Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Other: How That Laptop Can Kill You

Those two Northwest pilots who, um, missed the city of Minneapolis now say they were using their laptops in the cockpit, against airline regulation, to check out the scheduling software of Northwest's new owner, Delta. Considering this isn't the first story they told investigators, I think we need to draw the obvious conclusion.

They were playing World of Warcraft.

Speaking of laptops on airplanes, those lithium-ion batteries used in laptops pose a greater fire risk than most people understand, and the number of fires they cause in airline cabins is starting to rise rapidly.

Ok, seriously, and they're trying to tell us it's not safe to bring our own water on the damned plane????

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spoonerisms: Funneh Kitteh Videos

Kitten vs. doberman!

(My mother said she thought the kitten would win. I figure he won because he pissed off the dog but managed not to get eaten in the process.)

And anyone who has ever owned a cat knows the following morning ritual.

And the engineer's guide to cats:

Metro Journal: Oct 21 Are you Finnished, er, Done Yet?

Kawaii/Zakka Swap Package from spanielino I had an appointment at a nearby hospital today. It's about a mile and ½ away, but, of course, it's at an angle. I took the 685 most of the way, and even though there was another bus that went the rest of the way, it only runs once an hour, so I walked the rest of the way. It was kind of warm, but not too bad. Walking under the 134 freeway, there was some cheap 80s Japanese import parked along the street. It had a pile of 4 tires next to it. It also still had its own tires on.

At the hospital, they needed to draw blood. As my last experience with needles didn't go too well, I was a little apprehensive, but tried not to be because thinking about it would just make it worse. I just refuse to give in totally to a phobia like this, particularly when needles didn't bother me like this before last year. (And it's just medical needles. A couple weeks ago I accidentally stabbed my finger on the sewing machine needle. I cursed because it hurt like a mother, but I didn't get dizzy or anything, just really annoyed.) Maybe I would have been all right except there was a problem with the vein the technician chose, and it started bleeding immediately under the skin. She had to stop before she got enough blood, which, of course, meant she would have to do it all again. Yup, I started feeling hot and dizzy and sick. Fortunately the chair reclined, and the nurses were really cool about it. I'm sure they've seen worse reactions. I tried to take deep breaths, but I'm pretty sure I did actually faint. It finally passed and they gave me some crackers and juice and waited for me to get back to normal. Fortunately they weren't backed up or anything so there was no pressure. The nurse tried again on the other arm, and this time we reclined the chair first. I didn't have a problem that time. I don't know if I had gotten it out of my system, or being reclined was the key, or what. I just hope I don't keep having this problem. I think one issue may be that I haven't been eating regularly, mainly because I lack a regular schedule and end up eating something light and quick when I realize I'm hungry. I'll also have to try to make it a point to eat right before a shot or phlebotomical incident.

I walked down to the post office to check my box and I had a package waiting for me. From Finland! At first I was confused, because the only package I was expecting was from the Kawaii/Zakka swap, but my partner lived in West Virginia. Then I realized that we didn't actually have partners in this swap; the person to whom we sent a package wasn't necessarily the one sending to us. This box had been posted a little over 2 weeks ago, so apparently it didn't take the slow boat from China to get here like the one from England for the plushie swap. However, like that swap, this box was somewhat smushed, too. No matter; everything inside was fine. spanielino made some cute stuff!

Kawaii/Zakka Swap Package from spanielino

The surprise and all the neat stuff perked me up. I took the 181 or whatever showed up to the nearest Starbucks and treated myself to a white chocolate mocha while I read my book. I looked over and the guy at the table next to me was reading something on his laptop using about 100-point font. He had to keep scrolling left-to-right. That alone would have driven me nuts. I get annoyed just scrolling from top-to-bottom sometimes, particularly when the browser is being stupid and non-linear.

I started home but realized I felt slightly off-balance again. I decided to take the 18-whatever back. Of course, it was standing room only, but I hung on and survived, as it was a short ride. I did actually walk the last half mile home because I wanted to stop at Zankou Chicken and pick up some dinner.

By the way, here's the Kawaii/Zakka swap package I sent to my target. The apple is a little box! Both the apple and the chick bag patterns come from Japanese books, in keeping with the japanophilial nature of the swap. And they're both both kawaii (cute) and zakka (useful everyday items). I also put in some Japanese gummy candy, Mario Bros. trading cards, and a wind-up jumping Totoro! I have no idea how well it jumps, though, because I didn't want to take it out of the sealed bag before sending it.

Kawaii & Zakka Swap Package

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Knittin' Crap: The Great Nihon Vogue Knit-A-Lone

No 24 Pullover There are these things called knit-a-longs, see, where a group of people all decide to make the same pattern or related patterns at the same time. Someone on the Ravelry Japanese Knitting and Crochet group suggested a Keito Dama/Nihon Vogue knit-a-long (KAL). Nihon Vogue is one of the main Japanese publishers of knitting and crochet books. Keito Dama is their popular quarterly magazine. I had wanted to do a pullover from one of my Nihon Vogue books and actually had stash yarn that would work, so I decided to do that. Now, as most of us know, I have serious WIP ADD1, so committing to working on one sweater more or less straight through was kind of a big deal for me.2 But, no, I said ok, I'll do it. And so I started.

And no one else did.

No 24 Pullover Thus, the great Nihon Vogue Knit-A-Long became the great Nihon Vogue Knit-A-Lone. But I worked about a ball of yarn a week for about 8 weeks, and tonight I finished the last seam of the sweater. It turned out really, really well. It's a little, uh, snug across the chest, but it's very pretty and I think it's flattering on me.

So, there you go. A long-sleeved pullover with multiple stitch patterns worked in DK weight yarn completed in less than two months, from a pattern written in a language I can't read a word of.3 Not too shabby.

1Work-In-Progress Attention Deficit Disorder.
2I did make my mother a cardigan for Xmas last year. She got it in February.
3Actually, I know the word for "stitch" now without looking it up. Of course, it helps that it's only a single character.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whiteboard Jungle: Lolmeerkats

Saw this this morning and it made me think of Hansen, who hasn't gotten a new tag in ages:

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Music: No Rain, All Shine

The Fabulous Raincoats Button The Raincoats were scheduled to go on at the Echoplex at 11PM Sunday. I had never been to the Echoplex or its sister club, the Echo. I looked at their little map and it said they were at Glendale Ave & Sunset Blvd in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles. I left about 45 minutes of buffer space to drive the few miles from where I live and find parking, and took SR 2 all the way down until it ended, merging into Glendale Ave. I drove south, on the lookout for Sunset. Then I drove past Echo Lake, which meant I had gone too far. U-Turn. Back up Glendale, looking again. Then I hit the 2 and into Silverlake. Well, that's no good. I pulled into a parking lot and got out my 15-year-old Thomas Guide. GPS is for wimps. My Thomas Guide has never let me down, never run out of batteries, never gotten stolen, and never scared the bejeezus out of me by talking when I thought I was alone in the car. Ok, Sunset was just past Alvarado, and I knew exactly where that intersection was. Oh, and it was called Sunset to the east of Glendale, but Reservoir to the west. Oh, I'd look for both. I then drove down the same stretch 2 more times. WTF? I got stuck in a left-hand turn lane and decided to drive north the next time on the other side of the lake, on what turned out to be Echo Park Blvd/Rd/Whatever. And there, right before me, was Sunset Blvd. I took a left. Then I drove back and forth on Sunset Blvd twice, looking for the damned intersection with Glendale Ave.

Someone was seriously messing with my brain. Oh, and did I mention I still had that headache from the day before, although slightly less onerous.

I stayed on Sunset the second? third? time long enough to hit the Silverlake district from another angle. Then, boom, there's the Silverlake Lounge. See, here's the thing. Several years ago, Julius and I went to see 50' Wave at the Silverlake. I hadn't been there before, and I'm not sure if Julius had, either. The place has no parking, so you kind of have to meander through the small neighborhood streets. I was driving, and I kept getting confused because I'd be driving on the back streets that were on the same side of Sunset as the club, and all of a sudden, I'd hit the intersection with Sunset across the street from the club. Call me slow, but it took me a couple times to realize I'd been driving under Sunset via an underpass.

Back to Sunday night. I'd been at this for nearly 45 minutes now, and I was getting frustrated. I briefly considered just going home at that point, but no, I was not going to let these dumbass streets get to me! I checked the Thomas Guide one more time; the next street after Glendale was Lemoyne. I would just park at Lemoyne and figure out the rest. I parked in a free-at-this-time-of-the-night public lot on Lemoyne on the block just south of Sunset, and started walking west. At what should have been the corner of Sunset and Glendale, I realized I was on an overpass and looked down 20 feet to see.... Glendale Ave. Well, hello. I realized that Sunset and Glendale don't actually intersect, although they do temporarily share the same x-y map coordinates. Sunset's z-coordinate is about 20' higher than Glendale's. Goddamned overpass. Screw you, Sunset Blvd! I looked around and it looked like the only way down was by a stairway on the other side of Sunset. I was about a block either way from a crossing, but there were almost no cars at this time of night on a Sunday so I jaywalked. The stairs smelled somewhat, um, rank, but they got me down and I crossed (legally) and found the Echoplex. I hadn't looked at the clock in my car when I got out, but it was probably about 5 minutes past 11.

You may have confused me, but you did not break me, you absurdly laid-out streets!

The song that had been playing when I got out of my car was "No Looking." The song that was playing when I walked into the club was "No Looking." I circled around to where I could see. I asked someone and she said that she was pretty sure that they had just started.

I won't go into too many details about the show. It was great. Yes, there were some forgotten lyrics and mistimed entrances, but I was amazed at how sparely-played instruments could still seem to fill so much sonic room (and I'm not talking about volume, because any band can crank it up enough to make you deaf). It was much, much more enjoyable after the "hip" couple that had been standing in front of me, talking to each other the first 20 minutes or so finally left, about the same time that the people who were clearly not either there to see the Raincoats or to try to seriously appreciate music they had never heard had cleared out.

At the end of the show, Gina Birch announced we could get their lovely buttons and that she and Ana da Silva would sign records over at the little merch area. A couple dozen people clustered around, that gleam in our eyes. The band was helping break down their stage equipment, so we all waited patiently. I got my t-shirt (women's cut, yay!) and free button. Many people bought the newly-repressed vinyl LP of the first album, something that seemed sadly but perhaps intentionally ironic given that Kurt Cobain's quest for the same in the early 90s led him to da Silva's door. Of course, it just didn't seem quite the same given the thing has a barcode now, something the originals would not have had over 30 years ago.

I was spacing out and someone laid their hand on my shoulder to walk by. I looked. Ana da Silva had just touched my shoulder! She had started signing things and I waited while she wrote a book on one person's LP, and I got her to sign the liner notes I had grabbed from my Moving cd. Gina Birch was further down and chatting with people. I got in the quasi-line. When I got to her, I told her I had also looked for my Hangovers cd so she could sign that, but I hadn't been able to find it. Then I told her, "I love 'I Hate You!'" referring to one of the songs from the Hangovers record, and then not sure if she knew what I meant. She laughed. She hesitated, trying to decide what to write. I laughed when I saw. "I'm sorry, that's so stupid, but I didn't know what to write!" "No, I love it!" And I do.

The Raincoats "Moving" Liner Notes

Monday, October 12, 2009

Metro Journal: Oct 10 Forecast for No Raincoats

Los Angeles Public Library As I'd mentioned, the amazing Raincoats were finally on their way to California for the first time to perform in the Part Time Punks Festival on October 11. I got my ticket right away. I also put myself on the Part Time Punks mailing list so I could keep up with new information on the show. Well, turns out, they had scheduled an afternoon "party" on the roof of the Standard Hotel downtown for the day before, and saying that, among others, the Raincoats would be there to sign albums. I've never been one for fandom, as it requires too much energy for the net effect of looking like a total dork, but I really had nothing better to do, and it was free.

Of course, Saturday morning I woke up with a nasty headache. I took an Excedrin. A couple hours later, no real improvement. I figured maybe getting out and walking around in the, um, "fresh" air of downtown Los Angeles might help, so I went ahead with my plan. The trip, with about ½ mile walking at each end, just took two buses. Waiting for the second bus, the 90/91, on Glendale Blvd, I think I just missed the previous one by a few minutes, because I ended up having to wait almost half an hour, their frequency on Saturdays. When it came, even though there was a woman in a motorized wheelchair waiting at the stop, a rather barrel-chested middle-aged woman stood directly in front of the doors. Um, that's not the way it works. Everyone else stood back, because wheelchairs always go on first. The driver waited the better part of a minute for this woman to get the clue that she wasn't going to open the door until she moved, but that didn't happen. She opened the door, immediately started lowering the ramp, which beeps when it's on, and still the woman wasn't quite getting the clue until the driver told her to move. Geez. The bus was standing room only, but it cleared off several stops later and I settled down to read my book.

Downtown, I got off at Hill & 6th, and then had to walk a bit up to the Standard on Flower. I went in the lobby and took the elevator + stairs to the roof. I had never been there before, and I was struck by how Painfully Hip the place was trying so hard to be. The pretentiousness did not help my headache, with different lighting and colors around every corner. The room numbers were on fake "Hello My Name Is" stickers. As soon as I walked onto the roof, a security guard told me I needed a wristband to be on the roof at this hour (it was 3pm... WTF?) and I could get one at the valet parking area. So, I went down, found the valet parking entrance, and asked for a wristband for the roof. They didn't even ask for ID or anything, so I fail to see the point.

The roof is a pool/bar area. The Part Time Punks people had their DJ and sound system set up. I'm not going to go into design details of the roof, but again, Painfully Hip. I talked to a few groups of people, including three tourists from Greece who were hotel guests. We talked about how nice the weather had been the last few days, how it was impossible to enjoy the beaches around here after growing up with, for me, beaches on the East Coast, and for them, in Greece, where the water and sand are so much cleaner and the water warmer. They were on their way to going skydiving for the first time, so I wished them luck.

Los Angeles Public Library Still, I had the headache, and there was no sign of any Raincoats. I walked around a bit, checking out the view. I saw this beautiful mosaic pyramid that I'd seen a couple times before, but never remembered to figure out the building it was on. When I got home, I finally looked it up, and it's the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Right behind it, to the left, is the tallest building in Los Angeles, now called the US Bank Tower, previously the First Interstate Bank building. However, to me, it will always be the First Intercourse Building, although probably not for the reason most people might think.

The sun had fallen behind the building and the air up on the roof was getting cool. Still no Raincoats. Still no real abatement of the headache. I decided to go home, avoiding the walk back to Hill, instead walking the 3 blocks to the closest Red Line station, where the clock said it was about 4:30, and taking that to Hill & 1st. I was kitty corner from the stop when I saw the 794 go by. Oh, well, I could take the 90/91 again. Crap, I saw it coming down the block. I still had to cross Hill when it got to the stop. The crossing light changed and it was still there! I sprinted across and the driver waited for me. Yay! Seriously, it's all courthouses and office buildings for a several-block radius, so I would have been bored (and chilled) having to wait another half hour.

And once I got home, I took more drugs and still with the headache.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spoonerisms: Close Encounters of the Sharp Kind

Flip-Flop Kitty Flip-Flop Kitty
Dipity has gone vertical, like here on the top of the dresser, places Spoon just can't jump to anymore.

I've been leaving the bedroom door open while I'm at home the past few days. I thought maybe this would encourage Dipity to come out and explore more, something she'd been doing a lot of, although as soon as she encountered Spoon, she'd usually make a hasty retreat to the bedroom, which often provoked Spoon into chasing her because, well, I don't know what goes on in his head. Of course, if he then corners her, she'll usually charge him and he'll usually run away. I have had to get the squirt bottle a couple times when he just didn't get the clue. But she recovers from those incidents pretty quickly, usually coming out again as soon as Spoon is out of sight. I think that's a good sign, as she's not cowering in terror long after the fact, although it could just mean she has about a 30-second long memory window. We just don't seem to be making much forward progress anymore. She hisses when she sees him, etc.

Huh? (Excuse me while I go force him to stop chewing on the blocking pins holding a sweater sleeve in place.)

Anyway, last night I went out and forgot to close the bedroom door when I left. When I got home, everything seemed fine. No mass destruction or anything, although Spoon did have a small scratch on his big, white nose. Of course, that could mean nothing. He's always sticking it in dangerous places, like the machinery in the fold-out couch, or the blocking pins for my sweater. Or another cat's claw...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Other: Why Some People Need To Be Kept Away From Airbrushes, Part II

Take a look at the picture in this article on the (seriously long overdue) backlash against retouching in ad photos.

Seriously, I can't understand how the clothes Lollipop Woman is wearing can be considered high fashion. Scandalous! Maybe that's what Ralph Lauren is really embarrassed about. I could get that outfit for $10 at a flea market.

(I love this commentary on the whole bullshit retouching thing.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Paying It Finished

Snail Tape Measure My fifth and final Pay It Forward project went out over the weekend. beltwayspinner got this snail/tape measure transformer. (I'll get around to posting the pattern at some point.)

I may embark on this again in the future, although I'd probably do multiples of 3s next time. It seems more manageable and would put off fewer people. I've already seen others doing it that way, and while I think it's somewhat wimpy, I've proven my mad skilz and can now rest on my laurels. Or something.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Other: This Is Not a Paid Endorsement

Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that bloggers who receive money or in-kind compensation to write an endorsement must now disclose that fact. Now, this hasn't affected me yet, because no one has ever asked me to endorse anything on my blog, but I'm not saying I wouldn't be amenable to the idea. Particularly if it involved free yarn.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Knittin' Crap: Xmas in October

Xmas Knitting I've officially finished my first hand-made Christmas gift of the year. (No, I'm not going to post a picture.) Now that I've finished all my swaps and the last Pay It Forward item is ready to be mailed, it's time to get down to business. I'm not sure how many gifts I'm going to make, and I'm still trying to figure out what to make for one or two people, but it's time to put the knuckles to the grindstone!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spoonerisms: Spoon Requires At Least Two Rails

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I've never seen another cat that looks so much like Spoon. The only thing missing is the Kitler mustache, and perhaps this one had it waxed.

Of course, if that had been Spoon, the dining car and its occupants would be smushed flat. Or are those the meals?

(BTW, when Dipity went in for her vaccine booster shot on Tuesday, she weighted in at 11 lbs, 3 oz. "Um, I guess she's still not a full-grown cat?" The technician said I should start measuring out her meals, too. And this technician hasn't even seen what I did to Spoon. But at least Spoon is nowhere as bad as this guy:)

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