Why Orange?

This site was orange from August 5, 2008 through August 28, 2008 in protest of IOC allowing China to host the Olympics. There are numerous human rights violations which continue to be denied by government officials in China. I must confess, for the two weeks in which NBC was unwatchable I should have gone two weeks without watching any TV. However, it didn’t occur to me until just now that it would have been easier to do it when there wasn’t much to watch. Instead, maybe it will be a real sacrifice when I actually do it.

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In which I purchase too many books

for cheap. Yes, yes, the correct word is inexpensive, but it doesn’t make sense in context. One of my favorite new/used bookstores was having a great sale today. At first Patty and I thought maybe we would share a bag, the sale was fill a bag for $5. After about 30 minutes, we realized we were each going to need a bag. I found many interesting treasures. In the daylight tomorrow, I am going to try to remember to artfully arrange my books and grab a photo. In another area I found and turned down The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights (I think I may already have this one), a very cool NIV Study Bible (but if it’s still there next time) and a really old and worn Bible that would have made some great scanned textures-the end pages showed interesting wear, as did several pages but $60 seriously? for a water-damaged, mold infested, well worn book. A few finds that I have been looking for and managed to make it into my bag: a book of Henrik Ibsen plays, some silly little books with pithy sayings that may be useful in scrapbooks, and a few catechism books. I also found a book that apparently will guide me in using Harry Potter to teach young adult fiction. I will most likely never need to do that, but the book screamed to be placed in the bag, as one of the last books before the bag was impossibly full.

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A quest for trees

scrub pine
(n) any of several pines, as the jack pine, characterized by a scrubby or irregular manner of growth, usually found in dry, sandy soil. [Origin: 1785–95, Americanism] source: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)

Where we live we have a lot of scrub pines and decided that we would eventually put in fuller, shorter trees to create the privacy row in a more attractive manner. These trees grow 20-30 or more feet but have little to no living branches closer than 10 feet off the ground. Since it takes a while for trees to grow, we understand that when we plant them it will take a while for them to grow to optimal height. We have been talking more about what to replace them with and when to do it. In tonight’s mail I had an envelope from the Arbor Day Foundation with a rather deceitful wording on the outside implying that I owed them money. Upon opening the junk mail that I most likely received as a result of seed catalogs I requested earlier this year, I found inside a rather official looking invoice implying that I requested a one year membership and did owe them money. I find this type of advertising offensive on the best day and was about to throw it out when the “10 free Colorado Blue Spruce trees” caught my eye. That was one of the types we had talked about planting. I went online to see if I could get a better deal than $10 for 10 trees. Short of ordering 100 trees for a dollar each, I wasn’t going to come anywhere near that cost. The deal in the mail offered more extras, but I don’t like mailing checks, so I opted for fewer extra freebies and went for convenience. Online I there were many different sets of trees beyond the blue spruces, but in the mail I could get a free lilac bush as well as my trees, lucky for me lilacs I was not tempted long. Lilacs are my least favorite flower to date. Some time between October and December, I will receive 10 dormant seedling blue spruce trees ready for immediate planting with a one year guarantee on it. I did this once in a classroom. One day we came into school and there were trees for us to bring to our students. I also have a one year membership to the Arbor Day Foundation, in the mailing I could have one year for $10 but online I had to up my contribution to $15 for the one year, which will allow me to order more seedlings of various types for slightly reduced prices and free shipping as of the date of this post for the next 12 months. We will remove a few of the trees up near the road to make room for my ten glorious trees and by we I mean I point and Jason takes them cuts them. We plan to use the ashes from the pines to alter the ph balance in the garden soil where necessary.

Speaking of gardens, Mom P. swears she doesn’t have deer problems with tomatoes, potatoes, and a few other veggies so I have a plan. Yesterday I ordered some veggie seeds from one of the companies that may have put my name on the “send me junk mail” list causing me to receive deceitful notices which I encourage not to stop by placing orders. The company was having a buy $40 get $20 off your order, sounds like buy one get one free to me, so I looked around to see if I could find enough seeds for that amount. Turns out the shipping was included in that $40, though I think it was a mistake as the advertising indicated it didn’t. While I chose heirloom seeds as often as possible, I noticed that with 15 of the 24 seed packets I added to my cart, an additional packet of the same seeds was put in my cart for free. So if my math is correct, I have tooooo many seeds for a really good price. I was already receiving half off my order as I planned not to go much over $40 except for shipping, which seemed crazy expensive right alongside the fuel costs. I only had to order a couple of hybrid seeds as the company didn’t stock an alternative, I will continue to look for those. I am also attempting to harvest some seeds for plants already have that I know to be heirloom. My goal is to have a self-sufficient garden by 2010. All these seeds coming my way for a 23 by 23 foot garden, well no. We are also clearing trees in the backyard to the south, gradually. We are going to expand the garden and fence was is fiscally feasible and just plant in the open – foods that won’t attract the critters. Anyone know what deer, raccoons, possums, and other critters around here eat?

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The wonders of GIMP

GIMP is a GNU image manipulation program, does that explain enough? Probably not, it is a graphic editing/creating program that is available free for Windows, Linux and Mac. Last night while surfing for holiday WordPress themes, I went to wiki to find out a list of all the holidays in the US and happened upon a site for free and paid PhotoShop tutorials. So I followed one of the tutorials using GIMP and created the above graphic. Since I didn’t find as many themes as I had hoped, one for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Winter, and St. Patrick’s Day, I decided that I would create a few graphics to substitute in current themes. Unfortunately, when I created the above image, I did so in a rather small resolution in case I didn’t like the result, so I can’t enlarge it. So now I need to redo it all, grr, in a larger size.

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To spin or not to spin

As I am known to do on the occasional Thursday, yesterday I traveled to GR to visit with friends and former co-workers. Part of my plan while in GR was to hunt a list of a few items-including roving (fiber that has been cleaned, carded and prepared so that one can spin it), a drop spindle (to turn said fiber into yarn), a few books, and some canning supplies. It has become apparent that this is not the time of year to purchase canning supplies. I was not able to find all I desired, but plan to look at the flea market this weekend. As for the books, I found one I was looking for, but decided against that purchase just now.

However, on the fiber front I found much. I wanted to stop by a shop I had heard about but never visited fairly near my former place of employment. I cannot find it, I am not sure it exists on a plane of reality similar to my own, so I did not visit it. I do know where City Knitting is and have purchased odds and ends there before. I am not sure that Lorilee (the owner) is ever not at the store, but that is to my benefit. She asked if she could help me/us to which I replied, “Roving and a drop spindle please.” Both were in short supply due to the Michigan Fiber Festival, but I managed to find a purply-blue pencil roving to take home. As I understand it (from Lorilee) pencil roving is pre-drafted, so that it is already in a thinner state making it easier to spin. I looked at the larger ones and found a gorgeous color, but it was a still large amount of roving. If I try it and decide it’s not for me, I’ll be stuck with too much and have to try to sell what’s left. I didn’t purchase the smallest amount either (the color didn’t speak to me). Hopefully I have given myself enough fiber to make a mistake or two, but still produce enough yarn to make something. There was only one drop spindle, a bit out of the price range I was hoping to spend. If I decide I like it, I will gladly spend a bit more for quality, well carved drop spindles. I opted to attempt to make my own.

We were off to a local craft store to purchase a dowel rod and several wooden wheels. I was sorely tempted to cheat a little and pick up the 10-pack of precut 12″ dowels, but that seemed a bit extravagant seeing that one long stick was $0.49 or the bag of shorter sticks for $2.99. I knew I had hooks at home. The only downside, which I knew about, was that the wheels were not symmetrical. The inside of the wheel is flat while the outside is beveled. From what I’ve read the more symmetrical the more evenly balanced, the more evenly balanced, the more even the yarn. I’ll see how that works. I’ve asked for some guidance in altering the wheel. The package came with four and I only really need two, so there are two to mess up before scrapping the alterations. I will attempt to make both a top and bottom whorl drop spindle, knowing that it won’t be perfect.

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wreck this journal

While in a bookstore a number of months ago, though I cannot guess which month, I came across a book. The intriguing cover featured a scrap piece of notebook paper stuck to the black book with masking tape. The title was scrawled on the scrap in a calligraphy style of handwriting. I couldn’t help myself, I picked it up and flipped to the first page and the second and the third and I must interrupt at this point and mention I was not alone at the bookstore, who ever is with all the employees and other customers, but that is not my meaning. I was with a friend at the time and I chased her down or called her back so I could begin to read the most amazing things to her. The book was not a book in the usual sense but not quite a journal in the usual journal sense. On the page where one usually writes the answer to: this book belongs to: and please return if found or even this journal covers the dates from blank to blank, I found instead a page, in a font meant to mimic handwriting, asking for my name to be written several different ways (not the least of which was illegibly, I’m pretty sure my 3rd grade teacher will have something to say about that) and instructing the finder of my lost book (in the event I misplace it) to randomly turn to a page in MY journal and follow the given instructions THEN return it to me. I was a bit on edge and it was just the first page. Page two outlined some general instructions, the fun really began after that. There was a simple line or two at the top of each page with a not so simple instruction that the author seemed to expect me to obey. Rather than create cookie cutter entries as most journals go, you know the type:

dear diary,
how are you today? I’m fine. the weather is cloudy, the dog is sleeping. that’s all for now

These instructions did not ask me to set about creating word combinations and patterns to set upon the page, I was was expected to pay to for a book/journal that I was to systematically destroy. As I flipped from page to page reading the instructions I knew there to be precious few I would perform. To rip a page out of the book, a horror in itself, then not return it to the book. To burn a page while still in the book, eliminating another page. To cut it into strips while still in the book, I cackled with disbelief audibly. Make a paper chain and leave it somewhere, I thought that was called littering. Who on earth would deliberately break/crack the spine of a perfectly lovely, brand new book. I work so hard to read a book so as not to damage the spine accidentally. The conversation escalated with each page turn demanding a more impossible feat than before, though I reasoned I could accomplish a few. I could possibly scribble on a page, but just one. I could possibly cause a stain from a food I was to consume to appear in the smallest possible corner. Maybe I would run it over with a bike tire, but more likely I would run the tire in an old stamp pad and gently apply the page to the tire. I’m all for creatively expressing myself in the usual boring ways. Let’s not get all willy-nilly and destroy a lovely deliciously intriguing book, even if the author thought I would. If I left it unharmed, I could read and reread all the while contemplating all the things I could do to the book, but surely won’t. I carefully put the book back on the shelf, continued to browse and commented on the silliness of it all. Absolutely no one is going to buy a book to destroy it-hello! I had hoped to leave it there and never think of it again. The book popped into my head every time I went to that bookstore, the solution of course is to go to a different bookstore. Tonight, while reading the blog of a podcast I listen to, she mentioned the book, which I recognized immediately. I found a link to the website off her page and away I went. I may put this book on my mental list book books to try one day or I may try it on my own. I know I have a journal or 10 that are either empty (but I had good intentions of filling them, I buy about one a year) or take one half started and create my own destructive things to do to express what words are not.

Update: August 15, 2008
I visited GR today and purposefully visited a store where I could hold a copy in my hand again. I must report that after spending a few hours on the interwebs, I was able to find all but about 4 or 5 of the journal instructions. I’m not sure that this is a good thing. After flipping through the book, I put it gently back on the shelf, but not before considering doing something sudden and violent to it as directed. At this point, I am not willing to purchase a book to destroy it. I do have a journal that is missing a few pages already and am considering putting it out of its misery by totally decimating it as directed by a few suggestions from the previously mentioned website.

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Masters of Space

I stumbled upon references to this story at Librivox while attempting to choose a project in which I might participate. The project did not need any readers, but does need a proof listener. In a few short hours at The Project Gutenberg, I devoured this tale. While I typically choose fantasy, the occasional sci-fi adventure creeps into view.

A contingent of humans explore the universe in an attempt to find relief from fuel shortages on Terran. The Terrans encounter signs of intelligent life and cautiously investigate. This intelligent life recognizes the human form and immediately calls them Masters. The Terran group, containing both civilians and military personnel, are divided as to how to proceed with this group calling themselves Omans. Also at work are another group calling themselves the Stretts with an all together different mission. Upon understanding the full might of the Omans and Stretts, the Terrans have choices to make to ensure a new fuel supply for themselves as well as their own safety and that of their new ally.

The one called Javo relaxed from his rigid concentration. “Nothing has changed. Nor will it.”

“That conclusion is indefensible!” Tula snapped. “With the promised return of the Masters there must and will be changes.”

Most certainly the Terrans bring change to both groups, whether for good or not and for whom is the question.

A second reading is in order now that I have finished. The author(s) left breadcrumbs to follow, but I will confess to forgetting the minutia in exchange for understanding the forest.

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Knitting Podcasts Revisited

In April, I sat down and listed all of the knitting related podcasts in recent subscription. Many of those are still in my list, a few have gone by the way, several are on summer hiatus. Due to a nearly empty iPod, I have subscribed to a few more with the hopes of education and entertainment. To make the cut the podcast had to be currently recording and related to knitting. I present another list and will add critique as applicable with a standard disclaimer and a twist. You may find objectionable content at the following links, I cannot attest as I have not previewed. Just sharing the wealth of knowledge currently at my fingertips.

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101 in 1001

While surfing six or months ago, I came across this site. At the title of this post suggests, individuals/groups are challenged to complete a list of 101 tasks in 1001 days. I make lists, I love lists, I live lists. I think I would not get anything done with out the list, I have even made lists of my lists, neurotic maybe, effective usually. The underlying idea suggests that given a short period of time, a list of tasks appears overwhelming, but given approximately 2.74 years much may be accomplished. The 101 tasks may better be referred to as goals, which should be measurable in some manner, realistic, and represent some amount of effort on my part. The following goal: learn Icelandic is a bit vague. How will one know if one has learned the Icelandic language? However, learn to read an children’s storybook in the Icelandic language is measurable, especially if one picks the book ahead of time and lists the title as a goal. Many of the lists I browsed had large, lofty, expensive goals. I make no judgments of others, only a defense of my simple list, relatively inexpensive, extremely practical. I have many things I would like to get done around the house and I would like interesting topics to blog about so I thought, combine them.

I expect my list to evolve over time as I have never attempted to plan much further than the end of my nose. In my formative years, I would attempt to set goals for my future, but more than one ideal crashed against the rocks of reality. In more recent years, I use a calendar to schedule important activities and leave the rest to happenstance. I am not sure how I will document it all. I will make occasional updates here, however, I think I will keep my list private for now. My list should will be completed by 2 May 2008.

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big ticket rock

Of the four stages: indie, main, worship, and rock, I will admit to not spending much time at this stage, but I link so that should I need or want to listen to something it will be easily found.

  • http://www.myspace.com/heathmcnease
  • http://www.joywhitlock.com/
  • http://www.esterlyn.com/
  • http://www.myspace.com/worthdyingformusic
  • http://www.disciplerocks.com/
  • http://www.stellarkart.com/
  • http://www.hawknelson.com/
  • http://www.nailpointmusic.com/
  • http://www.agsilver.com/
  • http://www.wavorly.com/
  • http://www.krystalmeyers.com/
  • http://www.fireflightrock.com/ Iamunbreakable.com
  • http://www.needtobreathe.net/
  • http://www.redmusiconline.com/

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