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Archive for September 2007

Interview with Daniel Tammet

September 30th, 2007 — 9:50pm

Here’s a 13-minute CBS interview with Daniel Tammet (author of Born on a Blue Day):
Interview with Daniel

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beef-vegetable-barley soup

September 29th, 2007 — 9:10pm

I love soup, I really do. I’d eat soup every night if I could. Not canned soup, good homemade soup. The soup I made tonight turned out so good that I’m going to write the recipe down so I can recreate it again soon.

Put 1/2 cup of barley in a pan of water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it soak for a couple of hours. Drain and rinse.

Chop up half an onion, two potatoes, two celery stalks, a chunk of bell pepper, a handful of green beans, and a handful of baby carrots. Gently saute the veggies in a big lump of butter until they turn bright colors, then add a 32-oz carton of good beef stock, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of thyme. I had an open can of Italian tomatoes in the fridge, so I diced one up and threw it in with a bit of the thick tomato juice from the can. Simmer gently until veggies are tender. Oh man, it was a good rich soup. Man oh man. I try always to make enough soup to eat for the next few meals.


8 comments » | Blog, Recipes


September 29th, 2007 — 3:21pm

I got the “your books are about to be due” email this morning, so I gathered them up and took myself to our wonderful library. I went to Trader Joe’s for salad things first so I didn’t want to stay too long at the library for fear of warm lettuce. But I grabbed five tempting books off the New Books shelf:

Make Him Look Good, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet
The Medici Giraffe, by Marina Belozerskaya
Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes
Ancestor Stones, by Aminatta Forna

Make Him Look Good looks like the worst of the bunch, so I started with that one while I ate my fruit and yogurt and granola. I figured it would either be a fluffy, soapy, fun little book, or completely unreadable. So far it’s leaning toward the former. I’m not sure which one I’ll read next. They all look really good so it’ll be hard to choose, but I think Born on a Blue Day might win. I find autism quite fascinating.

Edited to say: Right after I posted, I did start Born on a Blue Day and it’s great!

1 comment » | Blog, Books

flickr feeds

September 27th, 2007 — 5:15pm

Did you know that you can subscribe to feeds of your friends’ flickr photos? It took me rather a long time to notice this feature. Here’s how you do it. If you don’t already have a favorite feed reader, get one. I like Google Reader.

Ok, now go to your flicker page. Click “Home” at the top. Click “Photos from your contacts” on the right. Click “Contact List” near the top.

Now, click one of your contacts. Scroll to the bottom of his first page of photos, and look for the small orange square. It’ll say, for instance, “Subscribe to DigiSage’s photos”. Now you’re kind of on your own because I don’t know what feed reader you’re using, but you’ll probably either right click and copy/paste the url into your feed reader, or left-click and follow instructions.

I really like being notified when my friends upload new photos!

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

Oh hai

September 27th, 2007 — 12:27pm

Dude steals macbook pro, accidentally takes photo of self with photobooth, photobooth automatically uploads said photo to owner’s flickr account, hi-jinx ensue!

Oh hai, I bott it frum a frend, honnest

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Happy Birthday, Henry!!!

September 27th, 2007 — 12:15pm

Today is Henry’s 12th birthday, hooray hooray! It has been a very celebratory week. He’s been saving money for months toward a Geddy Lee Signature Fender Jazz Bass, and had 2/3 of the price of a nice used one saved up, so for his Main Birthday Present, last week we pitched in the extra and helped him find a good deal on Ebay. It arrived on Monday and it was a day of great rejoicing. The ebayer is a Rush fan and was happy to have his bass go to another fan. The bass is in beautiful condition, and came with a hard case and flat-wound strings, which Henry loves, and a tuner and picks and a strap… Henry has played it for hours every day this week.

Since today is a school day and he’ll be at his dad’s house tonight, we had birthday fun yesterday. I let him play Wind Waker for hours, and then he had his Stage Design class (they made plans and talked about the color wheel) while I went to the knitting store and bought my first Addi circular… $20 but oh, it’s a nice needle. After we got home we did more stuff together, and then Chloe and Bob came over to help celebrate! I made Birthday Soup and another loaf of bread and we had Trader Joe’s cherry pie for dessert. And we hung around and played on the Wii and did a crossword. They gave Henry two t-shirts, which he loves, and a contribution to his Bass Amp Fund. And we surprised Henry with a couple more little gifts right before bed (he thought the bass-help was his only present from us) and he was almost choked up with happiness :) What a sweet boy he is!

Henry's new bass

See more photos in my Henry’s Geddy Lee Bass photo set.

7 comments » | Blog

More William, Chapter 1

September 24th, 2007 — 8:33am

More William, by Richmal Crompton.
Chapter 1: A Busy Day

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More William!

September 22nd, 2007 — 9:32pm

I’ve just finished cataloging my solo recording of More William, by Richmal Crompton. Jeremy wrote a really nice summary:

The second of Crompton’s series of 39 books about William Brown, our cheeky 11 year-old protagonist. A hero to some, a dastardly villain to others, this book is structured round a year in his life. Starting with William waking up on Christmas morning and ending with him going to sleep the following Christmas Eve, there are the usual round of misadventures, misunderstandings, and general mayhem in between. When a boy like William wakes up under a motto that says “A Busy Day Is A Happy Day” alongside a copy of “Things A Boy Can Do”, chaos is just around the corner. Includes the very first William short story – “Rice Mould”. Often dismissed as children’s literature, the first few books of William stories were probably aimed more at an adult audience. They resonate with a distinctly English humour, but there are obvious echoes from ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’.

It’s a great book. You can download the whole thing here:
Or subscribe to my podcast, or check my Audiobooks category for a new chapter every Monday.

William might remind you just a little bit of your favorite 11-year-old boy, though of course he’s much naughtier than any 11-year-olds that I know!

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Endpaper Mitts, finished!

September 22nd, 2007 — 9:18am

Last night I finished the Endpaper Mitts, yay!!! Here they are, blocking on the birdcage:


I took that photo last night and had to use flash (ugh) so here’s a photo that shows the actual true colors:


I had size trouble with the second mitt again. I was obsessively careful to compare it to the first mitt every few rows while I was knitting. If anything, it seemed a little smaller than the first one. And then I got it wet to block it and it grew again! Not two inches this time, but enough (in all dimensions) to be significantly larger than the first one. So I got the first one wet, too, and managed to coax them into some semblance of similarity.

And now, it’s sweater time! The weather has cooled off and I’ve got all my nice red Brown Sheep Worsted from my ripped-out BPT. I was thinking of making the Tilted Duster from the new Interweave Knits, but after looking through all the finished ones on Ravelry, I changed my mind. Most of the time it seems to turn out not fitting well. I think there were only one or two, out of dozens, that actually looked good. I don’t want to bother with something that’s going to need a lot of adjusting and tinkering to fit well.

I love the Cobblestone pullover, but I want a cardigan. I think I might try to convert it into a cardigan. I’ll just leave the front open and work in rows, rather than rounds, and continue the garter stitch up the center fronts. Since it’s worked from the bottom up I’ll have to plan buttonhole placement, sigh, but it won’t be too bad, I think.

Comment » | Blog, Handmade

LibriVox Community Podcast #54

September 20th, 2007 — 12:21pm

Cori has put together a marvelous Community Podcast for us this week. Her theme is “Sucking! (And how not to!).” At some point, every LibriVox volunteer worries about sucking. Cori goes over the things that can make a recording suck (too fast, too slow, background noise, etc.) and the things we might worry about that don’t actually suck (accents, non-native readers, etc.). She enlisted several volunteers to make mock-sucky recordings, which are hilarious, and there is lots of helpful and comforting advice. Do give it a listen!

LibriVox Community Podcast #54

(Plus you can hear me babbling on and on!)

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Three-color mitts!

September 18th, 2007 — 1:45pm

I’ve finished Henry’s mitts!

three-color mitts

I used Knit Picks palette yarn in black, green, and blue. This yarn is an absolute dream for colorwork, and it blocked just beautifully. I was inspired by Eunny Jang’s lovely Endpaper Mitts. I used her thumb shaping and the purled seam stitch at each side, which makes a nice distraction to the eye at the point where the pattern jogs.

Here’s a quick outline of my pattern:

With blue, CO 48 (use a nice stretchy cast-on). Work 2×2 ribbing on size 0 needles for 30 rounds. K one round in blue, adding a p at each side for seam stitches (50 st).

Switch to size 2 needles.

The colorwork is just 2 blue, 2 black around twice, then 2 black, 2 green around twice, keeping purled seam stitch in black, but you also have to add a stitch in pattern on either side of ONE seam stitch every three rounds for the thumb gusset. (If you want a chart, leave a comment and I’ll write one up.)

When you’ve got 12 total extra stitches for the thumb, put those 12 plus the seam st on a length of yarn and CO one p st in black across the gap, and work for four more stripes. K one round blue, then work 5 rounds k1p1 ribbing, then work k1, sl1wyif around, then sl1wyib, p1 around, then work a kitchener bind-off.

Put the 13 thumb st on two needles and pick up 5 more across the gap, then work ribbing same as for hand.

Henry loves them and wore them all day today :)

three-color mitts

They fit me as well as they fit Henry:
three-color mitts

three-color mitts

4 comments » | Blog, Free Patterns, Handmade

Happy birthday Susan!

September 18th, 2007 — 8:29am

Happy birthday wonderful Susan! We are thinking of you :) Come visit!

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Flight of the Conchords

September 17th, 2007 — 7:48pm

I’d heard Dr. Drew say that Flight of the Conchords was hilarious, and then I bumped into a few more mentions online somewhere, so over the weekend I gave it a try. Apparently they perform live and have had a BBC radio series, as well as the recent 12-episode HBO series (and another season coming up in 2008). Here’s their HBO page.

It took me two or three episodes before I began to love the show, but now I’m fairly obsessed. I’ve been looking forward to watching episode five all day. It’s sort of a The Office/Mighty Boosh kind of thing… Not as funny as Boosh but not as painful as the Office. The characters are nerdily appealing, and the band’s only groupie, Mel, is a riot and reminds me very much of the obsessive fans of a certain local band.

Over the weekend, Dan and I worked on the OK GO song, Do What You Want. I can sorta drum (and sorta sing/bray at the same time), and he’s pretty good at the guitar. He found some mediocre tab online and desuckified it, don’t think he posted it online yet though. All we need is for Henry to get good at the bass! It’s a really fun song.

I started Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker over again on Saturday. Twilight Princess is awesome, amazing, beautiful, thrilling, don’t get me wrong, but I think for sheer fun, the Wind Waker wins. It was the first modern console game I ever beat, back in, what, 2003? I had a heck of a time back then, even the with beginning quests and dungeons, but now I’m a much more skilled gamer and I blew through Outset, Forsaken Fortress, and Windfall in just a couple of hours. Today I did most of Dragon Roost in an hour, and am ready for the boss battle. No walkthrough for me (yet)! It does help to have Henry or Dan sitting near me to point out the things I miss. :) We were reminiscing that when we first got the GameCube and LoZ: WW, it was quite difficult for Henry and we had to read the text out loud for him! And he dressed up as Link nearly every day (when he wasn’t Legolas or Frodo), complete with pointy ears. Awwwww :)

Finished the three-color mitts this evening at karate. They’re blocking now — photos tomorrow!

6 comments » | Blog, Tech

Kayray’s Internet Roundup

September 14th, 2007 — 1:43pm

Here’s some useful and/or fun and/or interesting stuff for you:

WebbAlert is Morgan Webb’s daily videocast (M-Th), covering the day’s developments in tech news, video gaming, gadgetry, and digital culture. Henry and I love Morgan’s show and watch it together every day. At first I found her a little too perky, but now I think she is adorable. Her vidcast is very entertaining and informative.

Do you have a mac? Do you use ssh, scp, or ftp frequently, perhaps to and from your personal server? If so, you’ve got to try MacFUSE:

MacFUSE implements a mechanism that makes it possible to implement a fully functional file system in a user-space program on Mac OS X (10.4 and above).

Ok, I know that sounds pretty dry, but stay with me. When Dan first told me about MacFUSE I was not particularly interested. It doesn’t sound nearly as useful as it is! He installed it, and sshfs, on my Macbook and I started using it and fell in love. If I need to copy a recording over to my webspace, I just drag it over in Finder. When I need to update a podcast feed, rather than ssh in and use vi to edit (or worse, to ftp the file back and forth), I just double-click the file in Finder and it opens in my local texteditor (SMULTRON). (And next time I can just Open Recent from the File menu!) I can’t tell you how useful it is. Today I installed it on my iMac, and, though it may sound a bit daunting, it’s easy — anyone can do it.

Go to Download the MacFUSE Core Installer Package dmg and the sshfs filesystem dmg. Install the MacFUSE core first, and then sshfs. Run sshfs. It’ll ask you for a server and a username, and then a password. Once you’ve connected to your server, it’ll show up as a drive in Finder, just as if you had an external hard drive plugged in. You can quit sshfs now. Now you can use your mounted server just as if it were a local box!

And now, some games:
Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe 2 (sound will start when you load the page, turn down your speakers!) — Mash the buttons along with the arrows and letters. I have gold medals for Hollywise, This Way, and Super Mario World Rock, and silver for Zelda. Those button combos kill me. I just tried one of the Pro songs and got about 4 points.

Desktop Tower Defense — place and upgrade units and defend your tower. Or whatever. Cute artwork, cute sound effects. Horribly addicting, try it at your own risk. I am an ace at Easy of course, but I still can’t get very far on Medium.

Speaking of addicting, we discovered Travian a few weeks ago. I started on US server s2 and Dan followed me, but we discovered that there are a few enormous, powerful alliances there that bully other players, so we switched to another, newer server in hopes of forming our own alliance and, possibly, standing a chance to play a more balanced, more peaceful game. We have a 13-player alliance there with some of the LibriVoxers.

Ok, that’ll do it for now. Have fun :)

4 comments » | Blog, Tech

Red scarves for orphans

September 12th, 2007 — 4:31pm

Knit a red scarf for a college-bound orphan!
Hmm, there’s no red wool in my Birthday Stash. I’ll have to go see what knitpicks offers in red.

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September 10th, 2007 — 11:23pm

As I was knitting the second Endpaper Mitt, it seemed as if it might be slightly bigger than the first, but not by much. So I finished it anyway and dampened it tonight to block it into shape… and as I was patting it into shape next to mitt number one I discovered that it was a full two inches longer, as well as considerably wider. Same yarn, same needles, same number of stitches and repeats. Guess I was just more relaxed. Great. So, I ripped it out and will commence re-knitting tomorrow. Sigh. Couldn’t knit with wet yarn anyway tonight so I started a pair of mitts for Henry, not that he’ll ever wear them, but he wants them and I have plenty of yarn :) Basic k2p2 cuffs on 48st, and I’ll do some colorwork or cabling on the hands.

We started BSG over again tonight, watched the first half of the pilot. There’s nothing else we really want to watch, anyway, not till House and Survivor and The Office start back up, and it’s fun noticing all the stuff we missed the first time through. We just about died when Doral showed up on Galactica! Anakin, I mean Lee, is such a whiner-baby.

Comment » | Blog, Handmade

Nice weekend

September 10th, 2007 — 10:42am

It was a nice weekend. I finished six orange morsbags on Saturday and made five more flowered ones on Sunday, while listening to the LV community podcast, the LV new releases podcast, The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Loveline (Seth Green!). Also cataloged five new Librivox books:

Balzac, Honoré de. “Letters of Two Brides”
Buchan, John. “Greenmantle”
Davis, Noah. “Narrative of the Life of Rev. Noah Davis, A Colored Man, A”
Field, Eugene. “Love-Songs of Childhood”
Harris, William Shuler. “Life in a Thousand Worlds”

A nice variety there, something for everyone. Yes, at long last, the Letters are done! And there was much rejoicing! According to, it has already been “Downloaded 1,510 times” so someone out there must like Balzac better than Shell and I do.

And I recorded three chapters of More William (still need to edit two of them) and I baked bread, and I watched the end of BSG s3 with Dan (great last episode!), oh, and Henry was home for a few hours on Saturday while his dad played music somewhere. We all watched Star Wars. All the lameness is pretty much redeemed by the presence of Alec Guinness (somehow he’s able to make those stiff ridiculous lines sound good) and the great dogfight space battle at the end, in which stiff ridiculous lines don’t matter.

Also tried my hand at a couple of LV tutorial screencasts. I think I need to turn down the quality (over a gig for 11 minutes??) and maybe not let the window follow the mouse movements. Or not move my mouse around so quickly. I don’t want to cause motion sickness.

And my mitts are done but for the last thumb ribbing. Photos soon!

3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Henry’s surfing lesson

September 8th, 2007 — 3:41pm

On Thursday Henry had a surfing lesson! He loved it! It was a late Christmas present from Sally. She and I both went along to watch, and I took pictures. Here’s a nice one:


And you can see a few more here: Henry Surfing (click an image and then click the “all sizes” link on top of it to see nice big detailed pictures)

3 comments » | Blog

Happy Birthday Chloe!

September 6th, 2007 — 6:48pm

Happy birthday dear Chloe! I hope you had a good and relaxing day :)

1 comment » | Blog

Extra birthday present!

September 5th, 2007 — 11:26pm

I came home today to find an extra birthday present (from a very sweet friend) waiting for me on the porch — a fabulous selection of knitpicks yarns! Now I’ve got enough Gloss in four perfectly coordinating colors to make knitty’s Thermal, plus even more sock yarn for even more socks/gloves/mittens/whatever!

WOOHOO!!!! I have a super-stash!!!

2 comments » | Blog

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