Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nuclear Global Warming...

I see that the latest idea to curb global warming is to build a string of nuclear power plants to replace today's petroleum-based fueled plants?! Talk about your global warming...whose idiotic idea is nuclear power for electrical generation...if you really CARE about global warming and clean power you will support wind power and solar power to the fullest extent possible. If the oil companies had put their time and energy and R&D funds into solar decades ago, we could have had a viable solar power grid by now. Back in the 60's this was the future. Now it looks like the old crispy critter future lies ahead.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kindle reading device...

This morning we are greeted at AMAZON.COM with the Kindle announcement and several videos and lots of reading about Kindle, AMAZON's new handheld reading device. We have come a long way from the Rocket eBook, but apparently there is still some work to be done. The Kindle is lovely, make no mistake. Wireless, not dependent on a computer, easily manipulated. Watch the videos...a nice piece of engineering. As with other electronic books, and other devices, the price is hefty, and you don't get what a lot of people call "real" books. At $399, this device is expensive. Books are advertised as being $9.99 or less, and you can buy them instantly because the Kindle uses cell phone technology to search and deliver to your device directly from AMAZON. Newspapers, books and blogs are available, and it even gets your newspaper daily, and your blog updates whenever. The screen is not backlit, and you can read in the light outdoors as well as in. It can also use an SD card for even more than the 200 items we are told it can hold.This is a pretty exciting device really, and my only critiques are the price and the proprietary and non-transferable format of the reading matter. What I love about my Palm handheld with my eReader software *IS* that I can have the books on more than one computer with more than one OS. I have the software on my Mac, on my work PC, and of course on my Zire. I can take that little guy anywhere and read up a storm. It is hard to read outside with it, that's a good point, but I never read outside with it anyway. I also have the books I have purchased on my PC, and backed up on CDs, and I can easily load them unto any Palm I buy. I am on my second device and have had no problems, I simply wanted to upgrade to a color display. Secondly, color - apparently the Kindle has no color. I didn't see anywhere in the demo video where color was apparent. I like to change my background to dark and my fonts to light. I couldn't do this with the Kindle because it has a dull grey background with black font.

In short, this device is exciting, and will surely be a seller just because of AMAZON's huge customer base. As terrific as it looks now, down the road it can only get better!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Newer Toy...Oh my...

Once you get a geek like me near a computerized sewing machine, you just know the magnetism will cause a spending event. And it just did.This machine, the Husqvarna Platinum 770 is the smoothest, nicest stitching sewing machine yet. The straight stitch equals my Pfaff 1222E at its best. The features are many and varied, and the fonts sew out excellently. It was time to get my ultimate machine. I wouldn't have known this had I not already bought the Madison. All the features making the Madison so handy are also on the Platinum. Viking doesn't short you on features on any of their machines. Having gotten a terrific deal from my local dealer, I now have got to sew non-stop!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Memo to Barnes & Noble...

Barnes & Noble...what in the world are you thinking? Sending email updates but NO COUPONS! When I see mail from bookstores, or any other business for that matter, I want a coupon! Don't waste my time with who is featured on your book club or whatever you call it, or author profiles or any of that nonsense. Bottom line - COUPON, CODE, FREE SHIPPING - these are the words I want to see. AMAZON doesn't clutter up my email with non-essential mail, and neither should you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Toy...

Fell in love with European design and form follows function and bought a mechanical Husqvarna Viking Sewing machine. Got the limited edition Madison, sold only in the US of A. So pretty and so nice to use. Viking has a few nice touches even at the low end of the line, like three thread cutters - bobbin area, bobbin winding and near the sewing area. Has adjustable presser foot pressure, great and ergonomically placed lighting, drop in bobbin on a slant with magnification in the transparent bobbin cover, needle up front, nice accessory case in the back of the bed area, nice utility stitches, excellent though several step button hole, infinite needle positions, electronic foot pedal with which you can raise and lower needle, and an excellent warranty. And pretty green see-thru bobbins...I like those. Projects lined up are placemats, jammies, skirt and a top. Top was supposed to be a summer top, so maybe I will leave that for several months. More sewing less blogging has been going one can see from the dates on the posts here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hamish and Agatha...

I've been reading Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries lately - both series written by M.C. Beaton. Agatha is a pushy, and to me admirable, retired early PR person who falls into the middle of crime, then muddles around trying to solve said crime, does a heck of a good job, all the while getting targeted herself while trying to sort out various love interests - all of whom are quirky and not at all predictable. She has several male friends who turn up to complicate matters. The intellectual level of these books is refreshing. Hamish is a rather unambitious Scottish cop who has a nose for trouble, seeing it before it even starts, or is it feeling it? After seeing the television series the BBC made of the Hamish books, I had to read some. I recommend M.C. Beaton for the droll British humor and the expert writing.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

45th Reunion...

So many years? NO.....oh yes...that's right - it is. I posted here in 2004 when I went to my 42d reunion...but it was my first. So many memories and good people. Some very special people in the group, and this time was even better. More old friends, and more amazing facts about the lives of our fellows. I find we get a unique perspective from the vantage point several decades out of high school. I find it hard to put the bond into words, yet there is a something that binds us to our youthful expectations and aspirations and, yes, innocence, that again seems to permeate the air at a reunion. You can return for a moment...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Harry Potter wraps up...

Suffering sleep deprivation, I stagger to the computer even two days later to put forth an apology for my previous post. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a wonderful end to a wonderful run. Very few authors sustain the quality of writing that J.K.Rowling has sustained all through the series. I am thinking about rereading them all now that the story is complete. No spoilers here - I'll just say that the story is complete. I laughed, I cried doesn't do it justice. For those teens who have read it - I hope you reread the series later in life as well because there is so much there that living will make manifest.

Since I am constrained from giving any examples and spoiling the pleasure of my friends who haven't finished yet, I can only say carry on.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Harry Potter ruminations...

Reading Harry Potter 7 is slow. I don't think it is the book, but I have been very involved in learning to fit pants and believe me this is a task for engineers, not me. I am soldiering through though, and should have a pattern for wearable, fitting pants any day now. As many have suspected, ready to wear clothing is not made for real people, but for some mythical creature somewhere who is even more elusive than the Yeti of the Himalayas. So pants fitting class has to come before HP. I have started the book, I have gotten to page 330 or so, but the pace isn't drawing me into the stupor in which I am supposed to be, where I sit mesmerized for hours at a time. This isn't happening.

I think J.K. Rowling's writing is still at the same high bar it was in the beginning; it is the fans who are now jaded and no longer surprised or enthralled by the magical happenings. And, who needs to read it fast? This is the last it out. So, I will be taking my time, even when my reading time is freed up from sewing.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Alan Furst...

Instead of individual reviews for several of Alan Furst's latest novels, I think a general review is best, and for these reasons: they all have the same ambiance, they all deal with WWII, and pre-WWII, and they are all excellent novels. Furst's name was mentioned in reviews for both John Le Carre novels and Eric Ambler novels, and one comment was that Furst seems to have been influenced by Ambler. To lump Furst into the espionage genre would be a mistake because his writing is evocative, enthralling and always of the highest caliber. Although the main characters are involved in some espionage dealings in one way or another, most of them are caught in circumstances that have directed them into the shade rather than having made a choice. A Russian Marxist journalist who becomes disillusioned yet sees the necessity for anti-Nazi (Dark Star, 1991)activity, a Frenchman (The World at Night 1996, and Red Gold, 1999) of the upper class whose career as a movie director is wobbling already and brought down by the German occupation of Paris and his unwillingness to collaborate, and an Hungarian expatriate (Kingdom of Shadows 2000) who finds himself caught up in plotting by his own and opposing countries and factions - all these men and some of their associates seem to enter the flow of history and join fortune with an integrity and character they are surprised to find in themselves. Furst leaves his stories at a resting place rather than an end and we are satisfied because these stories couldn't have ended in their historical context.

For character and sense of place, Alan Furst's work is a gem of a find. I think we all at times have wondered how we would really act under duress of war and inhumanity, and we only hope we never find out. The characters in Furst's work find out.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I swear I didn't tamper with these results... we go again, this site is addicting, and kinda fun...heh. Since my favorite pets ARE cats...well, isn't it just strange and maybe...well...magic...that this site knows all? Hahhahha...
Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.
And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell...

Time for a mini-review of JS & MN, the sort of book I call a tome. Very long and tending to drag in the first hundred or so pages, due to the pace being the pace of Mr. Norrell really, the book begins to pick up with the introduction of The Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair, the character about whom the book revolves.

We see Mr. Norrell commit what turns out to be a consummate crime of pride. The succeeding events roll along toward darkest days for Britain and the continent, while a war rages between England and France. Into this steps Jonathan Strange who is much more upbeat and very different from MN.

As most people know by now the book deals with the resurgence in England of practical magic, formerly a lost art, but revived by MR and honed by JS. I found the book to be somewhat precious, in that the style was intended to be Edwardian, and in fact to remind us of Jane Austen. It didn't really remind me of Jane, but I did enjoy this book. It was so different, so original, and so absorbing by the last third of it, that I can't be critical. it was well written, if a bit tedious. Very much worth reading though, especially to fans of Tolkien and J.K. Rowling, as well as those interested in fantasy and good books in general. I am waiting to see if Susanna Clarke writes a sequel.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

O.K...O.K...I am not as nerdy as I thought...and not as pretty as she is....

You Are 48% Nerdy

You may be a bit surprised with this score, but your more of a closet nerd than an actual nerd.
Stop denying your inner nerd! You're truly dorkier than you think.

Seattle Spring '07...

Another delightful trip to Seattle...not so much on the horizon this time, but another nice run of weather, no rain!People out there in Seattle want us to think it's all rain all the time but it isn't. Only once in the two weeks I was in Seattle did it rain, and then only a bit. I guess it all depends on the season you come! Lake Washington is wonderfully lovely on a sunny May day! Out on the water or watching geese at the park on Juanita Bay, all good. This time I did see and enjoy the Space Needle. Downtown Seattle is crowded, and all the things you want to see seem close, although I didn't get to the old square. Next trip! The view from the Needle is terrific, but the admission price too high! It is fun though, and really - I guess we can't put too high a price on fun! It was a dull sort of day but that didn't matter. We sandwiched the trip in before a kid birthday party on an Aikido studio. Nice drive around town in the area around the Needle as well. Funky museum and Music center there made good photo opportunities, and grandchildren made the trip extra fun! Other hi-lites of the trip were various local beaches and just the fun of the buildings and the cafes around the area. Seattle has so many little nifty coffee houses and grand cafes. When I say Seattle I mean the surrounds as well. Kirkland has a lovely downtown with shops and eateries, all very arty.

I liked Bothell and the wonderfully magnificent Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park Towne Centre. They shelve the used books in with the new! Innovative and convenient!

I love the buildings in and around Seattle. They range from the Ravenna neighborhood's lovely old Craftsman style homes to the modern cliff climbing glass and concrete apartment houses on Juanita Drive. The picture in the previous blog entry of the angles is a shot taken in Seattle. I love the sort of buildings there that are terraced up a hill, and the lines created by the interplay of the design are wonderful. As usual, a trip to Microsoft is fun and educational. Spread over quite a bit of territory and even at several locations across town, Microsoft is a fixture in the region, and has helped many a Seattle cause. This time I saw the Visitor's Center, which was not as central nor as large as I had thought it would be, but still a very interesting corporate display. I did tremendously, as always, enjoy my trip! For the aerial view from the Needle my picture shows the great view, but not on as bright a day as some days. The trip up into the observation deck was in an elevator with a lot of glass. you get to watch the ground disappear below as you ascend. You can see Seattle and a bit-o-the-Sound. Then, when you come out into the observation deck itself, you find yourself inside a nicely carpeted area - larger than I thought it would be, and hosting a nice coffee shop/snack bar. Eating a muffin at the top of the needle - the end of a good day's adventures!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Book roundup Summer' 07

I find myself woefully behind in commenting on recent books read. SO - I will make quick and simple reviews. First up is Helene Hanff, all of whose books I have now read. They make literate and funny reading, her sense of humor is sharp and her insight always to the point. From 84 Charring Cross Road to Apple of my Eye, all her books are engaging just for these qualities. In Apple of my Eye, Helene writes a guide to New York City which was written at a time of economic downturn for the city, and at the same time a nostalgic time just after the World Trade Center was new. It is not a tourist guide in reality, it is more of a love story to the city she lived in so long and loved the most. Her meanders through the city to see sights she had never seen before in order to write the book make great reading, and her always sharp wit enhances the experience. Highly recommended.

Bob Dylan...

Bob Dylan played here recently. I didn't go to the concert. Those who did talked about it a lot, and the consensus was it was one of the best they'd seen over the years. I have of course always been aware of Dylan....I mean he's a bit older than I am, but we are contemporaries. When he was young in NY, I was in NY going to nurses training, when he was a kid in Hibbing, I was a kid less than 200 miles away in upstate MN. And then he gave the concert here and I live here - weird coincidence or what???

I had of course known about the usual stuff...Blowin' in the Wind, Mr. Tambourine Man etc., but being busy with other things during the 60s and 70s, I hadn't really listened to much Dylan. So this past week I have been overdosing, and enjoying myself. I have always respected him as as writer and felt he would be remembered for a couple centuries more than almost everyone else from the music he was so instrumental in forming, but I hadn't listened to much of the lyrics he sang. What do you know! He really was a genius with words. Those songs resonate with humanity rather than any particular agenda. He says he isn't political, and I think that's true. He's a human though, and that comes through loud and clear.

I would like to pipe Masters of War into every governmental institution right now until they get the message. But the one I have sticking in my head is I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More...great song, sticks in the head...

Friday, July 06, 2007

They tell me I belong in Barcelona....good call....:)

You Belong in Barcelona

When it comes to Europe, you don't want to decide between culture and fun. You want art by day and a big party by night.
Barcelona is ideal for you. You can check out some Picasso, eat some tapas, take a siesta, and then dance all night!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No more MacAddict...

Shockingly, today I found out that MacAddict is no longer the old rabble rousing pub it once was. Now it has been reborn as MacLife. YAWN. Well, I had let my subscription go as I have let Mac World go. They are mainly advertising, although I had gotten some great tips and advice over the years from both pubs. The old MacAddict CDs were a lot of fun. I liked the attitude. A few web pundits are of the opinion that as Apple got more prosperous, and iPod rules, the whole revolutionary Mac "thing" was outdated. That's probably a good point. Probably the most revolutionary thing about Mac at this point is the inclusion of Boot Camp, thus rendering your Mac able to run windows. I expect the next generation of Mac to come with either OS installed already or both. Apple hardware is so much better than other hardware. You can't go back to a plastic black cheapie box after you've had a Mac, but maybe you're a Windows person who wants some quality in the hardware! Great - I am no apostle of Steve Jobs, and if the hardware fits - wear it!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Wintery Seattle trip...

Had occasion to go to Seattle again sooner than I expected. January isn't usually so wintery there, and people were caught off guard and panic ensued after already having had a bad windstorm that was more damaging than anyone had seen in decades. We were pretty much inside and watching the news people wallow in the weather news as folks abandoned their cars, slipped into ditches and decried the state of the side streets. Indeed the side streets were in bad shape until the weather warmed up and melted them because the municipal authorities didn't get to the neighborhoods much at all due to the main roads being to big a job for the equipment they own around that area. I doubt they budget for snow removal much.We did do an intrepid trip out to Microsoft to look around and get lunch. That was fun, and it was a sunny day! What could be better in the Seattle area than a sunny day? So if you are going to Seattle in winter you will probably need a warm winter coat, boots and gloves just as if you were in New England, at least for a few days if you hit it right. Take your down vest too, can't be too careful.