Saturday, December 25, 2010

3210 Magnetic Fluid Christmas Tree

Saturday, December 25, 2010

“No one ever became extremely wicked suddenly.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


This is beautiful:

If you're wondering how it's done, these clips explain it:


Friday, December 24, 2010

3209 The social contract is breaking down.

Friday, December 24, 2010

“Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


Anyone who owns a TV has seen the video clip of the guy falling during a performance of the Spiderman Broadway play - over and over and over. Not once has anyone mentioned that the video shouldn't exist.

It was filmed by a guy in the audience, with a cell phone, I believe.

Every ticket, every receipt, posters as you enter, all say that no still, audio, or video recording is allowed. Period. They are very definite about it, always. When I went to the BNL concert, I purposely left my camera home. (My cell phone will take photos, but I don't think I can get them off the phone, so there's no point.) I know that in some venues in the past, they used to take cameras away from you.

At the BNL concert, not only was every fifth person taping the show, there was one very annoying guy standing throughout the show with his belly pressed against the apron and his camera (a bright distracting spot) held at forehead level. He was obvious to everyone, even the guys on the stage, and yet no one said boo. ...And I had left my camera at home.

So why do they say "not allowed", and then allow it?

Are we really allowed to do anything we want, regardless of the rules?

It's beginning to look like the answer is "Yes".


I used to obey speed limits strictly, but the past few years, doing the speed limit on the highways will get you run over, cut off, and flipped off. I have been pretty much forced to go as fast as the rest of the traffic, and I don't like it.

But I stopped feeling guilty about it when I heard two different state cops say that they are suspicious of drivers doing the speed limit. They wonder what they're hiding, and figure that's enough cause to pull them over.

Think about that. We've gone from "speeding is cause for arrest" to "obeying the law is cause for arrest". "No recording allowed, unless you happen to feel like it". "The intellectual and physical product of others is yours free if you can figure out a way to download it free."

Where are we headed with all this? At what point between "follow the rules" and "your car is mine if I can hotwire it" is the line drawn?

3208 Christmas card

Friday, December 24, 2010

“Censure acquits the raven, but pursues the dove.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


This is from the Vancouver Aquarium. I hope they won't mind my using it as my Christmas card.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3207 Wandering around the interwebs

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

“It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty.”
-- Roman poet Juvenal --


The above green quote was true a few thousand years ago, and it's true today. We like to think that anyone with ambition and drive can succeed, but it's not necessarily true. You need luck, too. When you start out with responsibilities (aging or ill parents, dependent siblings --- they don't have to be "your choice or fault") you often have to take the one, two, or three concurrent jobs that pay enough to support them. And those jobs don't usually allow time for luxuries like education, training, interviews, or time to develop your own business, and don't pay enough to do anything but those jobs. Sometimes the materials to succeed are luxuries.


This is funny: The cakes are ho-hum, but the writeup, a synopsis of the story, is hilarious. The last line before "The End" cracked me up. (Do not skip ahead.)


This is another that developed in a fascinating way, and the last line cracked me up. Again, do not skip ahead.


A court in Montana couldn't find anyone to sit on a jury for a criminal trial involving possession of a few ounces of non-medical marijuana. Not only was no one impartial, they all said they wouldn't convict, period. Wall Street Journal law blog story ("On the Great Montana Marijuana Mutiny") at


I have been so cold here that I have decided to get my hair cut so that I can wear warm knit or wool hats. Pixiesh. The kind of thing where when I take the hat off I can just fluff it with my fingers. Having made the decision, now I have to work up the courage to go do it.

I've had my hair cut professionally only three times in my life, and all three left me in tears for months afterward. I'm hoping I'm over that kind of reaction now. (Or that hairdressers have gotten better.)

This is sort of what I want, including the longish front, and I think my hair can do it:
My hair is fine and thin (now - in my youth it was thick and curly), and I think maybe it'll work.

The Man won't be happy, but hey, it's not his hair. Besides, he shaves his head. And if Piper says anything at all, I'll smack him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

3206 Thermostat lies

Monday, December 20, 2010

“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?"
-- Laurence J. Peter --


I keep saying I'm freezing in this house. The insulation is crap. They didn't insulate around the heat runs that go through exterior walls, so when the heat isn't on, cold air blows out the vents. There's a steady cold draft coming out of every electrical whatchmacallit on an external wall. The walls themselves are cold. The downstairs floor (the slab) is icy.

The thermostat says it's 72 in here.

Today I remembered that I have a Brookstone clock that shows temperature, time, GMT time, and has a timer, depending on which side of the cube is up. I had it sitting on "date & time". I turned it over to temperature. It said 63.

The freakin' thermostat lies!

Some people would be comfortable at 63. I'm not. Keep in mind that I'm also comfortable at 95 degrees, as long as it's not too humid to breathe. Different people have different comfort ranges.

I'm sitting here in a sweater over a turtle neck, with a knit shawl over that, knit pants over lycra pants, socks, and plush-lined ankle boots, and I'm FREEZING! My body is actually shivering, and I've got that heavy feverish feeling. I just can't do cold, especially cold drafts.

My nose and hands are freezing. It's silly to wear a ski mask and gloves in the house. This is like when I visited Ex#2's parents' farmhouse, and got chilblains on my cheeks and shins that cracked open and bled. This is ridiculous. I'm going to have to get someone in to figure out what to do, and do it.

When I'm so cold, I'm not interested in doing any work. I have to work hard to not climb back in bed. I'm almost out of food and cat food, but I have no interest in going out into that cold to get any.

3205 Solstice and lunar eclispe

Monday, December 20, 2010

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure
and the intelligent are full of doubt."
-- Bertrand Russell --


Exceptional conjunction tonight - solstice, and a full lunar eclipse. The eclipse begins tonight (well, Tuesday morning) at 1:33 am EST ( or Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST).

Totality commences at 02:41 am EST and lasts for 72 minutes.

[Thanks to Barushka for the alert.]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

3204 Naturally beautiful

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
-- Charles Darwin --


I'll tell you a secret. You can apply pancake makeup, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, rouge, eye shadow, false eyelashes, concealer, highlighter, the whole smash, and most heterosexual men won't realize you're wearing makeup as long as you follow three rules:

  1. Never let him see you applying it,
  2. Don't overdo it, and most important, the real secret,
  3. Don't wear lipstick!

Most men define "makeup" as "lipstick". If you don't wear lipstick, he'll think you are naturally beautiful.

I've actually had men tell me they're glad I "never wear makeup". (Huh? When I'm going out, other than like to the store, I most certainly always do.) Questioned, they say, "Well, you don't have any lipstick on."

It wears off, guys....

I had one friend tell me his new girlfriend never wears makeup, and he's so happy about that, "Just like my Mom." And then we met her. Her base was so thick it was all over the neckline of her sweater. Her eyeliner had sweated below her eyes. Her cheeks were clownish. But, she wasn't wearing any lipstick.

3203 I am punished

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything."
-- Floyd Dell --


The master bedroom has been sitting 1/3 painted for almost three weeks. I had chosen a powdery grayed lilac, but where three walls met at the end of the room, where I had started painting, the walls facing each other seemed to intensify the color, and it was looking more like violent violet.

I wasn't sure what to do. Continue and hope it cooled over time (the living room softened after three weeks, so why not?), stop and start over with another color, what?

Yesterday late afternoon I decided to finish the room, and I did. The color does look softer on the longer walls, but I'm still not thrilled with it.

By the time I finished I was having trouble standing straight. My back was killing me. But I knew that if I stopped, I'd have to clean all the tools before I could start again today, so I just kept going. Stubborn. I refused to let my back dictate to me.

I went to bed at 10:30 pm, on the firmer, back friendlier mattress in bedroom 2. At about 1 am I woke with my face in a crossword puzzle, and my back and lower abdomen in great pain. It felt like I had to go to the bathroom, both bladder and bowel yelling "Immediately!" I tried, but there was nothing. For the next half-hour it was back and forth from the bed to the bathroom. I couldn't find a comfortable position in the bed. My whole middle hurt so bad, front and back. My bladder and bowel kept screaming NOW! NOW!, but there was nothing. I gave up trying to lie down and I was sitting on the john trying to read a book (sitting was more comfortable than lying anyway) when the nausea hit. For that one, at least, my body wasn't fooling. I threw up my entire late dinner, which is unusual because I'd eaten some five hours before, and I have very fast digestion. There shouldn't have been anything in my stomach.

It was complaining nerves in my spine, of course. I knew that, but it doesn't make it any easier to cope with. The nerve was giving false bladder/bowel full readings, and my stomach was apparently on strike without nerve instructions.

I was lying there wishing I'd brought the heating pad from the old house, and wishing I had some aspirin. Then I remembered I'd bought a small bottle of Excedrin extra strength at a rest area on the last trip. I found it, took two, and within 15 minutes everything was all better.

Next time I know I should take an anti-inflammatory at the first sign of pain.

Yeah, "next time"! I've known that almost all my life, and I still ignore the warnings.


Actually, it's not ignoring or stubbornness, or that male thing of toughing it out. It's just that my mind doesn't work in certain situations, mainly like when I'm not well. When I have pain, it's like my reasoning powers disconnect.

When other people get sick, I always give them what they need. "Here, take this." But me? I can be hacking my throat raw, and it won't occur to me to take a cough suppressant. My head can be throbbing, and I don't think of aspirin. I can be dumping fluids from both ends and it won't occur to me to take anything to slow it down, or to drink more fluids to replace what I'm losing.

The only thing I ever think of for myself is the heating pad. When I'm sick, all I want is my heating pad.

I'm so proud of myself for having thought of aspirin last night.