Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Geek Shame

Yes, I realize I recently mocked people with Super Mario Bros fetishes, yet here I am, about to confess my own transformation of a computer video game into fiber.

Crushed Cultist - front

This little guy is the crushed cultist from the Cultist Crusher trophy in the MMORPG Puzzle Pirates.

Now, why would I confess all this in public? Because this little guy is my first amigurumi design from scratch!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Metro Journal: Not Foolin' Me Twice!

So I don't get blindsided by things like the new, paperless day passes again, I signed up for Metro e-mail updates!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Cute In Any Language!

Last weekend I made my first amigurumi off a Japanese-language pattern. It was a monumental feat, but I pulled it off:

snail - front

Yes, thank you, I was amazed with myself, also.

For an encore, I decided to move up in complexity from two crocheted parts to... a lot more.

... which becomes...

(Gratuitous action shots with cats clearly not in action:)
p-bear2 s-bear

I also made this little baby seal. The baby seal has a few technical problems. There were weird short rows to do the snout shaping. I sat for about 20 minutes looking at the chart, saying, "um, that row ended here, so why does the next row start all the way over there?" and then decided I should just try it. My snout ended up all puckered, unlike the pattern photo, so I either didn't do it quite right or just not very well. I'm not sure if actually being able to read Japanese might or might not have helped in that situation, but it's a moot point since I can't and staring at it for 20 minutes didn't magically make the small amount of text pointing at the snout make sense. Oh, and the yarn I used for the grey nose was too thick, but it was all I could find, so that probably didn't help. Also, my seal's belly isn't as flat as it should be, so he tips over onto his nose. Oh, well. He's still really cute. I just hope the bunny costume I make will fit. (I'm not joking. The book has a bunny costume pattern for the seal, and I am going to make it. I think I'll pass on the baby chick costume, though. No, I'm serious. How many costumes does a baby seal need? He's not Elton John.)

And let's not discuss why, but I've also set up to make two garments from Japanese patterns. Actually, the first one is a tunic I'm sort of designing on the fly from a Japanese crochet block pattern. (Yeah, good luck on that one.) The second one is from this book's cover pattern, if you can see it under the glare. I'll need even more luck on that one.

paperweight Oh, I almost forgot to give Pandora her shout-out for helping me by keeping the pattern book open to the page I needed. Actually, this photograph shows the one time she managed to keep the book open without lying on top of the page I needed.

Metro Journal: March 27 Bowling for Day Passes

Friday was Brad's birthday and he was playing hookey, so we decided to go bowling. It was just afternoon, it was another freaky hot day, but I feel like a dork driving less than 1½ miles, so I decided to take the bus. I was figuring afterward maybe seeing a movie, so I planned to get a day pass.

Well, the first bus was about 10 minutes late, and it only runs every half hour. (I could have walked the ½ mile to my connecting stop in that time, but it was hot just standing in the sun without even moving.) I got on, fed my $5 bill into the machine, and asked for a day pass. Now, since the first time I can remember getting a day pass, about 4 years ago now (when they were still $3), they've been a piece of paper with the date printed on it. It had been about a month since I had gotten my last day pass, and that was what I was expecting. But the driver pulled a stack of the TAP transit cards out of his pocket and handed me one and told me to scan it. I'd seen them before; they act like debit cards. You pre-pay an amount to load it up and then every time you get on a bus or train, you scan it and it subtracts the fare. It's good in multiple participating area transit systems, too, not just the Los Angeles County MTA. I took the card, but I was confused, and the bus was running late already, so I didn't want to interrogate the driver.

It turns out that, yes, Metro started on March 15 the process of replacing the paper day passes with the TAP system. The "day pass" is still good for as many buses and trains you can get your butt on in a day, so using the Tap card doesn't "debit" anything, but just makes sure the card has a valid pass for that day loaded on it. And normally it costs $2 to buy a TAP card, which can then be used and reloaded until you, well, lose it, but until April 11 (or while supplies last) drivers are handing them out for free when you buy a day pass. Wow. I feel so... out of the loop.

The last paper pass I got (still stuffed in my bag over a month later) and my new TAP card (a $2 value, free while supplies last! Or through April 11.)

We waited forever in the hot sun for a connecting bus, after having watched two go by while we were less than a block from the stop. I spoke with the man behind me who was trying to explain the Tap cards. I asked if it would still act like a day pass instead of like I had loaded $5 on it and he said he wasn't sure. We actually managed to talk about a lot of stuff, like lack of public transportation budget, the economy, the mortgage mess, off-shoring of jobs, karma (I brought it up as in, "Well, I hope the greedy people responsible for these messes get theirs, and I hope they get it before they die, so I'll enjoy it more" but I think the man I was speaking to actually believed in reincarnation in Hindu or Buddhist sense. I explained I didn't have that much patience.) We actually talked about a lot of things, because we had to wait over 15 minutes in the hot sun for another bus.

I was so late, Brad had already started a practice game. I got a strike in my first 3 or so frames and, of course, there was nowhere to go but downhill. I hadn't bowled in probably 3 years or so and I never had what might be called good technique. Or any technique. After getting mocked by the computer scoring system for my >50% rate of gutterballs in the first full game, I studied the sign on the wall for the "classic 4-step bowling technique." I also watched someone in the next alley who seemed to hit pins more often than not, and by the end of the second game, I had more than doubled my first game's score. The third game, on almost every frame I seemed to get a 9, although it tapered off near the end. I'll say it was bowler's thumb, and I won't mention how I managed to bruise my pelvic bone (seriously, I'm not saying anything about it). No, I never did break 100, but maybe I'll try to go at least once a week while I'm still not working.

I had been thinking about going to see Watchmen afterward and had looked up the time. When Brad suggested seeing a movie, I mentioned it to him, so we went to the Americana. I had never actually set foot inside it before. There's a train that runs around the thing, more for gimmick value than anything else, and neither of us were sure where the theater was physically located in the place. We finally saw it on the other side of a large, grassy knoll. As there were other people standing in the large, grassy knoll and we could see no signs saying, "Stay off the grass," we started walking across the grass. When he got to the very middle of the knoll, we saw a sign saying, "Please stay off the grass."

I am not making this up.

After the movie, Brad left to go to dinner, and I went to a nearby, non-Americana store. After that, I was waiting at the light to cross Brand to go to a Japanese fast-ish food restaurant when a woman walked up to me, and in what sounded like a Scandinavian accent, told me that a man over "there" (kitty corner from where we were, which had a lot of people on it and none who seemed to be giving me the evil eye) had just told her that he was going to break the neck of the woman with glasses on this corner, and since I was the only woman with glasses on this corner, he meant me. This woman did not seem at all menacing, just, well, not all there, but she seemed alarmed, so I thanked her, and told her I would be sure to stay away from that man. She went on to tell me that serious, permanent spinal cord injuries could result! Damn, this was a long light cycle. I told her I would be sure to avoid him, but she wasn't really paying attention. The light changed, I smiled and thanked her again, then I crossed the street. Fortunately the Japanese place was on the same side of the street so I didn't have to walk near the, um, imaginary weird-o.

After I ate, I came out. The corner the woman had been pointing at was actually the corner where my bus home stopped, and lo and behold, there were actually two police cars stopped there. Well, maybe there had been a total whackjob there and someone had called him in. Or maybe it was Friday night on the busiest corner in the city's commercial district. The policemen just seemed to be chatting with an ordinary female citizen, and after several minutes, everyone left.

Because Brad drove me from the bowling alley to the theater, and because I walked the last ½ mile home because it was nice and cool, I only actually took three rides. Oh, well. A fifth would have been the magic number to make sure the day pass action was working like it should. I'll take their word for it... for now.

Now I'm trying to decide if I should make a TAP card cozy! Don't ask...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Knitting Crap: Kill Da Wabbit!

I just discovered NeedleNoodle's blog! NeedleNoodles is the author of Creepy Cute Crochet, source of the patterns for these guys:

cyberzombie1 vampira bobsmonkey ninja1

She even has a Creepy Cute Crochet Expansion Pack on her blog! She posts new patterns listing the modifications to patterns from the book, so you can make a pirate, a swamp witch, or a valkyrie!

Actually, that Valkyrie is sure to give me nightmares. Maybe if I added bunny ears...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Pandora vs. Spoon

updown Last night Spoon was annoying Pandora by, well, just hanging out a little too close. She was growling at him, but he somehow interprets that as playtime. I picked up a long wand toy, mostly to tap Pandora on the butt and distract her so I didn't have to get off the couch and she was closest to me, but as soon as Spoon saw it flailing through the air, he ran right around her and started playing. Aw, poor boy, just had ants in his pants.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a side-by-side comparison of the two to give my reader (singular now, I'm starting to think) an idea of the extreme differences between the two.

Origin Showed up spontaneously as a kitten 17 years ago at Heather'n'Dave's Adopted Sept 13, 2006 from the Pasadena Humane Society
Age 17½ calendar years approx. 4½ calendar years (shelter records were approximate)
Size Petite (8 pounds) Plus size (16 pounds)
Fuzziness 50% fur by volume Sleek but thick short hair
Smarts Extremely smart. Apparently, not very...
Bossiness (scale of 1 to 10) 11 3 (Pandora takes care of the food demands, so he mostly just wants some loving and playtime)
Reaction to vacuum cleaner Doesn't care unless it's about 3 inches from her face. Then she usually just glares at it Is halfway under the bed as soon as I take it out of the closet
Morning routine Sleep next to human's pillow and start reciting the day's to-do list as soon as there's movement Move up to cuddle for some morning love as soon as there's movement
Reaction to strangers Yeah, whatever. Just don't touch the tail. Tentative, but they're BFFs as soon as they're sitting on the couch.
Likelihood to insert self, unbidden, in the picture Low to medium Very high

An illustrative story: at some point last year, I was sitting on the couch knitting. I heard a rustling sound somewhere in the apartment, like one of the cats was attacking a paper bag. I ignored it. It stopped after a few minutes, but then after a short pause, it started coming closer. I looked up and Pandora was calmly standing in front of the couch with the raffia handle of a small paper sac looped over her neck and under one of her forelegs. She gave me a look as if to say, "You with the opposable thumbs, get this off, and don't you dare laugh." She sat patiently while I got her out of it, then sat down next to me. I left the bag on the floor in front of the couch and resumed my knitting.

A few minutes later, I heard the rustling sound again. I looked down and Spoon had put his head through one of the handles and looked panicked. I reached down to get it off, and he freaked out.

Pretty much par for the course...

Other: Scary New Term of the Day

... is "war porn."
The trend toward video war could build connections between the war front and home front, allowing the public to see what is happening in battle as never before. But inevitably, the ability to download the latest snippets of robotic combat footage to home computers and iPhones turns war into a sort of entertainment. Soldiers call these clips “war porn.” Particularly interesting or gruesome combat footage, such as video of an insurgent being blown up by a UAV, is posted on blogs and forwarded to friends, family, and colleagues with subject lines like “Watch this!” much as an amusing clip of a nerdy kid dancing around in his basement might be ­e-­mailed around. A typical clip that has been making the rounds shows people’s bodies being blown into the air by a Predator strike, set to the tune of Sugar Ray’s snappy pop song “I Just Want to Fly.”

From this perspective, war becomes, as one security analyst put it, “a global spectator sport for those not involved in it.” More broadly, while video images engage the public in a whole new way, they can fool many viewers into thinking they now have a true sense of what is happening in the conflict. The ability to watch more but experience less has a paradoxical effect. It widens the gap between our perceptions and war’s realities. To make another sports parallel, it’s the difference between watching an NBA game on television, with the tiny figures on the screen, and knowing what it feels like to have a screaming Kevin Garnett knock you down and dunk over your head. Even worse, the video segments that civilians see don’t show the whole gamut of war, but are merely the bastardized ESPN SportsCenter version. The context, the strategy, the training, the tactics—they all just become slam dunks and smart ­bombs.

From "Robots at War: The New Battlefield"
by P. W. Singer
Overall, a pretty chilling article, and I don't mean because of the Terminator overtones, either.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Other: Oinking Good Fun!

Thursday I had several errands to run, geographically in a loop, so I walked them all. Actually, part of the reason I walked was because evil people on Ravelry had been talking about their favorite treats from their part of the world, so I was motivated to go to Cost Plus World Market (where I found the infamous Star Trek Pez dispensers -- they still had a few left!) and check out their international treats section. I figured I would get a 3-mile head start on the chocolate I would no doubt find there. What I did not expect to find there: Porky Pooper.

porky pooper

You apparently open up the neck, put the "cola flavored candies" in the neck, and then when you depress the tail, a candy, um, pops out the rear. I haven't actually tried it yet, as I feel safer leaving it encased in plastic and paperboard.

Note that this is the keychain version. They also have larger pig and cow versions with brown jelly beans. But apparently the company that distributes them is Canadian, in keeping with the "World Market" bit, located in Quebec. They even put guillemets (French quotation marks) around the name "Porky Pooper" on the back of the package, even though it's all in English.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Other: Sue Your Weather Forecaster!

Can anyone spot what's wrong with this picture?

Note that today is Wednesday. You'd think once they realized they had been proven wrong, they'd at least go back and tweak the forecasted high.

Not to mention that it's 87 degrees at 4 in the afternoon in March.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Big-Boned, Day 4

I'm going to consider yesterday a pass. I did call Spoon a "big man" yesterday morning, but I was tweaking him for his lack of machismo rather than his girth. When I was playing with him using a wand toy, I told him he really needed the exercise... because he had ants in his pants and had been attacking my shoe.

But while his belly doesn't drag the floor when he walks or anything, he's still, well, fat.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Chunky Monkey Ban, Day 3

Yesterday was going so well, but then in the evening, Spoon was nestled (as much as such a, um, big-boned cat can nestle) in my lap and I ended up cooing, "How's my chunky... oops."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Other: Term of the Day

I just made up another new term:
illogic bomb (n): a line of reasoning so horrendously idiotic that the listener feels as though they were standing in the blast radius of a large explosion.
In this case, stupidity was the evil step-mother of invention.

Knittin' Crap: Happy Poo #2!

poo2 I was disappointed enough with the first Happy Poo to try a second one. I went up a hook size so the fabric was a little more flexible, and worked from the top down instead of bottom up. That made it easier to get the face on, as the opening at the bottom provided plenty of room. I also cheated a little by running a yarn through from the top to the bottom after stuffing to compress it a little.

I like this one a lot more! (The first one is still cute, though.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: No Fat Cat Jokes, Day 2

Didn't make it. Actually, as soon as Spoon heard me stirring, he came in for some loving, as usual, and before I was awake enough to think, I had already called him "chunky monkey." I was going to give myself a pass for that one, but the word "chubby" came out after I had been up awhile (he was exposing his copious belly real estate to me!), so I gave up for the day.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Knittin' Crap: Crochetin' Crap

happypoo I made the Happy Poo! Actually, I'm thinking about making another one, maybe in a different yarn. I should have used 8mm eyes, but I could only find one (um, I haven't been making odd numbers of cyclops, so I'm not sure how that happened), and the backs of the 10mm eyes are a little too big, so they don't sit right, and when a piece of crocheted crap is looking at you wall-eyed, it's kind of freaky.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Fat Cat Jokes

I've decided to try to go a whole day without making fat jokes about Spoon. I'll have to start tomorrow, though, because I already used the "chunky monkey" line on him this morning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pandora's Litter Box: Iconic Pandoras

What I do for one cat, I apparently have to do for both or there'll be trouble.

panbama panguevara

Pandora is super-fuzzy and not two-toned like Spoon, so she needs more tweaking because the scripts find all these edges and everything gets too busy. Just like in life, pictures of Pandora are more high-maintenance than Spoon's.

Pandora's Litter Box: Fun With the GIMP

Some person named elsamuko has made some neat scripts for GIMP. Here are examples of two of the effects:

Spoon Guevara

Spoon Obama

Monday, March 9, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Super Mario Lovin'

While I enjoyed playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo as much as the next person, I did not become Totally Obsessed For Life. Some people apparently did and have gone to great lengths to prove their love... in yarn.

MandaR's Super Mario amigurumi: DSCF4258
Super Mario star Marte here designed an Invincibility Star and was nice enough to post the pattern for free. I might need to make a few of these to throw at Brad.

And one Cassie C Smith is knitting a scarf of the entire first level of Super Mario Bros. (I really hope she's joking about the bit where she's doing it to get her boyfriend to propose. What the hell is his onerous task to get her to marry him?)

Cassie's blog actually has a lot of other geeky crafts on the web. Did you know you can make Spock Vulcan ear warmers? I didn't. And I didn't really need to. I'd be backing away from my computer right about now, except Spoon is in my lap and he's pretty hard to dislodge.

Metro Journal: A Day on the Train in Stitches!

B_Zedan on flickr made this cross-stitch doodle riding on her local commuter train:
Seen on MAX
The public transportation system may be lacking sorely here in Southern California, but the people riding? Universal.

(thanks to safranit on Ravelry for finding this)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Knittin' Crap: It's Magic!

panscarf-pinkblue There's a knitting technique called "illusion" or "shadow" knitting, which you can use to put secret messages in your knitting! Well, sort of.

Illusion knitting is actually very simple, technique-wise. You're just using knit and purl stitches, which are about as simple as it gets. Take a look at a smooth sweater. The knit stitches are usually on the front (the "right side") and look like little Vs. On the reverse ("wrong") side, the purl stitches look like horizontal lines, or minus (-) signs. A knit stitch on the right side is the same as a purl stitch on the wrong side, and vice versa.1

illusion-closeup Illusion knitting takes advantage of how knit and purl stitches interact side-by-side. When you have knit stitches and purl stitches on the right side of the same column, the purl stitches stick out above the plane on the fabric, while the knit stitches look flat.2 All you do is use two colors, alternating rows of each. Actually, you're alternating pairs of rows. The first row of each color is always knit, so it's "flat." The second row is where the illusion comes in. A set of four rows, two of each color, becomes one line of your picture. A knit stitch for one color is complemented by a purl stitch of the other color, so when viewed at an angle, only the purl stitch shows. When viewed straight on, the piece just looks like a bunch of stripes.

pandora-scarf-spoon pandora-scarf
(Spoon was, um, supervising.)
jdscarf1 jd-illusion-closeup

It might help to think of each "pixel" as a pair of push buttons. When one is pressed in, the other pops up. If you viewed them at an angle, one in front of the other, you would only see the one that is currently sticking out.

I don't think Spoon has figured it out...
ps-spoon Or he wants to know when he gets his own illusion scarf.

1It is all a matter of perspective. Technically, when you're making a knit stitch, you hold the yarn in the back of the work. When you're purling, you're holding the yarn in front. But they're just two sides of the same coin, er, stitch.
2Paradoxically, in ribbing, which are just vertical columns of knit stitches alternating with purl stitches, the knit columns stand above the purled columns. Weird, huh?

Music: Memphis Minnie

I love Memphis Minnie. She was a great blues guitarist and singer in the 1920s and beyond. Most people these days may not have heard of her, but she was the biggest female blues artist for decades, and they've almost certainly heard one of her songs.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 inundated about 27,000 square miles along the Mississippi River, caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, and killed at least 246 people. Perhaps more importantly, the behavior of local white landowners and then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who led the federal relief and rebuilding efforts, showed the still-stark dichotomy of treatment between whites and blacks. White refugee camps got the best resources and food, while the black camps got the leftovers and were situated in less desirable areas. Worse, the blacks were virtually enslaved, forced into the clean-up and rebuilding efforts and not allowed to leave the area until it was over. These abuses were a major factor of the Great Migration of over a million people from the South to Northern states and the defection of many blacks from the Republican party, the party of Lincoln, to the Democrats and support of Franklin Roosevelt as the Depression set in.

In 1929, Memphis Minnie and her husband Kansas Joe McCoy wrote a song about the flood called "When the Levee Breaks." Led Zeppelin later made some significant modifications, but the core of the song is the same. It's just one of those songs where a fairly straightforward recounting of a historical event becomes an allegory for any major and inescapable tumult in life.

Right now, my favorite Minnie song is "Blues Everywhere." "If there's blues in my room, I don't know right from wrong / Yeah there's blues in my kitchen cause my sweet man is gone."

You can listen to the songs I mentioned and others for free at Rhapsody.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Other: Name That Obscure Tune!

Yup, still bored. Came across this unattributed meme which requires... reader participation!

*** Rules Clarification ***

Ok, to clarify, I did that shuffle play thing and wrote down the first sentence from the first 26 (should have been 25 but I can't count) songs that I got. You, The Reader, are supposed to try to guess the song and artist for each quoted line and post your guesses in the comments. No cheating via search engines. If someone gets it right, I mark it off the list.
Rules for the blogger:
1. Music library on shuffle, etc. You will use the first 25 songs your player plays.
2. For each song, post only the first sentence of the lyrics. (You may wish to write down the name of each song on a post-it note on your monitor, next to the one with your passwords, your ATM PIN, your Social Security number, etc.)
3. If the first sentence contains the song title, blank it out with "___"
4. If someone guesses correctly, mark that song as identified by editing the original post.

Rules for guessers (readers):
1. No Googling the lyrics! You either know it or not. I suppose you could listen through your entire music library to see if they're there, though.
2. Post your guess (artist and song title) in the comments. Anonymous cowards will be mocked.
Now, as I have all of about 3 loyal readers these days, and that's counting each cat as ½ depending which one is in my lap or sitting next to the keyboard while I'm typing, and I have a rather narrow and sometimes obscure collection, this should take awhile. Or maybe I'll post the link to a Kristin Hersh fan site in which case probably 90% will be answered in no time. Anyway, here we go...
  1. "Oh, please don't be so careless with your glances."
  2. "So you're going cross-country, you're leaving me again."
  3. "Start with your fingers they finger the chain that carries you home in our evenings." "Beestung" by Kristin Hersh, answered by shythylacine on the Wild Vanilla board.
  4. "Orange and blue green and pink, I see you in everything."
  5. "When you're stuck like glue, ___, when you need some goo." "Vaseline" by Elastica - brightyellowboi
  6. "Toil toil toil til I get sick, I try reverse, but I'm not that quick" "Huffer" by The Breeders - brightyellowboi
  7. "The night of the blackout I thought I'm your protege, sticky with the heat and getting stronger every day." "Sally is a Girl" by 50' Wave, again answered by shythylacine on the Wild Vanilla board.
  8. "Like honey in my mouth, gold golden going down. I shudder with wonder at what we will feel like together."
  9. "Bits and pieces of love for you, so sweet and simple yet, I'm frightened by the way you feel." "Trouble" by Lisa Germano - Wojtek over on Wild Vanilla
  10. "Love is a burning thing."
  11. "Am I o.k. to feel this way today?"
  12. "Toe to toe, dancing very close." "Rapture" by Blondie - moschops on Wild Vanilla
  13. "I could be a smack freak and hate society." "Hate My Way" by Throwing Muses - brightyellowboi
  14. "You're so right, he can swim, he can breathe underwater." "Start" by Throwing Muses, shythylacine again!
  15. "Tell me, milk cow, what on earth is wrong with you?"
  16. "I was looking through the portholes out in ___, wondering what the hell I'm going to do."
  17. "The wall is high, the black barn, the babe in my arms, in her swaddling clothes, and I know that the sky will split and the planets will shift."
  18. "I have two heads, where's the man he's late?" "Devil's Roof" by Throwing Muses - brightyellowboi
  19. "You can't depend on anything really, there's no promises, there's no point."
  20. "For a moment I smelled the parlor where we had the last connection with your life."
  21. "Don’t know what’s eating me today, I’m not in love, I’m not missing anyone"
  22. "It start at the top now it's spiraling down."
  23. "Well I drink and I cry, clench your fists, grit my teeth, lotta smoke, wipe my eye"
  24. "And all that matters in the end's all the good times that have been."
  25. "Walking on his highways, we leave the land and float inside the dark, black water."
  26. "I have a ___ nailed to a cross on my apartment wall." "Fish" by Throwing Muses - brightyellowboi

Oops, I lost count and accidentally did 26. But the last one's a gimme, right?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Other: R-Rated Soundtracks

I'm bored (still), and I came across a slightly different Your Life As A Soundtrack on puchitomato's blog. For reference, puchitomato is the creator of the Happy Poo pattern, based on a Japanese character she found.

This is basically the same as the first one I posted, with a few differences, like a sex scene. The rules are the same as the first one I posted, if worded a little differently, but for reference, here they are.
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 skip the song just because you don't like it either!


  1. Opening Credits
  2. Waking Up
  3. First Day At School
  4. Falling In Love
  5. Losing Virginity
  6. Fight Song
  7. Breaking Up
  8. Prom
  9. Life
  10. Mental Breakdown
  11. Driving
  12. Flashback
  13. Getting Back Together
  14. Wedding
  15. Birth of Child
  16. Final Battle
  17. Death Scene
  18. Funeral Song
  19. End Credits

Here I go, Karen, the R Rated version:
  1. Opening Credits: Helium - "Medieval People"
  2. Waking Up: Bettie Serveert - "John Darmy"
  3. First Day At School: Beth Orton - "Daybreaker (Four Tet Remix)"
  4. Falling In Love: Kristin Hersh - "Sinkhole"
  5. Losing Virginity: Liz Phair - "Fuck and Run" (um... there's the R rating right there)
  6. Fight Song: OP8 - "It's a Rainbow"
  7. Breaking Up: The Raincoats - "Don't Be Mean" (heh)
  8. Prom: Tanya Donelly - "Acrobat"
  9. Life: Liz Phair - "Headache" (yup, that's about right)
  10. Mental Breakdown: Lisa Germano - "Dig My Own Grave"
  11. Driving: Dressy Bessy - "Better Luck"
  12. Flashback: Lucinda Williams - "Hot Blood"
  13. Getting Back Together: Mary Margaret O'Hara - "To Cry About"
  14. Wedding: The Raincoats - "Love a Loser" (ouch)
  15. Birth of Child: Robert Johnson - "Kind Hearted Woman Blues"
  16. Final Battle: Belly - "Are You Experienced" (a horrible cover, BTW)
  17. Death Scene: Memphis Minnie - "Please Don't Stop Him"
  18. Funeral Song: SF Seals - "Janine's Dream"
  19. End Credits: Cat Power - "Empty Shell"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Other: If My First Band Broke Up and the Internet Named the Second One...

Well, my first meme band broke up because of non-existent album sales (think it had anything to do with name and cover which made it sound like an inspirational poster band?), so here's the second band's first album cover. At least it's a little less likely to be mistaken for a band that formed in a self-help group meeting.


I suppose if nothing else I've learned how to do several new and useless things with the GIMP.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Riding the Rails: Day 4 Amtrak's Fault

Well, it was time to go home. I checked the train's time and it had been running about an hour late, but of course, I still needed to get there by the scheduled time in case it had somehow made up an hour. I got up and after I had showered and dressed and almost finished packing, I went out to get some of the continental breakfast, and I promptly got drizzled on. It was damp outside. After breakfast, I asked the front desk to have a cab ready for me. I felt a little bad hauling a cab out just to go about ½ mile to the light rail station, but it was wet and I had the big suitcase to manage.

I got to the light rail station but the line I needed only runs every half hour, so I made sure to have enough time to buffer waiting for the cab, and actually had to wait 15 minutes. It has a good roof, though, so I stayed dry.

There were several people further back in the car having an animated conversation. At one point a male voice said he was going to be gone for a week. A female voice asked, "Are you going to jail?" And she said it like it was serious possibility, but without the shock I would express if I got to the point where I had to ask a friend the same question. He said no. A fare inspector also walked through the cars, the first one I had seen. I didn't pay too much attention, but I don't think anyone got busted.

When I got off at the Amtrak station, there were multiple San Jose police on the platform leading two handcuffed people, a young man and a woman, from the platform and through the underground tunnel to the heavy rail station. They weren't dressed like model citizens, exactly, although I'm pretty sure they weren't getting busted for stealing belts. Otherwise their pants wouldn't be hanging halfway down their hips.

sjc The train was still posted as being an hour behind. The station isn't very large, and I'm not sure if it's old or just made to look old-fashioned. It only had one cramped newsstand/coffee-shop for refreshment. The ceiling was incredibly high, maybe 30 feet (I'm terrible at judging these things), which would have gone a long way to explaining why it was really cold in there. Any heat would have risen straight up.

sjc-police Even half an hour after I had gotten there and though they hadn't "escorted" anyone else out, there were still a few police officers walking back and forth and multiple cars parked in front of the station. I got a cup of coffee because I was so chilled. Then I noticed the two college students sitting on the bench behind me were knitting. I talked to them a minute and found out they hadn't heard of Ravelry. I was too chilled and not awake enough (I hadn't slept well) so I just sipped my coffee and read.

The train finally showed over an hour late. They were rushing us on, but it was hurry-up-and-wait. Stand in the drizzle waiting for seat assignments. Get on the train and then wait for another 15 minutes for a freight train ahead to clear the tracks.

I had a seatmate, but once the conductor had taken tickets, two buddies of his came from the back of the car and they went to sit on the observation car. After it became clear he wasn't heading back anytime soon, I moved into his window seat and got comfortable.

We had a, um, humorous announcer. "On Amtrak, you pay for the transportation. The thrills are free." As we passed by the San Andreas fault near Gilroy, he reminded us to buy land on the east side of the fault, because when half of California falls into the ocean during The Big One, it will become beach-front property. "Just remember, it's the San Andreas fault, not Amtrak's fault."

I finished the book I had started 2 days before, did some knitting while I watched part of a movie until my laptop battery died (I probably would have watched the whole thing if Vista hadn't pissed me off so much they I had to mess with it before watching the DVD), then decided to doze a little. I spread out over both seats since the guy hadn't come back.

slo2sba1 I'm not sure if I really napped any, but I sat up about 4:45, as we were getting to San Luis Obispo. I spent most of the time until my 6PM reservation in the dining car staring out the window. This time I was facing east. The region seemed devoid of human life, although there were occasional farmhouses, an old mine, and later, some big farm monsters. Mostly there were just lots and lots of cows. I even saw cattle scampering for no apparent reason. Who knew? Well, maybe people who watch cows a lot more than I do. I also saw a very large, dusky cat walking under a split-rail fence. It was definitely too large to be a housecat, as it was even bigger than Spoon, but I'm not sure if it was a bobcat or a mountain lion. I think the latter.

slo2sba2 slo2sba3 slo2sba4 slo2sba5

In the dining car, I got seated with a young woman and her son. They had started in Eugene, OR. I felt for the woman. That's a really long trip with a young boy. He went through the stages of hyperactive, shy, complaining about the food ("My stomach huuuuurts. The chicken's too spicy." It was an herb marinated chicken, which his mother had pulled the skin off.) More complaining, the eye-rubbing, the sneaking peaks to see if he's getting the reaction he wanted. His mother gently but firmly insisted he eat some chicken or he wouldn't get dessert. He feebly tried the "I don't want dessert" line but it didn't last long. Finally, she asked for some ketchup. He insisted on emptying all five packets onto his plate, and then dipped a piece of chicken in and ate it. Two minutes later, I pointed out that he had stopped using the ketchup. "The chicken's not spicy anymore." He got his ice cream, anyway.

Not much happened the rest of the way. We ended up getting to Union Station only about 15 minutes late. After the slow start from San Jose, I don't remember making any unscheduled stops. I got off, went to the front of the station, called the shuttle company like the reservation told me, waited on hold for 12 minutes, then got an incoming call directly from the driver.

Other: If I Ever Started a Band and Let the Internet Choose the Name...

Apparently, I've been "memetagged."

The rules:
1. Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2. Go to "Random quotations" or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3. Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Put it all together.

5. Post it.
Just shoot me...