Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rowdy Fans

Although the intersection was open by the time I passed through on my way home, there were some die-hards still on the curbs.
The rude drunk on the bus was obnoxious, but thankfully he got off after two stops when he discovered there were still people left at the corner.

Portage & Main

It was a bit interesting getting to work today, with the rabid hockey fans taking over Portage & Main. (They tried to get them to go to the Forks, but gave in and closed the intersection.)

You know, if you hear the radio reporters say "NHL" too many times, it starts to sound funny and unrecognizable.

I feel sorry for the Moose. Apparently they're getting shipped off to Newfoundland. (Which looks like a really pretty place to visit in summer, and I've been dreaming of having a painting vacation there, but I'm not sure I'd want to be on a hockey team being shipped there.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Out The Window

Gee, the pounding from the bridge construction sounds rather rhythmic today. Wait... it sounds *really* rhythmic!

Turns out there was a small parade going in front of my place. "Youth Honouring Youth"... remembering missing and murdered aboriginal youth.

This is why we need more community youth programs: to provide options besides joining gangs. We also need programs for kids who want to quit gangs. Not that all missing and murdered kids are in gangs... some are innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. We need to starve gangs of new recruits, and incarcerate the ones committing or directing crimes, and rehabilitate those we can.

This is why I volunteered with the Inner City Computer Club: a kid learning to program isn't out on the streets. (Although I was working with immigrants and refugees there, but there are gangs targeting those kids too.)

This is why there shouldn't be a waiting list for addiction rehab programs. I don't care if that means there's normally empty beds costing money, if someone shows up, wanting to get clean, they should be accepted immediately! Yes, they may relapse. So accept them again, and give them another shot. Improve the programs to help prevent relapse. It may not work this time, but perhaps next time it will work.

Improve mental heath programs. Cover psychiatrists and psychologists. Have a referral program, and make sure people know about it. Many people with drug, alcohol, or other addictions are people with mental health problems who are self-medicating.

Some of the stuff that goes on in this city frustrates me. I wish I knew how to help. I wish we had a mayor who cared. (No, the city doesn't decide what medical services are covered, but they could lobby the province and federal government for change.)

Someone didn't think things through

See the new front step thingy?:
How it's deeper than a step, but about the same dimensions as are swept out by the door?

It's deep enough that you naturally stand on it to unlock the door. However, it's small enough that, unless you are nimble and thinking about it, you have to step (or fall) off it to open the door. (Usually I step... usually.)

They did the exact same thing in the back.

Before, there was a large stoop, about the same dimensions as the awning above. It was the same width as the door plus windows, and at least twice as deep as this step thingy.

Although it's nice not having heaved, broken concrete to trip over, it would be even nicer if I didn't have this step thingy to fall off of.

Another downside: before, the stoop was large enough that I could put my grocery boxes on it when unloading the groceries. This lets me get all the groceries to the entrance and lock the car before having to deal with the apartment door. Now I have to set the grocery boxes on the sidewalk. This means they're four to six inches lower when I'm standing on the step, holding the door open with my behind. (I haven't measured the exact height of the step.) Good thing I'm young and nimble, and don't (generally) have back problems.

I pointed out the poor design to my landlord, and his response was that it was unfortunate. (I was kind of hoping he'd call the concrete company and suggest they redo it properly.)

Completely Remodelled!

What the sign doesn't mention: "due to extensive fire damage".

I walk past this place to get to one of my bus stops, and got to see some of the insides as the workers were working. The insides were *completely* gutted, and the heat melted stuff on the exterior too.

I wonder why they didn't bother to repaint the rusted railings, or mow the weeds in the narrow strip of front "yard"?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fan Update

My uncle indicated interest in fiddling with the fan with me. He took it over to the house last Sunday (after helping me with the air conditioners), and I followed a bit later.

We tried pushing buttons (just in case), with no luck. So we started disassembly.

After the removal of many screws, we had the fan cylinder removed (it would have been *much* easier to clean that way), and exposed the circuit board at the top. (Uncle D expressed some doubts about fixing it when he saw that... things with circuit boards generally aren't fixable.)

We first decided to determine whether power was getting to the board. I'm not sure how we *intended* to do that, but we knew that it was getting it when I picked up the board when the fan was plugged in. (Boy, was that a *bizarre* sensation! Like a whole bunch of ants crawling on my fingers. At that point, I was glad there was a second person, just in case we needed to call 911 at some point!)

I noticed something labelled "fuse" (probably a fuse... I'm clever like that), and asked if I should be able to see a filament spanning it (which I couldn't). Uncle D said yes, but commented that the light was poor in the garage. So I took the collected semi-attached fan bits outside. There was indeed a filament spanning the fuse.

Then I tried pushing what the buttons connected to, in case it was a problem transmitting the button pushes.

This is when I discovered the button labelled "on/of" (using the 0/1 notation) was actually just an "off" button. To get the fan to turn *on*, you had to push the fan speed button. (I have vague recollections of having the same problem in a previous year. I'm daft.)

Now that the problem was diagnosed as a probable "ain't broke, don't fix it", the task was to reassemble without causing new problems!

Getting the circuit board reattached with the button connectors in position was tricky, but possible. Everything else was reasonably easy. At every stage, we tested that the motor still turned on.

Once fully reassembled, the fan worked! Well, sort of. If we chose the "rotate" option, the fan would occasionally cut out and restart, or just cut out.

I brought the fan in the house to demonstrate to the rest of the family, but it didn't cut out at all (well, in the time period they were willing to put up with a fan blowing on a cold day).

My theory now is that the fan missed my parents. (It's a hand-me-down fan.) Their garage was better than my house, but their house was better than the garage, since it was then fully "home" again. I haven't tested my theory by plugging it in at my apartment yet. ;) (After all, the natural A/C is working!)

I control the weather...

...but not in a good way.

Last weekend, I installed my air conditioning. Suddenly "nature's air conditioning" started working just fine. (Yay for lower power bills!)

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day, and the forecast for today was for rain to start this evening. Last night I (foolishly? cleverly?) stated my intention to dig up a tree stump this morning if it wasn't raining. The first time I woke up this morning, I heard the distinct sounds that indicate it's too wet for digging tree stumps out of gumbo. (Traffic has a different sound when the roads are wet.) So I went back to sleep for a few more hours.

It's been a lovely, lazy day so far. :) I should probably get moving and wash some dishes, though.

To those of you intending to garden this weekend, I'm sorry. To those of you who don't need to water their plants now, you're welcome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Air Conditioning

I got my AC installed this weekend, with help from my uncles. Of course, this means it cooled off drastically outside, and so now my apartment is delightfully cool without them. :)

On the bright side, the cool weather means I spotted this awesome sweater on the bus this morning:
Looks like a handknit out of white buffalo, or maybe Lopi. (Given the design, it's probably Lopi.) Although I'm spinning my yarn finer, I want to adapt this pattern for my yarn from Princess. (That reminds me... I need to writ the retreat post!)

The benefit of being able to identify yarns... this Lopi pattern, #156 (Ravelry link) looks to be *almost* the pattern. The one I saw was actually a cardigan, has a fancier collar, and a few minor differences in the pattern. I wonder if the knitter made the modifications, or if Lopi has another pattern?

Yeppers, Lopi #156! (Note: PDF link.)

Monday, May 23, 2011


A few years ago, Johnson & Johnson discontinued my shampoo. I went on a hunt to find enough to last me a while, but not so much that it would expire before I could use it all. I can't remember how many bottles I bought, but I suspect I'm about two-thirds the way through my stash.

Recently, I noticed my shampoo back on the store shelves. I kept meaning to check the ingredients, to make sure it actually was the same shampoo, but never got around to it. The small bottle I keep in the shower has been starting to get grungy looking more frequently, so I decided to risk buying a new small sized bottle.
Although the older shampoo is more yellow-looking, I've been noticing that it yellows with age, and so wasn't too concerned by the pale colour of the new bottle. The bottles and labels, down to the fonts, were reassuringly identical (when comparing same sized bottles, of course).

However, comparing the ingredients tonight, the contents are disturbingly different. Ingredients in the older shampoo:
Ingredients in the new shampoo:

The ingredients differ by over 50%. I don't have much hope.

The question is, do I try it, and give the rest away if I can't use it? Or do I return it? *sigh*


See these yellow sponges?
Read the sticker:
What assembly does a sponge require? Does sticking the bar code sticker on really count as assembly?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sheepy Day

I got to pet sheep (and a doggy) today!
It was a drippy day... not the best for photographing sheep and lambs. (The lambs were indoors.) However, I got to pet them, and feel their soft, fuzzy chins. I also helped de-floss a sheep (it had some felted fiber tangled around it's teeth).

And I got to spin (until the humidity made my wheel cranky). :D

On the way to the sheep farm, we stopped quickly in at a garage sale. I got a lovely glass pitcher, and a wooden box with sliding lid that will make a great spindle box for either my golding spindle or spalted maple spindle. :) (I think both of those should fit, but my maggie will be too big.) Not bad for $2.

All and all, a lovely day. (Do you suppose the "rapture" took the nut job religious fanatics away? That would be even nicer.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

No Fair

I need to wash the dishes. So that I would have a bit of relief, I cleaned all the dust off my other fan.
It was grody before I started, and it took me over an hour. (There are a *lot* of little slits and narrow blades. It's like cleaning venetian blinds, but worse.)

I put the cover back on, plugged it in... and nothing. It won't turn on.

Hmmm... maybe it's just the manual panel... perhaps the remote still works?

Curses, no such luck. Well, at least the bedroom fan still works, I guess I'll just move that one around as needed. *sigh*


One lining done, one to go.
It's not a funny shape, but the loose knit stretches different ways.

From pushing in the lining and trying it on for fit, it seems insanely hot, as expected. Of course, the fact that it's 27 C in my apartment could be affecting my perception. I'll let you know for sure next winter.

Fit seems a bit snug & short... I may try to block them a bit larger.


It's 27 C in my apartment. I am a delicate flower, that wilts in the heat.
Sadly, so is my rose. (It did fine all week in my cool office, but deteriorated rapidly in my apartment. Re-cutting the bottom hasn't helped.)


After some worrying initial signs, after coming around the corner fully, I discovered there was indeed a way to get in the building. (Yay!)
I think the way they barricaded the front door might be a fire code violation, though... there was a 2x6 nailed to the frame, preventing the door from opening more than about 4". That means that, besides windows, there's only one exit to the building. (Not that it's likely the back landing will catch on fire, which is about the only way that just that exit could be blocked.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I get a chuckle from my caretaker

Looks like the caretaker didn't feel like mowing around the advertising sign the sidewalk crew put up. ;)
They put it back up this morning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Working afternoons, my sleep schedule has become rather shifted. This morning at 8:00, I awoke to the sound of jackhammers.

Jackhammers?!? They're using *jackhammers* on the roof next door? Sheesh! I never though it would be *that* noisy! It's even causing my bed to vibrate.

The jackhammers continued for about an hour. (*grumble*)

When I left the house to go to work, I was startled to discover half the front sidewalk missing.

I guess they *weren't* being used on the roof next door. (Sleep addled brains don't think clearly. Of *course* they weren't being used on the roof!)

It will be nice not having a heaved sidewalk to trip over any more. I wonder if the crumbled back walk is missing too? I hope at least one entrance doesn't have wet cement when I get home...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

State of the Mittens

I finished the outer part a while ago, and then they sat for a bit until I got around to blocking them. I finally decided that just giving them a bath was sufficient, and skipped figuring out what to put inside to properly block them. (I was thinking of cardboard inside plastic bags, but never got around to cutting out the cardboard.)
I remembered to make a right & left! :)

On the second mitten, rather than putting stitches on a holder and casting on in pattern, I thought it might be easier to knit in a scrap yarn for the correct number of stitches, then continue on in pattern, knitting over the scrap yarn and around. When it came time to unpick and put the stitches on needles for knitting the thumb, it occurred to me that upside-down colourwork stitches don't behave the same as upside-down plain knitting. I ended up picking up stitches anyway. (Try it, it'll make more sense then.)

I think I was supposed to pick up in pattern, but that was more than my little brain could handle, so I just picked up plain. At that spot in the thumb, the only time you'll see it is when I photograph it this way. ;)

Now to pick up and knit the liners. :D

I've also been working on a beret for myself. It's the Meret pattern, sort of, but with a leaf pattern I modified from Barbara walker. I should post a photo of that sometime...

Morning Curiosity

What the....?
What on earth is going *on* next door?!?


Monday, May 16, 2011

Bright Spot

On the way past the florist in UMSU, I noticed they were giving away soon-to-expire roses. I asked if they were free with purchase, or free to anyone, and they said I could have one. I selected a lovely yellow, and then rescued a "vase" from the staff room recycling bin. It made my pizza slice on cardboard for lunch feel much classier, and now it's brightening up my office. :)

I need to treat myself to flowers more often! (Even if they aren't free.)

I haven't decided yet if I'll bring in a real vase, or stick with the water bottle.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reality TV, For Real

The northbound lanes on the main bridge near me are closed this weekend, and so a bunch of traffic got redirected onto the secondary bridge near me, and thus in front of my apartment. The cops seem to think this a good opportunity to conduct routine traffic checks, with so much traffic going past an area that only has the two lanes in one direction. (One lane for the cops to direct cars to, the second lane for traffic to pass by.

Apparently, some traffic violations result in the vehicle being towed. (I also noticed his hip knife holster was empty... was that confiscated too?)
I thought that perhaps the reason this guy got towed was because his back plate was missing. Turns out the tow truck driver takes that off.
I felt sorry for the mom & kids.

Although this vehicle also once held a couple with a kid, I felt rather less sorry... the couple has matching gang sweaters, and the guy has some rather scary tattoos and keeps spitting on the ground.

Despite all the entertainment happening out my window, I am making progress on the dishes.

You know, with the cops sitting out front, my neighbour might want to finally get around to switching his insurance to Manitoba.

Maybe if I'm lucky, the cops will talk to the other neighbour with the loud Harley. I suspect I'm not that lucky, though.

Dang... a number of loud motorcycles just drove past (one in the direction being checked), and none got stopped. *sigh*

Anyone know what gets a car confiscated at a routine traffic stop? No one looks drunk, so I don't think it's that.

Back to my dishes...

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Manitoba is soggy. Send ark.

I'm still sick. I was supposed to go sandbagging today.

Dad called this morning, four minutes before my alarm was set to wake me up. He needed e-mail tech support. Bonus to doing Saturday morning tech support: my croaking convinced him that he didn't really need me for sandbagging. Downside: croaking is hard on the throat. (I sure hope I'm better before students start descending in hoards.)

Not being needed for sandbagging is good, because, besides the fact that my lungs are crap, my back has been acting up today. (For some reason, the ribs around and below my right shoulder blade hurt.)

A second CFL died tonight. (The first one died a week or so ago.) However, unlike the first one, this one is a more-expensive, tri-light bulb. It did prompt me to finally remove both bulbs, rinse the dust and dead bugs from the shades (the shades on both cup under the bulbs), and put a fresh bulb in the office. (I had been getting by on one.) However, I don't keep backup tri-light bulbs (expensive, and sold as singles), so that one will have to wait. Luckily I have an alternate light in the living room, although on the opposite side of the room from where I sit to knit and watch TV.

Dad called again for follow-up e-mail tech support. He was having dinner. Unlike when my brother does tech support for my mom & step-dad, who always gets a meal provided when he does tech support, apparently dinner isn't on offer to me. When I tried to weasel in on dinner, dad revealed he was calling from a restaurant, and wouldn't be home for an hour or so. *sigh* Since I want to do the follow-up support from his place, I told him to call again when he got home.

I forgot to ask if he got the dike high enough.

The apartment hallway smells foul. It's like a mixture of spilled alcohol, scented cleaning products, and smoke... but whether from cigarette or cigar (or something else), I can't tell. Between the smell and my back, this hasn't been my favourite day to be tromping to and from the laundry room.

Oh, and a follow-up on the taxes: apparently I shouldn't do computer taxes while sleep deprived (no one else had the software switch them to French), the government will send me a new Notice of Assessment in a language I *can* read, and the nice lady on the phone says my cereal box French is not that bad. (I tried reading out certain lines I had questions about.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sacre Bleu!

I got my "Avis De Cotisation" from Revenue Canada today. Problem is, I don't speak French. I'd much prefer a "Notice of Assessment", or whatever it's called.

Dang tax software. I'm positive I clicked English, but when I checked the PDF it produced, it says French. Grrr. (Why would it walk me through everything in English if my preferred language was French? If I clicked English last year, wouldn't it flag the fact that I was changing my language? What sort of crappy user interface is this? I would of *course* do a much better job, and never make any mistakes in *my* software! ;) And of course it *can't* be user error, if I'm the user. ;) )

Firefox UNawesomeness

Okay... anyone know where I can find the *old* version of Firefox? (Update: found it by googling firefox old version mac!) Two more crashes since the last post. (I'm posting this from Safari... but I've got a bunch of open tabs in Firefox I want to read, and Safari doesn't work with a website I need to use for work. :P )


The "Awesome Bar"? Tip to people naming things at Firefox: If something is awesome, you don't need to name it that. If you name it that, and it isn't, people will laugh. (People may laugh anyway.)

Another tip: your browser would be more awesome if it hadn't crashed three times since installing the update five minutes ago.

(Clicking "post" before it crashes again. Thanks, blogger, for remembering my post. *You* are awesome!)

Monday, May 09, 2011

New Scarf

As I suspected, the new scarf definitely isn't colourfast.
Thankfully, it didn't turn my neck pink today. :)

Interestingly, the vinegar rinse/soak was a very different colour:
(Time to check whether the next rinse is clear, or if I should try more vinegar to set the dye.)

One thing I'm doing for my cold that I forgot to mention in the last post is that I'm also using my neti pot. (Getting some interesting green mucous... indicating this is definitely a cold, rather than allergies.)


Kinda congested (chest & sinuses), body aches, sore throat, sore neck, sore temples.

Took decongestant & antihistamine, asthma-cold puffers, sore throat lozenge, vitamin C. Waiting for my lemon & ginger tea with honey to cool enough to drink. Bought a silk scarf on campus to wrap around my neck. (I didn't start to feel like having something around my neck until I was half way to school, and this was the non-synthetic choice. It's rather nice, and pretty... although it doesn't go with what I'm wearing.)

I'm going to stay home tonight (art) and tomorrow night (knitting). Nothing Wednesday night, and I think volunteering on Thursday night is cancelled. Hopefully taking it easy will make this cold less painful than the last. I would rather not miss more work. :P (Especially after missing three days with the last cold.)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Small Accomplishments

I love my box of screws, fasteners, wire, etc. I love playing with my power drill, screw driver, and other tools. I love having a light above my kitchen sink. Why did it take me so long to get around to this task?
Accomplishments: one fewer item cluttering up my office, plus a light above my sink.

Now to tackle the massive stack of dishes...

Beauty And Function

I'm not sure it ever occurred to me that measuring spoons could be beautiful. Then, when I was wandering around Etsy yesterday, I found these. I *love* the Japanese cherry blossom design!

Sadly, I can't justify $57 USD (including shipping) for a set of measuring spoons. The price probably isn't outrageous when you consider that they're handmade, but still, they're just measuring spoons.

That's probably why no one else makes beautiful measuring spoons... few people are willing to pay decent money for "just measuring spoons".

I admire that the artist made them. I will keep the link, on the chance that one day I'll feel that I have extra money. Hmmm... it's only three hours of tutoring, and it's nice to have something beautiful to make up for the tedium...

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Several weeks ago, I had a miserable cold that kept me in bed for five days.

Today I feel the same as on the eve of getting that cold. :(

I've been taking extra vitamin C since that last cold... I don't think it's helped. :(


The flowers from the shop next door are pricier than the grocery store, but they're a lot more convenient... and they're pretty too. :)

These are for my grandma. She likes carnations, because they're inexpensive, plentiful, and last long. Being from the flower shop, rather than the grocery store, they should last even longer. :)

If my place were less of a disaster zone, I'd be tempted to buy one for myself. (I think one with a stem of greenery in my pretty blue bud vase would look lovely.)

Hmmm... perhaps I should clean my kitchen table, so that I can do that!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I got to hold a 12 week old baby at knit night tonight. :) There's nothing like holding a baby. :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Shocking Election!

Holy bleep! There are some surprising numbers on the screen tonight.

I like that the NDP is up, I *hate* that the conservatives have a majority.

My riding, a long-time NDP riding, has the incumbent down about 100 votes at the moment!!!


I voted, have you? You still have time! (I you live in Manitoba or west.)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I am slowly going crazy...

It is very definitely day. Snow is travelling horizontally, from west to east. Although it is day, I'm not sure it is May. It looks more like December. (There aren't the huge snowbanks that we'd have if it were January.) However, I can't tell if it's last December, or next December.

I finished the design, printed it, and assembled it. I was about to start tracing, when I realized I was famished. I decided to stop for... is cereal eaten at 7 am breakfast even if you haven't slept in 21 hours?

I decided to leave pills for second breakfast, which I assume will happen after some sleep. (Please let there be sleep!)

Okay, off to trace, then to apply resist.


I hate it when dawn arrives before I'm asleep.

Wing done, chest fringe started.

Current State Of The Design

Heron Design
The part on the left is the design I'm working on. The part on the right is the painting I did previously. (The two are a pair.) I still need to finish the heron's wing and chest feathers.

The black rectangle is just so that I can easily see the lines I'm drawing when I hide the reference photo.

Okay, back to work for real this time. (5:38 AM!)

Beds Are For Sleeping? Really?

So tired!
(Yes, the clock does say 5:07, and that's AM, not PM.)

Sometimes I question my sanity. Like when I'm up at 5:07 AM, preparing for a demo. Or when it's May 1, and it's snowing outside, and a few days ago I was wishing my window ACs were installed. (Yes, snow is falling. West of here, highways are closed. It's ridiculous!)

Tomorrow (today?) is a *long* day. Pick up at 12:20, demo at 1:00, running credit cards for purchases 2:00 - 4:00, take-down 4:00 until complete... then figuring out what I can cook for dinner (pots and pans are all dirty again) and doing laundry... minimum two loads (bedding), but it's looking like more than four to get it all done. (How does an art show produce *laundry*?!?!) Monday I start back to work, and it would probably be a good idea to have clean laundry.

I suspect I'll be buying lunches next week. (Of course, that requires that I obtain cash.)

*sigh*... back to work. I can't rest yet. There's a bit more of the design to complete, then printing, assembling, tracing, and applying resist. *whimper*

I hope I get to have *some* sleep, to punctuate "today" before "tomorrow".