Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hi-tech office gear.

Swingline to Embed RFID Tags into Next-Gen Staplers

Your low-tech stapler is about to get a huge makeover if Swingline has its way. They're looking to embed RFID tags onto staples so that when an important (stapled) document goes missing, it'll be able to radio its location (most likely from underneath your desk) to a nearby tracking device.

Courtesy of Gizmodo.

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Top 10 Way NOT to explain the Birds and the Bees to your Children

CHILD: Dad, where did I come from?

DAD: Okay, we had to have this conversation some day... Listen........Dad and mom met in a chat room on the net. I set up a meeting with your mom and we landed in the bathroom at the Cyber Cafe. Then, mom did some downloads from dad's memory stick and when dad was ready to upload, we discovered that there was no firewall. Seeing that it was a bit too late to cancel, I just carried on doing the upload. Nine months later, the virus appeared!



A belated Valentine's Day (brought to you by the USPS)

Yesterday at work I received a fairly large Hallmark Card. Now Wes and I had only been waiting TWO WHOLE WEEKS for the US Postal Service to deliver this card. I mean, seriously, there was no rain, nor snow, nor sleet to deter the USPS from making the V-day deadline in warm, sunny Southern California. I was ready to write them off as an unreliable old dinosaur, but Wes seemed more concerned. Last night I found out why.

My sweetie sent me an AWESOME card, and an even BETTER gift in the card. In the card he enclosed a prepaid Visa card "to be used when you want to buy yarn but think it's not in the budget. Just buy it!"

Thank you sweetie. I love you SO much.

(no thanks to the US Postal Service)

(PS However, USPS gets a slight bonus for now offering the Forever Stamp)


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Being a Grownup - Part III

I really want to skip class tonight. It's one of those classes where the graded assignments have very little to do with the material presented in class. And there are no tests, so there's no real point in being there, other than to listen and absorb.

Being a grownup, however, makes me think about how much I'm paying to get my degree and that I ought to be responsible and go to class.

It also teaches me how to rationalize. For instance, I could skip class tonight, or I could skip class in three weeks when Wes will be visiting.

Oh yeah, I could skip then couldn't I?

What was I talking about?


Tuesday Funny - Sexy Blue Politics


Fool me twice.... I must be stupid.

Caught this tidbit courtesy of KnitmeisterS and AdFreak:

Swiss paper publishes this bogus Gucci ad

In Switzerland, it doesn’t take much to be in a Gucci ad campaign. You photograph yourself naked, add a perfume bottle and the Gucci logo, send it to a weekly paper, and have them bill Gucci directly for the $50,000.

As the author points out, this isn't the first time this has happened either.

Swiss Newspaper Falls for Prankster's Fake Gucci Ad

Some people will do anything to appear in the papers. But few have the audacity of a man in Switzerland, who conned one of the country's biggest media companies into publishing a two-page ad he created of himself posing semi-naked beside a bottle of Gucci perfume.

The man, who claimed to represent the Italian fashion giant, called up the Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung last week to book the expensive color spread in Sunday's edition, a spokesman for the paper said.

Christoph Zimmer told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the man asked for the 60,000-Swiss-franc (about $50,000) bill to be sent to Gucci.

"We've spoken to Gucci and apologized for the mistake," Zimmer said. "We're going to try and get the money back from this guy, but we don't rate our chances."

The Milan, Italy-based Gucci could not be reached for comment.

Zimmer said the paper fell for the scam because the call arrived too late for the advertising department to check whether it was genuine.

It wasn't the first time that the mysterious model — a dark, handsome man appearing to be in his late 20s — tried to sneak his way into the limelight.

According to the Zurich-based daily Blick, the man attempted to book concert venues by passing himself off as Puerto Rican singer Chayanne. The paper said it narrowly avoided also being conned, but was tipped of the hoax by record company Sony BMG, which represents Chayanne.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Being a Grownup: Part II

Being a grownup means I resist the urge to do the immature thing.

Like taking all the wasted (and wasteful) business cards and fliers slipped under my windshield wipers and sign up all the people stupid enough to put their email addresses and contact information on them for boatloads of spam, free offers and junk mail.

Being a grownup means I don't do this.

Even though I want to.



PSA - Coffee Drinkers Beware

I didn't even know this!

Think twice before using hotel room coffee pots

Ask just about anyone in law enforcement, and they'll tell you to be careful if you ever brew coffee in a hotel room.

"I know enough now that whenever I go to a hotel, regardless of how nice it is, I'll never use a coffee pot," said Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall.

Instead of brewing coffee, coffee pots are sometimes used to brew methamphetamine.

And since meth labs in hotels aren't anything new, Rick Phillips of the Marshall County Drug Enforcement Unit says there's definitely a risk.

"The coffee makers that you find in every motel room is an ideal heat source. They mix it up in the coffee pot, put it on a heat source and let it sit there and cook," said Phillips.

If you were to drink coffee from a pot used to make meth, it could be hazardous to your health.

Phillips says it's pretty easy to tell if a coffee pot has been used to cook meth. It will have a dark reddish-orange stain. You should also be skeptical if there's a chemical odor when you walk in the room.


Being a Grownup - Magazine Style

Last week I had a doctor's appointment. As I arrived at the office I was surprised by the magazine collection on the table. The waiting room that was normally filled with National Geographic, Sunset, WebMD, Highlights, and the Smithsonian was stacked to the max with Glamour, Cosmo, Jane, Lucky, Redbook, Vogue, etc. I commented to my doctor (who let it be known is a psychiatrist) and he responded that no indeed he hadn't had a sex change, but someone else had brought all of their old magazines to share.

The other night I was flipping through my copy of Real Simple, contemplating whether or not to renew my subscription. I like the magazine, but I seem to get less and less out of it as time goes by, and I'm just not sure I want to continue.

As I started to think about what I might choose instead (insert Knitting Magazine here) I thought about how my magazine choices seem to change as I age. Even just a few years ago I was knee deep in Glamours, Redbooks, and several others. Now, given school expenses and a little maturity (and boredom - how many times can you read about those three little sex secrets?), I have a more balanced reading list.

As of today, I receive Fortune Magazine (as my bi-weekly collection of business stories and general news), Interweave Knits (as my need for knitting patterns and new challenges keeps increasing) and In Style (to fill the mental fluff category, amusing since I am neither a fashionista nor have I bought any significant wardrobe enhancements in the last 5 years).

So there ya have it: what's generally on my coffee table waiting to be read. What do you read?


Putting the country back into LA.

Telegram to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters:

Yeehaw! Stop. Thanks for bringing country back to LA. Stop. Feel sorry for classical music fans losing K-Mozart 105.1. Stop. But LOVE the new KKGO-FM. Stop. Congrats on trumping ClearChannel. Full Stop.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

And the Oscar goes to...

Yes, I'm watching the Oscars and I have to say, I'm a little bored. I love Ellen Degeneres, and I love movies, and I even love seeing the stars, but it's just getting long waiting for the final awards.

So instead, I'll give you a weekend update.

1. On Saturday night I started, and got SUCKED into a great book: The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. This was a great romantic read, just a little bit of escapism that I was looking for. I could barely put it down long enough to sleep last night and finished it this morning when I got up. I won't say it's great literature, but it was definitely a good read.

2. I finished my mom's birthday present. Since she's been checking in lately, and I'm going to see her this weekend, I'm going to hold off putting a picture up, but there's one coming.

3. I finished 24: Season 4, and saw Jet Li's Fearless and the first part of Desperate Housewives: Season 2. Jack Bauer, as usual, did not disappoint. Now I just have to rent Season 5 and I'll be mostly caught up. Fearless was a decent flick. The beginning was a little fight heavy and plot light, but it definitely got better as it went along. Desperate Housewives was it's usual dysfunctional. I enjoy the show, but I guess I'm not sure about ALL the hype it gets.

4. Various projects. Watching Fearless with subtitles forced me to start another blanket for some straight knitting (without having to look). Pretty soon I'll show you my green St. Patrick's Day and April Project Spectrum contestant. The granny square keeps growing, psychedelic as always.

And I've started a little something new. It's another gift (for the li'l sis) so I won't be showing it again until it is done, but I thought a sneak previous was in order. Behold the cabled mittens:

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Why I'm Not Crazy: On Cherry Pits and Cyanide

Today was a super ice cream social for my workmates and me. Earlier this month we got ice cream coupons to Cold Stone that were two for one. So we buddied up and had a sweet treat!

I ordered Coffee Ice Cream with Black Cherries mixed in. When my order arrived, there was a broken pit near the top. I quickly scooped it out and threw it away. When my buddy asked me what I was doing, I replied that cherry pits have traces of cyanide. He thought I was smoking something.

But I was right.

From the Novia Scotia Museum:

In very small doses, the human digestive tract is capable of breaking down plant cyanides into harmless compounds. Accidental ingestion of a single apple seed or cherry pit, therefore, though NOT recommended, is unlikely to cause any serious trouble.

However, larger doses cause anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headaches & vomiting. In severe poisoning, breathing difficulty; increased blood pressure and heart rate; and kidney failure are follwed by coma & convulsions. Death may then occur rapidly from respiratory arrest.



The Almighty Meeting

We've all been there. That long, boring, meeting where we can barely stay awake, and yet we do just by sheer force of will and wondering how this is supposed to be productive. Finally someone talks about how pointless most meetings are (and there's statistical proof!):

From Slashdot: "Robert Heinlein once said that the committee was the only life form in the universe with three or more bellies and no brain. MSNBC reports that his statement may have some statistical truth to it. Researchers are finding that meetings are actually bad places to be creative. You're not actually 'dumber' when you're in the meeting, just more likely to lose your creative edge. Studies have now shown that, as collaborative primates, the more often a possibility is mentioned the more likely the group is to go along with it. Individuals placed by themselves were more likely to come up with imaginative alternatives to products, for example."

My former coworker always said:

If you have a week, do it yourself.
If you have a month, delegate it.
If you have forever, form a committee.

I always said:

A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

This post not motivated, in point of fact, by a meeting I was forced to attend. Contrary to all indications, I've actually had a fairly work-filled and productive day, along with enough good news to pep me up for a bit. Just saw the tidbit on Slashdot and had to share.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Political Confusion

I heard this last night:

Britain to cut Iraq troop levels to around 5,000

LONDON - Britain will withdraw around 1,600 troops from Iraq in the coming months and aims to further cut its 7,100-strong contingent by late summer if Iraqi forces can secure the country’s south, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.

The announcement, on the same day Denmark said it would withdraw its 460 troops and Lithuania said it was considering pulling out its small contingent, comes as the U.S. is implementing an increase of 21,000 more troops for Iraq — putting Washington on an opposite track as its main coalition allies.

But then I saw this tidbit this morning:

Prince Harry to serve in Iraq

Prince Harry and his regiment are to be sent to Iraq despite the security risk his deployment will pose, the government confirmed today.

The defence secretary, Des Browne, outlined the posting to Iraq of Harry's regiment, the Blues and Royals, in a written statement to the Commons.

To protect the prince's safety, Clarence House appealed to the media not to speculate about where he would serve.

The prince, who is third in line to the throne, will become the first royal to serve a tour of duty in a war zone since his uncle Prince Andrew flew helicopters in the Falklands conflict 25 years ago.

Now don't get me wrong here. I agree with the UK decision that we need to start working out how we're going to withdraw from Iraq. I also think it's admirable that Prince Harry is going to serve his country, although the fact that the article quotes him as "over the moon" about going to war leads me to believe that this isn't a sign of maturity per se. However, I do think it's a strange domestic policy to aim to pull out and then send in the royals. What I really want to know is if this means that we can send our American royalty (Bushie and Cheney) in as well.

*Photo credit: Ian Holding/AFP/Getty Images

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Thursday Funny: Weird Things People Leave in Their Offices that We Find Later


The Book Report

I started a book last Friday afternoon, and despite the fact that it is the most uncomfortable read I've had in a long time, I've torn through the book and finished it this morning. I'm talking about The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

This is one of those books that I remember being talked about and topping the best seller lists. When I found a used copy at the library, I grabbed it.

This book puts the maddeningly crazy dys back in dysfunctional. The book is exactly the type of entertainment I hate: it is uncomfortable. Everyone is talking at the same time, no one is listening to each other. One character has dimentia and there are pages of his imagined circumstances and none of it makes sense. And yet, I could not stop reading.

The book centers around a broken family. Mom and Dad live in the Midwest and Dad is succumbing to Parkinson's and dimentia. Mom just wants the "normal" life, whatever that is. The three kids are all a mess. The book is like a gory accident at which one just can't help but rubberneck.

When I think about art, I think that the purpose of art is to motivate a reaction. It may be positive, it may be negative, but if art motivates a strong reaction it has done its job. I don't hate this book. I don't dislike it because it's badly written: on the contrary it's very well written. I don't dislike it because it's boring: sadly, the train wreck is fascinating. But this might be the most uncomfortable piece of writing I have ever read, and I have to believe that the author succeeded if that's what he was aiming for.

I don't know what this says about whether or not I am recommending this book to you, but let's just say it was an unforgettable read.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


And I'm not talking about Britney's shaved head or the entire celebritie nation currently in rehab. Have you heard?

Asteroid collision course sends UN into frenzy

The possibility that an asteroid will strike the Earth on Sunday, April 13 2036 has reverberated across the globe, with the world’s citizens wondering what anyone is doing about it with the UN at least two years away from version 1 of an anti asteroid plan.

Is an asteroid really coming to hit the Earth and cause an ‘extinction level event’, similar to that which wiped out the dinosaurs? Scientists say it just might happen, with an Asteroid called Apophis having a 1 in 45,000 chance of impact.

Given that’s considerably smaller than a 1 in a million chance of happening, the UN is worried enough that it will begin planning on how Earth will deal with an oncoming asteroid.

While conventional wisdom is to blow it up with nuclear weapons, as Bruce Willis did in the movie ‘Armageddon’, scientists say this could backfire by splitting the asteroid up into smaller pieces, most of which are still on a collision course with our small blue planet.

One of the current plans is to send out a spacecraft to intercept the asteroid, and then use the spacecraft’s gravitational pull to shift the asteroid’s course – just as a small tug boat can pull an aircraft carrier.

Thankfully, there’s still plenty of time for us to truly get prepared for the arrival of Apophis, with the potential of plenty of advancement in spaceflight technologies. Were the asteroid arriving next week, our options would be much more limited.

As the fiance thoughtfully offered, "Sweetie? We might want to settle a bit more inland... like east of the Rockies."

This tidbit found here.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat Tuesday

Welcome to Fat Tuesday peeps! I'm in the office, wishing today weren't the Monday of the week and that I didn't have school tonight. I'm also boppin' along to tunes and enjoying the fact that it's 12:30 and I'm mostly done with my todo list for today. That means more time for creative thinking and writing.

I'm currently consumed with thoughts about a new venture a few friends and I will be launching. More details as we get things up and running, but suffice it to say that it involves some art, some humor and lots of fun. (At least we're laughing hysterically!) More news to follow...


Monday, February 19, 2007

Holy Size 35 Needles Batman

Another day...another project. This is a cute little ribbon yarn purse pattern that the store got in recently. The herringbone pattern is super easy, the ribbon colorways are beautiful, and the entire thing didn't take too long to put together.

The problem? The SIZE 35 NEEDLES this sucker requires for construction of the herringbone pattern purse sides.

In the Yarn Harlot's book Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter Stephanie devotes a chapter to knitters with a capital K. These are people who love intricate knitting, learning new techniques and consistently honing their craft. She notes that there is nothing wrong with knitting with a lower case k, it just indicates a different level of commitment to and passion about knitting. Knitters with a K savor new techniques and new fibers on tiny little needles, knitters with a k enjoy constructing beautiful scarves with novelty yarns.

These size 35 needles are for knitters with a k. I aspire to be a knitter with a K. You see the problem? These size 35's are a dangerous addition to my collection. (Well as dangerous as a needle the thickness of my wrist can be. As a 2x4 over the head maybe, as a sharp point, definitely not.)

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Long Weekend Update

I'm not sure about you but I'm taking advantage of my long weekend. I've never agreed with this distribution of work 5 days and take only 2 off. Seems kind of inequitable, huh?

This weekend I've been spending my time doing my favorite things: talking to my sweetie, knitting, reading, and napping. I also managed to get in a party with friends, cleaning (laundry and dishes), and some grocery shopping.

I have tons of projects on the needles, but I couldn't wait to do a little of my newest project tonight - crochet Part Deux, the granny square blanket. Please pardon the crazy hippie rainbow yarn - it was bequeathed to me by someone who couldn't stand it. My pet peeve is letting good yarn go to waste. I recognize, however, its potential psychedelic properties, so I'm trying to temper it with a solid yarn.

For those of you with a day off tomorrow, enjoy it! I'll be using mine to catch up on homework, more knitting, my 24 DVDs and a school project.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

How to tell when we're doomed by the next generation.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day Pinks

A day late, but a pinky peppermint Valentine's Day color charity blanket for some lucky girl. Number 4 down!


Job Search Tips: The Attachments Edition

Dear Prospective Intern:

When you apply for an internship at my institution, we ask you to attach your resume to our online application. When you attach your resume, please be sure that it has your name on it.

Please also be sure that you attach your resume, and not your cover letter to Dreamworks. We here are fans of Dreamworks, but we don't have any jobs for you that involve Dreamworks, because in point of fact we aren't Dreamworks. We also still need your resume.

If it were up to me, you would be disqualified from the applicant pool for your faux pas, but it's not.

Thank you for your time,

The vaguely annoyed intern "wrangler"


Calgon take me away.

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Things that Blow My Skirt Up

My sweetie, sending me flowers on Valentine's Day. (He sent the whole plant so that I could keep enjoying the flowers all year long!)

The world is a skirt I want to lift up.
-Hanif Kureishi, author

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

So beautiful, so blue.

I know it's Valentine's Day and things are supposed to be pink and red, but today things are blue. I present Charity Blanket #3:

This is a particularly neat milestone for me for several reasons.

1. This is my first crochet project! Rather than make a bunch of New Year's resolutions that I knew I'd forget after Jan. 15, I thought I'd make it a priority to learn new crafting skills this year. Something I want to do! So this is my first crochet. It's a vaguely trapezoidal (cleverly hidden in the picture) double crochet blanket, with a little shell border.

2. This is my first object completed for Project Spectrum 2.0. February is Blue!

3. I love using up yarns that I have (the blue variegated) and making something that will keep a child warm and safe!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What the Knit?

So I found this cute little set of mittens while I was surfing today. My first thought was, oh how cute. My second thought was wow, how pink. Next: I don't think I would wear those.

Next: This girl made them for her BOYFRIEND? Seriously???? (Grey's Anatomy reference)

Knitting Content or Knitting Nightmare? You decide.

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Tawk Amongst Yourselves


Monday, February 12, 2007

March of the Penguin Sweaters

When I saw this I thought they had to be kidding.

Penguin Sweaters: Cozy tops give small birds a chance

Oil spills are some of the most challenging environmental disasters. These toxic spills pollute the ocean, often injuring and killing animals who live there. Birds and mammals need to be captured, cleaned, and given medical treatment to have a chance of survival. Rescue workers must act quickly—and sometimes creatively.
Birds in Need

In January 2000 an oil spill near Phillip Island, Australia, threatened the tiny penguins who live there. Rescue workers at the Phillip Island Nature Park tried different ways to keep the penguins warm and to stop them from swallowing the deadly oil. Dressing the penguins in doll sweaters proved to be the most successful technique.

Soon, news of the penguins' need for sweaters spread via the Internet. Knitters in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States downloaded penguin sweater patterns and set to work.

Even on Factmonster I'm skeptical. So what does Snopes say?

Claim: Crafters have been asked to knit sweaters for oil-soaked penguins.

Status: True.

When an ocean-going tanker goes down at sea, loosing crude oil into the ocean, the immediate and long-term effects on the environment are often catastrophic. Equally as dangerous is the illegal practice of passing ships' dumping fuel oil into the water rather than properly disposing of it in port. In the case of the "little penguins" (previously known as "fairy penguins") who live on Phillip Island near Melbourne, Australia, such accidents and illegal activities have threatened the entire population of penguins.

Cleaning the animals by hand with warm water and a mild detergent then returning them to their natural habitat has been found to be an effective means of dealing with the danger posed by oil spills, but there's a snag in the plan: Often the little penguins are far too ill to be bathed right away, and the scrubbing can be quite stressful. The solution is to slip the oil-coated birds into wool sweaters, which prevent them from preening themselves and possibly swallowing toxic petroleum-based oil as they regain needed strength, and keep them warm until their bodies are once again producing the natural oils (removed by the cleaning) necessary to their insulation.

Who knew? The latest addition to doggie and kitty sweaters.... Penguin haute couture!


Eye Candy - The "It's ok if you play with your food" edition.

Especially if it looks this good!

Found here.


Which superhero are you?

I was filling out my Valentine's Day cards today and getting them ready to mail (yes I know I'm late thankyouverymuch) and I realized that instead of getting the heart stamps last week, I went superpower with Superhero stamps. I don't know if Superman, The Flash and Plastic Man count as romantic, but they sure do look awesome on my letters.


Le Weekend

This weekend was way too short! I was super busy, as is evidenced by my lack of posting. Here are the highlights:

Friday - I came home ready for a relaxing evening. Wes and I had Netflixed Kinky Boots for a good laugh. I found the movie wasn't as madcap as I was expecting, but a really cool movie VERY loosely based on a true story. I would definitely recommend it if you're up for slightly odd British movies!

Saturday - I finally got some hours at the knitting store. I worked from 10am - 4pm and introduced Fletcher to all the ladies. I worked a bit more on a charity baby blanket, stocked the shelves with brand new Noro yarns (Hotaru and a cotton boucle!), grabbed some stuff to knit into samples and generally had a good time. At 4pm I set out for the Norris Center's Valentine Ball. I was in charge of processing auction results and generating the end of the night invoices. It was a great evening.

The highlight there was finding out that a friend of mine is going to have a baby in a few weeks. I'm thinking of making the little baby kimono sweater pictured above and adding a bit of intarsia to the pattern - a japanese character on the back. My friend's wife is Japanese and they've both lived in Japan so I think it would be cute to welcome their baby girl in style! (Ignore the fact that I'm drooling at new knitting prospects!)

Sunday - Unfortunately Sunday was the day of reckoning. There was homework to be done and no way for me to escape it. I finished two assignments and got a good start to the paper that's due Friday. I'm really getting sick of this school stuff though. (Countdown to May 11 begins now!) I also entertained myself with more 24: Season 4 and lots of DVR'd TV from last week.

That's about it for the weekend. More news when I recover from Monday morning.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Fun?!? at work.

Your mission: Boss #1 tells you to find video clip on advanced robots from a few weeks back.

Action: You type "japanese," "robot," and "video" into Google. You get something like this. You also get a number of other unmentionables.

Boss #2 walks up as you are chatting with workmates about the propensity of Japanese Robot porn on the net. Boss #2 turns red and backs away slowly.

As you watch the clip above a few minutes later, you wonder aloud "I wish I knew what they were saying." Coworker notes that you do seem to have a colorful grasp of the Japanese language. You remember that you have regaled her with the dirty words you know in Japanese. You say aloud, "yes but I don't think the Robot at the trade show is saying really big penis over and over."

Cue Boss #2 walking up for a second time.

Can you make up stuff THIS good?


Friday Funny v.2: Global Warming Undisputed.


Friday Funny: The Ultimate Hoax

Gary Larson is my idol.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gone Fishin'

I needed a sick day today for a headache, and some mental health. Found this cute little felted flamingo in among the laundry.

More tomorrow as news becomes fit to print.

ETA: Light has informed me that my flamingo needs a name. I hereby dub him FLETCHER the FLAMINGO.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wise Words.

Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.


Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

The height of ridiculousness. I just have no words. I give you the Pimped-Out John, replete with DVR, iPod, TV, Beer Refrigerator and much, much more. A throne fit for a king?

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When businesses do stupid things.

Like every American, sometimes I get disgruntled when I see big business do things that just don't seem right. "It's Un-American!" Well here's one for the recordbooks, graciously reported by Slashdot.

"The folks over at Techdirt just put up a great story today, with the RIAA claiming the cost of a CD has gone down significantly relative to the consumer price index. The RIAA 'Key Facts' page claims that based on the 1983 price of CDs, the 1996 price should have been $33.86. So naturally, you should feel like you're getting a bargain. Sounds an awful lot like the cable companies saying cable prices are really going down even though they're going up."

Now, I'm not a religious kind of person, but all I can say to the following Techdirt commentary is AMEN.

Now The RIAA Wants You To Believe That You Should Be Paying Much, Much More For CDs (from the nice-try dept)

By now, it's no secret that the folks running the RIAA have no clue about basic economics, but that's no excuse for some of their more ridiculous claims. The latest, as pointed out on Digg, is that the RIAA has an information page where they try to convince you that the cost of a CD should be much, much higher than it is, and therefore you're getting a great deal. Commentator Ben Woods gives a quick run down of why the RIAA is out of their minds. Basically, they're claiming that based on basic consumer price index information (i.e., inflation) the price of the CD should have risen over the past few decades, rather than stayed more or less the same. This is really weak economics, and highlights why the recording industry continues to shoot itself in the foot. It shows that they either don't understand (or would prefer to ignore) the differences between decreasing marginal returns (of rivalrous goods) and increasing marginal returns (of non-rivalrous goods). Anyone in the tech industry knows that overtime products get cheaper, not more expensive -- but the recording industry wants to pretend that music is non-rivalrous and therefore should increase in cost over time, rather than decrease -- even as the actual costs of production, distribution, discovery and promotion have all gotten cheaper over time? Sorry, but economics doesn't work that way -- and it's safe to say that the RIAA isn't fooling very many people. Even worse, the RIAA is saying all this while failing to recognize the competitive market they're facing -- where people have a lot more choices for their entertainment dollar, which should drive down the price of CDs, rather than the other way around. If the industry can't even understand these basic facts, is it any wonder they continue to destroy the core of their business?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Only in America would a business be so arrogant as to think it can rape, pillage and sue its customers and still end up ahead. Is it any wonder that ITunes, Wal-Mart music and the like have found millions of customers or that artists are now releasing their albums by themselves on the Internet?

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Apparently the office is great training grounds for research using human subjects. Just don't run afoul of your institutional review board.

The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute

Megan S C Lim, Margaret E Hellard, Campbell K Aitken


Objectives To determine the overall rate of loss of workplace teaspoons and whether attrition and displacement are correlated with the relative value of the teaspoons or type of tearoom.

Design Longitudinal cohort study.

Setting Research institute employing about 140 people.

Subjects 70 discreetly numbered teaspoons placed in tearooms around the institute and observed weekly over five months.

Main outcome measures Incidence of teaspoon loss per 100 teaspoon years and teaspoon half life.


56 (80%) of the 70 teaspoons disappeared during the study. The half life of the teaspoons was 81 days. The half life of teaspoons in communal tearooms (42 days) was significantly shorter than for those in rooms associated with particular research groups (77 days). The rate of loss was not influenced by the teaspoons' value. The incidence of teaspoon loss over the period of observation was 360.62 per 100 teaspoon years. At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a practical institute-wide population of 70 teaspoons.


The loss of workplace teaspoons was rapid, showing that their availability, and hence office culture in general, is constantly threatened.


What too many meetings can do to someone.

72 Chairs, 400cm in diameter.

The installation consists of a large sphere composed of an assemblage of chairs. The legs are attached to one another, bringing the chairs together. In this spherical conference room there is no central position, all the chairs float in solidarity with each other. They operate as an immune system – protecting themselves by blocking and kicking out their surroundings. As a massive object in the gallery space, the sphere acts as a centre of gravity around which the rest orbits. The reorganization of matter derives from a ‘big bang’ where the ancient order of the conference room has blown out and reconfigured into a ‘utopic’ geometrical endosystem.

Found it here.

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Knitting on the Edge

Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction. Check out this piece about the Greek Knitting Nuns on the Lam.

Nuns on the Run After Their Greek Knitting Business Fails

A group of nuns were last night holed up behind the protective walls of the Xenia monastery in the central Greek town of Volos after fleeing their convent when their knitting business failed, leaving nearly half a millon pounds of debt.

Ignoring pleas and protests to return to the fold from Archbishop Christodoulos, the country's fiery spiritual leader, the order's mother superior signalled that the nuns would be staying put, despite mounting consternation from a number of banks.

Yesterday her stance sparked a mini-crisis for the Greek Orthodox church, which, after convening bishops and other top clerics, described the incident as "a first" for the church.

The order, whose 55 members have been described as a "feisty crowd", are believed to have run up the debt after splashing out on six industrial knitting machines to produce woollens that became highly popular with the local community around their convent, close to the Greek-Bulgarian border. They apparently sold products to some 25 chains around Greece. Store owners complained that the nuns had also run off with a substantial amount in pocketed deposits. Apparently they removed their equipment a few days before they disappeared.

Greece's authoritative Kathimerini newspaper reported that the knitting business began to unravel when the nuns accrued massive debts after attending foreign fashion shows in a bid to keep up with the latest designs in woollen garments. They are then believed to have mortgaged the monastery of Kyrikos and Ioulittis to the hilt to pay off the debt.

With the banks demanding the money back, Greece's holy synod says it is confronting one of its worst crises ever involving an order of nuns.

Last night there was little sign that the nuns would come out of hiding, even if Archbishop Christodoulos agreed to take them under his wing. Religious commentators said their convent would probably have to be liquidated to pay off the debt.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Two Year Blogiversary!

Wow. I almost completely forgot what today was.

I can hardly believe that two years have passed since I started this blog. Since then I've met some amazing bloggers, read some really excellent blogs, and found a way to express the sarcastic humor and creative side of myself that I just can't at work every day.

Thank you all for reading, commenting and sharing this with me.

Since I began this blog with a post about my just-born soon-to-be-nephew, I thought I'd share a recent picture of the Mac Daddy himself.


Look Ma, I'm a problem solver!

Grumpy workers are the best workers

HOUSTON -- The next time you go to work in a bad mood, don't worry. It could be a sign you're on the way to solving a problem.

Recent research shows it could be the grumpy workers who are actually a company's most creative problem-solvers, said Jing Zhou, associate professor of management at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University.

It's the happy, cheerful folks who tend to think things are going well and that there are no problems to be solved, she said. They're less likely to be pondering potential pitfalls and often don't see problems until there is a crisis.

To learn more about bad attitude grumpiness, look here.


In brief. (Not Boxers)

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink.

-John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705)


I can ALMOST forgive Ohio for being a red state.

Woman's Lawsuit Threatens To Remove Red-Light Cameras

AKRON, Ohio -- NewsChannel5 chief investigator Duane Pohlman has discovered a key lawsuit which may force cities to not only remove red-light cameras, but refund all the fines.

Pohlman said it all started because an Akron woman drew the line.

"I was angry enough to say, "I'm not paying this ticket. You know, they can do whatever they're going to do, but I'm not going to pay it," said Kelly Mendenhall.

In November 2005, Mendenhall got a ticket from a red-light camera. It stated she was going 39 mph in a 25 mph zone on Copley Road in Akron.

Mendenhall is married to Warner Mendenhall, an attorney known for fighting government.

"He said, 'Well, you're going to have to pay the ticket or I'm going to have to sue somebody.' I said, 'Well, I guess you're going to have to sue somebody,'" she said.

Warner Mmendenhall is now representing his wife in the case before the Ohio Supreme Court, challenging all red-light cameras in the state of Ohio.

The Mendenhall case challenges all red-light-cameras on constitutional grounds. He claimed the cameras and the tickets deny due process.

In the suit, Warner and his wife contend the cities have turned a criminal violation in to a civil matter with a sole purpose of making money. "Cities cannot just take what are crimes and make them civil offenses. People cannot afford these fines. The fine my wife faced was $150," Mendenhall said.

In discovery, Mendenhall revealed thousands of mistakes, Pohlman reported.

Akron's cameras captured speeders 4,000 times, but because of problems or procedure, those tickets were tossed.

Pohlman caught mistakes in Cleveland, too. A ticket issued to the wrong plate, for the wrong vehicles and the wrong speed.

"The red light is a flashpoint of where we're going as a country, as a society about individual liberties," Warner said.

Found here.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mama's got a brand new bag.

Today was anti-Superbowl Sunday knitting party at the yarn store. I went in for several hours to eat snacks, knit and enjoy the company of other like minded knitividuals.

I came home looking to clean up a little, particularly some old projects. I pulled out my brand new sewing machine, and fired it up for a little brief domesticity. A sewing goddess I am not, but I can do a decent job with a purse lining.

I give you, my brand new stripey bag.

Pattern: My own.
Yarn: Cascade 220, double stranded, 2 skeins of each color
Handles: Silver wooden ones from the yarn store.
Lining: Crazy tropical print from years ago, manufactured by a textile company my grandfather worked for.