Entries Tagged 'A/V/Text' ↓

Dogs, Fabric, Food, Etc.

Ron just pointed out that yesterday I said we looked at shelter websites on Sunday. That was Saturday, and we brought Pippin home Saturday evening.  Which you probably deduced, but I went back and corrected the entry anyway.

I actually cooked last night for the first time in, um, a long time. Since before it got disgustingly hot. About mid-afternoon my brain suddenly said “Pork chops with long-grain and wild rice!” (a staple from my childhood).

I couldn’t think of a reason not to, so I picked up Robin on my way home and we did the grocery shopping at Eurofresh (don’t trust Jewel/Dominick’s for fresh pork).  I didn’t get pork chops, technically; I got pork cutlets. And two boxes of Uncle Ben’s Original Recipe Long-Grain & Wild Rice. It was yummy, even if the pork was a bit over-cooked. I think Ron was a little disappointed, he’d suggested rice pilaf when I asked for shopping suggestions. But we’ll have that tonight.

Pippin was mystified by the process of doing dishes and cooking, but he was willing to help with the cooking part, especially the meat. He’s very good at being under foot in the kitchen, but at least he’s fast and maneuverable, besides being smaller than Eowyn was.

Last night was educational for Pippin. He figured out what the back yard is good for when not on a lead: running around like a loon. Did I mention that he’s fast? He and Ron were playing chase (well, Pippin was playing chase, Ron was mostly staying in one spot pretending he was going to pounce when Pippin circled by). Chase is a good game. Elrond wanted to play too, but I think Pippin was intimidated by his size, and bark, even though Elrond was using what I think of as his silly high-pitched voice.

Pippin is getting better about tolerating his Gentle Leader. Last night he made it through a whole walk (as opposed to a quarter), partly due, I think, to snacky distractions.

Pippin also learned to hunt bed-mice last night. Another game he approves of, although we’re working on no digging for bed-mice.  He plays fetch with a rope toy, too. Robin is another good toy – he can be nibbled on, he plays fetch, and he tolerates pouncing.

This morning Elrond and Pippin were getting closer to playing.  It seemed like Elrond was trying not to be too loud/scary; I think they’ll get it figured out sooner rather than later.

Here’s a picture of the boys Ron took this morning (before they started to almost-play). Click to embiggen:

From Drop Box

Yes, that’s hair all over the bed. Elrond is badly in need of grooming.

Ok, so on to fabric. Here’s the pictures of the fabric I got Saturday, each with a quarter for reference on print size.  You can embiggen if you want, but it’ll be more obvious that I had focusing issues.

Blue and purple paisley. Ron made a comment about how bright it was, despite being similar colors:

From Drop Box

Blue paisley with metallic silver. More restrained, but I still thought a whole garment of it would be too much, at least for me:

From Drop Box

Paisley/Floral combination. Yeah, apparently I was on a paisley kick. And here I thought I didn’t like amoebas on my fabric. This one just isn’t quite my colors.

From Drop Box

From a group of Christmas seasonal prints: pine cones, with metallic gold. I was seriously tempted on getting enough of this one for something for myself:

From Drop Box

I still haven’t gotten my Japanese garb pattern from Reconstructing History, so I dropped them e-mail. Which reminds me, I did get my grey print to make a new kosode, and the big oriental dragon print fabric.  I should get pictures of those, since I want to open the dragons up and see just how big the design is.

Last week I cut out a pair of hakama and a jacket-thing for Licentia, which I started hand-sewing yesterday. The MuseCon program book is thiiiis close to being done, but I figure it’s actually faster to hand-sew than to wait until I get to the sewing machine again.

Sunday evening we went to see Brave. It was really good, which I expect from Pixar. And very tear-jerking in spots.

Friday night we’re going to see a park district production of Into the Woods at Cutting Hall. Trying the balcony this time. They’re appending a “Jr.” to the end of the title, so I’m assuming the cast is mostly kids. Bunch of other good stuff coming up over the fall/winter/spring, too.  I like the first act of Into the Woods better than the second act, I think the messages get a little heavy-handed in the second act.

Started John Scalzi’s Redshirts last week, zoomed through the first half the main novella, and have bogged down. I think it’s more due to being emotional than issues with the writing. Re-visiting some mental comfort food, in the way of Louisa May Alcott, will see if I can pick Redshirts back up in a day or so.

A Response for Modelmaker

Yesterday our friend Modelmaker posted to his blog about e-book pricing (http://www.pensbykris.com/ponderings/?p=155). I was going to leave a response there, but I’m running into some odd issues with doing so (his WP blog wants me to log in to leave a comment, but it won’t accept my free WP login, and I don’t see a way to create one for his blog), so I’ll post my comments here.

First up, Modelmaker said “I would guess (I have done no research) that the profit margin on an ebook is MUCH higher than the printed version.”

From what I’ve read, mostly during the Amazon/MacMillan spat, the cost differential between paper and ebooks is in the 20-25% range: the cost of paper, printing/binding, and warehousing/shipping is something the big publishers have been dealing with for a very long time, and so they’ve figured out how to get it down to a surprisingly (to me) small fraction of the total.

Why would a publisher charge $2 more for an ebook than a paper book? Because the market will bear it – or at least they think it will.

Although some of us geeks have been reading ebooks for a decade (Project Gutenberg on my Palm Pilot…), in terms of the mass market and the general public the ebook market is a fairly new thing. Both sides are still trying to figure this new thing out. As such, publishers and distributors* are trying different price points to see where on the curve the optimum is.

To break it down to the simplest interpretation: If the majority of ebook purchasers won’t buy ebooks that are more expensive than paper, ebook prices will end up below paper. If the majority are like me, who don’t compare to paper prices and just go by “looks reasonable”, ebook prices may end up being higher than paper books.  Where will prices end up?  My WAG is that the market will settle down to a model where ebooks are around hardback price on first release, eventually dropping to about paperback price.

My profit margin on belts is greater than that on pouches. Should I drop the prices on belts so that they match the profit margin of pouches?

* People knowledgeable about the industry say that Amazon is more interested in selling Kindles than ebooks, and so are willing to sell ebooks at a loss in order to drive Kindle sales.

Sucked in by Google+

Yes, the shiny new Google+ Beta caught me and sucked me in and now I’m a happy G+ user.

I love the fact that it got over the whole “friending” paradigm and starts you out with “Family”, “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, and “Following” circles.  I’ve got people in various circles who I never had on LJ or FB, because I can put them in circles based on how interested I’m likely to be in their posts.  I’m hoping Google eventually adds ticky-boxes so you can see the feeds from multiple circles at once, but in the meantime making redundant/inclusive/meta circles is reasonably straightforward.

I’ve never been much of a Facebook fan, my alter-ego only uses it to keep up with what a limited number of people are up to.

Twitter never really interested me.  I’ve looked at Twitter feeds a couple times, and . . . meh.

I initially bailed from LJ in large part because  the official LJ mobile app was almost unspeakably bad, I couldn’t find a 3rd-party app that was any better, Blogger wasn’t much better, but WP had promise.  Since then, LJ seems to have become more prone to outages and hard-to-connect days, even apart from the current DDoS attack.  Never felt like going to Dreamwidth or whatever the LJ-clone is.

So, this blog has been getting ignored for a bit.  OTOH, G+ doesn’t have tagging (which sounds like a “yet” situation).  And although some longer posts are starting to show up, it’s not clear if that’ll become within the realm of normal, or if it’ll even out at more-than-Twitter, less than LJ/WP.  We’ll see.

MuseCon has also, not surprisingly, sucked up a certain number of brain cells.  Starts a week from tomorrow, eek!  I really must get flyers for 2012 put together.  Yes, G+ readers may remember that I said that a few days ago, but Tuesday night I had a WindyCon meeting, and last night was VS, plus I didn’t get upstairs to my laptop.

Ron updated his desktop to OSX Lion Server.  And Adobe CS4 WhateverBundle doesn’t quite play nice with Lion. At first I couldn’t do anything at all in InDesign, but after we let the machine run overnight and count all its fingers and toes Ron reports CS4 programs are behaving better.  Anyway, I’m not ugrading my laptop until either (1) there’s patches to make CS4 and Lion play nice thoroughly, or (2) we upgrade to CS5.5, and I’m happy its stable (I’m seeing indications that it may not quite be playing nice yet either, but as the current release I’m betting it gets patched soonest).

The reason for this paranoia is because of Windycon.  The weekend after MuseCon I’ll be doing the Windycon progress report.  That’s mid-August.  The first Windycon program book content deadline is in the first half of September.  So being without InDesign until, say, November is Right Out.

Just looked at my Harper Student ID, which is what’s on file with “The Academic Superstore” to get student discount prices, and it expires August 18th.  MuseCon is definitely going to be a drain on the budget for the first half of August, and that’ll probably spill over until the second half, so not likely to upgrade to CS5.5 before it expires.

OTOH, yesterday I e-mailed the instructor I had for my GRA 101 and 102 classes and pretty much point-blank asked if she thought I’d learn anything in the 200-level Page Layout class, or if I’d be bored.  Again.  I’d like to take the Portfolio class, but I don’t have one of the prerequisites, which isn’t offered as an evening class this fall.  I also asked if I could get a syllabus for the prereq class so I could evaluate my likely boredom quotient and/or ruminate on asking the department head if I can get out of it.

Anyway, I think I’m probably going to be taking something this fall, if not Page Layout maybe an Illustrator, Photoshop, or Photography class, and if so the student discount thing is covered again.  And that student discount is hefty, worth more than the cost of tuition & fees for a class.

I think Eowyn’s eyesight has degraded.  She has trouble finding  her way around the piles of dirt, etc. that are in the back yard to the back porch steps once it’s getting dark.  She didn’t notice oyster crackers I tossed to her when distracted by stealing Elrond’s, but it didn’t take her long to find them after, and she still watches things, so it’s probably the kind of thing where she was human she’d just be needing (new) glasses.

With all the thunderstorms lately Courage, the Cowardly Dog, aka Elrond, is getting a little bit spoiled about sleeping with Ron.  I tried to get him to come up and snuggle me last night, but he wanted Ron.

More Mostly Knit Knatter

My off-white yarn is still somewhere in transit from Paradise Fibers.  Shipped USPS, with an estimate of 3-10 days.  Tomorrow, 14 day after ordering, I’ll call and see if they have a record of when it shipped, as we may still be in the transit window.

Friday evening I started the almost-black kilt hose.  I am now ready to start the cuffs.  Yes, in 4 days I have knit a pair of giant kilt hose of doom.  This was made possible by:

1.  Working on pair number three, with notes from pairs #1 and #2 available, and pair #2 available for direct comparison.

2.  Knitting most of the afternoon/evening Saturday, a bunch of time Sunday, and on the train downtown and back Monday.

I was going to choose a cabled design from a stitch dictionary and just keep going around and around (so halfway through the ribbing that hides behind the cuff I switched to the cuff color and knitting direction, because the outside of the cuff is the inside of the sock because of fold-over).  Then this morning I remembered that there are very spiffy cables in Elsebeth Lavold’s “Viking Patters for Knitting”, and dug out my copy. Now, the thing is, most of the patterns are going to look better if the cable goes around the cuff, which means knitting the cuff back and forth, and grafting it together.  And I suck at grafting, probably because I pull too tight because I’m usually doing it somewhere like a sock toe or mitten point.  But I’m going to suck it up and graft.

I also had to do some math.  Being an engineer this is not a big deal, of course.  I checked my gauge, and computed how many rows around Ron’s giant calves are vs. how many rows the pattern repeat is.  My stockinette stitch gauge on the foot (the rest of the sock is ribbing) is 5 stitches/inch.  I loosened up on the leg, which is k5, p1 ribbing, and the k5 bits are still an inch wide, or close enough for the moment.  on the leg I’m getting 7 rows/inch.  Ron’s calf is 21.mumble inches around, let’s call it 22.  22 x 7 = 154 rows around.  The ribbing is about 4 inches wide.  4 x 5 = 20 stitches wide.  The cuff I’ll be working onto is 72 stitches around, and you use one of those stitches every other row as you’re knitting the cuff onto it.  72 x 2 = 144.

Now, 154 does not equal 144, but I have to increase up from 60 stitches around for the ribbing, so I can throw in another increase round or a few more increases to make the math come out. All that nattered, I need a cable in the neighborhood of 20  stitches wide, and row-wise multiplies up to 150-ish.   Er.  The pattern I did have in mind is 40 stitches wide, which would equate to an 8″ cuff.  A bit excessive, I think. Since my problem is picking a design from many choices I like, I’m sure I can find something.

I did get some spinning done on Sunday.  I finally got my second quill of Black Welsh Mountain wound onto a bobbin and plied with the first.  The skein definitely isn’t balanced, I think it’s over-twisted in plying.   It also has a lot of knots from ply (mostly the first batch) breakage.     Oops.

Ron had his doubts about the Woobu, until he felt it.  It is nice and soft.  So they’re probably going to be con-kilt-hose.  🙂 He’s also saying he wants to get some more tie-dyed T-shirts, which we’ll look for while we’re at WisCon (we got the one he has from a vendor at the Farmer’s Market on the Capitol Square last year).  I think I have made it sufficiently clear that a tie-dye kilt is Right Out.

The trip to The Field Museum was fun.  General admission was free, Target is sponsoring a second Monday in the month free day.   I suspect it may have increased attendance somewhat, but it wasn’t too crowded.  We got there about 10:00 and our tickets for The Horse were for 10:00, or any time after.  I think on very busy days they prefer you not show up too late after your ticket time, but I don’t think the guy taking our tickets for the exhibit looked at the time at all.  But we went there first anyway.

It was a nice exhibit, but I did have one grumble – it appeared that the exhibit was bass-ackward in the space – not completely so that we started out at the end and worked through to the beginning chronologically, but most of the the bits (ooh, bad equestrian pun, sorry) that had a definite left-right  progression – several paragraphs or whatever – we encountered the right-hand end first.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it struck me that somebody wasn’t thinking.

My other complaint, again not serious, was that nowhere on The Field Museum website did it say that the coat check was closed for the summer.  If I’d have known that I’d have left my knitting and lightweight jacket at home so I didn’t have to carry them.  I mentioned at the admission desk that it would have been nice to know.

After we did The Horse Ron started playing with taking sets of photos for doing High Dynamic Range Imagery.  (Wikipedia explanation Wikimedia Commons HDRI image) We considered which sections of the museum were likely to gave interestingly non-uniform lighting and not be overrun with urchins, and then blew through most of “The Ancient Americas” exhibit (which has been re-done since last time we’d been there and was much nicer) until we got to the Northwest Coastal/Eskimo/Inuit section.   I suspect Ron may have decided on that in part because I like that section.  OTOH, the lighting on the house/spirit poles is interesting.

He did run into some issues with lighting – last time we were there, I think the lighting was at a constant level.  This time they had almost everything in that section on motion sensors, so the lights from cases were going on and off.  With the longest exposure being several seconds, it was an issue. Had we been thinking I could have paced back and forth in front of a particular case, instead of wandering around, sometimes causing said light issues.  🙂  Also, Ron didn’t bring a tripod, which requires getting a permit to use.  He did have a monopod (which doesn’t block traffic the way a tripod does, so in our experience no-tripod facilities don’t mind monopods), without which he wouldn’t have been able to get some of the shots at all.

I don’t think he’s gotten any HDRI images, out of the image sets he took yet.  But I think he enjoyed the challenge.  A co-worker of his did some really neat HDRI images at the EAA museum, where his son’s Scout troop did a sleepover.   Hmm.  IIRC from when we were members that the Field has events where you can spend the night.  I wonder if that includes going through exhibits . . .

I did pick on Ron, I ended up buying my own birthday cake.  Actually slices of a couple yummy chocolate things from Eurofresh.  I did bake a cake Saturday, a honey spice cake from the Bundt cookbook I have.  I ended up using my honeycomb pull-apart pan again, my sandcastle cake pan was not clean.  That has been remedied.  I definitely need to get no-stick spray with flour, I tried not flouring the pan this time, and had a cake extraction fail.  The shards, as Robin turned out, were tasty though, and that’s the important part.

Tonight is the second-to-last class for my Graphic Arts class.  Review for the final exam next week, and I think a brief show-and-tell with our final projects.

Monday Again

Oh look, it’s Monday again already.

Last week was . . . a week. School happened. Dinners happened. Work happened. Dog excavation both happened and was averted. Dishes happened.

Took Eowyn to the vet to see what’s up with water consumption. Blood work and urinalysis says one kidney enzyme on the high end of normal, one slightly elevated. Get a first thing in the morning urine sample, please. And try to see how much she’s actually drinking vs. what a dog her size should go through in a day (around 10 cups). At least the vet did acknowledge the difficulty of that last one in a two-dog house. Some signs of arthritis in the back legs, but otherwise healthy for a dog her age.

Saturday afternoon Ron, Xap, and I went out to The Fold to get a bag for the Lendrum spinning wheel. I didn’t mean to buy anything else, even though some merino/bamboo had called me the last trip. But then we found a ginormous skein of yarn that said it wanted to be another pair of kilt hose for Ron. And I do mean ginormous – pound of worsted-weight yarn. (Mountain Colors Weaver’s Wool, 1450 yards/lb., I don’t remember if it had a colorway listed).  And a 4-ounce braid of merino/bamboo followed me home.

After that, I went to FedEx to pick up my order from Paradise Fibers.  I’ll have to post a picture of the crossword puzzle that came with the punis (rolls of cotton), I’m totally stuck.   The Black Welsh Mountain top is indeed coarse, but that’ll be fine for sheep puppets.  The “oatmeal” BFL is nice and soft, just like my chocolate cherry BFL roving.  Oatmeal is a good discription – not quite brown, not quite grey.  I also got a naturally sagey-green cotton roving.

After getting a pouch I was working on to a point where glue had to dry and doing some dishes, I finished spinning the second ply of a batch of the  chocolate cherry, wound it onto a bobbin, then plied and skeined it.  This one went much better, I think I had only one knot in one ply.

Then I played with cotton.  I spun one puni, then tried plying it.  Breakage and breakage and breakage.  I think, in retrospect, that I needed more twist.  I thought I was putting enough twist into it, based on what I’ve been doing for the BFL, but the cotton staple is shorter.  A lot shorter.  Yesterday I threw that first cotton skein out (which is about what I expected to do with it).  I had tried doing this hand-plying trick again, which has worked reasonably well for wool, but I’m wondering if it was also continuing to my issues.  Next time I’ll wind off onto bobbins.

Yesterday I snagged the charcoal grey pencil roving that Ron hadn’t used, and played with that.   It comes as a pair of strands, so I wound a pair of golf-ball sized balls spun without drafting, then plied them back together.  Ron hadn’t been able to successfully spin a single ply of roving, the pull on the wheel was too much for his skill level at the time.  I didn’t have that problem with the charkha, but by the time I wound it onto bobbins, I think I had it over-spun, parts of the two-ply are still twisted pretty firmly.  It came out about sport-weight, and I wanted fingering to lace-weight.   Looking at and playing with the un-spun roving, I don’t think it’s going to draft very well, so I’ll either continue with the process of splitting it into two plies for sport-weight, or spin both together and then ply for heavier yarn.

The spinning experiment with the pencil roving was after dinner.  Earlier in the day Ron, Xap, and I had gone downtown to visit a friend in the hospital.  Nice view of the lake!  On the way there I worked on the socks I started for myself out of the yarn left over from Ron’s kilt hose.  While we were at the hospital and on the way home I did the toes for my Very Loud socks (crazy zauberball, to go with my Very Loud Dress).  My leftover-kilt-hose socks are ready to be cast off and the ends darned in, but I didn’t feel like doing that last night.  Maybe tonight.

Ron was pouting that since I started my Very Loud socks, he’ll have to wait for ever and ever for another pair of kilt hose, but I pointed out that either of the next pair of kilt hose use different size needles, so maybe I’d start them before I finish my socks.  Hinting that somebody could help by winding kilt hose yarn into balls was apparently too subtle.  🙂

Ron is really liking Zinio for magazines on the iPad.  It is nice, although he’s been reading more magazines than I have.

Last week I finally read _Minight in the Garden of Good and Evil_ which was interesting.  I was poking around the Wikipedia “Southern Gothic” entry, and decided to re-try Cherie Priest.  A while back I started _Boneshaker_, but despite being nominated for Hugo and Nebulas, it just didn’t do it for me, and I stopped about halfway through.   But her Eden Moore books looked pretty good, so I gave the first one a try.  When I finished that one I went and grabbed the second and third.

The odd thing about this is that I don’t do horror any more (I used to read Stephen King before he got to big for his britches and editors stopped editing him).  Except Lovecraft, yes.  OTOH, these aren’t exactly what I tend to think of as horror, either.  They may stray over into Urban Fantasy, I suppose, but they aren’t really that, either.  But they’re good.

A while back Robin was looking at _Leviathan_, another of Cherie Priest’s, set in the same steampunk-ish milieu as _Boneshaker_, and I’d told him I’d pooped out on _Boneshaker_ (which I was reading on my phone), and he decided not to get _Leviathan_.  I told him I was enjoying her horror books, and _Boneshaker_ had been nominated for this and that, so maybe he should give it a go (in paper).  And he decided to, so if he likes it I may try again.

As Wikipedia notes in the link above, the Eden Moore books may be billed as a trilogy, but each one is a standalone story.  I’m sure it helps to get all the earlier references to things that happened in previous stories, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

After Elrond was Cruelly Tortured by being forced to only go out on a cable last week, Robin staked down some hardware cloth over the wonderful-to-dig-in spot.  Hopefully rain, time, and re-growth of grass will render that spot boring.  His nose was out of joint that Eowyn got to go for a ride to the vet’s Friday night, but Robin took him out for a run up and down the street, which probably helped.

Finally saw the new “Tron” movie.  It’s pretty good, as far as action-adventure goes.  Also saw the original, I think for the first time since it was in the theater.  Ouch.  I may be a child of the ’80’s and still like the music, but the clothes and some of the dialogue are sooooo painful.

Monday, blech

It’s a Monday. I can’t say I’m enthused.

OTOH, we did get the taxes done yesterday, e-filed, and receipt has been acknowledged by both the state and feds. I do have to copy and mail Otter’s tax forms, since as per years past I don’t feel like paying $50-100-ish for the version of Turbo Tax that will handle putting lots of zeroes in the partnership forms for me while stepping me through all the requisite questions/steps to do so.

We’ll be getting extra money back this year, as a result of choosing the high-efficiency furnace. Which I think means that the tax return should cover the repair of the exterior stair pit wall that we should have done last summer, but never arranged financing for. It may even extend to getting a patio installed to replace the back porch which we’ll have to remove to do said stair pit work.

Meanwhile, Ron finally got a much-delayed annual review and raise. It isn’t a big raise, but the retroactive money for it is going toward a miter-every-which-way chop saw. The saw is not entirely necessary for construction of a new side porch, but will make the job a lot easier. I asked Robin on Friday how plans for the new porch were going, and pointed out that the weather is finally warming up enough to start work. It would be nice to use the side door again.

Elrond seems to have caught construction fever, and has put himself in charge of excavation. He’s dug the occasional small hole over the years, but this one is special, and big. He started it Saturday afternoon, has been caught thinking about it several more times, and this morning came in with very muddy paws, from more digging around the large rock Robin put over the original hole after backfilling.

Hopefully being put in his crate, being thrown bodily into the bathtub, then getting wet all over (I gave up, for various reasons, on trying to only get his paws wet), and being kept off of the bed and couch will be enough to turn Elrond off digging. But I’m not optimistic, so he’ll be going out on the cable, which doesn’t go out as far as the hole, for a while.

Impressive lightning last night. It was flashing so much around 9 pm that I thought there was an emergency vehicle or some other strobe light out front (west). Even after looking outside and hearing what I thought was thunder, I ended up checking Weather Bug to be sure. And Mr. Courage the Cowardly Dog ended up in bed with me, I think for about half the night. Fortunately, he does share fairly well.

Found a very neat app for the iPad – Zinio, a magazine (and book) reader. We now have subscriptions to “Saveur” and “Digital Photo Pro”, and Interweave’s “Knitting Traditions”, and Ron grabbed single editions of “New Scientist” and a tea magazine. It turns out “Knitting Traditions” is a special edition of “Piecework”, this is only the second one, and IIRC the first came out about this time last year (but I didn’t dig out my print copy to check) but the cost for the single issue was the same as a 4-issue subscription. So, we’ll see if they’re going to start publishing it a little more often, or if I have 3 more years of it. 🙂 Several of the magazines we looked at were set up so that you might as well just subscribe as only get one.

There’s also desktop and iPhone version of Zinio, but not all the magazines are available for the phone. The iPad version is fairly good in terms of navigation and zooming. I’d like a simpler way to go back to the cover/first page, but it’s a minor thing. With some magazines you can choose to go to a view that’s just the text, instead of the page view, which is nice. I haven’t played much with the phone or desktop versions, so no opinions on those yet. The same account will work for the iPhone, iPad, and desktop versions. We’ve been on my phone and the iPad at the same time, it seems happy with access from multiple points at once.

I need to clean up my laptop, the hard drive is getting full (although nattering about Zinio reminded me, it’s an unrelated topic). I have a bunch of Gutenberg documents I’ve downloaded to possibly read in the future, my plan is to delete them after making a list of titles/authors. I’ll also probably get rid of a bunch of digital photos – they’re already on the drobo, I don’t need duplicate copies of all of them on my machine.

That Was the Weekend that Was

Friday night was quiet.  Saturday afternoon was a MuseCon meeting, and karate in the morning.  Since Robin hasn’t been able to make either Monday or Wednesday night sessions most weeks, his instructor said he can do a double session on Saturdays, consisting of the back-to-back teen and adult classes.  The MuseCon meeting was a little long, then the after-meeting meetings went on for a while longer.  Fortunately, I’d planned ahead and put dinner in the crock pot.

Sunday morning Ron and I went to the  zoo.  I took the Nikon DSLR we got from Ron Sr., and only a whatever to whatever zoom lens.  The Nikon writes to the card faster than our older Canon DSLR.  Some controls are different, the only thing I miss is the second shutter button the battery grip for the Canon has, which is located for holding the camera in portrait mode.

I’d forgotten or not heard that the zoo had retired the Mexican Grey Wolves they had to a facility somewhere down south, and got 8 new ones in the fall. There’s 5 females and 3 males, all siblings.  The males were in the back non-display area to prevent breeding.  I wonder if they’re hoping to do a swap with another zoo, or if they’ll have to keep the boys and girls separated in breeding season.  This group is 2, so they’re still full of energy.  A docent said the squirrels, who had clearly gotten complacent with the old boys, have been getting a workout, and they caught one a couple weeks ago.  We’ve only gone through our pictures once, quickly, but it looks like we got some good ones.

On the way home we were discussing where to eat, and decided to rescue Robin from his homework to get lunch.  He’d already finished it by the time we picked him up, but he didn’t complain about Panera for lunch.  And since we were right by Barnes & Noble, we had to go in, right?  Of course right.  5 more Dover books followed us home (insert sheepish look here).

As we were heading out we were discussing where/how to store the discs, as that put us over the number of CD/DVDs that would fit in the case we had been storing them in.  And where to store the images electronically.  I made what I thought was a smart-aleck suggestion to go over to the Apple store and pick up one of the wireless hard drives, and as soon as I said it we both realized it wasn’t a bad idea.  I suggested the wirless drive, as Ron’s desktop and USB hub(s) are about out of slots.  Sticker shock set in when we looked at the price of the Time Capsule drives, so we got a 2TB conventional external drive (not one of the little “portable” ones).   So, now all the Dover images are neatly sorted onto one drive, with the exception of the ones we’ve been modifying.  We still need to re-name to a rational scheme, sort, and move those onto the new drive.

We all had Monday off for MLK Day, so it was a 3-day weekend.  I had meant to make the belts and start the notebook cover I’d been neglecting Saturday and Sunday.  I spent most of the morning doing various MuseCon tasks instead. Including setting up a MuseCon party at WisCon, and reserving our hotel room. Not only did I get into the main WisCon hotel (no schlepping, yay!), I got 3 nights for the price of 2.  The tradeoff is that our room is on the 6th floor, which is the location of the Con Suite, and other suites that are used as smaller Programming spaces during the day and party spaces in the evenings.   Ron can sleep through anything, and I’ll just put appropriate music on an MP3 player-player or my laptop all night.

I made a pork roast for lunch, thinking we’d have a big meal then, and something lunch-ish for dinner, and Robin would go to karate.   He didn’t, since finals are this week, so he’d be able to go today.  Which means we don’t get to VS until late, but Ron and I didn’t think of that.

I won’t be to VS for a couple-few month anyway, as GRA 102, Graphic Arts Desktop Publishing starts tonight, and Wednesday night was the only available night class.

I did get the belts made on Monday, and shipped out yesterday.  Still need to work on the notebook cover.

Before and After Artwork

Here’s pictures of what we started with, and what I have, so far, for MuseCon party flyers. They’ve been saved as low-res JPEG files to put on-line here, the real versions look better (for instance, the penguin one is a bright magenta background). I think in part because of conversion to CMYK color. Click to embiggen.  Within the post, keep scrolling down, there’s white space because of page-layout under the penguin and baked goods ads.  More yammer follows.

Ignore the relative sizes of the befores and afters, I just exported quickly from Photoshop and InDesign.

Snoboy fruit/Mr. Slushy:

Polar Bird fruit/Slushy Penguin:

Slushy Penguin Party Flyer

Superior Biscuits/Superior Baked Goods:

I’m particularly pleased with this last one.  It was a *lot* of work to get to this point after de-wording.  It’s a total of 10 layers, with various directions of texts on paths and shadows, and whatnot.  InDesign didn’t want to do a drop shadow on text an a path (at least that I could see), so I did it the Brute Force Enthusiasm Method. And then went back and gave the center text a Brute Force Enthusiasm drop shadow also, so it would have a consistent look. Looking at the original and my version together, I see some things I want to tweak on mine.

And now, off to bed.  Still tired, although otherwise down to minor snuffles and itchy throat.

Following on from our last episode…

The texture repair trick in Photoshop was successful.  My de-worded poster looks better now, although it took a lot of poking at testing to figure out what texture would work best.  And it was something Ron hadn’t used, so I got to show him how to do  something.  I sorta-kinda figured out content-aware scaling, although I only got it to work successfully on a tiny test image, I ran into memory issues when I tried it on the intended “Mr. Slushy” image I wanted to use it on.

When Ron got home he showed me better ways to use the scaling (I was working off an Adobe web page, not a great source), I was making it more complex than it needed to be.  By that time I’d re-sized the Mr. Slushy image the “old-fashioned” way (scale the whole thing a little bit then cut and paste on background bits where I needed more and fix the seam), and created two versions of the party flyer from it.

My attempt to de-word another Art Nouveau poster was not successful.  I remembered to put my work on a new layer, but I forgot to make another new layer for some very fiddly editing/image re-building, so when I decided I needed to roll back to the original in just that area, there was no good way to do so.   Fortunately, I’d started with the fiddly bits, so I didn’t lose much.  I think for that one I’m going to have to not try to use cloning, and go in and start painting.  Or some hybrid of cloning and painting more like painting.

Yes, I know, pictures would help.  I should post some, shouldn’t I?

I also picked out 4 more labels to poke at.

The first features a penguin, and  some bits of ice, plus words on a nice smooth magenta background.  That one was easy to strip the old words out of, so now it’s another slushy-themed party flyer, which looks like a bumpersticker.   I spent more time poking at a gradient and drop shadows than I did cleanup on that one, even with Ron running me through it a second (simpler) way.

It seems that I don’t learn well watching Ron do things, even slowly.  I need to drive.

The next ad was for some kind of biscuits.  I thought it was going to be hard to de-word.  Ron said no, it would be really easy.

“Hah, then show me, smart-ass.”

Well, that was easy.  I need to learn the power of layer masks. And I  remembered Ron’s re-touching book walked through making a custom pattern/texture to do the trick I’d learned and used earlier.  This ad wasn’t very big, but I got Ron a piece of software that does fractal magic to re-size images (student discount FTW!).  Very very spiffy.  Now I just have to figure out what I want that ad to say. And put a bunch of words on semi-circular paths.  With drop shadows.  (Why yes, I am going for the same look and feel as the original ads, even if people seeing mine won’t know it).

The third image is a bear operating a wine press, which wants to be another slushy-themed party flyer, I think.  It’s going to be a trickier one to de-word, but Ron pointed out that instead of trying to fix parts missing due to the original words, it’ll be easier to just erase it and start from scratch (a semi-circle and concentric lines around it forming a setting sun).

The last one just needs to be blown up and have something about the MuseCon party pasted in – it’s a partially-blank generic label for “superior pastries” or something like that.

Hopefully I haven’t wandered off the deep end in my party flyers.  *I* like them, and Ron and Robin seem to, but I’m not convinced we’re impartial.  🙂  I’ll take my laptop to the ConCom meeting Saturday afternoon and see what others think.

We also have three more Dover books on the way – WPA posters, SF & Horror movie posters, and SF movie poster cards.  Unfortunately, only the WPA posters comes with a CD, IIRC.  But we have a scanner and the re-size software, woo-hoo!  Ron gets first dibs on the SF & Horror stuff for Capricon Cafe flyers and decorations.

Feeling better today, but still tired.  But I did make it in to the office, even with the snow and almost complete lack of traction in the Kia.  Starting from a dead stop on an uphill incline was . . . interesting.  As in, “am I ever going to get going, or am I just going to keep crawling along like a snail on valium?”

More Yaks, plus A Rantlet

Yesterday I did get key lime pie made.  Fortunately, we still had our lever-action citrus-squeezer, so juicing a dozen or two key limes wasn’t difficult.  I even succeeded in whipping cream into whipped cream, not making butter (although almost-butter isn’t too bad on pumpkin pie, it would be just wrong on key lime pie).  Ron thinks the pie could have used more lime flavor, but it’s good as is.

Picked up Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, and other goodies yesterday at Heybeck’s.  I didn’t have anything in particular in mind for Christmas dinner, so when Ron offered me a boneless leg of lamb, I didn’t argue.  Ron suggested potato sausage for Christmas Eve, and I almost went into a panic when there was none in the case.  Fortunately, they had more stashed in back.  Now I just need to get some rutabagas.  Potato sausage and mashed rutabaga is an Ohman Christmas thing.

One of the other goodies was a piece of smoked salmon.  Oh boy, was that good!  Robin was an instant convert.

We also had a moment of madness and went to Deer Park Towne Center.  WTF were we thinking, less than a week before Christmas?!?  Our defense was that Ron was in search of a new corkscrew, we weren’t thinking about Christmas shopping.  Although we did find my Christmas present at Williams-Sonoma.

I’d been waffling between a dressmakers’ dummy (Ron thought it was too practical, and I waffle if I’ll use one enough), and an iPad (pricey).  I’ve been trying to ignore the Shun rocking knife in the W-S catalogs, but they had one in the display case.  I asked to try it.  It followed us home.

So then this morning I had e-mail that one of my favorite sock designers, Cookie A, has a sock club for next year.  Argh!  Timing!  I’d have pointed at the sock club if I’d known about it.  Sock yarn and 2 patterns (easier and harder) every other month. I did order her latest sock book “Knit. Sock. Love.” this morning, but PDF and print, since she had a sale: buy the print copy and get the PDF for just $6.  So the PDF is on my phone, and I can print out the relevant pages without scanning them first, and still have the print book for browsing.

Which brings me to a book-related rantlet.

First, the background: I signed up for the Graphic Arts 102 class a week or so ago, but hadn’t gotten to the bookstore yet.  I looked on-line today, and the section I’m in doesn’t have books listed specified.  But the other section lists a book I got for GRA101, and another one that’s only available used, Copyright 2005, for $15.  Now, this is an Adobe InDesign book, so 2005 is oooold.  Peachpit Press, the publisher, doesn’t even list it any more.  B&N doesn’t have any new copies.  But hey, their used sellers have it from $2-$5-ish.  Oooh, “like new” for $1.99.  Even with paying $3.99 shipping, it’s a better deal than the Harper bookstore.  4-14 day shipping, but class doesn’t start until January 18th, so I’m good there.

So, actually 2 rantlets.  What? You couldn’t find a *current* InDesign book?  And WTF?  $15 for a used copy when the real market rates it at worth 1/3 of that?  Good Ghu.  Yeah, I know, I know,