Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Etsy fun

Well, having put up a portion of my inventory, trusted advisers suggested I reconsider my brilliant studio photography, which truth be told was only brilliant if you turned the dial up on your monitor too much.

I reshot the lot, and although I still have a lot of scarves left to list at my store, I think it is much improved. You can admire my handiwork in the sidebar to the right...

The makeshift studio was actually fun to set up and shoot in, but not so much fun as weaving the scarves. Lowest on my list is the generation of catalog copy for the listings, but even that's kind of fun. That would be a trippy job: Catalog copy writer.

I suppose it would depend on the catalog, though.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Etsy shop, a work in progress

As you can see, I now have an Etsy shop, which I'm slowly but surely populating with my scarves. There are many more to come, but it is slow going...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Song collector

My favorite song is Pancho and Lefty, by Townes Van Zandt. It's been covered a hell of a lot. I have versions by:

Townes Van Zandt (Live at the Old Quarter in Houston)
Townes Van Zandt (a later live version)
Emmylou Harris
Kate Power and Steve Einhorn (oddball regional outfit)
Last Fair Deal (from a show at Roaring Brook in Canton, Ct.)
Laurie McClain
Old & in the Gray
Tendril (a punk band whose members seem to think this is a Willie Nelson song)
Tiki King (playing on the ukulele)
Effron White
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Willie Nelson (not the one with Merle Haggard, more recent)
some weird Australian dudes

Anyway, here's a cover by Mick Conlin

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The anti-cash crusade

As you may recall from my previous posts, I am pro-cash. I wouldn't say I'm really anti-credit card, but I'd rather deal in coins and bills.

You may also recall my disdain for the Internal Revenue Service's taxpayer advocate, Nina E. Olson who is charged with identifying "the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers." She, at least officially, sees cash as an enemy, perhaps the utterest enemy of all.

You may also, also recall my annoyance at the Visa advertising campaign that bills the cards as the cool, hip, with-it alternative to that old school "cash" stuff. I've never thought too much of MasterCard's long-running campaign, but it sure beats the hell out of Visa.

Now it is like a god damned game of mole at the state fair: Monopoly, for Christ's sake, has come out with an Electronic Banking Edition:
Wheel and deal your way to a fortune even faster using debit cards instead of cash! All it takes is a card swipe for money to change hands. Now you can collect rent, buy properties and pay fines - with the touch of a button!
You may have thought, previously, that my pro-cash stance was just about style, or some personal peculiarity, or something else. I'm more concerned with the all-credit-all-the-time nonsense as an assault on a part of our culture I hold dear, the previously mentioned cash economy.

Anyway, I think I'll go home and count my penny collection again. Bah humbug.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New arrival

Well, the planned-for pickup of Marigold, the loom I've used for the past couple of years, and the one I learned on 30 years ago (!) went off on schedule earlier last week, and my new-to-me loom arrived the same day.

Newby is not yet named, but I think she's a she.

As you can see, she's a counterbalance loom, not a jack loom (which is the only genus I've used to date)

Hey, this is upstairs! Yes, true. The tall part, which is called the castle, rules out getting downstairs without some major disassembly of either the loom or the house, neither of which seems like a good idea.

That's the view over my shoulder...

There are some significant tasks ahead: I need to fine-tune the counterbalance of the harnesses (the frame-like things hanging from the small ropes. I need to adjust the beater (the part that has the baleen-like reed). Most significantly, I hope, I need to convert the backbeam - the part that has canvas wrapped around it on the back of the loom, in the top picture - to a sectional beam. This means adding struts, crossbeams and section separators at 2-inch intervals.

This is not a small project. The last part is a little intimidating, but hey, measure thrice.

On a side note, my Employee of the Year bonus included chit that I'm redeeming for some super neat yarn derived from bamboo, which I intend to convert into some equally neat scarves. On a side, side note, the butterfly lady located a weaver at Etsy who makes eerily similar scarves, also out of yarn derived from bamboo, one of which is in the same pattern I plan to use. It is a Gothic cross, which I used in a scarf I wove a couple of years ago. As you can see, if you visit the "weaver" link and shop around a little, the effect is strikingly different - and glorious - in the finer-gauge yarn she uses.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Avast, ye dogs

My pirate name is:

Red Davy Bonney

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Monday, September 10, 2007

The oven's on

The weather has finally arrived at the point at which I am happy to turn the oven on for extended periods. I think the overnight lows have been in the 50s, so the house has been about 60 degrees in the morning. It is nice, like camping.

So, over the weekend, I made a couple of pizzas and sugar cookies - yum!

I'm still refining the pizza recipe: I was using sauce I froze some time back, and next time I plan to do two things differently: reduce the sauce much more (too damn watery) and add one of those cute little cans of tomato paste.

This time I used fancier mozzarella than usual (usually I just buy the chunk of fake-o mozzarella - the same type that's used for string cheese, I think, and the same kind that most pizza parlors use). I opted for fresh mozzarella partly because the cheese was buy one, get one free at Joe Albertson's supermarket.

The only disadvantage of the better cheese is that it isn't salty, so I think the addition of freshly grated Parmesan would be a big plus (as if it wouldn't be anyway).

This reminds me of when I worked at Sunshine Pizza Exchange (alas, nobody every exchanged anything but money for our pizza). This was a pretty good pizza parlor in the Northwest, one that when times were good could be counted on for very good thin-crust pizza.

We had a policy, for example, that when making a pepperoni pizza the pepperoni needed to overlap and entirely cover the pie. Pepperoni shrinks when cooked, so overlapping was just insurance that you wouldn't be able to see the cheese showing through when the pizza was baked. Oh, and we used good-quality pepperoni, too.

I worked there long enough to become fairly picky about pizza. Now, if you're buying, I'll eat just about anything, but if I'm buying (or baking), I am really only happy with very good pizza. Life is too short for schlocky stuffed-crust, dipping-stick junk.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Why I like where I work

OK, here's one reason: Our newsroom has

Six full-time reporters (and one to three freelancers)
One full-time intern
One part-time reporter (works from home)
Two news clerks
Three sports guys (one editor, two copy editor/writers)
Two full-time photographers (and a bunch of freelancers)
Four copy editors (one design editor, two copy editors and a Web editor/copy editor)
One editorial page editor
One city editor (me!)
One editor (the boss)

I supervise the seven reporters, the intern and the freelancer(s), and if the editor, to whom I directly report, is away, I'm the acting editor.

At a larger paper, the editor would be separated from the city editor by at least a managing editor, and possibly some assistant managing editors. I understand the rationale behind having multiple layers of management between the general and the enlisted personnel, but as you probably know from your workplace, the more intermediate people are, the worse your workplace is for a) intraoffice politics; and b) actually getting work done.

Also, all those extra layers are expensive, and don't actually result in anything showing up in the paper. The more I do my job, the more sure I am I prefer the way we operate.

For what it's worth.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Scary microwave popcorn story

from the wire, and thankfully irrelevant to me, because I use a mechanical popcorn popper: Apparently, a non-popcorn factory worker has come down with the dreaded popcorn lung, aka bronchiolitis obliterans (I don't think you need to be a big expert in Latin to guess at what ungodly thing happens to your lungs in this one).

Luckily, I guess, the guy got it by making and eating a couple of bags of popcorn a day and deeply inhaling the fumes each time he opened the bag.

He's on the wagon and the road to recovery, so that's a cheerful outcome, but it is creepy nonetheless. Popcorn lung would be a pretty lame thing to have to put on your tombstone.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Change is in the air

But nothing too dramatic.

The last box of fabric is being sent to my employer today, and two of the three warps I'm preparing for her are wound on: A 50-yard warp in kiwi and a 42-yarder in brown. Really, the brown is more like a grouping of rusts with some other ingredients. A black warp I intended to finish winding Monday is awaiting an emergency shipment of more yarn.

The loom I've been using is also my employer's traveling loom, so all of these items (warps and loom, plus many accessories) are due to be picked up Tuesday. I had hoped I would receive my new-to-me loom at the same time, seeing as how my employer has that loom at her house, but I don't think that's going to happen. I guess that means I will have to get around to learning to knit if I want to do textiles this fall.

Coincidentally, the swimming pool, which was closed for the summer (of course, who wants to swim in summer?) is open now, so maybe a break from weaving is well timed. I'm disappointed, though.