Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidaze!

There's still a bit of snow on the ground from yesterday.

Hope EVERYONE has a Safe and Happy Holiday!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Conductive resources arrived!

Yesterday afternoon I checked the mailbox and there was my package from! Yay!

Opened it up and it was chock full of every imaginable size of conductive thread, from gossamer to multi-ply sewing threads. TOTALLY worth the $15 plus shipping ($11 shipping for both kits together)!

I was disappointed to find the conductive fabric samples weren't in the package and have posted an email enquiry... which I'm sure they'll take care of soon as they can after the holiday.

Here's a piccie of the loot, uh, contents of the sampler...

The closeup lets you see just how much of a 'sample' you get...quite a bit actually! I could use these to knit up some conductive patches quite easily, or even try weaving a Soft Circuit... Click on either piccie to zoom it bigger.

Here's a start on uses for conductive threads over at Instructables:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yep, It's been forever!

Things have been busy getting ready for the holidaze and I haven't posted in forever, ah well!

What have I been up to? I've been wanting to learn more about 'interactive' pieces, so I've assembled my goodies and will be playing with them during the Holiday break:

Switch Craft: Battery-Powered Crafts to Make and Sew - This is what REALLY got me off my duff. I already had the Fashioning Tech book (see below) and was mildly interested. Then I saw THE PROJECT: Interactive Voodoo Doll... OMG! It 'shivers' when you stick a pin in it...what fun! I've already gotten a dozen or more "I want one when you make them" responses... we'll see how many I feel like making before it's on to the next project... I already have several mods I want to do to the original project.

Here's a pic from her blog:


With my goal in mind and the book in hand, I then went after the materials. I ordered the sample kit from, but it was going to take a while at first class mail, so I checked out the Makezine blog's shop, Maker Shed, and picked out the following two kits with 2 day delivery (got them in yesterday! Yay!):

From the Maker Shed:
Smart Materials Kit - Inspired by our Fashioning Technology book, we decided to create a starter kit of smart materials. This is designed to be an affordable way to sample materials that are often available only in much larger quantities. Create designs that only show up under certain conditions; heat sensitive, glow in dark, color changing under different light conditions. Sculpt the polymorph plastic into whatever shape you'd like. Have fun and re-make your world!
  • Fashioning Technology, by Syuzi Pakhchyan (a $29.99 value)
  • ¼ oz Phosphorescent Powder (it glows in the dark!)
  • 10g of Photochromic powder, Blue (it changes color in different lights)
  • 10g of Photochromic powder, Yellow (it changes color in different lights)
  • 10g of Thermochromic powder (it changes color at different temps)
  • 2 feet of shape memory wire (it contracts when heated)
  • 5 crimp beads (to control the shape memory wire)
  • 2 ounces of polymorph plastic (heat it in hot water - mold it into whatever you want)
Conductive Booster Pack - Inspired by our Fashioning Technology book, we decided to create a starter kit of conductive materials. This is designed to be an affordable way to sample materials that are often available only in much larger quantities.

  • Conductive fabric
  • Conductive thread
  • Conductive tape
  • Conductive hook and loop (you might call it Velcro, but we can't)
  • Coin Cell Battery
  • Assorted LEDs
Considering the amount of fabric in the conductive kit, it seems to be a very good value. As I said above, I've ordered from another source and will have to be looking at comparative costs when I reorder.

I got the Smart materials kit mainly for the shape wire, but was disappointed in how fine the gauge was...will have to double or triple it up to get the effect I want. The powders will be fun to play with (especially the Thermochromic - from Black to White!).

That's it for now...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Take THAT Low Fat diets!

Dave Mendosa's blog on Living with Diabetes is chock full of info that can give you a much better Quality of Life, or even save it. And that's not hyperbole. I get his monthly newsletter and highly recommend it to anyone who is diabetic, pre-diabetic, or has a family member or friend who is.

The current newsletter has an article that caught my eye and justified a long held belief of mine that we should just ignore the majority of today's nutritional 'experts' and go with what Grandma (or Great-Grandma, for you chillins) used to provide: a balanced-diet of minimally processed protein, fat, carbs, and fiber. Balanced here means not too much of any one thing, and not too little either!

I've copied out the two paragraphs that really caught my attention on this. Take THAT Low Fat diets!

Foods high in carbohydrate are the main stimulus for insulin secretion. But protein-rich foods also elicit a significant insulin response. On the other hand, adding fat to a carbohydrate-rich meal limits how high our blood glucose level goes, while not affecting the insulin response.

Those meals with the highest protein and carbohydrate content -- and therefore the lowest fat content -- produced the highest insulin responses. The fat content of the mixed meals used in the study showed a significant inverse relation with the insulin responses and "was a more reliable predictor of insulin demand than the amount of carbohydrate."

Comparing the Insulin and Glycemic Indexes

by Dave Mendosa

The food insulin index is a valuable supplement to the glycemic index and glycemic load. But nobody knows yet whether it will replace the glycemic index and glycemic load.

Some foods have little effect on our blood glucose levels but a big effect on the amount of insulin in our blood. This could be good, because the rise in insulin can bring down our blood glucose levels. But maybe not, because it could lead to beta-cell burnout.

Years ago I reviewed the first article about the insulin index on my website. At that time only 16 peer-reviewed articles in MEDLINE even mention the term "insulin index." By comparison, 244 peer-reviewed articles mention the glycemic index. Now, MEDLINE says that 71 articles mention the "insulin index" and 1,372 the "glycemic index."

But scientists have published only two peer-reviewed papers on the insulin index. The first one, which my earlier article summarized, came out in 1997. This month the second paper appeared. Both are the work of Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller of the University of Sydney and her team. At the same time, Dr. Brand-Miller is the world's leading researcher on the glycemic index. (Full disclosure: She was the lead author of The New Glucose Revolution: What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up...and Down?, which I co-authored.)

Only the abstract of the new insulin index study is free online. But Dr. Brand-Miller sent a PDF of the full-text to a correspondent, who thoughtfully sent it on to me.

"We are still trying to prove (one way or the other) that an insulin index is superior to the glycemic index or glycemic load," Dr. Brand-Miller wrote my correspondent. "It may not be. We have just published a second paper on the subject. There is nothing else published as far as I'm aware."

Generally, glycemic and insulin index values are close -- when we can measure them. However, the methodology of glycemic index testing doesn't let us measure the GI of foods that have little or no carbohydrate. Consequently, it can't give us a guide to the insulin response of a large majority of the foods that we eat, including high-protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and cheese.

Foods high in carbohydrate are the main stimulus for insulin secretion. But protein-rich foods also elicit a significant insulin response. On the other hand, adding fat to a carbohydrate-rich meal limits how high our blood glucose level goes, while not affecting the insulin response.

The new study included only 21 subjects and 13 different meals. The subjects were all lean and young. These are significant limitations, and as usual the study concludes that, "Further research is needed."

But it may drive the last nail in the coffin of carbohydrate counting, which medical professionals commonly recommend for matching insulin dosage to insulin demand for people who take insulin injections. This is because, as the study says, "Mixed meals with similar carbohydrate content produced widely disparate insulin responses."

Those meals with the highest protein and carbohydrate content -- and therefore the lowest fat content -- produced the highest insulin responses. The fat content of the mixed meals used in the study showed a significant inverse relation with the insulin responses and "was a more reliable predictor of insulin demand than the amount of carbohydrate."

Monday, October 26, 2009

MakeDFW meetup was loads of fun...

We met at a sort of Open House for the forthcoming Neighborhood Workshop, which will be debuting in 2010. There will be a lot of standard large equipment, as well as some more exotic offerings like a Laser cutter, Vinyl cutter (as in vinyl signs, wall words, custom cut vinyl graphics for cars, etc), and a computerized embroidery machine.

The star attraction today was the laser cutter. Many of us brought materials to try out and I had some plywood blanks, samples of countertop laminate, leather scraps and aluminum samples.

I forgot to take the camera, so I have no action shots, but here's the laser 'etching' on leather and polyester moleskin fabric. The laser burned away the fuzzy moleskin part and left the underlying knit fabric. It is totally usable as a clothing fabric even after this! Note, both were photographed at an angle.

I also forgot to eat before I went over there, so when I left I forgot to bring the other box, leaving behind my samples etched on wood and countertop laminate... I'll show them tomorrow after I pick them up!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heads Up... History is being made here...

With the launch of, we now have an ad hoc community of digital makers ALL OVER THE WORLD. has formed an alliance with a network of owners of Shopbot CNC routers worldwide to make this happen.

This means I can upload a digital file and make the design available to customers worldwide via in the 54 different countries where Shopbot digital tools have been set up (to-date).

For fabrication in their location.

No shipping charges from here to there, only from the local fabber to the end customer. How green is that?

Soon the coalition will extend to laser and 3D printers.

From the 100kgarges website:

During the 2007 US Presidential debates, Tom Brokaw asked candidates Obama and McCain whether our challenges would be best solved by ... "funding a Manhattan-style project or by supporting 100,000 garages across America to encourage the kind of industry and innovation that developed Silicon Valley?"

From WIRED magazine:

More from Ponoko

  • 2:30 pm |
  • Categories: Uncategorized
*I don’t run every press release I get from these Ponoko guys, but everybody who knows anything about fabrication knows that scaling up fabbing has always been a big deal. A thousand fabricators are lot more than a thousand times one lonely fabricator.
*Got a fabbing strategic alliance here. Hmmmm.
September 16, 2009
Ponoko and ShopBot announce partnership
More than 20,000 online creators meet over 6,000 digital fabricators
San Francisco, CA – The launch today of begins a new chapter in how things are made and distributed, enabling anyone with an Internet connection to get almost anything custom made and delivered from local state-of-the-art digital makers.
The website is a partnership between Ponoko, the world’s easiest making system, and ShopBot, a world leader in the design of affordable, high-performance digital making tools.
Using the 100kGarages website anyone can get their ideas made locally with the click of a mouse, and delivered within just a few days. It is powered by Ponoko’s online ‘click to make’ system and ShopBot digital fabricators in 54 countries around the world.
For the innovators who President Obama called “the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things”, 100kGarages is an exciting new service for everyone who wants to get things made – by making it yourself or finding someone to make it for you. (((That’s awful patriotic of a bunch of guys from New Zealand.)))
People are creating a wide range of products like tables, chairs, cabinets, car parts, signage, boats, musical instruments, gaskets, sheds, housing and all of those impossible to find things made from wood, plastic, metal and composite materials.
“Ponoko’s making system gives our ShopBot owners the ability to receive a new stream of work from a wide range of customers,” says ShopBot’s President Ted Hall. “Our partnership also means everyone now has easy access to their own local 3D fabricator. This is the first step to providing a solution for the doers and makers out there who want to join in re-building America, one garage at a time.”
To date over 30,000 DIY, hard to find and consumer goods have been made using Ponoko. “Our online making system makes it easier than ever before to turn ideas into real things,” says David ten Have, Ponoko’s CEO. “And by partnering with ShopBot we bring together more than 20,000 creators and over 6,000 fabricators to use a powerful online service to design, make and deliver goods locally”.
From today, anyone can visit to get things custom made by searching a map for a local garage workshop, or submitting a request and choosing from bids placed by a range of ShopBot owners to make almost anything. It’s free for everyone to search and submit requests, and for fabricators to post profiles and bids.
Derek Elley
+1 415 335 4471 or +64 4 473 0031
ShopBot Tools
Dave Minella
+1 919 680 4800
About Ponoko
Ponoko, the world’s easiest making system, is an online marketplace for everyone to make real things. It’s where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers meet to make almost anything. More than 30,000 user-generated designs have been instantly priced online, made and delivered since Ponoko was selected to launch at TechCrunch40 in 2007. Ponoko has reinvented how goods are designed, made and distributed leading to profiles in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC News, Financial Times, The Globe & Mail, WIRED Magazine, The International Design Magazine and more. (
About ShopBot Tools
ShopBot Tools designs and manufactures low-cost, high-value CNC tools for digital fabrication of wood, plastic and aluminum products. With more than 6,000 ShopBots in thousands of shops in the US and 54 countries around the world, ShopBot is one of the largest producers of CNC routers in North America. (

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spoonflower Rocks!

I've written before about the new fabric printing service, Spoonflower, and how much fun it's generating. Up until last month you could only order fabric designs you'd uploaded yourself, and selling your fabric involved ordering it and offering it at eBay, Etsy, or the like. Then, when they began their Beta Marketplace I jumped on the chance to order some fabric designs I'd been eyeing. All my orders have now come in and I have to say that I'm thrilled!

The first order was Amor de Los Muertos, by Lisa Jonte (Arcana-j). I just love how clean and fun this pattern is.

My second order included some coordinating fabric for Amor, as well as Victoria Lasher's Raining Hedgehogs, with a coordinating pocket design. To round off the order, I got an 8 x 8 in sample printed of my Japanese Mon design I created using three Dover patterns.


Unlike their designs with plain backgrounds, mine had a lot of texture and color, so I was curious to see how it would come out. I have an ancient CRT monitor that isn't calibrated in any way, so what I see on the screen is a real crapshoot vs. what I might see on a calibrated monitor. If I do more of this I may have to invest in a new one! Having received the sample, I have to say that I am pleased with the brightness of the colors, as well as the crispness of the detail. One thing that helped a great deal was saving the Photoshop file in RGB mode, then CMYK, before finalizing in LAB for the Spoonflower upload. This effectively removed all the out-of-gamut colors with minimal effort. Shifting out-of-gamut colors are what surprised a lot of early designers Spoonflower when they got their first samples back.


Looking first at a 2 x 2 in area of the design that I colored myself (it was originally just an outline), you can see that the fabric texture darkened the design a small amount, and the colors are richer (at least from what I can see! LOL!). The medium tone on the flower and leaves essentially disappeared, and the background pattern is much more textured and vibrant.

Flower CloseupPOST

Flower Digital Closeup copy

The crane closeup shows part of the design that was originally a scan of a Japanese woodblock print, and I multiplied the colors in Photoshop. The sample shown is also a 2 x 2 in square and the design was printed on off-white quilting cotton. The golds were a bit darker than I was expecting, so I'll lighten that up for the next try.

Crane CloseupPOST

Crane Digital Closeup

I really like how the background texture works on this design, but now I want to take the three individual units and rearrange them so the repeat is a bit nicer, as well as design a pillow front. I've already created several coordinating two-color 1/2 in stripes that can also be presented as checks, giving a lot of variations to play with, and will follow with just the background texture, which should make a nice backing for the pillow, or even a coordinating pillow front. Once that's done, I'll have a full suite of custom coordinated fabrics guaranteed to work together. Schweet!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Adorable Biddles...

Just received this from my neighbor on the other side of the 'cul de sac.' I didn't realize what a jungle my balcony has become. The Virginia Creeper, now on its second year with me, has gone absolutely berserk!

Biddles obviously approves of the cover...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I've been a bit distracted lately...with good reason!

Seeing some really exciting stuff happening over at the textile DIY company that allows you to upload your own textile designs and have them printed and shipped to your home...and they're starting up their Beta Marketplace testing (sorry, it's not public...yet!). I signed up as a guinea pig and ordered a yard of the cutest little skully fabric. Can't wait to see it when it gets here!

While I intend to design some of my own patterns, many artists have already done some amazing work. There are also a lot of really, really awful patterns posted, so don't blame me if your eyes start bleeding!

Two of my current fave designers are Victoria Lasher and Arcana-j.

Victoria does sweet, beautifully rendered repeats (that's a big thing!) and her "raining hedgehogs" are the cutest. She's a mom, so I have to wait patiently while she makes time to create some coordinating fabrics we've discussed (me? patient? HA!)

Arcana-j has the cutest Skully, Halloween, and Goth type patterns (as well as purple hippos with hearts). She's even adding some coordinating fabrics that will let you mix and match patterns on a garment/bag/pillow/ still my heart!

If you're interested in all of this, get on over to Spoonflower and get signed up. Even if you can't draw, you can use any of the Dover Publications Electronic Clip Art designs, as well as personal photos you've taken. Check out their Flickr site to see what awesomeness has already happened.


Monday, July 27, 2009

To Vent or NOT to Vent?

There are times when Family (capital "F") will absolutely get on your last nerve and make you contemplate having to hide a body or two. You want to spew your frustrations at whoever comes into range...rant and rage until even casual acquaintances will cross the street to avoid you.

And you get tempted to blog those feelings too - but should you?

You may have guessed it, yes, I am caught in the tines of that devil's pitchfork. And when it comes down to it, I may even go so far as to draft a snarky post or two and save it.


I then apply the 90 day rule: Would I cringe at strangers reading this 90 days from now? Or worse, the Family in question reading it, Ever? So, I sigh and hit the Delete button.

On the other hand, I'm totally OK with them finding out that I WANTED to post some snarky comments!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's the middle of Summer...wasn't it Spring just a few days ago?

I just hate it when the voices of the old farts start playing in my head:

"The older you get, the faster time flies by!"


I've been roasting for the last few weeks - it's amazing how many days of 100+ weather we've had...this year has been a total scorcher. I'm watering my potted plants twice a day in some cases, and the allysum just doesn't like the heat and is pouting until October. The virginia creeper is ecstatic...I think it's growing inches by the hour. The morning glories are abundant...

I love lots of green on the balcony - even if I need to have a fan on me to even consider sitting out there. The cats love going out to roast too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Haircut: Update

Okay, I HAD to pull the front back for work...tried it loose all weekend and had enough! The cut DEFINITELY brought out my waves!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Haircut

Okay, here's my post about "the haircut," which is my first in two years. To start with, the salon is in a cool, older part of Dallas, upstairs from the La Madrid restaurant. I didn't check them out, but they are probably a Tapas restaurant, from the name.

Here's the Goggle Maps link. Facing N/NW, the salons upstairs are accessed via the door with the curved top.

My appointment was at 2pm Friday, April 9, and when I got there the parking was still full, so I snuck in across the street to the shared parking for Grange Hall/some swanky Spa

Grange Hall location A gallery with exotic candles, incense, lotions, and art pieces ranging from bats in apothecary jars to skulls, collage pieces with optometrist's implements and defective doll heads dug up from a defunct doll factory's trash heap. And art books. Anyone coming to Dallas must go there.

So I parked the car, popped into Grange Hall for a quick boo to see what was new, then set off across the street to the salon.

Up the stairs to a hall with five doors to five salons and mini spas. Michael Motorcycle Salon was the first on the left. Note: so named because he sold his motorcycle to pay for startup on the salon.

The place is decorated in early Feng Shui funky, with Tibetan-style prayer flags, scroll paintings, huge-ass crystals and 'gong bowls' (huge cousins of Tibetan singing bowls), fountains and plants. My good friend Virginia has had her uber curly hair done here for years. I've wanted to see just what could be done with mine; it was finally time for me!

After changing into the smock, we chatted about my hair, the fact that I've NEVER had a cut that I liked, lots of metaphysical here-there-and-everywhere. The conversation pinged off the walls and all over the Universe. It was grand. In the process, Michael declared that I was 'an Idea person' and 'Dominant' (ya THINK? LOL!).

The wash was, as expected, exceedingly wondrous. The scalp massage was the best ever, there was a Tibetan scroll hung over the chair (see the next piccie below, between our heads). He kept sounding these huge gongs. I was a bit surprised when he placed one in my lap as it rang away, but it was fun. A lady came in crying they were going to have to put their dog to sleep, which set me off (see my previous post on Ski). Michael took it in stride, even changing the music from classical to Dixieland funeral marches...the jazzy joyful ones, not the dirges. You haven't lived until you've heard "Amazing Grace" sung and played to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun."

Since I wanted to donate to Locks of Love, we began by figuring out how long it had to be. The magic number was 12 inches, so that's where we started.

Hair is wet: Just before we start the Cut (Amy, non-toxic hair colorist, took this with her iPhone. The rest were from my Nokia N75)

This is Michael (alas, the braid is gone...*sigh*)

Beginning the initial Cut...That halo of red hair is Virginia. Note: at my feet is a HONKING HUGE quartz crystal! I'm taking the pictures via the huge ass mirror set up in front of me.

THERE's the bowl I mentioned (middle left below)

Virginia with the Offering. I WANT that chest behind her!

Only 2:45 and the initial cut is complete. Michael is now shaping the front. Virginia is next, so she's getting her shampoo in the back.

More discussion on where we're going with the cut. The stained glass panels made a kaliedoscope of passing traffic.

3:00 and some final tweaks

That was the cut, but the fun wasn't over. While waiting for Virginia to get her cut, I got to talking with Amy, the gal on the right above, who was giving her Mom a cut. We were continuing to ping off the walls of the Universe, it was an ADD info-orgy. When I mentioned I had my 16th C Italian Ren outfit in the car, everyone of course wanted to see it. Amy's sister-in-law, Emmy (above in the doorway on the phone) was offered a chance to try it on and jumped for it. Much hilarity ensued. I didn't get pics of in-progress, but when it was finally on her skinny little bod we got a piccie, which I'll post when I get it. What you won't see is me behind her holding the stuff tight so it doesn't hang on her like a sack (I was about 1/2 again her size when I could wear it. SNARF! LOL!).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Demonspawn has left the building...

I've had Ski (aka Demonspawn) since right after I moved back to Texas in '92. I was in a pet store picking up some ear mite medicine for Mom's cat and there he was, in a rescue display, top crate, looking me square in the eye. Handsome devil; slim, black, sleek. Another gal pulled him out and cuddled him, but he never took his eyes off of me (I'd swear he was saying "It's about TIME you got here!). I was still couch surfing with Mom and Dad, so I had no business even looking at a cat, and I had lost my beloved Ski the previous year to Feline Leukemia on Labor Day weekend. I got the medicine and left.

Two weeks later I was unpacking in my new apartment and kept feeling the most annoying "something is just out of sight, right at my heals" feeling. I called the pet shop and asked if that black cat was still there? He was. Hold him for me, I'll get him tomorrow. So, after work I drove over to get him. The shop boy says "I'm so glad you're here. He hasn't shut up all day." I asked if he was always like that and the boy replied, "No, just today." I pulled him out of the cage and held him for a while. He clung to my shoulder and purred like a freight train. Yep, he was mine. Put him back in the cage and went around the store getting supplies, chatting with the shop boy.

An enraged yowl broke out from the front of the store and we rushed up front to see this VERY angry black cat with his arm stretched as far as possible out of the cage, claws fully distended, waving madly, "Get me the F___ out of here NOW!"

I looked at the shop boy and said, "We're done, ring me up." As he was finalizing the transaction, I looked at the papers. Name: Moonshadow (okay, I can live with that). Birthday: Labor Day weekend, '91. (slightly creepy feeling between my shoulderblades.) Over the next few weeks, try as I might, the only name that came out of my mouth was Ski, so he became Ski Too. He was nothing like the original in his temperment - he was cranky, short tempered, and threw up hairballs all the time. Over time he acquired the nickname of Demonspawn, which truly fit him for most of his life. But he would drape himself over my shoulder and chest, purring madly. And he forced me to pet him in the mornings, when my Fibromyalgia made every movement an excruciating ordeal. He was mine.

So when he was diagnosed with a hyper thyroid, I shelled out the bucks for the surgery. And when the other one started swelling, even though I'd been laid off, I got that one done (but only could because Dr. Fred did it at cost and let me pay it out). And when they swelled again and he was too old for surgery, I pilled him morning and night, because he was MY Ski and I wasn't going to give up on him just because it was inconvenient (yes, I'm stubborn). And he did well for another 8 or 9 years.

But he was doing pretty poorly this winter, so I've been working hard to get him back in shape; his fave canned foods, extra feedings if he was interested, even a pill to help his appetite. But he was still acting feeble and frail, and wasn't grooming himself, so I took him in last Friday to get checked up again. I was crying while I was waiting for the test results. fully expecting bad news and thinking that I really, really didn't want this to happen on the weekend before my birthday (the next Monday). Instead, he got a clean bill on the set of tests for his thyroid and kidney functions, so I thought that we were good to go for a while. But Sunday he cried weakly all night, and didn't stop till 4am, so I took him back to the vet's to get checked out again.

When I got to the vets after work they said Dr. Fred wanted to meet with me in the surgery. At first I just thought that meant the other rooms were full. He's that good of a vet. But, as I waited, I realized that there was probably another reason. One of the helpers brought Ski out to me so "we could visit while we waited for Dr. Fred." That was when I knew what had to be up. When he finally came into the surgery, the look on his face, I knew I was right.

He told me that the thyroid was malignant and had metastasized, filling Ski's chest cavity, making it difficult for him to breathe and swallow. There was no outwardly visible sign. Up until now, none of the vets ever acted like the thyroid might have been malignant. He'd had two surgeries on them and they weren't malignant then, but it's been 8 or 9 years since then. I thought his weight loss was just 'skinny old dude' syndrome - after all, he was 17 years old. When I think about it now, at the end he really looked just like some poor end-stage cancer patient, all skin and bones. Dr. Fred offered to give him a shot that would calm things down a bit, so I could have a few days to say goodbye, but I told him that I've been saying goodbye for the last year or so, when he started doing poorly, and it wasn't fair to him to keep him over just because it was my birthday. I was selfish with my first Ski and kept him long after I should have let him go. I wasn't going to make that mistake this time. So Dr. Fred gave him the shot and I stroked him as he left. I wasn't surprised that he gasped a few more times after Fred said he was gone. Ski wasn't a quitter by any means.

I'm having a tough time adjusting to not having him around. He's been with me since '92 and he saw me thru some very tough times in my life. I'm sorry that I've lost him, but I'm happy that I was able give him a good, long life and to let him go when he needed to go, instead of being selfish and trying to hold on longer.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The many faces of spam (not the Luncheon Meat!)

I've been rather amused over the last year, watching the changing face of the spam in my junk folder.

This time last year I was primarily being offered various pharmaceuticals, mostly for enhancing body parts I don't even have, as well as job offers from Mr. Vincent (whom I am pointedly ignoring). Then I was getting offers of discount gas. For a short time Brazilian property was the new investment opportunity, and my Timeshares have always been in top demand, but then I started seeing ads for reworking my mortgage, lots of those, to the point that the pharmaceutical offers were practically shouldered out of the way (amazing). Then I started getting lots more job offers (Criminal Science! ack) as well as offers of mortgage assistance and low interest loans.

Most recently the junk box was full to brimming, twice as much spam as I usually get in a day. And it covered the full spectrum, though with a large percentage of job offers and mortgage advice. Maybe even the Spammers are feeling the pinch?

I wonder if anyone is doing a thesis on the correlation of spam subject lines to current events?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What do Yudu?

Looks like a come-on line, doesn't it?

Well, I came across this phrase yesterday at the local Joann supershop...

Remember those cute little Gocco screen printers that used a photo flash bulb to develop the screen design that was only big enough for a greeting card or some such? Yah, the ones that are going the way of the Polaroid and everyone's going all WAAAAH about...
Well, Yudu is a slick big-boy version that can even print on Ts. It's put out by Provo Crafts, the makers of Cuttlebug and Cricut scrapbooking die cutters. At $299, it's got a big-boy price compared to a Gocco setup.
For a little perspective, a Speedball beginning screen printing kit for either printmaking or fabric will only set you back about $75 (on sale I see it as low as $34!). Now, this kit uses a film emulsion that you spread on the screen, let dry, then expose to a bright light with a black and white pattern blocking the light and will give you exactly the same results, it's just not in a slick little chassis that's gonna get shabby looking real quick once you print on's starting OUT looking a little shabby! Oh, and the consumables (ink screens, etc) are about the same price.

For $299 vs $75($34) and a little extra effort? I'll stick with Speedball...but I might check out Yudu's inks and other consumables!

Oh, and if you just HAVE to skip the messy smearing of liquid emulsion, you can buy photo emulsion sheets...which is what the Yudu uses!

Monday, February 16, 2009

MOST interesting Blog I've just tripped over...

Very articulate blog, this is one I've added to my RSS listings.

PS: what he's got to say also scares the pants off me.


Jamais Cascio

Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies, environmental dilemmas, and cultural transformation, specializing in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. His work focuses on the importance of long-term, systemic thinking, emphasizing the power of openness, transparency and flexibility as catalysts for building a more resilient society.

Cascio's work appears in publications as diverse as Metropolis, the Atlantic, Technology Review, and He was featured in National Geographic Television's SIX DEGREES, its 2008 documentary on the effects of global warming, and on History Channel's SCIENCE IMPOSSIBLE, its 2009 series on emerging technologies. Cascio has spoken about future possibilities around the world, at venues including South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, FuturShow3000 in Bologna, Italy, the Singularity Summit in San Francisco, and the TED 2006 conference, "The Future We Will Create," in Monterey, California.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cosmic Cornucopia: Bumper Stickers, Apparel and Plushies, Oh, My!

I have always loved a good bumper sticker. And Pegasus Publishing is my favorite place to get some.

The site's been unavailable the last few times I checked and I was afraid they were defunct, but a new check shows my old fave is still here!

These guys are an institution at any N Texas Con or other such function. They started out selling bumper stickers and T's and have branched out to Hats (Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Monty Python, Pirate, etc.), Lab Coats, Steampunk goggles and other apparel, Books, Lyric sheets,music and videos, patches, pins, mugs, etc. Oh, and plushies! How about an Elvis Cthulu? Or a Vorpil Bunny (Holy Grail)? Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch? They have it!

Their bumper sticker racks are amazing, especially considering that each time they are customized to the show, be it Trekkies, Anime, Irish Fest, whatever. This is where I get my "Ladies Anarchist Sewing Circle" and "Who says Goddesses Have to be Anorexic?" stickers, which are due for replacement, which is how I found out the site had been down...

The online bumper stickers are arranged by Categories:




Cephalopodic (Cthulhu-Lovecraftian)

Coffee, Chocolate& Caffeine

Coffee,Chocolate & Caffeine

Computer Related

Dance Related

Dance Stickers



Food Related


Gun & Freedom Related




Miscellaneous Stickers






Science & Education

SF & Fantasy