A Change of Pace

That loud grinding noise you heard a while ago was me changing gears from knitting to crochet. (Yes, I am ambicraftous.)  My mom belongs to this Sekret Klub, and every year in early December they have a fund-raising auction.  The members bring things to auction off, pay inflated prices for each other’s stuff, and the money goes into a college scholarship fund of some sort.  Last year, I made her four buttoned cowls.  This year, I’m making her three sets of five crocheted snowflakes. I’m also making several sets of three for hostess gifts.

Tuesday after knitting group, I need to dash over to Michael’s and get some stiff stuff, some opalescent embossing powder, a container of sewing pins, and a paint brush.   I’m pretty sure I already have enough crochet thread in my thread stash.  In order to turn the snowflakes into tree ornaments, which is the goal of the exercise, they have to be blocked (stretched and pinned into shape), then soaked in the stiff stuff and sprinkled with opalescent embossing powder to give them just the right amount of sparkle. When that side is dry, you flip them over and repeat the process.  Once they’re thoroughly dry, you hot glue a little loop of the narrowest white satin ribbon they make to one “point” so an ornament hook can be attached for hanging it on the tree.

One down, many to go.

I googled crocheted snowflakes and found this website that has a whole slew of free patterns for them.  More than enough for the 15 I’m making for my mom.  I’ll choose the 15 I like best, and do them.

I was searching for “Russian waltzes” on YouTube yesterday (because I couldn’t remember whether this one waltz was written by Prokofiev or Khachaturian)(It was Khachaturian.) and found this serendooglously*.

And yes! It’s from a Russian film.  And yes! An English language version is available on Amazon, . . . And yes! It’s been shipped!  (It’s dubbed in English.  I wish it had been in Russian with English subtitles, but I may just turn the sound off and gorge on the video.)

Here’s the Russian language trailer.

Matvey Lykov, who plays the guy she really loves (spoiler alert:  Not the blond guy.), is yummy.  And that wedding ensemble she’s wearing in the boat is just fabulous.

 

*serendoogle — something you find serendipitously while googling for something else.  I made this word up by mashing “serendipity” and “google” together.

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Now and Again, My Brain Is Nice To Me

This little gem of a Satie waltz has been my earworm for most of the day.  Kind of like my brain is trying to be extra sweet to me because of the sturm, drang and brouhaha of the Firefox Quantum debacle of the past two days.  (Instead of “Firefox,” I typed “Firepox” — I think my Freudian slip is showing.)  My savage breast hath been greatly in need of soothing of late.  Yeth, it hath.

Firefox Quantum is a Quantum of Schmaltz

— In the literal sense of the word “schmaltz,” meaning “chicken fat.”  I got really tired really quickly of piddling with Feedbro and RSSOwl, neither of which was as easy to use as NewsFox (which Firefox “Quantum” broke).  Finally, I just said (among other unrepeatable scatalogical and blasphemous utterances) the heck with it and rolled back Firefox to version 56.02.

I also left a comment on Mozilla’s Facebook page to the effect that I was really pissed off that they broke NewsFox while they were putzing around trying to soup up FireFox and that I was not going to upgrade to Quantum until they fixed it so that it would work with NewsFox.

I just now reinstalled Firefox version 56.02, which is the version before they broke it and have it set to ask me before it updates.   That means I can go back to NewsFox, which is the most useful and efficient feed reader I’ve been able to find.

Call me weird, but updates are supposed to make software better, and I cannot see how changing Firefox  so that the best feed reader out there no longer works  with it, makes it better.

I probably follow about 50 different blogs, 15 Tumblr sites, and about 30 different webcomics, and NewsFox organizes, tracks and updates them very efficiently.  When I open the update, it displays the actual webpage, not just the content, which means I can easily sign into those blogs that require it for commenting.  There were several blogs that neither RSSOwl, nor Feedbro would display in any form that would allow me to sign in so there was no way I could comment.   Also some of the blogs and Tumblr sites are artists’ sites and neither RSSOwl nor Feedbro would display their artwork or the webcomics except as thumbnails you had to click on to go to the website to view — which in Feedbro’s case meant opening another browser tab.  Neither RSSOwl nor Feedbro can hold a candle to the overall performance and user friendliness of NewsFox for viewing textual content, artwork, and photography easily without making you jump through a bunch of hoops to do it.

I don’t have the time or patience for that.  I’ll stick with NewsFox and the old Firefox version 56.02 until Firefox comes up with something that works with NewsFox, or until someone comes up with a better product than either RSSOwl or Feedbro, thank you very much.

Fooling with Feed Readers

Well, my Firefox browser just updated itself to Firefox Quantum, and NewsFox, which is a feed reader I have been using for years, doesn’t work with Quantum. Two choices: Roll back to the 56.02 version of Firefox and live in the past with security vulnerabilities, or find a new feed reader. I’ve been trying out RSSOwl and Feedbro, but naturally neither works as well as NewsFox.

Feedbro is an in-browser plugin that works in Firefox (at least for now), and in order to comment on a blog in Feedbro, you have to go to the actual web page, because Feedbro only displays content. To go to the webpage, it opens a new browser tab, which is a PITA.

RSSOwl is a stand alone, but it also only displays content, and if you want to comment you also have to go to the actual webpage, which opens in RSSOwl.

There are several blogs I can no longer comment on because RSSOwl doesn’t give me the option of using my Google ID, and there is one blog I can no longer comment on because Feedbro can’t open the site in a new tab with the URL because it cannot identify itself to Blogger as one of the people allowed to view that webpage, and RSSOwl won’t allow me to use my Google ID to sign in to comment.

As for reading webcomics, neither feed reader will display the actual webpage to begin with.  It just shows content which typically involves a thumbnail of the comic page.  You have to click through to the webpage on every %$#@!*$%$#!@!# one in order to be able to read the &*!^%#@&*%&! comic, which on Feedbro means you’ll have humpty eleven tabs open if you don’t close each and every *&^%*$#%!^$#@!#$ one when you’re done reading the page.

The only high point in this dark  pit of dudgeon is that I was able to save all my feed info from NewsFox in an .opml file and import it into both RSSOwl and Feedbro, else I’d have been on the warpath for sure.

The poor fat(cat)boy has gone into the other room and crawled under the bed because mama is cussing a blue streak.  To put it mildly (and in socially acceptable terminology), I am not a happy camper.

I’m Ready For Some TV Knitting (and Watching!)

Well, the pattern is modified and the slippers are knitted and on my little tootsies.  The math involved makes my brain hurt, even when I’ve got a calculator.   My three remaining working brain cells are knackered, and I’m ready for a little mindless TV knitting.

They worked up nicely, but you have to sew up the sole and the back of the heel portion . . . grumble . . . grumble.  I strenuously avoid knitting patterns you make in pieces and then have to sew together.  If I wanted to sew, I’d get out my sewing machine.

The pattern is sized for a foot 9-10 inches (23-25.5 cm) long from big toe to the edge of the heel, which would accommodate an (American) 8 to a 10 ladies size shoe.

Yesterday was Veterans’ day, and I just couldn’t.   The picture of my dad in his dress Marine uniform at the start of WWII, the exact one (which is still in the exact frame) that his father had at his bedside while he was dying of cancer and hoping his 3rd son would make it home from China in time to say one last goodbye is just too fraught with memories.

My mom is an anniversary marker — she knows the birthdays and the date of death of each of her 12 siblings, her mother,  my dad, and my brother’s late first wife, and she never fails to remark on each event and how many years it has been since.  And she put that picture of my dad up on her Facebook page for Veterans’ Day.  That’s all well and good, but, we shouldn’t just remember veterans on Veterans’ Day; we should remember them every day.  They don’t just protect and defend us on Veterans’ Day.  They risked and continue to risk life and limb in our service every minute of every day.

And besides, my dad’s not the only veteran in the family.  Both he and my mother had brothers in the armed services during WWII, and they had a child who proudly served as well.

Everything Old Is New Again

The only way  the members of my parents’ generation would have ever heard Lil Hardin Armstrong‘s song “Oriental Swing” was if it was covered by a white band — It was “race” music and it was considered too “primitive” and “degenerate” for whites to listen to, especially in the South.   How ironic that the roots of some of the most iconic American music — jazz, blues, and rock and roll — are firmly embedded in such “race” music.

A pinch of sampling, a dash of modern technology,  and  a half tsp of change of tempo, and you get:

I do have to say the second one has a catchier tempo. . . .

And she dates herself by adding, “I give it a 90, Dick, because it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it . . .

Nothing Is Ever Simple

After banging my head against that shawl pattern I was writing yesterday, (which I was trying to knit one of to test the pattern and kept messing up — I’ve frogged* that puppy back to the slip knot 5 cotton-picking times!) I though, I’ll just do a pair of slippers today.  Easy, fast, straightforward, simple. Right?

Oh, I should have known the minute I saw the pattern’s author had a Japanese first and last name, and the words “Ladies: Size M.”   I hadn’t gotten four rows into the sole pattern when I realized, Houston, we have a problem.   So now I have to rewrite the pattern to make it an inch and a half longer to fit my size 8-1/2 American tootsies.   But, hey.  I like the pattern.  They’re the very kind of thing I want to wear around the house in cold weather.  Once I’ve waded through all the math and gotten one made, I just have to make the other one.   Piece of cake, right?

Sometime here soon, I’m also going to have to go on a conspiracy hunt — find and decide on all my UFOs**.  Am I ever going to finish them?  If not, froggy time; recycle the yarn and free up the needles.

I also need to go “cold sheep”*** big time.  My yarn stash is about to take me over.

I really should have known I wouldn’t have smooth sailing today. First thing, I wasn’t able to download my email.   I tried going to the Suddenlink website and couldn’t get on it.  I thought it was probably trouble with their website as I had TV, phone and could get on other internet sites.   Just for good measure,  I rebooted my modem.  When in doubt, reboot the modem.  Made no difference.

Before I even picked up the phone to call Suddenlink to find out what the deal was, I could feel my blood pressure going up.  Their phone tree is designed to deal with people who don’t have the sense God gave a doorknob. All I needed was 1 minute of a tech support person’s time answering a simple yes or no question, Is the Suddenlink website down?  To get that, I have to wade through the whole spiel, starting with proving it’s really  me by giving the SEEKRIT KOD.  Then I have to pick one of THEIR choices (my choice wasn’t one of them).  When you finally get to where you choose “tech support” then you have to wade through all the restart the modem song and dance.  Of course, by then, I’m yelling at the phone and my blood pressure is probably higher than giraffe’s ears.  When I FINALLY got to speak to the technician, I told her everything works, except I can’t download email or get on the Suddenlink website.  She checked to see if their website was down and sure enough.  Once I was actually speaking to a real live person, It took less than a minute to actually find out what I needed to know, and took a great deal of aggravation, hassle and major buzzkill to get to that point.  Their website’s still down, BTW, and has been down for about 8 hours now  All my services except email are still working.   Getting my email would be nice, though.

 

*What knitters do to a piece of knitting they've messed up:  rip-it, rip-it.
 **UFO - UnFinished Object.
 *** like going "cold turkey" except for knitters.  Not buying any more yarn until one's yarn stash is (greatly) reduced, either by getting rid of yarn or making something with it, or both.