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August 31, 2006

Random Insanity

I missed Random Wednesday yesterday, so I thought I'd do a more, um, focused version.

Causes of My Current Insanity

1. The freakin' people I work with. Not all of them, certainly, but a few. No, I'm sorry, I CANNOT DO YOUR JOB. It's not that I am mean and I won't, it's that it is not my job and so I don't have the application I'd need to do it.

2. Still getting used to living alone. I really, really like it, but it's weird. And I really really miss my roommate.

3. Semester starts in six days. Class still isn't showing up in the Application Formerly Known as WebCT. I can't deal with this. I need to see my syllabus.

4. It's looking like my fall is going to be crazy busy. (I know, you're all shocked.) Although, looking at my calendar, I don't have anything planned for the next few weekends... but after that they're all booked. And I'm not even going to Rhinebeck. (Someday...)

5. I have some sort of weird lingering sore throat/congestion thing I can't seem to shake. Not bad enough to actually worry about, but annoying.

6. Monday! Off! This will be my first two days off in a row (other than for illness and/or Blogathon) since, I don't know, Christmas? I am stupendously excited.

Symptoms of My Current Insanity

1. I really really want to listen to Christmas music. Not like Deck the Halls stuff, but Anonymous 4 or Windham HIll? Totally in the mood for that.

2. I'm obsessively TiVoing 7th Heaven. I KNOW. I'm sorry.

3. I should not be allowed to buy cute stamps, because then I feel like I shouldn't use them. And I spend way too long deciding whether the survey going back to my NPR station is worth a Beauty and the Beast stamp. (I eventually decided that no, it wasn't.)

4. This morning, I actually thought, "Huh, I need to knit some gloves." It's August. But it was cold.

5. I've already started planning for NaNoWriMo.

There's other... stuff. But I've been writing this on and off for hours so I should probably just post it.

Posted by Kat at 02:09 PM | Comments (5)

This just made my day.

Meg! Cabot! Manga! And a movie! Of my favorite of her books, even! Eeeeee!

Posted by Kat at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2006

SRP Process Clarifications

Wheee, we're getting near the end! Exciting! As you know, the deadline for reading books to be counted is tomorrow, August 31. But I'm going to give you a grace period of one week for posting about them. So you have until September 7 to finish posting about books that you finished reading by August 31. It would be useful if, on your final review, you said something like "And this is my last book for the SRP!" so I know you're done. And if you write something like "This brings my total to x books/y pages, and I did/did not complete my bonus goal," I'd love you forever.

On September 7 and 8, I'll make sure my numbers correspond with yours and e-mail anyone from whom I need a clarification. When we're all set with that - hopefully that weekend - I'll draw the names for prizes. There are a few prizes that are geographically limited (like gift cards), so if I e-mail asking where you live, that's why.

So... you have one more day! Keep reading!!!

Posted by Kat at 03:48 PM | Comments (6)

August 29, 2006

Like LibraryThing, but for crafts?

I haven't had a chance to look at this in detail yet, but it seems like it might be interesting. CraftMemo - organize your craft supplies and projects.

Posted by Kat at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)

August 27, 2006

5 new states, and a province!

Today I saw Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Washington (State), and Quebec!

create your own personalized map of the USA
Posted by Kat at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

I feel like such a grown-up.

After work today, I went to Home Depot and bought a trash can. An outside trash can, so I don't have to go to the transfer station every time I have a bag of trash. Now, I've made larger - and certainly more expensive - house-type purchases, like a couch and... well, other stuff, I'm sure. But for some reason, buying a trash can seemed incredibly adult.

But really, that's no excuse for the AARP to send me another membership invitation. I mean, come on. Really.

In other house-related news, I seem to have finally convinced my landlord that when I say "The roof is leaking," I mean "No, really. The ROOF is LEAKING. Get up there and look at it. NOW."

Posted by Kat at 06:03 PM | Comments (5)

I tried to watch Crash.

I really did. I get some points for trying, right? I put Crash in my Netflix queue because it won all those awards and everyone was talking about how wonderful and brilliant it was. But I guess I didn't really want to watch it, because I put off watching it and put off watching it and put off watching it. For about three months.

I finally decided this was ridiculous and I'd just put the darn thing on. I got through the first half hour. Enh. It really amuses me that Netflix says I'd like it because I like Love, Actually. Sure, they both have ensemble casts, but other than that, I didn't really see anything in common. Love, Actually is warm and funny and touching and about, you know, love. Crash (or its first half hour, at least) was cold and unfunny and I guess about hate, but mostly about gratuituous violence and swearing, I think. If you want an interesting, thought-provoking movie about the intertwining lives of families from various races and cultures, watch What's Cooking? by the wonderful, versatile Gurinder Chadha (of Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice fame). If you want badly-acted, heavy-handed, obvious social messages, do what I did: turn off Crash and watch 7th Heaven reruns instead. At least they seem sincere.

Posted by Kat at 11:42 AM | Comments (6)

August 24, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Well, okay, not quite. But it's August 24, which means that four months from now it will be Christmas Eve and we'll all be trying to decide which project to stay up late and try madly to finish. Plus it's going to be in the 30s tonight. Well, not here, but elsewhere in my state, so it counts. Almost.

I've been trying to figure out how to post about holiday knitting this year, because many more people I know in real life are reading this blog now than they were last year. But I don't want to not talk about things in case someone sees. So I think I'm going to post what I want about projects but not say who anything is for. So those of you who think you might be getting a gift from me... read at your own risk.

So far I'm planning mostly hats, scarves, and socks, with a few larger things... but we'll see. First I have a few baby things I have to finish.

Posted by Kat at 07:28 PM | Comments (4)

August 23, 2006


You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie
Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.
You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

I like chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not sure I agree with anything in that description...

Posted by Kat at 09:06 PM | Comments (7)

August 22, 2006

SRP Update!

Progress is updated. And we have excitement! Chris and Tiffany are currently tied at 50! Watch and see who wins!

Winners so far:

Main Goal:
Amy K.
Erin G.
Erin L.
Kate B.
Kate D.
Laura W.
Lisa H.

Bonus Goal:
Amy K.
Erin L.
Kate D.

On a personal note, I've realized that finishing 30 by the 31st isn't going to happen, and I'm okay with that. I'm at 18 now. I probably could do it if I did nothing but read for the rest of the month, but there's too much other stuff going on right now that's asking for my time. Like finishing cat-proofing the house and catching up on Veronica Mars before the new season starts and getting ready for the new semester and learning French and taking GRE practice tests and getting started on all that Christmas knitting I've planned.

I still have my 100 books in the year goal, though, and I'm only at 38 now, so... we'll see. It should be a fun challenge.

Posted by Kat at 08:34 PM | Comments (4)

19 States!

Posted by Kat at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2006


I am wearing a sweater. In my house. A cotton sweater, sure, but still. And I've been drinking gallons of tea all weekend. I am beyond excited. Maybe there's hope for getting past this "summer" thing after all.

Posted by Kat at 08:13 PM | Comments (5)

SRP Book 11: Gunslinger Girl Vol. 2

Gunslinger Girl Vol. 2 by Yu Aida (178 pages)
Genre: Manga
Rating: 3

I reviewed the first volume a month ago, and I don't have a whole lot new to say about this one. Still getting used to the reading right to left and to the Look At The Pictures, Kat. Still interesting, though. Even with the difficulties in reading, it goes quickly, so I'll probably stick with the series.

Posted by Kat at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

SRP Book 10: The Death of Friends

The Death of Friends by Michael Nava (232 pages)
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4.3

You may remember that I read most of this series back in October and November. After reading five more or less in a row, I was feeling a bit burned out on them, so stopped for a while. Then last month I realized that Defulct was going to be taking the books with him when he moved, so I'd better read the two I had left. Of course, I only had time to get to one - I'll have to ILL the other. Ah well.

Anyway, what to say without giving too much away? Very good. Sad. Interesting explication of complicated relationships, especially the one between the main character, Henry, his former lover, and the lover's wife. I was glad that things got better with Josh before the end. Oh, and there was some interesting discussion of issues related to the pornography business, as well. I heartily recommend this series, but I'd try to start with the first, The Little Death, because Henry definitely evolves over the course of the series.

Posted by Kat at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

SRP Book 9: His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (384 pages)
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.8

The concept is stunningly simple: the Napoleonic wars... but with dragons! Yes, dragons. They're another branch of the armed forces, you know: the Aerial Corps. This is the first in the series; the main character, a British Navy captain, captures a French ship that contains a dragon egg. The egg hatches at sea, before the Aerial Corps can be contacted, so there aren't any properly-trained dragon handlers on board. The dragon bonds with the captain, who then has to give up his career and lifestyle to join the Aerial Corps. It's Patrick O'Brian with DRAGONS, and maybe a little Jane Austen thrown in. The dragon characters are drawn just as fully as the human ones, and both "comedy of manners" type scenes and battle scenes are done well. Very highly recommended.

Posted by Kat at 02:42 PM | Comments (1)


Exceedingly fun YouTube video. Yummmmm.

Posted by Kat at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Cheesy Dip

This was just a quick dip I threw together to contribute to a dinner with friends the other night, but people really seemed to like it and a few asked for the recipe, so I thought I might as well post it here too. As is my wont, I read a bunch of recipes and combined them. Note: this is written for the crockpot/slow cooker, but if you don't have one, you could probably achieve similar results by simmering in a large heavy stockpot.

2 lbs. Velveeta, cubed
2 10 oz. cans RO*TEL
1 16 oz. can refried beans
1 3.8 oz. can sliced black olives

Put cubed cheese in the slow cooker and pour other ingredients over it. Cook on Low for a few hours, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended. Serve with corn chips.

Super easy, but oh so yummy.

Posted by Kat at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2006

Onions without tears!

I can't be the first one to think of this, but I've never heard it anywhere, so I thought I'd share. I usually have a horrible time chopping onions. I don't just tear up: I sob. I've tried most of the remedies I've heard, and none of them do much.

But today I was washing an onion, because it seemed a little dirty, and I decided to cut it down the middle to make sure that the dirt was just on the outside rather than related to some sort of internal rotting or something. And I realized that I wasn't feeling the slightest bit teary. So I went ahead and cut the whole onion up while holding it under the cold running water, and I was totally fine. Sheesh. Why isn't this standard practice? Does it do something horrible to the onion's flavor that I don't know about?

Posted by Kat at 06:44 PM | Comments (6)

August 17, 2006

License Plates: 12

Posted by Kat at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2006

SRP Update

Updated again! Here are the "winners" as of now:

Main Goal:
Amy K.
Kate B.
Kate D.
Laura W.
Lisa H.

Bonus Goal:
Amy K.
Erin L.
Kate D.

Posted by Kat at 08:57 PM | Comments (4)

August 15, 2006

SRP Book 8: Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (390 pages)
Genre: Gothic fiction
Rating: 4.8

I adored this book. I have rarely found a character with whom I identify so completely. So much of what the nameless main character describes thinking and feeling is just... me. The story is enthralling and very atmospheric. It did drag slightly in the middle, but overall, I loved it. I can tell this will be a frequent reread.

Posted by Kat at 02:30 PM | Comments (5)

August 14, 2006

Summer Reading Update

At last, a Summer Reading Program update! The progress page is updated as of today. (And I figured out a quicker way to update, so I promise updates will be more frequent over the rest of August.) Tiffany is in the lead, with Chris, Nancy, and Peninah close behind. Can anyone catch up? It'll be exciting to see!

So far, these people have reached their goals:


Amy K.






Kate B.

Kate D.



Laura W.

Lisa H.








And these have also completed their bonus goals:

Amy K.



Erin L.

Kate D.




The rest of us have about 16 days left. Go go go!

Posted by Kat at 07:35 PM | Comments (5)

August 13, 2006

License plate fun!

A few good friends have been working on a "dork project," involving keeping track of license plates and trying to find plates from all 50 states. I decided to start today. Here's where I am so far:

Posted by Kat at 09:25 PM | Comments (3)

August 10, 2006

Randomer than Wednesday

Right? If randoms are on a day other than Wednesday they're even randomer? I think Cate said so, and she's the originator of the randoms things, so...

1. Yoga is fun! I had a bad experience with it in college (took a class way too early in the morning, and it was a "all levels/beginners welcome" but everyone else had been doing it for years so I was very self-conscious and never understood what was going on), but I wanted to give it another try, so now I'm using A.M. and P.M. Yoga for Beginners and wow, I love it. I'd definitely recommend it. Perhaps the best part is that I've been sleeping SO much better on the nights when I do the P.M. practice.

2. Remember my pretty new sock yarn? Well, Dyenamics now has a Web site! Go order from them. They're wonderful, I promise.

3. Go read Vickie and Erica's exciting (for them) news. Go ahead. I'll stay here and cry.

4. A friend of mine is going to be the guest on The Colbert Report tonight. Someone I actually know. This blows my mind.

5. I get to go to Tracy's and play with my new fabric tonight. Yay!

6. My parents are visiting this weekend! I haven't seen them in a while, so I'm quite excited. And looking forward to lots of good food.

7. Deplorably little knitting or reading getting done lately, but I can't figure out why I don't seem to have any time. Hmm.

8. Isn't it naptime?

Posted by Kat at 01:18 PM | Comments (4)

August 09, 2006

Part sad/part happy penguin story OR Why I love my cousin

Exciting roadside penguin rescue! (But: Warning. A few of them are not okay.)

And why I love my cousin:
She sent me this story, and the accompanying comment:

"Didn't you have something about penguins? Apologies if it was a you-and-ex thing, in which case you might want to focus more on the ones that got run over."

(It was a me-and-ex thing, or really more just an ex thing, but I still like them, and do not want any penguins to be run over.)

Posted by Kat at 06:24 PM | Comments (2)

August 08, 2006

Grammar is magic.

Misplaced comma costs company $2.13 million.

(The roots of "grammar" and "glamour" come from the same word. So it really is magic.)

Posted by Kat at 11:30 PM | Comments (5)

August 07, 2006

Monday Happy Things!

Friends! Socks! Yarn! All happy. So you know what's particularly happy? Friends who send sock yarn!

Thanks Kristen!

Posted by Kat at 09:53 PM | Comments (7)

August 06, 2006

Hey, look, a new hobby!

So today Tracy and I headed down to the Lowell Quilt Festival. Wow. The exhibits were amazing - I took tons of pictures, and I'll get a link to them up ASAP.

And it didn't take long for me to be convinced that I need to become a quilter. What I have so far for my first project:

I've been working on the design - I'm thinking basically a nine-patch theme with solid strips in between. I have a few more things to pick up, and then I'm heading to Tracy's place on Thursday to get started. I'm excited!

And, of course, I had to start a fabric stash:

Two different Twelve Days of Christmas prints, with mottled purple and purple snowflakes coordinating. Fun!

Posted by Kat at 08:54 PM | Comments (8)

August 04, 2006


From Erica...

I want summer to be over. NOW. Or air conditioning. That would work too.

I want my apartment to be magically rearranged just the way I want it.

I want an extra day this weekend: I basically have plans all weekend, and they're mostly fun plans, but I wouldn't mind a day to stay home and clean and read and knit, too.

I want an unlimited yarn and book budget.

I want organic and other healthy food to be less expensive than jusnk, instead of more expensive.

I want a boy to like me. (Yeah, a particular boy would be nice, but really, at this point interest from practically anyone1 would be a nice reassurance.)

I want all my faraway friends to live nearby, or at least the capability to magically transport ourselves to each others' locations to hang out.

I want my TiVo to have infinite capacity.

I want to get a full night of sleep and actually feel rested.

I want to be sure that I know what to do with my life.

Come on, be a little selfish... what do you want right now?

1 Excluding creepy customers. And creepy people in general, really.

Posted by Kat at 08:12 PM | Comments (5)

Vox populi

Today I was pulled in to Vox, the new service from Six Apart, the people who bring us TypePad, Movable Type (which I use for this blog, and which is now free!), and LiveJournal (which I use as well). So obviously I don't need another blog, but, well, I'm a sucker for anything new and shiny. And Vox is certainly both. There's some drama behind it: rumor has it that SixApart is planning to "force" adults to move to Vox in order to make LiveJournal for teens only. What representatives of SixApart are saying is that Vox just fits a different niche: more slick and user-friendly than LiveJournal, more private and community-oriented than traditional blogs. It should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

But anyway, for now, I'm enjoying playing with it; some of the features are frickin' shiny. You can find me here. (But don't worry, I'm certainly not abandoning this blog!) Do any of you have accounts? Let me know so I can add you to my neighborhood! Also, Vox is invitation-only right now, and I don't have any invitations at the moment, but I should be getting more soon, so let me know if you'd like one.

Posted by Kat at 07:46 PM | Comments (3)

August 03, 2006

I managed.

So I walked out of the library with my stack of books, got in the car, and... it didn't start. The battery and oil (oil? the oil was changed last week) lights were on. Okay. I conclude that the battery is dead. I fish around in my purse for my AAA card, only to discover that it expired on June 15. Oops. I'm quite sure they didn't send me any renewal bills or anything, but now that I think about it they might have me still listed under my ex's account so the information would have gone to him. Oh well. I decide to call them anyway and ask if they'll renew my membership on the spot and come help. But... the number doesn't work. You know, 800-AAA-HELP? Verizon tells me that no such thing exists. Huh. Now what?

I go into the library foyer, pondering my options. I notice that there are a few capable-looking people around, so I call and leave a message for a friend, telling him that my car's battery is dead and please call me. Bingo. Someone looks up and asks if I want her to jump it. She is incredibly patient with my ineptness with the whole process. It takes a bit, but we get it going. She and her friend give me instructions: let it run for a while before you go anywhere. Make sure you're somewhere with cables before you turn it off again. I need gas anyway, so I go to the full serve place around the corner and warn the guy. "Before I turn it off, I want to make sure you'll be able to get it back on if the battery's dead again." He assured me they would, but it ended up having absolutely no trouble starting up again. Had it just been a fluke? I'm not sure.

So. I managed. I'm proud of myself. Sure, I didn't have the jumper cables (must remedy that) or the knowledge, but I didn't panic. I made a mental list of boys to call to come save me possibilities to pursue. I admitted to the kind stranger that I didn't know what I was doing, and I learned from her instructions. (Yay for fellow library patrons.) I coherently explained what was going on to the gas station guy. And yes, I will update my AAA membership immediately.

Okay, now the real test: off to see if it will start again...

Posted by Kat at 06:23 PM | Comments (12)

August 02, 2006

Thanks Vickie!

Vickie decided that my lack of bottle opener/corkscrew was not to be bourne.

And come to think of it, she's responsible for the Guinness, too.

Posted by Kat at 10:19 PM | Comments (3)

SRP Book 7: Are Women Human?

Are Women Human? by Dorothy L. Sayers (69 pages)
Genre: Feminist thought
Rating: 4.5

This little book is both hilarious and very, very wise. It contains an essay and an address that Sayers gave on feminism and the basic question of whether women are, in fact, equal human beings. There is some religious content, but I think readers of any beliefs would enjoy this little gem of a book and the peek it gives into early twentieth century feminism.

Posted by Kat at 07:39 PM | Comments (2)

Yarn Life update

Just in case anyone was wondering - yes, Yarn Life Magazine is very much still happening! We're making slow but definite progress. The schedule was a bit disrupted by the term paper from hell, but things are getting back on track.

We do still have a little space, if anyone was thinking of submitting something and missed the deadline! We also need questions for our advice column. Send them along!

Posted by Kat at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006

Happy August!

Happy first day of August, everyone! Since it's August, that means that I start checking the weather forecast obsessively, waiting for the temperatures to drop. (This continues through September. Then in October I check obsessively for any hint of snow. Yeah, I'm a dork.) No real sign of it yet, of course, although it looks like most of next week will be in the low 80s, which will probably feel positively frigid given the high 90s we have at the moment.

August also means a whole month's break from school! I'm sure you're all shocked that I've been constructing a mental to-do list of things to get done this month. But at least they're mostly fun things. So without further ado...

Things to Do in August

* Sew up the freaking baby sweater (yeah, just didn't have time during the Blogathon)
* Finish the baby blanket before he gets too old
* Actually mail the above items plus some other things I have sitting around waiting to get to people
* Read 20 books for the Summer Reading Program
* Clear out Teddy TiVo in preparation for fall TV
* Watch Veronica Mars from Netflix in preparation for picking up with season three on TV
* Get the spinning wheel into a more accessible location and start spinning again
* Rearrange/organize/clean apartment, so I can....
* Adopt a kitten!!!

Also, it seems that a lot of people I care about are going through weird/difficult personal stuff right now. Let's hope August is a better month. You're all in my thoughts.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 AM | Comments (6)

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