Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Les Paul. Most contemporary music would not be around if not for his innovation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Again, more procrastination. I haven't posted since May! OK, I haven't had a lot of downtime either, there's been a special project at work and housework to deal with. At least I'm almost finished my quilt, and my garden is feeding me something in each night's dinner.

Speaking of gardening, and the issue of disappearing bees, I have to engage in daily squash sex! Unfortunately, it's not as kinky as you might think. The squash family (which includes melons and cucumbers) have different gendered flowers. There are a lot more males, which are edible on their own, and there are females, which have a pod attached.

Here's an out of focus female cucumber:
The spiky pod is at the bottom, and the flower is just waiting for a bee to come along with pollen from the male flower.

A more focused butternut squash flower, with a focus on the stamen, the pod is underneath. To a bee, this is X-rated and lusty! Come and get the nectar!

The male of the zucchini. Bad timing on the part of the butternut vine - no males blooming that morning. I had to make a hybrid frankensquash! This is the kind of genetically engineered food I wholeheartedly support. The downside of plants reproducing this way is that if the female isn't fertilized, the pod just withers away. That's the real danger of the bee population imploding. Of course, as an individual gardener, I can walk in my backyard and fertilize by hand, large farmers can't. Then again, they can afford to pay beekeepers to bring their hives to the fields and let their girls party!

... and now, hot squash sex!

That individual hybrid pod is actually growing nicely - I can't wait to see how it tastes.

The non-hybrid zucchini and cukes are getting really prolific as well. One tip with vegetables is to pick them often, then the plant will keep producing more.

Politics: no health reform until fall - I hope the right wing gets it wrong and the wait will just make people want it more. Even with my employer-sponsored plan, there must be a ton of administrative costs, because my regular doctor dropped them. On top of that, I had to pay $40 for three pills of antibiotics because there was no generic. So much for "government will ration healthcare" when I'm getting rationed by the "free" market. I can only hope that my veggies will keep me healthy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I know I procrastinate here, but I'm sure it's part of my OCD habit of needing to read the day's news to see what might be worth posting. Well, read this:

It's from this past Sunday New York Times Magazine, and the article is titled "The Case for Working With Your Hands." The author writes about the zen of being a mechanic, in spite of his advanced degrees and his complete enjoyment of it. In contrast, he recounts his first white collar job after getting a master's degree with all its intense soul-sucking banality.

This article encapsulates the problem I'm having with my day job. My industry is shrinking, and a lot of my skills are becoming outdated. While I wonder what to do to upgrade myself to become more marketable, I also wonder about staying in the cubicle at all. I haven't sold much artwork; although I haven't worked hard at selling myself very well either. I wonder if I throw myself into working as a full-time fiber artist if I can make enough to pay my mortgage and healthcare.

Wish me luck.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gardening season for me. It seems the down economy is making it a trend.

I remember reading that the Freakonomics writers calculated that many hobbies, including gardening, actually cost more for the end product than would buying it. I disagree. While my hourly rate for freelance work would be $40.00, I'm doing my gardening on my off days. I'm also getting a workout that I won't have to pay my gym to get. Add on the collective savings of composting my food waste, and oil savings from not buying factory farmed food, and it should add up. I'll have to carry my calculator around this year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OK, just a quick one here. I've been reading about the popularity of blogs with "cheap living" advice, a lot of stuff I've been doing for ages. (see: and:

However, there are a few things out there worth *not* being cheap about.

Organic food: It might be more expensive at the cash register, but that's because it's not subsidized by the Department of Agriculture the same way factory farmed food is. It's also healthier in the long run.

Buying Fair Trade: I can't say this enough. Whether making sure what you buy is from a democracy, or looking for a Fair Trade label, this also pays off in the long run. When a worker is paid enough to live on, they can actually contribute back to the economy.

Supporting Local Business: I'll brown bag my lunch all week so I can have a dinner out at the Greek restaurant down the block from me; I'll also buy most of my clothes at thrift shops so I can support the indie boutiques. Remember, small businesses altogether employ more people than WalMart and pay them better.

Monday, March 09, 2009

OK, so I haven't been Catholic since I was 13, but I've been reading a lot of interfaith tracts about a universalist practice of Lent. I thought, yes! Secular Lent! Get rid of the dogmatic guilt, and use it as a pre-spring time to clean some garbage out of my life.

So, I'm trying to quit procrastinating. This has not been easy since Mardi Gras was two weeks ago, and I haven't made a blog post about it until today. However, I did start to finish a quilt that's been a backless top until now, I'm purging junk off my dining room table that's been sitting around since last summer, and keeping priorities straight with my sewing - like making the curtains before cutting out a shirt.

Maybe I'll start using some more of the downtime to get going with my site.

On Politics: Can I go on about the delusions of the right wing any more than has been said by any other blogger? I'm getting sick and tired of the "Obama recession" - that started at the end of 2007! I'll apologize to Rush later.

On Pop: It was so nice of all the NYC radio stations to play U2 all week - good of them to help out a struggling young band. I mean, I respect their musicianship and all; I probably won't turn the songs off the radio, but let's be real. Do they really need the help? How about some airplay and CD sales of an African artist instead of having charity money filtered through Bono?

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm getting sick and tired of the wacko right and pseudo Libertarians bitching about the "Socialism" of the stimulus law. How many of them built their own roads or printed their own money?

However, I can't critique them better than Bob Cesca from the Huffington Post:

Friday, February 06, 2009

Finding change as a sport:

OK, for a while, I wondered if my picking up change was a sign of insanity - and my partner would sometimes insinuate that it was. That is, until we emptied out our change jar and had $250 in it for our vacation. He's now converted to this simple bit of thriftiness, and I'm realizing that my habit of scanning the floor for change paid off when I found $50 in the Port Authority one night.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I'm all for going as green as possible, but this is a little extreme:

I have to agree that having an energy efficient fridge and examining the supply chain of what goes in it would make a bigger impact on resource use.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Google is Big Brother! And Libertarians are paranoid about "Big Government"
See here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodbye Bush Reasons why I won't miss him

To quote John Stewart again: "I want a president that's smarter than me!"
MLK day post (yes, I'm at work): here's the reason we still have work to do:

If you can resist the urge to vomit reading this, cross your fingers that this ignorant racist won't breed and pass on the bigoted gene.

On a personal note: I wish I could join in with the Day of Service, but again, I'm at work while I still have a job. This is a good time for a charitable donation.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Does a resolution count on January 2? Since I was actually out of the office yesterday, maybe. I'll see how long this thing lasts before I let it fizzle, but I hang out all day, lurking, reading news, that I may as well throw my digital ideas out there.

One thing I wondered: should I bother? Are all the blogs and articles I read just preaching to the choir? Who knows? At least I'll do something rather than hang out.

I may as well categorize my thoughts:

Poltics: I can't let a Monday or Friday go without reading Krugman in the NYTimes. If anyone hasn't read this yet check it out: I have to add that the right wing hasn't just been following the racist Southern Strategy, but also a neo-feudal ideal of killing the middle class and social safety net. Of course, the Republicans forgot that the modern economy runs on consumption. If no one buys anything, no one makes any money, even the wealthy. While I'm personally against rampant consumerism, I do vote with my wallet for good companies to support, even if it costs more.

Environment: Am I crazy? Is it just my OCD? Is this the last vestige of Catholic guilt? I've started taking home compostables as penance for using styrofoam once this week. Whoever reads this, give me therapy.

Handcrafting: recycling old denim for a dog bed mattress cover. Pictures at 11. Also, my continuing recycled knitting of various yarns (one scarf is at

Well, I've just been exused from work, so I must finally finish this post.