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Showing posts from August, 2008

Turmoil, and a happy ending

We got home tonight after four days on Cape Cod visiting my dad and stepmother. A lovely visit, and all too short.

We came home to find one of our four cats was missing. The most important cat - our daughter's cat Q, the sailing cat. Who was supposed to go to Montreal with Ana tomorrow.

We searched every corner of the house. No Q. We went outside, and called and called. No Q.

By this time, I was crying. I've lost enough cats in my life, and I know that to love a pet means that someday your heart will break. I also realized that I was feeling sad about the trip tomorrow. Ana is going back to school. She will stay in touch daily via chat, and come home over Canadian Thanksgiving, but she won't be home. It's been a great summer, and it's over.

Then, suddenly a small noise outside. Ana was up in a flash, and out the door. It was Q, distinctly thinner. We think she snuck outside on Wednesday when we were packing up the car, and was outside the entire time we were gone.

There…

Piloting

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We have a pretty bare-bones set of instruments on our sailboat. We have a logometer, which tells you how fast you are moving and how far you have traveled. We have a compass. We have a depthmeter, which tells us how much water is under a sensor on the bottom of our hull. Currently, the depthmeter doesn't always work - we plan to replace it next year.

That's it.

No GPS.

When we bought Minuet, she had a LORAN receiver and antenna. This is a navigation system that locates one's position using a network of low-frequency radio transmitters. Our system did not work, however, and it turned out it would be difficult and expensive to get our LORAN receiver repaired. It also seemed it was uncertain that the LORAN network would be maintained. We decided to junk the system.

What we did have was a pile of charts for the St. Lawrence River from our sailing days many years earlier. I thought that after that length of time, we would have to replace them. It turns out, though, that they were a…

The Periodic Table of Videos

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I ran into this in the GeekCraft group on Ravelry. I sent the link to my father, who is a retired research chemist. He sent back one word: "FABULOUS". Check out The Periodic Table of Videos.




This is just a jpg, so none of the links are live. Here is the trailer:





Check out the passion of the chemists involved! These people love what they are doing with their lives. Blowing things up certainly seems to be a major perk.

This to me is a perfect example of the promise of tech realized. Any student of chemistry is likely to find these videos to be powerful learning tools.

I shared this link with my daughter, too, because she is adding a chemistry minor to her honors math major. I don't know if she has looked at any of the vids yet, though. I'm not going to prod, but I hope she checks it out. I'm keeping the page up for a while on my comp, and will peruse the vids when I have a few moments to spare. When you have chemists in the family, anything that helps you understand th…

This n' that update

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Rob Moves On

Our son has had an interesting summer, and it's ending much better than it began.

It began with his wife going underground with their two daughters, leaving their son with Rob. This pushed Rob into going to court, where he got a court order giving him temporary custody of all three children. He found his wife and the two girls, and the girls returned home with him.

There were two more trips to court in short order after that, to dispose of Cris' attempt to level some bogus charges at Rob, and to consolidate all legal matters under the judge who will decide custody, visitation, and the financial settlement. This judge decided to divide parenting time equally between Rob and Cris for the summer, with the kids alternating weeks between the parents. Rob was initially quite upset about this, but it turned out to work out pretty well. It's given the kids a chance to adjust to alternating life in both homes, and there has been a lot of flexibility according to kids'…

Sailing between the raindrops, part 2

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After much rain during the night, we woke up in Kingston in the morning to a mixed sky - blue with patches of dark gray clouds. We walked over to Pan Chancho to buy goodies for breakfast and lunch. This is my favorite bakery of all time. No low-carb diet for me, not when I can get fig and anise bread.




We would be sailing with the wind as we headed back to Clayton, and we had all gotten enough sun the day before, so we decided to leave the sunshade up, and sail under headsail alone. As we headed out, there was ominous grayness behind us.



We were sailing flat, so Q came up to enjoy the air and the view. She's a good member of the crew. She will even take the wheel and help with the lines.

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More Q shots:




Here she admires our iHome-2-Go, which was our Christmas present to the boat for this season. It's great - puts out lots of music, and has wonderful non-slip feet. With …

Sailing between the raindrops, part 1

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We have spent little time on the water this summer. There have been all those band gigs... and the house siding project... and grad school... and family visits... and the rain. It has rained just about every weekend. In fact, lately it has been raining just about every day. When it hit August and we had spent all of four hours on the water so far this summer, we said to heck with it - we are taking a sailing trip, whether or not it rains. We decided to sail to Kingston, Ontario.

The weather forecast for the weekend was very sketchy, but it looked like if we got up and off, we would be able to sail on Saturday morning in relatively good weather. So we headed to Clayton after supper on Friday, determined to cast off the next morning.

We had a glorious sail on Saturday. The wind was coming pretty much from where we were headed, so we spent six hours sailing close-hauled. That means we were sailing as closely into the wind as we could, and doing some tacking to stay on course. It also meant…

Trolling, and a thought to live by

I've noticed how the Internet seems to bring out both the best and worst in people. I've been especially interested in how much snarkiness and rudeness I run into almost everywhere people are allowed to leave comments. Exceptions to this rule: Ravelry, and the blogs I frequent here and yonder.

Here is an article from the NY Times Magazine where a reporter met with a couple of guys who are genuine trolls. It's an interesting read. I've long struggled to come up with a personal definition of trolling. Based on this article, I have formulated the following description: the deliberate provoking of a negative emotional response from a person who is perceived to be weak. I sure hope I never run afoul of anyone who gets his or her jollies from trolling.

This article also gives a ray of sunshine - a precept for behavior that may well help me avoid problems. It's Postel's Law: “Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” Naturally, it's…

Knitting Blog: Felted Cat Hat, From Idea to Object

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It started with an idea: Ana wanted a felted hat with cat ears to wear on the bitter cold days in Montreal. She made this sketch of what she wanted:



It was my job to figure out how to make this idea into something real.

The first thing needed was a basic pattern for the shape. A search of different hats on Ravelry yielded Sarah Bradberry's book The Any Yarn, Any Size Hat Book. What a find! It's not a book of patterns as much as a book of formulas. You knit a gauge swatch in the yarn you have on hand to determine what size needles yield the nicest fabric, and measure how many stitches make up an inch. Then, you measure the head you are knitting for to determine the circumference. You plug this data into Bradberry's formulas, and you have a custom pattern. I downloaded the book through Ravelry, and Ana and I chose the basic shape: the Slice of Pi Pillbox. We also found an earflap hat with proportions for adding earflaps.

By the way, the selection of hat templates in this book i…

The Lego Knitting Machine

Oh, my. For those who love the geekiness that lies beneath craft, check this out:



For those needing a bit more information, this is a mechanized version of the Knitting Nancy, created with Lego robotics. What it is knitting is a tube made of four stitches.

I have lots to blog about, and I'm happy to find this to keep this space active while I am busy resizing pics of sailing and a felted hat.