Friday, December 22, 2006

Preparing for travel

I'm awake way too early in the morning right now, but we have a 7:00am flight, so I don't have much choice.

Suitcase was packed last night. Carryon bag is mostly empty and surrounded by yarn on the couch. My first KnitPicks order arrived a few days ago and I want to play with all of it. I had already bought the pattern for Eris, now I have the yarn, but I'm not sure where I'll put it in our luggage. Well, yarn is squishable, isn't it? There's always room for more!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

White stuff

It snowed heavily enough yesterday that they sent us home early around three. This had the unfortunate effect of clogging all the roads on and near the base so that it took me nearly two hours to get home. I spent at least thirty minutes just trying to leave the parking lot. In hindsight, I would probably have gotten home about the same time if I had stayed at my desk for another hour.

I had a dental appointment this morning. It's the first time I've been to a dentist in several years, but my teeth were in good condition considering that. I do have a couple of tiny cavities that will need to be handled after the holidays, but fortunately they are small enough that they won't need to use the drill. From the dentist's description, it sounds like he'll be using a tiny sandblaster instead. Exciting!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I've started a talkcast

I decided to try out Talkshoe. I actually had a live listener while I recorded, which I didn't expect since I just decided to do it on a whim. It would be nice to have something a bit more interactive, but I'm two timezones away from many of the folks I'd want to have on the show. Perhaps if I scheduled it on Saturdays? I'll have to think about it before I set up a regular schedule. Until then, I'll just be using Talkshoe much as I used Audioblogger in the past. Come and listen, see what you think.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006


During the long holiday weekend, my husband suffered from a draining cold and kept himself going through sheer force of will. Yesterday, it hit me. Fortunately, we aren't entertaining anyone this week, so I'm hoping it won't last as long for me, since I can devote my time to doing nothing. It's odd, I'm not particularly stuffed up, but I'm curiously fatigued. This morning, I sat on the couch with the cat and watched Howl's Moving Castle. We'd already watched it last night with subtitles, so this morning I watched the dubbed version. I prefer the original voices, but the American voice actors did a pretty good job too.

It's almost one o'clock. Usually I would head off to my knitting group now, but considering I haven't changed out of my pajamas and robe, I don't think that is going to happen.

My husband just called. He said he feels like he is being hit with a second round of the cold. Unfortunately, he has some meetings today, so he can't just rest at home.

I feel fine as long as I do nothing, but get tired very quickly when I start moving around. Looks like I have a good excuse for a day of sloth!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I am strong!

I just changed the bottle on the water cooler here at work.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Disgruntled cat

We gave Sam a bath this morning. He smells a lot better. There is a particular sort of pathetic yowling that I have only heard from cats in that sort of hopeless situation. Despite the cuddling and the can of cat food we gave him, he still seems a bit miffed, probably because we are refusing to let him outside with his damp fur. He's starting to look a bit more like himself now, without as much spiked up fur as before. Maybe he'll forgive us after he has a nap or something.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

We've carved some pumpkins and are looking forward to seeing how many trick-or-treaters will show up. We had a neighborhood party in the park on Sunday with lots of little kids running around, so I suspect we'll have quite a few ringing our doorbell this evening.

In other news, we've been adopted by a neighborhood cat. We've set up a litter pan and have let him stay inside the house the past few nights, so I think we've got ourselves a cat, at least for the winter. Unfortunately, he's a bit stinky, so we may have to risk severe injury and give him a bath. Wiping his fur with a damp cloth just isn't helping enough, although it does take care of some dust issues.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Scribbling: Good

This is a response to a Sunday Scribblings prompt.

We didn't do much today. My husband graded papers while I caught up on some reading. We had leftover vegetable soup for lunch. We took a walk in the park, holding hands and talking.

The sunny was shining brightly, but it is definitely fall now. I pulled out my handknit sweater and have been warm and cozy all afternoon.

We ate steak and salad for supper while watching PBS, and now we are about to eat some goat cheese mixed with pesto on toast and crackers while drinking some wine and watching Masterpiece Theater.

Life is good.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Don't bother the bat

An email just went out to everyone in my building with the following subject line: CAUTION: BAT ON CEILING TILE 2ND FLOOR

I, of course, work on the second floor. The message advises us to "use caution" when walking in that hallway. I overheard our department secretary remind someone, "Don't bother the bat." Now that is not something I hear every day!

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Scribbling: If I could stop time...

This is in response to a Sunday Scribblings prompt.

If I could stop time, I don't think I would use it much during the day. There are enough afternoons that drag on forever already. However, the ability to stop time would be wonderful at night. Imagine, being able to stay up and watch , sleep for 10 hours, and still wake up early enough to watch the balloons launching in the morning. I would probably waste any extra waking hours, but I would love to be able to sleep "late" and still be able to pose as one of those perky "morning people".

If I had rapid enough reflexes with the time-stopping ability, it could save me a lot of cleaning. Whenever I fumble and spill something, I could stop time and catch it before it makes a big mess. I could keep that soda out of the carpet. I could stop that glass from shattering on the floor.

If I could stop time after someone insulted me, would I be able to think of the perfect comeback? Probably not. The things I should have said generally don't come to me until I've gone to bed at night. Of course, with the extra sleep I could get from stopping time at night, I might be so well-rested that I become amazingly quick-witted.

The problem with contemplating a superpower is that I always wonder about the drawbacks. What's the catch? For instance, would I still age while I've stopped time? If so, I could find myself physically years beyond my calendar age, with a correspondingly "shorter" lifespan. Would I be able to have someone else join me "unstopped" in time? If not, it might be rather lonely. (I think that is why I would rather use the ability for sleeping than working.) Combine that with the aging, and I would have a power that should not be used lightly. I guess I'll just keep living one minute per minute instead.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Counting down...

A week from tomorrow is my high school reunion. I've inadvertently become some sort of class officer (Class Webmistress, perhaps?) by asking a few questions and volunteering to set up a blog and a discussion group.

We have accounted for about a third of our graduating class, many of them people who are still in the Midwest. I wonder what happened to the rest of us. How far away from Indiana have we scattered?

I'll be flying on Tuesday, so next week is a really short work week for me. I'm looking forward to spending some time with family. Apparently, my niece is starting to walk!

It'll be homecoming at my undergrad, so I'm contemplating driving over there and looking up some of my old professors, depending on how much time I have free and whether or not I have access to a car. I should check what rental rates are and decide if I want to shell out the cash for one.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy 30th Anniversary!

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. If I'd remembered earlier, I would have sent a card, but instead, you get a public announcement. :)

Lazy, yet productive, weekend

I feel like I didn't do much this weekend, but when I think about it, I realize we did get a lot accomplished.
  • We're caught up on laundry. We even used the clothesline instead of the dryer for all our loads. We shall be clothed this week!
  • I went to a knitting group on Saturday afternoon. I had a great time socializing and I knitting most of the cuff of sock number two of my current pair. I'm rather proud of this pair I've been working on this past week. I'm experimenting with shaping to cradle the arch of my foot. The first sock feels neat, but I'm not sure how I'll like them after wearing the pair for a full day.
  • While I was at the knitting group, my husband bought a lot of groceries. (Okay, I can't claim credit for that, but it was something accomplished this weekend.)
  • I mowed the front lawn, or at least, I ran the mower over the front lawn. The grass sort of laid down before the blades and very little was cut. When I looked behind me, I could see wheel dents in the grass, but the length was pretty much the same as before. Oh well, I tried.
  • Today, I scrubbed the stove. I removed the burners and found some sort of disgusting grease pit that I suspect the previous owner never touched. I know I didn't want to touch it. Much scrubbing later, I still wouldn't want to run my hand across it, but it is much better than before. I'll try to make a little more headway every time I clean the stove.
  • While I was fighting the grease monster, my husband reorganized the storage shed so now all of his tools fit and are accessible without having to move the bikes. Given that until now, his toolbox has been on the living room floor, it was a great improvement. (Again, not me, but my husband deserves some big praise. I'm still not sure how he fit everything in there.)
  • I swept up some dust bunnies while talking to my mother on the phone.
  • I wove a few inches on my test piece. The loom works reasonably well, aside from some ratchet issues, but I really will need to have a bench before I can work at it for long periods of time. Currently, I have a chair with a couple of big books stacked on it to bring me up high enough, but that isn't very comfortable.
  • I've read one and a half science fiction novels, which probably explains why I felt like I didn't do much. Usually, when I read a book in a day, I don't get much else done, but these have been pretty lightweight.
Anyway, writing that list makes it clear that I have been busy and that the spinning wheel and fleece chiding me for ignoring them will just have to stop whining. I can only do so much in two days!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Closed-form heel formula

In my notes on modifying the heel from my Widdershins pattern, I gave a recursive formula to determine the number of stitches needed for the heel flap. In the comments on that entry, Carol posted a closed form:
Embarrassingly, I had to ask my son, who's studying math at university what k was. He told me to think about it. It finally clicked.
I still couldn't figure out how to program the formula but did get it into closed form.
I think it reduces to
h(n) = n – 2 – 2 * int(n/9),
where int(n/9) stands for the integer part of n/9.
btw. I really like the heel.
Of course, I had to try this out. Being a bit to lazy to do a real proof, I just coded it up quickly and compared the two functions for values up to 150. If anyone is planning on knitting a sock over 300 stitches around, I could go higher.
>>> def h1(n):
... def h(k):
... if k < n/3:
... return k
... else:
... return 4 + h(k-6)
... return h(n)
>>> h1(33)
>>> def h2(n): return n-2-2*(n/9)
>>> h2(33)
>>> for i in range(150):
... val1 = h1(i)
... val2 = h2(i)
... if val1 != val2:
... print i, val1, val2
8 4 6
17 11 13
26 18 20
35 25 27
44 32 34
53 39 41
62 46 48
71 53 55
80 60 62
89 67 69
98 74 76
107 81 83
116 88 90
125 95 97
134 102 104
143 109 111
For some numbers, my formula suggests one more pair of turning rows than Carol's formula, but given that my original n/3 came from me thinking, "Oh,one-third of the stitches in the center sounds reasonable." I don't think it'll make too much difference unless you are really picky about how pointy you like your sock heels. Thank you, Carol! I was feeling a bit guilty about not providing a closed form, but the guilt didn't motivate me quite enough to get out my college textbooks and remember how to solve it myself. Now I don't have to!
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Audio: At the Wine Festival 6

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Audio: At the Wine Festival 5

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Audio: At the Wine Festival 4

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Audio: At the Wine Festival 3

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Audio: At the Wine Festival 2

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Audio: At the Wine Festival 1

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Alas, poor Mazda, I knew you well...

My husband's car died on Thursday evening and we've decided to just let it stay dead. Therefore, instead of going to the Saturday afternoon knitting group, we shopped for cars. Lots of cars. So many cars!

Today, we're going to get some food, check out one of the dealerships again, and then just head off to the wine festival. (Hey, we have to do something fun on Labor Day weekend!)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - "The Monster..."

This post is in response to a Sunday Scribblings writing prompt.

The monster crouched in the dark, yellow eyes glowing. Two little girls clung together, nervously calling out to the creature.

"Hello? Mr. Monster? You aren't going to chase us, are you?"

The monster's silence frightened them more than any growl. The sisters crept cautiously along the side of the house, their eyes locked with the monster's yellow orbs. When they reached the corner of the building, they turned and ran screaming, certain that the monster was inches behind them. If they ran faster, they would be more likely to trip on an unseen obstacle, perhaps a root of one of the large tree near second corner of the house. If they fell, the monster would surely catch them.

Rounding the second corner, they picked up speed in a clear stretch of yard. There was more light here. The adults were on the other side of those windows. The girls would be safe there, if they could just reach the door.

Gasping past the third corner, they stumbled into the pool of light by the door and collapsed on the carpet inside, giddy over their escape. The adults smiled at the children and continued their conversation.

As I recall, the game of "Monster" didn't really have much in the way of rules. My sister and I just had to make it all the way around the perimeter of our grandparents' house in the dark without the monster catching us. We knew the the monster with the glowing yellow eyes was really our uncle, holding two flashlights and hiding in the shadows. We knew it was him, but what if we were wrong? That doubt, that belief in the possibility of monsters, made the adventure so thrilling. We had conquered the dark! We could do anything!

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - "Who Else Can I Still Be?"

This post is in response to a writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.

I didn't respond to the "Who else might I have been?" prompt last week, even though it suited my thoughts quite well. I've often wondered where different choices would have taken me. I've even thought of ways I could have ended up in the same place via a different path.

However, looking towards alternate pasts, however interesting, does not have much impact on my current life. This week's prompt, "Who else can I still be?", is a bit more forward-looking. So, who else can I still be?

In the near future, "Who can I be?" is nearly the same question as "Who am I?". Any large course changes will be made over time. Right now, I am a woman in my late twenties, married nearly two years, programming computer simulations at work, knitting all the time, growing my hair towards my waist. Who else can I still be?

I can be a weaver. My husband and I have been fixing up an old floor loom, so soon I'll have yet another fiber-related activity to occupy my time. Who else can I still be?

I can be a pet owner. Now that we own our own house, we could get a cat or a dog without having to worry about what the landlord thinks. Who else can I still be?

I can be a writer. I don't work with words as often as I could, but I like to think this blog helps with that a bit. I sometimes have things to say that need a little fermenting time before they can be expressed. I'm going to try NaNoWriMo in November to see if I can actually write a coherent story in a month. Who else can I still be?

I can be a designer. I can create, both in fiber and in code. I can make garments to wear. I can make tools to use. I can make things come into being that never existed before. Who else can I still be?

I can be an old woman, seated at my loom, grey braided hair falling towards the floor, while a grandchild plays on the floor with the cat. Who else can I still be?

I can be a memory. I can be a voice in my children's heads. I can be a photograph on the wall. I can be a story told to future generations. Who else can I still be?

I can be the best me I can be, striving towards my future self without neglecting my present or forgetting my past. I am, and can still be, me. Who else?

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Notes on Widdershins heel

I promised to make some notes on adapting the reversed round heel shaping from Widdershins for a different number of stitches. (This still counts as the weekend, right?)

Here are my original heel shaping instructions, before they were edited for Knitty. Note that I didn't specify what sort of increases or short row method to use. In my original socks, I actually used paired increased, but thought that might be a bit too picky for something that will usually be hidden inside my shoe. For the short rows, I've been using the yarnover method lately. So, if m1 increases and w&t short rows aren't working for you, feel free to try another technique. The socks don't depend on those particular methods.
Heel Gussets:
On the following rounds, continue to work instep in pattern while increasing on stitch from beginning and end of sole stitches every other round until there are 47 sole stitches.

Turn Heel:
The sole stitches now consist of 14 sts for right gusset, 19 heel sts, 14 sts for left gusset. Work across right gusset. You will now be turning the heel on the 19 heel sts. The heel is shaped with a combination of short rows and increases. It is your choice how to handle the turning stitches.
Row 1: k to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, k1, turn
Row 2: p to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, p1, turn
Row 3: k to 4 sts before gap, inc1, k1, turn
Row 4: p to 4 sts before gap, inc1, p1, turn
Rep rows 3 and 4 until there are 27 heel sts

Work 1 round even to smooth out the short rows, ending in center of heel sts.

Heel Flap:
You will now work in rows across heel sts, joining the gusset sts.

Row 1: k to last heel st, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset
Row 2: sl st, p to last heel st, p2tog last heel st and 1 st from right gusset
Row 3: *sl st, k1* across heel, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset

Rep rows 2 and 3 until left gusset sts are gone. (There will be 1 unworked st left on the right gusset that will be picked up on the next round)

Work across instep sts. K2tog final gusset st and first heel st. Continue instep pattern across heel sts.
So, where did the numbers come from? I based my numbers on a top-down round heel and then reversed the shaping. The number of gusset increases is based on the size of the two gussets plus the heel below the turning. In a top-down heel, you knit a heel flap on half the stitches (usually for about as many rows as stitches), then turn the heel with short rows, working decreases along the way. There is often a line in the instructions like "knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, k1, turn" and similar purl shaping. After the turning rows, stitches are picked up along the heel flap (usually about one stitch for every two rows) and the gusset stitches are decreased away on subsequent rounds until we are back to the original number of stitches. So, for my 54 stitch sock, I would work the heel over 27 stitches, the flap would be 28 rows long (I need an even number here and it's better to have a slightly deeper heel than one that is too shallow.), the turning rows would decrease from 27 down to 19 stitches, and I would pick up 14 stitches on either side of the heel flap.

For the reversed round heel we have to do a little advance thinking to figure out how many gusset increases we need, work the turning rows with increases as shown above until you have increased the heel stitches to their full width, then decrease away the gussets until you are back you the original number of stitches and work the cuff.

I'm a big geek, so I actually came up with an equation to figure out the approximate number of heel stitches. For a round heel with a flap n stitches wide, the number of stitches below the heel turning is h(n) where h(k) = k for k<n/3 and 4+h(k-6) otherwise. (I also wrote a small Python script to compute that, rather than coming up with a closed form solution. I'm a lazy geek.) Of course, the easiest thing to do is use the numbers from a preexisting top-down round-heeled sock.

I hope this helped. I'm glad so many of you like my pattern and are interested in adapting it.
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Widdershins update

I've had multiple people contact me about adapting the heel shaping of Widdershins for a different number of stitches, so I'll write up some general instructions this weekend.
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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Test post from Writely

I just got a Writely account. It's an online word processing tool that Google bought a while ago. They are still in beta, so it isn't open to the public. I submitted my email address weeks ago, and got an invitation today. So far, it looks rather pretty. I haven't tried out the collaboration features yet. This post is a test of the blogging feature. If it works, I might consider using this sometimes instead of posting directly from Blogger.

Well, there was a little trouble getting it to post to the correct blog, and the post title was lost along the way, but otherwise it worked.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yarn Harlot in Albuquerque

I was in between portable projects this morning, so I tossed a ball of leftover sock yarn and some circular needles into my purse before heading to work. I made steady progress on my code, so I didn't knit a lot, but I did start a strip of mitered squares. I've seen some other bloggers making modular blankets from leftover sock yarn, so I thought I'd give it a try. I only had about one and a half done in odd moments by the end of the day.

Around 5:30, after finishing one change and thinking about the next, I decided to take a break and see what was new on the Yarn Harlot's blog. Where is she now? Mesa, Arizona? Next stop, New Mexico?! That was this week?! I quickly check her schedule and realize she was in town today! In fact, her talk would be starting in less than an hour. I wouldn't be able to make it, would I?

Somehow, I did, though I arrived soaking wet from the rain. (The monsoon season is upon us.) I spoke with my husband on the phone, so he was forewarned that I wouldn't be home for quite a while. Fortunately, he understands me and so wished me well.

If I had remembered in advance, I would have brought one of her books that I already own from home to be signed, but fortunately, they were selling Knitting Rules! there, so I bought myself a copy. I also made a donation to Knitters without Borders and got a little pin that I'm sure to misplace if I'm not careful.

Stephanie's talk was great! It was a heady feeling to be in a room filled with other yarn fanatics. It was a good thing I had knitting in my purse, so I didn't look out of place. I got another couple of squares done in the course of the evening.

When I got home I tried to explain some of the best parts to my husband, but I just couldn't do it justice. Part of my problem is that I generally have difficulty repeating other peoples jokes successfully and part of it is that I was trying to tell knitting jokes to my husband, who, wonderful man he may be, does not actually knit. He's a good yarn enabler, though, and does his best to appreciate the knitting lifestyle.

After the talk, I had my book signed ("Obsession is normal."), chatted with a bunch of other knitters, and even had my picture taken with the traveling sock! The local SnB group looked interesting. I might have to show up and meet them sometime. I haven't really explored social knitting yet.

I came home buzzing with a knitter's high. I've already read three chapters of my new book and expect I'll finish it before the end of the day tomorrow. My husband disappeared a while ago, and is probably fast asleep. The excitement is wearing off, and now that I've written about my evening, I should go join him. The sound of crickets chirping outside is quite relaxing. The cool breeze through the window carries moisture from this evening's rain. It's a good night for sleeping.

Did you know that Blogger's spellcheck does not recognize the word "knitter"?


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Raindrops keep falling...

It's been raining all evening. We've opened the back door and the windows to let the cool breeze blow through the house. The moisture in the air feels wonderful.

I'll be moving to a new office at work later this week. Most of my department is already in the new building, with just a handful of us left at the old one. We've grown accustomed to not seeing many people at work. It'll feel a bit odd to work just down the hall from the rest of the department. I've only seen some of those guys in our monthly department meetings.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. Once again, he has caught up to me in age. (Yes, I married a younger man. *grin*) We have a lot of leftover carrot cake. It's hard to eat much of it at any one time, since the cream cheese frosting is so rich. My husband and I agree that carrot cake really is a delivery system for cream cheese frosting.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Scribbling - "With Baggage"

This is my first time responding to a writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings.

As we worked on putting our house in order yesterday, I came to realize that my husband and I have a lot of baggage. I'm not talking about figurative baggage of past relationships or unresolved issues, I mean we have a lot of bags. We have a box just labeled "Bags" holding tote bags, backpacks, purses, and bookbags. I have trouble getting rid of bags like that, since you never know when you might need to carry something. Perhaps I have a bit of figurative baggage about my literal baggage.

Moving from one house to another reveals just how much stuff we keep around us all the time. I've been trying to get rid of some of my junk, but I find that I start to get "sentimental value" confused with "used to it being there" and resist letting go of things that don't really matter after all.

I emptied my carry-on bag from last week's trip and deliberately left a few things in there. (A pen, a pack of tissues, and a travel bottle of saline for my contacts.) I don't really need those particular items in my normal life, but they are small and would be useful while traveling. I suppose some of these unpacked boxes of stuff were kept with similar reasoning. "It could be useful."

I think I'll go deal with another box now.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lazy evening

We got our new produce box today, so supper consisted of corn on the cob and a salad. It was a nice light supper for a warm summer evening.

My husband is teaching some astronomy students tonight, so I'm websurfing and watching an episode of . It's the episode where Mr. Burns hit Bart with his car. "Smithers, release the hounds!"

Having my computer in the same room as the television is causing some interference. The monitor seems to induce some static on the television. It's only a problem when I'm in full veg-out mode, like I am tonight.

I've cast on for a pair of socks using some yarn from my stash, but I don't know if I have enough to complete this pair. I might have to make stripes or something. I used Judy's magic cast-on, figuring I should actually use it after mentioning it in my pattern. I actually used a cast-on that involves a bit of double-knitting for Widdershins, since I had already knit the socks by the time the spring issue went live. Linking to a nice pictorial explanation was a lot easier than trying to explain the method I picked up from a book several years ago. I have to admit, Judy's cast-on is pretty slick. I think I may have a new favorite cast-on for toe-up socks.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Furry pests

It appears we have a mouse problem in our new house. I spotted one running across the floor last week, we set a trap and killed it, dealt with the bag of flour it had nibbled on, and hoped that would be the end of it. Ah, such sweet optimism!

We noticed some droppings in a cabinet the other day and have found the small hole chewed in the back corner where they get in. Last night, I spotted a mouse in the laundry area, which is on the other side of the wall from the holey cabinet. We set a trap there and killed a mouse during the night.

Our current plan is to do the following:
  1. Buy more traps.
  2. Keep setting traps until we stop catching mice.
  3. Repackage much of our pantry into nibble-proof containers.
  4. Be ever vigilant. (For me, this includes adding mice to my mental list of "Critters that threaten my yarn and fiber stash")
  5. Get a cat. Darn my spouse's allergies!
I'm not fond of the trapping option. Growing up with cats around, I'm accustomed to mouse killers that generally dispose of the mice for you. Having my husband deal with the filled traps is a good alternative. Besides, unlike a cat, I doubt my spouse will ever feel the need to deposit a semi-digested dead rodent on the carpet. :)
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Monday, July 10, 2006

Trading music online

I have traded a few CDs on, cleaning out discs we don't really listen to, and receiving music that we like. It is a pretty clever system. You list the CDs that you own and the CDs that you would like and the system will let you know if anyone wants your stuff. You send off your CDs in the prepaid CD mailers, and pay a small fee when you receive one of your requests. My husband and I had some duplicate CDs in our collections, so those provide good trading fodder.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Baby birds at work tragedy

Remember the baby birds on my window ledge? All last week I watched them grow visibly plumper as they were fed by both parents. We had some very windy days, but they were safe and secure in their nest.

On Monday, I came back to work looking forward to observing them some more. I knew I probably wouldn't have much time left with them, judging from how fast they were growing, but nothing prepared me for what I found. One of the birds was gone completely, its fate unknown. The other was on the edge of the nest on the ledge, dead. I wasn't able to write about it on the day I found it. Its body is still there today, since I can't open the window and, as I mentioned, the nest is sheltered.

I have no idea what happened. We're on the second floor, so any attack would have to come from the air. Do predatory birds attack nests? Was there an avian Cain and Abel situation? I'll never know, I guess. Looking at the short tail feathers on the body, I don't have much hope that the missing bird was able to fly away.

I only had a week with them chirping outside my window, but I miss them.
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I'm in Knitty!

My sock pattern is in the summer issue of Knitty! I've reported a couple of corrections they need to make (a few details did not make it through the formatting process unharmed), but at least it's there. Oddly enough, mine is not the only pattern for toe up socks with a heel flap in this issue.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Brute force is the magic bullet!

Just as I was giving up hope, I managed to get a big improvement by forcing an update in a certain part of the simulation. It isn't elegant, and I'll need to clean things up to do it the "right" way, but we're finally getting within striking distance of the results we need. This is a great way to end the week!
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Followup on baby hats

If you are interested in the baby hat project mentioned in the previous post, this blogger is posting some patterns you can use.

Yarn Harlot on breastfeeding

The Yarn Harlot wrote:
"It's a nasty trick, this getting women to spend all of their time slagging each other for breastfeeding or not breastfeeding instead of wondering why, when they tried to breastfeed their baby there was no reliable information, no reliable help and not enough time off of work to get the hang well enough to continue, or why women find out after they have decided to feed formula that it is significantly linked with diabetes.

I am frustrated with the culture that does not provide women with proper information about risk, tells us that formula and breastmilk are the same, and forces women through misinformation and poor social constructs, to make decisions that they wouldn't have to make if they had proper help and support. This is a culture where women are bombarded with information and incentive to use formula, because nobody makes any money when you breastfeed."

One of her readers is trying to collect handknit baby hats for an event promoting breastfeeding among low-income women. If I didn't have so many projects on the needles already, I would consider making a pumpkin hat for them.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There is no magic bullet

I finished implementing a change that makes our simulation's results improve noticeably, but we still are too far off from the other simulation to be able to brag about it. I've been making changes like this for weeks. They make things better, but only in little steps. We've yet to hit upon a big leap, and I doubt we will at this point, since we've already dealt with the obvious modifications. I guess I should be pleased that we are at least managing to make forward progress, even if it is at a snail's pace.
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Monday, June 26, 2006

Gradually settling in

This weekend we unpacked several boxes of books and refilled the boxes with stuff left at the old place. I think another car load or three should take care of everything else there. After that, we just need to vacuum and clean a bit and we'll be completely moved out of that house. We won't really be moved into our new place until we've dealt with all the boxes of stuff, though. That'll take a while.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Baby birds at work

I've obviously not been looking out my window much lately, since it took me until today to notice the bird's nest on the ledge containing two baby birds. They happened to have a very vocal feeding session at a time when I actually had my headphones off to talk to someone. (I usually listen to music to drown out the construction noise.)

They don't seem to notice me when I look through the glass, so I've been able to get a good look at them. Baby birds tend to look like they are frowning. At the moment, these two are curled up, taking a nap. One of them occasionally chirps in its sleep. They are quite cute in that ugly baby bird sort of way. Their feathers aren't enough to cover all of their pink skin yet. I don't have access to a camera here or I would post a picture for you.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back online and better than ever

Our phone service is hooked up now (same number as before) and we now have DSL service. It's so fast! We had been using dialup through the university, but decided to spring for something faster now. Whee!

Now that I've confirmed it works, I'd better log off and go to bed. There's still another workday before the weekend.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moving Day!

We've been doing some crazed packing this week, boxing up about 90%1 of our stuff. We had a massive construction of boxes filling up half our living room as we kept finding more stuff that had been hiding.

This morning, we picked up a U-Haul truck2 and, with the help of several friends, filled it with all of our furniture and lots of stuff. We had some skilled loaders in the group, so it was quite full. We all drove over to the new place, about five blocks or so from the old place, an reversed the process. Our new house is in total disarray, with boxes and furniture arranged every which way. Apparently, our abilities to estimate which furniture would fit in which room was rather poor. I think we're going to get rid of our entertainment center, since it takes up way too much room, especially relative to its new location.

We were all done by 3:00 or so, including returning the truck. We had put all of ten miles on it, using about a gallon of gas. Most of the driving was just getting to and from the truck place.

After returning the truck, we stopped at Dairy Queen for a snack, since we hadn't really had lunch. Re-energized, we drove to Sears and bought a lawn mower, since although grass does grow slowly out here, not mowing the lawn since buying the house has led to a few long spots.

Now we are in a computer lab at the physics department at UNM, since our computers are at the new house, but we won't have any phone or internet connection there until Thursday3. We do get to keep our old number, since we aren't moving very far, so that is nice.

It'll be nice to have a good night's sleep tonight4, after a long soak in the big bathtub. Tomorrow we can worry about unpacking.

1. 90% is, of course, a rough estimate.
2. 26 footer. My husband got to drive the big truck. Driving a big rig... (sort of)
3. Thursday "by 5:00". We'll see how long it takes Qwest to manage the transfer.
4. Assuming, of course, that we can find the sheets.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

No news is good news

I haven't heard anything from Knitty since the confirmation email when I submitted my pattern. According to their submission guidelines, this means they are still considering it. I guess I'll find out one way or the other in the next couple of weeks.

I'm thinking I should try to come up with a pattern or an article for the next issue, regardless of the status of my current submission. I have a few ideas that might work.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

MySpace isn't my sort of place

As I mentioned before, I've been trying to track down my old high school classmates recently. After being annoyed by, I took the suggestion left in a comment and created a myspace account. Sure enough, there are people I know from high school there. However, the site is also rather bothersome and inconsiderate to those without highspeed connections. Admittedly, that is the also fault of the people who put large images and sound files on their profiles, but MySpace seems to encourage it. Who makes a song automatically play when the page loads anymore? Apparently, lots of people on MySpace do. One profile even tried to install software. Bleh!

Currently my only highspeed internet access is at work, where sites like are blocked, so that is yet another reason why I won't be frequenting that site. I put a link to this blog in my profile. Anyone who wants to reach me can comment here, or send me an email, or track me down some other way. My real name is fairly distinctive, and so is my usual online handle. I try to keep the two fairly separate so personal posts don't show up when someone Googles my name for business purposes, but I don't get excessively paranoid about it.

Of course, if any of my old classmates want to talk to me (and each other), they can always go to the discussion group.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

28 years old

It's my birthday today. I liked being three cubed, but I guess I'll get used to four times seven. For most of this past year, my husband and I were both 33, my mother was 72, and my sister was 52. With this birthday, we'll have to move on to other age tricks.
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

I installed Linux this week

I installed Ubuntu on my desktop using the installation CD that came in my reference book. I had to hunt down a driver for my modem, but got that more or less working yesterday. Next up, sound!

I'll consider this installation successful once I can do all my usual home computer activities (checking email, wasting time on the internet, and watching DVDs) under Linux.

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Housebuying update: closing and gardening

We closed on the house yesterday, so now we have a much smaller bank balance and a set of keys we can use on Friday. It’s amazing how many redundant forms we had to sign. For instance, part of the mortgage said that we promise we will be living in the house as our primary residence, but we had to sign an additional document several forms later that said about the same thing. We were feeling a bit goofy by the time it was all over.

Before the closing, we met with the seller at the house to get a quick overview of how to care for all the plants, especially all of the many roses around the place. It mostly came down to water the plants when they get unhappy, prune them when they get in the way, and be sure to pull the bindweed and other pests before they hurt anything. Well, that’s sort of the bare minimum to keep everything going. We could put a lot more work into it if we wanted to, but it is good to know that we won’t have to devote our lives to yard work.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006 is very annoying

I've been trying to connect with my old high school classmates to let them know about the reunion discussion group, but unfortunately, my best bet at the moment seems to be That site annoys me so much I can't bring myself to give them any money, but they won't let one member send a message to another without at least one of them being a paid member. I tried to put a URL in an announcement (to redirect people to my blog, if you must know), but apparently "http://" is an "inappropriate word" on that site. Argh! I have some "inappropriate words" of my own for you,!
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

10 years since high school

We should be having a reunion this year. I've pestered the reunion contact and volunteered to set up a web site and discussion group, but that is about all I can do from over here. Now I just wait until some plans are made, I guess.
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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sad news from an old friend

I had an unexpected call from someone in my high school class tonight. She told me that one of our classmates had recently died in a motorcycle accident. It was tragic news, but I hadn't heard anything about him in years, so it didn't affect me as much as it would have years ago. It's strange how you can spend so much time with a group of people, only to lose touch upon graduation. It's also strange how quickly all the intervening years can fall away when an old friend calls. I spent enough time talking with her that my husband gave up and went to bed. Why do we feel compelled to remind each other of our shared experiences? It is somehow comforting to know someone else shares the memories that were otherwise only in my head. I regret losing touch after graduation, but that is a trend I continued after college. I am amazed at the people who have continuity of friendships from childhood until old age. I feel like I leave so much behind at each stage of my life, only to revisit the past unexpectedly at moments like tonight's phone call.
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Time to go home

I started the day with an 8:00 meeting in another building, so I had to get up extra early. I'm pleased to say that I didn't have any caffeine, making it a week and a day since the last time I had any. I was starting to think that perhaps I was past any withdrawal symptoms, but I might have been wrong, since I'm starting to get a bit of a headache now. Of course, that might be related to the significant new feature I need to add to the code ASAP. I've made some progress today, but I'm nowhere near done. I hope I have some sort of "Eureka!" moment over the weekend to get me through the upcoming tricky bit, otherwise I'll have to just brute force it. Oh well, I guess I know what I'll be working on come Monday!
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Housebuying update: Inspections

We had a general inspection and a termite inspection last Friday. Not much wrong on the general inspection, just a few odds and ends. The termite guy found signs of nibbles under the house, but nothing too bad. We'll want them to remove the wood on on dirt next to the house and get the place treated, though.

This morning we had the sewer line inspected. The guy snaked a camera down the line and found roots and shifted pipe. He was surprised that the sellers have claimed they had now backups, since he got his camera snagged a few times.

So, we've filled out the objections form and said "There are signs of termites. Kill them!" and "The sewer line is broken. Replace it!". I'm glad we paid for inspections now, rather than having a nasty surprise the first time we flushed a toilet after moving in.

Otherwise, things are moving along. We filled out some forms for the title company and have a packet from the mortgage guy to deal with tonight.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Caffeine free since Friday

I drank my last can of Citrus Drop to get going on Thursday morning and haven't bought a new case yet. If I make it through tomorrow it will be a full week. Admittedly, I had some root beer on Monday and last night I had a 7-up, but my main weakness is the caffeinated sugar water.

I have an early meeting on Friday, so I won't be upset if I have caffeine that day. Of course, if I don’t have any soda in the house, I won't be very likely to drink it, since most of my consumption happens in the morning while getting ready to face the day.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

We're buying a house!

We went to an open house on Saturday afternoon, made an offer that evening, got a counteroffer on Sunday, and accepted it less than 24 hours since we first set foot in the place. Barring any issues with the inspections, we're buying a nice little place right next to a city park. I'm still in a daze.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Waking up on time

I've actually been getting out of bed when my alarm goes off the past few days. I think the sunlight streaming in the window helps a lot. However, I won't be satisfied until I feel confident about waking all the time, without feeling the need for multiple alarms, even on dark winter mornings.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

I solved it in my dreams

This morning I woke up from a dream that I had found a solution to a puzzling problem at work. Even after I was fully awake and heading in to the office, it still seemed a promising solution. Sadly, once I was able to consult my documentation, I found that the overlooked database field that would have explained our troubles only existed in my subconscious mind. For a couple of hours there, I thought I'd have a nice "it came to me in a dream" story.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My sibling has discovered a rapid weight loss secret

Stomach Bug From Hell Results in Miracle Weight Loss:
"Seven pounds. I lost seven pounds in 30 hours. No wonder my boobs look deflated"

I hope you feel better and, uh, reinflate soon, sis.

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I'm sitting in my office at work, but it smells like someone is baking cookies. I have no idea where this smell is coming from. As far as I know, there isn't any oven in this building, but who knows what inventive people in the labs could come up with. Maybe someone has microwaved some cookies. I'm really craving a fresh chocolate-chip cookie right now. This is much harder to resist than the popcorn smell that is much more common around here in the afternoons.
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Monday, April 17, 2006

Good wishes coming my way

Another knitter wished me luck in the comments on my previous entry. Thank you!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sending my work out into the void

I submitted the pattern for the socks to Knitty today. (I know, I was cutting it a bit close.) We had a little photo shoot in the front yard yesterday. It probably looked a bit odd to the neighbors, me sitting in a chair with my skirt lifted a bit to show my socks, while my husband took pictures of my feet from various angles.

I hope I get accepted, but if I don't, at least I have a pattern written up that I can post myself.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

D. Brent Burkett has another book coming out

The success of his illustrations for Dream-of-Jade brought my Uncle Brent to the attention of another author. The new book, Reggie, is by Eve Bunting, and should be available at the end of August. I don't know what it is about, but I'm sure it will look great.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The musical fruit

I cooked some black beans in the crockpot a few days ago, thinking it would be handy for burritos and stuff. In fact, I had a bean, spinach, and cheese wrap for breakfast this morning. However, it looks like my husband and I are going to be lazy for supper tonight and that means the beans will likely be part of our meal, since they are already cooked. This does not bode well for anyone in an enclosed space with us. I guess it's a good thing we have separate office spaces.
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Knitting in progress

I'm almost to the heel on the second sock in my pair. Tonight I'll need to write up the pattern all nice and neat, take some finished object pictures, and send it all off to Knitty. If I'm accepted, yay! and if I'm not, at least I'll have a neatly written pattern that I can post on the web myself. I need to come up with a good name for this pattern. Knitty seems to like cryptic pattern names. Would it be too geeky if I used an acronym?

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Audio: Evening rambling concludes

this is an audio post - click to play

After getting cut off in the previous post, I say a few more words and then end the post when my husband gets home and we can go out.

Audio: Evening rambling continues

this is an audio post - click to play

After reviewing the previous post, I kept talking, this time long enough to get cut off at the end.

Audio: Evening rambling

this is an audio post - click to play


Remind me to post later

I have a half-written draft about my mother-in-law's wedding that I need to finish. I'll try to actually get it done this weekend, when I'm not frantically working on my submission to Knitty.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Audio: Trying out Audioblogger

this is an audio post - click to play

I ramble for a little bit to try out Audioblogger. I could see it being useful for updating while traveling. Does my voice really sound like that?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is it worthwhile to make something nobody wants?

Perhaps I'm just being pessimistic, but I have strong doubts that anyone is ever going to use the project I have been working on for the past couple of years. We're nearly at the end of this research project and need to get more funding somehow if anything more is to come from it, but it seems that no one is interested in it. I'm glad I'm not the one who has to give a sales pitch for this thing, because I am not all that enthusiastic about its prospects. This afternoon I learned of the additional functionality I'll have to force into the program in an attempt to impress people who are already tied to a different approach. How much time would we all save if we just admitted that this is all a dead end?

Oh well, at least I get paid for this.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I don't want to have to go to work

The only debt we have right now is my husband’s student loans, we have enough money in savings that we could pay them right now if we wanted to do so (They’re deferred while he is still in school, so there isn’t any rush.), and we could last for months without any fresh income, so I suppose by many people’s definition we already are financially independent. However, I would like to reach a point where I am working just because I enjoy it, and not because I’ll run out of money without it. I would like to be able to explore ideas that might not pay off right away (or at all!) without worrying about being “practical”.


I need to borrow my husband's car

He taught me how to drive it years ago, so I know how to do it in theory, but I need to practice if I’m ever going to drive anything other than automatics. I especially need to work on tricky things like hills.


I'm hooked on Mountain Dew (and knockoffs)

I give it up every so often, but I get cranky as the caffiene gets out of my system. Generally an early meeting drives me back to it.


Daylight Saving Time still annoys me

In accordance with last year's decision, my home state of experiencing for the first time in many years. I wonder how much chaos that has caused. Now is the only one of the lower 48 states that doesn't observe it.

As I have said before, changing the clocks twice a year doesn't make much sense. Could we just leave them alone from now on?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yay, earplugs!

I bought some earplugs to block out the engine noise on my flights last week. They're doing a nice job with the Evil Wind, as well. Take that, forces of nature! I can't hear you!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Clapotis is finished

This morning I unraveled the last of the dropped stitches and wove in the ends on my Clapotis, so now it just needs to be blocked a bit. I didn't actually have is done in time for the wedding, but the weather was warm enough that I didn't really need it anyway. It provided a project to keep me occupied on the plane and in the hotel room, so it served a good purpose. I may actually even wear it some this summer.
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Geek codes

Similar to the good, old geek code, we have the .
Here is mine: B5 d- t- k s u-- f- i o++ l c (decode it here)

Even better, there is a knitter's geek code. There are some , including this decoder.

KECLR++ Exp+ SPM+++ Steel+ Wood Bam(-) Pl(-) Cas? AddiT>++ Den? Boye(+) Syn- Nov-- Cot Wool++ Lux Hemp? Stash++>- Scale+ Fin Ent FI+ Int Tex+ Lace++ Felt Flat-- Circ++ DPN+ ML+ Swatch- KIP++ Blog+ SNB- EZ++ FO+++ WIP Gauge@ L+ F++ S++ DK W+ B- Wv+>++ Sp+

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Giving in to the Clapotis

I started a Clapotis today. Unlike most of the pictures out there, I am not using a colorful yarn. I'm making it from a cone of some off-white slubby rayon yarn that has been in my stash for ages. I'm going to a wedding this weekend and realized I might need a little something for my arms, but my dressy lace shawl is too small and lightweight, and my other wool shawls are both too warm and too casual. This pattern is so mindless that I can just churn it out while reading code and papers. I'm purling the stitches to be dropped, so I don't need to use any stitch markers. We'll see if I can get it done before the rehearsal dinner on Thursday.
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Susan Across the Ocean

I started this post about two weeks ago (shortly after the evening described), but was interrupted and forgot about the draft in progress until now. I suppose that's one way to have a blog topic handy.

A couple of weeks ago at the linguistics happy hour (Yes, a computer scientist and her physicist husband hang out with linguists. These things happen.), a conversation about music veered off into the land of "what might have been". One of the guys brought up a song he liked, called Susan Across the Ocean, about a man thinking back to a love of his youth and wondering, although he was happy with his life and his wife, what would have happened if he had made a different choice. The question is: do you have a "Susan Across the Ocean"? The results were rather mixed amoung the group.

The original fellow told a tale of the short relationship he had one summer when he was younger and living on a friend's couch. It had ended when one of them moved away, before either of them could discover what a jerk the other one was. (He's a bit cynical.)

A well-travelled student had left many "Susans" all over the world, or perhaps he is their "Susan", since he was the one who ended up leaving to return to the States.

Others denied having a "Susan" in their pasts, either from lack of relationships or because of a solid break in the relationship.

I initially didn't think I had a "Susan", since for the most part, I have had some contact after the end of the relationship, giving me some idea of what might have been had we continued. However, upon further consideration, I do have several points in my life where I could have taken a different path (not all involving a romantic relationship). I am happy with my life, but sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I had made different choices. My imagination is good enough that I can imagine a valid path from my other options (at least for a while. I can't predict my future in this timeline, much less a whole multiverse of them.)

What would my life be like if I...
  • ...had been bolder?
  • ...applied to a different set of schools?
  • ...didn't put off deciding for so long?
  • ...didn't oversleep that day?
  • ...went out that time I stayed home?
  • ...stayed home that time I went out?
When my mind wanders, I sometimes ponder an of my life, often finding a way to end up at about the same place by a different path.
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Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm going mad!

The wind is howling outside my office window. When it comes from a certain direction, it generates some sort of high-pitched whine on this side of the building. At times like this, I can start to understand how settlers on the plains could be driven insane by the wind. Earlier this afternoon, before the wind escalated, there was some sort of construction work going on nearby, so I've been unsuccessfully attempting to block out noise with music all day.

On top of the noise, I have a bit of a headache from caffeine withdrawal (no doubt aggravated by the Evil Wind), so today has been disappointingly unproductive. I was getting an unexpected error with code that was working yesterday, and in the process of moving the working copies to the side to check out a fresh copy from the repository, I deleted the new files that had yet to be added to the project. I was thinking "mv" but typed "rm". D'oh! The new classes didn't have any real content yet, mostly some copy-paste find-replace boilerplate stuff, so I should be able to regenerate them quickly, once I can think straight again. Perhaps the wind will be blowing on the other side of the building on Monday. Perhaps I should invest in a pair of earplugs.

Anyway, it's definitely time for me to wrap things up and go home. We have some Chicken Kiev to assemble.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Why are you standing outside my office door?

I just had to close my office door because there are at least four people standing around talking in the hallway. I'm not sure why they have congregated there. My office is in the middle of a long hallway, so there isn't really any landmark to attract them. This isn't the first time it has happened. It creeps me out a little, making me feel like I'm on display. I'm glad I have a real office with a door for times like these.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My tongue is blue

I swiped a from the bowl on the secretary's desk on my way back from the watercooler and am now stained with the shame of my sugar habit. It's the mark of sugarcane!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day!

It's once again. Let's all have some pie. Mmmm... ...

Monday, March 13, 2006

D'oh! for_each != transform

The bug I mentioned last week was a really stupid case of calling the wrong function to manipulate a container. The really stupid part of it was that I was previously calling the correct thing, but then changed it when I was moving some code around. Why I chose to explicitly retype the code, introducing an error, rather than just cutting and pasting, I do not know. My brain was pretty well gone at the time I did that. At least it didn't take me too terribly long to find the problem today.
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Pictures mean so much

My mother just emailed me some recent pictures of my niece. She's so lovely I could almost cry. I love living here in the Southwest, but I really do wish that it were easier to visit my family. I've updated my desktop wallpaper on my work computer, so now I have a four-month-old toothlessly grinning at me when I minimize my windows. That will have to do for now.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Winter and wind

It seemed that spring was arriving with all the wind we've had lately, but this morning we woke up to find snow all over the yard. The wind is still here, too, so it is hard to tell if the snow is still falling or if I'm just seeing flakes being blown off the roof. We went to the library yesterday, so I'm thinking that today would be a good day to curl up on the couch with a book.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Brain is Drained

I did a major change to one of my classes today. I finally got the compiler to accept it without barfing giant template system error messages all over the place about an hour ago, but now it is crashing. At least it is hitting one of my idiot checks and spitting out an error before segfaulting. I'm tired, hungry, and in no shape to track down a runtime error. As much as I dislike turning my back on broken code, I'm going home now. I'll deal with this later, after food and sleep. The only question is, is this important enough for me to come in on my Friday off?
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

We are sinking!

My husband showed me this video the other day, so I'm sharing it with all of you. I'm also trying out Google Video's ability to embed a movie in my site.

So many mutants!

Have you seen the ? How are they going to fit all of that into one movie? So many mutants, so much angst, so many things going "boom!" Whee!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Annoying allergies

Up until now, I've not had a noticeable allergic reaction to any substance, but this year the junipers have overwhelmed me. Apparently it is a particularly bad year, affecting even those of us who usually don't have bothersome allergies. As I tried to fall asleep last night, my eyes were so dry that it felt like I had little wads of cotton shoved under my eyelids. That may also explain the mild headache I had the previous afternoon. If my reaction was that bad, I shudder to think of what it is like for my husband. Of course, he's always doped up on Allegra or something similar, so perhaps the drugs buffered the full impact of the junipers.

Fortunately, I felt just fine after a nice steamy shower this morning, so I guess I managed to wash off the irritating juniper pollen. Spending most of the day indoors at work probably helps, too. Yesterday, I took a couple of long walks around the neighborhood, exposing myself to whatever Nature wanted to throw at me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It would be a bit of a drive...

A "Heads up! You could be called for jury duty soon" letter was addressed to me at my parents' house last week. Considering that I haven't lived there since I started graduate school, and haven't even lived in that state for over two and a half years, I don't think I'll be able to oblige them. Mom really didn't need to spend the money to forward the letter on to me, since I imagine there are many outdated addresses in the state's database which are resulting in letters being completely lost, but since I got it in the mail, I filled the darn thing out, circling the state on my address for emphasis. This is what happens when they switch from using voter registration for the jury pool and use some really out of date address list instead. I am registered to vote in Albuquerque and have a New Mexico driver's license, so I doubt there was much more I could do.

My husband and I did get a chuckle out of the line about being reimbursed $15/day plus travel costs. Sure, I'll serve on a jury in central Indiana if they'll give me a free trip across the country. *grin*

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rock on!

I've recently discovered the joys of Pandora, a streaming audio site which let's you enter a song or artist and then plays songs "like that one". It needs a faster connection than I have at home, but it's been great for coding to music at work. I enjoy having something to listen to other than the construction equipment outside. Asking for music similar to The Beatles gives rather nice results.

I'm getting better

I took a sick day yesterday to try and rid myself of this annoying cold. I think it worked, since although I'm still a little snuffly today, I no longer feel like much of my brain has been displaced by mucus and phlegm. Unfortunately for my husband, it appears that the cold of doom has decided to transfer itself over to him now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

*sniffle* *HONK*

This weekend I found myself sniffling and sneezing a bit, but wasn't sure if it was a cold or just some irritation from all the dust in the air lately. During the course of an hour last night, while watching Masterpiece Theatre, my head became completely clogged up with severe sinus pressure. Now I'm sure it's a cold. Even with some 12-hour Sudafed (well, actually, it was the store brand at Walgreens, but it's the same stuff) to get me through the day, I've been blowing my nose a disgusting amount.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Neil Gaiman's Small Valentine's Day Poem

Neil Gaiman wrote:
"Roses are red,
Violets are purple,
Which is a very hard word to rhyme
And makes me happy that on February the 14th we don't traditionally have to give each other oranges."
I am quite amused. I'm so glad I started reading his blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I don't have man brain!

My sister posted about taking about if you have a male or female brain. Overall, they claim I am slightly female, but I think that is mostly because I kicked butt on the "spot the difference" section. In many areas I scored rather "male". I think many of those skills are just a matter of training, really. I scored quite low on the "empathising" section, but some of that may just be because I actually answered honestly, instead of claiming to care every time I "should". The faces section said I preferred masculine faces, which wasn't much of a shock, but I have to say I was hard-pressed to say which I preferred most of the time. Those digitally altered faced were just creepy!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Turn the radio on

I've had music running through my head all day, mostly from the CD I was listening to on the drive in to work, but possibly due to my sleeping habits, as well.

My husband flew out of town on business last night, so I had to fall asleep without the sound of him breathing on the other side of the bed. (I always fall asleep after him. I sometimes suspect that he actually loses consciousness while brushing his teeth and just sleepwalks into the bedroom.) Sometimes his breathing gets so loud, almost snoring, that I want to smack him until he quiets down (as if that would actually help anything), but it does provide a bit of white noise to cover assorted distracting night sounds. I ended up turning my clock radio on with its sleep timer and drifted off as it played.

It's amazing how much you can ignore if you know there is someone else around. The heating system in our house gets rather noisy sometimes and sounds like someone is walking around in the next room. When my husband is home, I assume that the racket is caused by him walking around and it barely registers with my conscious mind. When I am alone, I find myself startled by those sorts of sounds. I know it is the heating system, but that knowledge does little to reassure the primitive, instinctive part of my mind until it has a little conference with the thinking part.
Instinct: What was that? Someone is in the house! Get ready to run away or fight or... Uh, what do you think it was, Thought?

Thought: Well, the last hundred times it was the heating system making the metal grate expand and sound like someone stepped on it, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "heating system".

Instinct: (reluctantly agreeing) Well, I'm not going to let down my guard until I listen to it for a while. I guess it could be the heating system again. You're so smart, Thought!

Thought: That's nice, Instinct. Now go back to sleep and let me read.
Silly brain! This provides yet another reason to get a pet someday. You can blame a lot of noises on a cat, just look at any stupid horror movie. *grin* Of course, we won't get a pet until we are living in a different house, which would probably have a quieter heating system.

Friday, February 03, 2006

My husband, the yarn enabler

This morning, my husband returned to the house about ten minutes after leaving for work. There was a yard sale a couple of blocks down the street, so he had stopped to see if there was anything worth buying. He found a box of yarn for me. Admittedly, it is just acrylic, nothing fancy, but the colors go nicely together and the skeins are large enough that I think it'll provide a good basis for a stashbusting project or two. I have been winding up the contents of my acrylic yarn box on my yarn winder, unraveling old test pieces and picking apart the tangled mess. At the very least, I should be able to consolidate it into a smaller box. I don't know what I'll make from it, but the neatly stackable balls are rather satisfying for now. I'm building a little yarn fort by my couch!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Feel the burn!

It's only a little after one-thirty in the afternoon, but the day feels like it has been going on forever. I've been working on some new functionality in my code, but I don't feel like I'm making much progress today. I think about half of my commits lately have amounted to little more than comment and formatting changes. *sigh* I'm hoping that taking a few minutes to write in English will help me focus again.

On of my coworkers is thinking of quitting his job and going back to grad school, so I may end up with one of his projects eventually. If he does leave, I think I may be the only person in my department without a PhD, not counting the secretary. I don't exactly have an average work situation here.

My husband and I have started going to the gym at the university this week. Hiking on the mountain last Saturday made us realize how soft we were getting from spending much of our time sitting at our desks. I kind of miss the workout room at my old apartment complex. It was usually empty, and there was cable television for me to watch. The university gym large, noisy, and filled with sweaty undergrads, but on the plus side, we don't have to pay since my husband is a student. When the days get longer, I think I'll forgo the gym in favor of actually doing stuff outdoors, but there aren't a lot of weekday options when it gets dark as I leave work.

It looks like a nice day outside. I may have to go for a thinking walk in a little bit. I have some design issues to work out before I can really make progress, and the computer is just a little too distracting sometimes. It's just a little to easy to find myself checking a news site, reading a technical article that I don't actually need to read right now, or making a new blog post under the pretense of clearing my head. *shifty glance*

Back to work!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Winter weather

I just looked out the window to discover that it is snowing, which is rather unusual down here in town, especially during the day. It looks like it is melting as soon as it hits the ground. It's quite overcast today. It actually looks like winter for a change.