31 July 2007

Hillcrest confidential or cide in the hood

Hillcrest is celebrating its centennial this year. Two of the items on the Hillcrest time line on the Hillcrest History Guild's web page deals with a bit of homicide in the hood.

In 1989, shots rang out in the Marston Hills (boundaries of which are never really clear to me) home of local attorney Dan Broderick and his second wife Linda.

Dan's first wife, Betty, fired those shots and after several years and couple of court trials was convicted of the murders.

The house in question is once again up for sale and was part of my Sunday walkabout.

I was living in North County San Diego when the Betty Broderick thing happened so I didn't have to deal with the PITA press coverage but I did live in the hood in 1997 when the press invaded for the second 'cide in the hood related event.

Andrew Cunanan
the murderer of five people including designer Gianni Versace may have been born in Rancho Bernardo, but he was gay and once lived in this condo complex in Hllcrest.

As the cross country man hunt and murder spree continued in the Summer of 1997, with no news, the press descended, not on RB where Andrew had worked in a pharmacy and was born but, into the hood. Gotta (not) love the knee jerk gay equals Hillcrest reaction in the media.

Living only a block or two away, daily life was complicated by the national and local idiot news teams whether the camera vans were clogging/hogging the streets making parking even m,ore of a nightmare or roaming the streets hoping for quotes.

I doubt that I was the only resident who had the experience of having some moron make assumptions about my sexuality and shove a microphone in my face during that Summer.

Living here you get used to assumptions being made and that doesn't bother me, microphones and cameras do. Long ago I learned that pushing the press aside and refusing to co-operate is the only way to avoid being unpleasantly surprised by the edited result.

29 July 2007

Catching up with miscellaneous mileage

Comic-con has a special place in my knitting life not because I'm a big Sci-Fi sort but rather because this was how I came to know, and now that she no longer makes the trek South miss, Paulette Lane and her SO Tony.

This year, however, just as I was breathing a commute sigh of relief as the Padres ended their home stand for a road trip, here's Comic-Con and grid lock on the 163 Southbound.

This made connecting up with pal Rick (visiting from Michigan) and his beautiful female family members (wife and daughters) more complicated and therefore less likely to happen on this outing.

Hopefully I will meet Melissa and the girls before the girls grow out of pink mode. My STASH has a surplus as the little girls in my life insist on growing older and expanding their colour palette before I can produce FOs from the pink pile.

After the first "this is so not happening" trek, I opted to stay at the office a little later and further delay the commute with a shop Carmel Mountain and environs foray before getting onto the Southbound lanes.

With no great knitting milestones to report on this weekend, Stitch N Pitch in my rear view (and Yarn Group volunteer mode still ahead of me), ad far too long since I did a mostly walkabout posting, my Sunday plan was to showcase another some of the hidden gems of the hood and get in some serious mileage to boot.

Hllcrest, like many other locations in San Diego County has a certified farmers' market. The market is virtually on my door step but still, more often than not, even with the best of intentions, if I manage to get there at all, it doesn't happen until things are about to shut down.

And so it was today when I set out, new camera in tow and slow going cheque book cover knitting in hand, a full half hour after the market officially shuts.
Oh well, some stands were still making sales as they packed up so I walked the length of the market and back before continuing on my way.

The seemingly never ending construction in the hood has been a challenge. As a local, the street/lane closures, steel plates, diesel fumes and other environmental aspects have added to the charm of street/lane closures and other traffic joys of living in our unique urban environment.

As a pedestrian, it has offered additional challenges above and beyond construction waste (watch out for roofing/framing nails) and detours round closed sidewalks.

I headed South Richmond, and turned West onto Myrtle Avenue. After Vermont, yes there's a block of Vermont there, two actually. Myrtle Avenue winds round to become Myrtle Way. In one of those you don't come here very often do you moments, I found this instead of one of my favourite hidden local gems.
The good news is that this isn't a sign of a stupid sell off but rather another untended and unfunded infrastructure issue. Apparently the Myrtle Way pergola collapsed in 2005 due to wood rot. The reconstruction is one of the unfunded projects for Parks & Rec's fiscal year 2008 budget -- bummer.

Disappointed, I carried on knitting and walking.

South on Vermont, it ends (yes, really this time) at Upas. Directly across Upas is the somewhat controversial Boy Scout facility.

To the West, Upas "sort of" continues on a Parks and Recs road that crosses the 163 before coming out on the other side of Balboa park near 6th & Upas.

In the years before my bee sting allergy was diagnosed, I thought nothing of taking this not so shortcut year round. Nowadays, I consider the weather and buzz factor before venturing down that path. As every Epi-pen carrier knows the goal is to always have handy but never have to use it.

East on Upas and next to the Boy Scouts facility is the less controversial and somewhat less desirably located Girl Scouts facility.

There's a bit of construction going on here too but as it is contained inside the chain link fence it is just a curiosity.

When Upas meets Park, I turn South on Park opting to take the longer route past the zoo.

Somewhere between Morely Field Drive and Zoo Drive, a tall lanky blonde fellow pedestrian asks me if we're near Balboa Park as she's been walking a very long time to get to something in the park. I explain that we're actually in the park even as we walk on Park. Further discussion reveals that she was following good driving directions to her destination. Those good driving directions are also bad walking directions if you're not prepared.

She explains that she's headed for the World Beat Center because there's a Caribe Gospel event planned and since it is easier to explain the return route (all the way back up Park to Robinson and over to 2nd & Fir indeed!) by pointing it out along the way, I modify my planned route again.

As we walk, it is clear that this is a strong draw on the day as one person after another asks us if that's our destination, how much farther etc. So I'm glad of the detour and delighted in the company and opportunity to expand the knowledge of an interested party.
Although the sounds were very seductive, I didn't linger long at the event because I was on a mileage mission. In addition, one of women who'd joined us along the way was trying to navigate her way back to her school group who were at the Houses of Hospitality. So I walked on with her. West on President's Way, we wound round to her destination with a detour and new to her stop in the United Nations/UNICEF shop.

Parting ways, I continued on, stopping to browse in the Mingei Museum Shop. After making a pit stop, I made the mistake of stopping to look at the on display and in process jewelry of two delightful members of the San Diego Art Institute.

I like jewelry -- a lot. I'm a bit of a jewelry junkie and Balboa Park has lots of jewelry temptations. The pair of earrings that caught my eye failed the hair test. The hair test is that a pair of earrings should be visible regardless of whether I am wearing my hair up, back or down. The second pair border line passed the motion test that says earrings that dangle should actually move. Turning my attention from the earrings, I was charmed by a fresh water pearl necklace. I ended up buying both the necklace and the second pair of earrings before tempting fate further and stopping in at the Museum of Man gift shop
Inside, I decided to finally look at the silver lotus earrings in the case. Beautiful, large, but for me actually too large and no motion. Then I spied the golden tone of the Fulani brass earrings -- a slam dunk companion to the necklace I'd just purchased.

Purchases all tucked up I continued West on Prado and was just East of 6th when I doubled back and walked East through the park to Park Boulevard and wound my way round stopping to shop at Trader Joe's and Ralph's in Uptown before finally walking home. The day's mileage = 8 miles and change.

24 July 2007

Minor rant and other Tuesday twaddle

Cubicles and writing aren't the most compatible mix so working at home is a very good option for tech writing.

On my make the commute days there was a time when an early in and early out schedule gave me at least some quiet time during the work day before the rest of the group arrived. When that scheme failed, I shifted to a late in and late out schedule but that didn't work out any better. It seems that regardless of what I try there's a loud crowd and most of the time it isn't a collaborative work related din

In recent years, the cubicles have shrunk so proximity is even more of a problem/issue when you combine that with the shrink in work at home flexibility, sometimes I wonder how I get anything done or how much more I could get done without all the distractions.

In a perfect world the cubicle shrinkage would have meant that people would use their "inside voice" more often than not but my world is pretty far from perfect. I know way more about the personal lives of my co-workers than I would choose.

When I work at home it is an early in and early done sort of schedule as the time I'd usually spend getting ready for work is converted into actual work time and I can get other personal stuff done without broadcasting it or appearing to be slacking.

My "lunch" break today involved emptying the van of the recyclables so I could offer to ferry some of the co-workers to a birthday lunch the next day and a side trip to Cost Plus World Market.

On Saturday I'd stopped into Cost Plus Worldmarket during walkabout.

The over sized PVC totes (regularly 19.99 on sale for 9.99) caught my eye.
At 17 inches tall and 18.5 inches in diameter at the widest point these are great as a great option for stowing recyclables, STASH and laundry.

They are not, however, a good carry the 4 miles or so walk home so I passed on the purchase but made a note to check the RB store after work on Monday.

RB had none. A call to the Gaslamp store confirmed that they still had plenty (I suspect others also balked at walking with tote) so I had some set aside and headed there after dropping the recyclables.

Old Town Recycling is my recycling place of choice. It's nearby, pays cash and although you do meet some odd folk, I've never had an unpleasant encounter.

It is also just round the corner from one of my favourite San Diego intersections. Mostly I like it for the signage but California Street can be part of a serious hill walking tour and San Diego Avenue is often part of a tour of Hillcrest-Mission Hills-Old Town trek.

No time for any walkabout today, and the double knitting cheque book cover is growing oh so slowly.

I've been carting around a couple of larger projects. Two of them need to be tinked back before moving forward and the third just needs a design decision. Since I haven't managed to commit to any of these the next WIP to hit the active list is still undecided.

While mucking out the stables I realised that I'd not put a ball band into the Berber Cotton centre pull I'd wound off for the Casual Cables revisit. Since I still had hanks of both dye lots out on the table it looked like I was going to repeat the same old dye lot issues and this project was not going to be a contender. I had myself half convinced which of the two dye lots I'd decided to use but I really wasn't confident. Blog to the rescue, I'd actually recorded the dye lot in a June posting.

The stable muck out has not given up the green kynar wire I was sure I had kicking around. Since it wasn't with the rest of the wire knitting STASH I'm either delusional about having some or I've some rogue wire that needs to reunited with the rest of the flock.

23 July 2007

Bags and leather

Even though I cheated and only walked home from the game yesterday, I was exhausted today so it is very good thing that work projects are in a transition mode.

About the bags, one of my big goals going into the Stitch N Pitch thing was to optimise the promo or block ticket purchaser to bag relationship. My thinking was that happy ticket holders breed happy ticket holder and attendees.

One of major league all stars of our local committee (Julie) used last year's schwag to whet appetite of knitters. So the power of schwag should not be underestimated.

When we finally wrapped things up at the teaching/distro tables I was shocked at how many bags had not made their way into the hands of ticket holders so if you're one of the bagless holding a San Diego Stitch N Pitch ticket without the telltale Sharpie slash, we may still be able to connect you to schwag.

So what was this year's San Diego Stitch N Pitch schwag? If you're a bag hag like me, you start with the bag itself, a combo of the Stitch n Pitch logo with the local team (Padres's) logo on the ball of yarn.

In addition to the local schwag we had vampire stakes aka Clover US 19 straight bamboo needles. Don't knock them, they are good for demo-ing a technique to a crowd/group when teaching.

We also had some freebie patterns of the mass market slick tear off variety that worked back well to the fuzzy yarn. In our case, two different varieties but three skeins of the same colour is a good thing. DMC supplied a sweet little needle point project (little being operative -- sort of a taster/teaser project perfect for getting started.

There was also a fairly current Cast on magazine.

Although it arrived late on the day of the stuffing party we also had a geographically relevant resource list that found its way into most bags and into many an interested passerbyers' hands.

Onto the leather. Just a few blocks from home on tonight's commute, my right turn from University was slightly delayed as a pack (at least a dozen or so) of leather wearing nipple ring whip wielding sorts cleared the sidewalk.

Even in Hillcrest that was a bit dd but when combined with my
noticing the sign on what used to be the dirty movie house at Vermont & University about San Diego's 1st "omni-sexual lounge" it makes for an eyebrow raise and blog entry.

I'm not entirely sure I want to know what an omni-sexual is but I guess I'll be walking by their first lounge sometime soon when grocery shopping.

Stitch n Pitch round 2

When I said the Padres weren't having a good day I wasn't kidding, they ended up getting skunked 9 - nil. Plenty of drama but not many hits for the home team.

I'm not sure whether Suzanne of Knitting in La Jolla (she's the one in the shades & knitting) was frowning over the score or over her knitting but at least she had good company in other knitters and her son who was sporting one of the shops' signature t-shirts.

In the stands I finally got to some of my knitting projects including the cell phone cosy designed to co-ordinate with 2x twine and the super sharp pointies double knit cheque book project.

My concerns about the sizing on the cheque book cover were well founded so my walkabout and very slow going (knitting not walking) project has been a new mutation that I began with the poison green Senso I used for the stem of the goth lily.

It was approaching the almost there, almost there, almost there isn't this thing growing? stage. Knitters know that this stage is often followed by the damn it's too big stage.

The other WIP at Petco was the cell phone cosy. The orange nylon twine is a lot louder in person than in this photo.

Fellow Knitniters had checked it out when they picked up their bags and asked where 2x twine was since Linda had missed last Knitnite meeting.

Since both 2x twine and the cell phone cosy are likely going to live in India with Roopa (aka visiting engineer) when she returns home on 3 August, if the next Knitnite is the 8th and not the 1st anyone who didn't get to see them in July or at the game will have a long commute to check them out.

More photos of knitting in the stands follow.

I have it on good authority (his mom) that the young man pictured in the middle of this snap actually learned to knit during the game. Something to be said for "vampire stake" knitting needles and fluff yarn in a goodie bag.

22 July 2007

Stitch n Pitch round 1

How I can walk as many miles as I have in the last couple of days and then wake up to find I weigh five pounds more than I did two days ago is not a happy making mystery.

Starting on that sour note the get out and get going part of the day was a bit of a challenge. I missed the bus I'd planned to take so I arrived later than I'd planned to find tables, boxes, waiting ticket holders and Vicky. The weather was a 180 from Friday with full sun.

Soon after Libby and spouse were a welcome sight and we started to get our act together and bags distributed.

Vicky's co-worker Crystal also pitched in with the distribution which was a good thing because just as I feared our teaching/distribution roster was a bit thin.

When Caryl & Nancy Nelson of Common Threads arrived they brought the star of the day -- the sample of the Padres sweater Nancy designed.

The pattern was one of the items in the goodie bags.

As time went by and families with children passed I did find myself wondering whether the mini-bats being given to 14 and under or the size 19 Clover knitting needles in the goodie bags were bigger.

Just as I was late, the Stitch n Pitch ticket holders were also arriving later rather than sooner so by the first pitch we still had lots of bags undistributed and a sample sweater to get back to Nancy. It was very clear that if the boxes of bags were not stored away elsewhere they would have disappeared. Apparently bags are the must have items surpassing perhaps even t-shirts.

When we finally got the boxes of bags on their way back to storage thanks to Nick the great Padres' group sales contact, the game was already in the third inning or so and the Padres were not having a good day.

The Stitch n Pitch crowd could at least get some satisfaction from their projects and it was nice to see so many WIP being worked on.

Once in the stands it was clear that people had taken the seat information on their tickets as a suggestion rather than gospel so after briefly sitting near my seat, I joined Libby a bit higher up and out the sun.


21 July 2007

Happy Pride

Pride weekend in Hillcrest/San Diego. Roughly 100,000 people show up for the parade/festival. The photo shows the celebration atop the Park Manor.

Overall gay pride in the hood is fun but sometimes it can feel like being a pair of brown shoes at a black tie event. This year I took a pass on most of the festivities as I was preoccupied with the Stitch n Pitch event.

Friday morning was the stuffing party at Padres corporate offices. Thanks to the efforts of some great volunteers we managed to stuff all the bags with the donated goodies in under two hours. Some of us then took a quick side trip into the stadium to check out the location where we'd be handing out the bags and teaching on Sunday.

Didn't get a lot of knitting done during the stuffing party but I did have knitting at hand for the walk home. I swung 'round the Field for a pint before walking home knitting as I went. Another 9.2 miles to runagogo round 3.

Considered making it down to the Shake's for Friday happy hour but decided that showering, knitting and resting the feet was a better choice.

Hunky chunky digital camera has been on the must upgrade list for sometime now.

I've researched, dithered and otherwise wrapped myself right round for far too long so this morning I just decided that I was in a compromise buying mode.

Pride is both a good time and a PITA. The street closures and never ending construction make the always tight parking situation worse. Residents without off street parking really suffer during the weekend. I'm lucky, reserved parking but alley access can be dicey when people park in the red zone.

I opted to just go the Costco route with a goal of a Nikon for under $300. I'm really considering splurging on a D40 or D40x to refresh my SLR skills without wasting film but not today. Today's goal is a camera that can slip in a pocket and take a quick snap on the fly.

I opted for the Coolpix S200 -- a compromise between the options offered, picked up a few more things, resisted the impulse buy and got in and out for under $300 and was on the way home before 13:00.

There was a Volvo blocking my ability to make a right turn into the alley so I had to turn around and try for a left turn. That effort was thwarted by a pedicab driver coping with his bike's locked steering in the alley opening. After he finally cleared the access, I was happy to see that no one had blocked the garage opening while I was out.

Charged the battery, read the quick start guide and decided to pick up a memory card for the camera. The Uptown Ritz camera was a zoo so I decided to add Horton Plaza to my Saturday route.

I got a bit of a scolding for being MIA at St Paul's Thrift lately. The guys usually need my help finishing/fixing their crossword puzzle efforts and I've been far too hit or miss to suit their purposes. I found a large hunky chucky ball of white cotton for a buck that was a perfect put up for tomorrow's teaching and I also splurged on someone's vintage UFO before leaving the hood behind for Horton Plaza.

The deal to myself was that if I was done in time to make The Field's Saturday all day happy hour I'd stop in for a pint and a chat and if not I'd drop 'round Costplus World Market for a forage.
At Costplus, I spied some oversized totes that I hope will be in stock up in RB on Monday.

End of the day it was another 7.4 miles toward round 3 and a pretty successful test drive of the new camera. Both photos taken with the new camera.

17 July 2007

Making the world safe from myspace and boo-hoo bamboo

Although I don't update my web page as often as I used to (and even then it was hit or miss), I do maintain and run the log files on a regular basis. As I've written before it isn't a huge surprise to find that most hits are from people smart enough to use a search engine when looking for San Diego knitting groups and yarn shops.

Shadow/illusion knitting, short rows, knitting with wire and the ever popular polygons are also not uncommon. Other search engine requests that result in a hit are a bit more puzzling, sometimes even a tad alarming if, that is, I was one to be easily alarmed.

Graphics files are especially entertaining. By checking out the referral link I've found that they've been avatars on foreign to me forums, the subject of discussion on others, blogged about near and far. Sometimes the context is eye opening and sometimes baffling.

I don't always follow the referral link and some links are harder to connect to. It's been awhile but it seems to me that either livejournal or typepad can be a don't even other exercise as even the cache has long cleared and moved on. That's a bit annoying but since the links are few and far between it isn't a big deal.

Couple of things, I know that if I put an image out on the web I don't much control over who and how it gets used. I'm not one of those people who thinks that bots and other crawlers that index the web are somehow a threat. I could protect the images from the bots if I wanted to but good search engine results on the web rely on the bots checking for good links and updated info. Good bot results means more hits means more presence. Filtering the bot hits from the human web contact from my logs has just become part of the routine

I also can't control or even track how many times an image has been hijacked (copied) from my site. But I can track the links and what some folks consider the resulting bandwidth banditry.

Enter myspace. It started on the 5th, a simple log entry with a date, time, IP etc. to this image in the menagerie section of my web page.

No big thing right? Hey, 11 entries on the 5th of July, it'll pass. Didn't pass and while my web page was in standard sleepy time mode with its major reason for existence (other than to show case some of my older work) is to promote San Diego knitting events, groups and shops.

By the 12th or so the myspace hits were seriously elbowing out legit bots or not traffic.

Time to follow the link but that's where things got tricky. I tried cutting and pasting the source of the link -- but and entry that began with http://profile.myspace.com/index%fuseaction= and ended elsewhere either got no where at all or told me that the profile was private and I had to become a friend to view it.

Hmm, I'm following a link to my web page, my graphics file, and just trying to find out who is nibbling at my bandwidth and I have to become their friend to find out? I don't think so.

Then I tried to do a little myspace searching to see if their terms of service/use policy had any don't steal bandwidth warning/suggestion like blogger does. Could not find anything in the FAQs so I guess no one asks.

I intended to ask Jen, well actually Tina of the Whistlestop crowd about the whole crack the myspace mystery on Sunday but somehow it was all about the knitting.

Speaking of the Whistlestop knitting event, I was really looking forward to talking with fine gauge breast cancer 3 day walking baseball and symphony loving knitter about helping her fund raising out with offering the pattern for sale for a donation. But
I had the bamboo with me and the water bottle cosy with me so guess who wasn't clicking it at the bar?

16 July 2007

Cal trannies and other oddities on a weekend

Last week as I was walking, I noticed a sign about volunteering for a neighbourhood clean up on Saturday. I phoned and when I found out that one of the meeting locations was literally right 'round the corner, I was in.

I figured that volunteering would motivate me to get moving sooner rather than later and help with the slide toward being a weekend slug. It worked. I test drove the water bottle cosy and joined roughly 70 volunteers showed up on Saturday morning, organised into teams of four each and set out with maps, brooms, dust bins and industrial sized trash containers.

The water bottle cosy handled a litre bottle of water, my sunscreen and several pairs of gloves. The open mesh design was also perfect for attaching my key chain. I daresay the positively painful pink and the Cal Trans orange T weren't exactly a good fashion statement but if you can't be flamboyant in Hillcrest just where can you be?

A combined project of the Hillcrest Town Council and the Hillcrest Clean T.E.A.M it was a very successful effort even if some people must have thought that we were all doing DUI community service.

Hillcrest, my 'hood, is/was San Diego's first suburb and it's turning 100 years old this year. I've lived here off and on for roughly half of the time I've lived in San Diego county so I guess I'm a bit attached.

Despite all the construction and the high pedestrian traffic, the neighbourhood isn't that trashed on any given day when there hasn't been a big event going through the streets. Per usual in a trash pick up it, butts were the big story.

Since our team overlapped with others we wrapped up a bit early, dropped off our supplies and I went home to turn into a people before joining up with other volunteers at Urban Mo's where drinks and snacks were awaiting as a reward for our efforts. A Cal Trans orange event tee being the ticket to join.

After getting more human than a sweat soaked volunteer, I packed up my knitting and headed out for round two of the day's events.

I got sidetracked from joining the volunteers (which in itself was a sidetrack from joining the San Diego Knit together in Balboa Park) when I accepted a neighbour's invite to have a glass of wine with her.

Finally got to the park, where knitting was still happening and even the visiting OC knit team of Twisted Knitster and Mrs Twisted were present.

So what was I knitting? That cheque book cover that I wasn't feeling confident about having enough stitches on the needles. As you can see from the photo, I had reason to be concerned.
It might stretch to fit but it also might stretch and shred which would not be a good thing especially not in a going to be a gift knit.

I was also worrying another rework of the pentagons last seen/discussed in the Time Flies posting. The goal is a cell phone cosy to co-ordinate with 2x twine. The method this time involved decreases in the twine segment of the knitting and it wasn't really happening.

12 July 2007

Girl gone guild

Finally, she posts and there might even be knitting content. Last night was Knitnite and there was a parking situation at the JCC. I blame sports.

In theory we were meeting in a different room than usual so when I came in at about the same time as Judy Gibson, we went upstairs and to the left rather than right (as directed) only to find that the change of plans/venue seemed to have shifted back.

Fortunately the group was, in fact, in the usual room. Not a bad turn out and a new member to boot.

I did my Stitch n Pitch pitch/update to the group, rounded up a few more possible volunteers for the goodie bag stuffing party before joining the knitted bag theme by sharing my girlie water bottle cosy and 2x twine in addition to the finished heptagon ring bearer pillow.

The day/big guild has more structure than Knitnite and the idea is that you fill out a slip describing your show and share item(s). The idea is that then you can see your name in the newsletter as in Knitter Nancy showed a cardigan designed by X, from magazine/book/web page Y and knit in yarn Z. The design's special features included A, B & C techniques.

I'm still not quite domesticated enough to write a short blurb on my own somewhat whack job designs. I'm almost more comfy with nothing in the newsletter but I know that I need to expand the shameless self promotion, expand the audience and all that jazz.

Anyhow, you could tell which folks had recent had their brains in the storm drain (aka mind in the gutter) by their reactions to the painfully pink girlie girl water bottle cosy. Borat, delusions of grandeur (read elephantitis of specific body parts) and visions of the upcoming gay pride parade and festival seemed to be the go to the gutter reference.

The other side saw the female torso and potential for breast cancer fundraising. Missy miss the bamboo knitter of Whistlestop knitting is crazy enough to be doing the Breast Cancer 3 day walk (yeah, yeah, yeah, me too 5 years ago) and just like me the fund raising is the big challenge, so while I was originally thinking just gift (double duty for water carry & tent ID) in addition to the loan of a headlamp and some coaching on blisters and training I'm leaning toward helping with the other hurdle.

Today was back at the day job grind but, being Thursday it was also my check in with the Padres group sales guy (aka Nick the nice) to see where our numbers are, the trend and get a handle on the latest crisis craziness. No it isn't a big bad thing but every event seems to have starting and last little bit pains. This is year two of the event in San Diego and the committee, shops, groups and the Padres are still on a learning curve of how to build this event and make that perfect double play more perfect.

09 July 2007

Taxing time again

In April my solution to the tax situation was to write large cheques, file an extension of time to file and try not to feel too sorry for myself. Not a bad strategy especially since I was in day job deadline hell.

Since then I've had a few more of those lovely deadlines, received (thank you) a letter from the insurance company acknowledging that it was their error not mine and crunched some numbers. What I haven't done is the filing of the return or the contact the IRS and FTB for clarification of what paperwork to file in support of my position that the under withholding is not something I should be penalised for.

I woke up today feeling lousy enough to take a sick day.

Since the day was not going to be a fun one and the deadline to file is Friday, I figured I might as well make it a really bad day by doing my homework and making the calls.

For as long as I've lived in CA one of the things that boggles my mind is how good they can make the feds look by comparison. Today was no exception.

True, the FTB gives you an automatic extra 3 months to file your return (a good thing) but the rest of the story is not a pretty one.

The underlying problem is that the mistake involves under withholding which, if I were an estimated tax payer or someone with business or other income that might arguably need to make estimated tax payments, I would fill out and file a 2210 to show that I did make the appropriate payments and owe no penalty/interest because my tax liability falls within the 90 and 110 percent rule.

The underlying premise on all of this is that the government wants 100% (or more) of all the tax monies you may owe when you file on 15 April in their coffers before the end of the tax year. This provides them with an interest free loan over and above the one they've had all year via the magic of withholding. They can and will penalise you for not making them this loan.

The 90% and 110% rule is a get out of trouble escape clause if you have paid the smaller of these two amounts to the government by the close of the tax filing year. The 90% applies to the current filing year tax liability and the 110% applies to the prior year's tax liability. So if you find yourself in this position you really need to know both to calculate any possible penalty and to know just how much of a loan you need to give the government.

As a general rule, if your business/income is growing, the 110% rule will be in your favour and as long as the IRS has payments that are at least 110% of the prior filing year's total tax liability they are happy. You'll also be happy because you'll have the use of your money
longer before handing it over.

If your business/income is shrinking, the 90% rule be in your favour. Keeping the IRS happy with payments that total at least 90% of the current filing year's total tax liability.

My story is, of course, not quite the estimated taxes and under withholding story that the 2210 addresses. Which is why I didn't even try to file a return in April. I just did 90% of the math and made a note that I needed to find my FET records to see if my actual payments exceeded the $30 credit to further reduce my tax liability.

Called the IRS got connected to a fairly sophisticated group and after a few minutes there was a notation in my file indicating the conversation/situation. Basic idea is that I prepare to file one form but don't file it unless there's an issue later.

FTB -- sigh. There doesn't seem to be a group that handles this sort of situation. Crazier still, if the folks on the phone are to be believed they don't have a way to match the piddling withholding paid to them by the insurance company to my file. How it is that somehow these lovely government employees think that getting a "corrected" 1099 is the solution. Gee wouldn't that be great if I could get 1099s showing what should have been with held rather than what was with held?

Finally decided that I wasn't going to get any useful info out of the FTB people, I decided that I'd file federal, and see if we have any post filing back and forth to clarify the situation before I even bother filing California.

The good news on the day is that the wonderful Libby and I had a marathon session clarifying quite a few of the outstanding questions about the upcoming San Diego Stitch n Pitch game -- 22 July day game.

07 July 2007

Picking up some old stitches

While my walking mileage has been going reasonably well, the see less of me more often side of that equation has been a bit less successful. I keep starting down the path of getting back on track only to find myself derailed.

If there's any good news in all of this it is that I am not falling down my hermit rabbit hole. Since the weight is creeping back up as I give into bad behaviour, I'm thinking that I wouldn't fit in that rabbit hole anyhow. So lately it is more see more of me more often and that's not quite what I had in mind.

The thighs are getting way too close to co-dependent for a comfy Summer so I'm hoping to shrug it off sooner rather than later.

Just as I expected, the 5th and 6th were highly non-productive days in the office as people who worked on the 2nd & 3rd were out on the 5th & 6th and those who were here were, like me, ramping back slowly after time away. Worse still they were not nearly caffeinated enough as the
campus coffee kiosk was only functioning on partial hours.

The lovely Libby of Stitch n Pitch was also taking some well deserved time off although we were stilling doing our telephone tag thing.

Once again finding myself in a now what do I knit mode, I picked up the double knit cheque book cover project I'd abandoned way back in February/March.

It is very fine gauge, fiddly and I'm not totally convinced I have enough stitches on the needle to actually fit. But it is portable and the double pointed small gauge needles look wicked dangerous.

04 July 2007

Painful pink combined

Independence day, walkabout and start of round 3 of runagogo. I haven't totally decided on a goal but I managed a little under 10 miles today and got most of the pink pentagon project done.

I walked down to the Shakie's via Mission Hills/Pioneer park, met up and cleared up the wager situation, then walked on through Middletown and back up into Hillcrest.

Short rest, water and a glass of wine and then I continued on through the park just to polish the day and rack up the mileage.

Sometime back I bought a couple of pink non-traditional possible knitting materials.

The first one is a plastic twine that's bit like the stuff they use these days to bind up Sunday newspapers but a bit more decorative.

It's been sitting around for quite sometime until I got the bright idea to combine it with the nylon twine for the mesh portion of the project.

That was the theory until the stuff snagged on something and shredded itself. It isn't off the list of stuff to knit with but it has moved back in the queue.

The other stuff is straight line flagging tape in a hot hot pink.
It was a total whim purchase and pretty much a total whim knit choice when I lost faith in the other stuff. I like the result so much that I'll probably be making a Home Depot/hardware store run something real soon to scout other colour options.

Combined I ended up with a very pink, very girlie bottle holder using hardware store materials.

This one started as a centre out pentagon, morphed into a five pointed star, then I filled in the valleys and, after a bit of garter and shifting of stitches I went into the Mary Thomas mock filet lace crochet stitch.

03 July 2007

Pentagons, hexagons and footie

The extra days for runagogo round two are working well for me so far. I didn't make it to the Whistlestop on Sunday and yesterday was a bit of a short trek so as of this morning I was roughly six miles short of my 400 mile goal.

My truck has a date with her mechanic today so the walk back home and out to pick her up should put me at, near or over goal and making plans for round three if there is a round three.

Even though I have plenty of UFOs and WIPs kicking around (don't make me count) I've been at a bit of a now what mode for the next bit of walkabout knitting.

Nylon twine makes for good summer knitting but figuring the right needle can be interesting -- witness the yellow twine that turned on itself when I was working on the 2x twine. So I finally settled in on staying in the twine arena with some positively painful pink nylon twine. Last night it was kicking my bum a bit as I tried to get needle, twine and brain to all match up.

And yes, I added walking and Guinness to the mix so it wasn't the most successful effort. Somehow in the course of the evening, and yes, this is shocking, my knitting got noticed, my powers of observation were tested, and I actually made a bet.

I'm not a betting woman so a wager is worthy of note. I was knitting a pentagon and the wager involved whether a soccer/footie ball was composed of pentagons or hexagons.

My off the cuff response was hexagons because pentagons don't interlock well with each other but hexagons do. I've been playing with pentagons and penta-flakes and this polyognal madness for a bit now so I even wagered a full price pint on this theory.

Turns out that I was both right and wrong. The basic ball has a mix of hexagons and pentagons 20 of the former and 12 of the latter. The combination of shapes forms a truncated icosahedron that is morphed into a sphere by the air pressure.

How do I know this? Google is my friend.
I'm not sure which is the more dangerous, slippery slope the wagering or graduating from flat forms like pentaflakes into these solid shapes but I shouyldn't be too shocked since I've already knit cubes and spheres.

Since I'm supposed to be settling up on the wager tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to knit a soccer ball out of black and white nylon twine -- so that was today's initial walkabout knitting. It pretty much carried me through the Adams Avenue to home part of my day's walkabout but as
matching needles to twine continued to be a challenge, I reverted back to the pink nylon twine project abandoned yesterday for the home to post office to Adams Avenue retrieve the truck.

I took a more circuitous route and along the way dropped off a knitted lily for a very deserving lady who needs a bit more beauty in her daily life.

The combined mileage put me over my 400 mile goal but since I was home early enough, I opted to do a round the park ramble for a combined total of 11 miles today. That gives me five extra miles.

Not only did I knit the whole way, I wore flip flops.

01 July 2007

Oh my it's July

I was feeling a bit low over my runagogo mileage for round two, went round & dutifully put in my total and noticed that the round two deadline is the 4th not the 1st.

I've logged another 17 miles and change since my last post and
with three extra days of walking my personal goal is looking possible and perhaps even probable -- 12 miles in three days is not even a stretch.

If I manage the Whistlestop today, that's almost five miles out and back. I'm casting around for a new walkabout project as the seemingly never ending unistrap for 2xtwine finally came together.

I did a couple of treks to Artist and Craftsman Supply on San Diego Avenue hoping that they had more of the safety orange hemp twine.

On the first try, I arrived after closing hours so all I had for my efforts was a good workout and some serious hill work (Bandini from San Diego to California is a wicked incline and then Pringle back up to Washington Place).

On the second try, I arrived during business hours but the only hemp twine in the beading supplies area was purple. I like purple and I was somewhat tempted but I'm really after safety orange. I'll keep checking back and do a bit of shopping around to see what other shops carry the stuff in that put up in the hopes of scoring at least two balls of the orange.

I haven't done the complete worry the ends thing but I'm pretty happy with 2xtwine.

Double knitting the unistrap makes for a very sturdy and very comfortable strap. At 12 stitches on a side it is about two inches wide. It isn't a closed loop knitting project as I joined another spool of the orange nylon twine and worked it up from the body of the bag. I joined the two live stitches with a three needle bind off for stability.

I revisited my original idea for the strap with a not so minor shift of gears. Having resolved the gauge problem between the nylon twine and the original multi-coloured hemp by working the hemp doubled, I used it to form one of two sweet little pentagons (formed by central decreases working up from the short rowed wedges coming up from the body of the bag).

I probably should have made the multi-coloured hemp the outside pentagon instead of the orange but since it was all an afterthought design decision, I'm good with it. The two pentagons were worked independently and I sewed one side shut leaving the other side open to form a little pocket suitable for change purse, key, ipod or whatever storage.

It could stand some refining for the next go 'round. I'm leaning toward a vertical button hole slit or returning to the original idea of a pentagon with an opening at the top.

So it's July and our local Stitch n Pitch game is a mere 21 days away. If you're in San Diego and a knitter, crocheter, needlepointer or some other needle art type or wannabe get out there and buy a ticket and consider volunteering to teach at the game.

Knitting in La Jolla has tickets available if you're in the neighbourhood and don't forget that the Padres also have an online portal. I finally bought my ticket from Suzanne while on a deliver flyers, posters and other promo materials run.

Now I just have to figure out what I'll be knitting to from and at the game.This is a very important decision for me because I plan to walk to the game and truth be told? I don't really like baseball.