Month: November 2006

Deceptive advertising


Tawiewanda looks so cute and cuddly when she’s sleeping. Makes you go all soft and warm inside, doesn’t it? And then, she opens her eyes. . .


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First snow!

Woke up this a.m. to sculpted white jackets on all the big cedars—about two inches of snow, or maybe a little more. It’s so beautiful here; usually it falls vertically, not horizontally as in North Dakota, and the flakes are almost always big, fat, wet ones that feather down atop one another and settle into big soft piles outlining and lace-ifying the bones of everything that’s relatively stationary. Beautimous, beautimous.

wet stuff

Of course, this makes life very difficult for Blue, who’s convinced that she will a) melt, b) freeze, and/or c) disappear forever if her dainty, delicate toes get damp. Also it’s amazing how heavy it is; this little bit bowed my little tree and bushes clear to the ground. I hope it’s not snowing on the passes when I need to leave in December to go to Ricky’s . . . sigh. The snow is horrible to drive on here, at least partly because no one knows how to do it.

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B-o-r-i-n-g, that’s what life means to me

At least for a few more days, I guess. My hand is better, but tires very easily and I can’t do a full (or even half) day’s work, so my ramen noodle fund will be ve-ry l-o-w next pay period. Trouble is, all the things I do for fun involve my hands. And even I can only read for so long before I go toes up (thank you, sons of mine; this is an affliction you have visited upon me. Before you were born, I could read all day long and not get restless ever). If I were so inclined, I could surf the ‘Net endlessly, but using my left hand to mouse makes that a pain in the noogies, too. The book I’ve been reading, Disobedience by Jane Hamilton, is wonderful, but mine is an advance copy, which means it’s full of spelling, grammar, stylistic, and punctuation errors. It’s driving me bonkers.

Bah. Grumble. Feh.

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Extreme knitting, sleep injuries, and the almost-perfect storm

So, last week I’m doing extreme knitting, with three midweight-to-bulky yarns and #8 needles, because I want a really dense fabric. This is hard on your hands, and mine get really sore. I stop and take it easy for a few days and they’re getting better, which makes me happy.

A major storm shows up—82 and 100 mph winds, and the massive 50’+ cedars behind me are waving around like wheat stalks in a thunderstorm. I’ve never seen wind like this outside a tornado. Power’s going out all over the county (all over the Sound) and, where my initial problem was getting Internet access so I could work, it soon becomes a no-power-at-all problem, which obviates the work bit.

Nighttime comes, still no power, and it’s cold in my house. I’m already cold when I go to bed, and curl up in a fetal ball inside a jacket, gloves, and hat, and under three blankets. Evidently, I twist the already-sore tendons in my right hand exactly wrong and get a sleep injury that feels like railroad spikes through my hand and wrist, and the pain awakens me. Keeps me up most of the night, too. Doc splints it next day, but it’s not a huge help, and I’ve still no power, and he makes smart-mouth comments about my talent for disaster (“Your life is just one cartwheel of excitement after another!” is how one of the kids at work puts it) . Can’t use the phones; they’re all cordless. Cell battery quickly dies. Trees are down across major thoroughfares (four lanes and more), power lines look like a spilled package of Red Vines, people’s roofs, decks, and carports have sailed away northwards. . . it’s ugly. And cold. Did I say cold?

I go buy a propane space heater (“SAFE FOR INDOOR USE!”) and question Hardware Sales closely about that claim, and the guy swears it really is. I purchase a $10 phone that tethers you to the wall (so-o-o retro), but doesn’t need electricity to work. This is, I figure, my generous contribution to The Good Life in Puget Sound, since it should guarantee that my and everyone else’s power is on permanently.

It doesn’t. Still dark, still cold.

However, it does give me access to the outside world (read: snaotheus knows more about my situation than I do at this point), and I’ve scarfed up enough ibuprofen that I should be able to smash a pumpkin with my head and not notice it. (I do not, however, try.) The heater’s inside instructions, which you can’t see until you’ve paid for the heater, clearly say, “For use in RVs and (read: drafty places) . . . with at least 3″x3″ vent.” They LIED. But you can at least stand over it and get warm. So I survive the night yet again.

But Friday a.m., still no power, and we’re all getting torqued now. The creatures are testy and Tawie lurks around every available corner, taking advantage of poor Tiramisu’s docility to pounce on him, though he’s twice her size, and Blue has taken to watching them closely so she can break up incipient cat fights. I call Crazy Mike’s and explain that I’m sorry, but I can’t get the DVDs back in time because I can’t get into the DVD player, which apparently has no paper-clip fail-safe hole. The pilot has blown out on the water heater and I, with bad wrist, cannot light it, nor can Rob. Feeling like Major Wuss, or at least Colonel Helpless, I call the gas company and plead for mercy, which aid they promise to send. I go take a shower at a friend’s and we go to lunch, which, I might note, I must eat left handedly, and therefore very awkwardly, and leave Rob here to await the gas dude. (Actually, he drives me to the friend’s and comes back, since I can’t shift with my right hand.)

When I arrive home and walk in the door, I notice something different. A frown puckers my heretofore seamless brow. Hmmm.

“Hey!” I whoop, while creatures leap about my feet, “it’s warm in here!”

After three days sans power, I can’t be blamed for not recognizing the signs of civilization. The ordeal has ended, and thank God for electricity and line workers.

Oh, and another storm is due this weekend. Tra-la, tra-lee!

Posted by wordsmith in Family, Knitting, 0 comments



So yesterday I went to the little yarn store to buy two skeins of very pale blue yarn. That’s all. Honest. But I ran into a 70% off sale, on yarns I could never, ever afford otherwise, and . . . well, I went . . . well . . . bonkers. But I figgered it out that it’ll last me for many years, and amortized over the expected period it will only be $12.50 a month. That’s not bad.

Meanwhile, I’m having a lovely time petting it and talking to it. Yum, yum, yum. Yum!

And yes, I did get the very pale blue yarn, too. 🙂

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Now, for this message from our sponsor…

I can’t resist breaking into your regularly scheduled lives to do a little celebrating.

*leap, hop, shout! twirl, cavort! spin and jump! crow, shriek, hoot, howl! dance, dance, dance! woo-hoo, woo-hoo!!*

Whew! That felt really good.

What’s this about? The Democratic wins yesterday. I was truly doubtful that anything other than an ultracon would win anything—after all, Diebold is a major GOP contributor, and they do sorta have access to mess up the voting machines, you know? And there’s all that intimidation at the polls, and handy loss of “undesirables'” voting registrations, and other nasty tricks you generally see only in Third World countries but that have become expected since 2000. I’m thankful that things appear to have gone well.

Historically, it’s never happened (I think) that Party A won a bunch of seats without losing a few to Party B, and vice versa. However, it appears that the Democrats broke this long-standing wisdom. This is not so much because they’re wonderful, but because people are, I believe, sick to death of the arrogance, corruption, dishonesty, manipulation, etc. etc. of the present ruling party. Thank heavens they’ve paid enough attention to notice. I truly despair of my fellow Americans most of the time. The incomprehensible thing, to me, is that most of the races were so close.

I’m not naive enough to think a change in Congressional leadership is gonna fix everything, or even anything. They’re not much if any better than the Republicans, when you come right down to it. In fact, most of them are Republicans: the kind that were prevalent during my childhood, moderate and sensible. There are no (or very few) true Democrats these days. The Republican Party, after being snatched by the ultracon wackos in the mid-’90s, has become so drastically right-wing that it really ought to change its name to “Fascist Party.” (Look up the word—we’re already in a fascist state and have been for 50 years or more, if not 250. Mussolini himself described it as a marriage of corporate and political interests.) That would match truth in packaging laws, at least.

The Dems will have to raise taxes, simply because Congress has cut taxes for multimillionaires and slashed funding for essential programs, and improving that funding base requires money to come from somewhere. We have an indescribably massive debt, rung up by the “fiscally conservative” ruling party. We can hope that money will come from the same wealthy folk who benefited from recent tax cuts in the first place—if you’re getting $500 million a year, say, and have a few billion in the bank, are you really gonna miss $10 million to contribute to improved education, for instance, or maintain Social Security for people who struggle by on $10,000 a year and have to choose between food and medicine, or even food and heat? If so, then that’s too bad—that one just doesn’t touch my compassion button, for some reason. Insensitive clod, amn’t I?

Remember, please: The services we count on (law enforcement, emergency medical care, unemployment insurance, food for hungry children, education, regulation of critical businesses [food production, sanitation, banking, etc.] and services [clean water to drink, clean air to breathe], and so on) are paid for by tax dollars. No tax dollars, no services—or services for fees, which wind up being paid by people who have to choose between fees and food. I maintain that a civilized nation is measured by the ways in which it treats its powerless and most vulnerable, and in that arena in the last 25 or 30 years, we’ve become a mean-spirited bunch of selfish pigs, so grasping and greedy that we begrudge our poor and hungry the tiniest crumb from our straining tables.

No, my main reason for hope with the Democratic majority in Congress has entirely to do with the finger-in-the-dike scenario: Perhaps they can stop the White House from causing more damage. And maybe, if we’re really, really lucky, they’ll actually start to undo a little of the destruction wrought by those red-eyed monsters who claim to love both our nation and God, but whose fruits are death, war, destruction, poverty, exploitation, oppression, hatred, fear, division, disenfranchisement, arrogance, and utterly overweening greed. Compare that to I Corinthians 13 in the Bible they claim to follow:

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith …, but have not love, I am nothing. … Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous, love does not boast, it is not arrogant. It is not discourteous, it is not selfish, it is not irritable, it does not dwell on evil. It does not rejoice over wrong, but rejoices in the truth …

Or Galatians 5:22-23: … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I needn’t say more. You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

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Spinning? You must be joking!

pretty colors

Ran across this piece of upholstery fabric, one of many similar ones that make me drool. What I love about these (geometrics aside) is the way the thin, shiny threads of bright red, yellow, green, blue and gold reflect with and play off the fuzzy cafe au lait browny background to make your eye think it’s seeing really complex, amazing colors, when it’s really just blending regular old threads in your head. (I’ve adjusted the colors, light, contrast, and sharpening to emphasize the individual threads and how the colors play off one another; it’s not nearly this bright under regular light.)

Mentioned this to one of my knitting groups—is there any way to get this kind of color effect using yarns and knitting? My guess is probably not, but my knowledge is pretty narrow, and a lot of these people are very definitely serious experts. If anybody should know, I figgered, it’s they.

So what do they say to me?!? “So, you’re not satisfied with anything that’s out there?” (Well, I have to admit to this—hardly anything stock ever meets what I see in my mind’s eye. Never has.) “You want more complex colors? Well, have we got the answer for you: Dye the roving (photo) yourself! Spin your own yarn!”

(Pause for me to shriek and scream: no, No, NO, NO NONONO!!! I am NOT going to take up another hobby that requires more equipment, more space, more fibery things, no, I’m notNOTNOTNOTNOTNOT!!!!)

As it turns out, I wouldn’t have to purchase seven hundred thousand dollars’ worth of new equipment for which I have no space. I could start using a drop spindle, like Mahatma Ghandi. Even a handy how-to or two.

I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. I could be succumbing to the evil impulses even as I type and prepare to take a cake over to Grandma to remind her it’s my birthday. 😀

Posted by wordsmith in Knitting, 0 comments

Rant: spam

I’ve just deleted another 25 spam comments (about an average for the day, along with about another 45 per day in my email account). Many of them were the third, eighth, or seventy-fifth that the same ignorant yahoos have sent before. All of them include some inane comment, like “Wow! Nice site!”, that I suppose is intended to flatter me such that I’ll post their idiotic links to everything from hair-regrowth lotion to lesbian sex to sure stock bets to penis-enlargement products (none of which, thank you, I am remotely interested in).

Now, aside from the surface idiocy of thinking that anyone with enough brains to blink without aid would show any interest in a) a message that contains paragraphs of random text to get it past spam blockers, b) idiotic attempts at generic flattery, c) snake-oil products that haven’t even reached the eighteenth century in terms of sophistication, and/or d) any of the above with attachments, WHY do these jackasses keep sending the same things over and over and over and over and over again?!?!? Do they really think that attempt #787 is any more likely to be successful than attempt #1?

The really scary thing is that if these creepy strings of swamp slime live in the U.S., we let them vote. And drive cars. And walk through children’s playgrounds.

Now, y’all VOTE ON TUESDAY!! It’s the only way to minimize the damage done by stupid people.

Holy cow. It just occurred to me: It’s my birthday. I’m 54! That alone should qualify me as spam-exempt.

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Eagles, not bobcats

I stand corrected. I sit corrected, too. It wasn’t the neighborhood bobcat that tried to snatch the neighbors’ footprint dog. They were walking along peacefully, and a bald eagle swooped down and tried to abscond with the pooch. Actually, I think that’s more interesting. It also probably means that nobody’s caught the bobcat eating Fido or Fluffy, which probably explains why no one’s up in arms about shuffling him elsewhere. An owl flew over my area once, carrying a writhing snake in its talons, but that’s the closest to Nature Red in Tooth and Claw I’ve seen here.

However, there was a client once who said he made a living writhing for news peppers. . .

Posted by wordsmith in Family, 0 comments