Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Chuckle

So folks write a sign. They need it to be in two languages. They email a guy. They get a reply. The reply gets posted on the sign. Only, the reply apparently says, "I'm out of the office right now..."
For real. The sign has been taken down, presumably for adjustment.

*Thanks to the fellow Raveler who provided this link

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Proper Emails

So, here's the thing; you might not be surprised to hear that I can often take a breezy tone in email, even work emails. However, I usually try to establish a rapport with people before loosening up. Which is why I was surprised to get an email with the subject, "Dang". Now I recognize dang is a pretty tame word. But the email was sent from a non-profit who has me on their list as a potential volunteer for their annual fundraiser. Now, I have yet to meet the volunteer organizer, and I did not participate (as a volunteer or guest) in this year's fundraiser, although it apparently went well. (Yay!) But I thought sending the whole list an email headed Dang, was, shall we say, interesting. And the response a co-worker sent just reinforced my suspicion that they had forgotten all the volunteers on the list and possibly meant to hit reply rather than reply to all. Now, no harm done, it was just an interesting moment.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Further Delays for Your Safety

Between DCist and the Washington Post, there is fairly good coverage of this, but here are my two cents anyway.
WMATA has announced that they plan to introduce random bag searches to look for explosive devices. I pretty much hate this idea.
I, of course, am in favor of no one blowing up the metro, particularly while I am on it. But this seems like just the policy to tick off a lot of customers for very little gain. (A little like making me put my liquids in a plastic baggie.)
Now people have gotten accustomed to allowing extra time for security when traveling by plane and even, to a certain extent train.
But WMATA plans to implement these searches at random locations at random times. That means that for three months your trip to work or school will take X, and then the next day it will take X + five minutes*. And anyone who has ever worked an hourly job where you get docked for being five minutes late, or tried to pick up their kid at day care five minutes late knows that this can make a huge difference.
I know plenty of people who refuse to take metro or buses because they think they are weird, or sketchy, or expensive or unreliable. Adding this as standard procedure just reinforces their belief. And it will tick off some of those who have other choices enough that the remaining customers will be primarily those who are subsidized or have no real choice.
I get it - if something goes boom, metro will lose a lot more customers than they will by inconveniencing people. I just think there's a better way. Possibly focusing on the crimes that already occur in stations would help.

*I know WMATA says the searches will only take seconds, but y'all haven't seen my bag.

ETA: There's some interesting discussion over at Prince of Petworth on the same subject.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Books: Any Given Doomsday

I received an ARC of Lori Any Given Doomsday from Library Thing.
Elizabeth Phoenix is a touch psychic. She used to be a cop, but being able to figure stuff out without supporting evidence turned out to be problematic. Also, something happened with her partner, which I imagine will get more fully explained later.
Liz's foster mother is killed, her fellow foster child and first love Jimmy turns back up in town and it turns out that her foster mom was a seer who could sense the various monsters roaming the earth and Jimmy was one of the folks who took care of such monsters. And Liz now has her foster mom's job.
So, the doomsday thing? Well, the story uses a mishmash of Judeo-Christian and ancient Greek mythology with some other stuff thrown in. (This is not to imply that the story seems familiar, these pieces are used well and as foundation pieces.) So, the texts proclaim that when the leader of the light (Liz's foster mom) is killed, next is doomsday. So, Liz is now replacement for what looks to be the period that decides the fate of all humanity, so no pressure or anything.
And so Liz needs to get up to speed quickly, which involves paying a visit to the guy her foster mom sent her to as a teen to get better in touch with her psychic gift. A guy who, even at fifteen she found both creepy and strangely hot.
Liz is a big smart ass who can't resist needling those around her. This might be annoying if she wasn't constantly surrounded by obnoxious and stubborn males trying to tell her what to do. She does resist her gifts a bit, but also adjusts well considering we dive into her life during a pretty crappy few weeks.
I liked it and look forward to the next installment. I had some quibbles, some of which happen much too late for me to discuss, but nothing that totally killed it for me.

Sign up to receive a free copy of the prequel here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spotted in the Wild

So, I saw a grown woman spank a grown man. Where was I, you might wonder. I was waiting to cross the street. Some folks on the other side had decided not to wait, despite the fact that the segment of street they were crossing had the green and there were in fact cars coming (violating the rules of jaywalking, according to me). The man was texting, which I don't think I made a rule of jaywalking, but I probably should have. And a car approached and was kind enough to honk at them rather than running them over. It was at this point that the woman spanked the man. I'm not sure why, since she was jaywalking too, and certainly something, like, the word, "Car!" would have been more useful than spanking him. But, perhaps I simply don't understand their dynamic.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Book Meme

Stole this one from Beck.
What was the last book you bought?
Hee. I can't remember the last time I bought one book all by itself. But, I'll pick a particular one and say Sandra Brown's Play Dirty. I heard her talk about it at the National Book Festival and was intrigued.

Name a book you have read MORE than once.
I can name a few. Kathryn Lynn Davis's Too Deep For Tears got read many, many times in high school. Also Madeline L'Engle's Ring of Endless Light, Nora Roberts' Birthright, and Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me. (This is really a partial list, I reread a lot, but I'm capping it here. For now.)

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
Torey Hayden's Murphy's Boy, which I read in middle school, profoundly affected me and I was inspired to become a child psychologist. While that did nto end up being my career, that is one of those decisions that set me on the circuitous path that got me where I am.
Gorman Bechard's Second Greatest Story Ever Told gave me the language to start talking about the kind of spirituality I wanted for myself and the hope that other people out there wanted something like that too. It's also funny.

How do you choose a book? By cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews.
Yes. I look at Amazon suggestions, suggestions from friends, I read a bunch of booky blogs, and yes, just as often a cover or title will call to me and I'll take a chance.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Fiction. I have trouble getting through non-fiction. It may be that I'm not as good at picking non-fiction for myself but usually it takes me trapped on an airplane with nothing else to read before I finish most of the non-fiction.

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
I'm going to nitpick the question a bit here. The plot has to appeal to me in some way, but beautiful or well-crafted writing will help carry me through a lot more.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book).
Okay, for this moment, today, I am going to go with Zoe from Vicki Pettersson's "The Harvest". I know the series focuses on Joanne, but I read "The Harvest first and was so sucked in that I was ready to be really mad if this wasn't part of a series. (Fortunately it was. Crisis averted.)

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
I am changing this to what's about to fall between the couch cushions, and that is Gena Showalter's The Darkest Pleasure. Unless the question was meant to determine what I am reading now, which is Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
It was either Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn or Susan Mallery's Irresistible. Both were finished right at the end of September.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?
Yes. I used to try a lot harder, now I figure after 100 pages (60 of it's a real slog), that's enough to see if it will work for me. Not everything will.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ode to Eva

We often like to think of ourselves as people of our own creation, completely different from those we came from. Until you start to see the patterns and threads that contributed to who you are. My grandmother Eva lived her life in Hawai'i, so was separated by distance from my immediate family, but the threads still remain. Grandma and her brother were raised by their mother Lucille (my middle name is a tribute to her) after their father killed himself.
She worked as a nurse for many years, and also met and married my grandfather, policeman Eugene. They had a simple wedding, the Catholic version of eloping, and had their wedding brunch at Woolworth's.
Together they had six children, the eldest of which was my father Frederick.
My grandmother read romance novels - categories were a particular favorite and loved to work with her hands. As children, my siblings and I received quilts, Christmas stockings, felt advent calendars, and fairytale inspired ornaments from her.
Her six children led to sixteen grandchildren (making all the above all the more impressive since she had a lot of grandkids to spoil). There is also a growing number of great and even great-great grandchildren.
Eva lost her husband Eugene, her partner for over fifty years, a decade ago. Her son Frederick predeceased her also. But last night, at the age of 94, she went to join them, after finally giving up the fight against congestive heart failure.
So, thank you Eva, for the love of reading and crafting, both of which have served me well.

Aloha 'oe, aloha 'oe...A ho'i a'e au
Until we meet again.
"Aloha 'Oe" written by Queen Lili'uokalani

Edited, because I forgot to count myself.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Interesting Note

In my ever so humble opinion, the selection of sympathy e-cards is pretty crappy. Now I recognize that sending a sympathy e-card, is in and of itself, skating if not landing on tacky, but there are situations and circumstances where something like an e-card seems swifter, although certainly timeliness should not be the greatest concern when it concerns someone losing a family member.*
Now, in general I avoid super treacly cards, because that's just not me. But I can't imagine why I would want to send someone a card in such a sad time, on which they would have to click play. Perhaps I am overreacting, perhaps by the time you are ready to face any such thing, like opening an e-card, clicking play is hardly a big hurdle. Then there's the sad, sympathy music, and the scrolling graphics. There's reason I tend to end up using blank cards for these things. I just, ugh. I know some folks probably worked really hard on crafting these cards, and I am sure they have worked for some people, but really, I looked through and thought, I can not send any of these. Not one.
Do you think my Monopoly cards or my Candyland cards are a better choice? (Kidding. Really, I just thought I needed to end on a less depressing note.)
*Point of clarification, I have not recently lost any family members. Please don't worry.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I saw Ysolda Teague's Liesl pattern over on Amy Singer's blog and loved the pattern, especially since Amy made hers with Patagonia Nature Cotton which I happen to have a bit of. The pattern is top down feather and fan and offers several options (all shown in the photographs) for creating your top. Samples are shown in several different yarns. I ended up making this one in Malabrigo Worsted. It was great fun and I ended up using the shell buttons so as not to detract from the colorway. It's been a great transitional piece as we head into cooler weather.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Double Sided Scarf

I purchased Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard in part because, thanks to Ravelry, I noticed quite a few Wendy Bernard patterns in my completed projects. And I immediately queued a good number of them (The rest may follow, I was trying to be a bit reasonable.)
Both Sides Scarf 1
The Looks Good on Both Sides Scarf was one of those great, easy to memorize patterns, and also really portable. I had some Plymouth Royal Bamboo in three different colors that I wanted to use.
Both sidesNow, I love the finished project. However, this is some of the splittiest yarn I have ever used. I really think this is the yarn that people who think bamboo is wimpy used for their first bamboo. So, I love the scarf, but I don't know that this yarn would be a good choice for something like a sweater or gloves.
Both Sides Scarf

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jury Reading

Yeah, I know, I finished jury duty a bit ago, but then with the dive back in to work it took me until now to get this posted.
First, I did not plan this - all of these books were in my TBR pile already. However, it is quite amusing to me. These are the books, in order, that I read during jury selection and the trial. (Obviously I read during the trial breaks, not the actual parts I was supposed to be listening to.)

Here's the ones I thought were amusing titles to be reading during a criminal trial. The full list (with subtitles) is below, in order.
Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann
There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell by Laurie Notaro
Now You Die by Roxanne St. Claire
Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Full List:
Neptune Noir edited by Rob Thomas
Into the Fire: Extras for Readers and Writers by Suzanne Brockmann
The Wild Road by Marjorie M. Liu
There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble by Laurie Notaro
Now You Die by Roxanne St. Claire
Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan
Meet Phoenix by Marcia King-Gamble
A TV Guide to Life by Jeff Alexander
New Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Sizzling by Susan Mallery
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer