Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ravelry has a wiki


I learned something new tonight.  Or re-learned; maybe I'd forgotten.  Ravelry has a wiki... and there are errata within!  For example, there is a link to corrections for Cat Bordhi's New Pathways For Sock Knitters, Book One in the book errata page.  (Yikes, there is a correction for the master math I just went through!)

The Ravelry wiki has many lists of links to useful information on the web.

Right now, in beta, Ravelry's search facilities are limited, but I'm assuming that will improve with time.  Eventually you should be able to search Ravelry like you can search the web with Google.  I haven't seen any promises, but it's a pretty obvious requirement.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Don't go to an emergency room

If you don't like swear words, skip this post.

I thought twice about writing this on Tailfeathers, because blog ranting is like masturbating in public, but what the hell, there are only a handful of people that read Tailfeathers on purpose.

I made several mistakes:

  1. I traveled without my favorite cold pills - the ones with pseudoephedrine that really do a good job of drying up a cold sufferer's head.
  2. I caught a cold on a Friday in Oregon.  Oregon requires a person to have a fucking prescription for cold medicine containing effective decongestants.
  3. I tried an over the counter remedy on Saturday.  It didn't work.  I was miserable.
  4. I checked with the neighboring state, Washington, to see if I could just pop over the border and pick up some good pills.  No, WA wants a prescription too.
  5. By Sunday, I was ready to give up and visit a doctor for a prescription.  Oops, the only open medical help in the small town of Seaside, OR, on Sunday is the hospital.  I was desperate, so I went, and I got a prescription and a piece of their minds about how stupid the legislation is that requires the prescription.

My head dried up and I was able to enjoy the rest of my vacation.  I was happy.  Then I got the bill... $693 so a doctor could look up my nose and chat about Oregon's political/drug situation.  My insurance paid NOTHING because I have a deductible which has not been met.

I sent a check for $100 and suggested the hospital write off the balance.  I got a phone call from the hospital.  "So sorry, we cannot write off that much, but we can write off $193 if you send us a check for $400 right away."  In the end I paid a total $500 for a prescription for cold pills.

So, unless you are dying, I suggest you find ANY other way to get medical help besides going into a hospital emergency room.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Two Romantic Comedies

Enchanted Poster Dan In Real Life Poster Dan in Real Life: *** Good.

Enchanted: *** Good.

The two most recently seen movies are both good fun, but not life changing.

First Dan.  This is the more adult of the two movies.  Steve Carell is a lovable sad sack and Juliette Binoche is very romantic, but maybe she's a little too sophisticated for this part.  There is a large supporting cast and most of the action takes place at a family holiday.  Most of the time I couldn't tell which children went with which parents, and which adults were part of which couple.  I think you can wait for this one on DVD.

Then Enchanted.  This one is visually very bright, so it's worth seeing on the big screen - even in the megaplex theaters where they turn the sound up way too loud.  Maybe they turn up the sound to drown out the noise of children saying they have to go pee "right now."

Part of Enchanted is done in animation and part in regular people acting.  There is singing, and it turns out that Amy Adams, the Princess, does her own good singing.  Ms Adams is perfect here, just perfect.  Enchanting, even.  Patrick Dempsey, of Gray's Anatomy fame, is the man who saves the Princess when she is sent to New York by the Evil Witch of a Step Mother, played by Susan Sarandon.  There are many jokes for those of us who grew up with Walt Disney films... talking forest animals, poisoned apples, trolls, glass slippers.  This one is rated PG, but I can't imagine why.  It seemed pretty G-like to me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spiraling Master Coriolis Socks

There is so much to blog about.  The weather is great.  Bidwell Park is updating the par course.  Pictures uploaded today.

20071121 Whirlpool Toe with MarkersBut I want to talk about my new Cat Bordhi Spiraling Master Coriolis socks.  I'm still enjoying New Pathways for Sock Knitters Book One.  I did the first two practice socks and it's time to make a real sock.

I measured my foot and did the math to find my master numbers. (See Chapter 10, page 110, of the book.)  I asked at my yarn store for the markers that are companions to Bordhi's book and found out that the book is out way before the markers, so I ordered some markers from Hide and Sheep.  They are cute little markers and sized perfectly for small needles (and they were delivered quickly after the order on etsy.com).

The instructions, starting on page 59, say to do a Whirlpool Toe.  It's easy enough, but ... there's always a but ... The LRinc (right-leaning increase) is hard to do with blunt addi needles, old eyes, and dark sock yarn.  I decided not to suffer and did a bar increase, where you knit in the front and the back of the same stitch.  The bar doesn't show in this yarn and my sanity was saved.

The yarn being used is Knitivity sock yarn.  Good stuff.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Little Coriolis

20071115 Coriolis learning sock

This is the second learning sock from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters.  This one is done from the toe up, with a turned heel, heel flap, rolled top.

Doing the increases in a spiral around the sock is very interesting and attractive.  I think this is going to be my first grownup sized pair of socks.  There's a little note, almost an aside, in the instructions that says to tighten the cast on stitches at the toe before commencing to knit the sock.  That's very good advice.  I didn't follow this sage advice and if you look carefully at the toe you can see that the stitches are loose. 

It's a figure 8 cast-on.  The next cast-on in the book, page 22, Judy's Magic Cast-On, looks more promising.

What a fun book!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This blog's reading level

cash advance

I guess spending 30+ years writing programs instead of prose keeps one's writing style pretty simple.  On the bright side, the most popular knitting blog is also rated at elementary school level.  Can you guess who that is?

I don't have any knitting to talk about today.  I'm between projects and can't decide whether to start on socks or cat toys next... maybe both.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What, me SAD?

When I first heard about SAD, I thought it was a trendy excuse to whine (whinge, for you English folks).  Then I retired and moved a little more North where there is a little less light each day during Fall and Winter.  I've been a little more depressed during the low-light days for each of the last few years, and the Holidays have been particularly difficult.  God, how boring!

This Fall it started again, and I thought about it ...  In my previous working life I commuted 1 hour each way - 2 hours each day outside looking at scenery as I commuted over country hills to work in the software factory.  I wasn't particularly bothered by seasonal blahs.

 What if one spent an hour outside several days a week working  in the garden?  (I call it "playing in the garden".)  This time of year the camellias are very nice to watch, and there are leaves, lots of leaves, to rake.

I mentioned a book a few days ago, "Three Signs of a Miserable Job".  One of the recommendations for a good manager was to take a genuine interest in your employees.  What if I used that advice to take a genuine interest in my family and friends.  In other words, what if one spent less time thinking about themselves and more time thinking about others' well being?

So that's what I've been doing, and so far it seems to be working.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wendsleydale Yarn from Ambleside

I bought this yarn on a vacation many years ago.  It's Creskeld Wensleydale Aran, 100% Pure New British Wool.  It was white when I bought it from Woolgatherers in Ambleside, Cumbria (U.K).

About a week ago I sent the yarn off to Ray at Knitivity.com and asked him to make it a not-drab olive green.  He did a *wonderful* job!


Three Signs of a Miserable Job Recommended

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees)
by Patrick M. Lencioni

Read more about this title...


I checked this book out of the library last night and it's finished this morning.  Can you say "page turner"?

I have been unsatisfied in my job for a little while now and thought this book might help me understand why and how to fix it.  Click on the "Read more..." link above for more information about this book.

So here's what I learned.  I need to understand who I impact on my job (i.e., who are my customers?).  I need to get to know my co-workers better (take a genuine interest).  I need to know when I'm doing a good job by measuring something (e.g., how many smiles or laughs today?).  In other words, it's not about awards and money, but about every day work and the people you work with.

These three suggestions can apply to any area of my life, not just my job.

I recommend the book.  It's written in small words that anybody can understand.  The sentences are short.  The book is short (259 pages), with lots of white space.