July 29, 2010

I Have This Sinking Feeling...

It has been hot here lately. Benny has been lying on the quarry-tile floor. Joon has found an alternative.

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Posted by Ryan at 08:01 PM | Comments (8)

July 26, 2010

Why I Love the Internets

A few weeks ago, my lips and the skin around my mouth started to taste bitter. (Maybe other parts of my skin, too, but I declined to indulge in random licking.) The bitterness wouldn’t go away, either, the way sweet or salty does after a meal. I’d lick my lips, taste the bitter, and if I licked them half an hour or two hours or even a day later, they’d still be just as bitter, maybe even more so.

The bitterness concerned me because I’ve had to tweak some of my meds lately and I thought it might be a side effect, one that was seeping up from the inside out. I’ve taken epilepsy medications before that made all food taste like rotten meat (even sugared sodas, which was beyond gross) or tin foil, so this line of thinking wasn’t too farfetched to my mind. I even toyed with the idea that the bitterness was psychological, emphasis on the "psycho."

I let the issue go for a few days but eventually it bothered me enough that I decided to Google “skin tastes bitter,” keeping my expectations low because the whole thing felt weird and unique and I was sure I had stumbled across the one thing the Internet wouldn’t have the answer to. But there it was, two or three hits down the page, the question, “Have you used a can of pressurized air to clean your keyboard lately?,” followed by the answer to the mystery: “Manufacturers have added a bitter taste to cans of pressurized air to combat huffing.”

Yes, by Jove, I had just used a can of pressurized air to clean my work keyboard. And since I (a) type a lot (it’s me job) and (b) am an inveterate face-toucher, I had developed what seemed to be permanently bitter skin. One good scrub of the face and problem solved. Until I typed again and touched my face again 30 seconds later.

Still, I loves me the Internet.

Posted by Ryan at 10:54 AM | Comments (9)

July 23, 2010

TGIF, Dear Readers!

(Moved comments up to the top of the blog entries for grins, and whittled down the blog list since some seem to have gone to the big Backup Drive in the Sky and some Just Aren’t Being Updated, no matter how many times I click on them with high hopes and crossed fingers.)

Now, see how you guys are? I was enamored with and completely committed to the “Ramius” name. It was the name. It rolls off the tongue, it’s sexy, I love the movie, I love me some seagoing manly man in uniform (despite…you know), but then along comes Pam with her comment…aaaaand we have a winner! The final-final name, because it still refers to teh movie and teh red, but makes me laugh every time I say it, is “Crazy Ivan.” So it’ll be just me ‘n’ Crazy Ivan, tootling down the road of life together. Done and done. Except maybe for ordering this sometime:

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Which’all makes me very glad I ran the poll even if I didn’t use any of the original names because it still led directly to the answer. Thank you, Pam!


Some knitting has been getting done lately but not a lot because of pesky wrist and arm problems, the siren call of the garden and the dahlias, and because of [breaking off eye contact] an almost-tall-enough-to-topple-over pile of new video games. (I can talk and knit at the same time, read and knit at the same time, do crossword puzzles and knit at the same time but I haven’t quite sussed out how to play video games and knit at the same time. Basic math tells me it requires four arms which means I have to become a transplant surgeon first. I’ll get right on that.)

As for the dahlias, this weird summer weather--record-breaking cold, heat and rain--has wreaked havoc with them. Some are a spindly five feet tall, some a squat six inches, some struggled bravely up and promptly gave up the ghost. But over the course of the last two weeks, a few have managed to squirt out some of their trademark beautiful blossoms.

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For my part, I managed to squirt out this...

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...made from a worsted-weight superwash merino in unique shades of coffee brown, liver brown and silver from Fancy Image Yarn in Shelton, WA. These ended up quite hefty and will most likely be my go-to socks when the weather turns nasty this winter. Now, back to squashing six-armed brain monsters, green, slimy poltergeists and two-headed ogres with the help of my trusty shape-shifting sidekick in Level 24 of a 50-level dungeon.

Posted by Ryan at 08:54 PM | Comments (8)

July 12, 2010

Fun with Statistics!

As I suspected it would be, the polling has been a fun, rollicking ride mostly ‘cuz since the last time I used Vizu, they’ve added a map of where votes are coming from. See?

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I was tickled to see votes from Alaska and Hawaii creep in over the weekend, but now I have a nagging secret wish to get a balloon-thingy in the 14 12 states I’m missing: Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky (thank you, Ann!), Indiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma (thank you, Ellen!), Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska. (I believe the lone vote in Montana is The Cuzz! Hi, Cuzz!)

But the one-vote-from-each-state thing is just pure greed on my part because, if I smallen the map, look! voters from not just Canada, but the far reaches of Canada and then, look, even more!: India, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden! Awe.Some.

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As if a new map weren't enough, I found myself playing around with the voting data and Excel's charting function. Here, your vanilla, workaday auto-generated chart:

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What the chart would look like if Pixar got ahold of it:

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Aha! Take the same chart, tart it up with percentages, labels, gridlines and obscure formulas and you get less Pixar, more MIT!

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Now this looks important!

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The Zen approach...

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Color! And dangerous-looking pointy things!

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Oh, no! El Diablo is nom-nom-nomming Dork! Fortunately, the two bungee cords attached to El Diablo to will snap him back just in time.

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Which is a long-winded and heavily illustrated way of saying “Bode” won. Sort of. Because, see, here’s the thing: The obviously right name for the car is "Clifford." You know it; I know it; my sister knows it. I was even imagining this:

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But I just don’t like the name Clifford. If I had a child, I would name him Clifford only if I wanted him to get pantsed regularly at school (no insult intended to the Cliffords out there). So I was torn.

Which is the even longer-winded way of saying, in the end, I went with a completely different name: "Ramius." "Captain Ramius", or even "Captain Marko Alexandrovich Ramius," for formal occasions. Because he’s red and he was hard to find. Source, anyone? (That source being one of my Numero Uno Favorites Evah.)

By way of a side-note, this image…

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…completely freaked me out. Where are the lines?!! Where are the boundaries?!! Where are the states?!! Could it be that our political divisions are just made up? That Americans aren’t really Americans, Canadians aren’t really Canadians, Mexicans aren’t really Mexicans? That we just live more north or more south of each other in a boundariless blob? That’s heresy!

Ah, much better… Order has been restored.

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Captain Ramius and I thank everyone for voting and commenting!!

Posted by Ryan at 02:33 PM | Comments (17)

July 06, 2010

Blog Poll!

You know how we knitters joke about, “I went to my LYS and some yarn accidentally fell in my cart, so what I was I to do?” Or “I went to my LYS and I was carrying my credit card and I slipped and fell and on my way down accidentally swiped my card through the card reader?”

Um, well, oops:

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Okay, okay; I kid. A lot. True, I bought a car but it was no spur-of-the-moment accident. I’ve been looking for this hunk of metal for two anxiety-riddled years—ever since Camilla, my gone-as-of-this-morning convertible, started threatening to leave bits of important mechanical things all over the highway, and ever since my sister borrowed it for a day and got out of the car looking a little green around the gills—and then last week/this morning all the pieces came together: found a not overly oily dealer, found a not overly oily salesman, found the right used car at the right used-car price. (Not one of my finer moments: I actually said, after all the paperwork was done, that I had to go use the restroom because I had the "post-car-buying piddles." What I wouldn't give for a time machine.)

So, Dear Readers, New Car needs a name. I toyed briefly with forgoing the naming thing but then…naaaaah. I’ve gotten so far as to check under the chassis and see that it’s a boy but I can't decide on a name. Plus I haven’t had a poll on the blog for yonks and I love me some poll so please to be clicking the voting button, and suggestions are also encouraged!

Online Surveys & Market Research

Posted by Ryan at 07:56 PM | Comments (20)

July 04, 2010

Good Morning, Mommy!!

As I may have mentioned before, although I would dearly love to, I don’t sleep with the cats at night because, first, they squash me into a suffocating state of near immobility and, second, they both snore. It’s not even a soothing, rhythmic snore; it consists of irregular dry, nasal snicks; unattractive, mucousy inhalations; small growls; high-pitched squeaks; and guttural, breathy, fishy exhalations. Add the twitches and twitters that come when they dream of romping across fields of catnip, and the fact that there are two cats, and you can imagine the cacophony.

The price I pay is what I discover in the morning about how they've spent the night. Like this, which is ironic on so many levels:

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What would you normally expect to find on a mouse pad? Do you see one? Do you see one even plugged in, as if it had merely been knocked off the table? Why, no!

I suspect this is the result of fly-chasing which, experience tells me, makes the cats explode into the most spectacularly insane aerial acrobatics, with no concern for life, limb or property. Oddly, the fly usually survives.

Posted by Ryan at 01:33 PM | Comments (6)