Movable Type 3.2
August 31, 2006
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.
This just made my day.
Meg! Cabot! Manga! And a movie! Of my favorite of her books, even! Eeeeee!
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!!!
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
August 23, 2006
I like chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not sure I agree with anything in that description...
August 22, 2006
Progress is updated. And we have excitement! Chris and Tiffany are currently tied at 50! Watch and see who wins!
Winners so far:
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.
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.
SRP Book 11: Gunslinger Girl Vol. 2
Gunslinger Girl Vol. 2 by Yu Aida (178 pages)
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.
SRP Book 10: The Death of Friends
The Death of Friends by Michael Nava (232 pages)
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.
August 19, 2006
SRP Book 9: His Majesty's Dragon
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (384 pages)
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.
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.
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.
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?
August 17, 2006
August 16, 2006
Updated again! Here are the "winners" as of now:
August 15, 2006
SRP Book 8: Rebecca
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (390 pages)
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.
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:
And these have also completed their bonus goals:
The rest of us have about 16 days left. Go go go!
August 13, 2006
License plate fun!
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.
5. I get to go to Tracy's and play with my new fabric tonight. Yay!
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?
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:
"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.)
August 08, 2006
Grammar is magic.
(The roots of "grammar" and "glamour" come from the same word. So it really is magic.)
August 07, 2006
Monday Happy Things!
Friends! Socks! Yarn! All happy. So you know what's particularly happy? Friends who send sock yarn!
August 06, 2006
Hey, look, a new hobby!
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!
August 04, 2006
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?
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.
August 03, 2006
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
Okay, now the real test: off to see if it will start again...
August 02, 2006
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.
SRP Book 7: Are Women Human?
Are Women Human? by Dorothy L. Sayers (69 pages)
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.
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!
August 01, 2006
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)
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.