Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fun for the whole family

I really miss playgrounds. Swinging from monkey bars, climbing chain ladders, and of course going down plastic slides creating an unbelievable amount of static electricity. Sure there are so called playgrounds that can accommodate adults such as Six Flags and Disneyland, but I’d rather have some jumbo sized playground with everything painted in primary colors.

It seems you have to go with metal and plastic now, but at my old elementary school it was wood. This of course changed when it was found to be completely full of evil spiders that are out to get you, can smell terror, and only fear fire.

You can of course turn a regular playground into one fit for slightly older children, but people look at you funny. Especially when you have your camera set up with a ten second delay then run and flip around a bar. Not that I have done this of course.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mason Dixon box

It’s taking me a bit of time to finish this, mostly since I can’t sit for hours and knit like my sister. I am more just picking up the needles occasionally and doing a ridge or two. I had made a mistake and will possibly run out of yarn before it is finished, but supposedly it is rather simple to join new skeins of yarn to the old ones.

My first project has definitely been challenging since I am not completely familiar with different stitch types. I will be picking up stitches once I finish this side, something I currently have no clue how to do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mars Day

It’s Earth Day, and I guess I shouldn’t be writing this since it takes electricity to run the computer which is killing a dozen random animals or something, hopefully cockroaches. Instead of Earth Day and concerns about The Blue Planet, I say we focus today on The Red Planet.

Mars is not exactly a hospitable place, and I say we work to change this. Lets get rid of excess cars on Mars and work on planting more trees. We should take some water with us since the planet seems a little dry. Mars is smaller too, so this will probably be easier.

Mars was the Roman god of war, so up in arms people!

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war.

Caption: RAWR!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Skin Surgery

I’m happy to say my sister’s surgery to remove a melanoma near her knee went well. She will be off her feet for a while, and has her knee immobilized so most of her time will be spent on the couch with her legs raised. Thankfully she has her knitting to keep her busy.

She has finished knee socks, a felted box, started a sweater, crocheted an apple, three apple slices, a mushroom, and an ice cream sandwich for a set of play food in the past three days. She has already finished many others including cake and pizza, which is all you really need for food anyway, the yummy diet.

She was telling me how much she hoped they wouldn’t have to do a skin graft, and that ended up not being needed. That would have been a major addition to the procedure accompanied by quite a bit of pain and recovery.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I previously had a post about strange computer programs, but an old roommate reminded me of some of the surprisingly interesting names for programming languages. Being a Computer Science major he spends plenty of time with these ones and zeros.

The only systems I can program are C and Fortran. He knows and uses far more. I don’t know how some of these names are chosen, but there is one named after a household cleaner. I guess your computer must be dirty if you start using Ajax on it. He says with code that dirty, you have to have the best detergent to clean it up.

Sure there are other uses for Ajax besides web development, such as fiction, mythology and others, but how they choose a product with a slogan of “Stronger than dirt!” is beyond me.

Then there are the animal names, among them Python, Squirrel, and Caml. The machine language Caml has a nice little camel walking around in the logo. Camels seem to be popular in the programing world, with Perl also using a camel in its logo.

If it wasn’t for this language developed by a NASA employee, who knows how xkcd would ever handle regular expressions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Felted Box

I started my first knitting project yesterday. I had previously worked on some practice pieces, little squares that turned into arcs since I was making a few mistakes adding stitches. While visiting my sister's family over Easter we looked for something for my first one. Many start with a scarf, but that didn’t seem like something I would want to do. Instead I am making a felted box from a Mason Dixon pattern.

I picked up some greenish wool and mohair, which they call Pine Shadows, and started my box. Using much larger needles and double-stranding the bulky yarn took a bit to get used to, but it sure goes quickly being so large. I am done with one side and just started another, so I am not sure how long it will take to complete. I cannot sit for hours knitting like my sister, but I am still having fun. I’ll take a picture of mine when it starts coming together. Until then, this is a picture of the boxes my sister has made.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


My sister will soon be undergoing a procedure to remove a melanoma. This serious form of skin cancer is no joke, and I wanted to take some time to encourage people to be careful.

If you are susceptible to moles, and have had them removed you know the importance of looking for suspect skin. Living in Northern Siberia and rarely seeing the sun doesn’t mean you won’t ever get this serious tumor. Family history can contribute to your risk besides exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Check your skin often for anything that doesn’t look right. Use a mirror to check where you can’t see such as your back. If you see a mole or skin mark that is not symmetrical, different colors, ragged borders, or larger than normal moles you should contact a doctor immediately. There are other signs, but without all the information and experience of a doctor I can only say what I have been told by my doctor.

Sorry for the disturbing pictures, but if you catch it early you can get rid of them without many problems. Be proactive about this, skin cancer is very serious.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Evil Dead IV

It looks like we will have another Evil Dead movie coming up. Many will recognize the title Army of Darkness, which was actually Evil Dead 3. It is said that it will not be a remake, which is welcome news to me. Evil Dead 2 was a remake of Evil Dead 1 already. Evil Dead 4 would be a little silly as another remake.

Bruce Campbell has cemented himself in the role of Ash, and his cameos in Sam Raimi films are always hilarious. He has had cameos in all three Spider-Man movies as well. The ring announcer in the first, a theater usher in the second, and finally the MaĆ®tre d’ in the third.

Evil Dead 4 is scheduled to be released in 2010, along with an another likely cameo role for Bruce in Spider-Man 4 released in 2011. Let’s just hope Peter Parker is a lot less emo this time around.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Duel

Note: This following explanation is mostly a copy of the post on March 31st. The second 55-Fiction is below it.

A local newspaper holds an annual contest started in 1987 to write a short story in 55 words or less. The New Times accepts entries from anyone and selects some to publish in the weekly paper. The idea of writing a story in 55 words or less is not as easy as you may think. New Times criteria for the stories include a setting, one or more characters, conflict, and resolution. They are really fun to write though, and I suggest anyone give it a try.

For one year I wrote and submitted two entries, which unfortunately did not get chosen for publication. I encourage any reader to write one for fun. Much of my writing is a little ambiguous, but I find it fun that way. The second one in 49 words is called The Duel, enjoy!

Stoic statues faced each other in a dusty street.
Windows boarded up for a storm under blue skies.
A thundering roar heralds a pinnacle's crumble to dry earth.
It was over, and the other moved away.
A glint of light from a forsaken sheriff's badge discarded in the dirt.

By the picture you might see this has to do with a shootout in Western town. Leave a comment if gave it a try or what you think of the idea of super short stories.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Foolishness Day

Happy Foolishness Day in April

Quite a few internet April Fool’s jokes came out today, some of them quite creative. For the Star Wars fan you could pick up a Tauntaun sleeping bag at Think Geek, complete with intestinal lining. Warm and lightly scented I bet.

Expedia offered a flight to Mars for the reasonable price of 99 dollars. According to the offer Expedia has dropped all booking fees, including fees on flights to Mars. The deal offers savings of over 3 trillion on a Mars vacation. Oxygen and spacecraft probably not included, just a shot out of a giant canon.

Second 55 word fiction story will be posted later.