Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whip Your Knitting Into Shape

Image of book cover DOMIKNITRIX, Copyright 2007 by Jennifer Stafford.  Manufactured in China (!).  Isn't anything made in the United States anymore?  Well, never mind that.

Jennifer Stafford has put together a good book for beginning knitters who cannot tolerate all the books that are already out there (see the bibliography in the back for a good list).

The book design is aimed at young people who are sympathetic to designs containing skulls and devil's horns.  It even has a black plastic cover.  (The binding is not so good, so don't mistreat this book if you plan to keep it for a while.)

The basic knitting instruction is good, and the patterns look interesting, but not large enough for big girls.  I guess Goth girls are "normal" size.  I didn't see any guidance for sizing up or down, but it's a beginner's book so I guess Jennifer has something to put in her next book.

I didn't see anything I wanted to make for myself, but I am at least 35 years older than the target audience for this book.  There are some things I might make for younger friends....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Being a member

I'm thinking of dropping my gym membership.  I like the club, but I only use the pool - I love to swim.  The problem is that my body is betraying me.  Joint pain is getting worse instead of better.  I have always gone by the "let the pain be your guide" method of setting my limits.  If swimming makes pain, then swimming isn't good.  ... also, walking isn't good (different joints hurt when walking). 

At this point the only thing that doesn't hurt is riding my bike, yoga, and muscle work.  All of this I can do at home and skip the annual gym membership fee.

Getting old isn't for sissies!!!

It makes me sad.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Touring Nova Scotia in 2008 - Not

A while ago I said we'd be touring Nova Scotia next year.  Now we have moved on to Plan B because....  The dollar is so weak that the cost of going to Canada is now more expensive than traveling in the U.S.  The Canadians used to charge many Canadian dollars for their hotels, meals, etc., but it was ok because the U.S. Dollar was worth more than the Canadian dollar.  It used to be that you could figure paying U.S. dollars at about 60-70% of the prices quoted in Canadian dollars.  Now you can figure you will pay 100% of the price quoted, and the price quoted is higher than in the U.S.

We are indeed going down the tubes into 3rd world status.  I'm sure of it.  I'm glad I'm getting old and won't see the end of the empire.

On that cheery note, I'll take my book to bed and read.

PS: What is Plan B?  To invest in timeshares and travel in the U.S.  It's not a good deal, financially, but we are looking at places on the West Coast that will give us a place to get out of the Northern California valley HEAT in the summer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My First Web Site

I volunteered to maintain the web site for the Chico Friends of the Library.  The very nice man who was doing it before me had run out of steam, I think.  Anyway, it was out of date and needed some love.

(If you read this post a couple of days after it has been published on my blog, and the above link doesn't work, it's because the web site is in transit from the old host to the new.  If you like, try again in a couple of days.)

What a learning curve!  I have never made a web page that was meant to be useful.  I purchased MS Expression Web, which is a Web Development tool that replaces MS Front Page.  If you are a newbie web developer, I recommend taking the tutorial that comes with the product.  It was a big help.  (By the way, I didn't pay full retail.  I bought a new, unopened version on eBay for a reasonable price.)

So, days later, I reformatted the old web site into what it is now, and added current information. 

The hardest part turned out to be transferring ownership of the domain name from the current owner to me.  It's a big deal legal process involving copies of his photo id and mine.  There is no anonymity in Domain Name registration!  And I'm in the process of moving from the old web host to a new one that will give better service - the old web host service people NEVER ANSWERED THE PHONE, and didn't return phone calls in a timely manner.  I finally just started leaving a message every morning at 8am, each time explaining my technical problem and asking them to call me.  Finally, after three days of this, and several emails from me, they called to say they would fix the problem.  That's just not acceptable.  (They did fix the problem, but I'm so mad I'm outta there!)

I've had fun learning a new development toy (Expression Web).  It's just fine for my purposes.  Lots of people swear by Dreamweaver, but it was too expensive for my volunteer budget. 

If you look at the new site, let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Little trip away from Chico

20070709 Crater Lake Evening

We took a little vacation to Crater Lake and Ashland (pictures here).

We took the long way up, through Lassen National Park, picnicking at Manzanita Lake with the Canadian Geese.  We arrived at Crater Lake in the evening (photo above).  Aahh, life is good.

Note:  our stay at the cabins at the Crater Lake National Park "Motor Inn" was not restful.  The beds were terrible for me, even with a blow-up wedge.  The second night the power was out in most of Southern Oregon (Crater Lake lost power for 8 hours).  The maids left the room doors open while cleaning, so there were mosquitoes in my room.  There were very big, black ants on the rugs and walls.   All this for only $128 per night!

The hiking was easy and fun at Crater Lake, but it was hot and dry.  If you stamped your foot on the trail, a cloud of dust would rise up.  The pictures don't do it justice.

On the way home the next day we stopped at the Rogue River Gorge and smelled some of that wonderful damp forest smell I remember from Butano Canyon in Pescadero, CA.  The river gorge is formed from lava and is spectacular.  Again, the pictures don't do it justice.

We saw a play in Ashland: Distracted.  It was sad/funny and we both liked it a lot.  The playwright, Lisa Loomer, took several shots at Bush and the current administration, which the audience liked (me too).  About 5 years ago the anti-Bush sentiments would not have been so well received.  Now being anti-war-Bush is all the rage.  The anti-Bush shots, however, are not what the play is about.  The play is about ADHD and how various people approach treatment.  One of my favorite lines in the play was when a psychologist tells the mom that an opening has just opened up in the psychologist's schedule.  The mom says, "You mean somebody got well?"

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Knitting in Chico, CA

20070708 Crew SocksSocks are progressing.  I work both of them at the same time so that I won't finish one sock and then have to knit another one.  And, when you work each section together (left sock's heel, then right sock's heel, and so forth), you have a good chance of having two socks the same size.

This pattern is my standard K2P2 rib from top to bottom.  The yarn is Regia Silk (55% Merino, 20% Silk, 25% Polyamid).  The yarn is soft and fun to work with.  I made a different pair a while ago but gave them away.  This pair is for me.

Now, about that gusset I said I was going to rip out.  Yes, I ripped it out.  Then I finished the gussets while watching television.  So, I wasn't paying attention.  See...

20070708 Sock Gussets 1

(Click for large image.)

I don't care.  Nobody but me and you will know the gussets are wonky.

Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard: **** Very Good

You don't expect much from a "Die Hard" movie, so I was pleasantly surprised when this one delivered 2 hours and 10 minutes of fun.

I have liked Bruce Willis since his television days on "Moonlighting".  I think he's very funny, and not a bad actor either.  I hope he makes a fortune on this movie.

Once again John McClane saves the world.  He is thrown from buildings, jumps from moving cars, is shot twice, and comes out of it with a dirty face, a minor wound, and some scratches.

The rest of the cast is good.  The only one who is maybe less that believable (if you could believe anything about these characters) is the villain.  He's more of a petulant little boy than a world class villain.

There are quibbles with a few of the facts, but you don't go to one of these movies to think.  You go to laugh and see the good guys kick ass.

Have fun!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Two Movies

Pirates of the Caribbean 3 At World's End: *** Good

The latest in the Pirates movies was the most entertaining to me.  People complained that there were too many Pirate leaders, but that didn't bother me.  I laughed frequently at this one.  Johnny Depp is a treat to watch.  When Keith Richards comes on screen you wonder if he is wearing makeup or if he looks that old on his own :-).

The only weakness from my point of view is the love story between Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, which is kind of boring and not very funny.

Worth a visit to the theater.

Evening: *** Good

I liked this one much better than the critics.  The acting was good.  The story wasn't as confusing as the critics say it was.  It was thought provoking - you get to decide for yourself if the Harris character really was the love of her life or if she was just a morphine-crazed old woman.  You don't know if the daughters will live happily ever after or not (I think not).

The story is about a woman on her death bed, her flashbacks, her daughters, her lovers.

Worth a visit to the theater.  At the end there was clapping in the theater.  Note:  the audience was predominantly women.