Wednesday, February 27, 2008

territory, rigatoni, and awesome

1. The cats have had a sort of territory arrangement since we moved into the apartment - Parallax claimed the bathroom (shower water!) and the living room (where we eat our meals), Tonks lives mainly in the bedroom, and they grudgingly share the kitchen because they have to eat, after all. You can tell when one of them is in a rabble-rousing sort of mood because she will come and deliberately sit just inside the invisible border and stare at the other.
AngelKitty has sort of upset the order. For one thing, she has a great big voice and is quite willing to use it, whereas Parallax is just sort of confused and Tonks, after trying to hiss in her little kitten voice back, runs away. She's taken over the living room and alternates between the two chairs and a space on the couch that is warmed by my laptop fan. She's pretty content at this point, mostly just hanging out and looking for pettings, but Parallax is still a little confused about having lost her country.

2. Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, has a lovely recipe for something called Honeycomb Cannelloni. Cannelloni are big fat pasta tubes, and generally are stuffed painstakingly with cheese and then baked. His are pushed into the baking dish vertically, so from above it looks roughly like a honeycomb. Of course, being a real chef recipe, it also involves a "quick" cream sauce with crème fraîche and anchovies, and also a vegetable ragú sauce. Altogether too much effort, especially considering I have no idea where to get crème fraîche in this city and also that I am allergic to recipes that involve more than one accent.
Nevertheless, the honeycomb pasta is pretty, and a great idea - the sauces are poured into them instead of having to hand-stuff the pasta - so I made my own version for supper tonight. I call it Honeycomb Rigatoni for the Lazy.
I chopped whatever vegetables we had - in this case, half a red pepper, half a small zucchini, and half an onion - and mixed it with some Ragu we have kicking about for pizza sauce, as well as some feta (mm). I poured half of it into a little baking dish we have that was probably too shallow, and then stuck rigatoni in it in the honeycomb pattern, and finally poured the rest on top and forced the sauce into the pasta with a spoon. It worked better than I thought, but they weren't quite full, so I topped it up with more Ragu and some grated mozzarella. After 45 minutes at 375, the pasta was cooked and had swollen into a real honeycomb, and the effect was actually really tasty, though I'd probably use more liquid next time, because I forgot that pasta sucks up all the water in cooking. Sean pronounced it quite good, which at least means that it was edible. Definitely one to keep trying.

3. I wrote an midterm today, as well as going to both of my languages. I spent a good chunk of yesterday studying for it, and honestly didn't expect that much of a challenge - it really is only a first year course. Well, it was pretty brutal, and though I doubt I failed it, it certainly wasn't the guaranteed A I thought it should be. Turns out I'm not the only one who thought so - half an hour ago I received an email from Professor Geyssen (the same as for Latin last semester):
Having thought about this all afternoon and evening, and having talked to a couple of you via email, i have come to the conclusion that the exam was not as fair as i'd hoped when i set it. I was trying to test you on the factual information associated with the gods, but i see that that is not what everyone was expecting given the course content. I also underestimated, i think, the difficulty in making those associations between epithet and god, place and god, etc, difficult at least in terms of how the exam was structured. I offer my apologies. The exam did not give you an opportunity to show me what you know.
I will not count this in the way the syllabus says. I might suggest simply discounting this mark if the final (which will be an entirely different format) is better. In any event, i will consider how to best deal with that over the break.
Again, i am sorry for how this turned out. Do know that no-one's mark will suffer as a result of the midterm. I hope this will allow you to enjoy the break a bit more. Feel free to continue to send emails and voice your opinions.
I can't even tell you how awesome this is. Not so much because I think I did less than great, but because it's so good to have a professor who actually cares that we felt that the midterm was too hard. Many professors will just brush you off with a "well, it's only 30% of your final grade" and "next time you'll know how to study for my exams". It restores my faith in the system a little to get things like this.

4. Tomorrow, with the exception of my Latin America class with Christiane, is going to be finishing up my hours at the lab for this week. Normally I would be working Friday afternoon as well, but as I've mentioned, Friday is a scheduled service interruption day, so I'm making arrangements as necessary.

5. Links:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

no chairs for us I guess


1. Angel is still not very happy with me, but I think she'll come around. Last night I left her under the desk, confident that when everything was quiet she'd come out and nose around. Angry howls erupted from the kitchen at about 1:30, and when I went to check, she was sitting on the back of the armchair looking indignant and Parallax was looking... guilty. I decided to let them be, and things were peaceful until about 3:00 when there was much angry howling again, and Parallax streaked into the room. 3:00 is usually their running-around-playing time, but I don't think Angel is in a playful mood at the moment - she was hiding in Sean's office. I moved her things in there and closed the door so Parallax would stop bugging her.
This morning, I've shut my two in the bedroom with their things and let Angel out to roam, and I'm starting to think she's more angry about not being in her own house than about my ruffians - well, ruffian, because Tonks has been keeping a low profile around Angel. I'm going to leave her with the run of the apartment for the day and see if she is any happier when we get back this afternoon. As I write, she's already explored the bathroom and is making forays into the living room to be petted, so I think this will work out as long as Parallax stops being a bad hostess.

2. Today, I'm going into work for an hour before class, and then catching the bus to my other job after class. After my hour at the office, I'm going to come back to campus and study for my Myth midterm tomorrow with Ellis - she's missed a bit of time, and I've missed a bit more on account of skipping that class to get my Latin done, so we're going to pool notes and get the text out of the library (neither of us is willing to pay $90 for a first year mythology textbook). Not as good as actually attending, I know, but I don't need Myth to graduate - I most certainly do need Latin.

Monday, February 25, 2008

cross-apartment checkup

1. Since we missed Caturday, let's check in with the kitties, shall we?
Cat the first: looking somewhat put out and sulky, but otherwise fabulous, and somewhat more svelte after a few weeks of indoor cat food, instead of sumo cat food:

Cat the second, looking rather concerned and hiding in the corner of the room under the bed with her favourite crumpled tissue (she stole, crumpled, and hid them herself):
But what's this? Cat the third?

Meet AngelKitty, who, barring bloody murder in the night, will be joining the good ship Lollipop for the month of March. She's pretty mad at the moment and has more or less annexed the desk, so I moved her things in there and have been keeping Parallax away. She would really like to be staring unnervingly at Angel, which is why she looks so cranky up above. I'm hoping the situation will become less tense overnight, because Tonks is backed into the corner and doesn't want to come out if it means running past the desk while Angel hisses at her. She'll make the dash to the kitchen eventually, but I'd like things to be more serene.

2. Sock checkup: I'm on the second sock of quick Rainy Day socks, knit in Sirdar DK weight luxury cotton, which I happened to have laying around.

I kind of miscalculated these - I wanted a quick, uplifting project, and then knit them out of black. I should have knit something simple with the insane bamboo rainbow vomit yarn. Maybe I will soon.

3. We have a spice rack! Mom gave it to us at Christmas when she upgraded to a television (she has had a different spice arrangement for years) but it just went up recently, due to our cupboard being made of extremely tough material.

I think we have more legitimate spices than most students even know exist.

4. Today was a pretty alright day. I got up early, did homework, went to class, went to another class, did more homework, went to another class, and then went to work for a few hours. Despite being achingly productive, I feel really unfulfilled about today. I think I badly need a sunny, warm day. Knitnut wrote something over a year ago about Ottawa folk (Ottawans?) in the winter, and I think it holds true everywhere east of the Rockies:
As I waited for the bus, I noticed that my shoulders were up around my ears. It’s an Ottawa thing. We have lousy posture because of the weather. We’re all hunched over, trying to make ourselves a smaller target for the wind, trying to protect our necks from the cold. Our chins are jammed into our chests and our noses are tucked into our scarves. We’re scrunched, hunched and rigid. Our climate has turned us into misshapen freaks. We have pasty complexions too, with dry skin and chapped lips. And we look twice as big as we really are because of all the clothes we have to wear. We have salt stains on our pants, fogged-up glasses and tears and snot running down our faces. Frankly, we look like hell at this time of year. Fortunately we can’t see each other because our twisted Canadian posture forces our gaze downward.
5. The weekend was pretty nice though. We went to Sean's parents' house and had a generally pleasant time - there were delicious ribs, and blueberry upsidedown cake, and a movie about hypnotizing camels with "violins" in Mongolia.

6. Sean, and Sean's foot, have no comments for the blogosphere at this time.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

mushaboom, mushaboom

1. On Tuesday or Wednesday, Saturdays often feel like they'll never arrive, but I always look up come Saturday morning and marvel that I've gotten through another week. Every week brings me closer to spring, graduation, a job... and should see me get thinner, though I've been having portion control issues thanks to Sean being A. too good at cooking and B. unable to estimate the right amount of pasta all of a sudden. Oh well. I'm being more strict with myself now, starting yesterday, just as I'm trying to get back into the blogging that I said I would do. It'll get easier with time, I suppose.
My bracelet has helped somewhat. As some of you know I made a few bracelets with movable markers and appropriate numbers of beads to count points, but I've found that I need to make a flex point one too, because I am very, very bad at staying at 22 points exactly. And yesterday at D&D I was fidgeting with it, and broke it, so I need to put it back together. Mostly it's good for realizing that being twelve points into my allotment is more than half, which ought to be easier than it is.

2. I've been dosing myself with music to keep my spirits up over the week. At work (in the lab, obviously) I've been listening to full albums - Gorillaz (I've been listening to Demon Days for a long time but am now getting into their discography), Feist, the Arctic Monkeys, Goldfrapp (Felt Mountain is a great trancey album, Supernature is very dancey), all reasonably upbeat - but for walking or bussing I have playlists heavy with the Beatles (generally the early Beatles, it tends to be more energetic). I will get through this month!
I have a serious aversion to talking about music I like, mostly due to years of knowing people who will get into fistfights about their favourite bands (I have seen bloody noses result from a joking slight against a band), but I do make a new playlist about once a month. I lost my old playlists at Christmas when I reformatted the computer, but my February playlist runs:
  • Hey Jude, by the Beatles, of course.
  • Mushaboom, from Feist. It's so cute.
  • Astounded, by Bran Van 3000 - an old one, relatively speaking, but upbeat and full of love.
  • Mexico, by Hawksley Workman. The perfect song for a Canadian who hates winters.
  • Somebody to Love, by Jefferson Airplane. There's sort of a love theme to this one, I guess.
  • Strangelove Addiction, from the Supreme Beings of Leisure, who have a new album coming out soon that I'm dying to hear.
  • She Loves You, also by the Beatles, of course.
  • Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple.
  • Brand New Colony, from the Postal Service. Another touching emo love song.
  • It's Cool to Love Your Family, from Feist. Kind of weird in the lyrics (why sing about the Copenhagen city morgue, randomly?) but cute too.
  • Aquamarine Tears, from Slowcoaster. I really need to remind Megan to lend me their albums.
3. Today Sean and I are going to his parents' house finally, which will be fun - I can hug Lucy and knit and have some lovely food. Next week is the last week before our break, thank goodness, and it will be a short week, by my decree. Sean and I are having a planned service outage on Friday, as Leap Days aren't real days and no one actually expects students to show up for the last day before the break anyway. We'll be sticking around for the break and have no real plans as yet, having just canceled our original plans, but I suspect it will involved a lot of working and maybe we will paint somewhere in the house.

Friday, February 22, 2008

catching up part 2: blah blah blah and pictures

1. This week has been loooong. I am officially sick sick SICK of winter at this point, which is, coincidentally, the point where it has rained and frozen as though God really wants a back yard skating rink, and the city of Fredericton tend to fail utterly in the business of making sidewalks walkable (apparently they are immune to lawsuits, by law... maybe that's the problem?). My locomotion options have been limited to A. bussing absolutely everywhere that isn't downtown proper, and therefore manicured, or campus, which has its own maintenance crew; B. making Sean walk around everywhere with me so I can lean on his arm to avoid falling and breaking my everything; C. walking in the roads instead of on sidewalks, because they are mysteriously in far superior shape.
Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and the sun is making our white curtains glow, I pretend it is summer out there for a few minutes just to feel optimistic about walking around outside. True story.
At least the snow inadvertently provides the cats with entertainment. The landlord, showing more concern for their property than pretty much any other landlord I have ever had, pays fairly frightening men to come up the fire escape and shovel off the roof so that it doesn't collapse on the knitting store below us. Parallax quite enjoys sitting on the sill making eyes at them until they come too close, but Tonks just quivers under my chair, poor thing.

2. Anyway, our social life has dwindled because Stu has a house of his own with people and a dog, and Megan is working hard at burning herself out with an insane courseload, and Danielle doesn't seem to leave her house except to go to work. We still have D&D, though, with Will and Marie, and last week was a really terrific session. I got killed by some unusually vicious cave lizards, but after booting around as a ghost for a couple seconds, Sean got killed too, and Marie ran away, so we two ghosts drifted about and found an entire ethereal component of the dungeon and managed to get brought back to life (my character, who only had one eye, now has both! another Festivus miracle!).
I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's session as much, solely because Sean and I decided this week that we really can't go to Ontario for the Break. I can't tell you how much this bums me out, but it's the responsible thing to do. We're utterly broke, and even with jobs coming out our ears we will have to work pretty hard to make ends meet even staying here and working through the Break.

3. So what do we do when we have no social life and no money? We stay home and knit and download science fiction. I've been knitting up a storm in a modest sort of way and have more or less perfected the sock recipe for my grandfather's socks. I'm going to write it up shortly so I don't forget the important bits. I had just finished them when Gail asked me to come to a baby shower for Patience and Aurora on Sunday, so I ran downstairs to the yarn store and picked up a single skein of pink Misti Alpaca worsted, and prodded Michelle on MSN for the umbilical cord hat from Stitch & Bitch (I have the second book, and also the crochet installment, the Happy Hooker, but not the first book) and set to work. By the end of the night, the hat was finished, and I had also knit up two little thumbless baby mittens from a mostly made up pattern of my own design.

I went to the shower the next day and saw my little cousins Jessica and Emily, and got to hold our new baby (the first of my immediate family to do so - take that, godmother Michelle!):

And later on she modeled the hat and mitts for her grandmother's blog:

So cute! I hope they fit until spring, anyway.

4. Financial news: my student loan finally came in the mail Friday afternoon, which is annoying because I had checked the mail hopefully that morning and, finding nothing, had gone to Financial Services to beg them for another extension. Of course, I don't have the money yet - you have to bring it to the school and have them sign it, and then find a Royal Bank and get them to process it, and then wait five business days for it to show up. Boo. At least it will be here soonish.
We found out that Sean hadn't in fact gotten the maximum emergency bursary, but only half of that, so we still need to give the school $450. This was pretty much the dealbreaker for the Ontario trip, but now that we have resigned ourselves to staying home, it shouldn't be that much of a problem.

5. Miscellaneous other things: Sean and I are going to attempt to sit Gail's cat, Angel, formerly known as Kitty, for the month of March when Mert and Gail are in Myrtle Beach. We're going to give it a trial run on Sunday night, because this means AngelKitty will be boarding here with my spoiled girls (getting to/from the North Side daily would be impossible for us). She has a bigger voice than my two put together, but on the other hand, they have the claw complement of 2.5 cats, and she only has .5. Hopefully they will all get along.
Oh, and the mysterious Valentine's Day dinner I wrote about? We started with roasted garlic with pita bread, both toasted and not:

And then had fresh spaghetti with shrimp in a garlic white wine sauce, with the rest of the Pinot Gringo (as Sean calls it) on the side.

My photography skills and lighting do Sean's cooking no justice at all.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

catching up part 1: links

So, I've been AWOL for a week today as far as the internet is concerned. I sort of let things pile up to write about and have been overwhelmed by the idea of catching up, so I put it off... terrible idea.
So: part one. Links, because I have so many tabs open on my browser to share that my computer is getting unhappy.
  • I am thinking about trying to bake my own bagels, because I've been eating a half bagel for breakfast every morning and they're pretty tasty, and then a recipe turned up on a blog, so now I'm really thinking about it.
  • Some of these links have been here almost a week, and now I'm realizing that I'm in some sort of a baking mood, because I've also had these popovers staring at me for a week. Don't they look smashing?
  • A highly entertaining look at hunting runaway hamsters.
  • I've had friends lose jobs, friends, and opportunities for blogging (I suppose that begs the question - why do I blog if it's potentially career-wrecking? Oh, it's also potentially career-making. In my case I'm pretty sure it's career-neutral because I'm not particularly widely read or vitriolic, nor do my friends generally read it). This fellow worked in network television and was outright fired, no warning, for having a popular blog. His goodbye-job piece is an interesting read.
  • I spent hours the other night reading financial columnist Penelope Trunk at Yahoo Finance. She's an interesting writer and likes particularly to blog about people just coming into the work force, trying to find work. She had a series of guest columns called Twentysomething that don't necessarily apply to me yet/ever, but they cover things like why straight A's aren't important unless you are going to grad school and how to deal with quarter-life crises, which are apparently endemic to millennials/Gen Y/the Nintendo Generation (that's me!) who are moving into the workforce. This lead to a lot of reading about "my" generation, which is apparently a generation of precious snowflakes who multitask and teambuild like nobody's business, but switch jobs at the drop of a hat and have a penchant for just not coming into work if we'd prefer to surf that day. Interesting.
  • Also in the financial columns reading list was I Will Teach You to be Rich, a blog that mainly focuses on prioritizing, living beneath your means, and learning what money is and what it can do. It seems to be intended for twenty-somethings - millennials and Gen X - who are currently blowing their $60,000 a year on toys and trash, not starving students, but I can dream. I've linked to a sort of best-of page, not the front page, and I read all of them. Personal favourites: "How my friend spends $21,000 going out every year", "Set smaller goals: impress friends, get girls, lose weight", and possibly the best, "Barriers are your enemies".
  • Olive bonsai!
  • I'm thinking that Chickpea Gumbo might be on the menu this evening if I can find okra at the store.
  • I have a serious crush on this apartment - the lighting! the floors! the space space space! - but I can't help but wonder what it looks like when it's not being photographed for newspaper profiles, what with the two kids living there.
  • I rather like all of the pieces listed here, but number four, the leaning shelves/desk thing, has my heart aflutter. I wouldn't really be able to use it the way I use my current desk - I don't think it would support a sewing machine - and I don't have the room for a separate laptop desk, but it could make a rockin' setup for our TV. It's three sections, each of which are $130 USD, which is almost Ikea spectacular, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

snow daze

1. Well, as you can tell from my twitter feed, my snow day eventually arrived. I went to Greek, where, oddly, everyone showed for the first time in weeks, and then headed up to the computer lab to work on my Latin during my (cancelled) Myth class. Just as I was finishing up, the lab guy came out of his office and told us to get out of the lab because the school was closing at noon. Cheers! Screams of delight! Vehement closing of programs and logging out!
There's a standing Wednesday noon arrangement for some Anth people - mainly Will and Marie and a few others - to meet up for lunch and possibly a pre-seminar beer, in some cases, at the Cellar, the pub in the basement of the SUB. I find it hard to attend because I'm usually polishing Latin for my class at 1:30, but I headed over as soon as school was canceled to find Sean and Megan playing pool and waiting for Will to show.
An aside: I realize probably there is no meaning to these names, so here are the characters mentioned above, for future reference:



All photos courtesy of Facebook.

Anyway, they were overjoyed to hear that school was canceled (for Megan too, at STU) and we played a game of pool in celebration, then caught the last bus home. Because the buses were also canceled, with good reason, as it turns out... our bus slid down the hill into a snowbank and got stuck.
Our free afternoon was squandered on the second season of Dexter, which Megan hadn't seen, and after feeding her, we threw her out into the snowstorm to go do her homework and went to bed. The whole city was shut down - stores, buses, everything - after about 4, and it was still weathering outside...

2. Today, Sean had an early class at 8:30, which generally for him means a 7:00 alarm. I don't even wake up when it goes off anymore, so my day started with being shaken away and told that school was canceled again until noon, encompassing all of Sean's classes and my only class of the day. We celebrated with French toast and the third season finale of Enterprise, and then I went off to my new job after confirming that Dr. Black was actually in (the NBCC doesn't seem to have have opened today, though).
Snow days are awesome, even if they're only snow half-days.

3. My new job is kind of similar to my old job. I have a work station in the lab in the basement of the Anth barn, with a shiny flat screen Dell and a phone and everything, and I'll have a lab key so I can work whenever I want. I'm basically organizing, cataloging, and making PDF copies of a collection of documents and random things that came with a massive donation of artifacts a couple of years ago, and Mom will be amused to know that I have a reputation as an organizer - the intention is that this will be the most organized project in the lab, because the other ones have spiraled into chaotic webs of files and drawers. I'm pretty excited about it, which may seem weird to those who aren't really into playing with old things and making order from chaos. I've already made a shiny new Filemaker database and have a working plan to get everything under control.

4. Tomorrow is Friday! I love fast weeks, don't you? We're having a quiet night, Valentines Day or not, because Sean has a long day of working tomorrow and I have a Latin sight reading test. He's cooking something mysterious for supper and I suspect we'll be breaking into the final season of Enterprise this evening.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

waiting for an email

My bedroom window.

My mom and her snow days.

Professor Geyssen's awesome cancellation emails. Unfortunately it's for Myth, not a language.

Monday, February 11, 2008

cue the angel light

1. I really wish that snow days were more common around universities - it would give me a reason to be excited about snow forecasts, instead of knowing that unless I'm very, very lucky, snow just means a somewhat more miserable time waiting for buses and trekking about town. Today was more about vast amounts of icing-sugar snow blowing around in drifts than actual snowfall, but I really could have done with sleeping in and having a quiet indoor day.

2. School is pretty unremarkable - Greek composition, Latin reading, listening to Geyssen's highly entertaining Myth lectures. I sat with Ellis, a comrade from Belize, in Myth again and she told me about her weekend. She's a waitress at the Delta Hotel here, and ended up working over 40 hours this weekend for the ECMAs. I don't know where she gets the energy, but even she was looking pretty exhausted.

3. The good news of the day? Sean heard today that he got the $1000 bursary that we had been hoping for, which means his tuition is paid and all we have to worry about at this point is my loan coming in (hopefully this week); with my two jobs, and his work-study, we'll be just fine. There is much rejoicing today, and even the cats seem a little more purry. Thank you, Financial Aid angels... wherever you are.

4. I spent the afternoon and most of the evening working away on a few little projects I've been thinking about lately, which I will share with you soonish - it's late, so pictures will have to wait. It's a good feeling, though, spending a while in arts-and-crafts mode - makes me remember that I'm good at things other than making socks and applying myself to hours of dead languages.
Sean's dad stopped in briefly, being in town for Tai Chi, and Sean made him a pizza. Sean's repertoire of recipes sort of gets ranked by who approves of it; if he likes it, he'll throw it together when he's booting about the house, and if I like it too, he'll make it occasionally to mix up the menu a bit, but if his dad likes it, it's a staple and he'll make it for people other than our household. I'm happy to say that the pizza made the cut.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

the blind monkey union

1. Our travel plans for yesterday fell through because of a miscommunication, so we stayed in and had a very quiet night, knitting and so forth. Today has been pretty quiet, too, but at least I did something other than knit and work my way through more of Enterprise's third season - I got groceries, made soup, helped Sean clean the living room, and scrubbed out the bathroom.
It's easily the least loved room of our house, probably because it's kind of depressing. Apartments almost always have floors that were chosen less for their aesthetic appeal and more for the ability to hide scuffs and stains, and were laid by blind monkeys in the '60s; the walls are, almost without exception, painted white with a sprayer, also generally by blind monkeys (rental apartment renovation is their sole evolutionary niche). Our linoleum is cream with grey and pink designs and pretty stained, and the white paint is slopped all over our sink and mirror. To round out the gross effect, the water stains anything it touches bright orange, which is mostly what I scrubbed out today - drips on walls, stains on grout, etcetera. Unfortunately all the elbow grease in the world isn't going to make it nice without a coat of paint - there's a lovely paint silhouette of our old toilet tank, for example - so I'm thinking of painting above the wainscoting, as well as a good coat of white below, to make it a little nicer than stained white with stained cream. For some reason I would really like to go nuts with the masking tape and do Debbie Travis pinstripes - maybe a soft grey to match the grey in the lino? - but I really wish we could have a non-neutral colour in there. I'd put up pictures but even with an hour of scrubbing, it's pretty unpleasant.
Thoughts? Should I ignore the floor and go bold, or would grey pinstripes be fun?

2. I'm working my way through depressing amounts of homework, but what I'd really like to be doing is organizing my wardrobe wishlist - I keep wanting to make new clothes, but not knowing what exactly to get for fabric and giving up in dismay, or not knowing what style of shirt I would like to attempt, and so forth. Today I downloaded a screencap tool that makes it easy to select just a piece of the screen, which makes it far easier to build a portfolio of anthropologie clothing I'd like to rip off - er, emulate. I'm going to scout a little more for things I would like, and then start making a plan for exactly what I'm going to make and what I need for them.
I would also rather be making upcycled jewelry from burnt out Christmas lights, but life just isn't fair sometimes.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

what's an ecma?

1. I didn't meet with Sue yesterday; instead, I'm meeting with Dr. Black on Tuesday. I've never had him for a class, but I've spoken with him around the department before and I'm really looking forward to working with him on the GFC collection.

2. I'm nursing a pretty grouchy mood and have been for days, so I haven't got much to say that's worth saying. The winter has gotten to me pretty thoroughly, and I'm starting to really dread being around bunches of people.
The plan for the weekend is to go up to Seeley's Cove with Sean's dad this afternoon and hang out there until tomorrow night. A short visit, but I'm looking forward to getting out of the city, ECMA weekend or not. Basically, for those of us who are short on cash and aren't into the people scene at the moment, it amounts to business as usual except you get the distinct feeling you're missing out on cool stuff somewhere, and downtown is full of hung over people with instrument cases. Bass cases, guitar cases, trombone cases, you name it.

3. Sean has mastered the Mediterranean pita pizza, and we brought one to D&D last night to the delight of Marie and Will. I could use one about now...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

happy new year

1. Ah, February. It's been a long week. It's been relatively quiet around here, especially because Sean had a midterm this morning for a course he joined on the last day to pick up new courses and had a ton of reading and studying to do. Aside from a brief visit with Megan, and going over to Stu's new apartment for a little while to see his new place with his friend Amy (the pirate potter), it's been Star Trek and knitting around here. I pinned down Parallax and brushed out the dreads in her fur - I think maybe her hip is bothering her, because she's getting all knotted on her back even though she's shorthaired - and she tore up my hands pretty good. I told her if I were any kind of real knitter, I'd be saving the fur, spinning it into yarn, and knitting her a sweater so she doesn't have to sleep on our power adapters all the time, but she wasn't having any of it.

2. Today, however, has been an avalanche of good. My cousin Patience gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Aurora early this morning - on Chinese New Year, no less, making her a little baby Rat just like her cousin Stephanie.
Michelle's house won their annual hockey blood feud for the first time in a while, so there was rejoicing there, too.
I got word today from Sue that she isn't going to hire me for the work study, but has found the money to hire me anyway to work with a collection of artifacts at the department. I'm so relieved (on the money front) and excited to be working with artifacts again! Hopefully I'll be meeting with her tomorrow or Monday to talk about the position.
And my Greek class tomorrow morning is cancelled!

3. It being Chinese New Year, and having lots to celebrate (Sean got an A on the midterm this morning, too), we decided to make a two person Chinese feast. Sean learned how to make eggdrop soup, and perfected his ginger-garlic-preserved black bean sauce for beef and broccoli, and with some sweet and sour chicken and rice we had beautiful supper. Of course, my points are sort of in a rough state, but I'm back on the wagon in a big way tomorrow.

4. Links:
  • my buses will be partially bio-fueled starting soon!
  • I've been seeing chalkboard paint around for a while now, but dry erase walls are even better. I think Sean wants to paint the whole house in it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

fedora pottle

1. A rather depressing day. I got up early, polished up my Greek before class, was too tired to do well. Skipped Myth to get more Latin prepared, worked for two hours, went to class, it was cancelled. Tried to get a bus pass, my ID wasn't validated yet (this wasn't a problem until just now...). Tried to give blood uptown, but apparently Chiapas is a malaria risk, so I'm not to come back until May. Boo. And I haven't heard from Sue; I'm going to email her tomorrow.

2. A late entry to the awesome blog harvest: Knitnut. I will give any knitblog a perusal because if you have one, you should either be able to write or be able to knit, both of which will keep me coming back, but I have to say I usually have higher expectations if the name makes me smile (the Yarn Harlot? I May Be Knitting A Ranch House?) and in the grand scheme of things, "Knitnut" is not immediately as entertaining as "Yarn Abuse". Imagine my surprise when I laughed out loud (or lol'd, as the kids say these days) several times just reading her first few entries. She writes about other things too, like her cat or her son or the news, and my words fail me, so here's hers:
  • "You should put a hat on that baby. This was the single most frequent piece of advice I was given by complete strangers when my son was a baby, and I’m happy to share it with you. I don’t care if there’s a heat wave and people are melting into steaming sticky puddles all over the streets, you should have a hat on that baby. Even if your pediatrician peels 13 layers of clothing off your baby in order to diagnose his prickly heat rash and then submerses him in a vat of cool water to prevent him from spontaneously combusting, you should put a hat on that baby. And strangers always say it that way too: You should put a hat on THAT baby. In case you’re just confused and have been putting all your hats on some other baby."
  • On reading in public: "But I have to say it feels a little weird reading those raunchy heroin sex scenes in public, especially when some of my fellow travelers on the #14 seem to be leaning in and reading along. Am I just imagining that? I wonder if they wonder why I’m reading porn on the bus, and what they would think if they knew it was because my cat doesn’t allow me to read it at home. I also wonder if it’s okay to turn the page yet, or if they need another minute to catch up (I always give them the extra minute, don’t you?)."
  • On naming pets: "A few years ago I inherited sixteen fish named Katherine."
  • If you've just eaten, and/or have never had a baby, do not read about a gross hilarious story about her son as a baby. This seems like the sort of story mothers can relate to, though.
I've continued reading through her archives, and though all the above quotes are from the front page of the blog, trust me, the fun continues even when you go back in time. Her journey towards getting a cat was pretty great; the stages seem to run: "Ha, maybe I should get another cat!", "Maybe I really should get a small cat... or two?", "I think I want to adopt a lion!", and "I have adopted a 26 lb dogcat omg". I feel the pain of her pedestrian woes. I am charmed and beguiled by her random collection of antique photos, and am considering renaming Parallax "Fedora Pottle" after the subject of one such photo (seriously, a little girl named Fedora Pottle!).

couch potatoes

1. It's been a while since I've had such a completely wasteful sort of weekend. Sean and I have both been doing the school-work-social life thing pretty hardcore for the past while, so this weekend, since I got home for work yesterday, we have just... vegged. I can hear Mom gagging from here, but there's something to be said for just quietly watching Star Trek and cooking and knitting and not seeing people for a couple of days. It's fun, though - when you get in an academic mindset, everything starts turning into papers, and so today has been a day of downloaded television (hey, at least there are no commercials) interspersed with rambling conversations about the changing trends in science fiction narrative in the past decade. And also some conversation about how much new House is like first season House, when people did tests and they spent more time breaking into houses than bellyaching about story arcs (seriously, did anyone enjoy watching House being slowly run into the ground by the sadistic narcotics cop last season?).

2. In other news, my first of the pair of hybrid socks is almost done - just knitting the bit that folds down at the top. I also have a couple little projects on the go that I'm not writing about at the moment, but I'll fill you in at a later date. I'm finding a lot of inspiration online these days, and just generally feeling more creative... the busier I get, the more creative I seem to be, which is just frustrating because then I can't get anything done!

3. This week is going to be a sort of crucial week in finding out how we're doing for the rest of the semester. Sean should hear about his bursary this week unless it's delayed for some reason, and I'll hopefully hear tomorrow from Sue about whether I can have my job back or not. Here's hoping for big lovely yes's on all fronts. Once again, I'm all hopeful and excited about getting to work with Sue and get into some of the projects she has on the go... I hope I can.

4. Links and other newsy things:
  • School resumes Tuesday at STU! Much joy from everyone concerned.
  • This charity is pretty spectacular. Microcredit loans are, of course, so hot right now, and this allows you to furnish the money for a microcredit loan to an entrepreneur - someone with a face, and you know what it's going towards, and you even get your money back when the loan is repaid (the repayment rate is over 95%, which is actually a pretty standard rate for microcredit).
  • I don't need a coffeemaker anymore (thanks Mom!) but if I did, I'd be tempted to hunt down a siphon brewer, if only for aesthetics and science geek appeal. Apparently they make lovely coffee too.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


1. An exceptionally busy day yesterday. I had mountains of homework for my languages, so my day actually started with two hours of Greek homework before I even got to Greek class. After class, I hiked down to work to put in an hour between classes; I had skipped my regularly scheduled hour for an interview earlier in the week. Work isn't that strenuous, but by God, the hike back up the hill while trying not to be late for class - that is strenuous.
And when the Greeking and Latinning were done for the day, I ran a few errands - picking up my loan advance, paying rent, etcetera - and arrived home feeling pretty exhausted.
Of course, the day wasn't very - because just as Wednesday is Spaghetti Day, Friday is D&D day. So we had a quick carbonera and zipped away to Will's house.
(By the way, that's a real carbonera, because one of the blessings of being too busy to eat all day is enough points to handle prosciutto and Parmesan and egg on pasta. A real carbonera is essentially pasta with raw egg mixed in, with the very salty cured pork - pretentious bacon, if you will - and cheese added in to make the egg creamier as the heat from the pasta partially cooks the egg and melts the cheese. Sure, it's vaguely possible to get salmonella, but it does cook a little, and almost no eggs these days have salmonella on the insides - though eggshells are disease factories!)

2. D&D was shaken up a little because we had a new player, a friend of Marie's named Larissa who played a gnome rogue. For those keeping score, there are also three halflings, a rogue, a marshal-bard and a druid. So four small (as opposed to human-sized mediums) support units with nary a fighter or wizard among us.
More than capable of locating and bargaining with a gopher, though, and bringing him to justice (in this case, dryads) for collecting hundreds of birds and keeping them in his hole. Not really sure why he did, and it's hardly the point - I let the birds go, and we carried on adventuring. Through an odd sequence of random chance we ended up, at the end of the session, being almost slaughtered by a band of harpoon spiders - giant spiders that throw harpoon-like spines at you and haul you into the air. It was pretty vicious and both Sean and I nearly died, but eventually we won out. I think we'll be leaving that dungeon and going back on our actual quest, though - I'm pretty sure it's not intended for us at this level, and Will, unlike James, won't stop us if we wander into an area that we should be able to see is too advanced for us.

3. As we walked home last night it was sort of slushing out - some sort of rather unpleasant freezing rain - and it seems to have carried on all night, so now the city is covered in gritty slush. If it were a week day, I imagine public schools would be closed for the day; I doubt the dance classes here are going to carry on much more today if it keeps up. I have had exactly zero people in to the gallery so far, and when I went to get coffee at Erin's cafe, her friend, who was working, said I was her fifth customer since 8. Also, there's no food today, which is a pain because I ran out the door at the last minute and forgot to grab anything to eat. Perhaps if the weather lets up I'll ask Sean to bring me a bagel.
I'm kind of disappointed with the way today is going so far - I've been working towards making a member database for a while now, and only today have I actually gotten the full story from Aliant - we can't have PHP or MySQL access until we upgrade two levels to the $40/month level of webhosting. I can't see any way to make it work without it, so I'm left with some very unsavoury options - switch over to a new host, pay $40/month, or individually create the member pages.