one post every 6d10 days

1

[Old Spicy voice] These are words; words that have been typed using a computer keyboard. I have not added words to this blog in two months, but that does not matter. This blog is ultimately for me, myself, and I. I am sharing bits of my life with readers, yes, but if I don’t feel like writing or have the time for writing, then all of you, dear readers, will just have to be happy with what you get when you get it. I mean that in the most loving way possible, man. [/voice]

I often say I have too many hobbies. Various hobbies are usually what keep me from blogging (so I guess that makes blogging a lower priority hobby). Since my last post my free time has been consumed by knitting, reading, or gaming in various forms with Rob and our friends. I also attempt to exercise on a regular basis. (Okay, I struggle to exercise on a regular basis but I consider it a triumph just to get in one serious workout per week.) Blogging has also been trumped by company—we’ve had company at the house two of the last three weekends. The weekend that we didn’t have company was consumed by four glorious days of gaming and geekery at Gen Con. So I’m not on the computer often at home and I don’t see this as failing at blogging.

Speaking of Gen Con…I met Wil Wheaton! I have been a fan of Wil since I was in the single digits. He was one of my earliest celebrity crushes (maybe the first? I can’t recall any others). My sister and I still occasionally break out into a little tune referencing Wil’s character on Star Trek: The Next Generation that she and I composed when we were still playing with stuffed animals. It’s not a tune that should ever be shared with anyone else as its squeaky cuteness will induce gagging or bleeding from the ears, but it’s our silly ditty and a treasure of our sisterhood.

I’ve been a reader of Wil’s blog since 2002 (maybe 2003?). I think he’s good people. It was well worth the nearly three and a half hours I spent waiting in the autograph line to meet him. The wait was only as long as it was because Wil was actually listening to and chatting with people. He didn’t just take their money, scribble a quick autograph, and push them along to get to the next person. I was able to chat for a few minutes—to tell him how long I’ve been reading his blog (since the Soapbox days!), tell him how much Rob and I enjoyed his talk earlier that day, how I’m a public librarian and several months ago I had made sure that my library owned a book he talked about (Family Games: The 100 Best), how I organize National Gaming Day each year at my library, and so on. I also gave him a variety of dice from our collection (he had asked his blog readers to give him a die if we saw him at Gen Con–he ended up with about ten pounds of dice). I think I was able to walk away from the encounter without coming across as a super obsessed crazy fangirl. It felt like Wil had rolled a natural 20 on his Perform check to Inspire Greatness. It’s too bad we didn’t get to play Munchkin or D&D with him. Maybe next year…

A few choice fugly dice from our collection given to Wil

shiny, shiny toy

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a public librarian. I work at the reference desk at a medium-sized library in central Indiana. And today…

My library bought an iPad.

It’s for staff use. I’m part of a team that will be learning to use various personal gadgets, such as the iPad, to download the audiobooks, e-books, and videos that are available to our patrons for checkout. After we’ve learned the process on all of the gadgets, we’re going to teach the rest of the library staff as well. We decided to purchase a Sony Pocket Reader, an iPad, and a Zune video MP3 player. This decision was made roughly a week after I had attended a webinar on gadgets in the library, which was informative and exciting but prompted me to lament to my manager because I didn’t foresee the library’s equipment budget allowing for such purchases any time soon. Luckily, several managers felt staff needed to know how to use these new fangled things if we’re to have any hope of assisting patrons that have them.

I’d been curious about the iPad since I first saw it, wondering how this new device would perform compared to a smartphone or a laptop. It’s true that I secretly want one for myself even though I’ve never really wanted an Apple product before, and I’m not sure I can justify needing one. I do have a desktop and a laptop computer, after all. Although, the laptop is about five years old now and becoming sluggish…

Anyway, the techie in me was doing an Irish jig on top of the world when one of the managers brought the iPad to me this morning. Aside from the staff member that slapped the inventory sticker onto it, I was the first person to behold its shininess. I was the first person to start smearing my fingerprints across its pristine screen.

I am intrigued. I cannot wait to see the future of touch interfaces and how they will be used in libraries of all kinds, beyond their obvious uses as media readers/players. Will a touch interface become the new library catalog, allowing patrons to explore a library’s collection in new, interactive ways? The touch interface is so intuitive, as many users of the iPad have demonstrated with their videos of their two-year-olds and savvy cats. This could be a major advantage over some traditional catalog interfaces that patrons find clunky and hard to navigate.

I was bummed that I couldn’t bring the iPad home with me to continue learning and exploring over the weekend. Fortunately, some friends who are staying at our house this weekend bought their own iPad today! “Everything’s shiny, captain!”

the one with carpal tunnel

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So I’m not quite meeting my “at least one post per week” goal, am I? Considering that I was posting about once every three months at the end of my LiveJournal blogging career, I think I’m doing fairly well.

I guess I’m too busy knitting and watching season/series finales. I’ve cast on more knitting projects and added to my stash (everyone needs a little retail therapy once in a while, especially when there’s great yarn at 40% off!). My shoulder is still bothering me a bit, but not as bad as it was.

New on the needles is a cotton baby bib that I started two days ago and will most likely complete today, if my wrists allow. It’s the first in a trio of bibs for a friend’s first boy. The colors in the picture aren’t quite accurate—the green is more of a bright lime green.

I’m still plodding along on the blanket for my mom. The rounds just get longer and longer…they’re ridiculously long already and I still have two and a half skeins to use. I’m content with finishing just one or two rounds each time I pick it up. I believe the end result will be worth the monotony and the wrist pain.

I’m worried about these issues I have with my wrists. I’m not even 30 years old! Carpal tunnel is probably a real possibility given years of flute playing, many years of heavy computer use, and now several years of knitting. I have a doctor’s appointment this coming week for my annual “wellness” exam and I think I’ll be discussing my wrist and shoulder issues with my doc.

Just for fun, here’s Artemis, our princess kitty.

She loves the IU camp chair.

knitter’s shoulder?

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I think I’ve injured myself by knitting too furiously.

I started a blanket for my mom a week before Mother’s Day. I had grand delusions of being able to finish it, even at the snail-like pace that I knit, in time to gift it on Mother’s Day. Now…you need to understand that I knit so tightly that I often have to let go of the working yarn to scooch the knitting up the needle using both hands (or in this case, around the needle, since I’m working in the round). My hands usually start to hurt after knitting for an hour or so.

Also, I usually knit while sitting in my computer chair—an instrument of torture that I’ve been suffering for several years. The armrests are not adjustable. They are made of hard plastic and do not have any cushioning or padding covering them.

I finally realized after a week of furious knitting (furious means that I averaged at least an hour of knitting every day) that the way I rest my elbows against my torso while knitting—somewhat squished because if I rested my elbows on the actual ARMRESTS for more than five minutes, I would be bruised for life—yep, it kinda hurt.

When I finally admitted defeat two days before my unrealistic deadline, I scaled back on my knitting time and consciously tried to adjust my posture so as to not create as much tension in my hands and upper body. But, the next day my wrists and shoulder ached just a bit. A little twinge here and there.

Apparently I really need to try to knit more loosely. I’ve barely knitted at all this week. My wrists twinge more than a bit. And my shoulder! Egads, my right shoulder aches like whoa if I move it just so, especially while performing that oh-so-important motion of pulling up your pants or underwear. I don’t think the reference desk setup at work helps either. Our reference desk was designed by a sadist who did not stop to consider that most librarians (okay, about half of the librarians I know) have thighs the size of giant hams, and maybe we’d like to sit at the desk with an ergonomically correct posture but we’re unable to do so due to the sadistic design plus the idiotic lap drawers that are six inches tall, which means we can’t put our arms and wrists in that comfortable computing position because the tops of our thunder thighs will bump the lap drawers if we adjust the chair height to the correct ergonomic position.

But I digress.

I need a new computer/knitting/sewing chair.

fun with kool-aid and yarn

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Several weeks ago I decided to try hand dyeing some yarn with Kool-Aid. I had never dyed yarn before but wanted to give it a go—especially since it would give me an excuse to buy lots of colorful little packets of fruity smelling goodness.

I found a few colors/flavors at Meijer but was unable to find the two flavors I wanted most (Lemon Lime and Berry Blue). I reluctantly braved a trip to Wal-Mart and found them there.

I used the dyeing tutorial from Knitty. I spent pretty much an entire afternoon and evening mixing colors, dyeing, and rinsing. OMG, the rinsing! I don’t think the water ever ran completely clear, even after six or seven rinses.

I was somewhat disappointed in the reds…it didn’t matter whether I used cherry or tropical punch or strawberry, they all ended up as almost identical shades of pink. That’s not to say that I’m not pleased with the results…I was just hoping for a bit more variation.

I dyed four different skeins of natural/undyed yarn from KnitPicks. The picture below shows all of the skeins I dyed.


From top to bottom, the colors/flavors I used:
#1 – Handpainted with 2 parts Black Cherry; 2 parts Strawberry; 1 part Cherry
#2 – Handpainted with 2 parts Cherry; 2 parts Orange; 0.5 parts Black Cherry
#3 – Handpainted with 3 parts Berry Blue; 2.5 parts Lemon Lime
#4 – Just sorta dumped into a bowl together: 2 parts Lemonade; 1.5 parts Tropical Punch

My favorite by far is #3, where a lot of the natural color remains along with the blues/greens.

I don’t have any patterns in mind for any of these yet. I still have another four or five undyed skeins left. Time to brave another trip to Wal-Mart…

might, magic, LibraryThing

5

I haven’t made any progress on the quilt front yet, other than moving the ironing board/iron into the crafty room. (I need to start fusing the interfacing to the squares I’ve already cut from the t-shirts.)

The lack of progress is due to several things, but mainly:

  1. I found the disc for Heroes of Might and Magic III on Sunday and promptly reinstalled it. I have effectively wasted more than eight hours vanquishing evil since Sunday night.
  2. I ordered a CueCat barcode scanner from LibraryThing.

Being a librarian, I’m probably a bit late to jump on the LibraryThing bandwagon, but I’ve enjoyed going through all of our books over the last three days, scanning the ones that will scan and manually inputting the ISBNs for the books that either predate barcodes or don’t appear in any major database known to man (fie on thee Games Workshop and your Warhammer 40K books!). I’ve found a lot of books I still need to read, a lot of books I forgot I owned, and a lot of books I didn’t know Rob owned before we combined our collections.

Plus, LibraryThing tells me nifty stats like “Dead or Alive?”

How many of your authors are dead?
Dead: 59 / Alive: 150 / Unknown: 118 / Not a Person: 16
Percent alive: 71.77%

So cool.

Scanning setup

Valdez likes the barcode scanner as well.

the hibernating t-shirt quilt

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I own a decent Singer Brother sewing machine (had to edit because I was entirely wrong!). I bought one in early 2009 as a birthday present to myself, even though I hadn’t used one since home ec. class in the sixth grade. I had optimistic plans of making a t-shirt quilt out of the many sentimentally valuable shirts Rob and I have collected through the years. Susan, my grad school roommate, had a t-shirt quilt made by her grandmother, and it was awesome. I wanted one of my own!

I read several different versions of how to make a t-shirt quilt online, bought the sewing machine, thread, straight pins, interfacing, and fabric shears. I chose the t-shirts I was going to use.

I even starting cutting the t-shirts into squares and I tentatively fused one square to interfacing.

Valdez is on the tub which contains the neglected beginnings of the quilt.

And then I realized that this project was going to take me a loooong time—time I thought I would rather spend knitting, reading, or playing video games. I also freaked out because, as I said, I hadn’t used a sewing machine in over ten years. I didn’t want to mess it up or possibly lose the sentimental t-shirts for.ev.er.

So the t-shirt squares and the interfacing have been sitting in a plastic storage tub for over a year now, and my sewing machine continues to sit unused in our crafty room.

I want to finish the quilt. That’s why I’m posting this with the hopes that I can light a fire beneath my ass. I have too many unfinished projects (especially knitting!) sitting around. So, even though I didn’t set any official New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of 2010, I now declare my resolution to make progress on the t-shirt quilt this year (I could say “finish” the quilt this year but I would just be setting myself up for more FAIL), and to finish at least three of my knitting projects that have been hibernating as well.  I think I have five or six in progress.

Hopefully I will be able to post some in-progress pictures in the near future.

verifiable

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Because I’m a librarian and a geek, I’m trying to do things the “right” way this time around with this blog. Technorati requires that I post this fab code in order to verify that I am indeed the author of this blog. Believe me, I have no delusions about ever appearing in the Technorati top 100 or even the top 1000. But this amuses me. So, here ya go:

D2Q8EQFNH3NC

a good change

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I should probably mention that my husband is starting a new job today! After almost five years in what was his first job after college graduation, he has moved on. He will (hopefully) be happier and he will be making more money. This is good on both counts! It’s a sales position where he will be doing a lot of driving and getting home later than before, but I am very happy for him.

Maybe this means we can buy a new couch and a new mattress soon…

work in progress

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So here I am. It’s been exactly (or ‘ezzactly,’ perhaps?) 991 days since I last penned a blog post back on LiveJournal. Enjoy a brief excerpt from the final entry:

Please take a deep breath, try not to pass out. Yes, I am posting.

I know, you all probably thought I had left for good. Not true. I try to read my flist at least once a week, but I admit that’s it’s not even that often. I really do miss being around LJ and I feel bad for not keeping up. I never would have guessed that having a full-time job and a husband would eat up all of my LJ time. What can I say?

I am posting because something pretty big is about to happen for us…

No, I am not pregnant. I knew someone would think that.

We are buying our first house! We are closing this Monday and will have possession the same day. I’m so excited I can’t even tell you.

After five years and 1,332 journal entries, my days on LiveJournal came to an end. I do think that having a house and a full-time job, paired with the fact that I use a computer about 90% of the time at work, contributed to curing me of my internet addictions. I used to be online A LOT during college and grad school (what else was there for a geek girl like me?). The intarwebs connected Rob and I before we were married and living together. We both played Dungeons & Dragons Online religiously–until we moved into our first house and I grew bored with running the same quests over, and over, and over again. I spent less and less time online, more time enjoying television, reading, and other hobbies. I still sometimes go an entire weekend without checking my e-mail!

However, I have recently felt the need to write and share some things about gaming, knitting, work, and life in general in greater detail than Facebook and Twitter allow for. I’ve been learning new crafty things aside from knitting, like dyeing my own yarn and trying my hand at cross stitch. We took a trip to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics and I feel like our memories of the trip won’t be properly preserved because I haven’t blogged about the trip.

So, as I said, here I am.  I know I won’t be posting with the same frequency as my LJ days.  I will be pleased if I can manage one post per week!  And I will be pleased to have even just a handful of readers.  Here goes nothing!

And I’m still not pregnant, btw.

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