29 November 2008

A break in the action

After two solid days and a full morning of cleaning, sorting, moving and sneezing while still less than 100% recovered from Wednesday's unexpected and not terribly welcome serious sick session, this afternoon, I took a break and took a walk to clear my head, get some air, do some shopping and talk to someone other than myself and Kali.

Sometime when I have a little more time and inclination maybe I'll try to diagram that sentence. I suspect it speaks better than it diagrams. Speaking of diagramming sentences, no photo but I can highly recommend this delightful little title on just that subject. Perhaps because I'm somewhat obsessed with patterns and structure, I loved diagramming sentences and consider it much more of a lost art than, oh say, knitting.

None of the photos in today's posting are from today's walk but rather from previous walks when I was in the absent and not blogging mode.

Continuing with the car theme and in a who knew? moment, I couldn't resist taking this shot of what appears to be an elusive but popular trend in car interior design. My Google eliminate lots of kiddie car seat search yielded this Google Answer link about the trend/product -- don't follow the photo link on Google Answers it doesn't work. Still, I found it an interesting glimpse into a seat cover car culture that goes beyond the sheep skin and over sized t-shirt world.

Combining the car/vehicle theme with one of my pet peeves, I offer this image. The verb is jobbing not jobing -- it may be a great job search resource but it just jacks my jaw.

Come on, if the job search company can't even spell should job seekers just all throw (or to keep with the so very not right thing "through") random typos and grammatical errors into their resumes when using this service? Good for goose, good for gander -- eh?

27 November 2008

Thanks for all the giving -- NOT

I'm home in the 'hood and my 'hood has been designated as one of the great places in America. See? Fifty percent gay and fifty percent every bloody thing else makes for a great, if increasingly, expensive place to live.

In a total gear shift, I'm not a big Puritans, Pilgrims and oddly timed harvest festival fan or, to put it another way, I usually just say no thanks to Thanksgiving.

This year the holiday was the ramp up to office/public space transformation and/or climbing back from chaos.

In another phase I may even have a bedroom and stash room that don't look like clothing and yarn volcanoes have recently had violent eruptions but that's for another day.

I started this whole holiday hunker down with my first Craigslist adventure -- founder as it turns out another Case alum -- and projectile vomiting. Ah yes, good times.

After Sharp Mary Birch volunteer duty on Sunday I made an IKEA run to scope the as is section and inventory for some of my might work back to the office effort.catalogue wish book looking.

Saw some prospects but it was ready to commit, and I since I was wearing the lovely and highly unslimming volunteer whites and driving the truck and not the van, lifting and shifting wasn't really something I wanted to try.

And seriously, in a who knew moment, I'd just received the newly launched CWRU magazine (now called think or some sych) and it had an interview with CWRU alum and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark so I finally bit.

Crazy, crazy, some of the very same furniture I'd been looking at it the catalogue and hoping to find in the as is aisle were the subject of recent postings. So I phoned on one and in what could have been a bad news story as all online exchanges can be it all turned out right.

So I bought a desk and a bunch of other office furnishings from a very nice man who is closing his business and working his way through the liquidation process.

Projectile vomiting (on an all but empty stomach btw) notwithstanding, I'm now hunkered down and executing a plan to reorg the office, living and dining room of heather's hell hole in preparation for a 1 December furniture pickup and install session. I keep telling (lying to) myself that that's enough time to really get it all done.

I have firm orders for myself to just put things (like yarn, knitting needles, etc.) in the room they belong in and resist the impulse to organise those materials and areas. That's a second or third phase effort and right now the priority is on the public/business parts of my place.

Toughest part? I've also given myself firm orders not to take knitting breaks but to stay on target.

26 November 2008

Just in time for the holidays

While I was still doing the trek to Little Italy thing with the reader x-word puzzle thing, I spotted this van parked in Banker's Hill.

It struck me then that this was clearly a great service with a well designed logo and tag line. If you can't read it clearly that tag line is "You do the drinking. We'll do the driving."

It did occur to me that upholstery cleaning products might be a significant business expense for this sort of endeavour but I still think it's a great idea that safer and cheaper than most cab options and a helluva lot cheaper than a DUI.

So in honour of the holidays and the still in stir digital image situation, I'm resurrecting the car/vehicle theme and offering this public service announcement and free press for the biz.

Today was the day I was supposed to have an Angel account and also be registered for 203 (aka the newly required 1 unit class). It didn't _shock_ happen so I'm thinking that the earliest is 1 or 2 December -- pish.

I am, of course, suddenly having those self doubt moments that I somehow after years and years (okay, so maybe decades) of computer and online competency somehow I did something wrong in signing up for the account and that my whole academic career is in limbo.

According to my iGoogle applet, on this date in history on 1789. a different George POTUS declared today a national day of thanksgiving to celebrate the new US constitution.

Later, in 1863, the first national Thanksgiving was celebrated and it too wasn't about Puritans and Pilgrims but giving thanks for the end of the civil war -- trust me to be a shatter illusions/myths with a dose of truth

24 November 2008

A random shuffle of events

I took this snap during a walkabout in August (one of those missing months). As near as I can tell this is a rare and obviously wrong concrete stamping effort that some one had to have done in a dyslexic moment or grins and giggles.

Have I mentioned that I love my suite of applets at iGoogle? Along with my heavy bandwidth random shuffle of flickr interesting images, Nihongo word of the day, Shakespearean insults, visual thesaurus and other as my whim and bandwidth mood swings choices, I have a This Day in History applet.

In this week's random stuff what caught my attention include:

  • Junipero Serra was born in 1718 on Majorca.
  • Darwin's Origin of the Species was published in 1859
  • In 1869, women from 21 states converged in Cleveland to form the American Women Suffrage Association.
  • In an unrelated note, in 1871, the American Rifle Association was incorporated with Major General Ambrose E. Burnside as its first president
  • Barbed wire was patented in 1874
  • In 1947 Dale Carnegie was born and the Hollywood 10 did not win friends and influence the right people as they were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer
  • DB Cooper, with a hefty chunk of change, jumping out of a perfectly 727 and into infamy and mystery back in 1971.
Today in 2008 it was just so very Monday and yes, I am easily amused and that's kind of a good thing.

21 November 2008

Ollie spits no more

In law school, each semester of the first year CWRU worked it out so that you had a couple of smaller classes to balance out the lecture hall/stadium seating of the other classes.

One of my smaller classes was criminal law with Oliver C Schroeder (generally known as Ollie). This class was held in the moot court room because, as Ollie confessed to the class on perhaps the very first day, he had a tendency to spit and it was much better for all concerned if the well of the moot court room was between him and the class.

Ollie was quite the character, he was a pioneer in law collaborating with the Cuyahoga County coroners office and other to establish the law medicine centre and and do his best to bring of science and forensics into the curriculum.

I'll never really forget the story of the woman who died on because she went one bus stop too many or the day he waxed poetic about the Socratic method while grilling a fellow first year student asking isn't it wonderful? Isn't exciting? And her classic reply -- for you maybe.

Got an email today from the law school, I think I'd heard that Ollie had died but I must have forgotten and a certainly won't be able to attend the memorial service at the school in December but even though I didn't do so very well in crim and I didn't pursue that course, I admired him a lot for bringing real science into the class room.

I do find it more than a little disturbing to note that Donald Rumsfeld also took a class with Ollie and cited him as one of his most memorial teachers .

20 November 2008

Servers, restraint, Angels in the offing, apostrophe games and this just in

Last week the new switch and associated cables arrived.

Dell's smaller peripherals and accessories ship from a different location than the systems so if you order a desk top don't be shocked if the mouse and keyboard precede the CPU and monitor.

Their arrival got me wondering where I'd put that router I bought but never installed the last time my Linux box dropped a power supply. I found the not terribly helpful all Windows based instructions, the box it came in but the router has gone to ground.

Oh well, all of my current research tells me that the whole put a physical firewall in front of my software firewall and mail server might way over complicate an already rather complicated setup. My biggest concern is that the Linux box and, more particular;y, my mail server config might suffer an identity crisis if the router and the box were suddenly dueling who was the real domain IP.

Twisted sort that I am, I 've toyed with the idea of combining the router and new switch between Linux box and the rest of my network so the Windows machines are in the private LAN are more stealth on the net. But again, router has gone to ground making it all a bit of a musing without meaning.

Server arrived earlier this week. I took it out of the boxes, verified that there was no obvious oops in shipping and have been trying to figure out how I can make the totally dysfunctional computer room not only work for the current computer/network configuration but also accommodate the new server.

Just how hard it is not to bring it in, fire it up and start exploring this new Red Hat distribution is something only another twisted computer geek can really understand. It is especially tough since my cygwin interim solution to the dying monitor is increasingly an on again and off again solution with the Windows box randomly misinterpreting permissions -- snarl, snarl.

Anyhow, I am determined to put things in order so that once I start the course work, the network will be configured, the room will be streamlined and a picture of peace rather than chaos.

So the current chaos is about how to get from make do that doesn't do actually work. Yes, that was written without my usual visual cues of underlining etc. so you may have to read it a few times to parse it correctly.

Speaking of putting things in order, today's message on MySJSU assures me that pending Angel account and the 203 enrollment should be on target and done by the 26th.

While I'm not holding my breath that the estimate of completion will happen on time, I'm not moving forward with contacting the lovely Amanda at the Bursar's office to finalise my installment payment plan options. If it doesn't hit by the 26th or shortly after the T-day holiday I will have to just suck it up and deal with the rogue registration and associated fun with fees whenever it hits. I'm certainly not going to pay an additional $33 to split that payment so I may need to do some account shuffling to make the cash flow work.

In other annoyances, my time and the digital camera are holding a number of images hostage at the moment so I'm hitting the digital image archives for images that should have been blog entries way earlier.

The photo's file name is apostra_hey and it is really good example of the signs along the way stuff that both amuse and annoy me. Unless there are multiple Cesars involved in the business, there's nothing wrong with the second (and larger apostrophe) but apparently Cesar and crew, at least as far as the punctuation on the sign shows, are not building customers, plural, but best construct without just acknowledging the when in doubt leave it out rule of random apostrophes, they are building some sort of "for life" product for a single customer.

Making it just that much more absurd is that the sign is on the railing of a mortuary so the whole "for life" thing is just the sort of lost in translation and/or unfortunate punctuation moments I not so secretly relish.

This just in, General Francisco Franco, who died on this date in 1975, is still dead.

18 November 2008

Blues -- the Angels are not registering or sometimes it just all unwinds

Sunday was a Whistlestop Sunday and while I was LAU (late as usual), the walk was good and Jen did get to see how the fishy panels were progressing.

Yesterday was the first day I could register for classes and there was an oops or we're no angels moment. My which professor to take research was less about the email group on Yahoo and more about reviewing their CVs and required texts.

I read the checklist and noted that asking for and getting an Angel account was supposed to auto-magically register me for the new mandatory one unit class.

My plan was to try to get the Angel account and the registering for other classes to happen as close together as possible so I would trigger one bill for fees so I could make arrangements for a single spread the payment plan.

Plan not in my control. Plan not working. Not sure when the account will be opened but when it is, the payment for it will be due three weeks later and that date is clearly not going to synch up with yesterday's registration activities -- ack.

The advantage of being in special session (and paying for it thank you) is that, while that extra unit makes me a "full time" student, unlike the regular session students its addition doesn't raise the water for all fees it just slaps an extra $439 onto to the bill for that class. Not having control of when that extra $439 hits the budget is the ho ho ho happy holidays (no extra charge for the sarcasm) surprise.

17 November 2008

Not so secret any more -- let the knitting in the sun shine

Got an email the other day lifting radio silence on my latest secret squirrel cannot be blogged about project. The radio silence is lifted because it's available for pre-order on Amazon.

It's called Knitting in the Sun (KITS) which is Kristi Porter's 3rd book and I, along with two other members of my knitting guild, are among the contributing designers.

To be more specific, I'm the whack job who designed the knitted beach chair -- hey she asked and it sparked a few ideas.

I had a couple three other related designs in mind but the timing and some emails gotchas (can you say battling SPAM filters gone mad?) meant they didn't make the cut. So I guess I'll just have to make them available some other way.

After I finished the pattern write up and most of the knitting, I came up with about a million easier and arguably more elegant ways to do the project but I'm still pretty happy with it and I know I achieved my goal of producing something that looked more like a really nice beach chair and not like a knitting project.

I was pretty sure that I had achieved the goal but it was hugely reinforced when several people tried to buy it from me while I was just trying to get a good photo for my own purposes before delivering it to Kristi.

The day I dropped it off someone else's contribution arrived by post and I got a quick peek at some of the other designs that had already arrived. There are some really lovely projects in there.

Hopefully promotional material will be available in time for TNNA in January.

16 November 2008

All just ducky

More of the duck in process. At the moment the big issue is making sure all the bits are securely attached.

Considering how patch worked a project this has been, I'm pretty happy with it.

I'm going to keep the feet flatter than the legs so they look a little more like feet. The technique will involve quilt batting, a crochet hook and a bit of sewing.

Also involving sewing will be the to be embroidered eyes. The black cotton is at the ready.

Were I to do it again or help someone through doing the project, I'd still do the body in the round but I wouldn't divide front and back. Instead, I would go 100% seamless and just use fully fashioned paired decreases.

I would eliminate the body to head seaming by either just going directly into knitting the head or by picking up stitches from the body's neck edge and knitting the head in the round from bottom to top.

15 November 2008

Duck parts

Here's the reworked duck body back, base and side views. The knitting wasn't nearly as difficult as the ripping out and separating strands.

I considered sewing the previously completed legs to the base but I couldn't really get good positioning.

My next idea was to knit the live leg stitches to the the the front of the body and do a little bit of short rowing to give the duck a small belly that would make that not look totally weird.

I actually did proceed with that idea but I was less than thrilled with the result so I frogged back the leg stitches.

Because I knit the base from short end to wide, there's a bit of a ridge line that I'm putting in the less than ideal but acceptable side of knitting perfection.

Beak knitting, sewing and stuffing are on the agenda for the rest of the weekend.

On another watery front, the fish afghan is also swimming along again with two of the four panels near completion. I'm still ignoring the 300 pound gorilla that is how exactly I'm going to connect the panels to each other and a few other complications.

The recent water theme isn't just related to the active knitting projects, I think it is also a wish for an end to the Santa Ana/high pressure to low pressure roller coaster the weather's been on lately. I'm so very over having nose bleeds because the air's so dry. I don't live inland, I live in the coastal zone -- humidity should be making me complain about dampness in November.

13 November 2008

Paddling right along

The photo shows a sampling of my personal collection of rubber duckies. A few more have joined the paddling since I took this shot.

The duck in process took a mini-knitter's tour this week. Knitted body, base piece and book were carefully examined by other knitters and tech writers. The general consensus reached was that the instructions don't really provide any answer to the musical question "how is the base piece to be oriented relative to the front and back pieces?" and further, that if the best photo the book had showed a significant "pucker butt" on the duck then I really did need to do a rework.

Mark this as another one of those nice to have my instincts validated but now I have to do way more work -- as one of my pirate ducks would say if it could talk -- Argh!

So the new plan is to extend the knitted base, pick up stitches along three edges to knit the body in the round from bottom to top and do a bit short row shaping to create a tail section rather than a pucker butt.

The biggest problem in the rework is yarn and time. On the yarn front, the previously completed body is the only piece of the duck completed in the original yarn left over from the companion baby blanket. The rest of the duck has been worked with one strand of the older yarn and one of the new to blend the different dye lots.

Cut to the chase, I need to tear out the body and separate the two strands so I can pair one strand to the new yarn -- sigh.

10 November 2008

A watery moment

One day shortly after Pride weekend, I took the University Avenue exit on the way home and found the usual bottleneck a little nastier than usual.

From way back on the off-ramp it wasn't immediately obvious what the issue was but as I inched slowly, slowly toward being able to make the left hand turn onto University, some glimpse of the reason why I was idling away tres expensive fossil fuels came into view.

In the distance there was a sign about 6th being closed ahead. I had no idea why since it wasn't a weekend special event closure day.

When I got home I checked a few sources and found no info on the cause of the closure so I made a mental note to pop round and see what had happened.

When I finally did get a chance to walk 'round to have a look see I found quite the assortment of heavy equipment in place.

The closed street had a remarkable number of hoses, barriers, generators and, naturally, plenty of signs with conflicting information about sidewalk closures and such littering the street.

Sure enough, the source of the closure was another delayed maintenance nightmare that looked rather a lot like water main, sink hole or some such.

Not sure when the road got closed but I took my first up close and personal look around the end of July and the road stayed closed well into August.

The tank, liner, whatever that big corrugated metal thing is was slowly forced down below street level with the help of lots of concrete, gravity and time.

All the while generators and hoses did a less than efficient job of recovering the water that should have been flowing through the pipes that connected to that thing.

Although amazingly inconvenient for some, it was actually sort of nice to be able to stroll down 6th as unfettered pedestrians.

09 November 2008

Fish gotta swim

So is this a knitting blog or what?

Lately more "or what" but there has been knitting.

Most of the knitting has been knitting and re-knitting, thinking and rethinking with plenty of serious frog action in the mix.

Seriously, the not really working blues have been an ongoing theme and then there's the back ordered Dreambaby duck yarn.

On the not working front, here's a look at the really nice but not going to block out well interlocking (tessellating) fish. It would work in something more block friendly and might even work at a much looser gauge in a not block friendly fabric but this is not the fabric/project. This is the Jen/Tony and spawn keep it simple, easy and funky/fun project.

Then there's the strips that showed promise until the grafting told the sad tale of so not happening.

Since the start of the month, the new theory is non-tessellating fish in four panels on a blue background. How the panels will be connected is still a big old TBD.

On Friday I got an email telling me that the Dreambaby had arrived -- so a road trip to Needlecraft Cottage and a stop in to KinLJ to pick up the last of the blue Comfort to keep my fish in water were on the agenda.

With yarn reinforcements from Turkey, diligent duck knitting began again. In theory the only bits of duck to be done were wings, head, beak and base. Head went pretty well, wings I mixed the two batches of yarn to knit a head, a pair of wings and then I moved onto the base piece.

I've tried to wrap my brain around how the base piece could possibly attach to the front and back bit of the body a few times now but the instructions were not explicit and the orientation was not -- at least to me -- intuitive. I checked for errata, checked Ravelry, and I seem to be in the dense minority.

Fortunately, this is a week filled with knitting contacts so I can get a sanity check or two.

08 November 2008

Dinky to duplex?

Seemingly out of nowhere (clearly I need to get out and walk more often) I noticed that there was a skeletal frame where a house once was.

That particular missing house is one that has amused me for the better part of a decade.

It was a dinky little house on the corner of 10th and Robinson that always seemed to go on the market for an inflated price whenever the buzz about it being a seller's market reached near hysteria.

I could be wrong but it seemed like it went on the market, didn't sell, got withdrawn from the market and then hit the market again the next time the hype about a seller's market hit a new high.

Even in a seller's market not putting a little bit of effort into curb appeal and otherwise tarting a place up tends to mean that the property won't sell unless the buyers are total bozos with almost no competing inventory.

A few weeks after I first noticed the change, the new framing suggests that this another what once was one will be two.

Normally, I'm not a fan of this sort of change but, in this case, it couldn't happen to a better house.

I do hope for whoever took it on as a project, that this time the money/investment will work out but I have my doubts.

03 November 2008

Coal -- who knew?

You may have noticed that other than noting signage of various candidates for POTUS, blog entries have been largely apolitical, This isn't really any exception but for the fact that the latest tempest in teapot trying to stem the tide of a Democratic landslide reaction to the last 8 years, is this whole coal bankrupting Obama quote/misquote.

So how crazy is it that one of my most active in process reads is Coal, A Human History by Barbara Freese?

It's been a fascinating, if somewhat quirky read. My interest comes largely from the fact that I'm from coal mining stock so who I am and even that I am is very much tied to coal. But how coal shaped society and industry is not just for the coal connected crowd. In truth, the last few of chapters work back 'round to the author's own environmentalism and get a bit global warming eyes glaze -- which is walkabout speak for interesting but tough to slog through.

I did have a certain amount of nostalgia for my law school days when reading about acid rain and the discussion of coal mining in China was also a bit of a return to the days when a huge amount of my time, energy and brain power was all about the tensions between emerging industrial economies and the "been there done that don't want others to experience" attitude of the developed world nation states.

02 November 2008

She's seen better days

It's the California Theatre not the Hotel California but it has definitely seen better days.

According to the San Diego Historical Society, the building was slated to be demolished in 1990 and was still standing in 2000.

Fast forward, I shot this photo back in August 2008 during one of my treks down to Little Italy with a side trip to the Gaslamp as part of the drop off my Reader crossword entry thing.

I guess it's just a bit too far off the perimeter of redevelopment. Not sure whether it's a good or bad thing that it's still standing.

Today's a Whistlestop knitting Sunday and the fish afghan is starting to make a bit more sense on this, its third design plan.

The goal is to drag it 'round for Jen's perusal but the truck needs servicing too and between the return to standard time and my recent slow off the block days off pattern the truck's issues will probably take priority 'specially since I can still get knitting done.