Archive for January, 2009
Barack Obama discovers that Washington DC is not, in fact, in the Midwest:
“We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town,” Obama said this morning. “I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”
Our new President is learning that DC does not have:
- Chicago Dogs, or the Detroit Implant, Koney Dogs
- People who can drive, let alone in snow
However, it is full of crazy people. In BMWs.
Welcome to your new home, Mr. President.
This is a brilliant post from yet another happily sarcastic economist:
Follow with joy how AFM turned into Wyeth because drug margins are so much better than pots and pans margins. How TARP money went to financing this merger, how Pfizer will lay off thousands of people — funded by TARP! — to maintain its dividend.
It’s a laugh a minute.
I had these two balls of Patons Shetland Tweed that I bought from the craft store for one project that failed, and then tried it in another project that failed. I was determined to use it up in something and I was having a hard time finding a project I could whip out that made use of bulky yarn and didn’t require me to understand really fancy stitches.
I ended up using one of the free patterns off the Lion Brand Yarn web site. It is popular on ravelry so I figured I would try it. My general verdict is:
* A cool project that makes a nice scarf quickly that has some compelling texture to it. I really love how it curls and drapes.
* The Patons Shetland Tweed is definitely the right consistency but not the right color. A bright, homespun yarn with lots of fuzziness at a bulky (4) weight would give this scarf the right look and feel.
Next time I go to the craft store, I will pick around and try to find something happier and sunnier. I am going to skip the browns for now since they are clearly sweater colors.
Here is the Ruffle Scarf in Tweedy Brown on me. It does not go real well with the I Love Pirates t-shirt, but then again, who doesn’t love pirates? It would look great with a white or gold turtleneck — I have one, so I will try it tomorrow.
Funniest by far Inauguration article I have seen today:
The tux and the Segway really make the story.
I can’t just sit on the couch and watch TV, even when it is Barack Obama being awesome. So I made a hat! I have all this awesome Lion Brand Micro-Fiber sports-weight yarn, and it was just ripe for hatting! I made a skull cap with a shell stitch out of bright green and attached a bright pink flower with some nice 3-D height to it. The pictures have me with no makeup on and sleepy, so I look kind of enh, but I grabbed some pictures:
Now I am debating something new or Gameboy.
whitehouse.gov went off the air at around 11:45am this morning and came back up at noon. Other than now it has blogs, twitter feeds, RSS feeds, hosting for videos, and eventually the forums from change.gov. (I have already requested my username for the forums so I can complain about technology issues.)
But the big thing is this: the site is now indexable by regular search engines.
Under Bush, no web sites attached to the White House could be indexed by anything. There were 2400 exclusion rules to keep all index engines out which have now been lifted. I’m not sure why I feel this is such a momentous event, since it is just a web site. Clearly the tech team came in, unplugged the ancient Windows 2000 server running the old website, slapped in the new machine, turned it on, got all the systems booted, and were good to go. But it feels like, the first major event of the brand new Inauguration was to welcome the Administrative Branch to the 21st Century by sticking it online.
I didn’t go down to the Mall for a whole host of reasons but I am watching it on CNN HD on my couch. If we didn’t have Katie Rose I am sure I would have been down there yesterday and then been staking out my spot since 3am, but such is life.
For those at home who are watching on TV, the Washington Post is running a really magnificent article on Obama’s Journey from disaffected, angry 20-something who felt the need to give up a high paying New York job in International Banking to go beat the streets of Chicago to the President of the United States. It is worth a read if you are either waiting for things to happen or coming home and warming up from freezing for hours and hours outside.
Barack Obama is not just the first African-American President. He is the first African-American leader in the Western World. He is never going to be perfect. Like all American Presidents, we will never really be satisfied and Liberals, above all, like to grouse and whine and complain. But today is a day to step back, and simply marvel at the enormity of what has happened here. The country will never be the same. Yes, it will be a terrible haul, and yes, there will be massive mistakes, and yes, things will happen we don’t like. But the change is tangible and constant and a marker on American History. It is a seismic shift.
Although, in the end, we’ve hired a black man to clean up a white man’s mess.
And wow, the Mall on CNN HD looks cold and so packed no one can move.
I read this morning on Politico (sorry, I misplaced the link) that the Obama staffers have been informed that they are no longer allowed to use IM. Obama himself won his fight of Treasury Department vs. Blackberry (although they are making him move to one of the Blackberries approved by the NSA and armored for in theater combat which, as a security nerd, I find totally cool but everyone else finds abhorrent) but now they cannot use IM. For reasons that absolutely are beyond me, they apparently don’t have Microsoft Communicator IM server hooked up internally to their Outlook server, likely because no one knew they could do that.
But it’s worse than that. Apparently, leaking out of the White House through disgusted Obama staffers, is that the machines themselves have not been upgraded since Bill Clinton left office. The machines are largely running Windows 2000 and pre-2000 OSes that Microsoft no longer supports.
This actually explains an awful lot about the Bush Administration. At their core, they were anti-science, anti-engineering, anti-technology, anti-21st century. A complete Faith-based Administration. They hated smart people, and smart people use computers, so they hated computers, too. Thus the entire system is running on a creaky edifice.
I am looking forward to reports over the next month of the Obama people vs. the White House tech staffers and the new mandates for upgrades. I can understand why, perhaps, they don’t let people get on external AIM but really, this is a new world and for god’s sake, let these people have their internal IM. And yes I know there are issues with the Presidential Records Act but that is why the White House has lawyers. It collects logs! Automatically! Sheesh.
Frankly, when I read this factoid this morning I laughed and laughed. I look forward to battles over hardware acquisition and upgrades to *gasp* Windows XP. The next few months are going to be delightful from a pure technology perspective.
I finished my first project. It is the same very simple hat pattern I made with my first test hat, but instead I used the Lion Brand Midnight Mohair (Rain Forest) yarn. I learned quickly that the mohair is sort of an intermediate-level yarn and I messed up the start, snipped it off, and started again. I did get the hang of working with it, but at first it was very slow going.
I am pleased with the results! The hat fits correctly, it holds together well, it looks nice and shiny, it’s warm, and it is appropriately hat-like. Thus I have successfully completed a first actual, wearable project and have determined I am reasonably good at this crochet thing. Although at this rate my house will fill with hats as I practice different patterns.
The hat on me, sideways.
A dramatic picture of the hat on me from above. My eyes are weirdly green in this picture.
My considerably more attractive model shows off the hat.
The look of joy has me suspecting that the model will turn into a nefarious Hat Thief.
Down 29 this morning, about at every mile, signs are posted stating that 29 is closed to buses only on the 20th. I could not get to work if I wanted. Going home, the signs over the Beltway warned of Major Delays all around the Beltway starting this weekend. As much as I am an Obama-maniac like everyone else, he keeps stealing all the parking spots around here.
Katie would like all of you to know that she read Hop on Pop tonight with only minimal Mommy intervention helping her sound out words.
Before I know it, she’ll be reading through all our Terry Pratchett books.
My second hat did not work out. I am not sure what went wrong. I used the right yarn, the right sized hook, followed the pattern correctly, etc. And yet the hat turned into Hatthulhu, the Head Eating Hat of Madness from Beyond Space and Time. Ia! Ia! It is enormous, and floppy, and without body, and it eats heads.
You may witness the horror that is Hatthulhu here for lo, it is horrible to behold.
We bought a new bed. It’s not a spectacular bed or anything, it’s just a bed. But we bought a bed frame, and that is a big deal because we’ve never had an actual bed frame before. Now we can do theoretical things like read in bed. We’re not used to the whole concept of the bed frame.
The mattress is much harder than I am used to. I was absolutely convinced I was not going to be able to sleep on something that hard until I fell asleep 2 seconds later and slept like a stone. The old mattress was pretty soft, and it had broken, so I was used to this thing that went moosh underneath me. For two days, my back complained because all the sudden it didn’t have to constantly support me at night and all the knots, especially in my lower back, came loose in a painful display of pain. I walked around with Icy-Hot patches glued to my back all yesterday as my back readjusted to the new, interesting reality.
I finished a hat. It was in the old crappy yarn, so it feels like an old, crappy hat although I just finished it. Because the yarn has no spring and no give in it, despite following the pattern exactly the hat is way too small. But it is hat-shaped. I took pictures, which I tossed up on Flickr and you can amuse yourself looking at here. Note the use of the highly attractive hat model who would not sit still.
Thus, a small project was completed, I passed my self-imposed barrier, and we went to Michael’s to pick up some yarn. I bought big spools of that Red Heart Super Saver stuff just to noodle with, bought some Lion’s Brand yarn for two real projects, and a set of great big hooks to mess with. I packed up the old crappy 35 year old yarn and put it away. Then I tried to make another hat with the Red Heart, as I was messing around with a pattern, but for reasons unknown it is way too lose, so it looks to be a failure. But! Fuzzy yarn! And thus, I am apparently turning into a junky.
I am not doing much else in the evening at the moment, so you are all stuck reading about my adventures in yarn. Listening to techno podcasts and crochet! Oh the woe! The woe!
I’ve started a hat. It actually looks plausibly hat-like. However, it is in the old, terrible yarn which is stringy and falls apart if you look at it too hard and rough on the hands and generally nasty. So it is now a white-ish, plausibly hat-like but not fun to hold hat. I made it about halfway through the pattern last night and generally intend to finish it this evening to see exactly how far my hat-making prowess has come. Then I will take pictures of it and everyone can say, “That? That is a hat.”
All I am really good for right now are lumpy things (square), lumpy things (round) and hats. Katie has claimed anything that looks plausibly useful for dolls as hers and has made off with it all and made demands that I clothe all her dolls entirely in strange looking crochet contraptions. I made Crochethulhu, which started as a round granny square and grew horribly out of control, and she claimed it as a horrible orange hippy crocheted doll skirt that, for reasons not quite clear, had to go on the Daddy doll in her dollhouse.
I have gotten over my Death Yarn Grip problem, so there is something.
I did discover I have a 4 hour cap. After four hours, neither hand can work very well and I get real problems with my left hand. Even if my left hand is merely holding the piece and some yarn, I start getting magnificent shooting pains that never really seem to end. This is, of course, 3:55 longer than I can hold normal crochet needles or yarn needles, so it is an improvement. (And 1:55 longer than I can hold drumsticks for Rock Band or my guitars.)
Eventually I will do something more interesting with my life but for now it’s all sort of yarn-based.
1. On the LJ Kerfluffle:
Nothing on the net lasts forever. We’re often lucky if it lasts a handful of years. Livejournal has been in slow decline for years now, ever since it was bought by Six Apart. It will eventually be gone and there are newer, sexier services on the block called things like “Facebook.” Sadly, it does three things very well which I would prefer not to lose:
1. Aggregated posts as “Friends Lists”
2. A global identity
3. Threaded comments
If WordPress could do #1 and #3 with even a passing attempt at well without having to install complicated plug-ins, then it would have something and no one would need Livejournal anymore. But I haven’t found anything satisfactory in the friend’s list department yet. Once I do, I will try it out, but it needs more searching.
Meanwhile, I believe LJ will go through a very slow decline with increasing database issues, bugs, and users fleeing to better supported services until, much like GreatestJournal, the lights will simply go out one day, or it will limp along like an Internet Zombie.
2. On crochet:
I have made a granny square! And I am making something… round! It started off as learning to read instructions for a round granny thing but it has now overgrown and now it is just round. I have yet to make something really worthwhile. However, this crochet thing is naggingly addictive and, sooner or later, I will follow a pattern to completion and make something. I have stopped holding the yarn in an overly tight death grip, which has helped progress immensely.
3. On books:
Selected Crafty TV Writing as the winner of the pile o’ books sweepstakes.
4. On the Inauguration:
Bizarrely, I have MLK Day as a floating holiday! And it will float one day forward! Because I am not going anywhere near Silver Spring right on top of the Red Line Metro on the 19th or 20th. While I am a Great Fan of the Great Hawaiian Shark God, I don’t want to be anywhere near DC. I’m going to watch it 20 miles away from the comfort of my HDTV.