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Archive for August 2008

Mii Posting Plaza

August 29th, 2008 — 10:08am

This morning Henry and I made a Dr. Horrible Mii and a Captain Hammer Mii. I just posted them to the Mii Posting Plaza. Here are their numbers, so you can find them and import them to your own Mii plaza if you want to, and perhaps vote them up. I think they’re pretty good!

Dr. Horrible: 5143-7259-7185 (Yes, I know it says he’s female. We did that to make it look like he’s wearing a lab coat)
Captain Hammer: 1634-5717-6203

We’re working on Penny but she’s not quite right yet.

Comment » | Blog, Tech

A perfect birthday

August 28th, 2008 — 9:27am

I had such a good day yesterday. Henry came home from his dad’s house about 8:30 and gave me my present, the portrait of Animala in the previous post :) And then around 9, his friend Nicolas came to play for a few hours. He’s been taking guitar lessons from Henry’s dad for the past few months, so the boys at least get to say “hi” every Saturday, but rarely have actual playtime. I haven’t seen Nicolas since the boys were 5 or 6 and we moved to Oceanside! I was really happy to get acquainted with him again. He’s a great guy, smart and polite and fun. They played Guitar Hero for most of the morning (I had a few turns as well), with a quick break for real musical instruments, and then we switched to Smooth Moves.


Chloe and Celia came over in the afternoon, with a watermelon, which was a great hit, and we took turns with Smooth Moves until Nicolas’s mom came to pick him up, and pretty soon after that it was time for us to go to Kung Fu and Celia to go to her rehearsal.

Dan came home a bit early and gave me another pile of presents: A Mama Bear swift (walnut!), the new Lileks book (Gastroanomalies, hilarious), a set of watercolors in tubes, a special watercolor paper Moleskine, a bottle of watercolor mixing medium, and a lovely pack of my favorite ultra-fine Sharpies! In the photo, you can also see the pictures and cards than Chloe and Celia and Henry drew for me :)


And then Dan and Henry and I played a game of Agricola in which we used the Occupations and Minor Improvement cards for the first time. It was very fun but those cards add a lot of complexity so it took us something like three hours to finish the game, by which time Bob and Chloe and Celia had come back over to play some more! (Dan won, by the way, but it was a close game. It won’t take three hours next time ’cause we’ll be more familiar with the extra cards!) So then Henry played Wii sports with Celia and we sat around, and then the guys and Celia played Uno Extreme while Chloe and I giggled at Gastroanomalies. It was a wonderful day!

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Animala of Aggramar

August 27th, 2008 — 10:21am

For my birthday (Today! Thanks for all the greetings, everyone!), Henry drew a portrait of my main WoW character, Animala of Aggramar!


She’s a lvl 70 Night Elf Druid, with an epic flying mount :) He drew her in her Healer gear, but she also has a complete set of Feral gear for FIGHTING. I love this portrait!

4 comments » | Blog

Two useful things

August 26th, 2008 — 7:57pm

First Useful Thing:

How often do you use your capslock button intentionally? If you’re like me, you hit it by accident now and then, look up to find you’ve typed a WHOLE SENTENCE IN SHOUTY CAPS, swear a little, delete, and re-type. I recently read a tip somewhere telling how to turn off the the darn caps lock button on your mac! Here’s a little tutorial for you:

1. Open System Preferences. The easiest thing to do is click the little apple up in the top left-hand corner of the screen:


2. Once you’re in System Preferences, click “Keyboard and Mouse”:

System Preferences

3. On the “Keyboard” tab, click the “Modifier Keys” button:

Keyboard & Mouse

4. Now set Caps Lock Key to “No Action” in the drop-down box, and hit “OK”:

System Preferences

Now sing and dance, ’cause you’ll never type an accidental string of shouty caps again!

Second Useful Thing:

Did you notice all those nifty little screenshots up above? I made those with a wonderful new little program called Skitch for OS X. It’s a free beta right now. It’s hard to describe how useful it is, but I’ll give it a shot.

So, you run the program and you get a little empty window, surrounded by a frame with a few familiar tools on it — pencil, eraser, color choices, text, paint bucket, etc.


There’s a “Snap” button on the frame. Click it, and you get crosshairs, and the Skitch window disappears so you can take a screenshot of whatever window is now on top. You can click to take a picture of the whole window, or click and drag the crosshairs for a selection. There’s a timer option too. Once you’ve taken your screenshot, Skitch pops back up with your shot in its frame. Now you can manipulate the little image however you want — draw on it, drag the lower right corner of the window to enlarge or reduce the whole image, drag inside the window to crop, add text, select and drag elements you’ve added, whatever. When you’re done fiddling, hit the “webpost” button at the bottom of the frame and Skitch uploads your little image to your own “Skitch” page. Every image has this little box on the right side of its page:

System Preferences

The “copy” buttons copy whichever url you choose to your clipboard, and then you can go paste it in to your email or your blog post or your forum post or whatever. The default privacy setting is “secret” but you can change that.

So this one little app lets you easily take screenshots, edit them, upload them, and share them. I need to take a lot of screenshots to explain things to LibriVox volunteers, and boy oh boy does Skitch make it easier! It’s got lots more fun and/or useful features — for instance, you can take a snap via photobooth (or a webcam?) and give yourself a fancy hat and a moustache and a bow tie and some party balloons:


Go install Skitch! What are you waiting for?

4 comments » | Blog, Tech

Helen’s Babies, Part 9

August 25th, 2008 — 7:58am

Helen’s Babies by John Habberton, Part 9

Helen’s Babies, Part 9

Read by me!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book here:

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

Little Quilt

August 24th, 2008 — 9:23am

I made a little quilt-top yesterday:


The white-ish fabric is leftover from the regency dress that I made for Chloe many years ago. The red and green is flannel leftover from pillowcase Morsbags, and the purple is a scrap of velour. (WordPress doesn’t think that “velour” is a word, heheh) I set up a nice sewing area on the back porch, under the overhang, and sewed it all together while listening to old (2002! 2003!) episodes of Loveline with Kathy Griffin as the guest. (Oh Kathy Griffin we love you SO MUCH! Can’t wait for season 5 of D-List!)

Anyway, got the quilt top pieced, and then pieced together odd scraps of batting from Dan’s Monkey Wrench quilt and sandwiched the whole thing with a large scrap of mom’s hydrangea/raspberry curtains for the backing. Ready to quilt!


I don’t even really know why I’m making this… I just had an urge to use up some scraps and make a little quilt. Go figure.

4 comments » | Blog, Handmade

more fun

August 22nd, 2008 — 4:43pm

Yesterday we spent the whole day with Bob and Chloe and Celia again! We played Wario “Smooth Moves” on the wii (such a fun and ridiculous game) and lots more multiple solitaire for hours and hours. We fixed salad and pasta for lunch and then Bob and Chloe took us out to the Studio Diner for dinner! What a treat! After dinner we all went over to their house for a couple of hours. Dan, Bob, and Henry played Uno Extreme until it was time to go home. It was such a great day, and so nice to be able to spend hours and hours having fun with my wonderful family!

Right now I have a wretched headache but I got some good recording done today — two more chapters of The Adventures of Sally, one episode of a history podcast that some students in England wrote and asked me to record for them, and 100 word/sentence combinations for a Brazilian fellow who’s creating a computer program to help teach English to adults.

Oh, and Annie and I decided to record Emma as a duet, alternating chapters. I did my first chapter already — fun!

Oh, hey, my birthday is next week! Here’s my wishlist :)

3 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog


August 21st, 2008 — 9:30am

In my family, the card game of choice for get-togethers is what we call Double Solitaire, only it’s usually triple, quadruple, quintuple, or more. We’ve played with up to eight players but it gets pretty crazy at that point. Chloe, Celia, and Bob came over yesterday afternoon and we taught Bob and the kids how to play. It’s regular Klondike (turn three cards at once, no limit on the number of times you can go through the deck), only each player has his own deck and you sit on the floor so the players all face each other in a big triangle, square, pentagon, etc. If you have a lot of players, you need a lot of floorspace!

Aces are played into the area in the middle so all players can see and reach them. Anyone can play to any ace. For instance, Henry can play his two of hearts on my ace of hearts, and then Chloe can put her three on top of that. A good game can get quite competitive and crazy! When everyone is stuck, count up the cards in the middle. The player with the most cards in the middle wins. Or if it makes more sense to count the remaining cards, the player with the fewest is the winner, of course. If everything works and you “go out” (all cards played onto ace piles, nothing left) the player who slaps down his last card first is the winner.

We played for hours, and I hope they’ll come back soon and play some more! I’ll try to get a photo of a game in progress if they do.

3 comments » | Blog

Helen’s Babies, Part 8

August 18th, 2008 — 7:56am

Helen’s Babies by John Habberton, Part 8

Helen’s Babies, Part 8

Read by me!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book here:

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

Patricia Brent, Spinster

August 17th, 2008 — 9:39am

I’ve been listening to wonderful LibriVox recording of Patricia Brent, Spinster, read by Anna Simon (lezer, on the forums). She’s Dutch and has such a sweet accent! Here’s her summary:

A romantic comedy, written in 1918, but with a modern feel to it. Patricia Brent one day overhears two fellow-boarders pitying her because she “never has a nice young man to take her out”. In a thoughtless moment of anger she announces that the following night she will be dining out with her fiance. When she arrives at the restaurant the next day, she finds some of the fellow-boarders there to watch her, so, rendered reckless by the thought of the humiliation of being found out, she goes up to a young man sitting alone at a table, and asks him to help her by “playing up”. Countless complications and adventures ensue…

It’s a splendid book, very modern and witty. Highly recommended!

8 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

My Fair Lady

August 15th, 2008 — 10:51am

Thursday night we went to the Starlight to see My Fair Lady! It was a wonderful show. I don’t know why I always go to Starlight shows expecting mediocrity, but at least I’m always pleasantly surprised. Dan was busy so we invited my mom to come along and she loved it too. We had excellent seats and no tall people sat in front of us, even! (Our seats would ordinarly have been $45 each but a wonderful homeschool mom got them for us for $15!)

The cast was incredibly strong, the costumes were beautiful, the backdrops were masterpieces of trompe-l’oeil. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that they were actually flat! The actor who played Alfred P. Doolittle was a hearty round-bellied gentleman with little tiny twinkling feet and a big wonderful voice. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Eliza, Mrs. Pierce, Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins, Mrs. Higgins, Freddy, all the servants and flower sellers and costermongers, I was just blown away by all the talented people. Thank you, Starlight Theatre!

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Thanks, Mark N!

August 12th, 2008 — 10:59pm

Even though I had a long day of much driving (took Henry to Vista to play with friends, then to Escondido for D&D) I felt good enough this evening to go to the local game store’s Board Game Night at 7pm. It was great! We played Amyitis, a nicely-balanced Euro-game. Two of the fellows had played it before, and another fellow and I had not so they taught it to us. Lots of fun! Hope to go again next Tuesday if I’m not too tired.

And when I got home, Dan and I watched our new dvd of The Guild :) :) :) Good stuff!

Oh, and I just got email from Amazon — some kindly LibriVox fan named Mark N sent me a $30 Amazon gift card! What a sweetie! I have no way to contact him, so I’ll thank him here and hope he stops by and sees this. Thanks, Mark! Mmmmmmmm books!

7 comments » | Blog

Helen’s Babies, Part 7

August 11th, 2008 — 7:56am

Helen’s Babies by John Habberton, Part 7

Helen’s Babies, Part 7

Read by me!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book here:

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog


August 9th, 2008 — 10:09am

So! A few weeks ago I finished the art book, then recorded a short and dear little cookbook, and then started looking around for another long-term project. I wanted something funny, so I finally chose The Adventures of Sally, by P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve recorded two chapters so far and it’s great. The chapters are long, though, boy oh boy. The second chapter weighed in at 52 minutes — and that’s after editing. The unedited file was about an hour long, and took much longer to record because I live in a flight path and that day was a busy one at the airport. The planes flew over my house every couple minutes, so I had to keep pausing. But that’s ok, Wodehouse is fun to read and it’s a good story, so I don’t mind those long chapters. Follow my progress here, if you like: (But please don’t re-post the temporary “listen” links.)

Also, Shell Crandall and I have started a marvelous children’s history book, The Story of Mankind, as a duet, alternating chapters. I found it by checking wikipedia for books published in 1922 (the cut-off date for public domain in the USA). On that page was a mention that The Story of Mankind won the Newbery that year so I looked into it a bit and we decided to go for it! It’s super well-written and very readable. You may follow our progress here: Again, please don’t re-post the “listen” links! I’ll let you know when it’s finished and then you can post to your heart’s content.

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Gift from Betsie!

August 6th, 2008 — 9:19am

Betsie (thistlechick of LibriVox) sent me a surprise package in the mail! What a sweetie. She sent a big 96-gram ball of homespun yarn, a book that she read and enjoyed and thought I might like, and a jar or her home-hived honey!


Look at that pretty yarn! It reminds me of strawberries and cream. It’s a very soft merino/hemp blend, and there’s plenty for socks or mittens or a hat, or one of those neckwarmers that cross over and button… Thanks again, Betsie! :) :) :)

1 comment » | Blog


August 4th, 2008 — 12:25pm

Henry decided to dye his hair red today:
We got stuff from the health food store so he wouldn’t get brain cancer. I was surprised at what a nice strong color he got! What a cutie-pie.

While the dye was soaking into his hair, I showed him Dr. Horrible. He loved it, of course, and is now watching all over again. I found a page of lyrics: and a fansite: (found that when @wonderflonium followed me on twitter!).

Oh, goodness, look at my wrist, I gotta go.

5 comments » | Blog

Helen’s Babies, Part 6

August 4th, 2008 — 7:53am

Helen’s Babies by John Habberton, Part 6

Helen’s Babies, Part 6

Read by me!

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book here:

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

This is his hair!

August 3rd, 2008 — 5:01pm

First of all, did you know that you can still watch all three acts of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on And, although hulu usually lets you view their programming only if you live in the states, I hear you can watch Dr. Horrible from anywhere in the world! Hope that’s true. We can hardly wait until the dvd comes out!

So they say he saved her life
They say she works with the homeless
and doesn’t eat meat
We have a problem with her
(This is his hair!)

Yesterday Bob and Chloe came over in the evening and we had the best time talking and hanging out! We played with the new Check Mii Out channel on the Wii — voted on some contests and made a Surfer Dude to enter in the Surfer Dude contest. And we watched a few episodes of Spaced, and all of Dr. Horrible (which I enjoyed even more the second time through).

Today I poked around around at the new Nintendo Channel, watched a ton of game previews and downloaded a couple of demos for the DS. Crosswords DS was fun — but even “hard” wasn’t very hard, kinda like a NYT Monday puzzle, and there were a lot of stupid clues. Not sure if the full game has a more challenging level. The interface rocks, though. I’m pretty excited about WiiWare, but I want to read a few more reviews before I decide on a game to buy :) Magnetica looks fun (I love Zuma) and the Dr. Mario Online one looks great too, and maybe My Life as a King, LostWinds, Toki Tori, and of course Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People (which is supposed to be released in this month). Any opinions, fellow Wii-owners?

Edit: I just did a little research and found that there are two different Crosswords games for DS – “Crosswords DS“, the one I tried today, and also “The New York Times Crosswords”. Yep. That’s the one I want to try next!!

5 comments » | Blog, Tech

Dover Sampler

August 2nd, 2008 — 10:35am

I’ve been in love with Dover Publications since I was a little kid. The coloring books! The cheap reprints of classics! The antique needlework guides! The cut-and-makes! The paper dolls, oh, the paper dolls! I just found out that Dover has an online sampler service. Just give them your email address, and every week you get a link to a webpage full of sample book pages to download and print out. Today I got two coloring pages, one from a stained glass coloring book and another from “Art Masterpieces to Color”. If I had a color printer, I could have printed out a page of post-impressionist postcards and a page of fruit-crate labels. And if I liked Tom Tierney I could have printed a page of one of his paper doll books. There are also pages from a book of poetry, a book of mazes, a book of butterfly crafts, etc., etc.

Go here to sign up!

4 comments » | Blog, Books, Homeschooling

Goodbye, Dolly

August 1st, 2008 — 10:49am

Inspired by WALL-E, Henry and I tried to watch Hello Dolly yesterday but we gave up partway through. We love a good musical (The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Into The Woods, Guys and Dolls, The Sound of Music) but Hello Dolly just didn’t do it for us. I didn’t think any of the characters were at all appealing, and the country-bumpkin thing got old really fast. Barbra Streisand is just plain annoying. So we sent that disk back to greencine.

1 comment » | Blog

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