Sunday, June 25, 2006

Over The Hedge

Image We saw the cartoon Over the Hedge (*** Good) today.  It was a great way to spend 84 minutes on a Sunday, the hottest day of the year so far, and the day that the power company decided to turn the power off so they could trim some trees (so no air conditioner).

The picture is a link to Roger Ebert's review.  He liked it better than the NY Times, but neither thought it was very good. 

Jan and I both laughed and thought the theater's air conditioning was fine.


Also this week we saw The Beautiful Country (**** Very Good) on DVD... reviewed in the NY Times.  It is the story of a young Vietnamese man, born to a Vietnamese mother and an American G.I. father.  He is an outcast in Vietnam, where the movie starts.  The satisfying conclusion is set in a God forsaken ranch hand's trailer in a parched corner of Texas.  I liked it, and was struck by the peaceful demeanor of the young man, named Binh.  The NY Times called him stoic.  I guess it's all what you see in his face.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Giants Vs Pirates


Last Sunday (a week ago) we went to see the SF Giants play Pittsburgh Pirates.  It was a bad game, but our seats weren't too bad.

Note about the above photo:  I usually stitch these types of pictures together to create a panorama, but the light was enough different, and the bottom of the leftmost picture was enough different, that when I attempted the stitch, it was like some altered state of reality (i.e., nothing real).  Therefore, you get a collage instead of a panorama.

Image And my favorite part of ATT Park is the big mitt just behind where Barry Bonds would would have stood, if he had been playing that day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Lake House

Image We went to see The Lake House (** Satisfactory) today.  As the NY Times says, this is "... another deeply silly, effortlessly entertaining movie."

Sandra Bullock was entertaining.  Keanu Reeves was painful to watch.  Christopher Plummer was wasted.  Dylan Walsh (from Nip/Tuck) was well cast as Sandra Bullock's jilted boyfriend.

Click on the picture to see a NY Times review and learn more about the story.

At least we sat through the entire movie, which is more than we did for The New World (* Poor), on DVD.  We thought The New World wasn't good enough to watch all the way through.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

eBay messages

At the beginning of June, the 2nd to be exact, I bought an item for less than $3 on eBay.  I paid by Paypal right away.  Eventually, I received a confirmation from the seller, and my item was mailed to me on the 9th. 

Usually (that is the few previous times I have purchased things on eBay) I get an email the same day as the auction is closed.  I didn't receive anything for about 5 days, so I figured the seller had put something up for sale and then taken a vacation or something, and then taken care of business upon her return.

I gave her a "neutral" feedback, "Item arrived as advertised, took about a week for 1st response."... what follows is the notes that resulted from my feedback.  I am amazed at 1) my inability to make myself understood without causing a fight, and 2) her complete and utter anger at me.

She said...
I think you gave me the wrong feedback. I
email as soon as you purchase something and mail within 2 days. Do we not give
time for the mail system?

I said...

Sorry, received no email from you. 1st I
heard was an acknowledgement of paypal payment, 5 days after payment cleared.
Shipping after 1st acknowledgement was fine. I usually get a response right away
after an ebay auction is closed, so was surprised not to hear. ... maybe your
email was lost in the ethernet.

She said...

Did you pay by e-check, meaning you didn't
have the money in your Ebay account so they had to transfer it to Ebay which
takes 5-7 days, then it clears on my end? I don't wait to email anyone. I would
like the negative feedback withdrawn.

I said...
1) I paid by Paypal on June 2nd.
Payment to you 'cleared' on June 2nd.
3) 'Neutral' is neither
positive nor negative.
4) I do not plan on changing my feedback, and my
understanding from eBay documentation is that I cannot change it if I wanted to.

5) I'm finished corresponding about this. I didn't harm you. 1 neutral out
of 203 positive feedbacks during the last month won't hurt you.

She said...

Please do not buy from me again. I don't need
your harrasement

Is it me, or is this lady a total bitch?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Knitting Software

I haven't written about knitting in a little bit, so I thought I'd talk about my knitting software.

The software I have all comes from Knitting Software, Inc., which is software developed by Carole Wulster and supported by Noah Wulster and the rest of the staff.  There is a Yahoo discussion group which is monitored by Carole for technical and usability problems. Other users answer most of the questions new users come up with.

So, which applications do I have?  In order of purchase (oldest to newest), they are:

  1. Stitch and Motif Maker
    I've had this for years and use it mostly for charting lace or other stitch patterns.  I don't do much color work.  Lately, I've started using Excel for charting lace (there are knitting fonts you can use in Excel).  Either Excel or S&MM work just fine for charts.

  2. Math Wizard
    This is a good program for figuring yardage requirements and evenly distributed events in your work.  You can figure vertical increases or decreases (how many rows between), horizontal events, button hole placement, etc., etc.  At the bottom of the calculation screen, written instructions are shown which can be printed or exported to your favorite word processor.

  3. Sweater Wizard
    I just got this one the other day, and so far I've used it to validate the math I used to up size my Gentle Breeze Tee.  It gave me a nice feeling that I had cast on the right number of stitches.  Now I have to compare the shoulder and armhole shaping to my body in order modify the SW pattern (or not).  The finishing work on the Tee will come from the Fiber Trends pattern, no SW.

    The pattern generated from my numbers is easy to understand and can be exported to my favorite word processor.

Friday, June 9, 2006

New Tires

20060609 CostcoI went to Costco this morning to have my new tires installed.

20060609 Costco TiresNo Appointment Necessary, they said....  There was a 2 1/2 hour wait, would I like to come back another day?  No, I said.  I'll leave the car and return.  Costco is across the street from two of my favorite stores, and a few others too.  I had a book with me, but no knitting.  Off I went....

20060609 Cost PlusI spent 40 minutes or so in Cost Plus.  Found a blank card showing two cats made up to look like World Wrestlers fighting... perfect as an apology card to someone I had been mean to.  Lately I've been extremely surly and unhappy with my lot in life.  I have a good life, so I've decided to change my attitude, try being nicer to the people around me. 

20060609 Barnes and Noble Store

After Cost Plus, I went to Circuit City and played with the new Treo 700P.  I like.  When my current contract with Cingular runs out in December I'll probably go back to Verizon and try a 700P... probably.  The pictures in today's blog entry were taken with my Treo 650.  Not too bad for a two year old camera phone.

Finally, I got to sit down in Barnes & Noble and have lunch and read the book I had been carrying with me.  I checked out the knitting section, and found the Vogue stitch dictionary book I had just ordered from Amazon.  I was surprised and a little disappointed that there are no charts in the book.  Oh, well....

20060609 New Tires

Back in Costco, 2 and 1/2 hours later, I admired my new Michelin tires and headed home.  They ride well.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Gentle Breeze Tee

Don't you just hate it when somebody posts a rectangle of flat knitting and says, "Here's my current sweater in progress?"

Here's my current sweater in progress :-)  Well, it's not a sweater, but a summer T-Shirt,  I'm up to the arm holes on the front, and almost to the armholes in the back.

This is bamboo yarn, and so far it has been really fun to work with.  It slides through your fingers as you work, and doesn't tire my hands like cotton.  The knitting is boring, if you don't count the moments of terror when I am seized by the fear that it won't fit after the hours and hours I have spent knitting stockinette.

I modified the pattern (up sized it), and verified with my LYS owner that sleeves are generally not up sized as much as the body of a sweater, so I'll be doing the decreases almost as specified in the pattern... just adding an extra increase or two to the armhole, and using about the same arm hole depth as specified.

Here is a link to the blog entry that introduces the Gentle Breeze Tee.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

All About My Mother

We saw a Netflix DVD tonight - All About My Mother (****Very Good).  This time of year there are better movies for rent on DVD than there are in the theaters.

All About My Mother is a Spanish movie that has a mother as a central character. In December, 1999, Roger Ebert wrote, "Pedro Almodovar's
films are a struggle between real and fake heartbreak--between tragedy
and soap opera. They're usually funny, too, which increases the
tension. You don't know where to position yourself while you're
watching a film like ``All About My Mother,'' and that's part of the
appeal: Do you take it seriously, like the characters do, or do you
notice the bright colors and flashy art decoration, the cheerful
homages to Tennessee Williams and ``All About Eve,'' and see it as a
parody? Even Almodovar's camera sometimes doesn't know where to stand:
When the heroine's son writes in his journal, the camera looks at his
pen from the point of view of the paper.

Early Summer in the yard

I took a photo tour of the back yard today.  You can click on any of the thumbnails for a larger image.  The last week or so, since returning from vacation, I have been pulling weeds.  It's amazing how many weeds can pop up in just two weeks or so of moist, sunny condiitons!  I thought it would be nice to stop and smell the roses.

20060606 Back Yard 20060606 Rose 20060606 Roses Yellow

The yard is doing very, very well this year.  It must be all the rain we had.  These first three pictures show the yard looking toward the picnic bench.  The pink rose is the newest in the family - came last year.  The yellow rose is a showy girl that lives in a sunny spot.  Of course I don't know the real names of the roses, but each one was picked because it smells like a rose.

20060606 Hydrangia with Umbrella 20060606 Hydrangia Blossom

A friend remarked recently that our hydrangea is the only one she knows of that has its own umbrella.  If we take the umbrella down in warm weather like today (93F/34C), then the poor baby just wilts.  The blossoms aren't quite "ripe" yet, so there is some green mixed in the with pink.

20060606 Rhodie Bush 20060606 Rhodie Blossom

The rhodie bloomed this year!  This poor rhodie came from the nursery as a happy, healthy plant.  I put it in the wrong spot and it got too much sun and the leaves were burned.  Last fall Ben, my hero-of-the-heavy-lifting, moved it to the back yard.  Now it lives under and arbutus.  I left on vacation (May 8) wondering whether it would bloom or not.  What a treat to come home to blooms!

20060606 Lilly 20060606 Gardenia 20060606 Mock Orange 20060606 Petunia

And, we have other plants being happy right now (from left to right): lily, gardenia bush, mock orange bush, petunias.

This is what we live through winter for!

Friday, June 2, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

Image We went to see X-Men: The Last Stand (*Poor).  If you are an X-Men fan you'll probably like it.  I can't recommend you spend your money on it.  As somebody in a local paper put it:  "They blow things up real good."

And why do they call it "X-Men" when there are plenty of X-Women too?

The movie poster is a link to Roger Ebert's review.  He likes it better than I did.