Archive for January 2008


New apron!

January 28th, 2008 — 4:41pm

My new reversible apron! I love it. It wraps around and buttons at the back neck. I made the pattern myself. The big pocket is handy for clothespins or storing little things in while tidying up. One side is green gingham, and the other is a scrap of a really nice green print that I’m not sure the origin of. I think maybe I made a laptop bag for Kathy out of it… Thanks, Henry, for taking these pictures for me!

new apron2

new apron

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Sewing

January 27th, 2008 — 7:34pm

I can’t find my favorite green apron, so I made a new apron today. It’s too dark to take a photo but I’ll try to get one tomorrow. I made it reversible, and put a big pocket on one side for clothespins. I made the pattern myself and it turned out great! While I was sewing, I listened to a couple of episodes of a really great science podcast, The Missing Link, which I discovered at earideas.com:

The Missing Link: A Podcast on the History of Science, Medicine & Technology

Henry’s not feeling so good tonight. He woke up with a little cold and now his throat is hurting just a bit, poor boy. We let him play more World of Warcraft that usual today to cheer him up. Right now we’re watching The Muppet Show — first George Burns, then Mark Hamill (ewwww), then Debbie Harry, and now Marty Feldman. Marty Feldman is hilarious! The Muppet Show is a great way to make sure your kid knows some popular culture from years ago :)

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compare and contrast

January 24th, 2008 — 8:05pm

Let’s compare and contrast games from two software companies, shall we? Both sell games for OS X, though GrubbyGames also offers their games for PC and Linux. Yes, LINUX! :)

Company A, http://freeverse.com/ offers a demo version of their 6-game suite, Big Bang Brain Games. The demo works for one hour; that’s one hour total for all six games. Yeah, um, right. That’s ten minutes to try each game, theoretically, if you move fast, but the clock keeps ticking down even while you’re in menu screens or waiting for slow-talking AIs to STFU. I like to play in a window, but when the game goes non-fullscreen the menu options are cut off at the bottom of the screen. The full suite costs $30, which isn’t too bad for six games but I only had time try two of the games, and one of them was lame. Both had pretty graphics but annoying music and AI characters. I had to turn down the volume completely. Sorry, freeverse, two thumbs down.

Company B, http://grubbygames.com/ sells three games at $20 each. Their demos are extremely generous, allowing you to access all features and play a very good number of levels. There’s no time limit at all, just a level limit. I don’t like to feel rushed, so this system makes me happy! All three of the GrubbyGames games are adorable, clever, and unique, with charming graphics, sounds, and music. Playing in a window works as it should. Each has “kid” levels as well, which are very nice when you’re feeling easily frustrated :) I bought FizzBall last year, and it was worth every penny. It’s given us all hours of fun! I asked if I would be able to run the game on my two macs and Henry’s PC, and they said it was fine to download as many copies as I needed for my family. Of course, since they were so generous and trusting, I’ll never violate that trust by downloading more copies than we need or sharing them illegally. (Note to other companies: don’t assume your customers are criminals.) Thanks, GrubbyGames, two thumbs up for you!

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Grease photos are up!

January 24th, 2008 — 11:32am

I finally got a couple hundred photos winnowed down to 36, cropped, tweaked, etc. Here’s the Flickr set:

Bayshore’s Performance of Grease, 2008

Here’s another favorite:
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And here’s the whole cast being awesome during the last rehearsal:
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I woke up really early today ’cause I was cold. But I was cold for no reason! I had the same blankets I always have, my nice warm pajamas, the heater was set the same as always… whatever.

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Balboa Park Morning

January 23rd, 2008 — 10:08pm

Henry and I used our free passes to the Japanese Friendship Garden this morning, and had a wonderful time there. So peaceful. And the weather was perfect this morning, cool and sunny. Then we ate our sandwiches and popped into the Timkin for a while (they have a Breugel there, and a Rembrandt, among many other treasures!), then the Botanical building. A very nice morning at Balboa Park.

Also — Happy birthday Mom!!! You’re the youngest 60-something in the world :)

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Other Things

January 22nd, 2008 — 9:23pm

Lucky for me (and you) Chloe blogged about her weekend, which overlapped our weekend quite a bit so it reminded me of some other things to mention! We hung out with them on Friday and watched the second episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which Dan and I adore. I know, I know, it sounds trashy but it’s not, really. Dr. Drew is awesome. He’s an addiction medicine specialist and he really knows how to handle addicts. It’s a fascinating show. Mature audiences only! Those addicts pull some shenanigans, let me tell you… Also we watched Superbad, which was a great movie! We laughed and laughed. Really fun, kind of reminded me of Dazed and Confused, a little bit… it’s a “slice of life” kind of thing, you know? Also for mature audiences only, heheh :)

And then Chloe came over on Saturday evening and I helped her sew elbow patches on her green cardigan, and we watched Wordplay, a fantastic documentary about Will Shortz, the NY Times crossword puzzle, and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. This one is fine for all ages :) And then Chloe and Henry and I did a couple of crosswords together.

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Hello again!

January 22nd, 2008 — 5:18pm

Ugh, I hate it when I miss a few days of blogging. It’s too hard to catch up, so I’ll just jump back in. Not feeling that great the past few days… lack of sleep, lots of headaches, odd stomach problems, etc. Nothing serious, though.

I finished Dita’s mitts:

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and sent them to her, and she loves them! I made a pair for myself out of the leftover yarn (our World of Warcraft guild colors), and have also been commissioned to make a pair for Mom’s boyfriend’s daughter. I need to get those done before the weekend! I’ve already gotten one finished so I’m not worried. Photos of more mitts tomorrow, and soon more photos from Grease… I’m still working on those. Oh, the next show they’re doing is “Into The Woods”.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Grease!

January 17th, 2008 — 9:13pm

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Henry the greaser, dancing with the Pink Ladies.

The show was amazing! More photos tomorrow…

3 comments » | Blog

Spring!

January 16th, 2008 — 7:45am

Yesterday was a real San Diego-style Spring day. Warm sun, chilly breeze, not a cloud in the sky, and a certain smell in the air, a kind of planty smell, that means Springtime. Yeah, it’s true that we don’t have seasons here, as such, but when you’ve lived here as long as I have you notice tiny little changes.

Our “seasons” are not only subtle but unpredictable, and often rotate day by day. Today looks gray and wintry again. But Spring might come again tomorrow!

2 comments » | Blog

What I read in 2007

January 15th, 2008 — 1:57pm

We had a “Read One Book a Week in 2007″ thread at LibriVox, so I actually kept track of nearly everything that I read last year. I didn’t literally read one book a week — some weeks I read several and some weeks I read none at all, but whatever, it added up to 52. A few things slipped through the cracks, but here are the 52 that I remembered to write down:

1. Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
2. The Christmas Store, by Ray Sipherd (not recommended)
3. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (Excellent!!!)(Jan. 9)
4. Castle, by David Macaulay (Jan. 5)
5. Cathedral, by David Macaulay (Jan. 9)
6 The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice (Jan 11)
7. London is the Best City in America, by Laura Dave (Jan 18)
8. The Grey King, by Susan Cooper (Jan 29)
9. The Shepherd, The Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog, by Dave Barry (hilarious and touching) (Jan 31)
10. When Madeline Was Young, by Jane Hamilton (Amazing!) (Feb 3)
11. The Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton (feb)
12. Disobedience, by Jane Hamilton (excellent!!) (Feb)
13. Whose Body?, by Dorothy Sayers (librivox – excellent)(Feb)
14. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin (LibriVox) (March)
15: Gaudy Night, by Dorothy Sayers
16: Busman’s Honeymoon, by Dorothy Sayers
17: The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy (LV, read by Gypsygirl) A rip-roaring adventure!
18: Something from the Oven
19: Summer People (meh)
20: Under Orders (Dick Francis, yay!)
21 Making History (Stephen Fry, yay!)
22: Revenge (Stephen Fry. This one interfered with my sleep)
23: Strawberry Girl (Lois Lenski)
24: Aran Knitting (Alice Starmore)
25: A Room with a View (E.M. Forster, recorded for LV)
26: San Francisco Boy (Lois Lenski)
27: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
28: Texas Tomboy (Lois Lenski)
29: Betsy and the Great World
30: Fever 1793 (Laurie Anderson, excellent YA historical fiction)
31: Murder at the Racetrack (short story collection)
32: little women next door (Sheila Klass)
33: Lady Susan (Austen, LV recording)
34: Brat Farrar (Josephine Tey)
35: No Need to Knead (Suzanne Dunaway)
36: Shopaholic and Baby (sophie kinsella)
37: One Third Off (Cobb, LV recording)
38: The Daughter of Time
39: Literacy and Longing in LA
40: Bagthorpes Abroad
41: Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet (excellent)
42: Make Him Look Good
43: The Four-Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright
44: Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes (loved it!!)
45: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes (loveloveloved it!)
46: Sushi for Beginners, by Marian Keyes (awesome!)
47: Mad Dash, by Patricia Gaffney (very good!)
48: Hypocrite in a Poufy White Dress
49: And Then There Were Five, by Elizabeth Enright
50: The Return of Sherlock Holmes (LV recording, HOT!!!)
51: A Little Princess (LV recording, Karen Savage, HOT!!!)
52: Being Committed, by Anna Maxted

And we’re all set to read a book a week in 2008!

6 comments » | Blog, Books

Awesome Sour Cream Cake

January 12th, 2008 — 11:34am

CaroleKnits posted her mother’s recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake. It’s a bit hard to find in her archives, so I’ll repost it here:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream to butter and sugar then add sifted dry ingredients.

Prepare nut topping as follows:
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Pour 1/2 batter into greased tube pan and sprinkle 1/2 nut mixture on top. Add remaining batter and top with remaining nut mixture. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.

I made it last night, and it is truly an amazing cake. Instead of the nuts/sugar/cinnamon filling, I spread some boysenberry jam in the middle. Also, I don’t have a tube pan so I used a loaf pan and increased the baking time by ten minutes, which wasn’t quite enough — the top center was still kind of gooey, but 90% of the cake was perfect :) It’s easy to make, too, and doesn’t require any unusual ingredients, so as long as I keep sour cream handy I can make it any time. Ohhhh yes.

edit: the second time I made it, I added 1/4 cup cocoa powder and skipped the filling. YUM!

2 comments » | Blog, Recipes

Sgt. Pepper tracks

January 8th, 2008 — 8:47pm

Whoa. Sgt. Pepper with the individual tracks split apart. I love hearing things like this. And the sound waves are pretty to watch. I love the grungy rhythm guitar at about 3:30, and all the finger squeaks in that track too. I have a thing for finger squeaks. Can totally live without the brass, though. (Notice the, um, interesting harmony at about 5:50 :) YAY BEATLES!!

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Hooray for KPBS!

January 6th, 2008 — 9:36pm

We finally got fed up with paying over $70 every month for satellite TV, so when we moved we hooked up neither cable or satellite TV. There’s not much on, and what is on we can watch online, rent from greencine, or buy from iTunes, and there’s still no way we’ll end up spending $70/month! So that means we also have no TiVo, can you believe it? How archaic. But we are very fortunate to be able to receive KPBS‘s over-the-air HDTV signal loud and clear, and it looks just beautiful. I really don’t miss TiVo at all. We are KPBS members, of course, so we get their On Air guide every month. I went through the January issue, circled the good stuff, marked it all in my calendar, and set it to give me emailed reminders. I’m finding it to be sort of retro-fun to plan my TV viewing around air times like the old days! The best stuff is on weeknights at 8pm. On those nights Henry gets his bedtime routine started early so we are all done with teeth and bedtime reading by eight. Last Wednesday we watched “Pioneers of TV”, which was wonderful. We’re both looking forward to the next part. This evening we watched Nature, all about a colony of lions in the hostile Namib desert. And of course tomorrow night is the Antiques Roadshow! It’s really soothing to cuddle up with some good, educational, high-quality tv before bed.

Thank you, KPBS!!!

2 comments » | Blog

Earideas – great new site for worth-while audio

January 4th, 2008 — 8:25am

Hugh, founder of LibriVox and all-around great guy, has come up with a fantastic new site: earideas.com.

From their front page:

Earideas is a collection of the best thoughtful audio available on the web. We’ve got shows from public and other broadcasters, magazines, newspapers, museums, as well as individuals. You can find it all here (to subscribe, download, or listen on our site), updated daily with the latest shows, organized by category.

There’s a lot of high-quality, interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking audio out there on the net, but it can be hard to find. And although I know of a lot of great podcasts, I don’t tend to subscribe to them because I get overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff I end up with and feel like I ought to listen to. Earideas is pure genius. They’ve selected the cream of the podcast crop and organized it by category in a nice clean interface. There’s a download link for every episode that they list but if you want to listen online there’s an easy to use flash player, too. That’s what I use, so I don’t have to remember to delete anything from my hard drive!

I subscribe to their “Featured Shows” rss feed, and I just let the hundreds of items stack up in my feed reader until I’m in the mood for some listening. Then I scroll down through their feed, and always find something that catches my interest, whether it’s Fresh Air, NPR movie reviews, an episode of The Onion news, or some other random thing I never would have found otherwise. Last night, for instance, I bumped into an Australian book review podcast and heard an interview with the author of “Queen of Fashion“, which I then found in my library system and had sent to my local branch. You can also follow earideas on twitter. Cool!

4 comments » | Blog, Tech

photogamer

January 3rd, 2008 — 10:13pm

Forgot to mention photogamer.com!

Everyday in January, there will be a prompt that will prompt you to take a picture. It may be a prompt to take a picture of a your next meal or a tree. It’s your job to make it interesting. If it goes well, we’ll keep going.

You can also follow @photogamer on twitter to get your assignments.

Here are my contributions so far, but you’ll want to look at the entire flickr pool to get a better idea.

Fun! Yesterday I helped Henry make a flickr account so he could play, too.

2 comments » | Blog, Tech

Happy New Year!

January 3rd, 2008 — 10:03pm

Two days late, but Happy New year anyway! It’s bedtime but I will just fill you in briefly on a few things:

I’m reading Mark Haddon’s “A Spot Of Bother” which is very very good. He also wrote “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” which you should read. [edit: finished! Briliant book!]

I unpacked six boxes yesterday, mostly books. I feel much better with some of my favorite books on our one and only bookshelf, and Henry’s schoolbooks and our music books on the piano. Oh, and all our nice games and puzzles are on one shelf. Maybe *someone* will play scrabble with me someday. Also I took the tree down yesterday. It was a pleasant job, since I always buy a 4-foot tree (or so) and put it up on a table so it looks nice and tall. Not so many things to put on and take off.

Today Mom came over for a few hours and I helped her with a sewing project. My new corner sewing area looks out through two large windows into the back yard. Also we watched an episode of Connections on youtube. Also we ate steamed potatoes and enjoyed being warm.

I started Lena’s fingerless mitts yesterday, and have one wrist done already. Now I need to decide on a color pattern. I think I might do the thumb slightly differently, and have the increases between thumb and hand, instead of at the outside edge of the thumb.

Yesterday, Henry had a trial lesson and a group class at the Kung Fu school down the street. He loves it! I think we’ll be signing up after his next two trial lessons next week. It’s lovely to see him filled with enthusiasm for martial arts again!

I really love our new house! (It’s not ours literally, it’s a rental, but you know what I mean).

I woke up at 5 this morning so I am really ready for some sleep.

Henry and I watched the first episode of “Pioneers of TV” on PBS last night, and we both enjoyed it very much and are looking forward to next week’s episode. (Wednesdays at 8, for four weeks)

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