Friday, July 29, 2005

Don't shop at Bed, Bath & Beyond anymore!

NPR : Artists Take Up Fight Against China Knockoffs: "Some New England crafts artists are claiming their works have been copied in China and are being sold cheaply in nearby stores. They've filed suit against the Christmas Tree Shops, a New England houseware chain." which is owned by Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Go and listen to the broadcast (its not very long) for yourself. The gist of it is that Xmas Tree Shop's buyers went to Cape Cod artists' shops and found cool, handcrafted items, bought them and then sent them to China to be replicated EXACTLY. Now, they are sold in the stores, in the same towns as the artists being ripped-off, for less than the cost of materials to the original artist. The buyers never mentioned to the artist that the shop would like to replicate the item, nor were they presented with an option to sell that design for some amount of money to the Xmas Tree Shops. One (1) item was bought retail and now thousands are being sold for only a few dollars.

I could rant on about this for pages, but I won't because I have to figure out how much SteelDeck we need for a job. Maybe I will post again later. Tell all your friends, link back to the npr page and don't shop at BBB anymore, because this sort of business practice should not be rewarded.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Electronic Leash

Today we got new cell phones at work. This also means that Nate and I are in the system and are officially on the CSSI electronic leash. I have mixed feelings about this situation overall, and generally disapprove of the hardware chosen, but it is not within my control. Here is the phone itself:LG VX4700. We are using Verizon because there aren't dead zones between the shop and Bob's house. And I think that its less expensive than Nextel.

I'm still keeping my regular T-Mobile, Minneapolis phone number cell phone, mostly because my dad pays for it and its the number everyone has. Also, I'm not sure how personal usage works with a work mobile. I know that we have unlimited IN Calling on the Verizon plan, so that's easy. (The new boy and I can talk all we want! :] ) I'm pretty sure that Bob has no idea how much trouble/expense we could cause with the new phones. They didn't spring for the camera phones, since you can't get Push-To-Talk with a Camera phone, and apparently the PTT was more important to Traffic than Camera phones were to PMs and Job Leads. Or they just made a bigger fuss.


I actually just did a bit of research, and you can get PTT with Camera Phone, but it wouldn't be free. And it appears that our lot of 8349762 phones, since they are all the same, were free. Also, the person in accounting who was assigned to deal with the phones has never owned nor used a cell phone, so he had no idea what he was getting (hence no belt clips or head sets included, and Silent/Vibrate is not very intuitive) when they sold him the phones.


If you wish to have the new mobile number that I will be required/expected to have on my hip from 6:45am until I am home for the night, then leave a comment and I'll email it your way. David, if you send me an "update entry" thing from Plaxo, I'll even fix it there for you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Question #5

What was the thing you liked the most about what you did working for the sign shop and if you had a chance to run that business yourself would you - why or why not?
I'm going to work backwards on this question. There is no way that I
would ever run that particular business (my dad's sign shop in MN) myself.
Right now, my mom is running it because my dad got a job back in Corporate
America (he's working for Wells Fargo Private Client Services as a sales person,
but they have a better title for him than that) and she hates it. The
business is growing and doing well, but the situation is awful. My mom is
a nurse by training, personality, career choice and it is what she was meant to
do. A businesswoman she is not, nor does she desire to be.

I don't think that I would do much better than her, because while I have a
better understanding of production-type work, I have no interest in doing
outside sales. Working with customers once they are comitted to a project
is fine, but finding and comitting those same people is right up there with
having dental work done as things I like doing.

At the same time, I think that I would like having my own sign shop.
Part of the problem with working for my dad was just that. Working for my
dad. I couldn't get away from my boss. And at work, I had more sway
with him than the graphic designer because I was his daughter, but I also had to
deal with his way of doing things, which I found infuriatingly cluttered and
disorganized. If I was in charge and could do things my way, I think that
I could do it. However, that brings back the basic issue of my aversion to

The part about that job that I liked the best was when I saw my ideas come
to fruition and work out well. Primarily, this was related to shop and
office organization, but sometimes it came from jobs as well. Also, now I
know how to talk to the graphics people and where the rip-off opportunities
are. However, I can get that kind of job satisfaction without having to
set foot in the family sign shop ever again as an employee.

To answer an unasked question, the most two-faced good thing about working
there was when I went back to school/got a job and Dad and Bob would talk about
how much better things were when I was there. It seemed like they got lazy
about taking care of their own shit when I was there, due to my trusty assistant
nature of trying to anticipate needs and staying a step ahead. But then
when I came back and they were still putting things away and using the magazine
files for catalogs, that was good.

That was kind of a long answer. Oh well.

Question #2

If you had to pick one of the places you've lived to live out the rest of your life, where would you pick and why?

Here are the choices:

  1. Minneapolis, Minnesota and its western suburbs
  2. San Francisco, California/Walnut Creek, CA
  3. Deerfield, IL
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Pittsburgh, PA
  6. Falmouth, MA
  7. Santa Fe, NM
  8. New Haven, CT

I absolutely would not choose to live out the rest of my life in Pittsburgh, Falmouth, New Haven or Deerfield. None of those places would be satisfactory for the complete adult life cycle.

Santa Fe was lovely, but is very remote and somewhat expensive. However, I liked the desert, its beautiful, and I could see myself settling into the community there and growing old.

San Francisco isn't remote, but its ridiculously expensive and, well, its California. None of my family lives there anymore. Some friends from school live in the area though. It is cosmopolitan and exciting and near open water, which are all selling points, but no to San Fran as well.

At this point, its down to Minneapolis or Chicago, and that's a really hard choice. If right now I had a job offer for Minneapolis, and was married with plans for a family, then I would go back in an instant. My family is there, the education and health care systems are better than Chicago/Illinois and its smaller yet still vibrant. Also, I think that the winter sucks less in Minneapolis.

But Chicago has to be the choice right now. I like my job, my apartment and I'm starting to make friends and settle into an adult life. I don't know what the future will bring, and I'm not sure that I even want to get married and start a family, and as a single girl for the forseeable (and perhaps forever) future, I think that I would be much happier in the big city of Chicago. But then again... if I got a job offer to move back to Minneapolis and it was good enough (and I wasn't stuck in Chicago due to some sort of blog question answer rule) then I would move even now. Though that won't happen, so its not an issue.

In short, the answer is Chicago, IL.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I <3 SP5

I got my July package from my Secret Pal today. It came in a fancy schmancy blue and green spotted bubble mailer. I will write the full list either towards the end of this post, or in a separate one.

I have had this post open for a while, so maybe a quick ellipses entry and then I'm turning it off.

It is soooo hot, I can barely believe it... I had two (2) very good dates with the new boy, I like him a lot... the boy is going to Ireland for 3 weeks in a week... my roommate wants us to do some serious cleaning this weekend... a Marriott show is much easier to deal with if you work on the project from the start... non-neon rope lighting is ugly... I can barely believe that the a/c is on... there is no food to speak of in the fridge for lunch... I have to leave by 6am tomorrow because of road resurfacing on my street... sooo hot, why didn't I change out of my jeans after work?... I am the luckiest girl ever (but many of you have heard that before) =]... I got my car washed today, I totally understand now how J can love the smell of automatic car washes (besides knowing the background to it)... they did a great job, even found the missing size 11 dpns that were apparently lost under a seat or something... I seem to have no attention span... today, Tom asked if David came into town this summer... I really like the boy... my SP rocks... and now, it is time to go.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

first date jitters

His name is Jeremy. We have been emailing a bunch for the last two weeks or so, and were planning on meeting up sometime before he leaves for Ireland (for 3 1/2 weeks) on August 2nd. Well, we were chatting and decided to go see the Neo-Futurists in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. Tonight. I'm telling myself that its like taking a bandaid off, you just have to do it and get it over with. The meeting new people slash first date thing. We can both fret about it for a week or just do it now and see how it goes and then perhaps have an extra week to hang out. I didn't mention that last bit, but it would really suck to not meet until next weekend and have it go really well and then not be able to hang out again.

If you want to see how we compare, my screen name is TDGirl.

Time to brush my teeth and hair and hope for the best.

Did the days of old really stink?

The Straight Dope: Is good personal hygiene a recent invention?: "What makes me skeptical that hygiene was so awful is that I often read of someone being particularly malodorous; if everything already stank horrifically, then how could people tell that someone had BO? Who had grounds to nitpick anyone else's pungency? --Jonathan, via e-mail"

And no, the column is not about 33 from September 2000 to May 2001 (my freshman year aka the year of extremely smelly boys). I found it interesting, and thought that you might too. Go on, have a look.

Friday, July 22, 2005

In Case of Emergency

I got an email from the person who I am the Secret Pal to suggesting this...

In your mobile phone, put a phonebook entry called ICE for In Case of Emergency with the phone number of the person you would want to have called in an emergency. In theory, if you were in an accident, the emergency personnel could use that entry to contact your family. If enough people do this and it gets around, it could become an international standard, and you never know when it will come in handy for you.

I don't know if it will become a standard, but you may as well put in the entry. It can't hurt and your family will be very glad you did if you are in an accident and they are contacted because you had it well marked.

Interview Game from Babelbabe

1. You must take an 8-hour bus trip with three toddlers, or with a strange dog that you must care for, or with your worst ex-significant-other. Which do you pick, and why?
I pick the worst ex-significant other. Do I know who that actually is? No. But none of them have been abusive or particularly mean or anything that would really prevent me from surviving an 8 hour bus trip with them. I usually sleep on bus trips, due to a tendency towards motion sickness. And if I don't sleep, I can knit.

Toddlers were my choice before I thought about the ex-SO for a bit. And I remembered what a racket toddlers can make. And I wouldn't be able to sleep through their needs. But at the same time, toddlers belong in car seats, so they won't be able to run off, and with three of them there is hope that they would just do their toddler thing together. But I doubt it. I've never made a habit of taking toddlers anywhere that was unfamiliar to them, so I don't know how they react to such things.

A strange dog is never my first choice, nor is taking care of a dog. Especially not in a moving vehicle. Dogs are actually the most likely of those three to throw up. I like petting dogs and playing with them and giving them treats. But take one on a bus? You've got to be kidding me.
2.Cat person or dog person?
See above. Definitely a cat person, but I have a soft spot for dogs too.
3. You can have free plastic surgery to fix a part of your body you don't like but once it's fixed, you are required to keep it covered. (i.e. if it's a tummy tuck, no belly shirts)Do you still do it?
If I wasn't squeamish about plastic surgery, then yes, I would do it. An improved body part still looks better even if you can't show off the skin. And *I* would know that it was improved.
4. A friend asks you to house-sit for a month but neglects to mention until the night before that housesitting entails caring for and feeding her twelve-foot python. Do you still do it? And if no, how do you get out of it?
I'd still do it. I wouldn't be happy about it, and she'd owe me big time, but I'd do it. As long as I didn't have to take it out of its containment. Or touch it. But I'm pretty sure that I could handle the care and feeding of a python for a month.
5. You may eat only one type of fruit and one type of vegetable for the rest of your life. Which fruit and veg do you pick?
If I can be general, then berries and peas. If I have to be more specific, then raspberries and sugar snap peas.
If you want questions, leave a comment.

This just in from BabelBabe

I'll answer these in a bit, maybe even before David's, because they are easier and have fewer parts. But either way, its back to doing Bob's bidding. =)

1. You must take an 8-hour bus trip with three toddlers, or with a strange dog that you must care for, or with your worst ex-significant-other. Which do you pick, and why?

2.Cat person or dog person?

3. You can have free plastic surgery to fix a part of your body you don't like but once it's fixed, you are required to keep it covered. (i.e. if it's a tummy tuck, no belly shirts)Do you still do it?

4. A friend asks you to house-sit for a month but neglects to mention until the night before that housesitting entails caring for and feeding her twelve-foot python. Do you still do it? And if no, how do you get out of it?

5. You may eat only one type of fruit and one type of vegetable for the rest of your life. Which fruit and veg do you pick?

Question #1

If you could pick one thing to have changed about your college experience what would it be?

I would've stayed in campus housing for my sophomore year. I think that living alone in the carriage house during the fall of sophomore year really contributed to the depression that made its indelible mark on my entire college experience, and besides being fairly well-adjusted now, didn't do much in the positive column for me.

The Interview Game! Let's Play

The Interactive Internet Question Game

This is an Interactive Internet Question Game. I got it from There are no bad ideas. This is how it's played:
  1. If you want to play, leave a comment below saying so.
  2. I'll post five (5) unique questions to the comments section of this post.
  3. You answer them in your blog.
  4. In your post, you include this explanation and offer to interview others.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five (5) questions.

Here are the questions I got from David:

  1. If you could pick one thing to have changed about your college experience what would it be?
  2. If you had to pick one of the places you've lived to live out the rest of your life, where would you pick and why?
  3. If you had to pick someplace you haven't lived to live out the rest of your life where would you pick and why?
  4. Given a choice of becoming a full time employee of any teacher you've ever had who would you choose and why?
  5. What was the thing you liked the most about what you did working for the sign shop and if you had a chance to run that business yourself would you - why or why not?

As I am currently at work, I will answer these questions over the next day(s) in posts. But go ahead, play. I promise that I'll get back to asking the questions promptly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If You Knew Sushi

If You Knew Sushi This was David's link-of-the-day, but yum. I think that I might actually want to make a habit of eating sushi for dinner if it was really just fancy rice krispie treats and gummies and chocolate. Mmmmm... yum. I wonder if I could make them myself? I'm good at rice krispie treats, and not too bad at assembly, though maybe I should start with something more forgiving, like truffles, for my first candy-culinary experiments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

we make money not art: Smart needles for distracted knitters

Smart needles for distracted knitters: "Rebecca Spender's KnitWit are smart needles that keep track of the number of stitches you've already done. Movement sensors in the ends record the movement of the needles. This data is streamed via RF to a remote base station which decodes the signal, looking for a specific series of movements which correlate to the formation of a stitch. When a 'stitch' is recognised, the LCD counter increments.

In a similar way the interaction between the two needles is used to determine when one row has been finished and another started and thus the rows counter increments too."

That is really cool. I wonder if they could make them as an attachment to put onto regular needles, like a row counter. That would make it be more marketable, otherwise you would always have to make the same gauge item.

Monday, July 18, 2005


You are just the lubricant and erection girl, aren't you?

The anti-gravity machine is more expensive than steel, just build it.

May and June were the lubricant months. July is all about erection.

I need to send these drawings to Canada tomorrow, the erection company wants to know what they're getting into.

Yes, I have a very juvenile sense of humor.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I saw someone I know on TV!

Griffin Matthews (previously Matt Griffin) is in a Dr. Scholl's commercial. He dances and has a line or two. Watch for him. Yay for TiVo allowing me to rewind and pause to confirm that yes, I do know that person. And yay! for Sarah D. for remembering his name.

Also, Sarah says that she has seen Greg Treco in a Dr. Scholl's commercial too.

Its so crazy-weird-fun to see people that I know on television. Post your own CMU-ite sitings in the comments, please.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bus firm takes car sharers to court

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Bus firm takes car sharers to court: "They might have been congratulated for their 'green' efforts in an area of heavy air pollution."

Go take a look at this article, its ridiculous, yet true. The Guardian doesn't lie.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

all beauty comes with a price... pain

I went to the Foster Avenue Beach today with my roommate and it was a lovely afternoon. The sky was perfectly clear and crayon box sky blue. The water was warm enough to swim in and cool enough to be refreshing. There was a breeze so it wasn't too hot, but not so much that the sand got in your face while you read. The Neat Sheet was just the right size for two people to lay on towels. Even though there were lots of people, it wasn't crowded. There was plenty of personal space and you didn't have to step on anyone's stuff to get to and from the water or the sidewalk. The people watching was superb. I want to go to the beach everyday in the summer, instead of CSSI.

I remembered to put on sunscreen (which I failed to do when I went to the Taste last Saturday) but still, burned! The backs of my legs hurt oh-so-much (see, the beach would be way better than my desk tomorrow =] ), and I missed a part of my back. My face and arms just have good color/monstrous freckles and the fronts of my legs are starting the freckle on the pasty white background. Oh, do my legs hurt. ow ow ow.

Still, depsite that last paragraph of whining, the beach was wonderful. This was the first time I'd ever gone to a Lake Michican beach in my "adult" life. It was much better than expected.

I forgot to rave about the water clarity. It was a sandy bottom beach with NO lakeweed (a relative of seaweed, usually pretty bad by now in MN lakes), though there was some floating plant matter. There are a few options... they chemically treat it to death, they mow it very regularly (yes, you can mow the lakeweed, its a special mower-boat), Lake Michigan isn't weedy (I highly doubt that), all the activity prevents it from growing, the lake is so polluted that it can't grow (also unlikely) (as far as I've observed in the land of 10,000 lakes, more pollution = more lakeweed) or the weed somehow doesn't grow in the shallow water area of the beach. Besides the lack of lakeweed, the water was just generally very clear. I felt more comfortable going under than I do in many parts of Lake Minnetonka, mostly because I could see the bottom.

also, no fish, dead or alive. I didn't expect live ones with so much activity, but no dead ones either was a pleasant thing. and no rocks (definitely a man-made beach).

Keep Smiling! =) (and an end to my overuse of parenthetical commentary)

Knitting Update

Recent knitting activities: (this was just going to be a list, then I started typing. pictures to come, someday.)

I finished the knitting part of the On the Moon bag from Knitty. Now it just needs 2 small buttons and a large button. I made it with popsicle (turquoise-blue) Cotton-Ease on size 7 needles. I haven't checked the gauge at all, but it holds tampons just fine, which is all that matters. I had to alter the pattern for the I-cord button loops. It says to use the backward loop cast-on to add two stitches, and I just couldn't get that to not be all loose and saggy and ugly, so I cast-on 34 stitches to begin with and went from there. It took me a few tries on the handle to think of that and get it correct-looking. I also added a purl bump row on the right side for where each of the pockets is folded in, mostly because I didn't have the pattern in front of me when I was working on it on the airplane (I didn't print it until a day or two later at my parents' house), and remembered that there were bumps for the fold, and thought it was for all three folding places. P.S. I <3 the cable cast-on.

This was my first experience with seaming that went well. I think its called the mattress stitch, but my Vogue Knitting Reference book (the little version of the bigger book) just called it an invisible vertical seam. It really was invisible once I got the hang of it. So cool.

Also with Cotton-Ease, I started a big ol' gauge swatch. I cast-on 20 stitches and am knitting 20 rows in stockinette, making a purl bump and then switching needle size. So far I have used US size 3 aluminum, size 4 Clover Bamboo (10" long), size 5 Clover bamboo (14" long), and size 6 aluminum needles. Next will be my favorite needles, size 7 yellow plastic. Next in line will be size 8 Denise, size 9 casein, and 10, 10.5 and on up will all be from the Denise set. The ball label calls for a gauge over 4" of 17st + 24 rows on size 8 needles (aka Aran weight). I saw this exercise written up somewhere to demonstrate how needle size, gauge and the resulting knitted fabric are all related. I figured that since I hoarded so much Cotton-Ease, I should see how it knits up over the whole range. When I finish, I will post a picture or two.

At the White Sox game on Friday with Charlie I cast-on (with 6" US size 2 dpns from Crystal Palace) for "Beginner's Lightweight Socks" from a Knitting Pure & Simple pattern. It was in fact the first pattern I ever bought individually, and I still haven't made anything from it. I am using the first sock yarn I ever bought as well. Its very gaudy, pink, orange, blue, green and yellow. I have no idea how it is going to stripe up, as I lost the ball bands ages ago and haven't made much progress on the socks.

I am into the ribbing right now (I told you I hadn't made much progress) and am trying out the Norwegian Purl. Its very loose, and I'm not sure how to tighten up my purls and still do them the magical Norwegian way. I love not having to move the yarn back to front and front to back all the time. Also, I hold/throw the yarn with my left thumb when I purl the "normal" way, and I hold/throw the yarn with my left index finger when I knit/have the yarn at the back of the work, so there is a lot of rearranging needed to do ribbing the "normal" way. And thusly, I hate ribbing.

On these socks I think that I am going to do more ribbing, to make up for its loosey-goosey nature and not go the whole 7" on the leg. My first pair of socks were just too tall at a 7" leg and 10 rounds of ribbing was insufficient. The size 2 needles are like toothpicks. A woman on the train going home asked if I was crocheting, and when told that I was knitting, she said that she didn't know you could knit with such small sticks.

Also in progress is the "Lunchbag Tote" from Knit One, Felt Too for my mom. I finished the main bag part and made a swatch. In that order. I don't care about gauge as much as checking the ratio of felted to unfelted size. Besides washing the test swatch, I need to go to the fabric store and get washable 9/16" seam binding. I have no idea what that is, but the pattern calls for it, and maybe all will be clear as mud in the instructions once I have it in hand.

That's it for the current WIPs (Works in Progress), I will post photos when there is something finished to show.

Peg, feel free to ask as many questions as you want about what I've written. Someday, you will learn how to purl. and then you will no longer be a baby knitter. Does the farm that you bought shares in have sheep/wool/yarn available? If they do, you might be able to take a class there, if you were interested. And you work in Manhattan, where there are many opportunities to learn how to purl.

Keep Smiling! =) especially if you made it this far.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

something witty

This is a picture of the needle case, stitch markers, sheep, safety pins and the edges of the booklets.

I got these two booklets, Magic Loop and Beginner Stitches. The Magic Loop is a way to make small circumference circular items using a very long circular needle. I will try it one of these days, when I'm feeling patient.

This is a closeup of the stitch markers, though a bit blurry. As I type this, I am remembering that I could've set the camera to MACRO mode to get a clear, close-up picture. Next time. I really like these stitch markers, they inspire me to want to make my own.

That's all for the pictures.

In other Knitting news... i have no idea what I was going to write here. The phone rang and I got distracted by work. Its time for bed. Leave comments, people!


I started a post that was oh-so-very excited about using Blogger Images to host pictures of my SP5 June package. But I have failed to actually post a picture, except for the test post of Katarina and the Bag. Isn't she cute? But still, no pictures via the Blogger Images of the package.
Here is an inventory for those who want to know:
  1. The Magic Loop booklet
  2. Beginner's Guide Knit Stitches and Easy Projects booklet
  3. blue-green-purple-white needle case (I am so excited! I have my grandmother's old needle case, but it is so ratty and doesn't hold all my needles. now I have a nice, new one)
  4. a small painted, wood sheep
  5. 3 sets of Beaded Stitch Markers
    1. 1 set of 4 that say "Knit" or "Purl" in those letter necklace beads
    2. 1 set of blue glass beaded ones
    3. 1 set of green sculpey/ceramic beaded ones
  6. a very nice card
  7. a package of coilless safety pins
Now its back to battling the picture hosting. Maybe ImageShack will work out better for me.

photo test post

This is a test post of the blogger picture hosting. This cat is Katarina, my roommate in New Haven, Amber's cat. Isn't she cute? She loved water and climbing legs. She made Amber crazy because she really liked to sleep on our faces and lick and bite our noses.