Wednesday, February 25

Take to the sky

... or at least have a good look at it.

I just saw a beautiful image on today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. I recommend that you click through to catch the photo in its not stolen full glory, as well as catch a few tidbits offered by the crew at APOD.

The photo is of Comet Lullin, which is quite visible tonight, with a pair of binoculars or a telescope. A little more information can be found here (via @scifri).

I'm quite fond of stargazing. I used to want to be an astronomer, until I learned how much math was involved. (I can do math, but I don't particularly love it. Words and languages are, for the most part, friendlier.)

When I was little, my dad used to take the family out to some dark location, hauling his binoculars, a tripod and a camera with a long-exposure attachment, in case he decided to take a photo. (Once I got in trouble for opening the car door, activating the dome light, while he was taking a photo; I'm pretty sure I not only ruined the exposure but got a little yelled at as well.) We've gone comet watching on a few occasions, and I think this would be a nice opportunity to do so again.

Tuesday, February 24

What a girl needs

So I've been reading Penny Karma's blog for quite a while now. And I've been seeing this meme going around. Penny caught it, and wrote a post: WWPKD?. PK decided to see whether her online persona is different from real-life Penny. I decided to have a look and see how mine compare. (What I enjoy about this meme is that the substance, if you can call it that, is taken completely out of context.)

The litmus test? Google (of course) your first name followed by the word NEEDS, and blog the top ten results you get. So what's the difference between Christa and Xa?

  1. Xa needs replacement red shutter release button.
  2. Xa needs repair!
  3. Xa needs to look like...
  4. Xa needs to be separate.
  5. Xa needs some work on the light seals.
  6. Xa needs no cleaning or painting. (Damn right I don't. Cleaning is for the birds.)
  7. Xa needs to know about custom capabilities.
  8. Xa needs laborers!
  9. Xa needs prayer.
  10. Xa needs the fulfillment of some operations.

  1. Christa needs us.
  2. Christa needs HELP!
  3. Christa needs to be put to death NOW! (Wait. Let's not be hasty.)
  4. Christa needs to realize that despite the disappointing action, she is still deserving of friendship.
  5. Christa needs to be judged on PTO if she is evil or not.
  6. Christa needs a permanent family that will help her maintain her relationships with her birth and foster family.
  7. Christa needs a loving, dedicated, attentive and supportive family who will ensure that her needs are met and help maximize her full potential.
  8. Christa needs a brand description.
  9. Christa needs some rest!
  10. Christa needs someone genuine.

So, what do you need?

Monday, February 23

I want to be a mad scientist.

I attended a ten-year-old's birthday party on Saturday. A mad science birthday party. I can't even begin to say how cool it is to have a science party. The mom even had a "mad scientist" come for an hour. (Also, I just checked out their website, and they're hiring. How much fun would that be?) You better believe I wore my Dr. Horrible t-shirt to the party.

My mom and I doing the wave, green "slime",
and an incredibly cute hedgehog.

(That scarf the hedgehog's wearing is my handiwork: just a quick double crochet with fringe.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: work has been driving me crazy. (So much so that I've been moving a number of my more important files to flash drive, which I should have done before.) Maybe I will apply for a mad scientist job.

Monday, February 16

I'm home!

I had a really fun weekend in Iowa City. I tried to tweet occasionally via my mobile. Some of them didn't make it through, unfortunately. I'm going to pull the texts from my phone (though if you want the Twitter, it's here).

Road trip! Iowa City, here I come. 1:23 PM Feb 13
Just saw a license plate that read EAT KFC. 2:18 PM Feb 13
Cocktails at I.C. Ugly's. 6:29 PM Feb 13
Playing Bingo at a gay bar before a drag show. 9:28 PM Feb 13
I might turn into a pumpkin in a minute. I rarely stay out so late. 1:04 AM Feb 14
Willis & doodleberries. Bwa ha ha. 10:27 AM Feb 14
The best thing about gelato is the tiny shovel. Well, and the taste. 3:01 PM Feb 14
Sushi fills you up so much. Five pieces and I'm spent. 11:23 PM Feb 14
WTF. Techno line dance? 12:48 AM Feb 15
A song about IKEA is almost as good as going there. 12:53 PM Feb 15

So yes. We had lots and lots of fun. Hopefully those photos will end up on Facebook so's I can steal them away and show you.

Thursday, February 12

Sut mae. Sut dych chi?

Afternoon, friends. (Or better: prynhawn da.)

I decided to start learning a new language by means of podcast, so I clicked through the language directory on iTunes. I ended up choosing Welsh, via the Learn Welsh Podcast. I've listened to the first episode a couple times now, and the vocab is slowly starting to stick in my head.

What I really like about this podcast is that Jason, the host, puts out a PDF with each episode so that you can have a visual idea of what you're saying (or trying to say). Having come across Welsh only very occasionally (reading and re-reading The Grey King by Susan Cooper, which takes place in Wales), I find the pronunciation to be a bit ... strange. (Of course, I'm used to Spanish, German, ancient Greek and Latin.) I think my main problem thus far is putting the sound together with the spelling. So I'll keep with the practicing.

I'm going to eastern Iowa tomorrow to spend time with some friends I haven't seen for quite a while. Hopefully it won't start snowing (at least not too much) before I leave. That would be sad.

Peace out, yo.

Wednesday, February 4

Bread pudding and meditation

mmm bread pudding

Bread pudding makes a delicious breakfast, by the bye, if a little sweet. It's like shredded French toast, really, with raisins on top. And sugar.

As you can see, I did a little baking on Sunday, to celebrate the arrival of February and that spring is just a little closer. It was so nice that I was able to turn off the heat and prop the front door open for a little fresh air. Of course, then we were back to ice cube air by Sunday night, but spring is tip-toeing closer. And I did a little pre-spring cleaning, besides. Four bags of shredded paper? I think so. And Saturday I pulled out the washer and dryer to dig out everything from behind. I found old mail (not mine) from 2006 back there, as well as enough dust bunnies to join forces and make a dust jackalope.

I've also been doing a bit of knitting, as usual. Here's something to help with meditation a bit: the Baltic Finger Labyrinth.

Baltic Labyrinth

Except I got a little carried away last night and will have to frog back a couple rows. Something is a little whacky with the center. I'm not exactly exactly following the chart to the letter, so that might be why my center is strange. I tried dropping the offending stitches this morning to attempt to fix it without frogging, but I think I just made it worse. So when I'm finished with choir rehearsal tonight, I'll curl up in my chair, queue up a few podcasts, and work it out.

I'm still quite pleased with how it looks otherwise. I'll have to add some edging to it to keep it from rolling — probably single crochet — as I chose to knit the project in stockinette. The original was knit in garter stitch, which probably would have been a smarter choice, but I decided to go with smooth.

That's all she wrote for today. I can't really think of a whole lot.