Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the Holiday

Scott Adams on his Dilbert Blog, wrote about "Downer Ratio".  His mood mirrors mine today.

So... Jan and I went to see The Holiday (** Satisfactory) at the local megaplex. (The movie poster is a link to the NY Times review.)  It was everything the movie trailer promised.

This is a story of two women who trade houses during the Christmas holidays, each trying to escape their unhappiness at home.  Guess what, they find love and happiness on the other side of the world.  Surprise, n'est pas?

Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are beautiful to watch, and I think Cameron Diaz is funny.  Kate Winslet and Jack Black aren't as sparkly as the other two lovers, but they are more likable.

There is a part of the movie in which Eli Wallach plays an aged and retired Hollywood screen play writer.  When he's on screen with Kate Winslet, the movie is a pleasure to watch.

You can wait for this one on DVD.

On Vox: A Librarian and a poet

View Diane in Chico, CA�s Blog

Don Yarman wrote this poem:

I like my winter brewed black
with freshly ground desire
and poured steaming into sweet dry vision

Being a coffee lover, I think this poem is just wonderful

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sheryl's Tam

I knit another tam, almost an exact duplicate of this tam which I gave in a gift exchange at a work party.  Somebody else at the party liked the original hat and she and I worked a trade.  I get a sampler of her handmade soap, and she gets her own tam.

The original was done in Debby Bliss DK weight merino wool.  This one is done in Lamb's Pride Worsted, 85% Wool / 15% Mohair.  Of course the gauge of the two yarns is different, so I got to do the math all over again.  I finally created a worksheet in MS Excel for the next time.

This is the simplest form of tam o' shanter.   There are no color patterns or textured stitches, just 9 sections.  Well, I did add a round of purl stitches between the increase section and the decrease section.  The thing that I like best about this tam is the tubular cast on that I got from Mary Rowe's "Knitted Tams".

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day, 2006

The day here was just fine.  Presents were exchanged.  Several meals were eaten.  We watched "The Sound of Music".  And, we took a walk around the neighborhood...

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from DFNoJunk tagged with 20061225. Make your own badge here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Queen

The_queenHelen Mirren is terrific in The Queen (**** Very Good).  We've been waiting for what seems like months for this movie to arrive in Chico.  Finally, it is playing at the Pageant, which shows reliably good movies and most of the foreign films shown in Chico.

The movie is one of the NY Times' Critic's Picks, and rightly so.  The Queen is about the week following Princess Diana's death.  It's as if the Royalty is caught unawares... people all over the world want to publicly mourn Diana's death, but the Royals want to shelter Diana's sons and choose to stay in Scotland hunting stags.  I think it's a sad movie.

The Queen, and the rest of the Royals (but Diana's sons are not heard from in the entire movie) think of Diana as an embarrassment and want nothing more than for her death to pass quietly and be done with her.  They are unaccustomed to displays of emotion, both privately and publicly.

The newly elected Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is instrumental in guiding the Queen out of her reclusive, private family time in Scotland and into a [cool] public display of mourning in London.  It takes him a week to get her back to London, and the movie is about this week.

See it in the theater if you like Scottish scenery :-)

Handknit for Chico

How could I have not know about this?  I would really prefer to give locally if possible, and knitting for local people is perfect for me.  I may have given a hat to this project, because I donated a hat to Heartstrings, one of the 4 local yarn shops sponsoring the event.

Next year!  There is a wonderful blanket in the current issue (Winter 2006/07) knit simple magazine.

Good intentions without follow-through are useless, but I'm sure I can manage one little blanket - maybe more.

The Jesus Center in Chico fed over 100 families last night, and gave them all hand knitted items as gifts.  I'm no Christian, but the Jesus Center does this very good thing every Christmas.  It's worth supporting.

Casino Royale

Casino_royaleThe latest James Bond is a hottie.  The movie, Casino Royale (*** good), is less playful than previous bonds... fewer puns, no naked ladies in the credits, no hit song in the credits (music over credits is a nicely arranged, familiar Bond theme).  NY Times doesn't list it as a critic's pick, but viewers give it thumbs up.

We were tired of waiting for The Queen to come to Chico, so this was the choice for our viewing pleasure during the holidays.

Daniel Craig plays Bond well, and he's a better actor than previous bad boy Bonds.  You can see on his face what he is feeling.  He has an emotional life and feels badly when the women he seduces are killed.  He even falls in love with one of them.

Dame Judi Dench is again superb as a tough, strong ruler of MI6.

There is no "Q" character, but our boy does receive an Aston Martin from "M".  The glove compartment has a nice collection of toys - even a blood testing kit that allows him to get medical help from HQ while he's in the middle of a poker game.

I get the feeling that this is supposed to be a setup movie which shows his beginning as the famous Bond, James Bond.  His very first kills and subsequent promotion to 007 are shown at the beginning of the movie.

I recommend it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

VOGUEknitting presents knit simple winter 2006/07

My last (i.e., not only latest, but also last) issue of VOGUEknitting's knitsimple arrived today.  It's the best one so far.  It's a young magazine and is maturing nicely, I think.  It covers knit and crochet subjects.

1) Knits + That ... things to buy that you don't need, plus books introduced.

The interesting book intro is Nicky Epstein's "Knitting Beyond the Edge".  I want somebody to give me this book for my birthday so I can knit the hooded shawl.  In my estimation, the most interesting thing to buy is the Options Needle Set from KnitPicks.  I have this set and I like it - the joins are good, cables small and pliable, and the points are sharp.  I have used this set more than once now and still like it.

2) fiberfacts : Know Your Naturals, but Edie Eckman

This is a good intro to fiber facts and uses.  There isn't a log of depth.  It's short enough that my eyes didn't glaze over.  The fibers covered are Wool, Alpaca, Mohair, Angora, Cashmere, Silk, Cotton, Linen.  It's just a paragraph about each of these.  Patterns for sample scarves can be found on

3) technique : size is just a (small) number, by Kathleen Power Johnson

A few pages for those of you who are thin and tall, short and average, short and plump, or short and thin.  It's 4 pages of design and pattern alteration information.  I have taken one class from K.P. Johnson and she is good with math, so this article might be worth a read.

    4) projects

There are various projects to make:  accessories, blankets, sweaters (jumpers), jumper (sleeveless overdress), scarves, hats, bags, mp3 and cell phone cases, pillows, socks.

There are two sweaters that look interesting to me:

polo solo, left (pg 34), and

sporty utility, right (pg 38). 

So, if the magazine is pretty good, why am I not renewing my s*bscription?  I get too many magazines (IK and Vogue Knitting are enough).  I don't look at the stacks of magazines littering my house, and adding yet another stack is not required.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Webshots finally comes through

Image I used to be a big fan of Webshots, until I started blogging.  Then I had a need to refer to my photos from my blog, like the one on the left.  Webshots wouldn't let me do it, so I let my subscription to Webshots expire and moved to flickr.

Yesterday I was looking for my favorite eCard facility that I used to use in Webshots and I stumbled on a new-to-me feature in Webshots that lets you refer to photos in webshots from a web page (e.g., the one in this blog entry).  Finally!

Now I need to take a serious look at both photo hosting tools and decide which one to keep.  If I keep Webshots, I'll have to change all the html references to photos in this blog.  If I keep flickr, then I have no work.  Webshots is going to have to be a lot better to make it worth my while!

On Vox: Toni Morrison

View Diane in Chico, CA�s Blog

Last night the library was slow, so I read this very short book (18 pages, double spaced lines): The Dancing Mind: Speech upon Acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, by Toni Morrison.She talks...

� Read more on Vox

Circumhorizontal Arc

Circumhorizontal_arcThis is a beautiful sight!

It's pictures like this that make me want to go camp on the top of a mountain in Idaho this summer.

... then reality sets in.  Even if I were in the neighborhood next summer, there is no way I'd be outside and awake after about 9 o'clock at night.  I have turned into one of those people who wake up early and go to sleep early - a walking (or sleeping) example of old age.

Just recently I was smacked in the head with the realization that I won't live that much longer, maybe 20 more years.  I'll miss so many scientific advances - maturing nanotechnology, tiny computers, medical cures for today's dreaded diseases, space and time travel, etc.

I hope the future holds cultural advances as well -  an end to religious wars, and end to hate-motivated actions and government-sponsored repression, and end to hunger, a fair chance for anybody on Earth to excel.

On that hopeful note, I wish you all a happy holiday season.  I don't practice a traditional Judeo-Christian religion, but we do have a tree, decorations, and presents.  After all, we are US citizens :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Borack and Hillary

Can Borack Obama win the next US Presidential election?

He's rational.  He's believable.  He's attractive.  He's not Hillary.

I would have only 1 problem voting for Hillary if she ran.  I'm afraid she couldn't be effective because too many people hate her.  I think she has three strikes against her:  1: She is Bill Clinton's wife - still is after he acted badly again and again.  You could say that this is a good thing instead of a bad thing; 2: She is perceived to be a little too far left of center.  Left would feel good for a while; and 3: She wasn't particularly effective when given the health care problem when she was First Lady.  I think it's because so many people hate her.  The good news is that she's plenty smart.

And some people are talking about a Clinton/Obama ticket.  Which one would agree to be Vice President?

I guess it's time to start watching Obama.  He's not controversial on the issues, which is good.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ecological Footprint

Want to know how big your ecological footprint is?  Take this quiz.

I use 18 acres worth of resources, compared to the average of 24 in my country.  If everyone on Earth lived like me, then we would need 4.1 planets to support us.

What is my household doing that's good?  We drive a hybrid car that uses less fuel than most cars.  We keep the house cool in the winter and warm in the summer to conserve gas and electricity.

What could we do better?  Shop for local produce at the farmer's market.  Grow some of our own produce.  Eat meat less often.  Sell one of the cars.  Walk to the local grocery store.  Ride a bike.  Eat less.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Today is the last day that Stranger Than Fiction (*** Good) is playing at our movie house, so we went to a matinee.

The story is strange.  The premise is that Harold Crick is a
character in Kay Eiffel's manuscript.  When Kay types words into her
manuscript, Harold hears her voice in his head.  The voice tells him
his death is imminent.  Harold is an IRS agent who is hearing voices
and falling in love with his current auditee, a baker, Ana Pascal.

Will Ferrell is very good as Harold.  Maggy Gyllenhaal is good as Ana.  Ema Thompson rocks as the author, Kay.  Dustin Hoffman is also good as Jules, a literature professor.

All through the movie you are waiting to hear how Harold will die, and wondering whether the book will be a comedy or a tragedy.

I recommend it.  The NY Times thought it was just okay.

Good Treo 680 Bad Treo 650

I confess, I love electronic toys.  A couple of years ago I purchased a Palm Treo 650.  I was looking forward to dumping my cell phone and using my new PDA as a phone/camera/organizer/email  all-in-one tool.  It didn't work!!  Anytime I left the phone turned on, it froze and had to be reset.  I had it replaced once and it still didn't work.  I am a bad consumer - I hate spending hours on the phone with a tech support person who doesn't speak English as a first language, and who is convinced I am an idiot.  Convincing them to replace the phone once was enough.  I gave up and bought a cheap cell phone and waited until the next Palm Treo was announced for Cincular.

The Palm Treo 680 has just been released and IT WORKS!!  I love my new Cingular Treo 680.  I leave the phone on all day and it doesn't freeze!  Love it, love it, love it.  Of course, it's not perfect.  The selection button inside the up/down/left/right control is too small for my thumb.  When I turned it on and pressed the selection button to select English as my language I mistakenly pressed the down control and select at the same time and selected Spanish as my language.  I don't speak Spanish, much as I would like to.

Which brings me to... the instructions for doing a hard reset to restore the factory defaults are not in the booklet that comes with the phone.  You have to search, and I mean search, for hard reset instructions on line.  I finally found them, but have forgotten where now.

The keyboard is fine.  I like everything else about the hardware and the software applications.  Well... I would like the list of missed calls to be the default list of phone calls, but I can't figure out how to do that yet (or ever?).  And the battery life is less than the 650, but good enough for my low-minute usage.

I give the Treo 680 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  Compared to my dysfunctional 650, it's a dream.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Last words

The officer injured in this accident is probably going to be just fine.  I travel through this intersection on the way to work -- the drive through coffee place is here.  I got a free coffee because the accident knocked out the power for a few hours.

Can you imagine being stopped at an intersection and seeing a huge truck skidding right at you?  I sure hope my last words aren't "Holy shit!!". 

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Southern Purls Socks

I listened to podcasts today and knit a little on my Southern Purls socks.  I was supposed to go to a knitting get together at the yarn store today, but it's the holiday season and I would have been the only one there, so I stayed home with Brenda's Cast-On.  So far, I have heard through June of 2006, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do.

About the yarn, Southern Purls Sock Amethyst color yarn (wool & nylon, fingering weight)... I'm liking it.  It doesn't split and it is soft.  It knits up at about 9 sts / inch.

The pattern is a basket weave from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks.

Friday, December 1, 2006

AIDS Awareness

Aids_ribbonToday is AIDS Awareness day.

If you are suffering from AIDS, here's my love going toward you.  Take care.

If you have casual sex, BE SAFE.

If you have money, give some to AIDS research, education, and treatment.

If you have words, send some to your government representative.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ready to knit

Okay, there you have it... 2 balls of approx. 50 grams each, ready for knitting. Actually one is about 2 grams more than the other, but it's close enough.

It felt pretty soft while I was winding it, and there were no knots(!), so I should be able to zip right through the next project. I'm thinking of using a pattern from Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks".

100 grams

The only good use I have found for my diet scale is to weigh yarn.  I used my ball winder to wind up the Southern Purls.  It turns out that a little over 400 yards weighs about 100 grams.

Now I am prepared to make two equal balls so I can work both socks at once :-)

Southern Purls Amethyst

I bought a skein of Amethyst sock yarn from Ray at Knitivity.Com.  He was prompt, sent what I asked for, and even enclosed a gift of some little purple stitch markers.

He hand dyes each skein and has some really fun colors.  When he started thinking about this business (pre-retirement) he was living in New Orleans.  Yes, he lived through Hurricane Katrina while staying with strangers, waiting for family to come get him.  Now he has moved to Texas, is retired, and has started his business full swing.

What a guy!

Red Tam

Here is the finished red tam.

Yarn is Debbie Bliss DK weight Merino. It's very soft and good to knit with. It's maybe a little soft for a tam, because tams are supposed to hold their shape, but I don't care because it feels so good.

The pattern was my own. A tubular cast on comes from Mary Rowe's "Knitted Tams". It's an excellent cast on which allows for inserting elastic into the hem if you desire. She says Monste Stanley's Knitters Handbook has good tubular cast ons if you don't have Rowe's book.

It is worked in 9 equal sections... incr eo row until 2.5 inches, then decr eo row until you have just about three sts for the icord loop on top.

Chico State W's Basketball

The game against CSU Stanislaus was not fun. We won, but the officials ruined the second half. Jan was yelling at the ref's and becoming red in the face, so we left a little early.

This poor picture was taken with my Treo 650 at half time. Two of the ref's are shown (the incompetents). The scoreboard shows the score at half time was Chico 50, Stanislaus 29.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

1st 2006 Holiday Gift

The first gift of the season has been finished.  It's a really simple Seaman's scarf.  I made it wide and long for a 6'4" man.  Jan picked the colors for her nephew and bought the yarn.  I knit it up, so we both get to be on the gift card :-)

It is made of Plymouth Yarn's "Encore Colorspun" (worsted weight, 75 acrylic, 25% wool), col./lot - 7118/31894, made in Turkey, 3.5 oz, 200 yds).  It feels soft and is semi-machine washable.

20061125 Seaman's Scarf Neck  20061125 Seaman's Scarf

The picture on the left is the neck portion, and the picture on the right is one of the ends.  The ends are garter stitch, and the neck is K4P4 ribbing.  The pattern is online, just google "stahman seamans scarf" for several web sites.  The scarf was popularized by Myrna Stahman, and her book "Stahman's Shawls and Scarves: Lace Faroese-Shaped Shaws from the Neck Down & Seamen's Scarves" is one of my favorites.  Garter stitch is the least creative end you can put on one of these scarves.  For a more creative end, try the Matthew or Matt scarf on Sarah Bradberry's

Next up is a merino wool tam.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sammy and leaves

Here in Chico the city will pick up leaves that residents pile up in the street, except they don't pick up leaves during the heaviest leaf falling period in November, which is Now.  I'm having trouble understanding the logic in this schedule :-/

Anyway, I was out raking leaves this weekend.  Boy howdy, that sure got my heart rate going!  Here are some of the pictures I took.

20061119 Big Sam On Paper

20061119 Grape Leaf Ivy

20061119 Time to Rake Leaves

20061119 White Camelia

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fox News

Several Fox News affiliates have decided not to show a program with O.J. Simpson, who is promoting his book "If I Did It". 

Gee... you'd think it would be right up their alley.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Western Music

We went to hear the North State Symphony play music which focused on the Western USA.  Tonight's theme was "An American Journey: Plains, Trains, and Cowboys."  The link points to the program notes, and will probably only be good for this season.

  1. Grand Canyon Suite - "On the Trail", "Cloudburst" by Ferde Grofe

  2. Poem For Flute and Orchestra by Charles Tomlinson Griffes - Heidi Lohse, flute

  3. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra #3 in B minor, op. 61 by Camille St-Saens Allegro non troppo - Garrett Openshaw, violin

  4. Pacific 231 by Arthur Honegger

  5. Suite from Billy the Kid by Aaron Copland

The Grand Canyon Suite was beautiful, and the Suite from Billy the Kid was wonderful too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lights Out at CSUC W's Basketball

Lights out at Acker GymWe went to a California State University at Chico (CSUC) Women's Basketball game tonight.  They are having a tournament, and we were planning on seeing the last few minutes of the first game, and then the CSUC game.  At least we thought we were.  When we got there the power was out, and the opening game between Sonoma State and Regis (Colorado) was stopped, unfinished.  We waited about 40 minutes for the power to come back on - never were told what the problem was.  The power did finally come back, and the 1st game finished.  Regis won in overtime.

Lights back on at Acker GymThe 2nd game tonight was CSUC Wildcats against Tarleton State (Texas).  Chico's defense is 100% better than last year, but their offense wasn't so good.  They couldn't make a shot to save their lives.  When we left at half time Tarleton was ahead by two points.  If I didn't have to go to work tomorrow we would have stayed until the end of the game; however, just as we were walking out the power went out again.

The game was ended at the half.  I don't know how you score it.  And we'll never know if Molly Goodenbour, the new CSUC Women's Basketball coach, could have helped them during halftime in order to pull it out and play at both ends of the court instead of just the defensive end.

Jan and I watched Molly play at Stanford in the early 1990s.  She's intense.  I hope she can pass her skills on to this Wildcat team!

PS:  The photos were taken with my Palm Treo 650, so the quality is just OK, but you get the idea.

A Good Year

Click to see NY Times Review
On this gray, overcast day we went to see A Good Year (** Satisfactory) and it's sunshine de provence.  Provence, where wine is grown, good food is served, and love blooms.

This isn't the greatest movie of the year, but it was fun to watch.  The NY Times Review (linked to the photo), called it "a three-P movie: pleasant, pretty and predictable."

If you are in the mood for some pleasing fluff, definitely go see it.

PS:  Russell Crowe melts into this role like he does any other.  He's still good.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Little Finished Things

iPod Nano Necklace imageTrekking Socks image

Not much to report on the knitting front.  I finished a necklace for my iPod Nano, and a pair of ribbed socks.

I got the pattern for the iPod necklace from a free pattern on the web.  The pattern was fine.  The only suggestion I would make is to do the i-cord along the edges on bigger needles than the pouch.

The socks are done in Trekking (XXL) yarn.  I like the yarn a lot.  The color is bright and clean and the yarn had no flaws that I noticed.  I didn't use a pattern for these.  It's just a k2p2 ribbing from top to bottom.  They fit ... me.

Next up is a gift scarf - manly garter stitch seaman's scarf done in dark Plymouth Encore Colors.

Up the hill

Image We drove up into the mountains to see the fall colors and have lunch in Graeagle.  I know you can't see it from the picture on the left, but there were tons of deciduous oak trees (California Black Oak?) in the mountains.  They are a beautiful bronze-gold color, creating huge swathes of gold on the mountainsides.

Image And, there were Toyon berries showing... big beautiful clumps of berries that look like Christmas.

Image Image The route along Hwy 70 was breathtakingly beautiful today.  The Feather River is dotted with little dams created and maintained by PG&E.  In some places the river looks untouched, and the banks are full of yellow color where the low bushes are displaying their Fall foliage.  One extra piece of good news:  it looks like the work on all the old bridges is finished, so it's two lanes all the way with no stopping for construction zones.

(As always, lunch at the Graeagle Millworks was delicious.)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

A Spot of Bother

I just finished "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon (link and book cover to the left).  I liked it.  I even considered writing Mr. Haddon a letter thanking him for making my life a little better.

This novel is set in Britain and is about the family and events surrounding a problematic wedding. The various family members and friends bounce off of the event in dark and funny ways.  I recommend it.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Short walk at the Tree Farm

It's another beautiful day here in semi-perfect paradise.  We went for a short walk at the "Tree Farm".  The leaves are turning.  The air smelled wonderful.  The birds were singing.  Comanche Creek was singing.  The dogs were happy.  Here are a few images.  You can click on any one to see a bigger version.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Neocons deserting the ship

Since this is a day for jokes, I thought I'd pass this one on...

Article in Wall Street Journal Washington Journal, "Another Pre-Election Day Bomb?".

The slitheries are shedding their skins.  It just has to make you smile. 

B.C. Knits and Purls

It must be joke day.  This is from B.C., originally published 11/03/06.  I love Johnny Hart's comics.  (By the way, if you are Johnny Hart, and you think I'm violating some copyright law, then I'll delete this entry.)


... and the answer is ...


Who's on first?

A conversation* between GWBush and CRice.  Author unkown. 

George:   Condi!  Nice to see you.  What's happening?

Condi:   Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George:   Great.  Lay it on me.

Condi:   Hu is the new leader of China.

George:   That's what I want to know.

Condi:   That's what I'm telling you.

George:   That's what I'm asking you  Who is the new leader of China?

Condi:   Yes.

George:   I mean the fellow's name.

Condi:   Hu.

George:   The guy in China.

Condi:   Hu.

George:   The new leader of China.

Condi:   Hu.

George:   The main man in China!

Condi:   Hu is leading China.

George:   Now whaddya' asking me for?

Condi:   I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.

George:   Well, I'm asking you.  Who is leading China?

Condi:   That's the man's name.

George:   That's who's name?

Condi:   Yes.

George:   Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader of China?

Condi:   Yes, sir.

George:   Yassir?  Yassir Arafat is in China?  I thought he's dead in the Middle East.

Condi:   That's correct.

George:   Then who is in China?

Condi:   Yes, sir.

George:   Yassir is in China?

Condi:   No, sir.

George:   Then who is?

Condi:   Yes, sir.

George:   Yassir?

Condi:   No, sir.

George:  Look Condi.  I need to know the name of the new leader of China.  Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

Condi:   Kofi?

George:   No, thanks.

Condi:  You want Kofi?

George:   No.

Condi:   You don't want Kofi.

George:  No.  But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk.  And then get me the U.N.

Condi:   Yes, sir.

George:  Not Yassir!  The guy at the U.N.

Condi:  Kofi?

George:  Milk!  Will you please make the call?

Condi:  And call who?

George:  Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi:   Hu is the guy in China.

George:   Will you stay out of China?!

Condi:   Yes, sir.

George:   And stay out of the Middle East!  Just get me the guy at the U.N.

Condi:  Kofi.

George:  All right!  With cream and two sugars.

* based on the original "Who's On First" comedy routine by Abbott and Costello.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Cheese? Peanuts? Food Poisoning?

Oooh, boy howdy!  No sleep for me last night.  I think I have food poisoning.  I've been spending time hugging the toilet, and having chills so bad my teeth chattered.  Something like this happened to Jan a few days ago, so I'm suspecting there are some bad peanuts in the house (urp).

I am resolved to throw away the new block of Vermont Cheddar cheese I just opened, and to throw away the peanuts I bought at WinCo.

This has not been a fun night, so I think I'll have to call and cancel the rug cleaner who was supposed to come first thing today :-(


Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Prestige

We went to see The Prestige (*** Good) this afternoon.  It was good.  The story could have been written by Poe, but it was co-written by Christopher  and Jonathon Nolan, and directed by Christopher Nolan.  The Nolan brothers were also responsible for the movie "Memento".

The story reminded me of the movie Amadeus in spirit, but not in detail.  Two men (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) are good at their art, but one is not quite as gifted as the other and therefore the lesser illusionist is jealous of the other.

Their competition lasts a lifetime, and the story revolves around one great trick that involves disappearing from one spot and reappearing in another.  This is a darker story than "The Illusionist", but a better one, I think; although, Edward Norton in The Illusionist gave a much better performance than either Christian Bale or Hugh Jackman did in The Prestige.

The NY Times liked it.

Persy in the sun with attitude

Now that the days are growing shorter, all the kitties seek out sunny spots.  Persy stretches out in the sun and looks over her shoulder to see if you notice how wonderful she looks.

Persy Rollover Maybe that's how she maintains her happy outlook.  If I tried basking in a sunny spot without giving a thought to skin cancer or West Nile virus, I might be happier too :-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Dilbert Blog

I'm a big fan of Scott Adams' Dilbert Blog, as well as his comic strip.

When he's funny, he's just my kind of funny, and when he's serious he is not irritating.  What more can one ask from an almost every day read?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

If I had a son


If I had a son, I'd want him to be like this boy.

Work In Progress

Image Image I like to work identical things, that is, things that should be the same size when finished, at the same time.  So, two socks are worked at the same time, and two sleeves are worked at the same time.

The socks one the left are finished through the heel flap and are ready to have their heels turned.  I'm liking this Trekking XXL sock yarn (mfd by Skacel, Zitron brand).  It feels good and the colors are certainly bright enough :-)

The sleeves on the right are part of the Gentle Breeze Tee that was supposed to be done in time to wear this summer.  I guess I should say "last summer", since the weather man tells me we are now officially experiencing Fall (and a very nice Fall it is).

Image Image I have never made set in sleeves before, so I'm experiencing a little Fear of Finishing the sleeves.  When I lay it out on the floor (left) I can't picture in my head how these sleeves are ever(!) going to fit into the armhole.  When I pin the sleeve next to the armhole (right), I have hope.

I have asked the lovely Joann at Heartstrings for encouragement, and she says as long as the perimeter of the set in part of the sleeve is the same number of inches as the armhole, then it will fit.  The folks on my knitting email list offered methods for doing sleeves from the top down, so if these sleeves look awful when finished, then I can always rip back and redo from the top down.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Departed

The Departed
We saw The Departed (**** Very Good) today.  It's a Martin Scorsese film based on a Hong Kong movie, "Infernal Affairs".

The acting, especially Leonardo DiCaprio, is very good.  The setting is Boston, so the actors all have Boston accents or try to have Boston accents.  Matt Damon's accent from "Goodwill Hunting" has been dusted off and fits here very well.  Jack Nicholson is a bad man who runs his little corner of the Mob with a heavy hand.

Matt Damon is a Mob guy who works for the Massachusetts State Police.  Leonardo DiCaprio is an undercover cop who has infiltrated the Mob.  During the coarse of the movie you can see each of them come apart from the strain of having two identities.

There are some unanswered questions that come to mind, so it looks like some plot twists are there for convenience instead of to serve the story.  There are surprises right up to the very last second of the movie, and they aren't pleasant surprises.  It's a Very Violent Movie (rated R for violence, language, and sex).

If you are in the right frame of mind, so that the violence won't bother you, then go see the movie.  It's good.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Couldn't have said it better myself

Samantha's blog entry today says it better than I could.

Have a nice weekend.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

iPod Shuffle Whining

For days - Days, I tell you - I have been trying to update my iPod Shuffle so I can listen to the rest of an audio book (The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho).

It's a long story, Days long.  Apple put out some software updates which change the way the Shuffle is updated.  Now the software that updates iPods is included with iTunes.  It used to be a seperate piece of software called the iPod Updater, or something like that.  I updated various pieces of software, more than once, and probably in the wrong order.  Then... my iPod Shuffle would not update and iTunes told me it was corrupted, or it couldn't find the files it needed, or it just plain wouldn't recognize the shuffle (as if it wasn't plugged into the USB port).

I tried the 5 Rs as suggested on Apple's help information (reset, retry, restart, reinstall, restore).  I was able to get to the Restore step a couple of times, but the restore step always failed... the progress bar just kept going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

I ordered a new iPod Nano, for lots of $.  Then I read a bit of information which implied that the iTunes library files might be the problem and I should restore the library to an older version.  I did that, and then restarted my Windows PC with the iPod plugged in.  When I started iTunes, it recogized the iPod and filled it with random songs from my music folder.

But that wasn't good enough for me.  Oh no, I still wanted the rest of The Alchemist on the iPod.  When I tried to add switch the random contents for the audio book, I ran into the same problem again!  This time it ran out of space and started giving me error messages.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall in Central Oregon

We had a nice few days in Central Oregon's Cascade Mountains.  The Fall colors are showing in the mountains, and the mountains are truly striking.  Unlike the Sierra Mountains, which seem to run together, the Cascade Mountains are discreet, each mountain standing seperate from its neighbor.

This time of year there are butterflies migrating and my car drove through many of them, I'm sorry to say.  Fortunately we didn't run over any deer or cyotes, both of which we saw a few times.  We didn't see elk in the wild, but we did see a big hurd of them near Sisters, OR.

If you click on this photo badge, you can see photos from the trip.  Look for photos tagged "CentralOregon".

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from DFNoJunk tagged with CentralOregon. Make your own badge here.

Here are the notes:

20060925 Crescent, OR

We left home this morning at about 8:40 after running a
couple of errands, including getting me a cup of coffee at the brand new
Starbucks @ 9th & The Esplanade - oooh, drive through.

It took about 3.5H to reach Ashland, where we had lunch at a nice place
off exit 19 called The Breadbasket - not cheap for lunch but not outrageous.

We drove East out of Medford toward Union Creek and Crater Lake. The Union Cr area is in a beautiful part of a
National Forest (which one?). The Rogue River in that area is stunning as it rushes through tunnels it has made in stone and
(probably) lava tubes.

20060925 Crater Lake Lookout

Crater Lake is still a
beautiful blue gem in a ring on top of a volcano. The visitor area at the lake is under construction. The gift store is in a temporary smaller
bldg, but I found it and bought a knit top I like. At the overlook we watched a documentary film
about how the lake was created... volcanoes erupting from at least 400,000 yrs
ago. At about 7k yrs ago a ring of eruptions
caused the top of the mountain to fall into a molten cavern about 4k ft down...
a collapsing caldera.

The weather today was beautiful and Fall color is
starting. There were some beautiful red
leaved maples and yellow leaved birch and aspen.

20060925 Crescent Woodsman
20060925 Crescent Mohawk
So we ended up in a little town called Crescent, OR,
staying at The Woodsman. We had dinner
at a place next door with a sign out
front saying "Mohawk Restaurant, Animal and Bottle Collection, Welcome Hunters". The dining room walls were COVERED with
stuffed animals and collectible souvenir bottles. I felt like the animals were watching me eat dinner - I was careful not
to order any meat.

Room at the Woodsman is fine - clean, dish Network TV,
fridge, microwave.

20060926 Bend, OR

Today was spent on scenic driving and a couple of easy,
short walks.

20060926 Cascade Fall Color
20060926 Constitution Grove
The West Cascades Scenic Byway, Aufderheide Nat'l Forest
Scenic Byway, Forest Rd 19 - Westfir to Blue River.... It was beautiful, with lots of striking red
color in the maples. We picked up a CD
at the Westfir Ranger Stn which gave us history, some geology, and
suggestions for sites to visit. We took
a quick, easy walk through Constitution Grove where 200 yr old trees have wooden
signs affixed to them, said plaques bearing the names of the signers of the US
Constitution. It amazes me that only one
name was familiar - George Washington.

We traveled up along the north fork of the middle fork of
the Willamette River,
and then down along the south fork of the McKenzie River.  I can't say enough about what a beautiful
road this is!

20060926 Proxy Falls20060926 McKenzie Pass Lava ViewAfter lunch we traveled the McKenzie Pass - Santium Pass Scenic Byway, OR rte 242.  We stopped and took a short hike to  Proxy Falls, through lava flds
dotted with brilliant maple trees, thru damp dark forests. The falls were very pretty.  Toward the top of the McKenzie pass (5325 ft elev.) there
is a Huge (65 sq. miles) lava flow and views of the Three Sisters Mtns.

It was a besutiful day.

We were amazed at how much Sisters and Bend have grown!  We had dinner at Baskin Robbins and scoped
out a Subway for tomorrow's lunch to go.

20060927 Bend, OR

At 12:30, in the middle of the night, my snoring was
keeping J awake, so I went to the lobby and got my own room. J finally had some relief from my snoring
and I was able to sleep all the rest of the night.

20060927 Cascade Byway resort kyaks
20060927 Todd Lake DF
Today we took a ride on the Cascade Lakes Scenic
Byway. We stopped at several lakes, some
natural and some reservoirs.

Mt. Bachelor
looks like a good ski mountain. It was
beautiful, as were the other mtns nearby (named what?).

older downtown is nice enough, but the outskirts appear to have grown too fast
in a poorly planned way.
Dinner at Deschutes Brewery was fine - beer was good too.

20060928 On the road home

We took another scenic road (hwy 20, 22) to Silver Falls
St Pk, just outside of Salem. We took a hike by several waterfalls:

Winter Falls wasn't flowing, but if you stood there quietly you could hear water dropping
off of the top of where the falls would be in the winter.

20060928 Middle North Fork FallsNext was Middle North Falls, which was lovely. We walked behind it and didnlt even get wet because this time of yr the falls aren't raging.

Next was Drake Falls, which is really more of a cascade than falls. Nice.

We skipped Double falls because we were running out of steam and the falls appeared to be nothing more then a trickle.

Finally, Lower North Falls which I have skant memory of.

The hike back to the car was all uphill and we stopped
frequently to let our hearts slpw to a normal pace.