Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My mister meets A B

My Mister met one of his culinary role models two days ago. Alton Brown came to the Mall of America for a book signing, and Z got to attend, book to be signed and camera in hand. He came home an even more enthusiastic fan than he had been.

I'd've gone, too, but my lymphedema has been so puffy lately that I really didn't think it was wise to stand around in line all evening. Z said the line was so long, and so slow, that even though we'd both have liked me to be there, I made the right choice.

Not that my Mister was complaining. He loved the talk A.B. gave before the signing, and a slow line in this case was just indicative of Alton giving each person in line his individual attention. Certainly can't complain about that. But my leg would have been pretty unhappy by the end of a long evening standing around if I had gone.

At least I got to enjoy Z's photos.

Knitter's Geek Code

My Knitter's Geek Code:

KER+ Exp+>++ SPM-(SPM)>+ Steel++@ Bam+ Syn+ Nov++ Cot+ Wool+ Lux++ Hemp>+ Stash+(++) Scale Fin>+ FI?>+ Tex+ Lace-@ Felt++ Flat Circ++ DPN+(++) ML? Swatch+ KIP++ Blog+ SNB>+ *Rav+ FO+ WIP GaugeW++(B) ALTCr->+Q++Em

Note: I added Rav for

Monday, April 28, 2008

Level 1 Troll Priest

Over the weekend I had a fair amount of time spent on the couch trying to get my foot to depuff. Light exercise helps with the lymphedema, but light exercise and then a bunch of elevation seems to help more. I've got some PT appointments coming up, too.

I used some of that down time to get the World of Warcraft troll plushie assembled. The knitting is done, the hair needs a bit of a trim, and his level 1 priest robes will be sewn instead of knitted.

I pondered a couple of methods of attaching his hair, and went with cutting lots of strands to the same lengths, bunching them together in little bunches like you might for tassels on a scarf, and tying knots in the middle of each bunch. Then, I stitched those bunches to his head by sewing through the knots. I created the braid out of three much longer bunches.

His tusks are felted to give them a bit more substance, and his ears are made from long, thin tapering cones, lightly stuffed to keep them lifted up. The nose was done the same way, but with a much smaller cone.

All in all, not a bad approximation of my Mister's main WoW character, Zwierdo. I may have to make him a wee plushie mace to wield, as a finishing touch. But clothing comes first.

Ok, break's over. Time for some PT, and then back to work.

Level 1 Troll Priest - Braid

Sunday, April 27, 2008

We do what we must because we can

Originally uploaded by jslander
Edit 20080501: According to Jess, the photographer, the plastic cups of water in question in this post were provided for the comfort of the Buddha statues (see her comment). I'm leaving the original post as-is, but wanted to clarify this point up front. I misunderstood the photo as thoroughly as Click Cluck did. Which doesn't change my opinion about his asking her to edit it.

Original Post:

I was eating my sourdough pancakes this morning and browsing flickr when I ran across this photo by one of my contacts, jslander. It shows that some passer-by has left an empty beverage container in the hand of a seated Buddha statue.

What inspired me to blog it isn't the juxtaposition of someone's discarded plastic cup with the timeless serenity of the statue, or the quality of the photo itself.

What made this worth blogging about is that another flickr member (Click Cluck) stuck a note on this photo (view it on the original page by clicking the photo) instructing jslander to remove the cup using photoshop because it isn't respectful. And not just in a comment below the pic, but a note stuck smack dab in the middle of the photo itself.


Saying that because it is now fairly easy to remove elements from photos, the photographer should feel obligated to do so if an element is politically incorrect made me boggle. And when I shared it with my Mister, he shared my embogglement.

My guess is that the story of some modern tourist type leaving a cup on the palm of the Buddha statue is exactly what jslander was shooting in the first place. Jslander has a good eye for composition and a well developed sense of irony. If she'd intended to take the photo of just the statue, I'm sure she'd've removed the cup in person. But as it is, it's funny in a tacky-irony kind of way, and it is a commentary on the person who left their trash there in the first place, and on the times we live in.

That said, the irony that Click Cluck was at the same time leaving his own mark on someone else's creation as he passed by seems somehow apt.

If humor is an important part of a delicious weekend breakfast, my recommended daily allowance has been met.

* * *

Aperture Science
We do what we must because we can
For the good of all of us
Except the ones who are dead

~Jonathan Coulton, Still Alive

Saturday, April 26, 2008

April Snow

Snow on the fence
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
It's snowed all morning today. A light snow. Not enough to snarl up traffic or completely cover the new growth of grasses and shoots on the ground. It's windy enough that the snow is sticking to the side of our fence. I think the snow has finally stopped falling for the time being (it's mid-afternoon), and it's warmed up to 37°F (3°C), but the wind still has an un-springlike bite to it, with a windchill in the high 20°s F.

I put some food out for the squirrels again today. The buds on the trees are being really slow to pop because of the weather, and the squirrels count on those buds for their spring salad bar. They were wandering around the empty food dish, looking annoyed by its emptiness.

I've been out running around today, doing errands and going to the Craftstravaganza at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. I've been warm enough all day, despite the wind and snow. Now I'm inside on the couch, typing, and I'm freeeeezing. Go figure.

I took a couple of photos of the crafts I saw today. You can see them on my flickr page here.

Only in Minnesota do you get 76 degrees, an inch of rain, severe thunderstorm warnings, and a possible foot of snow in 24 hours. ~ Paul Huttner, April 25, 2008, Updraft

Friday, April 25, 2008

Random pondering on names

Just found out Peter Murphy is going to be in Minneapolis on June 16th, so my coworker and I are going to go see that show. I haven't seen him in concert since the Bauhaus reunion tour. I get to see my two favorite (living) people named Peter in two months. Peter Murphy in June, and Peter Woodward in July. How lucky is that?!?

How is it I'm so often fascinated by men named Peter? Peter Woodward. Peter Murphy. Peter Cushing. Peter Lorre. I have a few photos of each of these men in my celeb folder on my computer, and framed photos of P. Lorre and P. Murphy on my walls (the latter is autographed).

I can't think of any other celebrities who interest me enough to have saved a photo or two here and there who have names that repeat. A quick inventory turns up:
  • Adam Baldwin
  • Alan Rickman
  • Boris Karloff
  • Christian Bale
  • Christopher Lee
  • Derek Jakobi
  • Frank Langella
  • Gary Oldman
  • George Takei (primarily a voice fixation)
  • Hugo Weaving
  • Ian McKellen
  • James Callis
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Johnny Depp
  • Ken Watanabe
  • Liam Neeson
  • Nigel Bennett
  • Richard Armitage (the actor, not the former US Deputy Secretary of State)
  • Rutger Hauer
  • Yul Brynner
Add a couple of random photos of Milo Ventimiglia, Sendhil Ramamurthy, David Bowie, and Anthony Bourdain, and one single shot of Jason Isaacs. That list covers all of the male faces of interest in my photo files... No name repeats except for Peter.

Note: Of all the above mentioned photos, the only ones I took myself are the shots of Tony Bourdain. I'm no paparazzo. I just click and save the occasional photo off the intertubes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Guess the Season

It's raining. It's late April. There are buds on the trees --some even have opened leaves-- and it was in the mid 70°s F a few days ago. So I am in complete denial about the weather forecast for next week.

Slight chance of what?
I'm sorry, "snow" is not a valid answer. Please try again.

Monday, April 21, 2008


LiveStrong, too
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
The photo is from about 10 months ago.

For the record, some days are better than others. Some days it's easier to just have a "normal" day and feel basically like my old self.

Some days the nerve damage is really annoying, the restless sleep due to hot flashes takes its toll, and the muscle spasms sneak back in. Some days I find that I'm really cranky just because I haven't had a really pain free day in a really long time.

This is one of those days.

But still.

I feel lucky to be alive. Lucky to have come through cancer only missing a few non-vital organs. Lucky to have a Mister who stands by me even when I'm not easy to be around, and understanding friends. Lucky to have a good home in a democratic and prosperous nation.

I'm still grumpy and tired and achy. But I am very lucky.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Long week

It' s been a long week. 12 and 14 hour days at work, but I've finally gotten the project that won't die to a point where I can breathe again. I got home at 1:30 AM, and slept for 12 hours. I'm looking forward to actually getting to see my Mister for a few days. Yay weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Pushing 7:00 pm, with only a few more hours to go at work. Not too bad. I've got iTunes randomizing songs at me to keep my brain awake.

Note to self: The transition from Who Wants to Live Forever by Queen to Guarded by Disturbed is a bit jarring when you're focusing fucosing * on mind-numbing copy/paste repetitions in someone else's language.

*"fucos" is a Wil Wheatonism that followed me home from here and I decided it could stay.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Anatomically Correct Brain Cake

How to Make an Anatomically Correct Brain Cake - wikiHow
If ever you're in the mood, or in the company of neuroscientists with something to celebrate, you may have need to create an anatomically correct brain cake.

Photo care of Jvoytek on wikiHow.
Click the photo to see the full article.

* * *
I never knew that I needed to know how to do this, until someone posted it on the interwebs. I didn't go looking for this. It came looking for me on my Google homepage under "how to of the day".


Ok. Back to work.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


My new word for today: Thundersleet.

I read about this phenomenon in Paul Huttner's weather blog, Updraft, as something that happened yesterday in the Twin Cities Metro area. I didn't notice any of it here in my neck of the metro. But it's related to thundersnow, and according to this article in Wikipedia:
One unique aspect of thundersnow is that the snowfall acts as an acoustic suppressor of the thunder. The thunder from a typical thunderstorm can be heard many kilometers away, while the thunder from thundersnow can usually only be heard within a two to three kilometer radius from the lightning.
So if it wasn't just over our heads, I guess we wouldn't know it was happening even a relatively short distance away.

This is not something I learned about when I lived out on the Left Coast. Thundersleet. In April, no less. Welcome to the Midwest.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I love this photo by Zero G beyond all reason. No idea why. Maybe it's something subliminal related to it having the word "yarn" in it's title? Anyway, something about the fuzzy little spider butt in the clothes pin just tickles me. Add to it Z.G.'s comments on "Peggy, The Amazing Spider-Washerwoman" and it just makes me smile. After visiting the photo about 10 times it demanded to be blogged.

Dinner is cooking in the rice cooker, it's snowing again, and my DVR just finished recording episode two of The Great Pharaohs of Egypt (aka The Greatest Pharaohs). I was planning on recording it to watch it this evening anyway, and also have episode one waiting for me to watch while I knit after dinner, but I was delighted to find out today that it was narrated by Frank Langella.

Langella is one of those men who's voice is so appealing I could happily listen to him read copyright law. So how did I not know he'd done the narration for a four-part documentary on ancient Egypt? Glee!

boggled my little brain

Hot enough to fry an egg
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
I'm taking a break from work for a few minutes. I'm working from home, and there are flopped cats sleeping all over the living room.

The photo of the egg in this post is my consistently most viewed, most favorited photo on flickr.

I don't know where I've been lately, but I just realized that flickr added a "my stats" page that tells me where my traffic is coming from, how many views I've had all together, and what's going on with each photo. Probably been there for ages, but I just found it. And when I did find it, my brain boggled!

How many views to my photos?!?

[edit: my screenshot seems to have been swallowed by the interwebs. It was a bunch, anyway. It's a bunch more now. ]

If you're one of the folks who's visited my photo stream and clicked through some of my pictures, I just want to say, "Thanks for stopping by!"

Ok, back to work. That monster project isn't going to finish itself.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knitting in Biology 101

Knitting in Biology 101
Originally uploaded by estonia76
Ok, ok you caught me. I didn't start working again immediately after dinner.

I found this froggy biology knitting project thanks to Turtleknitta (spotted on her project queue) and HAD to blog about it. (After I picked myself up off the floor.)

A knitted, cruelty free, formaldehyde free frog dissection model. It is really worth clicking on the photo to see the rest of the photos in the flickr set this comes from.

The pattern for this project is available for purchase in the artist's Etsy store, The Crafty Hedgehog. She's currently selling it (the pattern) for only $4. I'm so there.

April Snow

I'm taking a dinner break from work. It's April 10th and we've got a winter storm warning in effect. I looked out the window and saw big clumps of snow falling where the rain was earlier. The wind is blowing the still-bare trees around, but the snow is so heavy and wet it's falling nearly straight down anyway.

Some of the highlights from NOAA at the moment:
Wind Speed - NE 24 G 37 MPH
36°F (2°C), wind chill 24°F (-4°C)
Chance of precipitation is 100%

Minnesota, Hennepin
Winter Storm Warning
Statement as of 12:49 PM CDT on April 10, 2008
Expires 8:00 AM EDT on April 12, 2008
A period of rain is expected across central and southern Minnesota
this afternoon. The rain will mix with snow for a period this
afternoon and evening. A longer period of mixed
precipitation... including rain... snow... and sleet... is expected
across east central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin... where
the transition to all snow will likely not occur until closer to
daybreak Friday.
Welcome to Minnesota. Even the locals are griping about the weather now, which is unusual. They're usually proud of their tolerance for snow. On the up side, at least it isn't very cold.

This calls for a little music.

Chiron Beta Prime by Jonathan Coulton

This year has been a little crazy for the Andersons
You may recall we had some trouble last year
The Robot Council had us banished to an asteroid
That hasn't undermined our holiday cheer
And we know it's almost Christmas
By the marks we make on the wall
That's our favorite time of year

Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime
Where we're working in a mine
For our robot overlords
Did I say "overlords"? I meant "protectors"
Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime

Check out Coulton's listening primer on his website to hear the whole song. It's in the table labeled "4 Geeky Ones".
I think the robots sent us a pie
You know, I love my Soylent Green
Ok. Back to work.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

music to type by

Computer mouse
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
Worked until after 11:00 PM yesterday. Very tired, but met an OMG the world will come to an end if you don't get this done deadline.

While working, I discovered I was tending toward a less mellow playlist than usual. Usually, when I'm working, I listen to a lot of instrumental stuff so I can focus. Last night I just pulled a bunch of songs that sounded like they'd keep me up and typing together, and afterward realized they made kind of a funny set.

  • Morrowind Title - Bethesda Softworks
  • Where there's a whip - The Hobbit (Return of the King)
  • The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Assylum) - The Fun Boy Three
  • Chiron Beta Prime - Jonathan Coulton
  • Power of the Horde - Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain
  • I Am Murloc - Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain
  • Who Do You Want to Be - Oingo Boingo
  • Re: Your Brains - Jonathan Coulton
  • Zombie - The Cranberries
  • Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
  • Portal - Still Alive - Jonathan Coulton
  • Mr. Roboto - Styx
  • Has Anybody Here Seen My Corpse - Electric Funstuff
  • I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
  • Father Forgive - Will
  • Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
  • Not Meant For Me - Wayne Static of Static-X
  • Land Of Confusion - Disturbed
  • Big Hollow Man - Danielle Dax
  • The Mercy Seat (Video Mix) - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  • Raggle Taggle Gypsy (Live) - Tears for Beers
  • The Sentinel - Judas Priest
  • Ruins - London After Midnight
  • Souls - Project Pitchfork
  • Bullroarer - Midnight Oil
  • My Medea - Vienna Teng
  • Moonchild - Fields of the Nephilim
  • Darkangel (Azrael) - VNV Nation
  • Mercyground - Faith And The Muse
  • December - Pride and Fall
  • Bläck (Ink) - Garmarna
  • Low Room - Peter Murphy
  • Beer, Beer, Beer - Brobdingnagian Bards
  • Code Monkey - Jonathan Coulton
  • White & Nerdy - Weird Al Yankovic

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pwned* by time zones

Ok, so the first time I tuned in to listen to Zero G on 3RRR FM via the intertubes, it was on at 8:PM my local time, 1:PM Melbourne time.

The second time, a week later, we'd gone to daylight savings time, so 1:PM there had moved to 9:PM here.

Now it's moved out again to 10:PM here, while still on at 1:PM there. Any later and I'm going to have to stop chasing it around the clock and admit defeat.

*Pwned explained here for the leetspeak impaired.

Match It For Pratchett

People ask me why I announced that I had Alzheimer’s. My
response was: why shouldn’t I? I remember when people died "of
a long illness" now we call cancer by its name, and as every
wizard knows, once you have a thing's real name you have the first
step to its taming. We are at war with cancer, and we use that
vocabulary. We battle, we are brave, we survive. And we have a
large armaments industry.
Terry Pratchett, in his speech to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust
Network conference, March 13, 2008
Read the rest of his speech.

Visit Match It For for more information about Pratchett's $1 million (£500,000) donation to Alzheimer's research, and his fans' commitment to matching that donation.

Match It For Pratchett is a grass roots campaign raising money for the Alzheimer's Research Trust in the UK and other Alzheimer's charities around the world. --Chris Tregenza of MI4P

As the granddaughter of a man who died in the grips of Alzheimer's disease, I ask you to donate something, if not to MI4P, then directly to the Alzheimer's fund of your choice. If everyone gave just a little, it would add up to an awful lot very quickly.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Memes, language, WoW and cheese

Blogger Lia of The Knitting Defective posted about being tagged to participate in a meme. This is a new use of the term to me, taking it from a viral transmission of some cultural element, to using the word to describe not even the individual meme itself. Maybe I'm just behind the times, but my Mister hadn't seen "meme" used this way before, either.

In the usage I'm familiar with one might say that
Rickrolling, lolcats, dramatic prairie dog, or this kind of blogger's game of tag are Internet memes, but you'd still say "Dude! I've been Rickrolled" rather than "I've been the victim of a meme!" But here the game of tag itself is being referred to as a meme in the latter sense.
This intrigued my geeky little brain, as it feels a little like watching the evolution of the language in progress.

I got the same geeky fascination watching the acronym "PST" evolve. I'm not sure if PST goes back farther than Everquest. But I'm using it as my example since that's where I became aware of it.

In Everquest, a private chat message to someone was called a "tell". So if you wanted someone to reply to you in response to a chat post, rather than say "please send me a tell," it was usually shortened to PST for "please send tell." Example, if you wanted to sell 20 bone chips for a platinum piece (a reasonable price back in my day) you might post a chat message to the zone saying: WTS bone chips x20 1p PST.

What has been interesting to me has been watching the abbreviation PST lose all of it's connection to its original source, while retaining it's understood meaning. In World of Warcraft, the private message is referred to as a "whisper". The abbreviation PST has carried over from other gamers with pre-warcraft experience, but WoW is bigger than EQ is or ever was by many magnitudes of huge. Many (most?) of the people using the abbreviation don't know the origin of the acronym. You now see people using it as though it was the sound "psst" for getting someone's attention quietly. This makes sense in the context of "whispering" to someone. So now, instead of ending a chat post simply with PST, you might see "please pst me". This always makes my eyes cross a little, because to me that says "please please send tell me." But in this context I'm vastly outnumbered. It still means "send me a private message," but has become a word rather than an abbreviation.

Anyway, back to the meme thing... The tag game/meme that Lia was referring to has the following rules:
  1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 or more pages.
  2. Open the book to page 123 and find the fifth sentence.
  3. Post the next three sentences.
  4. Tag 5 people and task them with doing the same.
Curious, even untagged as I was, I decided to give it a go, and here's what I found.

Nearest book with required number of pages: The Cheese Plate by Max McCalman and David Gibbons. Page 123 is a photograph, so I moved on to page 124.
For example, if you're looking for a pairing with Queso de la Garroxta, the rustic Catalonian goat's milk cheese, and you know from experience that it marries well with a Meursault, the superior white Burgundy, try it with another classic Chardonnay-based wine--an elegant, sparkling, dry Blanc de Blanc Champagne. By gradually branching out like this and exploring different pairings, you'll discover some unconventional but beautiful marriages. This is always a thrill.
I'm not going to tag anyone (I am not very good at following that kind of rule). But if you'd like to play along, grab your nearest book with 123 or more pages and post a comment.

Pirates and Global Warming

If you're a Pastafarian, you don't need me to explain to you the correlation between Global Warming and the decrease in the number of pirates around the world. * Bobby Henderson, Chief Prophet of His Noodliness The Flying Spaghetti Monster, has found yet more proof of this relationship using Google Trends.

I tried out the same search Bobby used, and got the same results.

Global Trends search global warming, pirates
You can test this out for yourself by clicking this link.

See the original post on the official Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website, in which Bobby presents this evidence, and supporting CNN/BBC coverage spotted by Pastafarians Oliver and Adrian.
*If you're unfamiliar with Pastafarianism, you can find more information on the Pirates/Global Warming relationship in Bobby Henderson's Open Letter to the Kansas School Board.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kinda soft for an orc

Originally uploaded by Sara Denise
Oh yes! An orc straight out of World of Warcraft!

I MUST knit one of these!
Where are my knitting needles?
Why am I at work when there's knitting to be done?

I think I even have the yarn I need in my stash. Hmmm... should I make mine a level 1 orc warlock? I do love their robes.

Click on the photo to see him full sized on his creator's page. If you're a member over at you can find more info about him in Saradenise's finished objects.

Lunch break is over... back to work.

edit: The project details have been decided. It's going to be a level 1 troll priest in the colors of my Mister's character, Zwierdo.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Back from NC

Bride and Groom
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
I'm back from North Carolina, and back at work.

My cousin and his lovely bride survived the three-ring-circus that wedding planning so often becomes, and the ceremony itself was beautiful.

I got a chance to meet up with some old friends of the family I hadn't seen since childhood, and got to finally meet a close friend of my cousin's about whom I'd heard many good things. I'm slowly sorting through all the photos I took, and will be posting them to flickr in small batches.

The cake, by the way, was truly the yummiest cake I've ever had at a wedding, and was made by the groom himself.

I caught a sinus cold while I was there, but fortunately it didn't hit until after the wedding.

Ever since my surgery last year, I'm prone to nightmares when I'm under stress. There was an event during my trip--unrelated to the wedding itself, thank goodness--that really shook me up, and that's all I'm going to say about it here, except that now I'm having nightmares again.

Last night's dream was an epic-length affair about being hunted through Southern California chaparral and steep, dry hills, occasionally broken up by various suburban settings. In the dream I was captured by, escaped from, and then spent the rest of the dream fleeing from a group of terrorists, who had apparently hired David Carradine (à la his Kill Bill period) as their hit man. I woke up several times, but dropped right back into the dream where it left off each time. There was someone with me who had also escaped, and we were helping each other avoid recapture.

I usually associate David Carradine with the Kung Fu TV series, having grown up watching and re-watching it in re-runs, and Kwai Chang Caine is as un-menacing a character as I can imagine. So when I woke I was a bit surprised by my sleeping brain's choice of casting Carradine as my pursuer. I was able to see Carradine's face, incidentally. Third time in as many weeks that I've seen someone's face in my dreams, so I think faces are going to become a semi-regular feature.

At any rate, I'm going to do my best to get my sleep patterns back under control before the nightmares snowball again.

Lunch break is over. Time to get back to work.