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Archive for October 2007

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2007 — 10:14pm

World’s Happiest Jack o’ Lantern, designed by Henry:

happy jack

Dan and I hid in the house in our trick-or-treater-free neighborhood. I knitted while he played Guitar Hero 3 and became obsessed with The Metal. Henry went trick-or-treating with friends and had a wonderful time :) He was so tired at bedtime that he let me read two chapters of Pride and Prejudice to him.

Comment » | Blog

LibriVox has created 1000 free audiobooks!!!

October 30th, 2007 — 11:07pm

As of today, October 30, 2007, LibriVox has 1000 free, legal, volunteer-read, downloadable audiobooks.


We’ve been counting down to the thousandth book, having no idea at all what it would be. It turned out to be a recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, read by a relatively new volunteer, Reynard (who is a fine reader with a delicious accent), and cataloged by a brand new admin, kmerline. It was her first cataloging job! Yay Reynard and kmerline!

Download LibriVox’s 1000th book here:

Way to go, LibriVox volunteers!!! Without each one of you, we wouldn’t have gotten where we are today.

Check our catalog. You’ll find lots more great books to listen to.

6 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog, Books

sshfs works in Leopard!!!

October 30th, 2007 — 1:17pm

Got Leopard? It took a few days for the google coders to bring sshfs and macfuse up to speed, but it works now! I’ll just paste my instructions from a few months ago. They’re all the same but the Finder in Leopard does not show mounted servers in the sidebar automatically anymore. I thought sshfs wasn’t even working! The solution is to go into Finder preferences and tell it to show connected servers on the desktop. Then drag the server from the desktop to the Devices area in the Finder sidebar. Drop it when you see a nice blue line and wait a few seconds for it to show up. Voila!

How to install sshfs on your mac:

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!

17 comments » | Blog, Tech

More William, Chapter 6

October 29th, 2007 — 8:41am

More William, by Richmal Crompton.
Read by me!
Chapter 6: The Rivals

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Other Side of the Story

October 28th, 2007 — 4:27pm

I just finished The Other Side of the Story, by Marian Keyes. Great story! I loved it. I got all teary-eyed at the end. I hope I can find more Marian Keyes novels soon!

1 comment » | Blog, Books

World Invitation Joust, Poway CA, 2007

October 28th, 2007 — 4:15pm

We had a great time at the Joust! Here are some photos — trying out a flash-based wordpress flickr plugin. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you, or just go check out the set)

Thank you, Gwen, Jeffrey, the Archery Guy, the Frazier Museum, the competitors, and everyone else who helped make it happen in spite of the fires!

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Repair guys and Leopard

October 26th, 2007 — 6:36pm

Fires still burning on the hillsides, but most refugees can return home. We are quite safe. It was very foggy on the coast this morning, so I went out for a few minutes and breathed the clean-smelling, moist air. It probably wasn’t actually clean, but it sure smelled better than it did yesterday.

This morning a guy from SDG&E came, to see if our stove was leaking gas. Good news! It doesn’t! Later, a couple of guys from Sears came to see if we needed a new fridge door. Good news! We don’t! They just had to, um, bend the gasket or something. (I was downstairs recording — Dan dealt with the Sears guys for me.) While the fridge was moved away from the wall, I cleaned behind it. Yech. Also mopped the ash mud off the kitchen floor again. It looked good for a little while, at least.

I recorded three more chapters of Part One of This Country of Ours today (only one left!), and my half of The Goody-Naughty Book. And Dan helped me upgrade to Leopard on my iMac! So far it’s very very nice. Everything is running well and my computer feels much much faster. Leopard! I have LEOPARD!!!

Pretty soon I’ll go pick up Henry from his dad’s house so we can go to The World Invitational Joust in Poway tomorrow, which we assumed would be canceled but is still on, YAY! I’m looking forward to it sooo much. It’s an actual competition, not a Renaissance Faire… they even ask people not to come in costume. Hooray! No pirate-fairy-wenches. It looks as if they are sticklers for historical accuracy. They’ll have other exhibitions and displays going on all day, including a bowyer, which Henry will surely love. Should make up for our not doing much in the way of “social studies” this month, heheh. :)

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Fire, Zelda, and Costume Construction

October 24th, 2007 — 10:09pm

Fires still raging, a quarter of a million people are still evacuated. We are safe here in north-west Oceanside. The air is bad and we are staying indoors, though I did tie a wet bandana over my nose and went out to run a few errands earlier today. Here is how the entire county looks tonight:


and here is our part of town:


In non-fire news: I went back into the Hourglass dungeon today and got the last sea chart! Henry showed me where a few shortcuts were and reminded me what to do in the upper levels, and coached me through the lower levels (though he hasn’t beat it yet). I got through the first section in 3:15 and he was most impressed :)

Also worked on his Halloween costume for hours. He’s being a Leaf-Chonin (?) ninja from Naruto and needs a green vest with all kinds of specific shaping and decorations. I made the pattern and cut everything out yesterday, and got most of the construction done today and it rocks. Henry is very pleased. It’s made of fleece, fully lined, sturdy and warm, so I hope he’ll get some post-Halloween use out of it as well! Photos tomorrow I hope. Also made a new pair of Naruto Shoes yesterday. I hate making Naruto Shoes, but I am really enjoying the vest. It’s quite a puzzle to translate a cartoon image into a real garment.

KPBS deserves an award for their fire coverage. They have covered it, live, for 75 hours. Thanks, KPBS!!!

1 comment » | Blog

Fire Map, Oct 23, 2007

October 23rd, 2007 — 10:10am

Thanks to for keeping this map up to date, for their twitter feed, and for their live streaming radio coverage, which was very hiccuppy last night but smooth and fine today. Good job kpbs!!! This is how the map looked at 10:00am on Tuesday, October 23, 2007:


It’s not clear to me what the red and yellow areas indicate. Red might be actual fire zones or extreme danger zones, yellow might be evacuation areas. Anyway, they’re not good, and it’s unheard of for wildfires to threaten our coastal areas. We live under the “Oceanside” text, just north of the 78 and very near three of the evacuation centers — if they’re sending people to those schools for shelter, we are still safe. I just heard that residents of Solana Beach are being sent to the mall that’s just south of us across the freeway.

Approximately 1200 houses destroyed so far; 300,000 people evacuated.

2 comments » | Blog


October 22nd, 2007 — 10:54pm

Fires are burning all over San Diego. So far we, in the north-westerly-most part of the county, are safe, but we are ready to evacuate at any moment. Here’s a frequently-updated fire map, courtesy of, who also has a twitter feed!

4 comments » | Blog

More William, Chapter 5

October 22nd, 2007 — 8:40am

More William, by Richmal Crompton.
Read by me!
Chapter 5: William’s Hobby

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

Leopard is coming!

October 21st, 2007 — 1:05pm

Dan’s been talking about Leopard, the soon-to-be-released update for Mac OS X, for quite a while. Last week he showed me the page which lists 300+ new features, and some of them seemed really neat! For instance,

Quick Look:

Look inside any document without launching an application. Use Quick Look with documents, images, songs, and movies and get a large-size preview of the file. Flip through multipage documents, preview movies, even add images to iPhoto. You can use Quick Look in Finder, Mail, and Time Machine.


Organize your activities into separate spaces and easily switch from one to another. Make a space for work or play. Choose from a number of convenient options that make moving from space to space fast and easy.

(I haven’t had proper workspaces since I ran linux)

Scroll Non-Active Windows:

Scroll any open window, even if it’s not active. Simply position your mouse over the target window and scroll.

Path Bar:

See the path of a file when you view it in the Finder. Just choose Show Path Bar from the View menu and the path is visible at the bottom of the Finder window. You can also drag files to any location in the Path Bar.

So I got a little more excited about Leopard. And then, a few days ago, Dan downloaded the Guided Tour and we watched it together, and my head exploded and I became a rabid fangirl and now I can’t WAIT for LEOPARD! LEOPARD LEOPARD LEOPARD!!! Features that didn’t seem that interesting in print (stacks, time machine, new Finder layout, search shared Macs, etc.) look fantastic in use.

Only 5 days to Leopard! Yay Apple!

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

Gardens and Surfboards

October 21st, 2007 — 11:59am


We had such a good day today! Last night we stayed up until 1:30am playing Civilization 4, so this morning I slept until 10 or so, very nice. In the early afternoon we went to Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas. I haven’t been there since my big sister took my little sister and me in the early 80s, and Dan had never been there. It’s only 20 minutes from our house and is a beautiful, peaceful place, so we’re planning to go back a lot more. We bought a family membership, in fact, which was only $60. We strolled around, looked at plants and trees, enjoyed the shade and the good-smelling air, and took a billion photos. We got there a little after 1pm, and before we knew it, 3 hours had passed! We had planned to buy an office plant for Dan at their annual plant sale, which was taking place near the parking lot, but they were packing up by the time we got there, so we’ll get his plant another day.

The gardens are divided up into zones — an Australian Garden, a Tropical Rainforest (with waterfall and pond), a Bamboo Forest, an Herb Garden, etc, with paved main paths and little dirt side paths as well. The place is huge. I don’t think we saw half of it. I’ll post a lot more photos after I’ve processed them, and I’m sure Dan will too. We’re so happy knowing a nice place, closer than Balboa Park, to take out-of-town guests!

After Quail Gardens we stopped by Dan’s work to pick something up, and I got the tour of his new building. When you have an internet start-up in coastal California, you have:

an office surfboard rack


And one extra board


(if anyone can tell me how to align those two photos in a row, please let me know. I tried some basic html alignment code which failed miserably) Edit: Ada suggested a table! Thanks, Ada!

When we got home, I did some recording and LibriVox work (we’ve got 981 finished audio books!), and then we watched Knocked Up, which was very enjoyable.

3 comments » | Blog


October 18th, 2007 — 12:18pm

The Aeropress coffee maker! OMG! OK, yeah, I try to avoid coffee, generally. But every couple of months I give in. I might as well make that rare treat as good as it can be.

Watch as Nerd God Mark Frauenfelder demonstrates the awesomeness:

Dear Santa, this is available at thinkgeek! Hint, hint :)

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

Knitted Chainmail Hauberk for a Young Knight

October 16th, 2007 — 2:04pm

hauberk thumbnail


About 200 grams worsted weight wool or wool blend — this will be plenty even if your Knight is bigger than mine and you want short sleeves. I suggest Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes. At $2/ball for real wool you just can’t find a better deal!

Size 15 circular needles (Or bigger. Or smaller. Add or subtract a few stitches from the body if you use different size needles, or your knight is more round or much smaller than mine. Garter stitch is VERY stretchy, so don’t sweat it too much.)
Yarn needle
Scrap yarn for cast on and stitch holders

The Chainmail Hauberk:

Using scrap yarn and a provisional cast on, cast on 30 st for top of shoulders.

Back: Work back and forth in garter stitch to underarm (8 ridges or so for a sleeveless hauberk, maybe 9 or 10 if you want sleeves. Use your own judgement.) Put these 30 stitches on a string, and pick up 30 from the cast on edge.

Front/neck: Work 10 stitches (right front). Cast off the next ten. Work the next ten (left front). Turn. Work ten, drop yarn, skip the ten cast off stitches, use the other end of the yarn (or the other ball) to work the next ten. Turn.

Neck increase row: work to last stitch of right front, make one, knit last stitch. Now the right front has 11 stitches. For the left front, knit one stitch, make one, knit to end. Now the left front has 11 stitches too.

Knit back across for the wrong side, using both balls of yarn to keep fronts separate.

Repeat the right-side neck increase row and the wrong-side plain row until you have a total of 30 stitches again: 15 for the right front and 15 for the left front. On the next right-side row, knit all the way across with the first ball of yarn so the two sides are joined.

Continue working back and forth to underarm (count ridges and make the front match the back), then join with back section and begin to work in the round. Place a marker at the join. Now that you’re knitting in the round, you’ll need to purl every other round to stay in garter stitch. Invite your Knight to help!

(If you don’t want to purl, leave the front and back separate and sew up the side seams when you’re done.)

Here is how it looks after having used up my first ball of yarn:


When the body is long enough (to lower hip), work a split in front and back to allow easy horseback riding:

Put all 60 stitches on a string. Starting at center front (count 15 over from the side marker), pick up 30 stitches (to center back). Work these 30 stitches back and forth until the flap is long enough (8-10 ridges). Cast off.

Pick up the remaining 30 side stitches and work flap to match the other one. Cast off. Weave in ends.

If you want sleeves, pick up stitches around the arm holes. I’d work flat and weave the underarm seam so you don’t have to do any purling :)

And now, photos of the finished armor!

knitted chainmail

knitted chainmail

knitted chainmail

knitted chainmail

knitted chainmail

(Thanks for letting me take pictures even though you still don’t feel well, Henry :)

(When Ravelry goes live, you can visit this project there: Chainmail Hauberk for a Young Knight)

51 comments » | Blog, Free Patterns, Handmade

Poor Henry

October 15th, 2007 — 8:59pm

Poor Henry is sick. He came down with some kind of horrid virus on Sunday while he was at his dad’s house. He felt too awful to go anywhere, so he spent the night there and his dad brought him home today. He felt a bit better today, no more fever and puking, but his throat is still sore and he feels pretty miserable. I let him watch Survivor All-Stars all day. Survivor makes great entertainment when you’re sick! We’ve got several other seasons saved up.

I did bills and shopping and housework and laundry and LibriVox stuff all day, and kept Henry company, and worked on his chainmail (and he helped with some of the knitting). I’ll have that pattern to post very soon, as soon as the thing is finished.

Henry’s in bed now. I hope he sleeps ok. When he’s sick we always read cozy happy familiar picture books for bedtime — tonight it was Blueberries for Sal and Goodnight Moon. While we were reading, Dan put a Legend of Zelda ringtone on his phone for him, which made him very very happy.

Now I will eat Trader Joe’s Gingeroo cookies and read Hypocrite in a Poufy White dress, which I’m really enjoying. I finished Anybody Out There last night and can’t WAIT to find more by the same author!

Oh here’s the chainmail as of yesterday:


Today we started knitting the bottom part that’s split in front and back.

2 comments » | Blog

More William, Chapter 4

October 15th, 2007 — 8:39am

More William, by Richmal Crompton.
Read by me!
Chapter 4: The Knight at Arms

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

School of Rock

October 13th, 2007 — 11:53pm

We just got home from a great afternoon/evening with Bob and Chloe. We played a ton of music together, and talked, and sat around, and watched School of Rock, which was really entertaining and funny and well-made! I thought it would be quite a different kind of movie and was most pleasantly surprised.

We wish we lived closer to them but at least we don’t live farther apart.

Also watched last Thursday’s Survivor… my, what an unpleasant group of people.

Ran out of yarn for Henry’s chainmail so I’ll have to buy another ball tomorrow. Hope the yarn store is open.

7 comments » | Blog

The Australian Pink Floyd

October 11th, 2007 — 10:47am

Last night Dan, Henry, and I went to see The Australian Pink Floyd down at Humphrey’s! Henry and I picked Dan up from work at 5, and traffic was remarkably light so we got down to the place at about 5:40. We amused ourselves (Phantom Hourglass! Rush!) until 7:00-ish and then found our seats and waited for the show to start. It was a fantastic show, of course. Man. They did the entire Dark Side album, then a ton of other stuff. It was a three-hour show. We were all extremely tired but we had fun anyway. My favorites were One of These Days and Pigs. Great show, great show. If you’re a Pink Floyd fan, try to see The Australian Pink Floyd!

Meg over at The House of Mirth just gave me the Rockin’ Girl Blogger award :)


Thanks, Meg!

I, in turn, give this award to Mari, a 4-year old photographer. See The World According to Mari! You rock, Mari, keep posting those beautiful photos!

I’ve been really tired the last few days, but I think I feel better today. It’s only 10:45 and I’ve already taken Henry to his classes, got my bloodwork done, bought bird food, bought flea stuff for the cat, filled up my gas tank, read email, checked LV, waded through part of my unread feeds, and blogged. Go team kayray. Next up: dishes, housework, maybe some recording, maybe some Phantom Hourglass. I started the Ice Dungeon last night! Also need to fix the WoW add-ons on my iMac but that’s easy, I already fixed them on the Macbook so I’ll just copy the AddOns folder over.

Oh, I forgot to mention — the freeway was closed on the way home last night. Yup, closed. Whee! They detoured us onto a sort of frontage road for a few miles, which narrowed down to one lane at times, and eventually let us back onto 5. But hey, they’ve got to do roadwork sometime, and 11pm on a Wednesday is probably the best time for it.

Also: concerts would be a lot more fun if it weren’t for the other people. Don’t their mothers teach them to stop talking at concerts? The people behind us carried on a loud, drunk conversation through the entire Dark Side set. They left after that. Why on earth did they bother to come at all? Stay home next time, people, put on a cd, and have your loud drunk conversation where you won’t be ignoring hard-working real-live musicians and annoying the people all around you.

3 comments » | Blog

Top-down, Cobblestone-inspired cardigan

October 8th, 2007 — 3:08pm

I ripped out my BPT sweater last winter (the poor neck design bothered me) and all that red yarn has been waiting around to be made into something new. I considered the Tilted Duster from the recent issue of Interweave Knits, but after looking at finished ones on ravelry I changed my mind. Very few of them seem to end up fitting and hanging properly, and I didn’t want to fuss with altering a not-very-good design. I liked the looks of the Cobblestone pullover (except for the curled neckline), but wanted a cardigan. It wouldn’t be hard to work it mostly as-written but split the front, but as my gauge is wildly different and I prefer to work top-down, I decided to re-write the whole pattern to suit my requirements.

Here are some in-progress photos:

Have done neckline and collar and am increasing down the top:

sweater collar and top of yoke

Yoke nearly done! Have worked three short rows across the back portion, from center shoulder to center shoulder.

yoke, front view

yoke, back view

Have divided for fronts/sleeves/back and am working sleeves flat, simultaneously on one long circ. Added 12 total st. to underarms, making sleeves 58 st each. Fronts right now are 38 (will be 44 when those underarm st are picked up). Back is 64 (will be 76). There’s an 11st overlap for the front edges, so I make that out to be about 38″ around, which should fit me in a loose, jackety way. I might nip in the waist a bit when I get there. Will work a few short rows across the back now and then.

I wonder if it’s too big:

beginning the sleeves

Well, I’ll work a little more on the sleeves, then join the body sections and work those for an inch or two. Not much to rip out if I need to go a little smaller. Or I might just need to decrease away those underarm sections.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

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