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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
24th-Jan-2013 10:07 pm - It's not me, it's you
Shtinky Puddin on the zafu
Huh. I just now noticed that somebody who unfriended me lo-these-many-months-if-not-years-ago not only unfriended me, they deleted one or more (haven't bothered to check, past the one where I noticed it) comments they'd left on my LJ. The one I noticed was a totally innocuous comment, along the lines of "I never seem to hear about interesting local stuff — how'd you hear about this?"


These days, and at the current state of my practice, I'm in a place of not erasing public stuff. Did I post that in the past, even if it's something I disagree with now, or related to somebody I no longer wish to associate with? Well, that's where I was and who I was associating with and what I was thinking at the time.

If my past actions, opinions, and associations are enough to make you want to repudiate me… Well, okay. Bye! Not quite sure I'm awakened enough to say "been nice knowing you", but I don't wish you ill.
crosseyed vulture
During my junior high and high school years, my mother was a theater professor. Every spring, the department did a Shakespearean comedy. One year, it was Mom's turn for the spring Shakespeare, and during the planning meeting someone suggested that the play that year be The Taming of the Shrew.

"Great!" said Mom. "I've been wanting to do Shrew for a while. The thing is, I'm going to do it as an absolutely straight-on look at domestic violence."


"So!" said the department chair. "Two Gents? Or Comedy of Errors?"

They decided on Errors and Mom managed to include not only her standard rubber chicken (which appeared in every, single, last play she did — sometimes it was hidden inside a pot with a lid on top, but it was there) but also a Nerf football.

Because Mom was awesome that way.
19th-Sep-2012 09:17 pm - The paradox of sewing
sewing machine bobbin
As I sit here pinning gathered ruffles onto a skirt (OMG I HATE GATHERING I AM BUYING A RUFFLER FOOT AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY) I find myself reflecting on how much of sewing is like Xeno's Paradox: pin halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then halfway, then WTF IT'S ONLY $40 FOR A RUFFLER FOOT WHY THE HELL AM I FUSSING WITH THIS.

one apple out of the crowd
Likely to be of interest to some of my peeps: Who Invented Chaplin's Tramp?
Normand was an inventor of the movie star, the first woman allowed to be both sexy and funny. She was a high diver, a bareback rider, a race car driver, and a flapper a decade before flappers. Photoplay called her "a kiss that explodes in a laugh, cherry bonbons in a clown's cap, sharing a cream puff with your best girl, a slap from a perfumed hand, the sugar in the Keystone grapefruit." By the time the man who would become the Tramp walked onto her set, Normand had worked on sets for four years, and made over a hundred pictures. She was 22.

Shouldn't we credit the director, the one who decided to shoot 75 feet, for the success of the Tramp? Keystone didn't have writers in those days, but did the director of Mabel's Strange Predicament unleash the Tramp? Doesn't Sergio Leone deserve some credit for Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name? Doesn't the director dictate tempo and decide who gets the camera's attention? Isn't the director's job to seek out the hidden talents of his actors and make sure they end up on screen? Doesn't a good director jump on a happy accident like the Tramp and ride it with a prayer of gratitude?

What Sennett and Chaplin both neglect to mention in their memoirs is that Mabel Normand was among the very first stars to direct their own films, and Normand directed Mabel's Strange Predicament. Perhaps in the intervening decades they forgot. It was certainly in their interest to forget. Why diminish their own roles in creating the miracle of the Tramp?
I have no idea how valid an interpretation this is, and would love to hear thoughts from anybody who's more knowledgeable about films of this era than I am.

And, y'know, what with short attention spans and all, it's nice that the clipped scenes included are in the 10-30 second range. Ahem.
Or something like that.

Hey, LJ. It's been a while. The usual autumnal funk hit me pretty hard this year (although as spiritualmonkey pointed out, "Hard? Normally 'hard' would mean we spent the winter without leaving the apartment, wishing for death. This? This was nothin'.") and I've been feeling off kilter and unmoored for a bit the past six months or so. Erf.

And then the other day I came across the Bangable Dudes in History blog (Motto: "Dead man porn for your still-beating heart"). In particular, the Buster Keaton entry, which reminded me of *cough* certain people on LJ. And then there's been hockey in the news, which has reminded me of other people on LJ. And other things reminding me of other people. And a feeling that it would be good to get out of my head a bit, and to do so in more than 140-character chunks, and to have the ability to filter and lock things, and...

So hey, LJ. How the heck you been?
cancel my subscription I don't want your
People who aren't bike-oriented sometimes have a very hard time understanding that for bike-oriented people, being on the bike is not a hardship.

I went to a party tonight with some work friends and had a very nice time, but did wind up bumping into this.

"Oh, it's so late — you should just put your bike in the back of my vehicle and let me give you a ride home!"

Hey, thanks, but it's cool. I like riding home.

"But it's dark! You shouldn't ride home when it's like this! Put your bike in back and I'll drive!"

Um... thanks, but really, it's not a problem. We've been car-free for four and a half years now. You know what I do when it's dark and I need to get somewhere? I ride my bike.

"This is Oakland. It's just not safe. I'll wait outside the garage while you unlock your bike and you can put it in back."

HNGGANGGNAGGNAAAA!!!! *deep breath* Really, truly, I appreciate your concern for my well-being. It is FINE. I will be FINE. I know where I'm going and how to get there and how to look out for myself on the way. And, in fact, considering it's Friday, after five days of eight-plus hours under the fluorescent lights with people around me all the time, one of the things I look forward to is being able to stop on the way home and spend some time in a deserted park ALL BY MYSELF getting some introvert recharge time.

But I didn't feel like making an issue of it, so I wrestled my bike into the back of a co-worker's minivan and let her give me a ride home.

I am grateful for their concern for my safety, I really am. And I wish I'd gotten to ride home and stop on the way. :-(
getting sick sucks
One of the souvenirs I brought home from my work trip right after Thanksgiving was a nasty cold (another was a self-inflicted dislocated thumb; ow). BossLady has been out sick too, even sicker than I was, for the past week or so.

I made this sign this morning and put it up outside the entry to her office/my workspace:

We're encouraging people to shift any meetings they have scheduled with her to be phone calls instead, and suggesting that in-person discussions be conducted from a distance of about 12-15 feet. In other words, whoever wants to talk to us should stand out in the hallway while she and I stay at our desks.

*koff* *koff*
Hypothesis: Morphine's "You Look Like Rain" is one of the sexiest songs ever. Discuss.

I can tell you taste like the sky, 'cause you look like rain…Collapse )
6th-Dec-2011 09:03 pm - Well, that was disappointing
red contact lens
I finally got to read Neal Stephenson's latest book, REAMDE. (I had put a hold on it at the library shortly after it was released, but the wait list was forever.) It's only out in hardback at this point, and it's massive. I put it on the kitchen scale. 2.8 pounds. Undaunted, I lugged it all the way to Irvine last week for a work trip. And back, of course.

Spending the weekend trying to fight off a cold give me a good opportunity to read it, and I finished it Sunday night.

What I'm left wondering is, how can 1036 pages feel so thin? When I finished reading Snow Crash, and when I finished reading Diamond Age, my mind was all a-ferment with ideas. The burbclaves. The philes. The Rat Thing (poor Rat Thing!) The Feed, and what does it mean to be an artisan in a world of mass-produced items? All kinds of ideas and issues and nifty concepts to play with and think about.

Ending REAMDE left me with a feeling of "yeah, okay, whatever. Oh, that character survived? And that one didn't? Eh, whatever."

Color me cranky, and not exclusively because of this cold.

In the discussion thread on MetaFilter, one commenter said, "I closed the book, walked into my husband's office, thumped it down on his desk, and said, 'I cannot recommend you read this book.'" I have to agree.

Another commentor on MetaFilter said, "I should remember that when mainstream reviews call something an author's most accessible work, it means the people who actually like that author's work probably won't."

So I downloaded Anathem from the library as an e-book, and I think I'm going to take it (and my cough syrup, and another jumbo handful of Chinese herbs) and go to bed. From what I've read about it, Anathem is anything but accessible. Excellent. At the moment, a book with heavy inclueing and as little exposition as possible is what I'm in the mood for.
crosseyed vulture
spiritualmonkey is loudly and vocally praising dinner... which is Brussels sprouts with smoked tofu and hazelnuts, based on the Caramelized Tofu recipe at 101 Cookbooks.

Um... who are you, and what did you do with my husband? I mean, the one who literally ate a hamburger for dinner every night from age 10 until he left for college? The one who's been known to taste a dish, wrinkle his nose, and remark, "It's kind of... vegetably"?

Not that I'm complaining!

Up next, the Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts, I think. Or maybe a salad with a vinaigrette, like the one at the Trappist (gateway drug to Brussels sprouts, it seems).
orange-eyed frog
The squirrels near the Lake Merritt lawn bowling courts are so plump and round they look like little squirrel-koala hybrids. They're also a lot more willing to put up with each others' company than the squirrels we usually feed — we figure we must have had a dozen of them around us pestering us (successfully) for trail mix and (mostly unsuccessfully) for bits of Arizmendi chocolate-raspberry scone.

Bold little beasties, too.

*sigh* I think our monthly trail mix bill just went up again.
5th-Nov-2011 10:24 am - Yep, that's my monkey
we have a problem with your brain being
I am laughing my ass off at the video spiritualmonkey uploaded of Amanda Palmer singing Billy Bragg's "The World Turned Upside Down" to the Occupy Oakland camp.

Ever wanted to hear Pirate sing? Here's your chance. Ever wanted to hear Amanda Palmer sing? Um.

4th-Nov-2011 01:47 pm - Tom Waits on love
romantic personal ad
Tom Waits, speaking about his writing partner and wife of 31 years, Kathleen Brennan:
She's Amelia Earhart and Jane Goodall and Joan Jett all rolled into one. She's really great to work with and amazing. She doesn't like the light of the business we call 'show.' She stays hidden, and that's where she likes it. But she's an amazing collaborator, and I feel like sometimes I have a map in my pocket that folds up and I pull it out and it's bigger than the table, and there's 1,000 places to go with her.

I'm amused to hear him confirm that no, it's not that he sings like that because he's fucked up his voice over the years, it's that he's fucking up his voice because he's been singing like that for years. Heh.
3rd-Nov-2011 10:25 pm - BAT! HOODIE! FOR! THE! WIN!
ohh shiny
I put my Halloween costume together based on plans from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. With shopping help from Pirate* I spent Sunday afternoon with an umbrella, a black hoodie, pliers, a screwdriver, EMT shears, needle, thread, and a thimble**.

and came up with a pretty damn awesome costume, if I do say so myself. Pirate took a short video of me doing a quick test-ride Monday morning to see if could wear it on the bike or if I'd need to pack it and put it on when I got to work.

The advantage of the character is that it didn't matter if I was banging into things and bending the wing struts (like I was) or looking ungainly when Pirate insisted I run around in circles in the park after work so he could take more video.

Surprisingly, a number of people (who didn't have the excuse of having grown up elsewhere) didn't get it. "You're a... bat? A devil?"

For pete's sake, my garment had a hang-tag that said "Genuine ACME Corp. Bat-Man Suit", I kept pulling an ACME catalog flyer out of my pocket and offering to show it to the person I was speaking to in case they might be interested in any of the other fine ACME products (although I myself could not personally recommend the rocket-powered unicycle or the boomerang, good sir or madam), and I was wearing a name tag that said "HELLO MY NAME IS Wile E. Coyote, SUPERGENIUS — Have brain, will travel"!

Pirate and I were down at Jack London Square goofing around and taking pictures with the statue of Jack when two women walked by. I wanted to hug the one who looked at me and said "...so, where's the Roadrunner?"

After the park (and the Trappist) and the stop at JLS we went to one of our favorite points overlooking the estuary (deserted at that time of night), put some music on, and danced on top of the empty picnic table. It was an amazing way to spend an evening.

I so, so need a bat-hoodie for day-to-day wear. I'm going to shorten the ears and wings, replace the metal struts with something flexy (maybe boning from the fabric store, or else hello TAP Plastics), and use snaps to attach the wings to the body of the hoodie so it's backpack-compatible. But bat-hoodie there must be.

Running in a bat-hoodie? AWESOME. Riding a bike in a bat-hoodie? AWESOME. Dancing on a picnic table in a deserted park at night in a bat-hoodie? AWESOME. Highly recommended.

* Including being very sensible and, late Sunday afternoon, as I was sitting on the living room floor dealing with black thread on black fabric and not-great instructions and cursing under my breath, saying "Hey, sweetie, I know you were going to make cookies to take to the potluck, but how about I go by Arizmendi in the morning and get some cookies and drop them off to you? You don't need another thing to do tonight."

** AKA "OMG THIMBLE stay on my damn finger!" I feel so thimble-illiterate. Thimble-incompetent. Utterly clumsy and with two left hands. Argh. #21stCenturyProblems
I love a parade
Both my Fitbit and the Gmap Pedometer agree that including the 2 miles each way between home and downtown, Pirate and I walked about 12 miles today. No wonder my feet hurt.
26th-Oct-2011 10:01 pm - Things that sound dirty that aren't
"He enjoys… lawn bowling with men several decades his senior."

From an article in a recent New Yorker.

This is all xtingu's fault.
20th-Oct-2011 07:38 pm - Remembrance of costumes past
nobody knows you're a dog
In preparation for the Halloween potluck at the end of the month, one of my co-workers sent out an email request that people submit photos of themselves as kids dressed up for Halloween. I'd gone through our photos not too long ago, so I knew I had a suitable one. After spending a little while digging through the photos again (it would be good to get them organized), I found it and scanned it in.

Based on the school visible in the background, this was at Creekside Elementary (which no longer exists), which would make it either fifth or sixth grade. I think it was fifth, which would make me about 10 at the time.

(I didn't even notice the damage to the photo until I'd scanned it in. Funny what one's eye skips over.)

I wish I had a photo of the fantastic Wurlitzer jukebox costume my dad & I made for me when I was 11. It looked kind of like this one only, y'know, made out of a cardboard box and with an 11-year-old inside. I carried a kazoo, and whenever anybody put a coin through the slot I would play them a song. :-D

[ETA: Upon further reflection, and considering my haircut, I think this must have been 3rd grade, actually, which would make me 8. I was trying to figure out why this didn't fit in with the two costumes I remember from the two years I was at Creekside...]
18th-Oct-2011 09:14 pm - Maybe he could have a "migraine"...
fck fck fck
It's not as though Pirate and I are flush enough that we lightly have him tell his company he's unavailable. And we're certainly not going to burn his credit with his bosses by having him call off a shift that he's been scheduled for, short of him getting a level II headache or above.

So imagine my delight when, after he's sent in his availability for the coming week, we learn that there's going to be a second East Bay Bike Party ride this month:
You know what would cap off a day celebrating pedal powered transportation? Why a bike ride of course!

East Bay Bike Party is teaming up with PedalFest, San Jose Bike Party, and San Francisco Bike Party for an all-bay 18 mile party on wheels. Consider it your second (or third or fourth) chance to get down with Bike Party crews from all over the bay this weekend!

This special ride will take head around Oakland, from the port to Lake Merritt and a bunch of places in between, and because it's heading out early and is extra long (18 miles) they'll be three party stops.

Check out the Route Map
We had a totally OMG must do this again every month! outstanding experience at the East Bay Bike Party ride this past Friday. But, of course, Pirate got a shift for Saturday, and I just don't think it would be as fun to go on on my own. Not the riding part so much — find somebody with a trailer-mounted rolling sound system who's playing something you like (Queen's "Bicycle Race" is always good, Thin Lizzy's "Dancing in the Moonlight" is really nice, and wow does side A of Dark Side of the Moon go well with a couple hundred bicyclists rolling down San Pablo at ten-thirty on a Friday night) and ride near them and you're almost guaranteed a pleasant ride — but not having a friend to hang out with at the party stops doesn't sound so appealing.


*kicks ground irritably*
11th-Oct-2011 04:09 pm - How time flies
romantic personal ad
Sixteen years ago tomorrow, spiritualmonkey and I met at the hotel bar at the 1995 Tattoo Tour convention in Seattle, among a whole crowd of our other rec.arts.bodyart friends. That was Thursday night. Sunday afternoon I flew home to break up with the boyfriend I was living with and embark on a long-distance relationship with the monkey.

Most spontaneous, reckless, unplanned thing I've ever done, before or since. But at the time it felt like a golden hammer coming out of the sky to hit me on the head as a huge voice intoned SOMETHING IMPORTANT IS HAPPENING. PAY ATTENTION.

For all that we're 99% wrong for each other, I would hate to have to try to get by without my teammate.
For anyone who's not on the Living Compassion email list but who might be interested:

Title: “It’s Time to Feel Good” – NEW SESSION
Dates: November 1-30, 2011
Cost: $80.00 ($60.00 for Monthly Donors)

Note: This class is one of the prerequisites for the extraordinary new “What You practice Is What You Have” retreat with Cheri.

We are offering another month of the “It’s Time to Feel Good” email class, based on Cheri’s latest book, What You Practice Is What You Have: A Guide to Having the Life You Want. According to participants in the first session, November 2010, the practice of self-mentoring and self-facilitation through making and listening to recordings of how you want your life to be has been tremendously transformative. Because so many are reporting life-changing results, and because so many others have said they’d like to take the class, we are offering it again. Here is some of the feedback we received:
  • I knew intellectually what egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate was and that compassionate acceptance could end it. Now I know how to do that.

  • Thank you so much to everyone involved in our record/listen class. It has been an incredible, life enhancing gift to me. I will be signing up in April. If I weren’t already a monthly donor, I would become one.

  • Being clear in my recordings about (1) this is what the voices are saying; (2) this is what the mentor says – has helped me to stay on track. Gratitude overfloweth for all!

  • Recording and listening has changed my life. I expect to feel happy.

  • It is so loving to focus on what these recordings are saying. This is the life I want to live and what I have always wanted but only felt elusively, until this commitment to practice.

  • The most helpful thing has been Sangha support via the class blog and the radio archives as I go through the recording/listening process. I’m not alone and it’s all okay.

  • Holy horse-pucky! I just experienced for the first time that when my attention is on recording and listening I am not suffering. When egocentric karmic conditioning/self-hate distracts me from recording and listening, I suffer. Huge gratitude!

  • Have broken old patterns. Go to bed and wake up with joy. Now I know the support is always within. Deep gratitude for all who made this happen.
In this session of “It’s Time to Feel Good,” there will be some of the same or similar exercises as in the previous sessions and some new ones. Those from a previous class who sign up for this session will be given class assignments that take them to the next level. All participant emails with Cheri’s responses will be shared with the whole class. In other words, there will be challenges for everyone.

Class Description
Most of us hold a very deep, conditioned belief that we must first fix what’s wrong with us before we can feel good about ourselves. “I want to feel good, to be free of self-hate, but I have habits I must break/amends I must make/actions I must take before I can be free. There’s no way I can love and accept myself without first changing how I am.” The difficulty is that the voice that has us convinced that we must change is in charge of doing the changing! This system is designed to fail.

In this class we will identify the places where those internal voices of judgment and self-hate snag us, plunging us into suffering. Using the recording tool in What You Practice Is What You Have, we will find our own internal Mentor, counter conditioning’s antics, and end the belief that we must fix ourselves before we are worthy of enjoying our time, attention, and best efforts. It’s time to feel good, time to practice turning attention to the good that we are.

Class Format
Twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, Cheri will send an assignment to the class. These assignments are the heart of the class. They are usually quite simple and require focusing attention on some aspect of your life. You will spend some time doing the assignments and, if you choose, email Cheri with your experiences, comments, questions, etc. She will read and respond to all on-subject emails from the class. All emails and responses will be posted on a web page created for this class. Cheri’s staff removes all names before she sees them, assuring anonymity.

A word from Cheri about recording devices
Participants are required to have a portable voice recorder. You can use any recorder you choose for the class as long as it is portable. Digital or cassette tape doesn’t matter, but it needs to be something you can have with you all the time. The one I have is digital, comes from Radio Shack, and costs about $30. I am in the process of transferring the recordings I have to iTunes so I can download and listen to them on my phone. The level of technology you choose to engage with is up to you--though if you have voices telling you anything is limiting your choice, I’d encourage you to confront that information and do exactly the opposite of what you’re being told--but you will need something easy to have with you all the time. Also, you will not need to be online when you make or listen to your recording.

Time Requirement
The class assignments are designed to be focused on for as long as it takes individual participants to complete them. Reading the daily emails will take no more than a couple of minutes. Reading class submissions and Cheri’s responses will take considerably longer. Read at your own pace.

The book--What You Practice Is What You Have
It’s not a requirement, but certainly recommended, that participants read What You Practice Is What You Have before the class begins.

Go to our secure payment page and register by Monday, October 30.

For Monthly Donors: to pay your Registration Pledge, please use this secure payment page.

A confirmation email, containing answers to many common questions, will be sent by 6:00 p.m., PST, Tuesday, October 31. If you sign up but do not receive confirmation by that time—remember to allow for time zone differences—let us know ASAP.

We look forward to your participation. If you have questions, please let us know.


Some of what we have heard from email class participants:
-- "Cheri's email classes are fun and very enlightening. Her clarity and sometimes outrageous sense of humor keep me reading deep into the night." A. R., Pennsylvania
-- "It is a blessing to have this remarkable practice available in my own home." K. L., United Kingdom
-- "Cheri reads many hundreds of emails from participants during these classes. Her level of commitment inspires me more than I can say." H. S., Oregon
Information page on the Living Compassion website.
10th-Oct-2011 08:07 pm - Oh, look, it's autumn
note to self
I realized over the weekend that my usual autumn funk has already descended upon me.

It did so a few weeks ago, actually, back near the beginning of September. The cryptic symbol I'd marked on the calendar on September 4 was so cryptic that it wasn't until late afternoon that I remembered what it meant. Oh... yeah. It's the anniversary of Mom's death. Dammit. September felt off-kilter and out-of-sorts all the way through after that. The last week of it I just felt drained and down and anti-social (more so than usual, I mean) and like I wanted to go to bed and pull the covers over my head and not come out, except to eat seasonal things with lots of squash and cranberries, until April.

And things haven't really perked up in October so far. It was realizing over the weekend that it had been a week since I'd read email helped me recognize that yeah, I'm in a bit of a slump. It's to be expected this time of year, but it's still not fun.

I'm trying to pay attention and not just slip into hermitty hibernation. I don't want to get to March and realize that I haven't done much beyond read and sleep and waste time on the net. It feels like I need to be stripping a lot of things down and getting rid of excess (clearing out apartment clutter, unsubscribing from 90% of the email mailing lists I'm on, etc.) and setting up a structure that's going to be supportive (not letting the Egoscue and zazen slip when I'm feeling tired or down, planning meals ahead of time so I have healthy tasty food on hand that I want to eat, knitting or sewing or otherwise making things, spending as much time as possible in the sun, etc.). Also working on finding a way to keep track of how I'm doing with those things that won't turn into a source of stress in itself (Health Month has been feeling stressful, but I think I just had an insight into why, and how I can adapt it on my own to be more helpful to me). And I need to resist the go straight home/stay at home and cocoon up urge and try to see people socially.

I am with the moment, and the moment is "Bleah."
5th-Oct-2011 07:26 pm - Mmmm-mmmm-mmm, merino!
oh! the pretty!
I had to take the bus up to Temescal after work today to pick my bike up from the bike shop. Sam, the mechanic who'd worked on it, said, "When Pirate dropped it off he said you were having problems with it skipping. So I took your bike out and mistreated it a bit and yeah, it started skipping immediately. Your drive train was badly worn, so we put on a new chain and a new cassette — this one has a slightly wider gear range, which should help with hill-climbing. I know you guys spend a lot of time in SF, so..." Came to $75ish for parts, which could be worse. I was amused that when Sam rolled my bike out from the back of the shop, my eyes immediately jumped to the cassette. "That's way too shiny to be the one Esperanza came in with," I thought, "and... hey, the chain's clean enough that I can actually tell that the master link on the chain is a different color from the rest of it. Gotta be new." Heh. He also said something about a broken bolt on my rear rack, which he had to bore out and redrill or something. The pavement around here is so bad that it's vibrating my bike to pieces beneath me. I seem to be averaging a bit over a thousand miles per chain/cassette; it'd be more if I cleaned them more often (ever). Maybe now that they're up in the living room, instead of down in the bike cage, I can figure out a cleaning setup... Hm.

I also stopped by one of my favorite yarn stores to treat myself to some yarn. It took no time at all — the gal working the register was showing me which shelves they have their DK-weight yarn on, "and there's also this on the table in the middle, which would work nicely." Table in the middle? Oh. My. Yes. Hello, who are you and what's your fiber content? I mean, literally that's how long it took: Gaze moves to follow store assistant's gesture towards the table, eyes lock on the three skeins in burning red, hand goes out to pick up a skein to feel the texture, gaze darts to the label to double-check the stated gauge, other hand reaches out to pick up the remaining two skeins, and suddenly I'm saying "Ooh, these" as I turn back toward the register.

I wound up coming away with three skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in the Tart colorway (the last three skeins they had in that colorway — the store assistant said "Oh, good, I'm glad you're buying these so they'll stop tempting me Buy us and take us home to be with the other skeins you bought!"). The photo on their website of Tart seems to be borked, but it doesn't really matter — I don't think it could show how gorgeous it is. It's merino, so it feels lovely, of course, and the color is made up of several shades of deep, rich reds that work with each other and with the shape of the yarn in a way that reminds me of the banked embers of a fire. Just luscious stuff. They had some other beautiful colorways in the DK, as well as in what looked like a laceweight. Gotta go back and check it out.

The pattern I'm going to use is the Shimmer shrug from Knitty, which looks like it'll be fun to knit and quite useful when it's done. Also probably quite adaptable for a panel with other lace patterns or what have you. (And down the line maybe I'll get organized enough to boot up Garment Designer and actually design a pattern from scratch. Not holding my breath, though, this being the hibernatey time of year...)

'Scuse me. Gotta go find my needles and do some swatching.
ohh shiny
When I saw the link to this costume and noticed the world "adult" in the URL, my heart sank. Oh, please, don't let them have warped and perverted this far enough to make a "slutty" version...

And then I clicked through and my heart did a brief happy dance in my chest. Check this out:

And, for comparison, an original image:


And take a look at these two gals rockin' the costumes in real life:

Very nice. Too bad ol' Sieve-Brain Girl doesn't remember enough details of the show to be able to carry off either costume very well. Instead, I'm half-considering going as Juana Galan. A lace mantilla, a great honkin' big stick, and a small kettle to represent the boiling oil? Heck yeah!
orange-eyed frog
Met Pirate by the lake on the way home — he's got a lot of shifts this week (yay), so if we hadn't gone today he would have had no squirrel time until Monday. Can't have that...

We arrived at the tree at the same time, and as we propped our bikes against it a squirrel came down the trunk to peer at us. Nuts, monkeys? We think it was a new one that we hadn't fed before, because it was a bit wary of coming too close. Once we got up in the tree and got settled with our coffee and trail mix, it would cautiously come get a nut, sniffing warily and keeping a close eye on us, then retreat a little way up the trunk to eat it. A couple of others showed up after a bit. One was Honey Brown, I'm pretty sure — she's the boldest and most confident, and the most at ease about hanging nose-down on the trunk, resting her forelegs on one's palm as she munches away on the trail mix. (About which: OMG OMG OMG so so cute. Ahem.)

We'd been up in the tree for a bit when from below we heard, "Have I found the Squirrel Whisperer?" Yes, you have! Hi! Um... do I recognize you? No, but if you're somebody I know from online, that's not surprising... It turned out to be merle_'s sweetie (whose LJ handle I realize I don't know. Oops). We hung out, the two of us literally so in the tree, chatting about squirrels and bartending and Monty Python (with yours truly missing a reference badly — minus 10 geek points for me) for a while until merle_ arrived.

Future plans, at least in my head — the others may remember them slightly differently — although still vague and general, are to explore Lakeside Park further for additional suitable squirrel-visiting spots and to assess the climbability of more of the trees. merle_ described several places elsewhere in the park that sound like they might be promising. Also thoughts of trying a wider range of nuts to see what the squirrels prefer. I think we ought to start bringing some in-the-shell nuts as well as the shelled ones, to increase the chance that they'll survive being buried.

Pirate and I were talking about the challenges of identifying the different squirrels, especially the ones that don't have visible markings or scars. "I've had thoughts of microchipping them," I said. "The chips are only the size of a large grain of rice these days."

"Nah," said Pirate. "I want to get a laser pointer and put extra-powerful batteries in it and use it to brand them. 'Hey, it's Star-Butt. And over there is Heart-On-His-Ear.'"

"You're horrible," I said. "No wonder the squirrels like me better."
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