Thursday, September 30, 2004

Like Christmas, but not quite

I'm so excited - tomorrow registration for NaNoWriMo opens! I realize this elevates me to a new level of geekiness, but hey - a girl's gotta have something to look forward to!

While last year's attempt was a stab at the fantasy genre, this year I'm going to hack away at science fiction-themed tale. I have my main characters partially fleshed out in my head, a beginning, a major crisis (complete with plot twist!), but no way to get there from the intro. I have a rough setting, and premise, but that's it. Since you have to get about 1,600 words per day to meet the 50,000 word quota by then end of the month, you pretty much throw everything you have on the page and worry about the editing in December.

Last year, I only got roughly 13,000-15,000 words, and most of that was in the companion diary I was keeping. Once I started writing the story, I kept thinking how bad it was, how I didn't really like the characters, and how I really hadn't given much thought to secondary characters; as a result, they were poorly sketched and stilted. However, the bright spot was the keeping of the diary convinced me to start a blog, which I did at the end of December. I still post to it occasionally, but not as often as I used to.

Right - now to see if I can find my username and password from last year!

"Whoa! Where did you come from?"

Typical Blog Post

I've been really tired lately blah blah blah... not sleeping well blah blah blah... must be that time blah blah blah... cranky and bitchy blah blah blah... making poor food choices blah blah blah... napping blah blah blah...

Okay, I'm done with that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hey look! It's another picture of a cat! This is Toeni again, when she was small. She had just arrived in her new digs and was still getting used to the place

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Friday is "Post a Cat on Your Blog Day", making official what is already pretty common. Here's my contribution for today: Toeni (so named because she's a polydactyl) and Cleo, my sister and b-i-l's cats.

Another fine mess...

Last night I got it into my head that I needed to update Firefox NOOOOOOW. Normally, I'd read through the instructions and follow them, but this time.... nah, too easy. Just uninstall the version I'd been using (0.9) and install the new version (1.0).

Well, apparently, you're not supposed to do that. First, you're supposed to uninstall the extensions and themes, THEN uninstall the program to prevent conflicts. Which I didn't do.

Long story not-as-long, I installed 1.0 and it opened, but wouldn't reopen. Uninstalled it. Reinstalled 1.0. Wouldn't work. Uninstalled it. Installed 0.9, and it worked. Reinstalled the extensions it couldn't find on the initial install. Wouldn't restart. *sigh*

The solution I found seems fairly simple - install it in a different directory. Which I will be trying when I get home.

(Update: it worked!)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I want me a pair of fingerless gloves!

Well, this weekend was a bust - for the most part. Both mornings I got up late, and then spent too long trying to get into gear. Yesterday I decided I needed to make fingerless gloves with the Wendy Velvet that I got when I went home. However, I have now spent the better part of the weekend trying to find an acceptable needle size and swatching - the pattern calls for 3.5mm (which I didn't have and had to buy at Zellers), but I've also swatched with 4mm and 4.5mm, which are the needle size recommended for with the yarn. The yarn also has very little give to it, so instead of a garter cuff (which I don't really like anyways), I'll use a ribbed cuff. I also thought about adding a cable or some other decorative feature to the back of the glove, but it's hard enough to count the rows with this yarn, let alone pick out decorative features. I have a lightweight dark grey acrylic yarn to play with, so we'll see how things go with these and then try it out with that yarn.

Why the sudden interest in fingerless gloves? I've decided that I want a pair for my NaNoWriMo attempt, and the lovely varigated Velvet was an excellent candidate. (I've also decided that I want the QaF socks for a bellydance/flamenco workshop I'm attending in November. Oh yeah - so not going to happen!)

Other than that, a pretty slow weekend.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A fool and her money

Wear the old coat and buy the new book - Austin Phelps

What is wrong with me? Anytime I manage to save up a little money, I manage to blow it on books (and, more recently, yarn). Today was no exception. I finished early today, so I went to Wal-Mart to look at the yarn (crappy, and the store was dirty too), then the LYS, where I bought them out of Paton's Up Country in charcoal. I still don't have enough for a full sweater, but I can do the sleeves in a different colour.

Then, I went to Chapters. When it comes to book stores, I have absolutely no self-control. Okay, I have minimal self-control, but I choose not to exercise it.
  • Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. It's a cool pattern book, and some really neat things in there. It's been a while since I found a knitting book in which I like all the patterns.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Because I haven't seen a single negative review of it so far. Plus, it has a blur by Neil Gaiman on the back (maybe that's what the dream last night was about!)
  • Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I love Dave Barry. I'm not so big on Peter Pan, but the three or four pages I read I quite enjoyed.
  • Muddle Earth by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It sounds hilarious.
  • Ella the Elegant Elephant by Carmela and Steven D'Amico. It's the cutest children book, and I bought it for my mother. I'm going to put together a care package for her.
  • DHTML and CSS for the World Wide Web by Jason Cranford Teague. I'm going to figure out this CSS-thing if it gives me more grey hair!
I'll get around to reading them....eventually....

Ladies, a word of advice: RUN!

Accordion Guy has posted a couple of tracks from a 70's self-help tape entitled Picking Up Girls Made Easy. Ladies, should you be approached by some hip swinger trying out these cool and smooth lines on you, the polite response is not to laugh yourself silly (although that may be the preferred response). Rather, you should indicate that, while the 70's may have been a groovy time for the single stud out-on-the-town, it is now the 21st century and he may want to look into updating his pick-up lines.

Some thoughts I had while listening to the clips:
  • What kind of thoughtful brother buys his "sister" a see-through top?
  • Also, why do the "sisters" always get blamed for everything?
  • Romeo was the greatest pick-up artist ever? Honey, the last girl he picked up was the death of him (quite literally).
  • "Groovy looking chick" - hee!
  • "...lets her know that Barry's got some bread" (paraphrased) - hee!

When email attacks!

Yesterday morning, I woke with the unsettling feeling that something ominous was going to happen. That something was making its way towards me and that it would cause me mental anguish. It also dawned on me that I hadn't heard anything about the Amazon order I made in May. Little did I realize that the two thoughts were inextricably linked.

So I checked my email after dance class last night, and lo and behold, the email that brought both mental anguish and a feeling of dismay towards - the notification that my order had been delayed another month. I had been sort of half expecting that sort of notification all week, but to actually recieve it was disheartening. So now my order is due to arrive sometime between the end of October and the beginning of November. Bah.

(And yes, I accept that it's not's fault. I checked the publisher's page, and the book is showing up in their "Coming Soon" section. I know it wasn't there before.)

In other news, I've been having the strangest dreams again. Last night it was Neil Gaiman asking me to make him a salad for lunch on Monday. I woke up thinking, "I don't have anything to make a salad with, and it's Thursday!" Oh, for the love of little green apples....

Monday, September 20, 2004

WIPs: September

Let's see....

  • I've pretty much finished a hat from Stitch N' Bitch using Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride chunky weight; it just needs to be sewn up. With the leftovers, I'm making a matching scarf. Both are for a former co-worker who's undergoing chemo.
  • I finished a scarf for my cousin for Christmas, and it's fabulous. It's two very different yarns - a mohair and a novelty yarn (Dazzle) (I seem to have misplaced the labels) - knitted together. There was just enough yarn left to make a mighty fine fringe. Rather than doing a plain knit-every-row stitch, I got adventurous and used a garter-and-loops stitch (note: the picture accompanying the pattern is sideways) which is why it's fabulous.
  • I'm thinking of restarting the QaF socks because, y'know, I'm a sucker for punishment.
  • Future projects include: a scarf using some nifty yarn I got when I was home Labour Day weekend; a sweater found in Chunky Knits using Paton's Up Country (which I still need to get); and a new poncho with the Red Heart Cozy wool (eep).
Update of last month's projects:
  • I ended up frogging the poncho. It didn't fit around my shoulders - I should have used lighter wool or larger needles. C'est la vie.
  • The halter top is near completion. I finished a back for it, but there might not be enough yarn for the ties, so I'll need to go hunting for that colour of yarn.
  • The strap is finished (I'd actually forgotten about it). Now I just need to work on the bag part.
  • The scrap-vintage-and-boa yarn is completed. Just needs a fringe.

100 CDs you shouldn't have in your collection

Wesley A. Kose provides a list of the 100 albums you should remove from your collection immediately. Of the 100, I'm proud to say that I only have two - Chemical Brothers Dig Your Own Hole and Tom Waits Mule Variations (which I've only had for four days, but love unconditionally).

Technically I have three from the list, but Listen Like Thieves is on cassette. So there.

(Thanks to J-Walk!)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I *knew* it!

(Found here - the article is nonsense, but the picture is halfway down the page)

I can't remember how I found the link to the article where I found this picture - I was sure it was from a link in Hit & Run, but I couldn't find the article. Possibly it was on Crooked Timber, but it didn't seem likely. Or a library-related blog. Whatever. (I have linked to the original article, and I'll leave it at that - it was a serendipitous find).

The point was that the instant I saw the picture, I was hooked. There was something disturbingly amusing (at least, to me) about it, and I immediately sent the link to R., telling her it was proof that they finally got together. Every time I saw it I snickered, but it still bugged me that it entertained me so much.

It dawned on me tonight why: the "camp" factor. First, anyone who's seen the old Batman show knows how utterly over-the-top the program was, how the acting was exaggerated and cheesy it was. There's something exaggerated and cheesy about that tattoo - and I can imaging Robin stepping out of the embrace and remarking, "Holy tonsil hockey, Batman!"

The second reason why I dig the camp factor is the whole "Batman and Robin"-wink-wink nudge-nudge effect. At some point, most of us have engaged in speculation about what really went on in the Batcave (or, the "Batcave"-wink-wink) and the true nature of the relationship between the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder. Go Google for the fanfic - go on, I'll wait. See? Plenty of people enjoy speculating about it, and have rather vivid imagination when it comes to the mechanics. This tattoo is someone's idea of what went on when the dynamic duo weren't fighting crime (or their attraction to each other).

Still, part of me feels guilty about it, as if it's too naughty for me to acknowledge. But then I look at it again and start giggling.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Lifestyle of the Carefree

Today I did something completely and utterly decadent, and something I haven't done in a long time - nothing. Ab-so-frickin'-loutely nothing. For the last few months, I've either been on the road, visiting family down south, hosting family from down south, going for groceries/to the library/bank/etc (which I did yesterday afternoon), or watching earlier seasons of various shows (season 2 of Queer as Folk, seasons 1-3 of Farscape, and Firefly) every weekend.

So, this morning I got up late-ish, showered, and read while I had breakfast. Then read some more. Made some hot chocolate, and read even more. Finally, the high point of my afternoon - a three-hour nap. I awoke to A Very Brady Sequel on the movie channel, which still makes me laugh. Oh, yes, life was good today.

Yes, it's late, and I'm just making supper now. I'll have to leave the apartment at some point tomorrow to go to the bank and return some library books. But for tonight, I can stay safely ensconced in my cocoon-like apartment, and choose from the following activities:

  • Read
  • Watch tv (not likely, but it's an option. Latin Lover is on later, and I always have fun making up dialogue since I don't speak Spanish/Peruvian)
  • Practice my mad programming skillz by teaching myself CSS
  • Play Big Money
  • Play Myst: Riven or Myst: Exile (it's been a while since I've played either, and since Myst: Revelation is coming out soon, I need to brush up on my puzzle-solving skillz
  • Play Heros of Might and Magic III - just because

The night is young!

Blogging like a Pirate

Arrr! Ahoy, me blogging maties! Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

And since I was adrift in my cabin today, I was unable to interact with my fellow pirates. Arrr! But avast! The night is young and there are decks to be swabbed, planks to be walked, and swashes to be buckled (or -un, as the case may be)!

(This post was written by Black Bess Kidd)

[Update 19/09/2004: I'm such an idiot. I thought yesterday was the 19th, so I wrote up something hasty and last-minute for Talk like a Pirate Day, when I could have actualy given it the time and effort it deserved. Too late now!]

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I need antibiodics - stat!

Well, it appears that I have several nasty viruses lurking on my computer. I updated my Norton (which I do twice a week anyways), updated Ad-aware 6.0, and restarted the computer in Safe Mode. I ran both programs, and Norton found 33 instances of a Trojan. (Incidently, the Norton site was not very helpful in helping me get rid of the virus. I've tried everything, including digging through the Registry file.) Nothing. It keeps coming back.

*sigh* It looks like I might have to format my hard drive - AGAIN. I had some major problems back in February that necessitated a formatting (it turns out the problem was with the modem, not the system. But it was good to get rid of the superfluous crap.) The big difference is that this time, my computer isn't the hub of a network, and I have high-speed Internet access, whereas before I only had dial-up. Oh, the many joys of high-speed Internet!

Fortunately, I have tomorrow afternoon off (unless someone tells me to stay), so I'll back up the My Documents folder, my Music folder, my bookmarks, and my address book. Oh, and the folder where I keep my downloaded programs. Or at least make a note of which ones will need to be re-downloaded - Firefox and Thunderbird will definitely be backed up so I won't have to start off with IE.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It takes a special kind of stupid....

Bellydancing starts up again for me tomorrow. In anticipation of this, I was practicing some of the movements I learned earlier in the summer. While doing a figure eight with a quarter turn, there was a popping noise in my left hip. And then there was pain.

I think I managed to dislocate my own hip. Or at least knock it out of joint. It doesn't hurt as much anymore - I can walk with minimal limp, but I can't (and won't) do a figure eight.

Yes guys - I'm so un-coordinated and clumsy that I can injure myself without even trying. It takes a special kind of stupid to be able to do things like that.

Book club verdict: Lamb

We giggled. We chuckled. We roared with laughter until the tears pour down our faces. In short, we very much liked the bulk of this book.

However, we were disappointed and let down by the ending, and the latter part of the book in general. K thought the book should have ended at a different part, and R thought that too much time was spent on two of the magi and not enough on the third. Plus, Mary (the Virgin) irritated her.

I didn't finish reading the book, but I agree that too much time was spent on the middle of the book and not nearly enough time was spent on the ending. I thought that the ending was rushed compared to the rest of the book - yeah, we know what happens, but he could have spent more time on it.

After we got the critical stuff out of the way, we spent another 45 minutes looking up our favourite quotes and passages (ask me about Lot's Wife, and when I stop laughing, I'll tell you what it means to me). Then we played LotR Trivial Pursuit again, except that this time, K and I were on a team against R, who's game it is. Then we watched an episode of Farscape ("Scratch 'n Sniff") and called it a night.

2004 Results of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

2004 Results

The one that had me laughing out loud:

Maynard Fimble was told that "you can't compare apples and oranges," but, he thought, they are both eatable, grow on trees, are about the same size, are good for you, have a peel, come in many varieties, and are approximately round in shape, thus, to his horror and guilt, he realized that he was comparing them and wondered what punishment awaited him and on whose order.

Charles Jaworski
North Pole, AK

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

My Long Weekend in Incomplete Sentences

That was one great long weekend.

Friday night - got home, ate lasagna with my sisters and b-i-l. Watched Love Actually - actually not a bad little film. Went to bed.

Saturday - got up late-ish. Sat around the breakfast table with my sisters and mother. Eventually showered and dressed. Went to the new yarn store in town. Got my hair cut. Returned to yarn store to purchase two balls of Gedifra's Dandy (enough for a scarf) - pretty! Went home. Met sister's boyfriend for the first time. Whole gang of us go to grandparents for a hootenanny (whole lot of hoot, great deal of nanny). Ate, got caught up with lives and goings-on of cousins and other assorted family members I haven't seen since the winter. Ate. Had sing-along in the garage with rest of family. Fun was had by all.

Sunday - got up early. Went to church. Went to get turkey for dinner. Went home and had breafast. Puttered for the rest of the afternoon. Grandparents arrive and eventally, dinner is served.

Monday - got up on time. Big breakfast, including blueberry perogies imported from exotic Sudbury. Sister and b-i-l leave. More puttering commences. Finish Dennis Lehane's Gone, Baby, Gone. Start Jennifer Crusie's Tell Me Lies. (Eventally finish it - at 4AM). Play Trivial Pursuit with mother and sister, but abandoned because the questions are either too hard or way too easy. Play Boggle instead. Putter and read until bedtime.

Tuesday - got up suddenly when I realize mother is about to leave for first day back to school. End up not going back to bed - eat muffin, shower, and get dressed. Go to library to see former boss and co-workers. Get special hot chocolate at grocery store. Go home, throw bags in car, get lasagnas from freezer (one for me, two for sister and b-i-l in Guelph). Gather other things sister forgot. Bid fond adieu to other sister and leave. Get to Ikea and spend longer that I care to remember in line. Get to Guelph and hand off lasagnas and forgotten items to sister. Go to yarn place and come out with much yarn [1]. Finally go for lunch (it's 3:00PM now). Realize how late it is, and boot it to 401. Traffic is heavy, even on the 407. Around 7:00pm I remember that driving after dark in Northern Ontario is dangerous, due to deer and moose, so spend next two hours with eyes peeled for large hooved beasts. Eventually get back to apartment. Lament the end of a most excellent weekend.

[1] - Three balls of Wendy Velvet Touch in Flame Velvet (a discontinued colour). Three balls of Patons Divine in Floral Fantasy. Four balls Alafoss Lopi in Golden Green. Also, assorted knitting needles.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Recap of the Road Trip Home

3:30PM - Leave work
3:41PM - Get home; check mailbox. Hey! There's a parcel pickup notice. Maybe it's the book I ordered months ago finally come in!
4:30PM - Finally get everything down to my car and I'm ready to go. I'll stop at the post office and get the parcel.
4:37PM - Oh goodie! It's from!
4:37:05PM - Wait, I haven't ordered any DVDs lately...
4:37:08PM - Awwww! Thanks Mom! (She knew I was having a lousy week last week, so she order a few DVDs from my wish list for me)
4:40PM - Alright! I'm on the road again! The tunes are blasting, the windows are down, and I'm cruising!
4:41PM - I'm bored now.
4:42PM (and every 5 minutes for the next 5.5 hours) - Am I there yet? How much farther? How much longer is this going to take?
6:32PM - Mmmmmm... Danish! And coffee!
8:32PM - Mmmmmm.... small fries from Wendy's!
9:34PM - Woooo! I'm off the 407! The QEW is in sight! Only 40 minutes to go!
9:37PM - Wait - do I take North Shore Boulevard or Eastport Drive? (I'm afraid of heights, so I go under the Burlington Skyway, as opposed to over it).
9:37:02PM - North Shore, I think.
9:37:03PM (as I get on the off ramp) - &%#*! I wanted Eastport!
9:44PM - Do I turn at this light or the next light? I'll turn here
9:44:02PM - I &%#*ing wanted the next light!
9:47PM - GRrrrrr....
9:49PM - Oh yes it is.... (*sob*)
9:58PM - FINALLY! Back on the QEW...
10:33PM - Hello family! I'm home!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Does my library have this book?

Jon Udell: LibraryLookup homepage

(From: Jon Udell: LibraryLookup homepage)

Coolest. Feature. Ever. See if you can find your library and add it to your browser's toolbar.