Tuesday, February 27, 2018


do you not love to say the word "spoon"?

i do. i also like to say "soup".

i think i have mentioned to you that i like to make spoons. i haven't made a lot of them, because it's kind of an outdoor activity and it's a little time consuming, especially the way i do it.

because of course i can't just roll up to some hobby shop and buy carving blanks; i have to work with naturally fallen applewood which naturally contains weird twisty grain and often a lot of rot.

because apple trees.

and sometimes when you're working a piece you get pretty far in before you FIND the patch of rot, and there goes your work.

...which is what happened to me while i was working on a long handled cooking spoon for my mom.

and BOOM i had to start over and i was down to my last appropriate piece of apple and not too much time to go before christmas (or as we like to say, midwinter gift exchanging light festival of your choice) but i got it done, along with a little jam spoon and spreader for party tables or whatnot.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

driving a standard

i drive a standard. i love me some shifting.

i don't really understand how it works, though.

i enjoyed this video about it.

i still don't understand it, really.

but i like how they got a woman driver to be in the video, complete with her gloves and all.

oh. and here's a thing i really enjoyed this week:


do you like waveforms?

i do.

Friday, February 23, 2018

busy day yesterday

i know, i blew you off again.

i had some early morning equipment drops (#ingressresistance) and an early appointment with my ophthalmologist, who monitors my eyes because while that antimalarial is super effective for lupus, it COULD destroy my eyes, but it's a slow destruction if if happens and monitoring by your ophthalmologist gets out ahead of that.

but then i had some ingress missions to do because i'm straightening up my banners before i go to my first mission day and i needed to pick up a jar of honey and oh by the way some raw wool and cards and a spinning wheel because of course.

mb has taken up crochet, so therefore i am taking up spinning.

it's not that far of a reach, since i have already been making cordage and milkweed is plentiful and it has occurred to me that i should learn to spin because milkweed would make a nice soft plant-based yarn if i knew how to process it, and a friend of mine just HAPPENS to know a guy who was shearing sheep recently, so yeah.

later on, i'm sure, there will be pictures.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

luxury living

well, here's a thing i meant to tell you about back in november when it happened, but at least it still applies.

it gets cold at night when you winter camp.

i try to end my out of hammock day before my blubber layer gets too chilly, because while it does a great job keeping me warm, it takes a while to warm up in bed so there's that to consider.

but i like to retire after and early supper, hang out in my hammock and read. this is made much more lovely if i have a warm beverage.

and my morning is improved much if i wake up and have a warm beverage handy without having to get up and make it.

so i make two bottles of nice hot tea: one in a hydroflask that will keep my tea hot for a few hours,and a heavy duty thermos that will keep my tea hot overnight.

that gives me lovely hot tea into the evening, and lovely hot tea in the morning, which makes life pretty cushy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ice lanterns

they're easy to make, if time consuming.

i think i stumbled across one of the many tutorials on the youtubes and thought that would be a perfect thing to bring a little magic to a girl scout troop's first winter camping.

because if you can create magic, you then have a group of girls who will love winter camping. that first time is important.

and because i am who i am, i took pictures of the process and now you have a nice little set of instructions on how to make ice lanterns.

you freeze the bucket so there's a shell of ice
see the edge between frozen and unfrozen?
either let it sit or run warm water on it until it loosens in the bucket.
flip it over and poke a hole in the thin end.
use a serrated blade to saw the hole to size and shape
drain the water and rinse out the ice bits.
keep making more. clean them up before storing them...
in your large freezer...
before you pack them to travel.

Monday, February 19, 2018

night trail

there's a perpetual dance of balance being done in girl scouting because there's a lot of emphasis on girl planning but at the same time children don't always know what cool things are out there because they simply didn't know they were a thing.

people can't plan for things they don't know exist.

f'rinstance, i was at least thirty years old before i even knew there was such a thing as reflective trail markers.


there's a badge our girls have expressed and interest in that has a choice to complete a requirement by going for a night hike.

no ten year old who has not experienced a cool winter night hike would EVER decide to voluntarily leave a warm cabin in winter and march around outside, so i simply went ahead and made a night course.

the fact that there was going to be a night course was not a surprise to the other adults. everything else was surprises for even them.

when we announced the upcoming night hike there were some cries of resistance, but we told them that although it was optional, only people on the night hike would get to have the cool surprises. they girls asked what the surprises were going to be, but you already know the answer to THAT.

they wanted to know if there were going to be any jump scares.

no, i told them. there will be nothing scarier than just being outside in the dark. and i gave them the handout.

so they all decided to go.

it was a short course, but at night things look different and you maybe don't always know where you are. for the first part i took them out on a bushwhack out back of the cabin, away from the lights. i marked the way with stick signs.

about halfway through that portion they were all on board.

and then the stick trail came to an end and they were confused.

and i was all like "oh, look. there seem to be some instructions posted on that tree!"

the instructions said to turn off their headlamps and follow a lead line. i told them that being in the dark can be challenging, so i was going to keep my light on at the back and if anyone felt like they needed to turn theirs on, they could.

so off they went into the darkness.

after some turns and a couple hundred feet, at the end of the ropes they came upon another set of instructions and reflective blazes that indicated start of trail. it took them a minute or two to figure out how to look for the reflectors, but they did just fine.

the reflector trail came out at a trail end sign with a .30 caliber ammo can holding glow sticks and candy. and a picnic table with ice lanterns. the instructions said to turn off their lights and follow the lantern path home.

we stood silent for a couple of minutes to listen. we knew there was a barred owl nearby and one of the other leaders does a very good barred owl call.

i had chosen the widest and smoothest return path for the lantern way, marked all along with ice lanterns returning to the cabin, where there was already a leader with a campfire. the part about the campfire wasn't my idea, but it was magical.

the girls decided to bring the lit lanterns back with them, so we picked them up as we left the woods.

we could not have predicted this, and had we prompted it there might have been some eye rolling, but out front of the cabin with all the lanterns there was an impromptu recitation of the girl scout law.

i may have cried a little.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

much fun was had

i am back from my trip with the scouts.

later there will be pictures.

right now there's just going to be a shower and sleep.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

short on time.

i'm packing to take my scouts on their first WINTER CAMPING!!!

so i'm short on time.

here's a fun math toy you can play with.

and you should watch this. nina paley is brilliant.

Paroles Paroles from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

and if you have not seen this yet (or even if you have),  this:

Friday, February 16, 2018

they're not calling it terrorism.

a kid in a white supremacist militia shoots up a public school and for some reason they just call him mentally ill (which he is) but they don't call it terrorism.

it's too soon to talk about gun violence. or gun control. it's too soon to talk about somehow making it more difficult for a 17 year old white supremacist who has already raised a lot of red flags to get a semi-automatic weapon.

yanno, because it would have been illegal for him to have bought a handgun.

if he's been brown or muslim we would be calling it terrorism and calling for an immediate stop to immigration.

but he's a white supremacist who belongs to an actual honkin' MILITIA and we're not calling it terrorism. we're just going to "tackle" the difficult problem of mental health.

maybe by cutting services to the mentally ill? that's how we usually solve mental health problems.

and next week when more people are killed, we will all stand around and talk abotu how nothing could have been done.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

i won't dance

yesterday morning i saw this article in which a school attempts to make everybody feel better by having a rule that if you are asked to dance, you MUST dance with the person.

and let's face it, because of where this school is, we are nearly certain that this is the fragility of boys being protected against the consent of girls. yeah, in some places everybody asks everybody else, but usually it's the boys doing the asking.

which sends the terrible message that anybody OWES anybody a dance, or a date, or any social interaction.

and fine. i get that we want kids not to be mean to each other.

a long time ago we used to teach contradance to our students. and we taught contradance manners, which include changing partners after each dance, and being polite in rejection if one does nto wish to dance with the asker.

we told the kids it takes courage sometimes to ask for a dance, because it opens you up to rejection. so we have some little rules of manners so that anybody can ask anybody and nobody's feelings have to be too hurt. there are polite ways to reject that save the asker's dignity and if we all follow these rules, you don't have to dance with people you don't want to dance with, and nobody is mean to you for asking.

so this is what we told them.

you can ask anybody to dance. if they say no, you simply leave them alone after that unless they have told you to ask them again later.

if you are asked to dance and you wish to dance with that person for that dance, good. you're all set.

if you are asked to dance and you don't want to dance with that person, you have some choices:

you can say you have already promised the dance to someone else, which you should only say if in fact you are already planning to dance with someone else. you can say you are going to sit this one out, but then you have to leave the dance floor for at least the beginning of this song. then you go outside, get some punch, sit by the wall, talk to your friends, whatever.

if you really were going to sit this one out but you do want to dance with the person who asked you later, you can ask them to join you at the punchbowl or on the porch or whatever. you can tell them to please ask you again later. or you can ask THEM to dance later.

and this is the important part: these little bits of script allow us graceful ways of asking, accepting or rejecting and also graceful ways of being rejected.

if you ask someone to dance and they say "i'm going to sit this one out", on its face you have not been rejected, and your dignity is intact. it's a little social fiction that helps us all get along.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

thoughts while crocheting: a guest post

my friend rapunsell from the old game glitch wrote this little piece yesterday and i said i'd run it here for both of you to enjoy, since she doesn't have a blog or anything. i hope you enjoy it.


1. Okay, I’m gonna follow this slouch beanie hat pattern and just insert a row of mesh filet for every 3 rows of double crochet. Should be pretty easy.

2. God, I hate magic circles.

3. Dammit, the beginning of this row has a single crochet instead of a double crochet. Undo entire row.

4. (3 rows later, check pattern) Wait, how did I end up with 50 stitches?  Undo stitches.

5. (2 rows later, check pattern) I’m supposed to have 68 now? Cram in 4 stitches.

6. (5 rows later) Try on hat. Dammit, it’s too small. I should have used a bigger hook.

7. Frantically cram extra stitches into next two rows.

8. Okay, time for a mesh row. Oh, this is going fast!

9. [Expletive, expletive, particularly colorful expletive] I didn’t realize I’d have to stitch into chains from the mesh filet. This sucks so bad.

10. Try on hat. Argh! Now it’s huge! Frantically drop stitches in next two rows.

11. Try on hat. Whew! At least it fits. This is going to be a horrible hat and I’m going to waste all this gorgeous yarn.

12. Repeat steps 8-11 four times.

13. God, the shape of this is crazy. It’s going to be awful. Why on earth didn’t I just follow a damn pattern? I’m in way over my head.

14. Try on hat.  Wait, this is kinda cute. And the shape seems weirdly familiar…

15. Realize I’ve accidentally created a Tam O’Shanter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

brown water

i am, yes, still doing my annual cleanup of camping gear, which means even though it is halfway through february my living room is still full of gear.

usually when my gear is in the living room it's because it's camping season and i don't want to take it all the way to the basement and stow it properly for a couple of weeks.

i clean everything and look at it carefully and do maintenance if i need to.

a lot of bodies of water have distinctive residue they leave on boats and such. waterbury reservoir has kind of a brown scum that attaches to everything.

it comes off with a little mild soap and elbow grease, but here's one of my paddles before and after:

Monday, February 12, 2018

white water

yesterday stormythunder and i went up stowe pinnacle by way of stow pinnacle meadow, which is a lovely hike. we only went as far as the ingress portal, because, well, a lot of reasons.

i have no great love for the pinnacle trail above the portal (#ingressresistance!), or at least the portion immediately above the portal. it's steep and often crowded and the pinnacle itself is a lovely view and the upper trail is nice but most days it's not worth the whole trip to me and anyway we weren't really there for the walk.

we were there for the ride down.

because that is an AWESOME sled run.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

pedestrian crossing

let's go back in time and i'm show you a thing i decided i wanted to tell you about some months ago but for some reason didn't.

because if i do this blog thing correctly, when i have nothing to say off the top of my head, i ought to be able to dig back to where i saved material to show you and use that.


in theory.

anyway, back in the autumn i was out obsessively playing ingress (because of course i was) (#BLUETEAM #IngressResistance) in middlebury and they have this interesting approach to crosswalk safety.

some cities have these fancy flashing lights, and maybe middlebury was going for cost cutting, or maybe just personal responsibility, but they have these buckets with flags and instructions.

the way this works is when you get o the crossing, you take a flag from the bucket and watch the traffic and you step off into the crossing with your caution flag, which is supposed to get attention and make drivers stop for you.

then when you're done crossing you put your flag in the bucket on the other side.

i can't vouch for how well it works overall, but i did not get run over.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


apparently for some reason i'm talking with a guy about getting some raw wool to learn spinning.

it's totally logical, because i've been making cordage for a few years, and spinning is a nice next step.

and i know a guy who knows a guys and today is shearing day.

also mb has taken up crochet.

so obviously.

Friday, February 09, 2018

military parade

so the president wants a military parade.

he wants to spend money we don't have on a parade.

because he can, i guess.

he could be spending money on education, or on veteran's healthcare, or salary and benefits for the military, but instead he wants to spend money on a display of tanks. everybody already knows we have tanks and that we're good for marching.

it is not a secret that we have a big freaking military.

other than personal satisfaction, there's NO REASON to have a giant parade.

but he president is a giant toddler and he gets to wast money because he can.

two scoops of ice cream for that one.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

speaking of shithole countries...

what do you call it when your citizens have workshops to help them learn how to participate in elections?


think again.

minnesota republicans call it "infiltration"

what do you call it when you give huge tax cuts to oil companies but cut educations spending so far that your schools are going on four day weeks?

in oklahoma they call it business as usual.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

somebody didn't think this one through: public health edition

my primary insurance is medicare, which means my primary insurer is a very large insurer who covers an awful lot of people.

day before yesterday i got my flu shot.

yes, i know it's late int he season, but better now that not, especially since this year's flu is virulent and deadly. it's not the 1918 flu, but it's more like that flu than we'd like it to be.

and we're about due for a deadly flu pandemic.

so you'd think that public health policy would be to do everything possible to get flu vaccine into people.

but no.

i went early in the season to get the vaccine from my pharmacy and it turns out my insurance doesn't cover it if i get it at the pharmacy. my insurance covers it if i make an appointment with my doctor, which means that i had a two month delay in getting vaccinated.

i wonder how many people simply decided not to bother?

i'm just going to bet that public health policy will shift very strongly toward getting everybody those vaccines free of charge when and only when the body count gets so high that they have to roll dead carts again.

my grandmother remembered living in guttenberg NJ during the 1918 flu and having the dead carts roll the streets every day calling for people to bring out their dead.

that was barely a hundred years ago. there was no vaccine then. part of what made THAT flu so deadly is that it created such a violent immune response in otherwise healthy people that their own immune systems attacked their lungs and killed them, trying to get at the virus. the more robust you were, the more likely it was that your flu would kill you.

and part of what made that flu so deadly was the chronic underreporting of the danger.

this time around we LOVE reporting all the cases but we're not doing so well in making it easy for everyone to get immunized. we're also not good at pressuring companies to make their sick workers stay home.

oh, sure, a lot of companies SAY sick workers should stay home, but i bet you can think of more than one grocery clerk you've seen working sick because they can't afford to stay home.

people who don't have access to healthcare and can't afford to take sick days put us all at risk.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


i had some things in my head and i was all like "hey! that would be awesome about to write on my blog!"

only i can't remember anything about it.

the skiing was nice today, though.

and i went grocery shopping.

Monday, February 05, 2018

watching sports

yeah, so i know there was some kinda american football game on yesterday. i couldn't be arsed to watch it.

i also sort of don't want to reward that whole enterprise for a lot of reasons, so "watching it for the commercials" (which is stylish to say) really doesn't seem to me like an appropriate choice since the people running that gig only really care that you see the advertising in the first place, so congratulations, person who only watches for the commercials. you have now graduated to the stage where they could show you five hours of commercials and you're all set.

don't you have greater aspirations in life?

that said, this morning i had some time to kill before i went out and got this year's flu shot-

yes, i know it's late in the season, but it's not TOO late and yes, i know this year's vaccine is less effective than some years but HOLY SHIT this year's flu is bad news and any protection against it is better than no protection-

and anyway, i had some time to kill and i saw this set of photos from the atlantic about a sport that was totally INVENTED to flog advertising but it is really kind of fantastic to watch, both for the visual images of the venues and the sheer athleticism of the competitors and yeah, BAYbee, i sat right there and watched a whole hour of it.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

fun and games

i was going to write to you, but i ended up spending my whole morning making up a card game designed to teach proper clothing for winter camping.

maybe i will tell you about it later.

then i was going to write to you, but i got caught up playing this thing:


i'm still playing it.

you guys are on your own.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

beautiful shitholes

this morning i'm listening to david byrne's playlist the beautiful shitholes, about which he says

I assume I don’t have to explain where the shithole reference came from. Here’s a playlist that gives just the smallest sample of the depth and range of creativity that continues to pour out of the countries in Africa and the Caribbean. It is undeniable.

it makes a nice soundtrack for my morning.

do you think about gerrymandering and redistricting? i do.  here is a really great map from five thirty eight that lets you play with redistricting to bring about different ends.

the other night a friend of mine who grew up in latvia shared with us some fantastic soviet era propaganda films. go ahead an watch. it's a little head-splodey, though.

i was interested to see last week all the entertaining reviews for rokblok, a device that not only plays your records badly, but damages them as well. here's my favorite review of it.

ready for some cool science? of course you are. so this:

ready for a beer? maybe a minnow shot? it's bobhouse season.

do you follow the work of nina paley? i do. besides being a brilliant artist, she is a fierce and outspoken free culture activist and i think she is all the awesome. this week the interwebs are loving her latest installment for her film in progress, sedermasochism.
You Gotta Believe from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Friday, February 02, 2018

james turrell at Mass MoCA

i know that i told you that back in november barb and i went to see the laurie anderson VR exhibit at MassMoCA. it was amazing, and while we were there we also made reservations for the james turrell exhibit.

i had never heard of james turrell, but yanno. we were there.

amazing, but in a different way.

one is not permitted to photograph his work, because partly it is that he deals in light and form in ways that cannot be translated well into an image, and partly that it is very much experiential.

here's a page from his own website that describes the kinds of pieces he makes. many of these forms are included in the Mass MoCA exhibition and the effect of them on me was to be a little mind-bending. he really toys with you concept of space and surfaces and perception to the point that it's a little trippy.

there weren't lines to get into the dark space even though we'd made reservations. the thing about that is you enter the space through a series of baffles and there are two seats. then you sit there in really, really dark for ten minutes.

and maybe? maybe there's a dim blurry light in the distance? can you make out the shadow of your hand in front of your face? it's a weird feeling, being in that much dark.

then we hung around the gallery and looked at the other light pieces and holograms and models and let them wash over us, which was a pretty good preparation for the light space for which we had reservations in the early afternoon.

we got in line and when it was our turn we were brought into -not the piece itself, but a gallery in front of the piece where we could see the previous group inside the piece.

seriously. because it's one of his ganzfeld works and you pause in that room to put on your shoe covers and receive instructions. the instructions are important because while you're inside it, your perceptions of color and space are being bent pretty severely, and one of the components of the room that creates that disorientation is a rather sudden drop and it would hurt if you fell.

so while they allow you to walk around inside the piece, they want to keep you away from that edge.

it's kind of incredible.

when we got out of there i was feeling kind of punch happy so when we got in the elevator and saw the glowy button i was all like "wow....."

so i took a picture for you.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

down by lake street

did you see this story in the news?

Drivers Claim That Waze GPS App Instructed Them To Drive Into A Lake

when i heard about it, i thought maybe these amazingly stupid people had driven up to a ferry crossing and decided to just keep driving into the lake because they were busy texting or eating cheeseburgers or something and not noticing the road ending abruptly in the water.

but no.

it turns out that in order to drive into the lake, they had to be working pretty hard at it.


Related Posts with Thumbnails