Friday, May 26, 2006

Challenge 1: My Team

As I hinted in my knitting post (What? You found that completely oblique? Oh well), I have decided to take the plunge and participate in a knitalong. I have selected the cleverly named, The Amazing Lace.

So, Challenge 1 is to introduce the team.

First we have me. I have been knitting for over six months. I have attempted (and completed) one lace project. I went perusing through patterns and then yarn last night. I have two (or three) patterns selected but the one I am willing to declare here today is this Crest of the wave tank top. I have gone rogue and chosen this green worsted weight cotton, in part because Kiwi, as it like to be called (I keep saying it looks more like a Sage to me, but we've moved past that) was able to join me in my spontaneity. As you can see, we are in the embryonic stages, both in our relationship and in our progress. For our tools right now we have the kind assistance of a pair of circular sevens which we expect great things of. We thank everyone for their support and encouragement as we embark on this journey.

Knitting is Cool! Really

I had a book with all sorts of toys and crafts as a child. So at some point I did learn how to knit. I only knew the one stitch (although as it turns out there's mainly two, so I was halfway there). This fell by the wayside since the book only contained basic instructions for making a scarf and I didn't really wear scarves, and I think I started in the middle of the summer so it went into pile of other discarded things.

Well, as an adult I now know a few people who knit. (I come from a crafty family, sewers, needlepointers, quilters and the like, but I am not aware of any knitters). And it looked like something I was ready to try again, and it appealed to the natural multi-tasker in me. So, I started with Knitting and Crocheting for Dummies, discovered fabulous stuff on the web such as Knitty and now I am an addict.

I have spent plenty of money on all kinds of yarn, have three projects at any given time in different stages of completion, and I often have trouble leaving the house without yarn. (It used to be a book, even if I was going to a movie, I wanted the book just in case, now I have a bigger purse so I can bring a book and yarn.)

And I have finished some things too. Scarves - I started by saying I had no intention of trying to make clothes, this was solely for entertainment and relaxation, but like so many vows, that has already disappeared. Purses - I have finished a few. I made a shrug. And right now I have a bag, a purse, and a blanket in various stages. And I'm about to start something else. But more on that later.

Please Remember

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, some things to remember.

May, while almost over, is skin cancer month. I had planned to write something wonderful and moving, but someone else already did. So let me direct you here: Good News

Also, as we head into warmer weather, just a reminder, the northern hemisphere is closer to the sun in early summer, even though the weather tends to feel cooler, so wear sunscreen!

Take a moment to remember all of those who will not be with their families this weekend, whether they are home or abroad, military or civilian. And lets hope everyone stays safe this weekend (and afterwards too).

Thursday, May 25, 2006


As you may have gathered, I feel teenagers often get the short end of the stick society-wise. We often allow choices and decision to be made about them that would be considered ageism if applied to any other age group. While I recognize that teenagers are in a space of high growth - physically, mentally and emotionally - we often make rules about and for them that have nothing to do with this. Because, you know, they don't vote. (Whereas - for example - seniors do).

Anyway, in Britain a security group created a tone they call Mosquito (ugh!) that is annoying such that it chases people away. However, since adults have lost the edges of their hearing, it is not audible to adults. They sell this to shopkeepers who are "troubled" by groups of teenagers hanging around their shops. (Apparently the teenagers are not doing anything illegal, or the police would be bought in, so it is simply their continued presence that is being corrected). Now, I'm not really going to go into the fact that these shopkeepers are missing out since teenagers have lots of disposable income (since most don't have utilities and such they are responsible for) or that it would also seemingly affect any of the adult customers with small children who would become unaccountably cranky every time they entered the store.

Because here's what has allegedly happened next. The students turned it into a ringtone. So, since teachers couldn't hear it, the students could receive text messages in class without the teacher knowing. Now, according to Boing Boing, where I found the story, that seems unlikely since the ringtone capabilities do not use the frequencies required to create this sound. But, as pointed out, it really only makes the story better. Because the students have convinced their teachers that they simply can't hear the tones, but that they can.

Update: I stand corrected - apparently with mp3 capability and such on your phone, it is possible to get this sound to work as a tone.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Thought About That Movie

Yeah, I know, you're probably as tired as I am of hearing about "The Da Vinci Code". I haven't read the book (I'm trying to read Angels and Demons, slow going). I don't plan to see the movie, since it does not look appealing. But Bishop Spong has an interesting article on - talking about how people did not seem concerned about inaccuracies in "The Passion of the Christ" which was portrayed as true - assuming you believe the Bible to be true and yet "The Da Vinci Code" - which is billed as fiction is both being challenged by various people and believed by others. The article is: Bad Movie, But Don't Dismiss It (Warning: the article does go on to say that he feels there are some things raised in "The Da Vinci Code" that could be correct, so if reading a Biblical scholar's thoughts on that will bug you, don't follow the link).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bottle Banning and Other Craziness

Yes, I apparently spend too much time reading Wasted Blog. Which is how I came across this headline: Arizona High School Bans Bottled Ketchup. The gist is, that the school ran into a janitorial-type issue as students experimented with the fun (?) that is stomping on ketchup packets, thereby creating messes that no one enjoyed cleaning up. So, their solution was to restrict the number of ketchup packets that each student received free with their food. Extra packets were available at the cost of twenty five cents. Now, I like this solution. The idea is that by giving the students a financial stake in the packets, they would be less likely to waste them for stomping fun.

However, some ketchup-addicted students had a better solution. They brought their own ketchup. (Or possibly their parents' ketchup.) The school was okay with this as long as the ketchup they brought in was in packets, apparently their is some sort of health code issue with bottles. Now, I find this a bit hard to believe because restaurants often use ketchup bottles. They often use bottles that they refill themselves. So, if it's okay there (and maybe it's not in Arizona) why wouldn't it be acceptable in a school. And since clearly, ketchup bottles are allowed in Arizona - since I doubt these student or their parents are driving across the border for contraband ketchup - why not here.

So, what I suspect is the case, is once again the school is feeling they have to take the hard line so that some kid doesn't bring in a bottle that's been laying around the house for twelve years, get sick, and end up with the parents suing for letting the kid consume the ketchup on school property. And this stuff just makes me crazy. I understand a school was sued because a five year old kissed a playmate. I understand that lots of people out there think that everyone else is out to do them or their children wrong and they should sue to get what they deserve. But we can't cater to everything. Parents should not have to get a doctor's note to allow their child to bring sunscreen to school. In one Virginia high school, students who need a cough drop are sent home to get it.

In the end, it is the students who lose out here. All the time that gets spent on this kind of stuff, is time that could be spent making sure they learn. Which should be the primary mission.

Friday, May 19, 2006


It should be no surprise to anyone that today's family looks different. I don't want to get lost in whether that's good or bad, or even go too far into the possibility that really it hasn't changed - we are just recognizing reality. Either way - today's families do not all consist of two parents, two children and a dog. There may be one parent. There may be two parents of the same gender. There may be friends who have chosen to pool resources to help each other raise their children. The end result is there are now numerous recognized formulations that add up to family.

I grew up in DC, which has a number of colleges and universities and therefore a number of students. Which leads to a number of group houses - houses where a number of lessees, often with individual or by room leases, share space in order to save rent money. My first out of college, out of m parents' house place was a group house just outside of DC. There were five bedrooms, each under a separate lease, two bathrooms and a kitchen and living room. I paid $210 plus utilities for my room. Let me tell you - that's a steal compared to what I pay now for a less crowded but still smaller overall space.

So, some folks got tired of living next door to students in one upscale area of DC - known as Georgetown. They got tired of absentee landlords that operated a number of group houses and never came to check that a couch hadn't been sitting on the lawn all summer. So, they proposed a law, along the lines of no more than three related people can live together. Well, not surprisingly, people disliked this. Not just students and not just landlords. Plenty of people scrunch up in order to save on rent, inviting cousins and friends of siblings and co-workers to come share their living space and therefore their expenses. And they want the right to do that. Especially in this rent poor city. So the law did not pass.

Well the folks behind the initiative were not satisfied, so they tried to get it passed as a neighborhood initiative. And so, the Georgetown students registered to vote and two of them ran for the neighborhood commission, and were elected. And their point was, hey, we're part of this neighborhood too. But we're far from a problem, we are actually a boon to this area.

So, why am I bringing this up years later? I am reminded of this because of this story I ran across on Wasted Blog: Town Cracks Down On Unwed Couples. Apparently Black Jack, MO has such a no more than three unrelated persons. And it is affecting an unmarried couple who have two children because, since Shelltrack and Loving are not related to each other (although everyone in their household is related to someone else, but I digress) they are unable to secure an occupancy permit on the home they moved into. When they discovered this, they proposed an amendment that would allow unmarried couples with children to live together, but the amendment failed to pass.

Now I can't say for sure what the thinking was in this decision. But it seems like a misguided attempt to promote "family". Except by narrowly defining family to fit only one mold, they are in fact hurting family. They are telling this family you can't live here - at least not all together. Interestingly - they could split the kids and rent separate places. Now of course that wouldn't make familial or financial sense. So, I imagine they will be moving to another city. One that really does support families.

Now That's Brand Loyalty!

From Boing Boing: Garbage house full of 70,000 empty Coors Light cans. The good news is apparently they got some money recycling it all - although I hope the guy didn't get his security deposit back. (Seriously, I got deducted or leaving marks on the butcher block - um that's what it's for!).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

TV: Veronica Mars Finale

It was so excellent! And it's not just me that thinks so. There's this wrap up at Salon that agrees with me.

But, if you somehow missed it (what is wrong with you?) - it's not too late. Starting next Tuesday UPN will begin re-running the season. Check it out! You'll thank me. There will be DVDs too - but not until August. And really, with most of the rest of the good stuff winding down, you'll have nothing else to do, so just check it out.

Someone Else's Article

Very interesting look behind the scenes at Christianity and sports and the mechanations in place to make sure they stay intertwined. Going Long for Jesus

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Things People Should Know #2

I found this on Wasted Blog - Men Glued To Toilet Seats At Wal-Mart, Denny's. Now, since they both took place in Maryland, and the first was April 1st, it seems we have a prankster and a copycat. But, as the author pointed out - don't people look down before getting on a public toilet seat?

I understand in your own home, you have an understanding of the people who use the seat and the normal state it remains in (which is why it is no fun to stumble in in the middle of the night to discover the seat has been left up and your butt is now wet, but I digress).

But you have know such knowledge in a public restroom, because it's public. All sorts of people use it every day. They have different standards of cleanliness, continence abilities, food stuffs and cigarettes. Now, I don't personally feel the need to Lysol the seat before I sit on it and goodness knows finding covers (should you choose to use them) is a crapshoot (sorry). But, don't you glance at it? Make sure there's nothing on the seat? And I admit, I had not previously thought to scan for glue, but I figure as I check for other things that I am wiping off before I sit - I figure I will catch glue. (Sadly the story does not provide a better visual for how easily detectable the glue on this seat should have been.)

So, now you know - check before you sit.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Anthem Debate

I had this whole spiel planned about the ridiculousness of the suggestion that a translation of the American national anthem into Spanish would in any way affect the number of people singing it in English, or have any effect on the dominant language spoken in the US. Particularly since most professional athletes, who are exposed to the anthem more than most, can't remember all the words. But, I ran across this - which just goes to show that really - translations of works into other languages, even works so strongly associated with a a national identity, have yet to have any erosion effect.

Spanish Star Spangled Banner - the 1919 edition