August 31, 2006

feline issues

I've got no great plans for the three day weekend - weeding the front yard, a long erg piece, food shopping. Nothing too exciting. I may check into selling my little car, too. (Anyone want a 2001 Toyota MR2 Syder convertible?) I'm hoping that being around the house more will help with the cat issue.

He's been very needy lately, which wouldn't be a problem except for two things. First, he's very vocal and has the whiniest voice I've ever heard on a cat. It sounds like he's trying to tell me something's wrong, but damned if I can figure out what it is. That still wouldn't be a problem, except that he keeps deciding to speak up in the middle of the night. I've been in sleep deficit all week, at least partly thanks to him. The other problem is that the neediness translates into wanting to be petted whenever I'm sitting or laying still, which wouldn't be a problem except he won't stay still lately. I don't mind too much having him on my lap while I use the computer, over even when he sita on the edge of the mousepad, but I do mind when he either parades back and forth in front of the keyboard or around my ankles, headbutting them whenever I'm not petting him enough. I don't even mind trying to get to sleep with him suggled up to me and one hand on him, but instead he keeps pacing back and forth and butting my hand for more petting. I'm really hoping that having me around a bit more calms him down at least during the night - we've always found that the more time we're with them, the better socialized both cats became, so I think having Rudder gone for so long and me busy - and away for three days last weekend - is the cause of the problem.

I hope so, anyway. I need more sleep. Damn cat.

Posted by dichroic at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2006

picture me doing a celebratory dance as I write this

After talking to Rudder, I proposed to my boss that he lay me off as of September 30, combine our positions, and add my title to his. Obviously the severance benefits would be nice for me, but I honestly think that would make sense for and benefit our company as well. He was unhappy with the idea because he's a decent guy, but was more surprised than I think he ought to have been. I don't know how likely this is, ecause the company doens't generally do one-shot layoffs, but we'll see. I think I was clear enough about my reasons for the suggestion that he won't be surprised by anything else that happens; he's a decent guy so I owe him that.

Maybe this weekend I can see if the dealer will offer enough for my little car or if I'll have to sell it independently (I suspect the latter) and make an appointment to get the cat the checkups he needs.

Later this afternoon I made an appointment for a massage Saturday, and this evening I went out to eat with the Cubemate (her guy is out of town too). To celebrate, we went to the fancy steak place instead of the midrange one I'd originally proposed. There was wine and there was dessert. Not sure this will all be much good for tomorrow erg piece, but some things take precendence.

Posted by dichroic at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)


Today may be The Day, as Rudder was supposed to have gotten to review his contract. Am waiting for his call. Waiting......waiting....waiting....

Am not patient. In fact I went to the extent of calling him in his hotel room, which required calling my cell-phone service provider first to get the capability to make international calls. Reached him but he had just gotten back fromt he gym and was in the middle of dinner or something. He promised to call back, though. I don't mind waiting 20 minutes or an hour as long as I don't have to wait until tomorrow.


He called and the news is good! I may wait until tomorrow to talk to my boss; I've got some interesting ideas to propose *cough*layoff*cough* and it would help if I weren't grinning like a fool.

(I do apologize about all the vagueness. I should be able to post with detail and dates here within the next few days.)

OK. On other topics. And in pursuit of not grinning like a fool....

So I think last night I accidentally mastered dressing for the coffeeshop. My local knitting group meets there on Tuesdays, and last night was my third or fourth time. For work, I'd warn, starting from the bottom, my faaabulous black not-too-high-but-spike-heel pointy-toed D'orsay pumps, black tights, a Black Watch mini-kilt, a blue fitted Oxford, glasses instead of contacts and a haircomb with sparkly blue crystals. For the knit-in, I removed the tights and the shirt, subsitituting for the latter a black cami with "New Orleans Mardi Gras" on it in honor of the anniversary, and deciding to omit upper underpinnings because I get tired of the way bra straps always seem to be set wider than camisole-shirt straps. I don't go without often any more, but I still can without discomfort or being really, really obvious. (That is, you can tell, but you have to look carefully.) The reason I'm guessing this was the correct attire was that the (female) barista was suddenly much chattier than usual, even complimenting my shoes. (And no, I don't think she was hitting on me.)

Will have to experiment and see. In the next month because I'll be gone after that!

Posted by dichroic at 01:40 PM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2006


Funny - I feel like I've been slacking off all weekend on training. And I haven't really: I erged 5K Friday morning before heading out to Anaheim and another 6K on Sunday evening after coming home. (Granted, the latter was mostly so I could sleep in and skip the erg on Monday.) My logbook makes it look like I've been slacking, because I'm kind of erratic about where I log weekends, whether with the week before and the week after. So it looks like I only erged last week on Monday, Tuesday and Friday for a total of about 25 km, when actually I'd also done a half marathon the prior Sunday. On the other hand, I took off both Wednesday and Thursday.

I helped fix the problem by doing a 15km piece this morning before work (ouch). Still, I've done only 26 km in the past 7 days, compared with over 52 km in the 7 days prior. However, that latter is end-loaded, so closer to this week - I did 41 km in the last 3 DAYS of it. I'm not too far behind, but ideally I should do 20 km or so in the rest of this workweek and then another half-marathon on the weekend.

The reason for all this obsessing over numbers is just that, while I've been saying I'll probably do a half rather than a whole marathon at Rudder's annual ergathon which is now (ulp!) less than a month away, I'm going to feel like a weenie if I do. On the other hand, even if I do it, it's certainly going to take longer than last year's four hours and thirteen minutes, and that was painful enough.

On a different topic, I need to recount a conversation from yesterday - a classic example of how the brain reparses information. A coworker and I left the building at the same time, and he said something about the weather (temps are still getting to over 100F here), adding, "I talked to my sister in Colorado yesterday, and the high is about 50 there."

I said, "Yeah, I was in LA over the weekend and I was cold the whole time, though that was more of a problem indoors than out."

Pause. He's obviously thinking it over. Then he asks, "So where in southern California did you go?"

Fortunately, by then we'd reached his car, so I was spared further conversation.

Posted by dichroic at 12:39 PM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2006

WorldCon report

Summary: I had a good time, but not so good that I'm saving my pennies for Tokyo next year. I'd go again, if it's close to home and I'm not doing anything else, or if it's somewhere I want to go anyway, or most especially if there are a group of people I want to meet up with there.

Program events: Somehow I only made it to three panels, I'm not sure why. Two were OK, but not terribly exciting, even the one with the big names on it. The third (Shakespeare and his influence on your writing) was the best by a long shot. It was more about Shakespeare, his own writing, and his experiences in fiction than about the title topic; I htink I enjoyed it most because all of the panelists engage with WS or think about him in their daily lives, either as writers, actors or teachers, so they were all passionate about the topic. (Especially in the case of Sheila Finch, who as a teenager got to see Richard Burton as Hamlet some 13 times at the Old Vic. Yum.) (Participants: Amy Sterling Casil (moderator), Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Mary A. Turzillo, Sheila Finch.)

High points: I really enjoyed the kaffeeklatches, where you get to sit aroung a table with an author or editor and 9-10 other people and just talk. Great access to interesting people - some of the other participant's comments would have been worth it all by themselves. The readings turned out to be similarly intimate, which I hadn't expected.
Disappointments: See panels, above. Also, there was so much stuff going on that every decision to see one thing involved missing others. I think the worst was the raffle: I'd expect that it wouldn't take long and I could go sing sea shanties, but isntead it took well over an hour and I eventually gave my tickets to someone and left so I could start driving home. (A good decision, as it happened.) I didn't win anything and I missed the singing.
Surprises: I sort of wandered into a talk by Tim Powers that I hadn't really planned to attend, and it was wonderful. I went to the Hugos more or less from a feeling that it was a must-see (giving up a trip to trip to Disneyland with Anghara and Deck to do so, one of the more painful trade-offs) to do so, but I quite enjoyed the Hugos. Scalzi didn't look as I'd expected from pictures I'd seen, incidentally.

Shopping: Incredible. Resulting in many more things I am not supposed to be buying because I already have too many of them (books, dichroic earrings) plus an incredibly detailed ojime bead of a dragon and cat. (But can you ever really have too many books or earrings?)

High points: The dichroic glass was much cheaper than I'd expect. And it took me forever to decide among the nutsuke and ojime on one table, because it was incredible stuff (and not terribly expensive).
Disappointments: None, really. Though it was surprisingly hard to find a copy of Jo Walton's Farthing. (The table where I finally found it was right in front but I'd started from the back.)
Surprises: How very much of it there was. And reasonably priced, too.

People-watching: Oh, yes. There is no getting around the fact that there were loads of funny-looking people at Worldcon. However, there were also loads of people you might expect to be funny looking, but weren't - some of the most outlandishly costumed people gave me the feeling that this was their preferred dress, with mundane clothes being something they were forced into the rest of the time. Lots and lots of people in wheelchairs or with canes; I think there are several reasons for it, and that the noted acceptance of all sorts of disabilities in in the community is only a part of it. For one, like rowing it's a lifetime interest, not something you're likely to only do at a certain age. Of course, unlike regattas, SF and fandom are things you can engage in despite disabilities (there is adaptive rowing, but only a few regattas have events). Also, I think maybe WorldCon is a big enough deal that some people who might find it difficult to get out much otherwise spend their energy on this.

High points: The swash and the swagger and the fun of the costumes.
Disappointments: I missed the masquerade, though for good reason. (I was enjoying myself talking to people at dinner.)
Surprises: I realized that there is really nothing in current fashion that flatters larger people as much as the sorts of costuming people wear to Renfaires and cons. A cloak hides a multitude of sins. A bodice that's fitted, supportive and revealing doesn't hide anything but goes one better by turning generous curves into decided (and enticing) assets. The male version can take someone who looks like Wally from the Dilbert strip and turn him into a swashbuckling gallant. Also, the number of men in Utilikilts didn't surprise me at all - but the number who looked damn good in them did.

People-meeting: Famous people and friend-people and LJ people.

High points: Talking to some other first-timers, dinner on Friday with two other Lioness fans. Meeting James P. Hogan and Mary Kay Kare at the Information desk. Kaffeeklatches with Alma Alexander and Elizabeth Bear.
Disappointments: I saw my friend D for about two seconds Friday, while I was being shown the ropes at the Information desk, and never did find him again. Also, mush as I liked the Kaffeeklatches, the venue for them sucked - right next to a filk stage. One wired for sound. Not to mention assorted other noise from the rest of the Lounge area right outside the curtained area. I have excellent hearing (very few rock concerts in my past!) and I had trouble hearing occasionally, so it must have been terrible for people with hearing impairments. (T-shirt spotted: "Going deaf faster gives you more time for reading")
Surprises: One of the people I ate with Friday turned out to be a (very quiet!) member of the piffle list, which I've been a moderator of since its inception. Also, later that night I met someone from work - took her an amusing amount of time to refocus and realize who I was. Did not get hit on at all, which surprised me only because of some of the stuff I'd read about WorldCons of the past. One guy did compliment my dress (and smile) but he also called me "perky", which does not constitute hitting on someone in a bright scarlet dress with low neck, clingy top half and swirly skirt. (Or if he thought it did, he needs serious practice.)

Other events: Stuff not on the schedule.

High points: Watching Elise make a necklace crown.
Disappointments: The parties were less fun (smaller, quieter, soberer) than I expected, though since I got to be by midnight both nights I may have just missed the good parts. They weren't horrible, just not as expected. Also, of course, even the parts of them I was at would be much more fun for someone plugged in to fandom who was meeting old friends everywhere.
Surprises: Except for a little of the LA driving, I actually found the whole thing fairly relaxing, not tiring at all. I was on my feet the whole time, and constantly walking between the Convention Center, the Hilton which also hosted a lot of the events, and the Marriott where my room was, but I probably still ended up walking much less than at an average regatta. (And no exertion much beyond a walk, which of course makes a difference.) I had no trouble getting plenty of sleep and enough food. Of course, a lot of it probably comes right back to not knowing many people. I had no command performances, no juggling to fit everyone in my schedule, no getting waylaid wherever I walked. And I suspect the invite-only parties were the best ones, not surprisingly. (I did consider crashing the Tor party, but though Teresa Nielsen-Hayden stated that "regulars" of Making Light were welcome, I'm only a regular reader, not a regular part of the discussion, and I suspect she meant the latter.)

Packing: Stuff I brought or didn't.

Glad I brought: Bananas, a water bottle, and something to carry the latter, plus purchases and knitting. The knitting itself was also a good thing to bring, especially the Claptis shawl, because I was freezing most of the time and could spread it on my lap even while I wasn't knitting. Also, the shockingly red dress was good to wear to the parties.
Shouldn't have brought: My laptop, which I didn't use at all. The hotel charged $9.99 for Internet access, and while the con had it for free, for the same walk and the same wait I could use their computer without having to carry mine. Also, I should have brought fewer shorts and more long pants. Brrr.
Wish I'd brought: If I'd left the laptop home, I could have brought the long wide skirt that goes with the bellydancing top. I did bring the top but decided it looked stupid with jeans. I'd have fit right in.

The trip:

High points: Rudder was right: the Origins of Life lecture is pretty good. Also, the satellite radio had perfect reception all the way across the desert.
Sucky parts: Halfway to Quartzite I realized I'd forgotten to leave extra food for the cat. Fortunately our excellent catsitter has a key, so I called and threw myself on her mercy, adn fortunatley her schedule permitted a quick visit Saturday night. Then there was the LA traffic and construction on the way there. I was beginning to panic a bit that I'd be caught in traffic to the point of extreme bladder discomfort, but fortunately once I got past the construction on 215 it eased up. On the way back, there was no traffic in LA but then I-10 was closed at Quartzite. When I-10 is closed away from the big towns, a l-o-o-o-n-g detour is necessitated, so I got home an hour later than I'd been hoping.
Surprises: I was a good girl and erged 6K last night so I could sleep a little later this morning. (I think the workout helped me get to sleep, too.)

Oh, and...

  • I forgot to mention Betty Ballantine's fabulous dress, at the Hugos. I want to look like that when I'm in my 80s. I already know I won't sound as good: she has fabulous diction and sounds like a trained stage actress.

  • Apparently Harlan really is as big a jerk as reported. Connie Willis smiled and ignored it, but groping women, uninvited, is not funny. And the bit with the microphone was just gross.
  • Posted by dichroic at 02:53 PM | Comments (3)

August 24, 2006

fractured-brain postings

I'm having a fragmented-brain day today. So, assorted things:

Misia wrote:

In re: the much-talked-about sexist Forbes article many folks have been referencing today...the one about how men shouldn't marry "career women" because then they run a higher risk of facing "rocky" marriages... I have one thing to say, and I'm going to say it as a public service announcement for all and sundry:

Autonomous people who can support themselves economically have little compelling reason to stay in otherwise unrewarding relationships. If they do remain in those relationships, they have little compelling reason to remain monogamous if they do not wish to do so -- because they can afford, quite literally, to take the risk of having a relationship end.

This has always been true. The only reason any of this is even remotely newsworthy is that feminism has generated a few strides toward genuine equality and now women increasingly have the opportunity to consider relationships and marriage in more or less the same dynamic as men have historically taken for granted.

Moral of the Story: Heterosexual men are just gonna hafta figure out how to do better at being partners to women, because just having a dick and a paycheck ain't gonna cut it any more.

I find this utterly true, as I wrote in her comments - the only thing I'd add is that, to a man with both a brain and a heart, there's the major advantage to all this of having a partner who's with you because she wants to be, rather than because she has no good alternatives.

As far as I can tell, Israel and Lebanon agree that their cease-fire has more chance of holding with UN troops there, and are happy to have Italy leading it. You know, and I know, and for sure Italy knows that things could go disastrously wrong, nonetheless. And yet Italy wants to lead the forces. Granted they'd like to get more respect internationally, still, they know the risks are considerable, from damaged or dead Italian soldiers being not unlikely on up to a remote possibility of being implicated in the start of WWIII. One news report I heard, and I have no special reason to doubt it, claims that a part of the rationale is a desire on the part of the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, to do the right and moral thing. (Note: not to rationalize what he wants to do by calling it "the right thing to do". There's a large difference.) What a concept.

I've about run out of gold wire for the linked jade necklace I've sporadically been working on. I've got plenty of jade nuggets left, but pending more time and more wire, I've attached a toggle clasp so I can wear it as a choker today and at Worldcon if I'm in a jade mood there. Knitting-wise I'm taking both the shawl and the sock projects. These new contacts seem to make close vision even more difficult - I was working by feel and blur in the necklace the other day when I had them in - so the sock may be tricky with them in. I may take my most of my beading gear there to, because of the presence of Elise and a good few of her acolytes. (The one case that holds most of it will fit in the my behind-seat storage.)

Girly TMI under the cut

This has been the first full month on a new birth control prescription - it was prescribed a couple of months ago but I had a pack of the old stuff to finish out and didn't want to be trying new meds while doing all that strenuous traveling. (Good thing, as it turned out; I had enough health issues otherwise.) They've had one disquieting effect: I starting bleeding two days later than expected. That's not much under nonmedicated circumstances, but it's a hell of a long time for me on the pill. I was pretty sure there was no reason for the delay than the change in hormones; somehow I just thing I'd know if I were really no longer a single-person domicile. still, it was a bit weird, especially since this isn't necessarily the best time for an unplanned pregnancy. (Not the worst in some ways, but not the best.) It finally started today, though not until I'd checked with a test I happened to have on hand. Still bad timing, because now I have to bring paraphernalia to Worldcon, but that's not a major issue, especially with the Diva cup. It's just a little annoying because I know from experience my gut tends to be a little more iirritable at these times.

Posted by dichroic at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2006

countdown to WorldCon

Having done a bit of useful reading up on the subject, I'm now feeling a bit more confident on what to bring to Worldcon. (M'ris's comment in that thread was partcularly useful on what to wear.) A detour to REI also helped, though that was more a matter of using the con to justify stuff I wanted than actually needing anything - spectacularly comfortable shoes that can be worn even with skirts, barefoot in summer and sith heavy socks in winter are always handy. (Rumor has it they'll be half-price this weekend - if so I can go get a refund for the difference.) I'll be bringing shorts, tank tops, a fleece pullover, possibly jeans if I have room, and a couple of very lightweight and comfortable dresses that fold into nothing. One of them I don't get to wear often because it's shockingly scarlet and quite clingy, in a suck-in-that-gut kind of way. I'll try to remember to suck it in and if not I figure it's a forgiving sort of group. If I have room I'll bring a long very full skirt that's fun to wear and the halter top I never get to wear with it (RenFaire purchase). Otherwise, I'll bring a bag or backpack I can carry around if I want something to carry books and water in. I'll bring only a couple of books that are book on my TBR list and by authors who will be there, in case I get a chance to get them signed. (I'd like to buy other books I've been wanting while there - I assume Farthing and Lies of Locke Lamora and Swordspoint won't be hard to find there. ) Pretzels and Luna bars, maybe grapes or bananas and probably cereal; gatorade and water - I'd be bringing those anyway for the drive, but I'll bring extra after what I've read because it sounds like getting properly fed and hydrated can be challenging. A lot of my handmade jewelry so I can choose what to wear and show it off. My PDA because there was a handy app to load the Program onto it. A laptop if I can fit it. And of course stuff like toiletries, iPod, cellphone and charger.

I'll be taking the little car, because I don't really trust my ten year old pickup for 12 hours of driving through the desert (it's in good shape but I worry) and I have no desire to deal with either fueling or parking Rudder's behemoth. That means I have NO trunk space and just a very little storage area behind the seats. I'll have to take my smallest suitcase and put it in the passenger footwell, and I can't take any but the tiniest cooler. It worked fine for the JournalCon trip, for about the same length drive.

I need to decide whether to bring the big shawl I'm knitting or start a pair of socks, for portability. Hopefully no one will mind if I knit during panels, especially since because I only use circs, the needle part is only a few inches loing anf there are no stabbing issues.

So now packing is more or less decided, my big worry is that the whole experience will be sort of meh. I mean, I expect that I'll go to lots of interesting panels, readings and kaffeeklatches, and the people-watching should be entertaining. I was excited to learn that there are a couple of people I do know who are going, and there are a few people who will probably recognize my nom from LJ. But all of those are authors or people very plugged in to the fannish world, and while I'll certainly say go be friendly, I expect they'll all have lots of people they're looking forward to spending time with and I won't be a limpet. I could easily see this being a weekend of lots of time (in a crowd but essentially) alone interrupted by a couple of hugs and a lot of two-line conversations. Oh well. No way to find if I'm wrong, or to meet people in case I want to go again, but to go and see.

Obsessing about what clothes to pack is far easier.

I had the same worries about JournalCon and had an extremely pleasantly social time there - but then again, it was smaller by literally two orders of magnitude. It should help, at least, that I'm not shy about talking to strangers.

I'm not looking forward to the driving through LA part, either - that's just never fun. But I'll survive that part.

Posted by dichroic at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2006

not whining

There are too many people in my life who won't let me wimp out.

I know, I know, this is a good thing, makes me live up to my own standards and all that. I wouldn't want it any other way, at least not if you ask me when I'm rested. Still, they can't stop me from griping about it and I'm tired and I'm gonna. Besides, I've erged 41 kilometers in the past three days and if that doesn't entitle a girl to whinge, I don't know what does.

I was supposed to row a double with She-Hulk this morning (her boat, since all our ours are now in storage several states away). But I'd been watching the weather forecasts, it was supposed to be hot today - a low in the high 80s and humidity up a bit. Honestly, it was probably no worse, or at least not much worse, than our second row last week - but last week's row was definitely on the warm side too. She knows as well as anyone that I don't do well in heat, having been there for last month's heat exhaustion that led into the Forever Virus. When I called to ask if she'd mind terribly if we didn't row, she suggested we commit to erging 15 km (each) instead - the distance of three laps around our lake. (Note that she and I had done two laps each day last week. I usually only do two, though she and Rudder do three.)

I weakly agreed. I couldn't think of a good reason to do less, especially since it's what I ought to do. Rudder's annual erg marathon is next month and I'm only mostly sure I won't be doing it this year. Just in case I do, and because I need to build my strength and stamina back up, I need to be doing more distance now anyway.

As it happened, this was a very good day not to row - there were lightning and rain this morning, which is unsual out here where monsoon storms are usually confined to evening. And yes, I did do my 15K this morning.On a workday. Before breakfast, even - does that only count as one impossible thing or can I break it up and count it as five?

(NOTE: Technically speaking, the above is a complaint, not a whine. Whining is against club rules, as defined in our charter.)

Posted by dichroic at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2006

meeting old and new friends

Rudder is gone for another month and my life has shifted into neutral again. Quiet mode, anyway. Except that I have Worldcon to look forward to this weekend. I'll miss the first couple of days. I'm taking Friday off so I can get there midway through the day instead of late at night, and then will need to leave early enough on Sunday so I'm not driving when my body wants to be sleeping. (Six hour solo drive through the desert, best not to be too dozy.) I will have the iPod and the satellite radio so I'm spoiled for entertainment.

The very good news is that, in addition to a couple of people from online I'm looking forward to meeting and the authors I want to fangirl at (from a respectful distance) (in some cases the two categories merge), there will be at least one and probably two people I already know there. One is an old friend of my brother's from his writing list whom I may have met more times in the flesh and certainly in more places than he has, and the other is an old and treasured friend from college - knowing that he's an active con-goer I finally thought to look him up on the membership list, and he's listed. I've sent him an email to make sure.

The other place where I'm delightedly meeting up with old friends and acquaintances, though in a less corporeal milieu, is in Baring-Gould's Annotated Sherlock Holmes. They are writers and book collecters, in most cases both, and of course all are Sherlockians. Christopher Morley is all over the place, and Dorothy L. Sayers pops in for frequent appearances. Madeleine Stern, the book collector, has apparently speculated extensively on Holmes' passion for collecting, and one of Doyle's early manuscripts was donated to the UT library by Frederic Dannay. Manly Wade Wellman and Anthony Boucher are also well represented. Poul Anderson. Jacques Barzun. Fletcher Pratt. About the only Sherlockian I haven't seen in evidence yet is Isaac Asimov; possibly his Baker Street Irregular days postdate Baring-Gould. (I'm actually a bit surprised at how recent the book is (1960) considering Baring Gould himself made an appearance in one of Laurie R. King;'s Homes/Russell stories inthe 1920s.)

Posted by dichroic at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2006

shopping ordeal

That was a complicated and long-drawn-out shopping endeavor.

1. Decided not to buy online because the combination of shipping and sales tax was something like 20% of the price of the actual clothes. Was considering two shirts, one pair corduroy pants, one vest. Debated about whether the second shirt was really necessary (or the vest, for that matter).

2. Went to mall. Store in mall does not carry petites. Tried on items anyway. Too long but otherwise fitting. Could have bought vest in store because petite size is not essential in something without arms or legs, but they didn't have color I wanted.

3. Tried to order via phone in store - they ship directly to your house but don't charge for shipping. (I don't understand this.)

4. Realized catalog in store was not the very latest (because it's one of those companies that sends out a barrage of catalogs at the start of each season) and didn't have some of the items I wanted.

5. Spoke to helpful salesman who showed me other catalog. Second catalog still didn't have items I wanted.

6. Realized first catalog had offer for free shipping. Asked if I could take one. (They had a stack.)

7. Came home and ordered online with code from catalog. I'm not sure the $15 I saved was worth all that time.

8. Reallized later that store not only didn't have vest in color I wanted, their vests were in entirely different colors than those in caalog / online. Odd.

On the plus side, I'm glad I went. I looked in a bunch of other stores and decided that yes, this particular onne had what I wanted. More important, I'd had trouble persuading myself to get up and go, having erged a half-marathon earlier, and it was good for me to walk around for a while.

Posted by dichroic at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

charged for the privilege

Shopping online is becoming much less appealing. I blame Congress. Seriously - I've just aborted two different online purchases from two different stores because the combination of shipping and handling and sales tax was in one case $20 for an $80 purchase and in the other $30 - including a $3 "delivery charge" - for a $150 purchase. Granted both purveyors have brick-and-mortar stores in the mall a mile and a half from me, but in one case I was trying to buy a jacket from last year's line that is marked down nearly 75%. They don't have it on the store's sale rack, because I looked last week. In the other case, the store has recently been cut to half its previous size (maybe their north woods style doesn't play well in Arizona?) and I don't know whether they carry many petites any more.

It may be possible to order these items in the store and have them shipped either to the store or to me without paying shipping. I'll have to decide if I want the itmes enough to bother. I certainly don't want them badly enough to pay a 25% premium for the "privilege" of being allowed to shop online.

It was a bad day for the taxpayer when it was decided that online and catalog purchases were subject to sale tax. Before, it was just a matter of debating the balance between shipping and sales tax. Now I feel lilke I'm being penalized for looking for convenience.

Posted by dichroic at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2006

quick note

I should note that I've been posting on LJ whenever I want to be able to friendslock or otherwise filter. If you're someone I know virtually or in the flesh and you have an LJ, let me know so I can add you.

Posted by dichroic at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2006

bouncing on sunshine

I am having a good, good day. First and most, there is the Rudder, or at least the prospect of him when I get home from work. Last time he was home, two weeks ago, he got in late (well, after my bedtime) on Thursday night, and left early Saturday morning. I was still having some symptoms, and he was jetlagged, and all was not quite moonlight and roses. This time, he got to the boatyard around 5. I met him to unload boats (not ours, which were left in Oregon with his parents, but a couple others he was transporting). The we went home to reacquaint ourselves with each other and let the restaurants empty out a bit, and went out to a restaurant whose food is good and whose decor is the most beautiful in the area. The only drawback was finding I'd lost the opal from my body jewelry, probably either while changing into shorts before leaving work or while unloading the boats.

This morning there was wish-we-didn't-have-to-go-work brief snuggling. Then when I got to work I remembered to go check the ladies room and found my opal on the floor just outside it, a tiny white speck nestled in the rug that I almost didn't see. I'd been disappointed to *still* have no news when I checked my email before leaving from work, having been tols I'd probably hear by the end of the week, but just in case, I restrained myself until 9AM (6PM Dutch time) checked again via webmail, and ..... I have news! (News!!!!) Real news with real numbers and details, and the news is good! We'd also gotten a small bit of news that Rudder's contract will be a slightly different kind than originally planned, one that will be in our favor. I can't make any actual announcements yet because we stll don't have details for him, but I can say that the likelihood of our lives going as we'd wish (Europewards!) is now quite high.

It's just killing me not to be able to make real announcements and even more, to make them at work. Good thing I sit on a Swiss ball instead of a chair so I can bouncebouncebounce when no one's looking. (Bouncebouncebouncebounce.) And even better, I have a Rudder until Sunday morning! (More bouncing.)

Posted by dichroic at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2006

probably best not to ask what's in it...

I'm gettin' a bit tonight, tonight,
I'm gettin' a bit tonight,
I'm gettin' a bit tonight, tonight,
I'm gettin' a bit tonight,
Me mother says I must be quick,
If I'm to have the Spotted Dick,
I 'aven't 'ad any since Easter but
I'm gettin' a bit tonight!

The above ditty is about a type of pudding, really, though admittedly Spotted Dick is not an appealing name for a food item. It is entirely coincidental that Rudder is coming home tonight and this is the song running through my head. It would be even better if he weren't leaving again in under a week. I have a feeling a lot of his time at home will be spent recuperating, actually. He did do well in Masters Nationals, and will be returning home with two silver and one bronze medal - not a lot of clinkage, until you remember how high the level of competition is at Nationals.

I've kind of adjusted to being on my own, which is good since his next trip is a long one. My main problems now are the worry over that drip from the roof the other day, though it hasn't reappeared, and the fact that the cat has decided, apparently from watching Rudder wake up at 4 all these rowing mornings, that as the only male in the house it's his job to be the alarm clock. Unfortunately he seems to believe that 2 or 3AM is a perfectly fine time to wake me up. Petting him shuts him up, but I wish he'd save the neediness for when I'm already awake. I don't think he really likes being an only cat, but this is really not a good time for us to acquire a new kitten or two. But try explaining anything to a cat.

Oh, and thanks to all those who recommended the British version of What Not to Wear - unfortunately, my local cable provider doesn't seem to carry BBC America, which would account for why I hadn't seen it.

Posted by dichroic at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2006

it just popped out

I blame Baring-Gould. I picked up the two-volume set of his Annotated Sherlock Holmes last winter at a huge local book sale, and have finally gotten around to reading it. (I've enjoyed meeting my old friend Christopher Morley again -I hadn't realized he was such a pivotal Sherlockian.) I'd also been thinking that it's about time for a rereading of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Apparently the two heterodyned.

The results are here.

It was a bit odd, actually, for this non-fiction-writing type, as I was thinking about it at the gym this morning. (Also, I went to the gym this morning. Go me.) At first I thought there was a short simple drabble (basically the part with the multiple Memory Charms). I was just going to write that up and post it here or on my LJ. Then I saw there was a much bigger story to be told about what happened next, and I knew I didn't have the skills to write that. Finally, I saw how the first one fit together with the part I was most interested in of the second, to form a short story I could write that actually happens before the second story referenced above. Even though it's set earlier, I think it shows the reader enough to see what's likely to happen next.

That second story could still be written; it would be a mystery-adventure to which this vignette would be prologue. But I don't feel any great need to write it; I don't have any ideas of what the mystery could be, and the parts of it I would be interested in are already strongly enough implied in the story linked above that they don't need to be spelled out further. The mystery part would have to be strong enough to stand on its own, and ... I don't know. I don't know how to do it and I don't particularly even want to. Not my story, I guess. Odd how that works. maybe not so much: most things aren't my story, given that I don't generally have any urge to write fiction at all. Maybe the mystery is why Watson's Task was mine to write. Whatever, it's not great literature but it was fun. I hope someone else enjoys it too.

Posted by dichroic at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2006


Well, that was fun. You know how I keep complaining that even though I'm essentially well now, random symptoms keep cycling around and popping up just so all the little viruses can let me know they're not dead yet? This afternoon it was the coughing, the ugly mostly nonproductive "hack until it hurts" kind of coughing. And afterwards it did hurt, not in my throat but in my chest. The causality seemed pretty clear, but chest pain is not something I'd had previously (I did have some a couple of days ago, but I'm pretty sure that was heartburn.) And any time the words "chest pain" come up, online or in an article or whatever, the next words are generally something like "DO NOT FUCK AROUND. GO SEE A DOCTOR, STAT." It seemed more like my lungs that were hurting, not anything heart related, but still, it hurt pretty bad. I generally prefer things not to hurt. Also, you know, Sergei Grinkov.

It seemed like the time to take advantage of working at a big company that keeps nurses stashed here and there, so I went and alarmed my boss unnecesarily to find out where the local one is stashed and went to see him. He checked my pulse and blood oxygen and blood pressure, listened to my lungs, and concurred that it was probably just the coughing, which might have bumped or separated some cartilage. He told me to come back tomorrow, when a doctor will be there, if it still hurts.

So it was nothing, but I do feel better for having gone and gotten reassured.. They say chest pain can be a result of a panic attack; I can certainly see where it could cause one instead.

Posted by dichroic at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

but I like it...

All right, all you commenters, if the BBC version of What Not to Wear is so much better, what network shows it in the US?

Actually I have a sneaking feeling that the tips from the US stylists, though they might not work for everyone, probably would suit me - short, more straight than shapely, work in an office. Blazers nipped in at the waist and stopping at high hip? Check. (Though cardigans are more comfortable.) Long trousers and pointy toes to elongate my legs? Check. (Though it's difficult to find the right fit - either they're short enough in the rise and stop just below my ankles or they're long enough in the leg and come up to my ribcage.) Skirts at kneelength? Check. Only problem, other than trying to find things that fit, is that I like miniskirts and floaty ankle-length skirts more than I do knee-length skirts (I'm a bit bowlegged.) I like the occasional blazer, but twin sets are more versatile and comfortable for the office, and I like fabulous pointy-toed shoes but I like walking boots as well, and you can actually walk in the latter. Though I'm short, I'm reasonably proportionate, and I don't particularly see why I should try to look taller. I'd rather be remembered as little but fierce. I try to come up with outfits that fit and are clean, that look like I did mean to wear those things together, and that keep me covered enough to be decent for whatever environment I'm in (of course, that's very different depending whether I'm in a pool, in the grocery, or in the office).

I suspect the result is that some days I look like I'd rather be hiking, some days I look like I rather be at Woodstock or the Renfaire, or in a ballet class, or on a street corner selling papers in a newsboy cap circa 1928 (those would be the new knickers, yes). Or wearing elf ears in a Tolkien movie (all in tree-trunk brown today, I am). Actually, those are the good wardrobe days, because those days I've actively enjoying my clothes. Other good days are the ones when I look like I work in an office, but one that could be out of Sex and the City, and the clothes could be described as "fabulous". It's the days when I can only manage "professional" that I'm bored with my clothes.

Meanwhile, I wish I could be bored with my house. Unfortunately at the moment it's a bit too exciting. Last night I noticed water running off the roof from one spot for a while, then it stopped. It's either condensate from one of the A/C units, which means the drainpipe is blocked (only one, because the bucket it's suppose to empty into has definitely been filling up) or the water supply to the solar water heater is leaking, which is more of a problem. My hot water supply seems to be fine, but at the moment, water from the cold tap is plenty warm enough to shower in, so that's no guide. The water drip was not hot, so at least it's not heated water leaking. Unfortunately the pump to the solar heater wasn't on this morning after I showered (the supplemental electric heater is set to be on at the time we normally shower) so I couldn't check it. Last night when I noticed the problem, I had just run the hot water for a while washing the dishes, so the pump could have been on then. I didn't check until later, when it was off, and by then the drip had also stopped. On the other hand the A/C units cycle on and off depending on temperature, and it's been extremely humid (for us) so there's been lots of condensation. Hopefully tonight I will be able to tell.

Posted by dichroic at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2006

how to run your life, TV-style

I've been watching far too much TV while Rudder is away. This has a lot to do with getting sole custody of the remote; generally when he's around he flips through all the channels five times in a row then settles on either MythBusters (which I don't mind) or some lousy movie. He has a much higher tolerance for bad movies than I do; I'm not even all that interested in good ones. Normally when he has the TV on I more or less ignore it in favor of a book, and often when he's gone I don't turn it on for a week at a time. This time, though, I have been watching, partly to have another voice around and partly because I seem to have a very large tolerance for certain types of reality shows - thmostly ones about houses and clothes. The problem is, I turn out to be very suggestible, and now I have unprecedented levels of concern for staging my house and wearing clothing with defined waists and shoes with pointy toes. Last night I watched Miami Ink (about a tattoo studio); I think prehaps I'd better skip that one from now on, before I do something irrevocable.

I do have some reservations about What Not to Wear, though I enjoy seeing the clothes. The show has some strong points, especially in the way they compliment the beautiful figures of women of a variety shapes, and in the way they try to make sure each one has clothes that fit and flatter. However, they don't seem to allow much for different needs of different professions or regions. I don't think I've ever had a schoolteacher who wore a suit to work, yet they recommend them all the time, with high heels thrown in. They complained aboiut someone who "always dressed like she was going hiking" - not such a problem for someone who lives in Seattle. And they complain about people dressing too casually for the grocery store. As long as clothes are relatively clean and not so tight or skimpy as to show more an anyone wants to see, I hadn't thought there was such a thing as too casual for the grocery store.

Id also be curious to see their attitude toward pantyhose. In most cities, it's considered unprofessional to go without hose (or tights) under a skirt unless you're in a very casual office. We don't do that here. You will very rarely see a woman in hose in a Phoenix-area office, and if you do it's either because she's new here or because she's more comfortable that way (for support reasons, perhaps, or because she doesn't like wearing sandals to work and likes a liner in her shoes).

She-Hulk and I were talking about this last night. She's her own boss, and has a job where she's driving around a lot, and walking in and out of air-conditioned buildings. At least in the warmer months, her work outfits are usually something like a sleeveless sweater with shorts, longer ones that are mid-though or knee-length. I don't remember her shoes, but they're neither sneakers not high heels - probably low-heeled leather sandals. I've never seen her in any anything very tight, rowing uni excepted, and I've never seen her in shorts shorts or a low neckline. Shhe tends to wear neutral colors. To my mind, she dresses professionally and unobtrusively. I suspect Stacy and Clinton would have her in a dress. I'm trying to imagine it.

(Actually it's not that hard - but it would be a linen sheath, not the patterned sundresses with cinched waists they tend to push. And a sheath is a bit less maneuverable than shorts!)

Posted by dichroic at 01:33 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2006

body progress entry

numbers below the cut, no photos

June 24
1" below shoulders: 39.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11", both sides
Waist: 28.0"
Hips: 36.0"
Upper thigh, flexed: 20.0", both sides
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.0", both sides
I'd call it progress, but I think the loss of weight and what's probably fat in shoulder and thigh probably has more to do with being sick forever and having no appetite for a week or so last month.

June 24
1" below shoulders: 39.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11", both sides
Waist: 28.0" - YAY!!!
Hips: 36.0"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21", both sides (it's hard to know where to measure to be consistent!)
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25", both sides
So actual progress this month, yay again!

May 27
weight:128.0 (but this is the heaviest point of my cycle - April's same weight wasn't)
1" below shoulders: 40.25
Upper arms, flexed: 11.25", both sides
Waist: 28.5" - rats, still no change
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25"

April 8:
1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

Posted by dichroic at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2006

rowing and more rowing

Rudder and his men's doubles partner have won their first medals of the regatta; they came in third in the Men's Lightweight double, C age category. It must have been a hard-fought race; they were only fifteen hundredths of a second out of second place!

Another of our local rowers should have rowed her race now, but the results seem to be lagging behind - in a phone clal home this morning, Rudder mentioned that there was supposed to be some wind today, so maybe they've had to stop the races for a bit. She-Hulk and I were discussing the times yesterday and clearly there was a considerable headwind then.

Meanwhile, I've done my share of rowing without ever leaving home - I erged a half marathon this morning (21097 meters, 13.1 miles). The sore throat had me worried a little yesterday because it was only on one side in the morning and was on both by the time I left work, but thankfully it apparently yisn't a harbinger of returning disease. I had just a trace of it this morning and obviously am eeling all right otherwise. My fingers hurt, though - one ide effct og half marathons is that after pulling on the grip for two hours, my fingernails always hurt because the rest of the finger sort of gets pushed againsts them several thousand times. This was my first half-marathon for this year, and I spent so much time not working out much because of being ill recently that I'm really happy I was able to do it without a break. On Monday, She-Hulk and I will take a double out. It will be nice to get back on the water!

A few minutes later: antother local, the one with whom Rudder's rowing in the mixed double, has just won her singles race. Not a big surprise - she's a former Olympian from Bulgaria and generally does win by a wide margin - bt she takes her racing very seriously and makes a point never to take winning for granted nonetheless. I'm keeping an updated list of results on the Outlaws website.

Posted by dichroic at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2006

in other news, there isn't any

After a week or so of finally feeling reasonably well, I woke up this morning with a sore throat, and had enough gunk in my throat to lead to some unpleasant moments this morning. I had better not be sick still; one other possibility is that I may have just gotten a piece of popcorn husk caught in my throat. (Does that happen to other people or only to me?)

Rudder has now done well enough in the heats to advance to finals in all of his races except for the mixed double; that one has so many competitors in the C age category (boat average age 42-49, I think - he's rowing with a former Olympian in her fifties) that there will be semifinal races later this afternoon.

Work's actually getting a little more interesting lately. Figures. In other news, there really isn't any. Rudder's still gone, and the plans for this weekend aren't that exciting except that I may go up to Flagstaff Sunday to do some volunteer work. Otherwise the major planned event is the half-marathon I really ought to erg tomorrow.

Assuming I'm not *&^$% sick, that is.

Posted by dichroic at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

racing, nesting

Rudder's just won his open race - it was only a heat with for the Men's double, C category (with another guy from here), but they were ahead by open water. Since this was a heat, that tells me that they probably weren't even really trying that hard. The top three advance to the final Saturday, so the real strenuous race is between thuird and fourth places. (Well, not in this particular case, where fourth place was way behind, but generally.) It's a four day regatta; the heats today and tomorrow advance to finals on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Not much going on here. I've been nesting in the evenings, knitting and reading comic books and watching TV shows like "While You Were Out" and "What Not to Wear". I have this vision of the people from the latter, twenty years from now when clumpy square-toed shoes are back in, being worn with oversized shorts and white socks or ankle-length skirts and big shirts, and these people are still wearing pointy shoes and fitted jackets over empire-waisted blouses because that's what they were told to wear. I've been enjoying not having to figure out what's for dinner that we both want and having sole custody of the remote control. I have been watching a lot more TV than usual, partly to get my knitting done and partly for company. It's a biggish house to rattle around in alone. The cat has been snugglier than usual and now will meow a couple of times an hour before the alarm goes off, then come to be petted and fall back asleep. It's not ideal - ideal would be coming to be petted before I go to sleep at night and then shutting up until the alarm goes off - but it's a big improvement over meowing every fifteen minutes for an hour, as he was doing.

I think I may take the Friday of Worldcon off, so I can get there in the early afternoon instead of at night. I'm mind-boggled by the amount of programming, with twenty or more things to do at any one time. Of course there are plenty of things I have no interest in, but I can see the choices will be difficult. Another difficult choice is what to wear. Choices range from jeans and a T-shirt to blend in, to something totally outrageous, like a long and wide silk skirt with a midriff-and-cleavage bearing top that I bought with it as a RenFaire costume (sort of a belly-dancer look) just because I can and I suspect no one will bat an eyelid at it. I suspect I end up bringing clothes I just enjoy wearing, which will probably range from outre to overalls. I'm still a little worried about not really knowing anyone there other than a few LiveJournal contacts, though.

Posted by dichroic at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2006

books as (nonmonetary) investment

I don't know why, I've been feeling a little weepy lately. I mean, not breaking into sobs at every opportunity, just a little more likely to tear up over something sad. I attribute it to missing Rudder, and to missing my boat, and to frustration over work issues. (Also, I've changed to a new variety of BCP, so there could be hormones involved.) Today at lunch, I was considering going out, decided it was too much effort, went down to the cafeteria, decided I couldn't really face cafeteria food, and went out after all, on an excursion I'd been considering for a few days. I went to the Antiquarian Book Shop (and its next-door neighbor, which is merely an antiquarian book shop, and spent a happy hour deciding whether I really wanted a first edition of The Education of Henry Adams or if I'd rather spend the same money on a hardcopy of Frances Hodgeson Burnett's The Lost Prince, or whether it was stupid to buy either given that both are available online.

I ended up deciding on A. Edward Newton's Accidental Tourist and Mark Twain's 2 volume Autobiography.

Warning: it's really not a good idea to look a book up on Alibris after you've paid bookstore price for it. (Before you pay for it is a much better time.) Still, the Newton is a first impression of the first trade edition (I'm not entirely clear what a "trade edition" is, in a hardback) and is within the range at Alibris, and I got a pretty good deal on the Twain volumes even by Alibris standards because they're water-stained. And though it makes me feel all collectorly to have a first edition or two around, the fact is I buy my books to read. Also, the Newton book isn't available in an online text, and the Twain is one of those Australia-only ones you're not supposed to access in the US due to copyright rules, so I really am paying to be able to read these, not just to have a book I can hold.

I have a peculiar fondness for Newton, being a fellow Philadelphia, appreciating his love for books, and actually having been in his transplanted library, and it's fun to read about how different traveling through Europe was most of a century ago. As for the Autobiography, well, it's by Mark Twain and it's not Joan of Arc, so how bad can it be? I figure the man who helped make Ulysses Grant's Autobiography ought to have done all right in his own.

Books are very good investments in my mood. While I do practice retail therapy more than I probably ought to, binging on clothing is like binging on fast food. It tastes good at the time, but leaves you a little queasy and without much substance. (The exception is when you spend more than you think you should - but less than you have - on something you absolutely love and will wear to death.) Binging on books is more like overeating at Thanksgiving dinner for me. Yeah, maybe I overdid it a little, but it's nutrition that will last, and the whoole dinner leaves memories I can take out again and again. Except that books are even better, because I can reread the whole book, not just a memory of it. And then there's that whole thing about actually getting to learn from them. What better investment could I make?

Posted by dichroic at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2006

minor annoyances

  1. How do things disappear so thoroughly inside my house? Specifically, I'm thinking of my nostepinne and the big tote bag I sometimes use to take my knitting places; it has occurred to me that they may have run off together.
  2. Some people ought not to be permitted to use public or semi-public restrooms. Specifically, though would be the ones who don't clean up after themselves. (Exceptions made for people just learning to use a toilet, but then they need to bring a parent with them.) I will kindly spare you the description.
  3. After the third time a service person on the phone asks me to spell my name, if it's not just a bad connection, is it OK to say "Excuse me, could you please transfer me to someone smarter?"
  4. In some ways it may be a good thing my boat isn't here. They've caught one of our local serial killers, as you may have heard, but the other is on the loose still. Someone emailed me today that he's been targeting "women of small stature, white or Hispanic, with brown hair". Yes, that would be me. The boatyard is within his range, and it's dark and deserted at 5AM, especially since several of the rowing programs are on hiatus just now. And it pisses me off that I even have to think this way. (Actually, this one is not a minor annoyance.)
And one minor gratification: I went to the gym today, for the first time in a couple of months. I'd quit when I was tapering for the Gold Rush in May, never went back between that and the regattas in July, and then was sick forever. I don't seem to have lost too much in either strength or definition. I lifted weights one notch down from where I'd been, and if I go Thursday and once this weekend, I think I'll be back to where I was on most exercises. I felt OK while lifting, though I did feel pretty crappy afterward.
Posted by dichroic at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Here's the thing about war: there's plenty of fault to go around. You can say that Israel is far from blameless here and I will agree. You can say that Hezbollah supports widows and orphans and has thereby built goodwill through the Arab world. On the other hand neither of those things wipe out that fact that Hezbollah has vowed to pursue both the destruction of the nation of Israel and the entirety of world Jewry, in so many words. That's not the sort of threat Israel can afford to ignore; it's also a level of shrill hatred that is unlikely to be in the least affected by diplomacy. Israel had to take action. Does that make killing civilians OK? No. Was there another way to reach peace once Syria and Iran instructed Hezbollah to step up the attacks? I don't know.

Here's the other thing about war: sometimes there are no good answers.

That false dichotomy problem is actually a major issue of illogic. Black and white are opposites. Light and heavy are opposites. Good and bad are opposites. If a thing is more of one, it is less of the other. One thing those examples have in common is that they're all pairs of adjectives. Nouns are very rarely opposites. If I say that Israel isn't blameless, it doesn't take one jot of fault away from Hezbollah. Or, for a common US example, if I call George Bush an immoral, sophomoric, hypocritical slave of big money, that doesn't mean I'm praising Bill Clinton by extension.

it takes a long, long time for me to get tired of arguments usually, but I get tired of stupid ones pretty quick.

Posted by dichroic at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2006


By the way, in case anyone cares, Picovoli makes an extremely cute vest.

Well, you'll just have to take my word for it; this photo was taken after a whole work day and both the sweater and I are a little droopy.

(Also note that when I adjusted for a different gauge and body shape, I appear to have ended up with a lower neckline than in the original pattern. On the other hand, that may actually just be due to different body shape &c.)

Posted by dichroic at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

assorted news and opinion

Assorted and random news:

  • My husband and boat are currently in Oregon. However I did sort of manage a half-marathon on the erg this weekend - 15km on Saturday and 6km on Sunday. I took this morning off after realizing I hadn't had an off day since Wednesday, but I wish I had decided that before setting the alarm and waking up to it at 5 AM.

  • Apparently there are fairy doors springing up in Ann Arbor.

  • I haven't talked much about the Israel-Lebanon war here, mostly because it leaves me at a loss for words. How can Israel not respond to terrorist attacks on their country? How can Lebanon simply "throw Hammas out of government", as some are calling for, if they were legally voted in? But it's worth noting that only 1 civilian was killed rather than 40 in the attack on Houla. Maybe it does pay to warn people. Meanwhile I grieve for the one, while I rejoice for the 39 whose deaths were greatly exaggerated. If casualties on both sides of a war were reported side by side instead o each side only reporting their own, or at best reporting in separate news articles, I wonder if the wars themselves would diminish? Perception may not equal reality, but often it influences it.

  • I have about two feet of the Trellis and Vine scarf done, but I keep having to be stern with myself to work on it. Partly that's just normal boredom with a long project, but another part is that the yarn I picked, while gorgeous and soft, just doesn't show this patteern well. I keep wanting to set it aside and start something else instead.

  • I have finished and submitted the wine cozy pattern - I'm calling it Wooldridge, after a winery in Oregon we visited, because the name seems so appropriate. I've started a second one, and plan to give both to my in-laws for Christmas, maybe with one of those chilling sleeves you put in the freezer. (Maybe one with said sleeve for white wines and one without for reds?)

  • I am hooked on these Marvel Essential collections. I bought Fantastic Four #4 and Uncanny X-Men #1 this weekend.

  • I'm not so impressed with the Phoenix Public Market. Smaller than I'd hopes, the veggies were OK but not spectacular, and the handspun yarn vendor had mostly bulky weight stuff that wasn't too appealing in an Arizona August. Also I was stupid and drove the convertible, realizing only after I got there that I wouold have felt much safer leaving the pickup parked in a downtown lot.

  • I seem to be much more productive when Rudder's not around. I think part of that is not wasting energy on things that aren't my priorities and part of that is that deciding what to do is easier when there's only one person's preferences and appetites to consult. I miss him anyway, though.

So that covers Rudder, rowing, politics, knitting, books, and local news. What else do I write about anyway?

One thing I've been thinking about is women who stay at home to take care of kids or just because they want to. (Not including those who have jobs where they work from home for a salary; that's a different situation.) In theory I'm all for the right to make choices, for women or men. Actually, I think sometimes men get shafted. I worked in one place where it was rumored that it was much easier for women to negotiate part-time work, because it was assumed they were caring for children, than for men. Even if the men were caring for children, even if the women weren't. My other caveat comes from a show I watched the other day. It was a reality show centered around helping people with bad financial skills get on track, and on this episode there was a woman and her fiancee who were living with her father, without paying rent. The woman was a SAHM "because I'm not going to go work at a job I hate, just to make money". The fiancee worked a whopping nine hours per week. Meanwhile the woman's father was working two jobs and going into debt to support this family.

Now, I agree that childcare is an important job and so is many other that doesn't pay, and I have a lot of respect for those who do it well. If you decide you can do it best by being at home full-time, more power to you, and if you sacrifice luxuries or spend a lot of time figuring out how to stay within your budget I'll respect you all the more. I know that often a stay-at-home's time and ingenuity can contribute immensely to the family budget. (Same goes for those who stay at home to pursue other non-monetary work.) But if you have kids, and they are not fed or clothed adequately - not in designer gear, but in functional clothing - just because you're worried you "won't like" an outside job, you forfeit any respect. If you survive by mooching off of someone else's hard work, the same goes. I'm not talking about a partner, who has participated in the decision to have one person stay home; that person is presumably benefiting by having the best care for his or her children or by having the house well-kept and comfortable. Or maybe he / she's just benefiting from having a happy and more serene spouse, having decided that the family has enough money to get by on one income. Whatever; it's having a say that counts. But when you mooch off someone who doesn't get a say in the matter that's dishonorable. And it raises my esteem all the more for those who struggle with the decision and do what they must, whatever it is, to care for themselves and their families.

Posted by dichroic at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2006

correcting errors

I realilzed the other day that I'd done something stupid. When I bought sock yarn at the Jimmy Bean's in Truckee, I bought only 1 skein of each color, and you need two to make a pair of socks. (I'd just finished a pair made from one skein, but of course it had twice as much yardage.) Anyway, I figued it might be too late to get the same dye lot, but that I'd have the best chance if I ordered from the same company. So I placed my order with Jimmy Bean Thursday night.

I got the yarn yesterday, which just blows my mind. Granted they're only one state over, but it's a big state and they're at the other end of it, a 2-day drive away. So OK, not that long a flight, but that says a lot for how quickly they process orders. (Lord knows, I don't get things from Amazon, some of whose warehouses are nearly that close, that quickly even when I don't get Supersaver.) I do love people who save me from my own stupidity quickly and easily.

Ohh, and one skein was indeed the same dyelot. I seem to have mislaid the ballband of the other when I rolled it into a ball, but I can't tell any difference in the colors.

Posted by dichroic at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2006

Fare you well, Sunset

This morning I rowed one lap then packed up my boat for good, or at least for a while. Depending on what adventures come our way, she will spend the next 1-4 years hanging from the ceiling of my in-laws' garage. This is not a happy place for the boat; there's NO WATER there. (At least, not unless something is very wrong.) My boat loves the water. Whenever I leave her at the side of the beach without oars holding her down she tries to run off to sea. I don't think she will enjoy life in a garage, grateful as I am to my in-laws for hosting her.

We had one last lap this morning before unrigging and loading her up. I kept thinking, "the last time" - the last time I'd move her from the rack to the slings, the last time I carried her to the lake, the last time we set off from the beach, went through the bridges, made the turn, came back in. I'll row her again someday, but it's likely to be in another place entirely.

She is a Hudson Elite single, a better boat than my skills deserve; her stablemates race at high levels, including for the US and Canadian national teams, in regattas like the World Championships and the Olympics. I've let her down a few times, coming last in some races, but she's never let me down. There was an ugly race in Long Beach a few years ago, when I watched videotape of myself flopping around at the finish, losing focus from fatigue, when I swore to myself that however I did in my races I would never watch videotape like that again. I might finish last but I would finish strong and controlled, rowing hard and focused and never giving in no matter how the race went. I've kept that vow; there have been races since when I finished last, but never one I was embarassed to have rowed. I feel I've lived up to my boat a little, in that time.

Under the wide and wind-wracked sky,
We scud along, my boat and I.

We took delivery of Sunrise and Sunet, my boat and Rudder's, in July four years and a week ago.

The boats are patterned after the Arizona state flag. My boat is a little smaller than Rudder's and is distinguished by stars on the deck, in the shape of the Big Dipper from the Alaska flag - we had just returned from Alaska when they arrived. Together, we have rowed under starry winter skies before subrise and under the clouds that Arizona hides in the dawn, that disappear as the sun climbs. We're rowed on mirror-smooth water and in waves rough enough to splash over the deck. We've seen hundreds of sunrises and a couple of sunsets, watched egrets and pelicans fly over, rowed by seals in Mission Bay and a beaver than somehow found its way to Tempe. We've rowed together in Tennessee and Arizona, Louisiana and Oregon, California and Nevada, done races of 300 meters and races of 26.2 miles. We've worked through distance training and speed training, changes in technique and uncountable drills, hard practices much too early in the morning and relaxed daytime paddles. We've been out in 32-degree frosty mornings in the dark and under 100-degree Arizona sun. There have been dents and dings for both of us, blisters and paint chips and sore muscles and fiberglass repairs.

“Of all sports, rowing offers the least to outward seeming. It is hard work unleavened by variety. Worse, a man attending to business can't see where he is going. The pleasure compensating for this madness is at once simple and subtle. A need of men, generally denied, them, is to feel a part of something which works smoothly and well. In a mated crew the ideal is reached, the feeling of perfection passing back and forth from the individual to the team like an electric current. Until exhaustion breaks the spell, there is no more to be desired.”

--from "Silverlock", by John Myers Myers, a man who clearly know his way around a shell

Rowing shells are fast but fragile. The elite boats are not forgiving of bad form, but reward each improvement of technique with another bit of speed. They don't deal well with rough water, high wind, or rocky beaches and a rower can't see where she's going. A kayak is much better for exploring, but on flat water a rowing shell can leave a kayak far behind. Their stiff fragility and the care they need means that rowing shells don't last long unless they're well-cared for.

Tomorrow, Rudder leaves to drive to the Masters National Championship Regatta in Seattle. (He's borrowing She-Hulk's single to race in.) On the way back he will leave my boat and his double at his parents' house in Oregon. I can't really complain to Rudder, not after his boat was totalled in a freak windstorm last week. I can't complain at work, where I really don't want to explain why we're sending the boats away. But I will miss my Sunset on the water in the sunrise.

Posted by dichroic at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2006

small annoyances

Working from home today turned out to be a good call. I'm back at the coughing shit up stage, and that ugly little dry-heaving episode was much better to have had here than at work. Sigh. Also, I got a whole buch of work done I've been sort of staring vaguely at for a few days.

My wine cozy has felted quite nicely. Now I just have to write it up, submit it, and make another one (not because of the submission, but because I want another one to give away). The submission is complicated because the online magazine where I had tentatively planned to send it seems to require you to have someone else "test-knit" it. Seems odd, because the other places don't require that, and also it's just not going to happen before their deadline. I sent them an email yesterday asking about it, but have not heard back yet. The patterns they're currentlyl showing don't seem to have a test-knitter listed, so there may be wiggle-room. If they really do require a test-knitter, I'll either submit elsewhere or just publish the pattern here. (Or submit elsewhere and publish here if they reject it).

Rudder gets home tonight, yay! However, he called earlier to tell me the plane was late and he missed his connection, so it really will be tonight rather than late this afternoon as originally planned. Boo.

Posted by dichroic at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2006

I already have an alarm clock, thanks

Oh, yes. Also, I need to complain about the cat, but I'd forgotten until MaryAnn reminded me. I don't know whether he's updet because Rudder's away or what, but the cat is into one of his periodic phases of Helping the Humans by doing his best imitation of an alarm clock. He's been yowling at me around the time he thinks I should wake up - actually it's not yowling, really. It's more conversational than that:

"Meerp-meerp?" (Time to wake up, now!)
"Mreerp!" (I said wake UP, dammit.)
"Reerp-Meerp-mreep!" (OK, I let you sleep another fifteen minutes when you asked, but your snooze time is UP, woman, and it's time to FEED THE CAT. You cannot be late to FEED THE CAT. There is no more important time of day! Get up get up get UP NOW!!)

Shush cat and repeat. This wouldn't be that bad, at the appropriate time; however, his time sense is off, so that he's generally up to half an hour earlier than when he thinks I should get up. Worse, because cats are creatures of habit, he thinks if I woke up yesterday at 4AM to go row, then that is the traditions and I should do exactly the same thing today too, even if I'd planned today today to be my off day, my big chance to sleep in all the way to 6AM. The first day, I thought it was my own fault, because I'd thrown out the old bag of cat food, and had emptied his bowl and not refilled it. Not that he'd starve over the course of one night, after havbing had food all day, but he believes in being sure on these issues, and if the bowl was empty, he'd be convinced starvation was Imminent. But he's been doing this every morning since Rudder left, and to a lesser extent before that as well.

I can't just shut him out of the room. For one thing, our room is the hottest part of the house because it has mostly external walls, and without an open door and a fan blowing in it would be too hot to sleep comfortably. Also, his little box is in our bathroom (in the tub we never use because we have a separate shower). While I could move the little box out, even if I could tolerate the hear I think his response would just be to stand at the door and holler as loud as he can to get in.

Do they make cat muzzles?

Posted by dichroic at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

symptoms and yarn, yet again

The coughing thing is back, though a Fisherman's Friend drop seems to have quieted it significantly. It feels as though my symptoms aren't so much going away as cycling around and around; between sore throat, productive coughing, unproductive coughing (otherwise known as coughing shitup vs just coughing), and hoarseness. The only saving grace is that each time around they seem a little lessened.

Also, since I'm back at the coughing up a lung stage (or rather, since it's not as bad now, only coughing up part of a lung) I'm using this as a justification to work from home tomorrow. Yay for working from a comfy couch and avoiding the office environment! I seriously think my office building, an old one literally next to the airport, is a sick building. It's at the epicenter of Phoenix pollution. I really don't think it's what's making me sick now, but it's probably not helping either.

Last night I did manage to get out on a weekday for once. On the first Tuesday of every month, the local wing of the city's not-called-Stitch-and-Bitch-anymore (it's a whole big and ugly copyright issue) meets at a wine shop / wine bar a mile from my house. There was much chatting, some helpful hints, and good Australian wine, and I have now finished knitting my wine cozy. Tonight I get to felt it. If it comes out well, I'm going to submit the pattern to one of the online knitting magazines. The next step is to decide which. Of the three possibilities, Knitty and Magknits actually pay for submissions. On the other hand, I'm afraid the pattern is too simple for Knitty, plus there's already a wine cozy (a different style) in their archives. For the Love of Yarn doesn't pay, at least not yet, but the editor is a friend and the pattern suits their magazine very well. (In case it does come out well enough to submit, I should probably avoid details.)

Once this is done, I will probably cast on for socks. I want to make something lacy but not too complicated. Depending on whether my gauge works out for it, it will probably be either Falling Leaves or something based on it (I want to try its toe and heel) but with a different lace pattern. I have two skeins of sock yarn. That one will be for me. The other will probably be for my father-in-law, because I realized he's the only one of our four parents I haven't knit anything for, and I think those may be the plain version of Widdershins. I also want to cast on the supersoft alpaca/silk blend I bought for another Clapotis, even though the shawl I'm working on is only about 2' (of 5) along. However, given the time of year and the (lack of) speed of my knitting it might be better to concentrate on things I want to give other people this December instead of anything for myself. That includes the aforementioned socks, another wine cozy (if I like this one) and gloves for Rudder.

Posted by dichroic at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2006


I've been thinking a little about brokenness. I'm somewhat broken myself at the moment (Today's symptom: coughing stuff up. Made erging this morning a bit trickier) but it's minor and mostly easily ignored now, and though it seems to have been hanging on forever (for values of "forever equalling 3.5 weeks) I know it will go away relatively soon. I've been lucky enough so far to have only health issues that are trivial, or at least easily cured when caught soon enough.

Melissa wrote recently about a more powerful and far more permanent brokenness. I'd say that she broke open like an eggshell in bringing new life to the world, but that's not an appropriate image. We throw broken eggshells away. The best metaphor I can think of is a powerful rock, broken open when a spring breaks through it. Even though it's cleft by the strem, the rock itself is just as strong as it was before, though it and the stream will continue to shape each other over time. And most people would say that a rock with a spring coming from it is more beautiful and sustaining than the unbroken rock ever was.

There's also someone I've recently encountered online for whom one of the first words that comes to mind is "broken". I won't link to her for fear my words could be taken as an isult. They're not meant to be. In this case it's her mind and spirit that are broken, and the damage is either endemic to her or comes from early in her life. I call her "broken" because a lot of things that are routine or easy for most people are difficult for her; there seems to be a disconnect between her and the world that makes it difficult for her to understand other people or even herself. I don't think the brokenness is her fault or anything she can easily fix, and I've come to admire her for her struggles to deal with the world in spite of it. From what I've seen, I think she's been remarkably successful, more so that I think she realizes. She has love in her life, and productive work, and a good sense of her own problems, which is more than a lot of people dealt better hands can say.

There's an old saying that scar tissue is stronger than undamaged tissue. I don't know whether it's literally true, but figuratively, I think it is.

Posted by dichroic at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)