Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Babelfish Fun Part, um, 5?

Ok, you know the routine by now. English -> Japanese -> English.
In: Spoon is my chunky monkey.
Out: The spoon my ones is the monkey which the [tsu] rear end is done.
In: Spoon is Mr Chubby Butt.
Halfway: スプーンは氏であるChubby Butt。
Out: As for the spoon Chubby Butt which is the person.
I decided to go through and try some of these with another online translation tool. The first promising one google found was a site called World Lingo.
In: Spoon is a chunky monkey.
Out: The spoon is the monkey which the [tsu] rear end is done.
Um, apparently they're using the same backend as babelfish.

Here's another one.
In: Spoon is my chunky monkey.
Out: spoon is my chunk Monkey.
In: Spoon is Mr Chubby Butt.
Halfway: 匕 is ミスター 太った Butt.
Out: spoon is mister [ plump Butt.
Well, huh.
In: Pandora's Litter Box
Halfway: Pandora's 輿 Box
Out: Pandora's palanquin Box
Um, I think I'm going to click my own WTF button there.
In: fuzzy kitty
Out: fuzzy [ kitten
Ok, one more.
In: crosswalk rage
Out: crosswise anger
Well, ok, babelfish may be more entertainingly stupid, but for the most part this other site is a close second, in addition to being actually useful on occasion.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Riding the Rails: Day 2 A Kinda Big Shew

I slept like a rock and didn't wake up until 10:30. As soon as I woke up, though, I knew it: I ached. My back ached from the train and from carrying a lot of weight, particularly once we got to San Jose and I was already too tired to carry my back properly. My head ached, probably because I had not only not eaten for something like 14 hours at that point, but also because the air on the train had been dry and I probably hadn't drunk enough water to make up for it. I had decided against packing an analgesic for some dumbass reason and was regretting it. Ouch. I came to gradually. A hot shower loosened some muscles. A couple of glasses of water helped with the head.

flair I got ready. I put my flair on my backpack. I decided on the Martial Arts and Crafts t-shirt. I got everything I would need into my backpack and I was off.

While I had paid attention to streets on the way in the cab last night, I hadn't really noticed how the hotel was oriented with respect to the street. Admittedly, it took me about 10 minutes to get out of the parking lot, which adjoined a fitness center, another hotel, and a casino of all things, to the street. The side street the hotel was on had a sidewalk but it had been laid by some assholes who thought they were funnier than they were: it undulated from side to side like a snake.

I made it to the major cross street, which in this area was lined with Silicon Valley-corporate buildings and large empty lots. I decided to cross to the other side of the street where there were some shady trees over the sidewalk, except when I got across... there was no sidewalk. Assholes! Instead of going back and crossing the street or just walking along the grassy areas in front of the office buildings, I decided to keep going up the side street, which had lots of tech offices. And no sidewalks. There was little traffic, though, and my sometimes sketchy memory of the map was that there would be a cross street to 1st and I could get to the Karina station that way. I walked a couple of minutes. Then I really started hoping this wouldn't end up being a cul-de-sac or something. I kept walking and finally there was a regular sidewalk. I finally saw a cross street with Stop sign a little way up. Fortunately, it was a nice day. The sun was a little warm as I was moving around, but there was a cool breeze to make up for it.

I turned left in the direction 1st should be in. While I have a serious knack for getting lost, because I have a lousy internal sense of direction, I have apparently never managed to get permanently lost yet. And, in fact, I did get to 1st. Except I was not on Karina and I realized I had probably gone past it, but I wasn't sure. I just couldn't see a rail platform in either direction, although I could see the tracks going down the middle of the road. That at least was a good sign.

I walked several more long blocks, past ebay and finally saw a platform. Ok, something I've noticed about San Jose is that the crossing lights at major intersections seem to make the most annoying bird-like electronic chirping noises. It had seriously startled me the night before when I was trying to figure out how to get to my hotel. At the intersection I now found myself at, of the three crossing light chirps I heard, they all seemed to be different pitches, all annoying. I mean, it's a good idea, but the actual sound they used in their implementation was just too annoying. Anyway, this was actually the Component station, which means I had overshot Karina by over half a mile. Oh, well. The bag wasn't that heavy and it's not like I couldn't use the exercise. I bought my ticket from the machine, which required practically putting my nose against the screen as the sun was shining directly on it, making it almost unreadable. My train showed several minutes later.

I got off at the Great America station, which in my through-a-fun-house-mirror memory I had thought was several blocks from the convention center. (In my defense, one of the muy annoying things about Google maps is that, when I type "Santa Clara Convention Center," it doesn't show the damned center. It shows all the hotels in its database that match that or mention their proximity on their web sites. I had to guess the convention center's actual location based on address, which is not always easy to do.) I saw this woman in front of me with Ravelry pins on her KCRW messenger bag (oddly like the one I have had from years, except not -- I got mine the first year they offered it. This was probably from a subsequent year) and asked, "Do you know where you're going?" "Yes, right over here." Oh. We were literally directly in front of the convention center entrance. If I had looked up instead of at her bag, I would have seen the sign.

Anyway, into the show's market. I had bought my ticket online and printed out the barcode ticket. Those things are becoming ubiquitous. In I went! I had brought a specific list of projects I needed to find yarn for, and so my eyes scanned mostly for that. The first booth where I purchased something was actual by an importer of Japanese kimono and fabric. My mother loves Japanese fabric and her birthday is coming up, so hopefully she can incorporate it into her quilting. Birthday present, check!

The next purchase was of beautiful hand-made glass buttons I think will go nicely with a cardigan I am going to start Any Day Now.

Now, while I had decided to limit the yarn shopping as much as possible to specific projects, I hadn't really considered the fact that I would see new patterns I wanted. The next purchase was for a nice short-sleeved cardigan with lacy placket. I often don't buy the yarn a pattern is designed for, but I was at the yarn company's booth and one of the suggested yarns was both very pretty and inexpensive.

I eventually stumbled onto WEBS' booth. I love WEBS. I've ordered from them often, both because they have a very large selection, give excellent discounts if you, um, spend enough, um, money, and get some great close-out yarns, which, while not subject to further discounts, are already good deals. They're located in New Hampshire, so obviously they could only bring a small subset of their selection, but that was enough for me. I got some closeout, self-striping Noro Matsuri for one an entrelac sweater I've been trying to find yarn for for ages, and some of WEBS' own line of wool for a felted bag. The woman at the cash register next to me was 11 cents short of the amount needed for the next discount level. "Well, can I just give you 11 cents?" "Oh, I'll just give you the discount! Don't worry about it." Aw, they're nice, too.

9784529046039 One of the things I had been looking for was some self-striping laceweight yarn, preferably a fuzzy mohair type, for the pattern on the cover of this Japanese book I had gotten the last time I was Kinokuniya. I am honestly not exactly sure about what kind of yarn/fiber type/exact weight the recommended yarn is, because the book is, well, in Japanese, and it would be a Japanese brand anyway. (Noro is one of the few Japanese yarn makers that has widespread American distribution.) I found a beautiful, soft, laceweight merino wool yarn, which, while not a fuzzy mohair, was self-striping. It may make the cardigan seem a little airier than the sample, but I'm hoping it will work.

The last thing I got was a pretty polymer clay barrette. I keep losing barrettes. I strongly suspect when I finally move, I will find where the cats have hidden them. Seriously.

At some point after a couple hours, I had left the hall to get a refreshment and put down my bags. I shared a table with two separate groups of people, as the snack area was pretty crowded. One woman, who otherwise looked like a perfectly respectable 50-something lady, whipped out her piggie and holstein cow finger puppets. I guess she takes them around with her because she gets lonely. (Well, in that silly, metaphorical way.) I told her about the Obama and McCain puppets and the turkey puppet I had made. Then I suddenly recalled a pair of gloves I had had as a child. They were knitted in bright primary colors, and each finger was a different color with a little face on the end! I seem to recall they also had little tufts of hair! I think the finger puppet lady and I got the same gleam in our eyes at the same time. Now to find a simple glove pattern, ripe for faces and hair to be embroidered on the finger tips.

It was 5 now and I had made the rounds many times and wasn't seeing anything new to catch my eye. And I was tired. I had planned to meet an on-again-off-again friend I hadn't talked to for a long time, but I had told him I would probably stay until 6, but I called him and he said he could head out now.

After we had dinner and he dropped me off at my hotel, I took out all the stuff.
Yes, that is a box of Girl Scout cookies. They were, um, girling the coat/bag check booth.

Spread out on the floor, I realized I didn't actually buy as much as it had seemed like, and I was rather pleased with both what I did and did not buy. I got yarn for two hard-to-shop for projects, and found another pattern and already got affordable but suitable yarn for it. I brought one of those travel Space Bags with me, and I might be able to fit most if not all into my suitcase after squashing it down. And, um, unzipping the expansion section of the suitcase.

All in all, the show's selection wasn't quite what I expected. There were a lot of small companies bringing their own hand-spun and -dyed yarns. Such a statement is fightin' talk to some yarnies, but I'm just not that big on those yarns. They usually are mostly wool, which, while I don't go out of my way to avoid, do try to find alternatives. Also, with the price of hand-made yarn, sweater quantities cost more than I would usually like to pay, and I have more than enough small quantity yarns in my stash that are suitable for scarves (which I make few of) and other small projects.

That said, I wasn't disappointed with the show at all. I had a really good time, and I'm pleased with what I ended up with. I really enjoyed talking to the people there. I got to see and touch a lot of yarns I had only ever seen online, and even if I didn't buy them there, if a project comes to mind that they click with, I can order them knowing what I'm getting. It was a very nice afternoon.

After I got back to the hotel and settled down, I drew a hot bath. Ahhhhhh....

Riding the Rails: Day 1 Hey Porter

... Day 1 continued ...

San Luis Obispo Station We pulled into San Luis Obispo around 5pm. It was a smoke-break length stop, so all the little smokers streamed off the train for their first chance to smoke since, I think, Santa Barbara, which was about 3½ hours back, I believe. The horror! The two teachers two rows back, whose talking had been the only non-stop thing about this train, finally got off.

San Luis Obispo The car really did start to fill up there. A white-haired man ended up in the seat next to me. He asked how the trip had been, since we were 1 hour and 20 minutes late. I had no idea we were that far behind schedule. The only timepoints I knew were LA and San Jose. If they had announced something about it, I missed it. But, as I said in the previous post, we stopped fairly often and for sometimes rather extended periods. As they were starting to get ready to leave, they did announce that we were that far behind schedule and that they hoped to make up the time the rest of the way, but they did have to deal with some freight traffic. (Um, if they could have gone faster so as not to get behind schedule in the first place, wouldn't they have done that already?)

San Luis Obispo
That's a railroad tie they're working on
I ended up talking to my seat mate Jim the rest of the way to San Jose, just meandering over topics the way you do with a pleasant stranger you will never see again. One thing that's nice about the train is that you can actually converse at a regular volume without straining to hear, something airplane jet engines make almost impossible. He had been visiting childhood friend in San Luis Obispo, where he had grown up. He was going back to Portland to visit his son, then drive back to the small town outside of Seattle where he now lived.

After awhile, I grabbed something to eat for dinner in the "café." Read: mini-convenience store with microwave. I was hungry, though, and the sandwich was edible.

Oh, apropos of nothing, but I simply forgot to mention it earlier... The bathrooms are your standard airplane bathrooms, although some have extra space for a diaper changing table. In the first one I used, the water taps were the kind you had to hold down to keep the water coming, but there was one flow speed: firehose. Seriously, it sprayed all over the place. Especially considering the fact that the train could only carry a finite amount of water, you'd think it would behoove them to control the flow so as not to waste half of it by spraying everything in a 3-foot radius. I figured maybe it was just that one lavatory. Until the same thing happened in the other two I tried during the ride. At least I learned to straighten my arms as much as possible to try to keep my body out of range, although my arms just aren't that long so it was a fruitless effort.

We ended up getting to San Jose about 9:20, 50 minutes behind schedule. I was actually a little impressed that they had managed to make up 30 minutes. As I had mentioned, San Jose Diridon Station (the possible pronunciation puzzled me, but something there called it "DEAR-ih-done," so I'll go with that) handles Amtrak and Caltrain and also has a light rail stop. You have to walk the long around to get to the tunnel that passes under the heavy rail tracks to get to the light rail platform, though. I managed the ticket machine and had to wait about 15 minutes for the train.

The train was about half full, which is somewhat impressive, given the time of night on a Thursday. One of the things that impressed me about these trains, physically, was the bike section. Bikes on the LA light rail lines are really annoying, often because their owners are inconsiderate and the damned things are sometimes positioned so as to block the door on one side. Yes, you got on the train on the other side, but the reason they have doors on both sides is because, well, not all stations have you exit on the same side. Moron. The Santa Clara VTA trains have sections between the regular seating compartments which have a rack on side where about half a dozen cyclists can hang their bikes vertically and then sit right across from them. That's smart.

I got off at the 1st and Metro station. I should have gotten off at the next one, 1st and Katrina, which is a hair closer to the hotel, but before I had left, I had plugged in "Diridon Station to (hotel address) by PT" into Google Maps one more time, and it told me to get off at Metro. When I got off there, I realized that while the overall distance was less, which is what Google Maps was probably optimized for, walking distance was more. And I had only looked at the walking map from the Katrina Station, which I had planned to use the next day to get to the convention center. And hadn't printed out a map. I got lost in the Holiday Inn parking lot across the street (don't ask -- I thought it was a shortcut), then pulled out my cell phone. It had been fully charged in the morning. I had known that there would be no cell phone access on long stretches on the trip and knew that constantly searching for a signal can kill a cell phone battery, somehow those facts had not coalesced in my brain until that moment. Crap. I was pretty sure I had remembered seeing a pay phone at the rail platform and it was an obvious landmark anyway, as I was clearly going to need a cab. Fortunately the phone was working and the phone book was there and intact. The first cab company I called hung up on me because the asshole couldn't hear me the first time I said hello as he was talking, and then when I said "hello" again, he couldn't hear me because he was so impatient he was already saying, "Anyone there?" And then he hung up. Times like that, I totally wish I had a multi-purpose voodoo doll, I swear. The next company heard me just fine, thank you, but said he wouldn't be able to get a cab to me for at least 30 minutes, and then gave me the number I had called the first time. "Yeah, they hung on me." "Well, I can't help you." Apparently not. It was a good thing I had plenty of change with me. Third time was a charm, though. The dispatcher told me 10-15 minutes, but the cab showed up in about 5. He had been on his way to the airport. And even though it was dark, I got to see how he got to the hotel, which jibed with what I now remembered of the map. Yay.

I was tired, it was about 10:30, but the room was comfortable. I turned on my laptop. I had brought the USB cable to charge the phone, but then I remembered I had forgotten to install the driver for the phone. Crap. Fortunately, the hotel has reasonable free wireless, so I got the driver installed and the phone finally charging. It took me awhile to wind down, and then I stayed in bed reading awhile. Finally I could barely keep my eyes open, so I went to sleep...

Riding the Rails: Day 1 Stop'n'Go'n'Stay-Stopped

I had made sure I had almost everything packed the night before. I was hoping to use my smaller suitcase, and while everything would have fit going there, well, no room for yarn when I came back! So, bigger suitcase it was.

Union Station I did, of course, miss the 84 bus I had planned to take. I had wanted to get to the station about 45-60 minutes before the train left at 10:15, even though I had already bought my ticket online and wouldn't need to check bags. I just couldn't remember if the 84 still ran every 15 minutes or had started into the once every 30 minutes part of the day. Crap. I waited. It had definitely been at least 20 minutes. I got worried. I probably shouldn't have; even if it was going to be 30 minutes, as long as traffic wasn't awful, I would still get there in plenty of time. The 84 wasn't the fastest way to get there, necessarily, but it had the virtue of stopping several blocks from my home and then stopping right at Union Station, so I wouldn't have to worry about dragging my suitcase between connections. Still, I was beginning to consider calling a cab, or even just going back and getting my car and driving when the bus came. Yay! And even though on paper the trip is supposed to take close to an hour at that time of the morning, we were there in about 45 minutes, so I actually walked into Union Station just after 9:30.

Union Station -- Impressionist version!
Lobby of Union Station: Impressionist Version!
I had printed out the ticket reservation paper with the barcode on it, but I had a hard time finding the automated machines they told me to scan it on to get my actual tickets. I finally found them beyond the ticketing booths, all the way over next to the first-class entrance, completely hidden from casual view. That was kind of lame. The machines are pretty much the same ones airlines use. At least it read my barcode the first try, too. I have a problem with that sometimes, even though my printer has reasonable print quality. I got my tickets and then headed down the non-first-class entrance to the train platforms. Union Station may have a beautiful faux Art Deco-style lobby, but the tunnel is just ugly, painted concrete. I seem to recall several years ago it was even uglier unpainted concrete, though, so at least that's an improvement.

lucky13 The Coast Starlight originates at Union Station. Even though they made a PA for all the Coast Starlight passengers to head to the platform, when I got there they hadn't even opened the doors yet. The conductors for each passenger car had started giving out seat assignments, though, although they do it on the fly, so it's a little slow, but it's flexible. I got a window seat on what be the west side of the train, which meant I would get a good view when we were in sight of the ocean. They finally opened the doors and I somehow managed to haul my big-ass suitcase up the narrow staircase and squeeze it into the overhead bin. (I later realized there was a big bookcase-style luggage rack right next to the door, which I hadn't noticed somehow.)

I was in coach class, but man, those seats have serious leg room. More even than when I flew first class. They were about the same width as a first-class seat. I started looking around for a power outlet, which the Amtrak site had said were "limited" in the coach section. I interpreted "limited" to mean "one per several people." In practice it seemed to mean "zero per any number of people." I had plenty of time to look around and could not find a single one. My cheap-ish laptop was good for maybe 2 hours max of DVD watching. I was slightly annoyed.

A woman sitting directly behind me had for a duster-length semi-sheer black sweater over her outfit. The side seams didn't start until about a foot up from the bottom, which meant the side sections were very flowy. It was very attractive, but absolutely impractical for travel, as the panels kept flowing into the armrests of seats along the aisle. This would happen every time she got up to walk somewhere, until she remembered to gather the front together. As the thing was too sheer to provide a great deal of warmth, um, why the hell didn't she just take the thing off, at least when she wasn't in her seat? Behind her were two schoolteachers who talked non-stop. Thank some techno-deity for headphones.

Train view #1
The first view from my window
The train was scheduled to leave at 10:15. At 10:14, according to the platform clock, they closed the doors, and we were moving a minute later. The car I was in was actually very empty. No one had a seatmate unless they were traveling with someone, and most seat pairs were empty altogether. We went out of downtown, then along the Los Angeles Drainage Ditch, then through the Glendale Station (not a stop -- this train doesn't stop all that often, actually. Well, not as scheduled, but as we'll see...) It passed between the Burbank Fry's and the Bob Hope Airport, then a little ways later, it... stopped. For several minutes. Um, ok. This ended up becoming an all-too-familiar situation, at least until we hit San Luis Obispo, which is about the half-way point to San Jose. Sometimes we would be stopped for a really long time (15 minutes or more). Sometimes they would announce a reason (usually waiting for a freight train); sometimes not. sigh

Next stop was Van Nuys. Once we got near the western edge of Los Angeles County, you're in relative-Boonieland. There were even houses with donkeys or horses in the backyard. My lunch "reservation" in the dining car came right about the time we entered Ventura County. Since I consisted of a party of one, they seated me with a couple. They were nice people, but silly kind of in the way people who haven't been together a long time but are comfortable around each other get, but not in a gross, touchy-feely way. They were going up to Santa Barbara for the day. She went often, but he had never been before. "Are there good places to eat there?" "Oh, yes." I hadn't actually been in almost 15 years, although I had lived there almost a year. I don't think it could have lost its general atmosphere in that time.

It turns out the woman worked for Amtrak in some kind of public relations capacity. She said some of the eastern lines had even somehow started adding wi-fi to their cars, and when I remarked on the lack of power outlets in coach, she said that was the number one thing people were requesting. The man kept giving the dining car manager a good-naturedly hard time because we still hadn't been in sight of the ocean. "You said there would be an ocean! Where'd the ocean go?" "We'll start seeing it when we get past Oxnard."

Amtrak Ocean View #1 Fortunately we started seeing blue before the lunch was over. (Service was actually extremely slow, and the car was not crowded.) We could see the Channel Islands in the distance We could also see all the oil drilling platforms surrounding the Channel Islands (still a huge controversy, as the northern islands off Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are uninhabited nature preserves). After I got back to my seat, I started taking lovely, blurry pictures.

Amtrak Ocean View #2
Amtrak Ocean View #3 I was at lunch so I don't remember if Oxnard had been a cough "smoking-break stop." Van Nuys had not been, but Santa Barbara was. I can't say I have all that much sympathy for people on that nicotine leash. At any rate, we were stopped at Santa Barbara for several minutes, and even after they had loaded everyone up and closed the doors... we were still stopped. They announced that we were waiting for some train to move off our track or something. Ok. After we finally left, I spent about an hour looking and my window and reading my book. I decided I would take a nap. Insomnia has been bothering me lately, I think mainly because I lack a regular schedule and don't have regularly-draining days anymore, and I had only managed to fall asleep and stay asleep for about 4 hours the previous night. I put the half-reclining footrest up and slept across the two seats, flopping sides twice. I wouldn't call it deep sleep, but I did feel better. When I heard the conductor say the car would get a lot more crowded now that we were pulling into San Luis Obispo, I decided I might as well sit up.

to be continued...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Rest Room For Pandora's Cat

  1. Go to
  2. Type Pandora's Litter Box into the big text area box.
  3. Select "English to Japanese" in the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the "Translate" button.
  5. Get really #%*!ing annoyed when babelfish does not understand the apostrophe means a possessive noun and leaves the orphaned 's' floating around.
  6. Click the "Help" link and get even more #%*!ing annoyed when it is beyond useless.
  7. Go back to
  8. Type The litter box of Pandora into the big text area box.
  9. Select "English to Japanese" in the drop-down menu.
  10. Click the "Translate" button.
  11. Select and copy the translation.
  12. Paste it back into the "Translate again" box.
  13. Select "Japanese to English" in the drop-down menu.
  14. Click the "Translate" button.
  15. Stare blankly at the monitor when it decides you meant Rest room for Pandora's cat.
  16. Go to bed. It's 2 AM!

Pandora's Litter Box: Fun With Babelfish, Part 3

  1. Go to
  2. Type Pandora is the boss kitty. into the big text area box.
  3. Select "English to Japanese" in the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the "Translate" button.
  5. Select and copy the translation.
  6. Paste it back into the "Translate again" box.
  7. Select "Japanese to English" in the drop-down menu.
  8. Click the "Translate" button.
  9. Decide that babelfish clearly does not understand the concept of cat "ownership" when it tells you Pandora is the kitty of the chief.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Other: Your Life As A Soundtrack

I don't even remember where I found this, but it's been going around the web a long time. I posted it on the old board1 a year or so ago and there were some great fits.
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool - first songs only
  • Opening Credits
  • Waking Up
  • First Day of School
  • Falling in Love
  • Fight Song
  • Breaking Up
  • Prom
  • Life is Good
  • Mental Breakdown
  • Driving
  • Flashback
  • Getting Back Together
  • Wedding
  • Paying the Dues
  • The Night Before the War
  • Moment of Triumph
  • Death Scene
  • Funeral Song
  • End Credits

Here's what I came up with the first time:
  • Opening Credits: Fastbacks - "I Know"
  • Waking Up: Faith No More - "We Care A Lot" (only had it because it was in a Rhino box set, I swear)
  • First Day of School: Lead Belly - "Irene"
  • Falling in Love: Lisa Germano - "Fun, Fun for Everyone"
  • Fight Song: Bettie Serveert - "Captain of Maybe"
  • Breaking Up: Throwing Muses - "Dovey"
  • Prom: Belly - "Lilith"
  • Life is Good: Elastica - "Stutter"
  • Mental Breakdown: Blondie - "I'm Gonna Love You Too"
  • Driving: Patti Smith Group - "Poppies"
  • Flashback: SF Seals - "Still"
  • Getting Back Together: 50' Wave - "Dog Days"
  • Wedding: OP8 - "OP8"
  • Paying the Dues: Throwing Muses - "Calm Down, Come Down"
  • The Night Before the War: Sonic Youth - "Kissability"
  • Moment of Triumph: Lucinda Williams - "He Never Got Enough Love"
  • Death Scene: Throwing Muses - "I'm Alive" (I swear!)
  • Funeral Song: The Raincoats - "You're A Million"
  • End Credits: Carter Family - "Gospel Ship"

I decided my life merited a sequel, and the second one had some uncanny fits:
  • Opening Credits: The Raincoats - "In Love"
  • Waking Up: The Hangovers - "I Feel Like" (actually works well... "The day just gets up and hits you")
  • First Day of School: Kristin Hersh - "Nerve Endings"
  • Falling in Love: Beth Orton - "Concrete Sky"
  • Fight Song: Liz Phair - "Mesmerizing"
  • Breaking Up: The Hangovers - "I Hate You" (awesome)
  • Prom: Beth Orton - "Shopping Trolley"
  • Life is Good: Mary Margaret O'Hara - "Have You Gone"
  • Mental Breakdown: 7 Year Bitch - "The Midst" (perfect - "I need some chemicals, I'm too emotional")
  • Driving: Boss Hog - "Texas" (I'd be driving the hell out of Texas)
  • Flashback: Gillian Welch - "One Monkey"
  • Getting Back Together: Sam & Dave - "Sweet Home"
  • Wedding: Barbara Manning - "B4 We Go Under"
  • Paying the Dues: Ruby - "Heidi"
  • The Night Before the War: Generation X - "Your Generation" (from the Rhino punk box set)
  • Moment of Triumph: Bettie Serveert - "Crutches" (hmmm... Pyrrhic victory?)
  • Death Scene: Throwing Muses - "Shark/White Bikini Sand"
  • Funeral Song: 50' Wave - "Glory Weed"
  • End Credits: Jenny Toomey - "Patsy Cline"

Well, I'm really bored, so almost exactly a year later, let's see what I get. Call it "Karen: The Remake."
  • Opening Credits: Babes in Toyland - "Mother"
  • Waking Up: Liz Phair - "Ride"
  • First Day of School: Bettie Serveert - "Geek" (Spot on!)
  • Falling in Love: Danielle Howle and the Tantrums - "She Has a Past" (A little too spot on...)
  • Fight Song: Rachael Yamagata - "The Reason Why"
  • Breaking Up: Kristin Hersh - Untitled (On Sky Motel)
  • Prom: X - "Soul Kitchen"
  • Life is Good: Scrawl - "Out of Mind" (Seems like this should be the next one...)
  • Mental Breakdown: Elastica - "Vaseline"
  • Driving: Lisa Germano - "Cry Baby"
  • Flashback: Throwing Muses - "Red Shoes"
  • Getting Back Together: The Hangovers - "Sorry" (actually more about failing to get back together - "Sorry doesn't mean a thing anymore")
  • Wedding: Cat Power - "Peking Saint"
  • Paying the Dues: The New Pornographers - "Jackie, Dressed in Furs"
  • The Night Before the War: Gillian Welch - "Wrecking Ball"
  • Moment of Triumph: The Breeders - "Drivin' on 9"
  • Death Scene: Throwing Muses - "Hate My Way" (guess I really must have...)
  • Funeral Song: Kathleen Edwards - "Sweet Little Duck"
  • End Credits: Lucinda Williams - "2 Kool 2 Be 4 Gotten" (rewl!)

1They changed forum software/hosting last year and the old posts were, I believe, lost. I had some funny signatures in there!

Other: Music!

I haven't really talked about specific music before. I've been listening to Kristin Hersh in her various musical incarnations for about 15 years now, ever since Heather-who-gave-me-a-cat-once loaned me Throwing Muses' album The Real Ramona. Tom-who-can't-believe-Spoon-weighs-16-pounds was asking me about decent online Kristin Hersh videos he could use to carry on my now-lax efforts at proselytizing. This site has the official video of the permanently-in-limbo Throwing Muses playing last month in Sydney. The sound and video quality are excellent, and they play some songs I am pretty sure I have never heard live and in-person (and still haven't because, duh, I wasn't in Sydney), including "Devil's Roof," "Limbo," "Mr Bones," and "Finished."

I also stumbled across this excellent clip of Kristin playing "Sugarbaby," one of my favorite tracks from her most recent solo album, Learn to Sing Like a Star.

Metro Journal: Fun With Babelfish, Part 2

  1. Go to
  2. Type crosswalk rage into the big text area box.
  3. Select "English to Japanese" in the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the "Translate" button.
  5. Select and copy the translation.
  6. Paste it back into the "Translate again" box.
  7. Select "Japanese to English" in the drop-down menu.
  8. Click the "Translate" button.
  9. Feel a little pleased when it pops out Rage of pedestrian crossing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Fun With Babelfish

  1. Go to (Remember when it used to be at I do!)
  2. Type fuzzy cat into the big text area box.
  3. Select "English to Japanese" in the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the "Translate" button.
  5. Select and copy the translation.
  6. Paste it back into the "Translate again" box.
  7. Select "Japanese to English" in the drop-down menu.
  8. Click the "Translate" button.
  9. Ponder the philosophical and quantum mechanical implications when it spits out Ambiguous cat in response.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Riding the Rails: Amtrak Better Know the Way to San Jose

I'm getting ready to take my first non-family-generally-emergency-related trip in over 18 months this week. Yay!

Ostensibly, I'm going up to the San Jose area to check out Stitches West 2009, but that's just an excuse to go somewhere. Firstly, I decided to take the Amtrak Coast Starlight route. It runs from Union Station up to Seattle, with a convenient stop in San Jose. I'd never actually taken Amtrak further than Santa Barbara, and that was a long time ago. Ok, the trip is about 10 hours long each way, but I'll bring my laptop and some DVDs and some books and those multiple unread issues of Scientific American I have piled up. And, according to the Amtrak page,
The scenery along the Coast Starlight route is unsurpassed. The dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline provide a stunning backdrop for your journey.
So I will probably take lots of blurry pictures from the train.

The San Jose area has what looks like a very convenient system of light rail. I made sure to book a hotel near a rail stop, so I can take the light rail from the Amtrak station up to the hotel, and then take the same line to a stop near the Santa Clara Convention Center, where the Stitches show is taking place.

Kitty Back Pack I get in Thursday night, and I'll check out the show Friday. I haven't decided if I'm going to wear my "Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts" t-shirt or my "I Knit So I Do Not Kill People" shirt (in pink). I will, of course, pack both. I will also carry my newly-finished kitty back pack.1

Saturday, assuming I can drag my butt out of bed after all that overwhelming excitement, I'm thinking about checking out the Winchester Mystery House, also located in San Jose, although it looks like that will require a bus in addition to the rail. After that, I may check out the San Jose Kinokuniya location, which looks to have a larger selection than the Los Angeles store. The San Francisco store is supposed to be huge, but at over 40 miles from the hotel, it would involve three different rail services and at least one bus. I'm not sure I'm up to that much adventure! Then, on Sunday, it's back down to Union Station.

And I will of course be blogging about it the whole way!

1Slightly modified version of the "Punk Rock Backpack" by Heather Barnes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: RIP Socks

Speaking of recently-deceased famous pets, "Socks," famous former First Cat, was put to sleep today after suffering from late-stage mouth cancer. Socks was 19.

After Bill Clinton left the White House, Socks was apparently adopted by the president's former personal secretary. (So much for "Friends For Life.")

I actually felt sorry for Socks. Because they didn't want a cat shedding, scratching, and peeing in the White House, they often kept him chained in the backyard*, where all the nutcases trying to shoot at the Oval Office could have accidentally hit him. Apparently, he did have a pal during this period, though. He shared his food with a stray tabby named Slippers.

*They supposedly did allow him to wander around some areas of the White House, but still, the indignity for a cat of being kept on a leash for all the public to stare at you?

Other: RIP Small Fry

After the people at the pet store told my mother that Jesus was big enough to release into the main tank with his parents, he disappeared.

Poor small fry. I wonder if he was really big enough not to fit in his mother's mouth at that point.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Totoro Mittens!

Brella on Ravelry designed her own Totoro mittens! They are super cute!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Cardigan of the Damned: The Final Conflict

hellcardi Well, I finally finished the damned thing. It's too big, looks weird in back because of that. I sewed the buttons on at a bias to take it in a little, although that makes the front panels look somewhat asymmetrical. I'm hoping it's one of those things where, if you don't point it out to people, they'll think it's supposed to be that way.

I'll wear it occasionally, I suppose, but if I have a string of bad luck when I do wear it, I might go to a priest and have it exorcised.

Me: This sweater is damned! Evil! Could you exorcise it, please?
Priest: ...
Me: No, really! See, it seriously makes my butt look big!
Priest: Yes, well, I'd have to get permission from the archdiocese. That can take time.
Me: Oh. Even if it makes my butt look really big?
Priest: Oh, yes, I see... Why don't you just frog it and knit something else like a normal person?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Cardigan of the Damned, Part II

Can you find the join?
I managed to fix the panel I messed up and am rather pleased. The last three repeats on the repaired side are a little bunched along the picked-up edge, but blocking should make that less obvious. The backside of the area is ugly, but most people won't see it. To the untrained eye, it shouldn't be at all obvious that some weird voodoo took place. It's a little larger than would be ideal, but it will be fine.

All well and good, right? The curse has reared its ugly head again. I got out the sleeves to set them in, and one is clearly longer than the other. I'm not going to speculate why or how in a public forum, because I'd sound like a lunatic if I hypothesized that the curse had clearly warped the space-time continuum around one of the sleeves. At any rate, I'm reknitting one of them. Fortunately it's a short-sleeved sweater.

Seriously, what next?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Other: When Crappy Means Creepy

The December 2008 print issue1 of Scientific American had a short article2 on "the uncanny valley," roboticist Masahiro Mori's term for the idea that, the more human a facsimile is, the more uneasy a viewer gets when the copy does something that isn't quite human enough.
My first job out of school was at a digital effects company. Afterwards I would go around complaining about bad CGI3, whether it was crappy texture mapping or unrealistic animation. When George "I Live On My Own Little Planet Which Bears No Resemblance To This One Although I Sometimes Get The Two Confused" Lucas gave the original Star Wars trilogy that awful facelift, I remember seeing the digitally-added stormtroopers moving around Tatooine, getting on and off those big honking animals. They moved too smoothly. True human movement is punctuated by slight jerks and pauses. I shouldn't have noticed that, but it detracted from the viewing experience because it was noticeable. Well, ok, I shouldn't have noticed it because I should have known better than to go see it.

The print article also has a sidebar about "The Polar Express," "a movie criticized for its characters’ high creep quotient," on the second page of the web article. While the article attributes the movie's creepiness to the characters' incomplete verisimilitude4 to real humans, I personally find it much creepier that they thought it was a good idea to have Tom Hanks' voice coming out of so many different almost-but-not-quite-human mouths.

"Uncanny valley" becomes more pertinent because not only have the number of computer-generated human-like representations on TV and in the movies, increasingly realistic video game animations, and the possibility for more human-like robots in our everyday world increased, but as the article explains:
Prosthetics and genetic engineering may affect appearance; even now the work of cosmetic surgeons can yield an unease reminiscent of the valley. One blogger placed Madonna -— after requisite face-lifts, Botox injections and photo retouching -— at the exact spot on Mori’s graph once occupied by the handicapped, which is near the bottom of the valley (but usually replaced today by a prosthetic hand for political correctness).
So, there you have it. The term for the day is "uncanny valley." Now go off and just toss it into a conversation somewhere.

(As an only slightly relevant aside, last night Steve, his wife Teresa, and I were watching the John Woo Chinese film "Red Cliff," which is apparently based on a video game, which is apparently based on factual history.5 While it has some very good CGI, it is still clearly computer-generated. Horses turned too smoothly, the water didn't behave like water, etc.)

1Which means I'm only two months behind! Which adds up to about 3 or 4 print issues....
2The web edition seems to have the full text, but omits the graphics, including the not-so-scientific chart Mori made to illustrate his idea, which I've borrowed here from the Wikipedia article.
3Computer-Generated Images, not Common Gateway Interface, which I am sad to say I now use more often in my real life.
4Yes, I spelled it right on the first try! Nyah!
5I won't go into how we apparently only had the first part of the movie, a fact Steve and I weren't aware of until It Just Ended. Not in an obvious, "this is a cliffhanger so go see the sequel" fashion, but just, bam! Teresa: "Yeah, the second part isn't even finished yet." Thanks for the warning!6
6Not to mention, what the hell is up with John Woo and pigeons?

Knittin' Crap: Cardigan of the Damned!

I previously reported on the cardigan that was giving me no end of trouble when Spoon decided to kill the yarn.

Good side!
I had moved past that, and for the past week I've been on a marathon stretch to finish the damned thing. The front has sort of a strange design, where the panels are done perpendicular to the body, meaning you knit the panel rows from neck-to-bottom rather than side-to-side, hence the reason for picking up the stitches. I had finished the first panel without problems, and thought it was going pretty well. I finished the other panel without help from Spoon, then seamed the shoulders together, then tried it on before I put on the sleeves. Hey, it wasn't looking too bad! The ribbed increases on the sides are a little ugly, but from the front and back, it didn't look bad, and it actually fit! But it just wasn't hanging quite right. Then I realized I had somehow not done one of the pattern repeats on the second side.

Now would be the appropriate time to introduce the non-knitter to

The Emotional Stages When You Realize You Have Totally Fucked Up1 Your Knitting
  1. Confusion: "Huh? This doesn't look quite right..."
  2. Denial: "No, I must be looking at it wrong. It's fine. It must be fine."
  3. Shock: "Nooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooo!"
  4. More denial: "I double-checked all my counts!2 It was fine! It has to be fine!"
  5. Deflect the blame to the pattern: "It's all your fault! If you had just told me the ratio of picked up stitches!"
  6. Deflect the blame to your cat: "Spoon! What have you been doing to my knitting while I'm sleeping!"
  7. Deflect the blame to supernatural powers: "I'm going to submit this as evidence of knitting gremlins! Evil! Eeeeevil!"
  8. Bargaining: "Ok, so it's a little asymmetrical. I see asymmetrical designs all the time! It will work! Ok, it won't work. That looks like crap."
  9. Acceptance: "Well, crap. This totally sucks ass."
No matter how I decided to fix it, it was almost certainly going to involve cutting through knitting in the middle of knit rows. The shoulder seams were weird and because they're sewn with the same yarn as the knitting, I could easily cut working yarn when I thought I was cutting a seam and that would seriously suck. Even if that worked, I would have to re-knit the entire panel, which pissed me off and was two solid, not-employed-but-playing-too-much-Puzzle-Pirates days of knitting.

Bad side
undergoing repairs
So, in an effort to stave off that solution, I carefully cut out the 2 bottom repeats, leaving several inches of unraveled yarn at the edges. (I had thought the stitches seemed more spread out than the first panel, but figured I was just worrying about nothing. Well, apparently I had talked myself out of worrying about an actual something.) I am going to try to reknit the now-empty area with the correct number of pattern repeats and then work the unraveled yarn ends in. I will be frank. I will use knots.3 But as long as it looks decent from the front side, I will consider myself lucky. If it doesn't, I'll take the risk of undoing the shoulder seams and reknitting the entire panel.

This all happened at about 2 AM.4 I had been excited because I had almost finished the thing after all this time and agony, and I would just have to put in the sleeves and then wash and block it. I ended up staying up until 3:30 getting the repairs underway, which is actually pretty stupid because fatigue makes messing up with the scissors more likely, but I was too pissed off to sleep without at least starting to show the thing who's boss.

I told you this cardigan was cursed. Cursed, I tell you, cursed! But I also swore I would not let it win.

Aligned now! I swear!

1Sorry, there's just no other term that can adequately capture both the technical severity and the emotional trauma of the situation.
2Apparently the second check was as inaccurate as the first one, eh?
3Generally considered anathema by Real Knitters. Of course, a Real Knitter would probably not have fucked this up.
4I just now realized that was 2 AM on FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!5
5That doesn't really explain all that much. I would have actually laid the way to fuck it up several days ago when I started that side.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Spoon Goes To The Vet

Spoon had his regular check-up yesterday. Here's the synopsis.
  • Into the carrier - no problem. He's a little over-trusting.
  • Pandora: Yay! You're finally getting rid of him!
  • Carrying him to the car -- problem. "Jesus Christ, cat, you weigh a ton."
  • In car: pitiful noises from carrier.
  • I open the lid of the carrier: Spoon quiets down and lies down in the carrier. He's fine as long as he can see out. He doesn't even try to get out.
  • At the vet, with carrier closed: pitiful noises from carrier.
  • In exam room: "Nooo! Don't touch my butt!"
  • Spoon lost 4 whole ounces since his last visit! Now he's at 16 lb 1.5 oz. That's still by far the largest cat I've owned in my life.
  • Spoon with vet: a little wriggling.
  • After vet stops groping: Spoon lies on table and makes goo-goo eyes at her.
  • Aide carries Spoon to back room to poke him. He makes his sad face. (He needs his teeth cleaned, so they like to do blood work before the anesthesia.)
  • Spoon comes back and goes in the carrier without a problem.
  • While I pay the bill: pitiful noises come from carrier. Also, he almost knocks it off the bench trying to do a u-turn inside. It's a little too narrow for his chubby butt to do that.
  • Ride home: Spoon lies down and keeps quiet once I open the lid.
  • Carrying Spoon up the stairs: Jesus Christ, cat, 4 ounces or not, you still weigh a ton!
  • In the apartment, Pandora: Woman! Why the hell did you bring him back?
Anyway, he's totally healthy, except for being overweight a couple of pounds (4 ounces or not) and needing his teeth cleaned.

Knittin' Crap: Miser's Purse

So, not in an effort to toot my own horn1 but to dethrone Hansen Jr from the top of my most-viewed picture of all time2, I'll refer back to this post on the Crochet Liberation Front blog which features my crocheted, beaded miser's purse.

I actually made it about maybe 10 years ago when I was still in the midst of my bead obsession. The pattern comes from a reprint of a book first published around 80-90 years ago.

What is a miser's purse, you ask? Miser’s purses were usually worn by Victorian men. The two pouches were usually different shapes/patterns so a man feeling in the dark would know which one he kept his different coin denominations in. The two pouches are joined by mesh with a slit in the middle, and two rings which they could slide to get to either pouch through the opening. They were miserly because they would be worn looped over the pants belt, requiring the belt to be loosened to get the bag out.
“My dear Nigel, would you mind taking care of this one? I’m afraid if I loosen my belt to get to my money, my trousers will fall down as they are a little too large.”
“Of course, Cecil. Just make sure to wear your suspenders next time! Ho ho ho!”
“Jolly good!”

1 Why does that sound obscene to me? Never mind. I'd say this was a family blog, except for all the posts where I curse freely argue against that.
2 Currently at 63 views, whereas one of the purse photos is in second place at 44.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Kinokuniya Score!

As I mentioned in today's Metro Journal, I went back to Kinokuniya Bookstore in Little Tokyo today. Last time I was there, I got some excellent books. I think today's were even more excellent. I saw such great stuff, I thought I would pass out. Then I realized I probably needed to get something in my stomach.

9784391136906 amicoll6 happykniyying 9784529046039 9784579112159 adk

(Yes, the flash on my camera is very annoying.)

But the pièce de résistance... a Nekobasu coin purse!


Metro Journal: Feb 6 Wet

I had a dentist appointment in the morning, and they had plumbers to come do work in my building most of the day, so I figured I would just spend as much of the day as far from my apartment as possible. First I went to the post office, where I finally mailed the belated Xmas gifts for my mother and Max (The Artist Formerly Known As Colleen. Don't ask, because then I'd have to ask.)

ts ps1

Hint: if you're going to knit a sweater for your mother for Xmas, don't start on the 20th of December, unless you plan to give it to her for Xmas the following year. Or over a month late, anyway.

I knew enough to bring an umbrella, although it wasn't raining while I was walking to the post office. That was good, since I was carrying the two packages. But a minute after I went out to wait for the bus, it started drizzling, and within a minute was raining in earnest. That would have been fine, except the wind was blowing, so the rain was coming at an angle. I had my Doc Martens on, which do a pretty good job of keeping my feet dry, but my jeans below the knee got soaked.1

I took the 780, bought a Day Pass as I no longer get monthly passes at work, and got off the bus at Brand. It was still over 1½ hours until my appointment, so I went to a coffee shop, got a chai, and read my book awhile, and watched the rain. I got antsy after about an hour, so I went outside. I had planned to take a Beeline up to the cross street for the dentist's office, but the next one wasn't going to come for about 15 minutes. (Glendale had just put in new shelters around the Galleria, and this one even had an LED sign telling you the Beeline schedule for buses for that stop.) I ended up walking the half mile or so to the dentist's. It was only sort of drizzling and I was antsy.2 I got there about half an hour early, just prepared to wait, but they'd had a cancellation and could see me immediately. Bonus! So they did the deep steam-cleaning or something.

After that, I walked all the way back to Brand and Broadway to catch the 794 to go downtown. I had to run the last half block to catch one, so I wouldn't have to wait another 20 or so minutes. They only added this line last June, and it doesn't run on weekends, so I had never taken it before.

I got off at Hill and 1st, then walked the half mile or so to Little Tokyo to hit Kinokuniya Bookstore again. I'd been there last October, but after joining the Japanese Knitting and Crochet group on Ravelry, I had seen some more books I wanted to look for.

sistercities It had stopped raining again, but the sky was still really overcast. I tried to take a picture of Japanese tourists taking a picture of the faux signpost to Los Angeles' Sister Cities, but my crappy phone camera didn't do a good job from across the street.

Onizuka After scoring big at Kinokuniya3, I got a cup of coffee and loitered around the shopping center a bit. It's on a block-long street named Astronaut Ellison Onizuka St, after the Japanese-American astronaut who died in the Challenger explosion. They have a statue of the Challenger dedicated to him in the small plaza.

I walked back up (and I mean up as in "uphill") 1st to Hill. The Civic Center Red Line station is at the same corner where I got off the 794. To kill more time, I figured I would take the Red Line to Union Station, get on the Gold Line to Pasadena, and take the 780 west to my regular stop. From the station entrance, you can see the top of the Walt Disney Concert Hall off in the distance, but as the hall is the same steel grey as the sky was, you can't really make it out in my picture. It's a pretty mural, though.
Civic Center Red Line Station
The smell as you descend into the actual station grows rather, um, unwelcoming. The station itself is very non-descript, unlike, say, the Vine Red Line Station, with its film-equipment motif, or the Chinatown Gold Line Station with its faux pagoda roof and dragon statues.

Some rather skanky guy on the train kept staring at me. I was grateful that he didn't approach, but I had to wonder why all the guys who come on to me on public transportation end up being skanky. I am not skanky. I don't think I have clothes that could even put me in the neighborhood of skanky, unless I tried to wedge myself into stuff I was wearing 16 years ago. I mean, the label may say it's the same size as I wear now, but my ass begs to differ.4

Union Station was the next (and last) stop, so I got off and went to the Gold Line. The next train was waiting, although it didn't leave for several more minutes. I called my mother and told her Spoon seemed to like yarn with mohair content, so maybe I should get him a pet goat.

I forgot there was the stupid Fair Oaks stop, so I got off at the Del Mar Station and had to hoof it about half a mile uphill on Arroyo to Colorado. At least it still wasn't raining. I had to walk a few blocks to the next 780 stop, though, and I just missed the bus. I decided to keep walking, half window shopping, half thinking there was another stop not too far. I ended up walking way uphill, past the Norton Simon, over the 210, all the way to Orange Grove. Fortunately a 780 showed up about 2 minutes later.

After I got off the 780 and had started walking home, it started to rain again. Oh, well. I noticed that the fabric was no longer anchored on one of the umbrella spokes, and there was a small hole on top, no doubt the source of occasional drops I had been feeling. My mother had gotten it as swag at a conference, which means it had an embarrassing logo, so for cheap swag, it did last a couple years in the desert.

1 They didn't even dry out until I got home 6 hours later and actually hung them over my towel warmer for awhile.
2 Not having somewhere to be every day has started giving me cabin fever.
3 See separate post.
4 It's called vanity sizing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Whiteboard Jungle: ISO New Jungle

I'm sitting here uploading my new resume into one of the technical job boards, and I decided I'd take advantage of the "check spelling" button. Now, I usually skip those buttons, as I am (a) generally a good speller and a decent typist, and (b) using lots of technical terms which aren't in their database, and thus have to hit "Ignore All" 3 dozen times.

Except, as I said, this is a technical job board. So when my resume has "FreeBSD" in there, I would hope the spell checker would not suggest I replace it with (I am not joking here) "Freebased."

And why is it asking me if I want to replace "SMTP" with "ESMTP," when ESMTP is just Extended SMTP (hence the 'E') and the protocol is still referred to, except where the 'E' is relevant, as "SMTP?"

Other fun suggestions:
  • Suggestion for "VMware:" Ovenware
  • For "ESX:" SEX
  • For "Kickstarting:" Castrating
  • For "Gb:" KGB

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: The Electric Lap

sp-el2 Two years ago, Pandora's joints started getting a little stiff, so I got her a heated pet bed. I set it up, she jumped on it to check it out, realized her butt was getting warm, then curled up in it. A few hours later, she got up to eat, and then she got back in it.1 A little while later, she got up, got some water, came back... and Spoon was in it. He was only 2 at the time, so don't give me that stiff joint routine. If anything hurts his joints, it's the way he twists around in that thing to make sure all sides get baked equally.

The electric lap is soft, like my lap, and has a foam wall, unlike my lap, which keeps Spoon from sliding off.2 While the electric lap does not pet them, it does not pet them in the wrong way, either. And it never needs to get up or rearrange itself because the 16-pound monster cat put its foot to sleep.

In the past 24 hours, we have dainty Pandora3:
And not so dainty Spoon:

1 Every other piece of furniture I got her was used by her once and only once.
2 He's big, he's unwieldy, and he shows no understanding of the concept of center of gravity.
3 She may look about the same size as Spoon, but Pandora is actually 50% fur by volume. I have pre- and post-shaving pictures to prove it.