring".

14. Draw lines over the ball of yarn to make a knitting needle.

15. Merge said lines (each line is it's own layer) into a single layer so that you don't have to manipulate each layer separately.

16. Again take 12 tries to get the @(*^*#&^#)(*& elliptical marquee tool just right so that you can cut out the chunk of knitting needle that passes over the ball of yarn.

17. Go back online and google "crochet hoook".

18. Tell Google that, yes, you did actually mean to search for "crochet hook" (smarmy bastards).

19. Find a picture of some wooden crochet hooks that are sufficiently fat that you can still see it's a crochet hook once it's shrunk down to 6 pixels across. Copy & paste into new file.

20. Free rotate the image so that you can get one of the crochet hooks perfectly vertical and crop everything else out of the photo.

21. Convert to black and white & then to a negative image. Burn the hell out of the highlighted areas and increase the contrast all the way up so you get a black image.

22. Use the magic wand tool to select the crochet hook silhouette, cut and paste into a new layer over the ball of yarn.

23. Free rotate the crochet hook layer to get it oriented just right over the ball of yarn.

24. Again with the @)(*&^#)(*_#* elliptical marquee tool (You'd think by now it wouldn't take so many tries. But you'd be wrong.). Cut out the section of crochet hook overlying the yarn.

25. Merge the ball of yarn, knitting needle and crochet hook layers into a single layer so that the image can be copied and pasted onto the banner.

26. Adjust the ball of yarn icon on the banner until it is placed just so and save as a jpeg and a Photoshop file.

27. Upload the thing.

Piece of cake, no?

08 July 2007

A Lovely Weekend

We just got back from my grandmother's tonight after a fairly productive trip. We're getting some big things settled for the wedding next year. This is the Arts & Crafts era summer chapel where we'll be having the ceremony (That's David discussing details with Daphne, a friend who's on the board for the chapel):


And this is the view from the B & B where the wedding party will be staying:

Click to biggify. You'll be glad you did.

It was also productive on the knitting front. They're finished!


I'm still wearing them.

05 July 2007



Quiet Holiday (Sort Of)

We had a very relaxed Independence Day. I got some mowing done and harvested some of the garlic I planted last fall (It's either Russian red or Czech red, but I can't remember which I planted in which bed). I made it up into a lovely braid but I forgot to take a pic of it.

I was washing the dirt off the garlic when David called out, "The tour bus is here." Our farm visitors were none other than Lee Ann's daughter, Twinkletoes, accompanied by Lee Ann's mother and her husband, and Twinkletoes's father (Spiff is so much better a catch). Turns out Lee Ann's mom only lives a half hour from here, so it was a short trip to come see the animals.

They had a nice time seeing the 'pacas, though I think Herself had the most fun feeding grass to the goats, which were a bit less intimidating size-wise, and examining the dead shrew that showed up in my driveway, apparently courtesy of one of the neighborhood cats. Afterwards I sent them down to the other end of our road, where I was pretty sure the newly-reopened ice cream place would be doing steady business today.

Other than that, a bit of laundry was done, some Wonder Woman was watched, and we had an all-American 4th of July dinner of stir-fried seitan and vegetables. And I also got through a complete pattern repeat on the wedding vest swatch.


The photo isn't great - the drawback to using a pop-up flash at close quarters - but the pattern is quite easy to see. I was going for a damask-ish look and I think I've achieved it. Now to do it in lower contrast colors.

04 July 2007

Happy 4th!

My Monday night at work was busy but manageable, and I'm so very happy to have the holiday off. I'm expecting farm visitors, which means I should be getting to bed early tonight. By which I mean maybe 2-ish. But first I wanted to share a few things.

First is this little invader, whom I found & hurriedly released before I left for work.


When I was letting him go on the back of the property, I heard what I think was most likely fox kits playing just around the hill and out of my line of sight. I released him by an old stone wall, though, so he's at least got a fighting chance. If you're really interested and look really closely, there is a bit of mouse poo visible in the photo, but it wasn't what I was shooting for (Speaking of which, if you have an aversion to that sort of photo, don't go here. And on another knitting blog, no less!).

And going even a touch further back, we got word Monday morning that one of David's girls had delivered a healthy grey boy cria. David already had a full slate, so I went over and took some pics and only just had a chance to get on his comp to upload one.


No name yet, but he's exactly one year younger than Juliette. He looks very rosy on the surface but he's pretty silvery underneath his tips, so we have yet to see what his final color will be.

I managed to get a touch of sleep this afternoon and got up to head over to Chicks with Sticks. Julie has promised not to rechristen it "Chicks & Dicks with Sticks" just because I'm representing the Y chromosome there, but today I wasn't even the only man. Not only that, The Sheep showed up! So it was extra special, but I still had to cut out a little bit early so that I could get home in time to throw together a salad before we headed down to watch the fireworks across the river in Portsmouth. It was a little chilly down on the water, but at least it kept it from being very buggy.

I'm sure there must be more to tell, but it's time for bed, and I'm sleepy. Next time I'll try to elaborate a bit more on Devanagari and how Firefox fouls it up (and why JoVE got question marks instead of the characters).

02 July 2007

Just To Clarify

There were no cruelty or neglect cases Saturday night. It was an extremely busy night, though, and I saw 21 new cases in 15 hours. On average, each case takes me about an hour. Some take much less time, some much more, but on average that's what it works out to. And then there were the already-hospitalized cases on top of that.

The assholes were a couple who were pissed off that I hadn't taken the time out to call them to get their Jack Russell terrier, who was wound tighter than a clock spring and trying to bite the staff whenever they opened his cage door. 21 cases in 15 hours. I barely had time to go to the bathroom. Had they called, as I had been told they would, he likely would have gone home earlier, though perhaps not entirely well. As it is, by the time I realized they hadn't called, it was very late, and I'm not in the habit of calling people about nonessential matters, especially not at 3AM. They would likely have been pissed off if I'd done so, anyway.

They were also pissed off that we hadn't fed the dog, who was hospitalized because he'd been vomiting constantly for two days. I hope he puked all over them on the way home.

Also: if you had trouble reading the caption in the photo in the last post, click on it to go to the Flickr page, where you can view it in larger sizes. If you don't recognize him, it's Phil Spector from his murder trial. The little bichon was a very nice, if timid, patient with nice owners.

01 July 2007

A Little Humor

I can't claim credit for this. It was one of the more pleasing sights that greeted me when I got to work yesterday.

Phil Spector 001

In fact, it was one of very few bright spots. Right now I'm exhausted and I hate people. We'll just leave it at that.