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Archive for January 2010

Feeling better today!

January 29th, 2010 — 9:10pm

Today I woke up feeling a lot better, still sniffly but not bone-crushingly tired like yesterday. So hooray! Maybe I’m on the mend. Or maybe tomorrow I’ll feel horrible again. Who knows?

Drove Henry to his Drama class first thing in the morning, then to piano, then we made two grocery stops, then home and I grilled a bunch of chicken and played some WoW, then out to Henry’s kung fu lesson, then home and made some of the chicken into a casserole with spinach, sour cream, mozzarella, and parmesan. Then Dan played Settlers of Catan with us while dinner cooked, and then I took Henry back out to a Lion Dance rehearsal and now we’re home and I’m all worn out.

Yesterday I discovered a new iPhone game which is pictionary-esque and TONS of fun, and it’s free. It’s called “Depict”. It’s on the OpenFeint network, so add me as a friend and we might get to play together (kayrayovac). So far it’s nearly as fun as Words With Friends! (I’m kayrayovac there, too, so start a game with me if you like.)

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 13

January 29th, 2010 — 9:03pm

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 13 – 31:49

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January 28th, 2010 — 9:46pm

Woke up feeling just rotten and felt rotten all day, achingly tired and weak and sniffly. Bah. I did manage to do some edits on a couple of my recordings for ignatius press and recorded some stories for the English teacher in Poland. And, um, I did laundry and drove Henry to and fro and made some type of dinner. And we played Settlers of Catan with Simon tonight, that was nice.

Henry’s in bed and we’re watching Peep Show. Hilarious.

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Wild Animal Park

January 27th, 2010 — 11:12pm

Our friend Simon blew into town for a couple days, so Henry and I took him to the Wild Animal Park today. What a treat! The weather was just perfect – cool and gloomy except for a couple of hottish hours in the middle of the day. We hiked all over the park, all the way up to see the condors and all they way down to the bottom of the Heart of Africa trail, and saw everything in between, and rode the tram and saw the bird show (the newbie show people need some practice, but whatever, the birds are always great).

My cold is way better today and I only had to blow my nose and cough a few times. And I slept for real last night, despite some bizarre and rather gory dreams in which john Lennon came back to life and was murdered again, and I was being pursued by Nazis. I can thank Quentin Tarantino for that one ;-) Yipe!

Henry brought his Rubik’s Cube home on Monday, and on Tuesday I found solving instructions on and sat there obsessively working on it till I soved the cube. Today Henry carried it and a printout of the solving formulae around the Animal Park and worked on it all day and took it to bed and worked on it some more and also solved it! Yay us! I remember the original craze for Rubik’s Cubes, and how Kirsten and I memorized the solution book and could solve our cubes without referring to it.

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 12 part 2

January 27th, 2010 — 10:45pm

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 12 part 2 – 26:26

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 12 part 1

January 25th, 2010 — 9:30am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 12 part 1 – 25:44

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 11 part 2

January 22nd, 2010 — 9:40am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 11 part 2 – 21:49

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Inglourious Basterds

January 21st, 2010 — 10:52am

Dan and I finally got around to watching Inglourious Basterds on the weekend. I had heard that it was good and really wanted to see it, but was also worried that it might be a Tarantino bloodbath and give me nightmares. But I really loved it! The story was great, the acting was top-notch, and it was beautifully filmed. Yep, there was some blood-and-gore stuff I covered my eyes for, but not nearly as much as I thought there would be. Great, great movie. I look forward to watching it again. Christoph Waltz deserved that Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. He was amazing. But I’m shocked and appalled that Avatar beat Inglourious Basterds for Best Motion Picture. Avatar was pretty, but the story was shallow, heavy-handed, and 100% predictable; Basterds was a movie with real depth and artistry. And the Avatar won that Golden Globe. Bah.

We’ve been having a lovely stretch of stormy, rainy weather here in San Diego. Today it’s raining on and off and very blustery — a good day for soup, so I’m making a pot of beef and veggie. My cold is a lot better but I’m still slightly stuffed up, and soup sounds like just the thing.

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 11 part 1

January 20th, 2010 — 9:16am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 11 part 1 – 17:33

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 10 part 2

January 18th, 2010 — 11:56am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 10 part 2 – 23:14

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pbs video

January 17th, 2010 — 10:54am

Forgot to mention in my long post below. You can watch full episodes of many great PBS shows — Antiques Roadshow, American Experience, Nova, etc. I discovered this wonderful resource when I wanted to share an eposide of “The Human Spark” with Chloe. The stream worked great — no stutters, no hiccups, no endless buffering (I’m looking at you, Hulu).

I may need to double my membership pledge.

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Thank you, NPR

January 17th, 2010 — 10:38am

It seems like forever that I’ve been waiting for NPR to become really accessible via the web. For years, hearing their content without a radio was difficult; if they did offer content on the web, it required Real Player or other proprietary and horrible software, or it was impossible to hear anything on a Mac (or linux) at all. Streaming content was spotty; podcasts were few. But it’s finally happened! I can hear pretty much any NPR shows I want to hear, anytime I want to hear them. I’ve got three NPR-related apps on my iPhone: “Public Radio”, “NPR”, and “NPR Addict”. All three have their uses, and I also find that the “Stitcher” podcast app is a great way to find new and interesting NPR shows. And they’ve updated so that it’s really useful and works well (even in Chrome on a Mac).

For instance, yesterday I wanted to listen to Weekend Edition Saturday but I woke up too late to hear the whole thing via my local NPR station’s live stream. So I found the show in the “NPR” app and looked for other stations that were live-streaming it. I chose a station in Alaska, reasoning that they’d be an hour behind, and they were. Presto! Weekend Edition from the very beginning! When I needed to use my iPhone for something else, I found that station’s website and listened to the rest of their live stream on my laptop. (Thanks, KMXT from Kodiak!)

If I feel like listening to Fresh Air but haven’t synced the most recent podcast episode, I can use one of the apps on my phone to find a station that’s streaming it. I can use any of those apps to browse through NPR shows to find something that looks interesting.

Or I can check on my laptop and hear pretty much anything. Here’s the Weekend Edition Sunday page: So if I forget to listen to it live, I can play the whole thing that way.

Many of the NPR folks have twitter accounts which they use well. I like @nprscottsimon (Scott Simon) and @nprLiane (Liane Hansen). They tweet interesting little remarks about that week’s interviews and stories and sometimes a bit of personal stuff (hope that surgery goes well, Scott), but they don’t clog up my feed with a lot of baloney. It’s nice to have that tiny almost-personal connection with the voices I love so much.

Here are some of my favorite NPR shows: Fresh Air, Weekend Edition Saturday/Sunday, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, RadioLab (just discovered RadioLab!), and of course all the calm, non-sensational news reports. And the BBC News Hour. And I’m starting to get into This American Life. Ira’s delivery irritated me for a long time but I think I’ve gotten over it.

So thank you, NPR, and my local station, KPBS. I’m one very happy contributing member :)


Yesterday Bob and Chloe came over which is always such a treat. I grilled chicken and bratwurst and made some delicious sautéd greenbeans-and-onions and a salad with tender delicious homegrown lettuce and the handful of cherry tomatoes which my tomato plant finally produced. Biggest harvest since I planted it last summer. (The regular tomato plant still hasn’t fruited. What’s up with that?)

Anyhow, we ate and talked and watched TV and played Farm Frenzy on our iPhones, and I helped Chloe with her Knitter’s Handy Carry-All bag. She finished up all the knitting and we blocked it. It’s still drying but I hope to help her sew it all together today. It’s a pretty good kit but has a few really bizarre instructions, such as working the handles as 8-stitch i-cord (awkward!) and sewing the inner layer to the outer layer wrong-sides together, with backstitch, as if they were made of cloth. I showed Chloe how to work the handles in double-knitting, and I’ll show her how to seam the layers together without having a big stupid thick seam allowance.

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 10 part 1

January 15th, 2010 — 8:34am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 10 part 1 – 23:58

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yesterday (Tuesday)

January 13th, 2010 — 9:11am

Henry has a cold so stayed home from his classes yesterday. I did the Trader Joe shopping in the morning, plus other errands, and then finished my new wrap skirt, which I started on Monday. It’s cheerful red plaid fabric with some metallic threads running through it that I bought on sale a couple years ago after Christmas to make more Christmas wrapping bags with. Except I didn’t get around to making bags yet and I needed a new skirt desperately. So now I have one!

I read Henry three chapters of Dracula (Dr. Van Helsing has just shown up) and we watched a few episodes of “How It’s Made” (I think you can watch online here: Wonderful show! We learned about Swiss army knives and cheese and rollerskates and colored pencils and other things.

Henry’s iPod Touch somehow got a parental control password set but none of us remembered setting it, and it was preventing him from making in-app purchases that we wanted to let him make. So Dan cracked it! He’s amazing. Here’s what he tweeted about the process:

Forgot your Restrictions password on iPhone? Jailbreak, ssh in, look at /var/mobile/Library/Preferences/

Specifically, the key SBParentalControlsPIN. use ‘plutil -convert xml1’ on MacOS to convert the binary plist to xml

He sniffed out the password (which is one none of us would ever use, quite a mystery how it got there) and now Henry’s iPod has no stupid restrictions.

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 9 part 2

January 13th, 2010 — 9:02am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 9 part 2 – 34:04

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 9 part 1

January 11th, 2010 — 12:00pm

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 9 part 1 – 30:36

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Lion Dance practice

January 9th, 2010 — 10:08am

Last night I sat in the parking lot behing Henry’s kung fu school and watched the Lion Dance practice. It’s so cool! Here’s a video:

Henry is the head of the white lion on the right, in the back row. You can see his white tunic when he raises the head. Here are a few photos:

Preparing to march into the performance area:

Chasing each other:

The lion rears up!

Miss Strosser reminding the lion to look DOWN:

Lion heads:


The lions dance to the beat of a huge drum. Miss Edwards is drumming:

The team has several performances lined up for February, and Henry will be performing with them for the first time!

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 8

January 8th, 2010 — 10:40am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 8 – 37:41

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Arden Bag, finished!

January 7th, 2010 — 11:54pm

I love my new purse! It’s the Arden Bag kit from knitpicks. I over-felted mine by accident so it’s a bit lumpy but oh well. Just finished sewing the lining in last night and used it all day and I just love it. I wove the straps on my inkle loom. Here are pictures! And a Ravelry link.



I sewed a special iPhone pocket into the lining so my phone will never sink to the bottom and make me panic. There’s also a larger pocket for keys, pens, pocket knife, etc.


Inside-out to show lining and pockets:



It’s not huge but it’s bigger than my old purse, so I’ll more easily be able to carry along my camera, mouse, laptop power cable, or even a sock-in-progress.

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The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 7 part 2

January 6th, 2010 — 9:13am

Hooray for the Swiss Family!

The Swiss Family Robinson, Chapter 7 part 2 – 26:06

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