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September 2009
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November 2009

qotd, another example of why Connie Willis rocks

"One of the reasons we love history and literature is that we get endings. We find out what happened: they got married; they died; they were able to vanquish Evil. Sometimes we don't really even care how it works out, so long as we know how it works out."

-- Connie Willis in her Locus interview (Oct. 2009). Her new book, Blackout, will be released Feb. 2010, with the second half, All Clear, to follow not long after. I cannot wait.

shameless self-promotion, 320 in a series

First thing: I do some writing for Edible Hudson Valley and Edible Finger Lakes, because I'm all about promoting local, sustainable agriculture but can't write for Edible Oneonta because it doesn't exist. Two pieces from the summer just went live -- Eat Here: At Fable's Table and Edible Reads, a column that I seem to be writing quarterly for them, which I'm happy about.

In the Fall 2009 issues of both publications, there's a feature about Lucky Dog Farms and another book column, respectively. But they aren't online yet.

Second thing: Cute kid story warning. The other night, Maddy was watching Scooby Doo, which has been on 24/7 around here since the children discovered that they could get episodes On Demand. Oh - and speaking of, Cory has decided that he wants to be Scooby when he grows up and makes us pour pretend Scooby Snacks for him. He's just a weird kid.


One of the characters, Daphne I think, mentions something about getting her "beauty sleep."

"What's beauty sleep, mom?" Maddy asked.

"Some people think that a good night's rest makes your skin glow and your face more beautiful," I said.

"But you get a lot of sleep, Mom, how come it hasn't made you ..." she trailed off when I started laughing. 

Eventually her dad advised her to stop talking and walk away. 

Third thing: Have you entered the contest yet? I'll pick a winner tonight.

many things make a post

* Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic are two great tastes the go great together. Or something like that.

* This interview with Berkeley Breathed is interesting not only for his many apologies about the way he acted as a young (somewhat dickish) man but also because I had no idea about Bloom County: The Complete Library. I now know exactly what I want for Christmas.

* The joy of watching two geeks flirting with each other. And, seriously, having a smart, cute man tell me that I'm "very smart" makes my knees wobble a bit, too.

* Why artificial virginity, which you can now buy in a kit, won't survive globalization.

* This round-up of yogurt is worth reading for the first four grafs alone. I don't feel so alone now, w/r/t my relationship with yogurt.

* Mike Rowe is a very, very smart man.

* Science is amazing

* A lunch that's far too pretty to eat.

* If I had time enough, I'd do this to our basement ceiling.

* Want or "Disapproving owl disapproves."

* Michael Chabon is slowly turning into one of those writers who can play both the fiction and non-side of the fence with equal humor and grace. Witness this post about his SF cred and this Fresh Air interview

* Lemur!

* I'm going to have to go to this Gorey-inspired dance performance. Who is with me?

son of frankenpie

The last apple pie was so very tasty that I had to make another this weekend.


This one was a bazillion times more attractive. I even cut out little leaves from dough scraps.


Like so many sequels, the second Frankenpie couldn't improve on the first in terms of taste. Yes, this one is prettier but the first one was yummier. Let this be a lesson.

Another lesson is that kids and cameras are a great match. I didn't realize that Maddy had taken so many shots of McGregor with various items on him until I loaded the photos from my memory card to my computer. A sampling:


WIth breast cancer rubber duckie.


Plastic fly and spider.


Toy nails from one of Cory's tool sets.


Decorative gourds.

This tell you a lot, I think, about McGregor's temperament and Maddy's persistence. Or something like that.

If you haven't yet, enter the contest....

qotd, vowell

"I was just at this meeting of New England booksellers where one of the writers who was speaking was the novelist Joshua Harris, who had just had a baby. Someone asked what he hoped for his baby and he said that he hoped that his son would lead a more adventuruous life than he has. Because being a book person, he just spends his life indoors reading and writing. So I said to him aftwerwards that a happy medium if you want the kid to get out there in the world is if he wrote nonfiction. Because I personally am a homebody, agorophobic writer, but because I write nonfiction, I'm always having to leave my house to write about things that literally make me throw up.

So I'm always having to do things that I guess I'm supposed to imagine are good for me. Like I've been researching the history of Hawaii and I went to Father Damien's Leper Colony. There aren't many ways to get there and one of them is down the steepest sea cliff in the world on the back of a mule. And I'm afraid of heights and I don't really do well around animals. It looked scary and I had a huge charlie horse, so it was very painful and terrifying and uncomfortable. I'm glad I did it. But if it wasn't my job, I'd probably skip it."

-- Sarah Vowell on how writing non-fiction is character building. She couldn't be more correct, imo. Just ask me about the taxidermy story.

Also: don't forget to enter the contest!

an abundance of Starmore: a contest


I wound up with two copies of the new printing of Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting. When I'd heard that it was being reprinted, I pre-ordered a copy. Then, out of the blue (and thanks to a certain cross-stitiching blogger), a publicity person offered to send another copy my way. How could any sane knitter resist? 

But I really don't need two of them. So here's the deal - leave a comment on this post telling me what part of the world you live in - I ask merely because I'm nosy - and how you found out about this contest. I'll use the magical random number thingy to pick a winner on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. I'll mail this anywhere that can be reached by mail, even if it must be delivered by donkey, pigeon or grouchy human being.

Please spread the word far and wide. Thanks!


* As for my thoughts on the book, it is, in a word, as thorough as only a Starmore title could be. She lucidly explains her own theory for how fair isle patterns developed, as well as provides plenty of patterns and charts for an adventurous knitter to make his or her own tams, mittens or sweaters. Starmore Herself has provided clean versions of the art from the previous editions and worked with Dover to make sure all of the images here were color-corrected. The effort shows. The images are crisp and gorgeous. 

My only real complaint is that some of the garments really reflect the time that they were first offered in. The boxy (even for traditional Fair Isle) and oversized silhouettes don't appeal now as much as they did in 1988. A few of the color palettes scream late '80s pastel. But these drawbacks are an opportunity for growth, since the adventurous knitter can recolor and reshape the basic design.

For me, this title is a great introduction to the world of Fair Isle knitting and provides plenty of information for exploration. 



It is turning into one of those Wednesdays. Nothing bad, really, just too busy to get any real coherent thinking/writing accomplished.*

One of the many busy things is a new yoga class I'll be trying out tonight. I don't really feel like doing yoga today, mostly because I am lazy, but have talked myself into going by reminding myself that the alternative is spending the evening at home making sure the children bathe themselves. Which has become a not-altogether-pleasant experience. 

And, so, more tomorrow. Including a CONTEST to win a neat thing. So come back then.


* Thee are those who say this is true on most days. To those I say, shut up.

many things make a post

* What it is like around here on most days. (Click on the link then wait for it.)

* Put this headline in the bin with "Water Still Wet!"

* Three from Slate and Slate-branded projects:

    - The socio-political implications of Butt Elmo.

    - Cider's rebirth can't come too quickly for me.

    - For the American woman, "It turns out, the problem isn’t that we have too many options—it’s that they all suck."

* So this makes me never want to eat hamburger again ever. And also from the NYT: Green snot doesn't mean what you think it means and the Proustian memory of McDonald's apple pies.

* I can only begin to tell you how happy I am that science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker is now a regular blogger at boing boing. For further proof of why you should be happy, too, a sample post on sourdough starter.

* If you are near Harrogate, TN, tonight or could make yourself near there tonight, go see Silas House and Scott Miller. Thank me later.