Archive for July 2007


July 10th, 2007 — 7:41pm

I didn’t get to sleep till around 3am, was woken up by noise at 6am, went back to sleep, sorta, and had dreams about being woken up, and then was woken up again by even more noise at 8am. Got Henry up, took him to karate, did errands, came home, put the food away, made breakfast for Henry, did housework, dealt with electricity problems — turned out to be a faulty outlet in the kitchen. A nice old man electrician came and fixed it for me.

This afternoon Henry and I watched the Rifftrax of The Fellowship. Funny stuff, and a pleasant way to pass a tired afternoon :)

Also finished my horrid string bag modification. I’d rather not show you a photo. Let’s just put it out of our minds. Oh all right, if you insist…

Looks pretty nice laid flat:

But wretched in use:

Henry thinks it’s nice, so I’ll give it to him for a laundry bag or something. Bleah.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

much too late

July 9th, 2007 — 11:56pm

Argh, I have to get up earlyish and I should be asleep already but I barely had any computer time today and I really really wanted to finish cataloging Decline and Fall. Also want to blog about my busy and productive day, so I’ll do that first and do the cataloging afterwards if I still have some steam.

Student this morning, dear little 6 year old, then did some housework, then went out to take Dan’s guitar to the guitar fixit man, then to the thrift store for morsbag cloth. Found a beautiful heavy curtain with huge abstract blue flowers on it ($5) and a king-size sheet in blue-and-white stripes ($6). Then to pharmacy, then home. Then showed Sal the Family Tree (make your own at and she got all excited and we put in a TON of info about her dad’s side of the family. Also tried to fix mysterious internet problem, but failed until advised tonight to power cycle BOTH access points. Which I totally should have figured out on my own. But anyway…

Then Henry and I made the curtain into 6 morsbags! Six great reusable cloth grocery bags for a grand total of $5! And we had a great time making them. Photos tomorrow. We took turns with the ironing and sewing. Tomorrow we hope to make a start on the sheet… I think we might get 8, 10, or possibly 12 bags from it!

Then it was time for Karate.

Then home, and wolfed down some of the pasta and sauce we made last night, yumyumyum. Then what… Oh, we watched a Modern Marvels about Barbeque Tech, which sounds boring but it was really interesting — do you know how charcoal briquettes are made and who invented them??? They showed us some hilarious gadgets, too… the Chicken Throne (don’t ask) sent Henry into hysteria. All I have to say to him is “Chicken Throne” and it sets him off again :) “Whole Pig Injector” is another one that gets a big laugh.

Then I suggested that he might like to record some of his Button-Bright lines for The Scarecrow of Oz. He had such a good time recording that he finished up all his lines! And then we got them noise-cleaned and edited, etc, so that took a long time, and then Dan called and we talked, and then it was like 11, and then I tucked Henry in and now here I am, blogging. Darn, it’s almost midnight. Decline and Fall will have to wait another day.

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July 7th, 2007 — 11:10am

I signed a pledgebank pledge to tell at least ten people about, which is a horrible flash-based site with a great mission: to reduce the use of plastic bags. Oh, wait, they have a pleasant html version too:! Ahhh, much better. Anyway. They ask people to make, use, and give away reusable cloth bags and offer a simple sewing pattern.

Make your own cotton morsbags and distribute them – each one has the potential to eliminate 100s of plastic bags over its lifetime.

sad fact: over 1 million plastic bags are consumed per minute globally.

gut-wrenching fact
: marine wildlife mistake plastic bags for food and die.

frustrating fact: supermarkets and politicians will take years to sort it out.

happy fact: making morsbags will help, with immediate effect.

From their pattern page:

If you have a spare half hour or so, make yourself a morsbag! Better still, organise some friends to come round and make some together as a “pod”.

Use an old bedsheet or curtain and follow the downloadable instructions by clicking below.Then marvel that even if you have made just one, you have saved the world from another 80 monsters per year clogging up the ecosystem.

I keep 6 canvas bags in the trunk of my car and use then for EVERY shopping trip. And if Henry and I buy a book or a few items from the hardware store, we always refuse a bag and carry our stuff to the car in our hands. I can’t remember the last time I used a plastic shopping bag.

When you’ve read this and visited the morsbag site, please leave me a comment! And consider sewing or knitting (and using) your own reuseable shopping bags. There are a number of great free patterns for knitted string bags on the internet. Here’s a nice one, and I’m working up a variation that’s knit in the round — no sewing up necessary.

Remember — after you’ve unloaded your groceries, return your bags to the trunk of the car ready for the next shopping trip. This takes a bit of remembering at first but becomes second nature soon enough.

Thanks a lot for helping :)

Edit: Ok, that’s four people who’ve commented so far. Also told my mom, Chloe, and Henry, so that makes seven already. Oh, and Michelle makes eight! And a new comment from Jennifer makes nine! And one more comment from The Fruid makes ten, plus I told Dan, so that’s eleven. Yay, goal met and exceeded!

9 comments » | Blog

Pandora again

July 6th, 2007 — 10:57pm

Have I mentioned lately how much I love I listen to my pandora stations for hours most days. I’ve got my favorite stations tuned pretty well, and it’s like listening to the best commercial-free radio stations on the world. If you’ve not tried pandora yet, I beg you to give it a try. Or if you messed around with it for a few minutes and gave up because you couldn’t figure out how to get a good mix on your stations, heed my advice and try again! It does take quite a bit of tinkering to get your station tuned the way you like it, but it’s easy tinkering.

Here’s how I built my favorite station:

I started by building a station on folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger and singer-songwriter, satirist, and pianist Tom Lehrer. Right away it started playing me and assortment of folk/protest/civil rights music, and satirical stuff. I had to do a LOT of thumbs-downing at first, getting rid of goopy pseudo-folk music and hideous sappy piano stuff. And I did a little bit of thumbs-upping but not much — that’s key! I generally only thumbs-up when I hear an artist I really REALLY like, and I’ve pretty much stopped thumbs-upping now that my station is satisfying. Don’t do too much thumbs-upping or your station will drift off in unknown directions. If you want it to drift around, thumbs-up to your hearts content. But I’ve found that I have better luck keeping the thumbs-upping to a minimum but being hard-nosed with the thumbs-downing.

So here’s an assortment of really great songs I’ve heard this evening:

  • Dust Bowl Pneumonia Blues (Woody Guthrie)
  • Links on the Chain (live, Phil Ochs, AWESOME song, artist I never heard before Pandora)
  • Galway Bay (Johnny Cash — I’ve discovered that I just love Johnny Cash’s folky acoustic guitar/vocal songs)
  • Born 10,000 Years Ago (Cisco Houston — never heard this one before!)
  • Little Turtledove (Ed McCurdy — never heard this one before either)
  • Destroyer Life (Oscar Brand)
  • We Will All Go Together (Tom Lehrer)
  • Draft Dodger Rag (live, Phil Ochs)
  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Noel Coward — Hilarious! Pandora decided I’d like this one a few days ago and it’s come on nearly every day since)
  • Red Iron Ore (Bob Gibson (Not the Bob Gibson who broke the piano at Palomar College…) — never heard this one before!)
  • Don’t Want No More Of Army Life (Leadbelly)

Take It From Day To Day (live) by Stan Rogers just came on — lovely song, another artist I’d never heard of before Pandora.

In case you don’t know it — Pandora lets you bookmark songs/artists/albums so it’s easy to remember the good stuff and track down CDs to buy. (You can see my bookmarked songs in the sidebar on the right and down a bit) I’ve bought several cds since I started listening to Pandora. Before Pandora I almost NEVER bought cds ’cause I never heard anything on the radio that I liked enough to want to own.

Long live! Did I mention that it’s FREE (if you don’t mind seeing some ads in your music player)? I splurged on the $36/year subscription to get rid of the ads. An incredible bargain, considering the pleasure and entertainment pandora provides me.

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July 5th, 2007 — 10:50pm

I finally bought a pro flickr account. Dan found a utility, FlickrExport, that exports from Aperture (or iPhoto) to Flickr. My photos just got a million times easier to manage.

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Happy 4th

July 4th, 2007 — 10:15pm

It was cloudy and cold in the morning so we played some Wii sports, and then I worked on cataloging a big messy awful librivox project while the boys watched Modern Marvels (all about cheese!) but the sun came out later so the boys swam and swam and swam. After dinner Henry and I taught Fargo how to play Settlers of Catan. He caught on really fast and we all had a lot of fun. Henry said it reminded him of fun times in Montreal.

At night Dan and I watched the first episode of the first season of BSG and I started knitting a Judy Gibson string bag:


4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Pledgebank, Ratatouille, and other things

July 3rd, 2007 — 9:15pm

I took the boys to see Ratatouille today. We all liked it a lot! I was so pleased that there were no wise-cracking animals or crude in-your-face humor (unlike the very disappointing Charlotte’s Web). The story is warm and funny — not world-changing, just pleasantly entertaining and very enjoyable. The animation was breathtaking. There’s virtually no violence (near the beginning, an old woman takes a shotgun to some rats but of course she misses every time). There’s a gentle and subtle romance between two of the main characters and a very sweet kiss that made some of the kids in the audience go “ewwww!” lol! There are several touching moments; when the critic took his first bite of ratatouille, I got a bit choked up. You’ll see why :) Highly recommended!

Hugh’s pledgebank pledge was a success, as was mine. Annie’s now started one up, collecting money for Meniere’s Disease research. Y’know, at first I thought pledgebank was kind of cheesy… like, “I’ll only do this good thing if some other people will do this good thing” almost sounds kind of selfish. But, hey, it was Hugh, so I figured what the heck, might as well give it a try. Now I see that sharing charitable ideas and goals makes it more fun, and, hey, I got an extra $75 for kiva that they might not have gotten otherwise, and maybe more if my three fellow pledgers become regular kiva lenders… And I would never have thought of making a little donation to the Meniere’s people, so I’d say that pledgebank is a Good Thing.

I do wish their wording was different. Instead of “I will do [charitable deed] but only if [X] other people will do the same.” it could be “I will do [charitable deed] and encourage [X] other people to do the same.”

Annie lent to Nghuon Morn so I lent to her as well. She still needs more lenders, so please feel free to join us!

3 comments » | Blog, Tech

Fargo is here!

July 2nd, 2007 — 11:12pm

This morning we drove up to Laguna Niguel to pick up Henry’s very best friend in the whole world, Fargo. He’s a year and a half younger than Henry but mature for his age and a great reader, loves to draw, loves Led Zeppelin, Rush, Journey, Foreigner (lol, could be a lot worse), loves dragons and adventure and Naruto and pretending and books books books. He and Henry are two of a kind. They’ve been friends for, gosh, three or four years I guess. We used to live in the same apartment complex, but even now that his family has moved up north we still get to see Fargo several times a year.

When we got home the boys spent a couple of hours swimming, and then played in the house for a while, and then swam, and then we went to Karate, and then they swam until bedtime. Heheh. Our living room looks out on the pool through a sliding door, so I can sit in here indoors and knit and make sure they don’t drown. That pool is an expensive pain in the butt most of the year, but for the two or three months that it’s warm enough, it makes great kid entertainment.

I’m still recovering from a slight sunburn I got on Saturday so I didn’t get much done today, but I did catalog two more free audio books for LibriVox:

The Dhammapada, tr. by F. Max Mueller
Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll

Also made potato-cheese soup for dinner, yum! And Dan and I finished the BSG miniseries tonight. Mmmmmmm good sci-fi! We’ll start Season One tomorrow, most likely. Oh, but there should be a new Foyle’s War in the TiVo so that might take priority!

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Battlestar Galactica

July 2nd, 2007 — 9:50am

We started watching Battlestar Galactica last night, the new one, not the 70s one. We loved it! Neither of us had even seen the original series so we didn’t know what to expect. What can I say, it was fantastic! Great characters, great acting, great story. I really like the percussion-only soundtrack behind the space battle scenes. Really unusual and awesome. I can’t wait to watch more tonight! We watched about half of the miniseries (about an hour and a half, I believe). Got to the part where Someone pushes an EMP button and Someone does a light-speed jump. Trying to avoid spoilers heheh. We’re supposed to think that Someone died but, plotwise, it wouldn’t make sense so I know they’ll be back.

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