Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Winter

You know I have issues with the whole idea of "growing up" when the highlight of my morning was walking across a snowy field. Specifically the part where I walked into the ditch (I knew it was there) that was completely invisible because the blowing snow had filled it in. It was halfway to my knees! (I LOVE the shock cords at the top of my boots).

In other news, it's not cold enough for the amount of clothing that's needed to be comfortable. I'm not going out with a bare face, or without my splash pants, so the weather needs to fix itself.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dear Pedestrians

Just because I am biking there, it doesn't mean that it is a road. There is no need for you to hug the LEFT on a multi-use path. Please bear this in mind when I pass you on the right.

That will be all, thank you.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Now to figure out training...

I know I'm possibly jumping the gun a little bit, but I've already figured out what I'm going to do for the Knitting Olympics. After all, athletes know years in advance what they're hoping to get to do at the Olympics. It's definitely an Olympian task. I am going to get my shawl blocked. I'm not quite sure how much I'm going to try to hold myself to "properly", because at the rate I've been going (tried and given up twice so far, been over a year since I finished the knitting), getting it done at all is a good job.

Maybe I should re-block my navy shawl thingy, it does need it, as training. I really don't want to take time out and knit something new in lace just for blocking practice. I have a pair of socks to knit after all. (And a couple of other Christmas gifts, that I'm fairly sure are safe to name here, but are going to be quiet just in case).

Allan, I apologise in advance for the lack of floor space.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dear Undergrads

I understand that some of you might have cultural issues with sticking your hand up in the air so I can see it easily, however calling me over is more disruptive, and calls more attention to yourself. Nor will it seem rude if you're more aggressive - we appreciate being able to see you, and know that you are trying to get our attention in a large room, and do so quietly. Sticking your hand up to about head height makes it very difficult for us to tell if you're trying to get our attention, or if you just stick your hand up there to think. Waving at me only once I look your way is a) a waste of your time, because then you have to watch for me and b) likely to get you second in line to get your question answered, because I always go to the person whose hand I saw first (thank you for not complaining about this at all by the way).

Oh, and if this is injury, please ignore the above.

However, unless you can match the last excuse I heard for why the guy had a cellphone out (he had an exemption as his wife was expecting), don't give me a hard time when I tell you to put your cellphone away. Especially when you can easily see the clock from where you are.

That is all. Thank you. (And if you're one of the ones reading this blog, you know I love you, and that there's no way you were causing these problems in the first place).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ok, I probably should have known on my own

But if you search the CRA website for how to change your name and address, it doesn't say that you need to have your return from last year in front of you! The only info from my return that I've ever needed with them is line 150, so I wrote that out... shame that's not what they asked.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What the Rabbit Heard After 45 Minutes of Reviewing a Document

Oh, can you read this while it's upside down like this?

In his defence I hadn't needed to read it before, I was just doing so to follow along with him familiarizing himself with it.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I know you have a reputation, but...

Ok geese. Bear in mind that you are known for tasting good. In fact, a certain faculty of engineering legend is a legend in part because one of you were turned into his Easter dinner. I know that you are known for not having sense, but when I get within a half metre of you, you really shouldn't wait for me to look directly at you and go

"You look like dinner!"

before you start to slowly shuffle off. This also holds true for you not getting up when I walk next to you, carrying a heavy weight. If I need to remind you that you're dinner, I'm going to be right before too long.

I think I need to look into how to clean birds...

Monday, September 21, 2009


It scares me sometimes, just how much importance is placed on academics. If you get good marks, it's assumed that you'll do well in the workplace. Presumably the converse is also true. Given the number of people I know with learning disabilities, I have serious issues with this. (I have issues with it for other reasons, but I digress).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Say What you Mean!

It bothers me that any instance of being unclear in what you say, too wordy, overly technical, or demonstrating that the person you're talking to doesn't have a vocabulary appropriate to their grade level is considered to be the use of big words. Clearly, big means something other than what I was taught as a preschooler. Jam has some commenters referring to her use of big words.

Now, that is an example of tech speak. Not a severe one - I'd be willing to put that in a report, it's reasonably clear. However, it's hardly using big words! At least when I got told that "tact" was a big word (this was by a peer in grade 6 by the way) they could claim that it was a complex word. (They were wrong, but they can claim that and I understand what they're saying).

If someone complains that the words I'm using are too confusing, my response is to use simpler words, not to be less detailed in what I'm saying. If, instead, the problem lies in how the (quite mainstream) words are being used, communications will not have been improved at all. Ironic that the original complaint was about lack of communication, eh?

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's been a while

For i = nGapNum to Gaps.Length -2
Gaps(i+1) = Gaps(i)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

About 80 cm

It depends, of course, on what versions you have.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Coding and motion-sensing light controls apparently don't go well together. Despite me bobbing along to GBS while I was working...

So many Dilbert cartoons make far too much sense right now.

(This may have something to do with me being in the corner, but that just means that someone screwed up royally).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What the Rabbit Heard in the Grad Student Mailroom

- Well there's no letter, but I'm sure they'll send me an e-mail telling me to pick it up
> Nope, only the letter
- You mean that they only inform me through a letter in a mailroom to which I don't have a key, nor a door code, and they never told me about?
>Well, in theory you were told about it

Monday, August 10, 2009

%$% Red Tape

So it turns out that I wasn't paying attention at some crucial point. I hadn't realised that I didn't have a marriage certificate. However, Service Ontario is wonderful, and I liked the form. It was bright enough to recognise that I was the bride, even though I didn't give the name it asked for as "Bride". I also like that I got to give feedback after using the application. Ok, so maybe trying to spread my version of user interface design isn't entirely necessary, but they specifically asked how it could be improved. (The design is good, which means they don't disagree with my philosophy of KISS. However, the default information should be easier to select).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


So I have finished the Ribena sweater. I haven't done the "armies" yet. Given the weight of this (it's quite heavy) I think that having the option to make it long sleeved would be nice. I wore it the other day, and it was probably around 14 or so when I biked in to work, and while I could feel the chill I wasn't freezing. I was, in fact, somewhat warm when I arrived. Since it keeps me warm, I think it would be nice to have a long sleeved option, as I find my bare skin chills fairly quickly.

I, unfortunately, lost Debbie's e-mail address, so I can't thank her again for the wonderful gift of yarn. Who would ever have imagined that switching both e-mail addresses and having computer problems would result in this sort of problem.

Overall I think I like it. It definitely has that "homemade" look because a) I'm not good at finishing up and b) Katrina is actually a real PITA to sew up. You'd think I'd remember that after making a sweater where the seams stand out like worms crawling up the sides, but apparently not. It's still probably fine for work, even once I get a real job. The pinkness might be a problem, but once I HAVE a job, standing out is perfectly acceptable.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It Makes A Little More Sense Now

So, I read an article which was explaining why it makes sense to cohabitate before marriage. And I now have more insight into two things, namely why people feel that you'd get to know someone better when you were living together and not married (remember, if you live together for 8 years or so, the divorce risk is now down to normal, it's no longer elevated), and why the divorce risk might be higher.

The woman explained to her boyfriend that she was going to need extra closet space, and was horrified and surprised when he explained that he was going to want half of it. This comes as a surprise? I'm not going to try to justify what he did (but honestly, she shouldn't be expecting extra closet space), but how could she move in with him without knowing this? The other big surprise, was apparently that he didn't want to share laundry with her.

If you use moving in together to replace actually talking to each other, and think that moving in with someone is a better way to get to know them than just actually getting to know them is, then of course you're going to think that moving in together is necessary, because you can't know if you'll get along with them before you live together. (Oh, and by the way - I know that trying to live in the same house, but with two different households works for some couples, but it's not a great sign). And if you observe instead of talking, and have set ideas of what each person deserves (no negotiation over closet space or laundry?) I really can't see things working well if the going gets tough. Now I'm curious about how much damage the "never get married before 25" would cause along some of these same lines.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

She said what?

So apparently the chief executive of The Sunbed Association, a European trade association of tanning bed makers and operators, has issues with the WHO's recent declaration that tanning beds definitely increase the risk of cancer. The CBC reports that she released a statement which includes that "The fact that is continuously ignored is that there is no proven link between the responsible use of sunbeds and skin cancer". I looked up the rest of the statement, and it doesn't seem to make any more sense there.

I think that what they're trying to say is that the findings of the recent study in the Lancet aren't necessarily correct, because they just named two studies that contradict them. It's not, however, what they actually said. Besides, I have a hard time believing that a numerical model which says that sunbeds don't cause a high mortality rate (the first study mentioned). The other study (which I really can't find, most of the links that pop up in Google seem to be to articles which say "well, the other study said this, but we disagree") seems to have actually been experimental. I would like to find it to see how well the Sunbed Association's definition of "responsible use" of sunbeds compares to what the study measured, but I think that right now I'm going to have to say that it's, at best, a 1-1 tie. And have a little faith in the scientific community being better able to weigh the evidence than I am, rather than in an industry that already exists mostly for questionable reasons.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Enjoying Canadian Stereotypes

Just like the Yarn Harlot does, I will take some pride in pointing out something that's going right here in Canada. The ACLU seems to be considered an anti-Christian movement in the US. I'm not sure if that's because they have crazier Christians or crazier atheists, but the Canadian Civil Liberties Association seems to be fighting for the... shall we say more unusual religious folks in this case.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I've Done Smarter

At least I sure hope I have.

For example: after putting the plastic cutting board I used for chicken into the sink, I got a wooden one for veggies. It could have been worse though - I could have used the wooden one first and then got a fresh, plastic, one out for the chicken.

Also: 2 am (that's my excuse) I wake up, and decide to put weight on both legs equally to see if my ankle was better. It wasn't, and I've decided that I'm blaming that for the fact that it still hurts today.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Correct me if I'm wrong...

But I think it's misleading to title an article Vegetarian Diet 'Weakens Bones' when it turns out that lacto-ovo vegetarians have bone density which is basically the same as that of meat eaters.

I think that the really sad part is that I had just assumed that this was the case before I read the article. I was prepared for the possibility that the small bones that meat eaters ingest (recommended as source of calcium in my lactose-free cookbook) make a really big difference in bone density. I was, however, expecting that someone had misread the statistics and then given the article a bad name. I think I'm too cynical.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Name Change

So my name change has gone through at the university. Perhaps I shouldn't have agreed though, when the administrative assistant who grabbed my form checked "so you're only changing your last name". Despite me providing a copy of the marriage certificate as proof of name change, I am still listed in the computer system with the courtesy title of "Miss". (And yes, I had to choose a courtesy title. The only way I can think of in which this isn't ludicrous is if I accidentally checked off the wrong courtesy title. In which case it is funnier, but not to me).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hopefully Relevant!
(the last panel)

It looks like I get to travel all the way to... Toronto.

But still! Coolness! (assuming it works out).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lime-flavoured Pancakes

I can explain. Really, I can.

It started innocently enough. I was intending to follow the recipe in one of our wedding cookbooks. Well... except that I wanted to add raisins and chocolate chips to the pancakes. I mixed the dry ingredients. And that's when it started. Because of my milk allergy I use soy milk instead of milk. Which, as far as I'm concerned doesn't really count as a change most of the time.

Because soy milk only comes in small cartons, I tend to like mixing it from soy milk powder (aka soy flour, apologies to anyone who tried using it instead of wheat flour). A trick I discovered was to mix the flour in with the dry ingredients, and then just measure water out for the soy milk. I've never had too much liquid doing this. What does get really odd is when the recipe calls for buttermilk. I know that soy milk won't sour like milk will, but I have discovered that adding the lemon juice to the milk, or water, will allow me to make recipes that call for buttermilk. Now, this recipe called for buttermilk and, because I was trying to follow the instructions very closely, I decided to use my lemon-and-soy milk trick. But when it came time to add the lemon juice I discovered that I didn't have any (I think I left some extra in the pantry when I moved out that I had intended to keep, hence me being convinced I had some). Not having lemon juice isn't a big problem. You can also use white vinegar. The white vinegar had the same problem as the baking soda. I had some. But it was for cleaning.

I was rapidly running out of options. Had I properly checked for ingredients beforehand, I could have just omitted the baking soda and not added any acid. But who checks for lemon juice? It's a staple. It would be like not having peanut butter. You always have it, because when you start to run low you buy more. Lime juice was chosen as better than any of the vinegars. I didn't really want to risk wine-flavoured pancakes.

So, because I decided to follow the recipe closely (and use a buttermilk substitute instead of just omitting it), I ended up with lime-flavoured pancakes. They were actually really good with the excess of chocolate chips. But this really says a lot about my cooking skills. One of these days...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Yes, it's probably sexist

But isn't "womengineer" the best title ever?? It was for a phamphlet from the group in the states that handles accreditation for engineering and technology programmes, back in the 1970s, i.e. when women in engineering where a new big thing.

Speaking of women in engineering, in how many other fields can you hear your office mate using the feminine pronoun, and be fairly sure that he's talking about you?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Rabbit Food!

Well... not literally rabbit food. Just the green crunchy stuff that gets referred to as such. My mom once was picking up food for the rabbit, and a friend commented that "normally when people say they have to buy rabbit food I don't believe them".

Back on topic...

So this evening I was in charge of putting together a salad. Allan had already chopped up some of the interesting stuff. I looked at how much he had done, and then chopped an appropriate amount of mushrooms. And then went for the lettuce...

One dinner for two people, and two packed lunch-size (i.e. huge) salads later, I have come to the realisation that there is no way to make a small salad. In fairness, this was partly because I was using two kinds of lettuce, and not just because I needed to match the lettuce to everything else, but salad is always significantly larger than you expect.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My yarn budget is safe

So we went to the library yesterday, and my mother foolishly took her eyes off me while she made some photocopies. Before you say that at my age I should be able to look out for myself, let me explain why this is bad. After realising that I had too many knitting books, I went up to find some fiction. My selection of books got me accused of bragging, and caused a minor tussle between my parents. (It was a new to us book by Bujold, the arguments were over who read it first).

One of the knitting books I brought back was KnitLit the Third. One of the stories is from a woman who explains her thrift-store yarn as follows:

"Our local Mennonite-run shop was a treasure trove of old, funky, and discontinued (long discontinued) yarns. They were so damn cheap, I never could bring myself to leave them there. In all, I had eight totes of yarn, as well as several plastic grocery bags."

I have ONE standard-sized PC shopping bag, half full of yarn and needles from the thrift store. And it was for a specific purpose. I didn't buy ANY of the lovely wool they had that once (I was just a pusher and encouraged my mom to do so, but that's neither here nor there). I think that there is absolutely no reason to assume that living across from Michael's is a bad idea.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A New Experiment

So I have recently discovered that there isn't actually any point in me having a Facebook account. I found pictures of myself and decided to not bother doing anything about them. So who wants to help me with an experiment? I think I figured out a way to actually delete an account, but it needs an assistant. Anyone?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Catholic Education Week

I found out at church yesterday that this is Catholic education week. Sometimes I wonder whether I had a particularly bad school, because none of the purported benefits really struck true to me. No, I don't feel that I had "Catholic values" integrated into every part of my education. I ended up learning more about a lot of folk practices, and I did get some basic (very basic) religion classes. But, had the Catholic board had a high school with a good math and science programme, I probably never would have learned very much about my religion. Probably not until I went to university, if then.

I have to wonder though. I don't see anything about the way that the school was set up that could allow there to be a strong difference. From what I've heard from a teacher in the board, there's rules against things that could make a difference. The teachers really aren't allowed to discuss moral or religious decision making, not when it comes to anything serious. In theory, the advantage of a Catholic school would be that the teachers there are Catholic, or at least hold Catholic values. You should be able to turn to them for advice. Which is a lovely idea, if they weren't so worried about stepping on the parents' toes.

What did I get from my Catholic schooling? Well, in fairness my mom attributes her return to the church to it. I also got peer-pressure to make my confirmation (first communion and reconciliation don't bother me as much, although we did do them out of order), which was done at an age I consider too young anyhow. I also got a strong admiration for the public school board.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So Father Lawrence was talking about Easter baskets yesterday, so I figured I'd share my first ever Easter basket here.

The main part is the babka. None of the rest of the basket takes the better part of a day.

Babka isn't really what I would call health food:

In fact, the dough looks more like a cake than a bread:

My mom had some problems with this, and she has since learned that no, you don't make it look like bread dough, because then you end up with a lot of babka, and it's all really dry. Of course, the regular recipe makes a lot too:

For size:

I ended up using that basket to put a couple of mini babka that I baked in regular cans into, along with an egg, for the priests. Mine went in one I borrowed. It was all very yummy!

Oh, if you want the recipe, I give you my mom's. I take no responsibilty for the offensive images that my dad put up there.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ever have one of those bugs?

You go to see the prof and, without making any changes, the code works perfectly. For the first time ever.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Breaking Strain

The Hymn of Breaking Strain
Rudyard Kipling, 1935

The careful text-books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not of the Stuff - the Man!

But, in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find
The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set guage they make us, -
For no laid course prepare -
And presently o'ertake us
With loads we cannot bear:
To merciless to bear.

The prudent text-books give it
In tables at the end -
The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie-bar bend -
What traffic wrecks macadam -
What concrete should endure -
But we, poor Sons of Adam,
Have no such literaure,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder -
All Time and Space as well -
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till in the mid-illusion
Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned -
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
(Oh, luckier bridge and rail!)
Abide the twin-damnation -
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we - by which sole token
We know we once were Gods -
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds -
The Burden or the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we - by which sure token
We know Thy ways are true -
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken,
May rise and build anew.
Stand up and build anew!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Girly Hands!

Ring size 5 1/2. Although given the troubles I had with my engagement ring, I might discover I need to size up to a larger ring after a little while.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Crazy Weather

It's bad enough that there's already a UV index being posted on the Environment Canada website (I suspect that it's automatically posted anytime it rises to moderate). But having a UV index posting with a high of 1 , and a low of -10? That's just annoying. Spring, stop teasing. Either come, or let winter stay!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Ok, I have a job for everyone out there who is eligable to donate blood (yes Liz, I know you're too light, and yes, I know that they hate you, Jeff and Scott). Please make sure that you start going often enough that they don't need to harass me. You'd think that if it's been 5 months since the last time that I donated that they'd figure out that there's obviously something up, and I have a reason to. But apparently no, people just forget for three months fairly frequently. This is the second (at least) phone call I've gotten reminding me that I'm eligable to donate. This is the second time I've had to explain that no, they wouldn't let me donate if I went, so there's no point in me going.

Eligability to donate goes on your calendar people. That's why they give you those little stickers (you, not me, because I put it on my computer. I'd have a hard time seeing what I was typing if I used those stickers). Maybe then we can train blood services to have a better algorithm in their notification computers.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

One more step towards being normal

So I recently got I believe is my first comic book ever. Well, not counting Archie comics. Yes, I am mainstream enough to read comics. Of course, this being me, can you guess what kind it is?

Yep. It's a knitting comic. And if your reaction to that is the same as my initial reaction - thinking that it's going to be somewhat cheesy, because how do you make a superhero story about knitting, well you're actually going to be very surprised by the story.

It's less a comic about knitting, and more a superhero comic where the characters knit. There is more knitting promised in future issues, which I appreciate. As for the comic itself, I liked it, and I tend to not like graphic novels a lot, or comics done in that style (as far as I'm concerned when it's this short, it's a comic). Those two things together may condemn more than they recommend, but I'd still say it's worth a look. It's quite entertaining, and you will laugh out loud more than once reading it, if a sample of two people is anything to go on.

I would have two minor issues with this. The first is that it was too short. Which is very hard to actually call a problem I guess. However, as someone who considers Harry Potter a nice afternoon's read (except for books 6 and 7, I can't stand them in large doses), a standard-length comic is over all too soon. My other "complaint" would be that the pattern is far more simplisitic than I'm interested in. It's a cool idea, but it's not the sort of thing I make. The problem might just be that the pattern is "beginniner to early intermediate", although I don't necessarily object to easy. It's in the definition of beginner I guess.

All in all, it's enough to make me regret posting this late enough that I can't get the rest of the subscription for my birthday.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I'm getting a sneak peek copy of Handknit Heros! It's a graphic novel for knitters, and there will apparently be a knitted item featured in the issue, and it includes the pattern. All I know is that the pattern for this issue is a hooded scarf with pockets.

I don't know if I'll make the scarf, but if anyone would like it, let me know.

Dress Enough for an Engineer

So these are the latest Allan socks. Actually, these pictures are so late going up, that there is another pair of Allan socks on the needles. The pair on the needles is going to take a long hiatus though, as once I have those needles free I am planning on starting the bridal attendants' socks. Alex, I love you so very much for picking heavy weight yarn. That makes the whole project easy.

Back to the sock at hand - it's in Wildfoote, I knit it on 2.5mm needles at a tension of 16.5 stitches /5cm. (Yes, I know that's 8.25 spi, but in the interests of allowing people who don't like math to knit too, I have decided to eliminate inches from my knitting). I definitely recommend the yarn. It's very nice to knit, and so far seems to be wearing well, not that you can tell before a couple of years have passed. I think it's a shade thicker than, for example, Regia, so my tension isn't actually that loose, it's a very nice fabric. Here's the heel and cable a bit closer up.

The cable is a 2x2, crossed every 4 rows, and the heel accomadates Allan's narrow ankles by being a band heel, and the overall size of his feet by having an 8 stitch band. I believe there is a 2 stitch "guesset" to decrease from the 72 stitches I had in the cuff to the 68 stitches in the foot. The difference is because of the cable.

Sorry about the detail picture, but my camera turns the flash off if I set it to take close-ups. And it's just a point-and-shoot, so even if I did know how to take pictures properly, it wouldn't do me any good, because the camera wouldn't let me.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Yes, I still knit

I finally have batteries in my camera. I took them out for my bike light, as being able to get around after dark is more important than pictures. It only took me five months to buy a new set of batteries...

So, here is the shawl. If you want to see details, scroll down, that picture is quite large if you expand it (click on it).

I finished knitting it back in August. As you can see, it's not completely blocked yet. In my defense, I did try back at the beginning of September. The evidence of this is that the centre has been partly blocked. The centre is the bit in this post. Oh, and yes, I would have been able to to do the 4 boleros and a jacket as well, given that I've done most of a sweater and about 2/3 or more of an afghan, and there's still 5 months to go.

As far as I know, what I was doing will actually work, I just need to remember to keep the shawl wet as I work on it. I let it dry part way through, thinking that I could just wet it afterwards, like with normal knitting. The difference is that with lace, you want the extra little bit of stretch that the damp gives you, and if your work drys too much as you're pinning it out, you'll find that one side of the centre can be easily stretched to 75 cm (it was more, but I reduced it a couple of times to make it the same size as the other sides), and the other sides will barely reach 70.

I think I'll give it another try when the weather warms up and I can work outside again. Fortunately it's not being used as wedding reception decoration anymore, so I don't have a time limit on it, as the blocking probably won't get done until after the wedding, given where I'll be living and all that.