Sunday, May 02, 2010

I really hate to say "I told you so"...

But all those people I've been writing to for years who have replied (when they've replied) that off-shore drilling is safe and necessary and that there would probably never be a spill or accident because the oil companies know what they're doing??? I told you so! I told you that yeah, they know what they're doing like the Captain of the Titanic, and it's too dangerous to keep temping fate this way.

Now we've got a gusher going at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons per day with a slick currently covering the approximate area of Puerto Rico (3,500 square miles+). The shrimp and oyster industry in LA and MS is completely ruined for probably the next few years, just as it was finally recovering from Katrina and in this economy. BP is saying it will continue spilling for at least another 8 days before they have any hope of stemming the flow with - get this - a dome that they're going to put over the site of the busted pipe (which, personally, I can't imagine will actually work), and another 3 months before they have a "relief well" drilled to divert the oil to another rig. We're screwed. And God help us if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream. Seriously, God help us because no one else will be able to at that point. Good job, BP.

I also think it's hilarious in a completely not funny way that our governor, who until recently has been a Republican, was against off-shore drilling (because most of the state is against it) until he was elected, then he was for it because it was popular in the Republican party, and now that he's an Independent because that's his only hope of being elected to the Senate, and this has happened, he's against it again.

I'm not particularly pleased with Obama on this issue either because he's been trying the impossible to do task of placating the Republicans to try to get them on his side way too much on these energy issues, saying coal, nuclear and drilling for oil is largely okay. The Republicans will oppose him, whatever he does, unless he becomes one of them and does exactly what the party line is. And even then they might oppose him just on principle. Best to tell them what Bush told the Dems all these years: my way or the highway. Because I do not agree with trying to placate people whose main motivation is money and power for themselves and their backers and the status quo because it preserves the other two. At all. I think it's all disasters just waiting to happen. And since the worst that can happen with a wind mill is a bird can fly into the propellers and get chopped into little birdy bits, I'm thinking that - despite the fuming of traditional energy corporations and the cost to set green methods up - it is the way to go. Seriously.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Coming and going...

  • I got in to the Grad Certificate Program at USF! YAY! So in the Fall, it is back to school for me! I'm really happy about this...

  • My Spring Break starts on Friday. So I'll be heading out to South Carolina that morning. I need to gather the projects I'll be taking with me... and I've got a lot of laundry and packing to do before then.

  • I finally sent my HitchHiker off to Dave at the Merlin Tree to have the second treadle added. It should arrive there sometime today, according to UPS. I have no idea how long it will take to get it back. In the meantime, I have no wheel here to use...

  • My friend Andrea, who is pregnant, is due in a matter of weeks! She thinks she'll be a little early, but of course, there's no way of knowing until it happens. We're all so excited for her!

  • Unless my friend Maria gets a job in the next week or so, she's going to be moving back to Tampa. She's in DC right now. So, it looks like, unless a miracle happens, I definitely won't be going to DC this summer to visit with her. That kind of bums me out because DC is a lot of fun. But of course, she'll save a lot of money by being home, so that's a good thing. I'll still have to go up to Front Royal at some point to see about the Mach II wheel I want to get though...

  • Must remember to upload pictures of my garden to share. It is looking beautiful right now!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Education in Florida and why I might not be a part of it in the near future

Florida education is in trouble. Everyone knows it. It's not news. What Repulicans in the legislature are trying to do with it now is news.

Governor Charlie Crist and Senator John Thrasher (who wrote the legislation) plan to make teachers' salaries and continued employment based entirely on how their students' perform on standardized tests. These are (the already passed) SB 6 and (the soon to be voted on and expected to pass) HB 7189. Teachers will even have the threat of loosing their teaching certificates if their students don't make the mandated gains. I would make jokes about the legislature getting medieval on us, going back to the policies of the University of Bologna circa 1090 CE, but the details of this legislation make me physically ill and I can't. It's too disgusting and too disheartening. I can't enumerate them all here. Please, go here to see what this is all about. It breaks my heart.

What is clear to me in all this is that I am and what I have to give are not appreciated in this state, not by those who would employ me and not by the parents if they would allow such legislation to go unchallenged. The service that I was hoping to do for my community is not valued. If this legislation passes, it would be impossible for me to teach in public schools in this state. I will not do it. To teach under these conditions would be absurd! There are 49 other states out there and there are many private schools. I will get my teaching certificate, meet those requirements, and then I will take my youthful enthusiasm and desire to inspire young minds and I will go somewhere I will be properly respected for it (at least in the way I'm dealt my salary from my employer, in the way my contract is written, and in the way I can actually gain tenure and have advanced degrees and years of experience mean something to those who employ me - we all know that teachers aren't respected in general... that's why legislation like this is even possible).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The universe is speaking...

And it is telling me to make socks and mittens. I've been inundated with awesome sock and mitten patterns for the past month. We're talking a near daily occurrence here between magazines, books and new patterns on Ravelry. Clearly, someone thinks I need to make some and I'm beginning to agree with that assessment.

I just got an awesome new book from Ilana called Socks, Socks, Socks by Elaine Rowley. 70 sock patterns, y'all! And there are bunch of patterns in it that I want to use post-haste! I feel a trip to the LYS coming on quick to stock up on sock yarn. Perhaps not this coming weekend (will be too busy) but the following for sure!

At the same time, I have a major interest in mittens. Not just because of the crazy cold winter we had this year, but because I keep reading things about them in magazines and it's making me want to knit them. I think the medieval mittens from the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Piecework because they are simple and elegant looking. I think perhaps in red and white, or red and black? I also love the Brewster Socks from that issue.

And while I'm on that subject: Piecework has been publishing awesome things lately! The Jan/Feb issue, the March/April issue and the special Knitting Traditions, Winter 2010 are not to be missed! If you like really interesting articles about the history of knitting, knitting traditions/techniques from different cultures, and patterns to go along with these things, you really need to get your hands on them - especially Knitting Traditions which is chock full! Ravelry currently only has 17 patterns from it in the database, but there are actually 43 in the magazine with accompanying notes about the historical or traditional patterns they are taken from, many with full articles about the extant item or techniques that the pattern features.

I also can't wait to get up to VA this summer. If I get to go to DC again (which I hope will happen), I'll get to stop in this little VA town just off of I-66 (I think) on the way, where a woman who sells SpinOlutions wheels lives. I've already contacted her about meeting her to test drive the wheel and then - should it turn out to be as awesome as it seems to be - I'll have a new wheel coming with me to DC or if not then coming home with me on the way back from DC. I also need to send my HitchHiker to finally get its double-treadle retrofit. I keep putting off packing it up because I feel like I'm going to need to spin something desperately the minute I do, but there really is no reason to keep putting it off; it needs to be done! I just need to buckle down and do it already. Ilana sent me some yummy BFL too and I want to get to spinning it ASAP! But I want to have the double-treadle when I do, I think.

In other news, my hip seems to be all healed up finally (I cautiously say, while knocking wood, so as not to tempt the evil eye), so I should be able to cautiously begin spinning semi-regularly again (as soon as I get that double-treadle). Yay!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The state of things...

  • I'm too annoyed at the Health Care legislation issue to comment extensively on it. The entire thing just sounds like a huge clusterfuck (and that's a technical term there) of the first order. I'm displeased about there being no public option and I suspect that it won't change the insurance company abuses. But, of course, only time will tell how it will pan out. I do not for one second blame it on the President though, but rather entirely on the Congress.

  • Except for some ends that still need to be woven in and blocking, I've finished the OpArt baby blanket I've made for my friend Andrea, who is expecting a little one in about a month. She is the first of my friends that I went to high school with to have a child. The blanket is lovely. I've also made a Jayne hat and another hat and a pair of booties. There will probably be more things to follow, although she doesn't like the cutesy baby things so that cuts out a lot of the options at the newborn stage of things.

  • I'm making Pumpkin-Cranberry bread pudding. I wish I had a recipe, but I don't. It's something from Dinner Done, a dessert that I bought out of their Grab-and-Go freezer. I hope it will be good and can't imagine that it won't be.

  • I made 48 half-pints of strawberry jam this past weekend. It took almost all day both Saturday and Sunday. It's delicious!

  • The garden is looking awesome! I need to take pictures and put them up here. The peppers are a little less than I'd like them to be right now, but hopefully they fertilizer I put on them today will perk and green them up. We've had good rain for the past few weeks.

  • Passover is coming up and we've got most of the kosher for Passover food that we'll need. Last year, we were in VA over Passover and had to take all the food up there with us because there's no where to buy it up in the Ville. But this year, we will be here. I was glad to find rotini and shell pasta to buy this year, as well as organic and whole grain matzohs. I'm really glad that those are options now! Oh, another interesting thing I found the other day - Target has Passover dishes! I was surprised! Plates and platters and special "matzoh plates" with the word מצה (matzoh) in the center in silver. Unusual and unexpected at a place such as Target. I thought about buying it, but I figured I'd wait a week and if they still have any, they'll be on clearance for a fraction of the price.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

What my weekend is like...

I'm gardening every minute that I can. Just stopped for lunch. So far, today and yesterday, I've planted 16 tomato plants, 2 eggplants, 8 sweet peppers and bunches of winter squash seeds. Still left to do are all the various beans, tomatillos, scallop squash, and ground husk cherries, which we're trying for the first time this year because they sounded very interesting. Oh, and cucumbers! I'm really hoping for a good cucumber harvest this year because the last two have been awful and I want homemade pickles!

Previously this season, I've planted 160+ onions, some garlic and shallots, some leeks (which were actually planted last year at this time from seed), basil, carrots, dill and cilantro, and of course, marigolds in strategic areas to help keep away pesky bugs. And I've had to relocate many earthworms away from the areas in which I'm working so I didn't accidentally injure them. I love that almost every time I so much as scratch the surface out there, an earthworm appears. It's as it should be! I can't wait for the lady bugs to start showing up... Probably as soon as it warms up. Right now, it's still on the chilly side of things, but that makes for pleasant gardening weather.

Pictures to follow as soon as things start coming up and will make nice images to share...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Spring is coming, slowly but surely. I think we're finally past the risk of frost. Maybe... I hope. If it does frost again after this point, it will be the latest it has done so in as long as I can remember, possibly longer.

I planted 160+ onions today in the new 6'x4' raised bed that I put together, so a pretty good day's work. The rest of the garden is coming along slowly. I'm going to need to get on that next weekend and have it done by the following weekend or I'll have to forget it. We've got such a short window to get things in the ground if we want them to be able to get a good harvest before it gets too hot for them to live, and it's closing rapidly.

In other news, I'm so not finishing all the things I wanted to do for the Ravelympics. I've frogged everything that I wanted to frog that's been hanging around for years, and I probably will finish the French Market Bag, but that's about all I'm expecting at this point. I might get something else started, but it won't be finished before the Ravelympics ends. Hmmm...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What they said...

So I didn't watch the Superbowl this year. I've watched it in the past for the game, or for the half-time show, or for the commercials, but this year, I just didn't feel like it. Plus, they had that anti-choice commercial and wouldn't air that other commercial for the gay dating site because that would be controversial.

I have seen some of the commercials since then, and the Dodge Charger commercial was stupid and sexist and freaking offensive. In response, this has been made...

And no, unlike the original commercial there is no consolation that "oh, but women put up with all these things, but at least we get to drive an awesome car at the end of the day" because that isn't true. Driving an awesome car, or anything else material, is not sufficient consolation for the serious bullshit we put up with on a daily basis. It just isn't. And to say otherwise would be a patronizing lie.

Also, I honestly do feel sorry for the kinds of men that would feel emasculated by the sorts of things mentioned in the original commercial.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ding, Dong, the NAIS is DEAD!!!

According to Downsize DC, the USDA is scraping the NAIS!!! I am so excited about this, I can't even tell you!

Details of why they decided to back down and what they plan on doing now is available here.

It's 7 pages and a lot of it is the same information repeated over and over again in response to different FAQs. Basically, here's the deal...

They're going to do another program, the Animal Disease Traceability Framework, but it is going to be very limited in its scope, while being very flexible in how people participate. The only animals to which the program will apply will be those involved in interstate commerce! Animals who remain within a single state will not need to be traced by the program. In addition, a uniform method identifying an animal is no longer required. In other words, no RFID tags for those who don't want them. Various methods of tagging will be recognized as valid, such as metal tags, branding, tattooing, etc.

The next thing they're going to do is meet with States and Tribal Nations to discuss what they'd like to see in the program and what the people they're representing want to see. Then this summer and fall, they're going to continue working to put together actual standards for tracing animals in interstate commerce with special attention to making it simple, efficient and easy for individuals with as little hassle as possible. They hope to have the new rules published by next winter and ready for a 90 public comment period at that time before final review and implementation. What all that means for interstate transportation of animals during the next year+, I can't say, but they aren't using NAIS any more.

I like the tone of this new program, at the very least, and their claim of transparency, straightforward honesty, and sensitivity toward the concerns of common citizens who own livestock animals. The USDA seems to have taken the criticism of the NAIS seriously. We'll see if they continue to follow through with that.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Saturday randomness...

  • I'm entering the 2010 Ravelympics on I'm not quite sure how the medals are awarded, but I don't really care either. I'm entering the Aerial Unwind, Felting Freestyle, Hat Halfpipe, Lace Luge, Mitten Moguls, Short Track Shawls, Single Skein Speed Skate, SnowCross, Sock Hockey, Stash Compulsory Dance, and WIPs-Dancing - all with yarn I already have languishing in my possession. I hope to end the two weeks with lots of finished objects and a greatly reduced stash. Another good thing is that most of the projects are small and I am working every day for the duration, so - with luck and lack of busy lesson plans - I'll be able to do quite a lot of work while subbing.

  • OMG! My dad just came in with a package from Virginia. The mail man must have just left it at our front door. It's from a guy who owns a plant nursery up there and we bought a bunch of trees and plants from him to landscape part of the farm last summer. We're pretty neighborly with him and his wife, although they aren't really neighbors in the strictest sense of the word because they live quite a few miles away. We send them pink grapefruit from our tree every few months because we don't eat them and they love the stuff. Well, they just sent us a huge package of vegetable relish of some sort (can't really tell by looking and we haven't opened the jar yet), fresh pressed apple juice (!!! like in a big Mason jar!!! It's AMAZING!!!), dried apples, dried pears, dried summer squash slices, dried cantaloupe, dried pinto beans, and dried cayenne peppers! What an unexpected treat!!!

  • In other news: I'm preparing the garden beds for the Spring planting... We'll see how much of that I'll be able to get done before it will be too late to try to plant anything. We have volunteers from last year coming up all over the place... So far some sort of winter squash (too early to tell what), some parsley, a carrot (how that happened, idk because they didn't flower last year and it's obviously recent growth), lettuce and mustard greens. What I'll be planting is tbd, dependent on how late it's getting and how much time it will need before harvest compared to how long I plan on sticking around here after school lets out first week of June.

Friday, February 05, 2010

It's almost that time again...

I'm thinking of participating in Ravelympics 2010. I wasn't in Ravelry during the '08 Olympics, so this would be my first chance to compete. I have no idea what I'll do though.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Leonard Nimoy... is a photographer...

Who knew? 'Cuz I didn't. Idk where I've been, but this is news to me. Awesome news too! After looking for some of his work online, to see what it's like, I was pleasantly surprised and even... "awestruck" I think is the word.


I really love Mapplethorpe's work. I have since I was in high school taking photography classes. His work was very different than things I was interested in photographing (people and still lives in studios whereas I was far more interested in candids and landscapes in natural light), but I found them compelling nonetheless. Sometimes the subject matter is shocking, it's haunting, disturbing, and one doesn't want to look, but it's supposed to be, and that is one of the major purposes of art - to challenge the way people perceive aspects of the world. And one thing that certainly can't be denied about Mapplethorpe, he knew how to use light!

Leonard Nimoy's photography in this series is reminiscent in a lot of ways of Mapplethorpe's portraiture. The subject matter is controversial, and from the examples given at this website, I'd also say haunting, compelling, and provoking - and my God, that man can use light! GUH! And to be perfectly honest, it kinda makes me want to climb into Nimoy's head and live there for a while. No joke! I don't even care that he's well and truly old enough to be my grandfather.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love that man.

President Obama, you made me cry again.

The only thing I didn't like in that whole speech was the idea of new nuclear power plants in the United States and continuing to perpetuate the lie of so-called "clean coal." We are all aware (or should be) that western Europe is systematically closing all of their nuclear power plants as they replace them with green alternatives because they recognise that the risks of total disaster far outweigh the benefits when geothermal, hydroelectric, wind and solar generated power is so much safer, healthier (for people and the world), more abundant and will eventually be far cheaper than even nuclear power (you know, they have to do something with all that nuclear waste... it doesn't just disappear into the Great Void just because we'd like it to do that...). The "clean coal" lie I have addressed elsewhere and will not go into again, but really people have got to stop repeating this figment of the coal industry's PR people's imaginations. Continuously repeating the lie won't make it any more a reality than telling children about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy make those imaginary creatures real.

Oh, and the Republicans? Can stuff it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The usual...

A random update...

  • I've been a little sick for a week or so... I thought at first that it was the crazy wet and cold weather we had last week, and then I thought maybe it was the weather and/or indoor allergies, which would be unusual but not unheard of, but it was just too annoying and persistent. It's probably a sinus infection, according to the nurse at the clinic... and now that I have antibiotics, I think it's getting better. I'll know better by tomorrow afternoon, as I've only been taking them for 24 hours and while I think I feel better, I couldn't say for 100% certainty.

  • We just heard today that my brother is moving home from California to go to school. He'll be here on Monday. Not totally sure how I feel about that yet... I hope he does well.

  • Meanwhile, I've been preparing my application for the Graduate Certificate program I want to do to get certified. It's due by March 15th. I have everything finished and together and sitting on my desk in an unsealed envelope, except the letter of interest/statement of purpose. They are quite vague about the requirements for it, and in fact, somewhat contradictory in the instructions, other than the very limited "250 words or less" specification. I've emailed the program requesting a clarification of instructions, but I have yet to hear back.

  • I'm loving work... I find it rewarding and enjoyable and I feel valued, competent and helpful. I think that's important.

  • I've been knitting a little bit. I just need to finish up a few decorative touches and I'll have two baby hats done for a friend who is expecting. She's a Firefly/Serenity fan, so I've made her a Jayne hat, as well as a hat for which I just happened to have yarn in my stash. I've also given her booties... Next is a blanket, but I haven't completely decided on a pattern yet. I have until mid-April. Other than that, I want to work on a few things for myself. I need a new pair of fingerless mitts. I think I want them to be a little longer than the Fetching mitts that I have already. The only problem with the Fetching mitts is that they aren't quite long enough to cover my arms to where my coat sleeve ends whenever my arms aren't just hanging at my sides, you know? I might make cuffs too. I also want some anklets, and another hat.

  • I need to send my Hitchhiker to be converted into a double-treadle. I keep forgetting to pack it up and send it...

  • I want to spin. My unspun fiber stash continues to grow unabated and is so very tempting. I'm running out of room for it too... I can't wait until I'm able to get to VA to try out a Mach II. The more I think about it, the more that little number is #1 on my list of potential new wheels.

  • I'm obsessed with Star Trek again. I'm a Trekkie. I'd never deny it, just like I would never deny being a huge and hardcore fan of Jane Austen and the works of JRR Tolkien. I liked ST: Voyager for a while there, until it started to get silly toward the end. DS9, since it ended, has been my favorite ST series for the execution of the overall story (frankly, I thought it was masterfully done)... I remember using the philosophical concept of IDIC in some capacity in a paper during my sophomore year of high school. Never watched Enterprise because I thought it wasn't very well done. The writers of that show just weren't particularly interested in going along with previously established canon and just made things up as they went along if it served the story - lazy, tsk, tsk. And I was never into TOS very much until the new movie came out last Spring, but now I've watched every episode of TOS on YouTube (it's up there under CBS's shows) and I would be lying if I didn't say that I want to get some Vulcan ears and go to conventions. It's a sickness and I don't want the cure... Couldn't make it to DragonCon this year, when Shatner, Nimoy, Stewart and Mulgrew, among others were all there. It was unfortunate, but it was just too expensive for me. I'll get there eventually though.

  • The garden needs doing, but the weather was awful for a while there, so I'm behind on that work. Hopefully, this weekend, I'll get a lot of work done. Can't plant things yet, but I need to redefine the planting beds and put in the soil amendments and figure out what I'm going to plant.

  • I can't remember if I've written about it yet, but I'm taking Hebrew lessons on Wednesday evenings. I really like it and it's about time I learned...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Yes, I think so...

Inspired by my friend Ilana, I'm making a few New Year's resolutions I think I can at least try to keep:

  • Blog more! LOL! I'm woefully disappointed with the number of posts I made last year, and none at all in the month of December! For shame!

  • Loose the 7 pounds I managed to gain since last summer and then some! To this end, I have bought a pedometer.

  • Knit more! And knit for myself more! It's not that I don't like knitting for others, but I have worn out several cold weather items and I really need to make new ones for myself, and if I don't make it a priority, I know I won't do it. And I inexplicably feel like I knitted hardly anything at all last year, even though I began and completed 18 projects and mostly completed 2 others in 2009. Lately, I've been getting lots of inspiration for accessories from Gilmore Girls of all places...

  • Continue to eat healthier and find ways to continue to refine what I eat (this will never, however, include cutting out bagels... they are my Kryptonite in the best sort of way). I splurged way too much on sugar during the holidays...

  • Go to at least 1 reenacting or living history event! In costume!!!

As an FYI to those who might be interested: all the knitting projects I worked on toward the end of 2009 now have pictures up on Ravelry (viewable only to members). I have the same username there.