Saturday, September 03, 2011

3350 Enterprise

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Even a minor event in the life of a child is an event of that child's world and thus a world event.
-- Gaston Bachelard, scientist and philosopher --


The Mid-Hudson Valley suffered more damage to electrical wires than New Jersey, I think. Probably because there are more trees there, and the mountains channeled and increased the force of the winds.

Central Hudson, the electric company up there, has been faced with a head-shaking problem. They arrive to repair downed wires and transformers, and the wires and transformers are gone!

People are stealing the dead wires!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3349 Frustration

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The two rules for success: 1) Figure out exactly what you want to do. 2) Do it.
-- Mario Cuomo's mother --


The mid-Hudson Valley seems to have had it worse than here from Irene. Lots of flooding, trees down, bridges out. The Hairless Hunk says my old house is fine, some branches down but no major tree loss, and so on, but --- he can see only the exterior. I'm anxious to get up there.

But things keep popping up, keeping me here! I can't even get the stuff I need to do here done. I'm getting very upset.


Two years ago I flunked the bone density test (mildly) and my GP told me to increase my calcium. Last February I had high blood calcium, so my GP told me increase vitamin D.

Two years ago my blood sugar was fluctuating wildly (and I wanted to lose weight), so the nutritionist taught me how to balance carbs and protein. Too much meat is not good, I hate beans, nuts are fine but too high in fat to use too much, so she told me to up my no-fat/low-fat dairy.

Saw the urologist yesterday. He says that my 24-hour (actually 48, but who's counting) urine collection shows I'm passing a lot of calcium, and since the stones are calcium oxalate, I should reduce dairy products in my diet, and reduce the vitamin D.


So, what do I do now?

Three years ago my THS (thyroid stimulating hormone) was high, so my GP put me on thyroid supplements. Last February the THS was fine, so they took the thyroid supplements away from me.

The parathyroid regulates calcium.

One of the results of parathyroid disfunction is --- I forget now what it's called --- but nodules form in the lungs, heart, other organs. The nodules in the lungs cause rales (the rattling/bubbling in the lungs like with pneumonia). Two weeks ago, my new GP heard rales. I've always had rales to some degree because of the structure of my lungs, but not enough that anyone worried about them. She was worried.

Hmmm. Maybe I should get my parathyroid checked.

Why has no doctor suggested that?

Probably for the same reason that my signs of raging kidney infection were ignored. Nobody really thinks any more.

3348 Serger!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Me: To define a career goal is to define your limits.


I just bought this:
Singer Perfect Finish LCD Sewing Machine & Serger
$349.99 + $5 Shipping (everything from Woot is $5 shipping, even anvils)
Condition: New

I have a New Home zig-zag sewing machine that I'd bought used 45 years ago, and it's still working fine. But I've wanted a serger for a long time now. I wear a lot of knits, and being so short I have to alter everything, and have to do the stretchy seams by hand, so a serger would be very handy. But sergers are horribly expensive and notoriously finicky, and I didn't want to spend so much for something I might want to throw out the window. I also don't need a zillion functions. So this seems ideal.

This opinion, from a commenter:
This package is not a mistake - it's a mistake to pass it up.

There's been a lot said about Singers in the comments above, and both opinions of the brand are true - Singers held absolute dominance in quality from the founding of the company in 1860, until the mid-1960's A good 100-year run. They designed and marketed arguably the best home machine ever, the 500A Slant-O-Matic Rocketeer, released in 1960, and then suddenly in the mid 60's made the curious decision to change from all-metal to mucho plastic in their moving parts fabrication. At the time, little was known about the long term wear on plastic parts, and after a few years' use, some of the machines started falling apart. Thus Singer suffered a deserved rap on its reputation, and most Singers made from 1968 through the mid 1980s are junk.

Enter new management for Singer, and a new era of pride in what they produce, and today's Singers are again at the top of their game and have been for the last decade.

This Singer package is an extremely good deal on a high-quality product. Gentlemen (unless you are Tim Gunn), the value of this Singer package is equivalent to a Vizio 42" TV for $99.95. Or an iPad for the same 100 smackeroos.

The "little sister" to this exact machine, the "Stylist" was a Consumer Digest Best Buy, at $400, and with only 100 decorative and utility stitches. This upgraded model of the Stylist has 400 stitches, and comes with a decent serger, to boot.

Is it a machine for beginners? More importantly, it is a machine easy enough for beginners to use, although it will keep a more experienced sewing enthusiast or tailor (Seamstress is a synonym for prostitute in 16 languages, so kindly don't call me or your mother that...) happy for years. The decorative stitches are also fun for scrapbooking, and, yes, it will sew and embroider beautifully on paper.

About the only thing I wouldn't use this machine for is repeated use on denim, upholstery or marine vinyl. The occasional hobby slipcover or pair of jeans, yes. But over and over with the heavyweight fabric - no. But then, if you sew a lot of marine vinyl, it's likely you know you need a commercial heavy-duty power machine for that work.

(This is such a good deal that I'm even getting a set, and I have a 20x20 studio full of sergers and sewing machines already!)

On to the serger: If you are completely new to sergers, think of the serger as the microwave to your conventional oven. It's very possible to live without a microwave in your kitchen, but it's damn nice to have. And most home tailors would never want to relinquish their serger once they have had one.

A serger can sew strong finished seams especially stretch seams, can finish seams on tailored garments, this serger can flatlock (activewear seams), and do rolled hems (those tiny hems on scarves and napkins.) You can also make interesting decorative ribbons for the serious crafter or scrapbooker.

This is an excellent home serger, that will sew a 2, 3, or 3/4 thread seam, but not a 2/4 seam. The 2/4 configuration is one of the heavier duty configurations you see in ready to wear and is not available on this serger. This machine will sew and finish seams on stretch fabrics, and will finish seams on woven fabrics, although I would still recommend reinforcement with a straight stitch from the sewing machine on stress areas when using a 3/4 as a seaming stitch on wovens (as opposed to a finishing stitch.)

This is a good serger for a beginner to an intermediate home sewing enthusiast. Again, it is not a professional weight, and not ideal to run in a 16-hour a day environment. But, if your shop is serging 16 hours a day, you know this.

All in all, this is an excellent gifting package for the home sewing fan in your life (and you will look like you spent $1000 at a dealer or $700 at HSN).
Yeah, I checked, HSN has it for about $700, without some of the optional stuff Woot includes.

(Damn! I was finally getting close to paying off the credit cards.)


Later: I got curious about my old sewing machine. I haven't seen the "New Home" brand in 50 years. Just how old is my machine? I bought it used in perhaps 1966.

Well, Janome bought the New Home brand in 1960. The few places I can find it online, my model SS 2015 is listed as "Janome New Home SS 2015", which would seem to indicate that Janome probably used the "New Home" name for product loyalty purposes and eventually dropped it. So my machine probably dates from soon before or after 1960.

It has been heavily used, and has never needed service (that I couldn't do myself). Janome is a very well regarded brand. I know when I bought my machine, New Home was near top-of-the-line.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

3347 Becs and her feline family are fine...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

[T]he interaction between students and teachers has become one of "intellectual hide and seek." The students try to match what they think the teacher wants to hear. If you can do that, you can be "successful" in school.
-- Ron Beghetto, an education psychologist at the University of Oregon --


Just talked with Becs by phone. She and her entire feline family are alive and coping. She's been getting requests for assurances, but can't respond to all of them, so she asked me to let y'all know. (It's nice so many are concerned. I'm impressed with you all.)

Her electricity is out, which means no sump pump, so the water in her basement is about 18 inches deep. She's afraid her furnace, washer and dryer are kaput, and she's sadly lost some things, like journals and yarns.

The fire department arrived while we were talking - they'll pump out her basement for her.

Estimate for return of her electricity is this evening, so by tomorrow she may be back in the blogosphere.

3346 Still standing

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Act now. Pray later.


Daughter called a neighbor. He says flooding is minimal, just inadequate storm drain and overwhelmed sump pump kind of stuff, they still have electricity, and no trees in the immediate neighborhood are down. He's got 2 inches of water in his basement. He's not sure of conditions outside the neighborhood, and there's still wind, but so far so good.

(Actually, there's still a potential for flood. The little stream behind my house carries street runoff, and that can take time to build. But it's no longer a major worry.)

3345 Which is worse?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
-- Epicurus, 3rd century BC --

(Epicurus makes the mistake of attributing human qualities to God.
Perhaps God is simply watching his Great Experiment, tweaking occasionally to keep it interesting.)
-- Silk --


I seem to have traded hurricane wind-blown projectiles for tornadoes. I've been looking out the hotel window at horizontal torrents, wind-whipped trees, swaying lamp posts, and hearing tornado tracking on the TV station out of Philadelphia. I forgot that tornadoes are spawned all around the edges of hurricanes.

I dunno which is worse. In a hurricane, you've got projectiles thrown at you. In a tornado, you ARE the projectile.