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Exciting times chez moi: public talks, house, houseguest swap

Tue, 2015-06-30 07:26
- I gave two talks at Open Source Bridge. I think they went well! Links to slides and stuff on my speaking page: http://terri.toybox.ca/speaking/
- J and I took possession of our new house (on the same day as I was giving both of said talks!)
- J's dad moved into his own lovely 2 bedroom apartment on Saturday and we helped him get it set up
- Also on Saturday, my friend R from Ottawa came to visit for the weekend
- Also on Saturday, our friends C and M arrived from Denver for the week
- We had our first bbq at the new place on Sunday
- R took off today (Monday)
- GSoC midterms are due this week
- my day job workload is heavy (but not yet unpleasant) this week
- our yearly "invitational open source community leadership summit" is happening next weekend (that's what the Coloradans are up for)
- J is the best and has been handling most of the finding of contractors for the new house
- R is awesome and helped us move some pretty significant amounts of stuff while I was too headache-y to walk up and down stairs.

J and I had apparently mis-remembered when our lease is up, so we only have 1 month of overlap with the new house. This is not a problem since J's travel schedule meant we'd planned most of the stuff before August anyhow, but it does mean a bit less wiggle room.

The house is awesome and the yard is more awesome and I'm sorry but I'm too wiped out to deal with requests for pictures this week so please don't ask. I'll put some up when I've got the spoons for it, but I have a touch of concrud/headache/nausea on top of all the stuff going down this week and it's not going to happen for a while. Thanks for being understanding!

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Book review: It's Raining Men (or maybe just succubi)

Sat, 2015-06-20 20:31
 Slacker Demons Book…
It's Raining Men: Slacker Demons Book One
by Jennifer Stevenson

Chloe's been dumped by yet another loser so she turns to sympathetic bartender Archie, who suddenly claims that it's the fault of terrible sex demons (including himself) and she's been selected to receive a rain of good men as part of victim's compensation. Wacky hijinks ensue.

The demon-lover trope of paranormal romance is usually a big yawn for me because they usually pair it with a "he wants to be better for her" style plotline that takes itself entirely too seriously, but this book is silly and flippant enough about it to be fun. I don't know that I'll bother with any more of the series, but this was a fun summer read on its own.

I received this one free from Librarything in exchange for fair review.

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Book Review: Knit Wear Love

Sat, 2015-06-20 19:29
 Foolproof Instructions for…
Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting…
by Amy Herzog

I really loved the idea of Amy Herzog's Knit to Flatter book, which is about finding and adjusting patterns to suit you. It's a great book (from what I can tell without actually following any of the patterns since I just had it from the library for 3 weeks), but I found that the patterns didn't inspire me, so it hasn't gone on the list of things I want for my personal knitting reference library.

Knit Wear Love has solved this problem for me: rather than focusing on body type, the designs are more heavily focused on aesthetic: classic, sporty, bohemian, etc. She's got some really cute details, and it's showcased by lovely photography. Plus, of course, huge numbers of charts, advice about fit, etc. It's pretty much everything I wanted in a sweater book. I borrowed a copy from the library to check it out, but this one is going on my personal library wishlist for when I'm interested in tackling a sweater for myself.

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Book review: Powers vol 1 and 2

Sat, 2015-06-20 19:17
A few books going back to the library today:

 The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 1
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)

This graphic novel is an exploration of what it would be like to be a cop in a world with superhero celebrities. It's decent, and I know lots of folk who like the grittier, broken superhero genre who would enjoy this. I felt like there were some really great world and character ideas set up and it was worth reading for that, but I also felt like the pacing and the genre didn't quite do it for me. I'm happy to recommend it to people who like the genre, though.

Also, I want to note that I don't really recommend the "definitive hardcover collection" for light reading. It's a huge coffee table book, lovely but hard to read in bed.

 The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 2
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)


I liked the first volume enough to pick up the 2nd book, but I found the pacing even more off in that one, to the point where I was tempted to just flip through pages until it got to the point. Too much media retrospective, not enough story. I feel a bit bad complaining about this because I think the media treatment of superheroes is part of the point, and the puff piece media clips feel like they've been dropped from an alternate reality in a good way. But the problem is that I dislike reading/hearing these things normally because I don't care about the celebs in real life, and thus it didn't help me care about fictional celebrities any more than I do about the real ones. I guess they are a clever device but ultimately not one that worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Still quite the story, but a bit hard to get through at times.

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Definitely a right-brained brain hat

Thu, 2015-06-18 16:09
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I actually did complete this hat before giving it to M for Christmas 2013, but apparently I can’t find pictures of it (or the kraken hat I made for S the same year), so instead you get this one photo of it with only one side completed:


Definitely right-brained


BTW, I chose the title for this post because of my half-finished picture. But for those of you who don’t know, the whole “right brained / left brained” thing is kind of BS and you might want to read up on it. The myth comes from some research on epileptic patients where the two halves of the brain were severed and they don’t seem to generalize to humans with normally connected brains.


From the article linked above (because I’m not looking up pubmed for a knitting post):


There is a misconception that everything to do with being analytical is confined to one side of the brain, and everything to do with being creative is confined to the opposite side, Anderson said. In fact, it is the connections among all brain regions that enable humans to engage in both creativity and analytical thinking.


“It is not the case that the left hemisphere is associated with logic or reasoning more than the right,” Anderson told LiveScience. “Also, creativity is no more processed in the right hemisphere than the left.”


Anderson’s team examined brain scans of participants ages 7 to 29 while they were resting. They looked at activity in 7,000 brain regions, and examined neural connections within and between these regions. Although they saw pockets of heavy neural traffic in certain key regions, on average, both sides of the brain were essentially equal in their neural networks and connectivity.


(tl;dr: Brains are much more versatile than pop culture might have you believe.)


So there’s your science tidbit for the day. Let’s go back to talking about knitting.


The pattern

Brain Hat (KNITTING PATTERN, not actual hat)

by Alana Noritake
($5 on Ravelry)


This is a pretty simple pattern: make a skullcap, put a lot of i-cord on it. But it’s worth buying yourself a copy of the pattern because it includes a bunch of pictures of the hat in progress and finished, as well as photos of brains and insight on how to make it look good. I definitely felt like I got my $5 worth and had a much better hat for it!


My notes

I made the brain hat for M, who’s allergic to animal fibers, so I was somewhat limited in my choices of yarn. I think I used knitpicks comfy, which is a cotton-acrylic blend that’s quite nice to work with (soft and a little more stretchy than straight cotton). This worked pretty well, to be honest, but doesn’t make for the warmest of hats. This makes it not so great as an all-winter Canada hat, but ok for warmer climates or indoor costume use.


If I did this again again, I’d probably make 50% more brain icord and take more time pinning it to be absolutely perfect. I just didn’t allot quite as much time as I should have before xmas so I was frantically making this on the plane to Ottawa and at my parents’ house before it got packaged up as a present.


Overall, though, a fun pattern and one I’d be happy to make again, given a lot more time or a knitting machine that produced icord.



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