Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

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Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: origamifreak
(File created on: April 12 2008)
Anyone need a house in Oakland, CA?

It’s kind-of weird to see the house I grew up in listed for sale.  More pictures, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 07 2006 at 8:26 pm
That is a neat looking house. I think it is nice when people maintain the integrity of an older home. I cannot imagine “a house” that was where I was raised. I have been nomadic my whole life.

On a different note, Sarah is having her gall bladder removed tomorrow. We have spent 4 months trying to get a diagnosis for her. She is excited at the prospect of finally feeling better.

Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 08 / 10 / 2006 at 3:49 PM

Has it sold yet? 8.23.06
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 08 / 23 / 2006 at 5:57 PM

Deborah’s website:


Spent most of the day in the kayak (from 10:30am until 3pm).  The second pair of wheels really helps with transporting it down and up the hill, although I need to put air in the tires because they’re kind-of flat.  I imagine the decreased rolling resistance will make transport even nicer.

Paddled up past the  Victorian house on East Lake Rd. and then turned around and paddled down past the beach at Sampson.  The stretch between my neighborhood and the State Park beach is really pretty with no houses and just green trees, etc.

The lake was so calm at times the water almost seemed oily.  At one point I pedaled about 3 meters from a heron on the shore.  It finally spooked and took off toward Dresden.

I went past a neighbor who trains Newfoundland dogs at her lakefront house.  I guess every Saturday Newfie owners bring their dogs and hang out there.  She has a couple of brown ones, there were two visiting black ones, and later a couple of black-and-white Landseers showed up. 

A guy with a black one named “Ange” let me call her out and tow me in via the bowline. That was fun.  Another lady tried to get her Landseer to tow my boat, but I guess it didn’t look right, or I didn’t because that didn’t work.

Most dogs chase cars.  When I paddled away, some of them wanted to swim after the kayak.  🙂

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 08 2006 at 11:41 pm
Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
25% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
10% Dixie
0% Midwestern

15% Dixie. Wow! You are a Duke of Yankeedom!
Are You a Yankee or a Rebel?

I did poorly guessing where these speakers are from.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 04 2006 at 10:28 pm
***Your Linguistic Profile:***

45% General American English

30% Dixie

10% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

5% Yankee

Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 07 / 04 / 2006 at 11:24 PM

40% General American English

25% Yankee

10% Dixie

10% Midwestern

10% Upper Midwestern

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 07 / 19 / 2006 at 9:18 AM

Deborah’s website:


24% Dixie. You are a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 07 / 19 / 2006 at 9:22 AM

Deborah’s website:

Happy Fireworks!

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 04 2006 at 10:07 pm

Old news, but still fun.

Generate your very own barcode, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 04 2006 at 8:34 pm
Pets that clean up messes rather than making them?

OK, these people definitely need to get out more.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 26 2006 at 11:17 pm
More high-pitched whines

See here for a story about kids using a cell phone ringtone that adults aren’t supposed to be able to hear.  I can hear it.  If I were a teacher and had to listen to that going off all day in my classes, I would confiscate the phones.

That sound is supposedly being used by merchants to drive away teenagers from loitering.  It would drive me away from such an establishment, just as a similar sound in museums and jewelry stores already does.

Just another annoyance like that of a CRT flyback transformer

For the record, I am 40.  I do not require vision correction.  Apparently I do not require aural correction, either!

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 14 2006 at 12:27 am
The Ugly American

Conversation overheard at Gate A30, ATL:

A teenage boy is standing and “thinking” out loud with help from sitting female and elderly relatives.  A man stands next to him.  They’re all frowning.

[Son] Did we leave it in Rome?  Where did we see it last?
Oh hang on on, was it with us on the flight from Milan?

[Aunt] Remember, we were in that store and trying to fit all that stuff in the bag.

[Son] I’m trying to remember if I left that stuff with y’all, or had it with me?  I remember I was listening to my ipod…
Maybe we left it in the overhead bin?  I betcha it was when we were sitting and eating those potato chips.  Then they called our flight and we had to run to catch it.

[Daughter] We were in that store that had mustard-colored orange soda…

[Son] I’m just really worried it may have been my fault…
I don’t remember it anymore after check-in in Milan, but I remember y’all gave it to me.  Remember, I almost left my passport on the table…

[Aunt] We’ve been to so many places, I just can’t keep them all straight.  

[Son] I can’t recall if I left the suitcase with y’all and took the camcorder, or I took the suitcase and left the camcorder with y’all.

[Exit father, stage left]

[About 20 minutes later he reappears]

[Father] They’ve got it.
[Grandfather] Was it on the flight?
[Father] Yes.
[General sigh of relief]

Who would have thought American tourists would be obnoxious even in America?!  *sigh*

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 10 2006 at 2:14 am
The Final Countdown

It took me a while, but I *finally* figured out what that song is on the triumphant hardware site.  It’s The Final Countdown, by Europe, ca 1986.  Yipes.

If you have an urge to relive the days of big hair and pink lipstick (on men!) here’s a video

Double yipes.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 07 2006 at 9:02 pm
Sweet Zombie Jesus! They don’t make them like that anymore.

And I’m glad.

Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 06 / 08 / 2006 at 3:48 AM

Terminus Est’s website:

OK, but which is worse; the hardware site, or the video?!

For me it’s pretty much a toss-up…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 09 / 2006 at 12:37 AM


Well, he went into that good night yesterday, but he did not go gentle.

According to my sister, who was with him, he had a tendency to twist his PJ waistline into knots for the past week or so and once bedridden, flail his arms as if he were still writing at his desk.  She said he mentioned “the bank” several times, which makes sense because money was one of the driving factors of his life.  (He was 29 when the Great Depression hit.)

He’ll join mom in Arlington.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 05 2006 at 8:19 am
One comment:
Hey, I have been out of town for the last 9 days, how are you doing?
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 06 / 12 / 2006 at 3:16 pm

68 WPM

Here are your full test results:

- Test Name: Fishing in Finland
- Date: 2006-05-18 20:52
- Test Time: 01:00
- Gross Speed: 68 WPM
- Errors: 0
- Accuracy: 100%


I was curious how this compares with the rest of the world.

According to Wikipedia, “Someone having minor experience with keyboards can reach 20 words per minute, an average typist reaches about 30 to 45 (usually the minimum required for dispatch positions and other typing jobs), while advanced typists work at speeds above 60.”

According to this report, the average typing speed is 38 WPM. Between 67 and 70 is in the top 6% (?). The report does seem to be trying to argue that typing skills are not as important as other things, so I’m a bit skeptical.

The top 100 typing speeds for the week at the test site range from 95 to 161 with accuracy from 92% to 100%.

I am using a QWERTY keyboard, of course.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 19 2006 at 4:26 am
One comment:
I just stumbled upon this while searching after taking my typing test. I have reached the same speed as you good sir and i believe that typing speed on those silly tests does not matter in the least bit in my opinion. They make us spell uncommon words to test our speed on levels we are not used to going to. Which of course isn’t a bad thing. I reached the same speed as you and of course anyone with higher speeds is someone i would love to meet.
Comment posted by Rickey (ip: on 07 / 13 / 2007 at 7:03 pm

What’s better than cats in sinks? Stuff on cats!

I just learned of this website recently.  Hysterical!

Now I just have to find things to stick all over Miaumoto and Latte…

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 13 2006 at 11:26 pm
Well, the kids and I liked it.

Check this out and tell me what you think.

Can I borrow your earmuffs, the ones I used on the way out west?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 16 / 2006 at 7:28 PM

Deborah’s website:

Huh! Anyone who knows anything about cats might think that the cats in these photos were supremely unhappy (and patient!) with their predicament. Why do we have to embarass these beautiful, elegant beasts to feel good about ourselves?? 😦

Anyway, your typing is amazing and I’ve just viewed some glass – whew! Pretty stuff!


Comment posted by Lisa (ip: on 06 / 03 / 2006 at 11:29 AM

er, unhappy ABOUT, I meant!
Comment posted by Lisa (ip: on 06 / 03 / 2006 at 11:31 AM


You have committed many sins, but Sloth is the mortal sin that has done you in. Just below, discover your full sinful breakdown andlearn what it is about you that codemns you to hell.

Greed: Low
Gluttony: Medium
Wrath: Low
Sloth: High
Envy: Very Low
Lust: Very Low
Pride: Very Low

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 03 2006 at 10:28 pm
I am sloth too…everything else was medium, except for envy which was very low. I think this quiz sucks! hehe
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 05 / 03 / 2006 at 11:40 PM

I got sloth, too. I think you get this by default if you don’t check enough boxes.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 05 / 04 / 2006 at 1:07 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

Well, that would make sense, wouldn’t it?

1) You’re either too lazy to sin, or

2) You’re too lazy to actually check all the boxes…


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 04 / 2006 at 7:45 PM

Wrath was highest.

Which is accurate.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2006 at 9:05 PM

Deborah’s website:

Oh, and I agree that the Madagascar Roach brooches are a very bad idea.


Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2006 at 9:06 PM

Deborah’s website:


Answers to Deb’s questions:

  • Did you get to the meeting? Yes.
  • How? One of the vehicles from work came and picked me up on the way.  They dropped me off on the way back (at 2pm).
  • Did you get the tires fixed? Yes, finally, this afternoon.  It took from 2pm (when I called) until now (I just got back).  One of the tires was repairable, the other puncture was on a sidewall so the tire had to be replaced.
  • By whom? A garage near where I live.
  • Will you ever return to this garage again? No.
  • Is there any other local garage to go that is not as irresponsible and borderline unethical as this one? Yes, I hope so.  The local people apparently do service calls 24 hours a day.  I wish I’d known that yesterday.
Entry posted by origamifreak on May 03 2006 at 6:06 pm
Wit’s End

OK, so it’s May.  Time to swap the winter tires for the summer tires.  Two of the summer tires have leaks.  They are labelled.

I have a “mandatory” meeting tomorrow at another site.  This requires being at work at 7:40am so I can carpool with a bunch of other people from work to this other site.

I call the garage in the city where I work, where I usually get things done:  “Can you swap my tires, and find and fix the leaks in the summer ones that you’re putting on?”  Sure.  “Can you also reattach the exhaust where it has come loose from the muffler?”  Sure.

So I drop the car off in the morning and leave my phone number.  I tell another guy – the one I’m leaving the key with, “the summer tires have leaks.  They need to be found and fixed.  It’s the two tires labeled LR and LF.”  OK.

So I hear nothing and at 5:05pm call them – the car’s ready.  They come and pick me up.  The tires look fine.  The muffler is still noisy – “You couldn’t fix the B-pipe?”  Well, we don’t really do exhaust work.  “Why didn’t you TELL me that, then?”  Well, we thought we might be able to do something with it.  But you should take it to a muffler shop.  OK, fine.

We get to the garage.  I owe them $61.90.  They say I’m all set.  So I get in the car and drive home.

This drive home takes all of 20 minutes.  By the time I’m home, guess what?  My left front tire is 3/4 flat.  My right rear tire is half flat.  WTF?!

So I call them.  “Didn’t you fix the leaks in the tires?”  Well, we weren’t sure whether you meant the tires coming off or the ones going on.  “I told two separate people it was the tires going on.”  (Besides, they had my phone number – why didn’t they call and ask?)

Well, we couldn’t find the leaks in them.  “Why didn’t you TELL me this?!  If I’d known, I would have told you to leave the winter tires on.”  Noone asked me.  WTF?!  Doesn’t saying “your car is all set” imply that everything was fine?!  I have to go down the list verbally and ask them?!  Well, we had to fill one of the tires twice. We just assumed it was the valve stems.  (Gee, maybe that kind of information should be passed along to the customer?  I could have told them it was not the valve stems.)

So they suggest calling roadside assistance.  “If you’d fixed the leaks or at least told me you couldn’t find them, I wouldn’t need to burn a roadside assistance call.”  Gee, sorry, it was an oversight, we didn’t mean to do it.  Why don’t you put on a spare and bring the car back tomorrow?  “Did you not hear me say there are TWO leaking tires?  I only have ONE spare.”  Well, sorry, if you can bring the car back, we’ll try to find the leaks.  “How am I supposed to GET my car there so you can find the leaks?”  (I wonder if there are ethical implications for a garage to send someone home in a vehicle that is not roadworthy, and not tell them?)

So I call a couple of local garages and sure enough if they even answer the phone, it’s to tell me they are closed and won’t open again until tomorrow morning.

So I call the roadside assistance that comes with my insurance.  I am informed that it expired yesterday (even though the insurance is good through the end of June).  But they take pity on me and after a long wait on hold they say they’ll authorize a service call.  Then they start trying to find a place to do the service.  Guess what?  They’re all closed.  (No kidding, that’s why I’m calling to see if you have anyone.)

So the best they can do is have someone come out here and put air in my tires.  Great.  By this time the front tire is completely flat, rim on the ground.  How exactly is filling tires tonight going to help me get to work tomorrow, if the tire goes flat in less than an hour?

Sorry, that’s all they can do for me.  So I cancel the service call and ring up a colleague and tell her I’m stuck here without transportation and won’t have any in time to carpool to this “mandatory” meeting.

So instead of attending said “mandatory” meeting tomorrow, I’m probably going to be calling roadside assistance again, begging them again to authorize a service call even though the service is expired (why the heck does it have a different term than the insurance?!), and hopefully get the car to somewhere that can actually FIND leaks and fix them.  During business hours.


So I went and planted some perennials that had arrived yesterday.  Hacking at weeds is usually satisfying.  Although this time, I’m afraid it wasn’t quite satisfying enough.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 02 2006 at 8:24 pm
One comment:
Inquiring friend wants to know how the story ends.

Did yu get to the meeting?


Did you get the tires fixed?

By whom?

Will you ever return to this garage again?

Is there any other local garage to go that is not as irresponsible and borderline unethical as this one?


Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 03 / 2006 at 5:29 pm

Deborah’s website:

No Name
a Man with No Name
You scored 7 Honor, 3 Justice,
7 Adventure, and 6 Individuality!
It’s one thing to be a gunslinger. It’s another to wander into town, leave nothing but a trail of those who’d try your skill and take the town’s gratitude and cash with you. Hero or villan? It’s all in how you look at it and whose side you’re on.

Cigar in your teeth and colt on your hip, you are ready to step into the hazy desert horizon. You’ll do just fine.

This test tracked 4 variables; How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 36% on Ninjinuity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 15% on Knightlyness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 63% on Cowboiosity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 56% on Piratical Bent

What are you?

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 29 2006 at 1:08 am
a Man with No Name

You scored 7 Honor, 3 Justice, 9 Adventure, and 4 Individuality!

How you compared to other people your age and gender

You scored higher than 35% on Ninjinuity

You scored higher than 10% on Knightlyness

You scored higher than 95% on Cowboiosity

You scored higher than 25% on Piratical Bent

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 03 / 2006 at 6:02 PM

Deborah’s website:

Wow, Deb, you cowboy, you. Yee-haw.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 03 / 2006 at 10:15 PM

Just Wrong

OK, this is Just Wrong.  See here, also.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 28 2006 at 8:48 pm
More Flowers

Muscari are already up this week

The “February Gold” daffodils that came up April 15 are still hanging on

And the “Fortissimo” daffodils that came up April 21 are going strong

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 26 2006 at 7:43 pm
One comment:
My tulips and daffodils are long over and the azaleas are starting to fade. However, I have snapdragons to die for, they are 18 inches high and so pretty. Impatiens are doing well so far too. I love posies.
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2006 at 9:16 pm

93.6% chance of being written by a human
This is an interesting tool; it was developed to spot fake scientific papers.  It did very well on this blog (94%), but surprisingly two of my own recent scientific papers scored lower (74% and 67% respectively).  Still, everything scored over 50% which is apparently the threshold they are shooting for with things actually written by humans.

It didn’t work so well with a Lorem Ipsum generator (97.4%).  Perhaps this is because they trained their software on real and fake English.

It works so-so on a nice postmodernism generator (59%).

I think it would be interesting if there were someday software to analyze computer-generated theories to identify ones worth having humans follow up on; some of that postmodernist nonsense is almost compelling…

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 25 2006 at 7:07 pm
My origami posting scored 24.4%. Apparently, I write like a robot.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2006 at 2:52 AM

Terminus Est’s website:

If your origami posting is how you’d write a scientific paper, then I guess you do write like a robot…

Over at slashdot they’ve determined that you need a decent chunk of text for the thing to have any accuracy – so maybe your origami posting was too short.

Comment posted by (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2006 at 9:43 AM

I pasted a ginormous chunk of my graph theory paper and got scored 95.6%. I’m only 4.4% robotic given sufficiently long text!
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 05 / 01 / 2006 at 6:22 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

Escalating against the germs

I’ve had this sinus thing for over three weeks.  24 days, to be exact.

We started with penicillin, but that didn’t help the ears.  So we moved up to amoxicillin.  Still dripping, hacking, and snorting.  Then we tried the allergy route, first Claritin-D over the counter, then Allegra-D via scrip.  Still hacking and snorting.

Now, over 3 weeks later, we’re pulling out the big guns:Omnicef.

We’ll see.  I have also been resting as much as possible and pounding the vitamins and liquid.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 24 2006 at 1:47 pm
One comment:
Sorry to hear you are still ill.

We have had about as much of the yucky stuff as I care to have in a year. Kids are coughing and snorting with much less frequency, but still doing so throughout the day.

The one bout of antibiotic I took seemed to clear things up–for a week or so. I might need a stronger drug for the GERD. Shades of what was happening before the reflux med. Also–all the dizzines went away during the antibiotics! Surprise! It is returning now, though, along with the early morning gackiness.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 25 / 2006 at 1:47 pm

Deborah’s website:

Cats in Sinks

Some of these are really good – there’s a photo pool at Flickr of cats in sinks.  All kinds of cats, in all kinds of sinks.  From all over the world.

The love of sinks both as a place to play with water and to take a nap in must be universal.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 20 2006 at 7:20 pm
I thought cats and water did not mix.
Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2006 at 4:31 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

No, that’s OIL and water. Some cats (like Deb’s) mix very happily with water…
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2006 at 5:47 PM

Any water.

Water in the sink, in the tub, in the water dish, in the vase on the table, in the dishwashing container, in the water barrel, in a glass left on the table, in the minnow holding bucket, in the toilet, in mudpuddles, ….

You get the idea. Pounce is incorrigible when it comes to water.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 23 / 2006 at 9:16 PM

Deborah’s website:

Note to self: Snorting Crystal Lite is NOT a good idea…

Oh blech.  I had a mouthful of (liquid) kiwi-strawberry Crystal Lite and suddenly needed to cough.  So of course, it went up into my sinuses and out my nose.  Like when you laugh and milk comes out your nose.  Except milk is about the right pH.  And doesn’t smell like this.

The ammonia fumes are just about killing me.

You can stop laughing at me, now.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 19 2006 at 9:18 pm
6th grade reading level, with a 9th grade content

Reading Level Results
Summary     Value
Total sentences     3139
Total words     33825
Average words per Sentence     10.78
Words with 1 Syllable     23000
Words with 2 Syllables     7046
Words with 3 Syllables     2611
Words with 4 or more Syllables     1168
Percentage of word with three or more syllables     11.17%
Average Syllables per Word     1.47
Gunning Fog Index     8.78
Flesch Reading Ease     71.85
Flesch-Kincaid Grade     5.91

How comprehensible is your blog?

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 15 2006 at 7:50 pm
Hey! I’m in NJ training with my new dog, but the address book file I tried to bring didn’t work out… so could you send me an email so I can send you a couple of photos?

She is a golden retriever named Gem. She is a great guide dog aleady– really smart and well-behaved and her training is amazingly solid.


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 04 / 16 / 2006 at 3:40 PM

This is a nice site! Useful for childrens’ books–if a page is printed on the web.

My blog: Between fifth and sixth grade reading level and eighth grade content. One year less than yours.

Is that because I hang out with children all the time? Or my not-too-verbal husband?

Summary Value

Total sentences 228

Total words 2380

Average words per Sentence 10.44

Words with 1 Syllable 1624

Words with 2 Syllables 529

Words with 3 Syllables 165

Words with 4 or more Syllables 62

Percentage of word with three or more syllables 9.54%

Average Syllables per Word 1.44

Gunning Fog Index 7.99

Flesch Reading Ease 74.49

Flesch-Kincaid Grade 5.46

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 18 / 2006 at 1:45 PM

Deborah’s website:

Actually, if you count your WHOLE blog, it’s pretty comparable to mine:

Total sentences 10063

Total words 124132

Average words per Sentence 12.34

Words with 1 Syllable 88542

Words with 2 Syllables 24035

Words with 3 Syllables 8688

Words with 4 or more Syllables 2867

Percentage of word with three or more syllables 9.31%

Average Syllables per Word 1.40

Gunning Fog Index 8.66

Flesch Reading Ease 75.63

Flesch-Kincaid Grade 5.77

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 19 / 2006 at 1:56 AM

More Throat Relief

In a previous post I mentioned gargling with warm salt water.  A colleague turned me onto warm salt water with vinegar.  And it works.  I think he’s right, that it dissolves the stuff.  Of course, he’s a bench scientist, so he’d think of these things.

I also found a number of throat relief recipies in another blog.

I must be making progress.  Tonight I only woke up once having to gargle and apply more Tylenol.  Last night it was twice, and the night before that I lost count.

I must have a low-grade fever, because each time I’m sweaty and damp (but no chills).

OK, I’m going back to bed, now…

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 12 2006 at 6:17 am
Isn’t salt and vinegar the same combo one uses to clean copper bottomed pots?

Yes, it is.


Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 12 / 2006 at 3:35 PM

Deborah’s website:

It’s also what they put on those really tasty Lay’s potato chips, and what British put on their french fries. It actually doesn’t taste bad, if you like salad dressing (and I do).
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 12 / 2006 at 9:12 PM

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 15 / 2006 at 10:37 AM

Deborah’s website:

Gary Brolsma is STILL an internet star

According to Google, 1.5 years after Gary released his “numa numa dance” onto the internet, it’s still one of the most popular search items, and has spawned hundreds (thousands?) of like videos. See the story about this.

For what it’s worth, I still love watching his original video. Its sheer infectious happiness is priceless.

I wonder what kind of pet the terrarium behind him contains?

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 07 2006 at 10:39 pm





Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 04 / 08 / 2006 at 5:10 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 09 / 2006 at 2:40 AM

I’ll counter this with 醤油戦士キッコーマン (Shō-yu Senshi Kikkōman)

Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 04 / 11 / 2006 at 1:38 PM

Terminus Est’s website:

Whoa. That was, um, different…

“heints,” indeed. 😮

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 11 / 2006 at 9:14 PM

But how did THEY know it was Titmouse O’Clock?

I was drinking tomato soup by the sliding doors watching goldfinches and house finches gorge in a swirling, fluffy snow, when the clock struck five. Or rather, it struck a bad recording of a tufted titmouse song. I wondered (as I often do, with this clock) if the makers could have made it sound less realistic if they’d actually tried?

Moments later a small flock of birds landed in the tree above the feeders. Eight tufted titmice. I was amused. I’ve never yet seen a house wren show up at 4pm, or an oriole at six.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 05 2006 at 6:32 pm
One comment:

That’s great! Tea time for titmouses.

or is that

Teatime for Titmice.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 11:01 pm

Deborah’s website:

Strep Throat Relief
I was diagnosed with Strep Throat today. Ugh, it really hurt! Swallowing, coughing, talking, etc.

I’ve finally figured out the best way to hit it. Besides taking the prescribed penicillin and prednisone, here’s what you do:

1) Gargle with warm salty water to clean the muck off the back of the throat
2) Swig some Tylenol Sore Throat Liquid. It’s important to gulp the stuff so that it coats the back of the newly-cleaned throat. The temporary numbing of the menthol in there is particularly welcome, and works best after gargling.

Now you know. Just remember, you saw it here first!

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 05 2006 at 1:06 am
At least you are HOME, sick.

Love the photos of the bees. Is that your fancy lens?

It is enough to make me want to run out and buy one. Well, except for the price, I guess.

Keep comfy and get well!

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 7:46 AM

Deborah’s website:

I used my macro lens for the bees. I’m not sure if it’s the “fancy” one; I also have a fast 50mm lens I like a lot.

The current price for this macro lens is about $450. I probably paid less for it back in 1997 (inflation, etc.) Works nicely with the digital camera, even with the sensor cropping.

Yes, I am glad to be at home, if I must be sick. The kitty heaters seem pretty happy about it, too!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 7:06 PM

Bees for Lisa

Lisa had requested blow-ups of the previous photos featuring bees. I decided to do better and capture some more, this time up close and personal…

It was a bit cooler today (having rained yesterday) so this bumble was having a little trouble getting around – many crash landings and stops to sun herself…

And this honeybee had very full baskets:

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 02 2006 at 2:58 pm
Spring! Flowers!

It felt September-ish in NZ. I was involuntarily starting to anticipate Halloween and the winter holidays…

Fortunately when I got back there were FLOWERS to greet me, and help reset my clock back to spring:

Miniature Iris


And even the bees were excited about this development:

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 01 2006 at 6:26 am
Last day in Kiwiland

I’ve been in NZ for 2.5 weeks for a conference , and am flying home tonight. I did manage to squeeze a couple of fun activities in:

Auckland Botanic Gardens
Waitomo Glowworm Caves

And I got to see a friend from graduate school who was also involved with the conference.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 26 2006 at 6:29 pm
Welcome back! How was Middle-earth?

Did you see any hobbits?

Comment posted by Terminus Est (ip: on 04 / 02 / 2006 at 1:01 AM

Terminus Est’s website:


No hobbits. They kept us very busy doing conference-related things.

I did see some Moa bones, though, and lots of funky vegetation like divaricating shrubs and lancewood trees.

I am re-watching the LOTR and am amazed they somehow kept tree ferns out of the outdoor shots (the ones they filmed on the North Island, anyway!)

Comment posted by (ip: on 04 / 03 / 2006 at 1:40 AM

More Glass

Photos by a classmate, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 09 2006 at 8:29 am
The last of the Nightshades

Well, that’s it. I’m eating the very last serving of my nightshade stew. Freezing did not harm it in the least. And I’m still appreciating the tang from the tomatillos…

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 11 2006 at 10:06 pm
I think you should write a recipe with the title:

“Nightshade Stew” and enter it in a cooking competion–say Better Homes and Gardens…

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 13 / 2006 at 10:10 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Maybe as an entry for October’s magazine.

Just a thought.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 13 / 2006 at 10:10 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Also checked out Matha’s new blog. Hmm.

We will talk later.

I love the glass diary blog.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 01 / 13 / 2006 at 11:02 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Hurrah for Immodium.

It works.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 29 2005 at 11:53 pm
One comment:
Yes, immodium is a wonderful wonderful thing. I got food poisoning from the hospital when Paul had his surgery. I had to send my friend Erin to pick him up when he was released. I developed a new admiration for the stamina of bulimics and those that use diarrhetics for weight loss. hehehe
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 12 / 30 / 2005 at 9:10 pm

food poisoning
I have food poisoning. Let’s just say that I’m glad there is a waste can in the bathroom for those times when one is ill in two directions simultaneously. I have finally graduated up from water in the last 24 hours to half-strength kool-aid. Sugar water never tasted so good.

It’ll be a long time before I eat at a mall food court, again…

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 27 2005 at 11:06 pm

Hope you are feeling well by now.

Isabelle had something similar from very early Friday AM throughout the day, then Isaac had it exactly three days later. (That was yesterday–Wednesday)

Thought at first it was food poisoning, but when the second one got it….I don’t think so.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 12 / 28 / 2005 at 9:47 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Yes, I’m feeling better, thankfully. Weak, but better. Stomach is still going “rrrrr,” but I’m not leaking unexpectedly anymore!

Gee, maybe there’s something going around? The thought of the food court comestibles is still off-putting, though! (There’s nothing like seeing undigested chunks of vegetables coming up…)

(Sorry, just had to share!)

Comment posted by (ip: on 12 / 29 / 2005 at 12:26 AM

New topic! New topic! 😉

By the way, I’m Karl Barth too! I was surprised because I didn’t think we were all that similar…



Comment posted by Lisa (ip: on 01 / 10 / 2006 at 9:16 AM

Lisa’s E-mail:
Heating vent? What heating vent?

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 10 2005 at 11:01 am
I just love that pelt.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 12 / 12 / 2005 at 7:57 PM

the cat is so adorable!
Comment posted by yesmint (ip: on 04 / 05 / 2006 at 5:23 AM

yesmint’s website:

Poultry Thrones, Re-revisited

Got a 6 lb duck at Wal-mart of all places, yesterday and tried it on the Chicken Throne.

I guess I was expecting miracles because the Chicken Throne improves chicken so much and makes it all crunchy and nice. And duck is already crunchy and nice, so I guess I thought the Throned Duck would be extra crunchy and nice.

Enthroned Duck isn’t that much better than standard duck, as it turns out. I only had to bail the grease out once during cooking, but I could probably have gotten away with not bailing it at all.

And you know what? I think I actually *preferred* the Enthroned Chicken over the Enthroned Duck. Fancy that.

So now we know.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 13 2005 at 7:56 pm
Hey there hussy! I know it is a day early, BUT HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you have exciting things planned. Are you going to put a turkey on your poultry throne this year?


Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 11 / 22 / 2005 at 2:58 PM

Hey, good to hear from you, Sharoo. Any news about Paul? I’ve been thinking of you guys.

I’ve got plans to go to Albany on Thursday with a colleague to her brother’s house. Hope we don’t get snowed out/in!

Comment posted by (ip: on 11 / 22 / 2005 at 9:19 PM

We will know more after surgery. I think I may have mentioned that it is on November 30th. It sucks. I wish my family would learn how to pass a damn biopsy.
Comment posted by (ip: on 11 / 22 / 2005 at 9:53 PM

Readable magnolia

Among other things, my name spells:

Arabian lodge meal
Alameda iron bagel
Able legion armada
Leaden malaria gob
Amoral lie bandage
Readable magnolia

and best of all,

Boiled ale anagram!

What does your name spell?

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 12 2005 at 10:43 am
Hi there, fellow Upsaider; just happened by your blog.

Oh, I love name anagrams! (Actually, I’m kind of obsessed with them. It’s a little scary.) Probably the best of mine are Ham Can Win Me, I Can Wham Men, and I’m A Wench Man. I’ve got a whole bunch of my favorites listed here.

Comment posted by Micah Newman (ip: on 11 / 12 / 2005 at 2:21 PM

Micah Newman’s E-mail:
Wow, Micah, you weren’t kidding. That’s got to be the longest anagram list I’ve seen compiled, so far!

By the way, bravo on the evolution and creationism position paper.

Comment posted by Readable Magnolia (ip: on 11 / 13 / 2005 at 7:34 AM

Chicken Thrones, Revisited

It’s getting colder now, and time to start warming the house with the oven. This means it was time to pull out the stoneware chicken roaster again. Kathie and I used it on Saturday at her house. Yummy!

Here’s where mine came from. Notice that they now have pouring spouts, compared with the original design.

It’s based on this idea.

I was curious why I haven’t seen more of these out there, and it turns out I haven’t been looking hard enough:

I still like mine, though. I wish ovens were taller so that one could prepare duck this way!

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 31 2005 at 10:13 am
Real-life scarey stories
A topic in Deb’s blog reminded me of the Radium Dial story.

When I was a grad student in CT I took a 10-hour NRC-approved course in radiation safety and they showed us the documentary “Radium City.”

The review above doesn’t mention the fact that as lawsuits closed Radium Dial factories, the businesses just packed up and moved to towns where no-one had heard of them yet. There are many “Radium Dial towns” in the US and Canada, four just in CT.

See also the books “Deadly Glow” and “Radium Girls.”

Finally, see the poem by Eleanor Swanson.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 23 2005 at 10:02 pm
Know any other insects like this?

What’s creeps me out even more is knowing someone somewhere will want to figure out the chemical/s involved to use on humans….

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 25 / 2005 at 2:25 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
I don’t think chemicals are always required.

A similar effect has been observed in otherwise thoughtful humans who are somehow manipulated into voting for the Rich People’s Party under the auspices of “morality.”

Almost as creepy. Maybe even more so!


Seriously, though, this avenue of research is going on in all kinds of systems: mice infected with tapeworms, parasites that have life cycles that require cockroaches and mice, snails and fish infected with trematodes, etc.

In general the consensus seems to be that the host’s altered behavior increases the chances of the parasite to continue to its next life stage.

Kinda like the Rich People’s Party continuing to parasitize their constituency. 🙂

Comment posted by (ip: on 10 / 25 / 2005 at 8:44 PM


Went back on the actual day of the field trip…
It was rainy.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 23 2005 at 12:24 am
One comment:
I prefer the first picture.

Everything here looks like those leaves.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 23 / 2005 at 10:18 am

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Garrett Chapel

Went on a photo safari this morning to Garrett Chapel in Bluff Point. More pictures, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 15 2005 at 7:28 pm
This is beautiful!

But since the trip did not happen, where is this lovely place?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 17 / 2005 at 11:34 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
It’s at Garrett Chapel. I was the only one there. The field trip is 10/22.
Comment posted by (ip: on 10 / 20 / 2005 at 1:18 AM

onesuite outage
This is pretty annoying. The long-distance carrier I use has been out for days. There’s a conversation going on about it at usenet, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 15 2005 at 7:20 pm
Just want to let you know I switched from OneSuite to already. Try it and the new callagent feature very useful!!
Comment posted by Smartsky (ip: on 10 / 17 / 2005 at 3:08 AM

This looks like someplace I’ve been in a dream… or something out of Tolkien…

By the way, I’m Karl Barth, too… 😉

Comment posted by Lisa (ip: on 01 / 10 / 2006 at 9:09 AM

Lisa’s E-mail:
I dig OneSuite, never had one problem with service. Better rates than their competitors and they service more countries. Plus, I can call people via cell phone without the expensive rates if I called without OneSuite. Good luck with your choice, but I don’t fix what isn’t broke.


Comment posted by lisa (ip: on 07 / 18 / 2006 at 4:06 PM

Nightshade Stew

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with vegetables…


all together plus some boullion makes a very nice soup! 🙂

(all of ’em except some of the potatoes were locally grown)

I added some onions just because they taste good, but other than that, pure Solanaceae. The only one that I’ve eaten before but isn’t in there is tamarillo (tree tomato).

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 21 2005 at 8:52 pm
Were there any Solanaceae in Europe (the Old World) prior to the discovery of the New World (Americas)?

I know Brassicas were the Old World crop. But did Europe have any solanaceae?

Comment posted by Deborah, aka Doombah (ip: on 09 / 23 / 2005 at 12:28 PM

Deborah, aka Doombah’s E-mail:

Deborah, aka Doombah’s website:
Europe didn’t eat Solanaceae, but Asia did. That’s where eggplants were domesticated.
Comment posted by (ip: on 09 / 28 / 2005 at 9:51 PM

What about these (and numerous similar) predictions was unclear?

Aired January 25, 2005, PBS:
Nova ScienceNOW
See the 12-minute broadcast segment on how the ability to predict a hurricane’s path and intensity affects cities like New Orleans.

Published October, 2004:
Gone with the Water
Louisiana’s wetlands are twice the size of Everglades National Park, funnel more oil into the United States than the Alaska pipeline, sustain one of the nation’s largest fisheries, and provide vital hurricane protection for New Orleans. And they’re disappearing under the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 33 football fields a day.

Published September 24 2004:
Poor, Black, and Left Behind
New Orleans had spent decades preparing for inevitable submersion by the storm surge of a class-five hurricane. Civil defense officials conceded they had ten thousand body bags on hand to deal with the worst-case scenario. But no one seemed to have bothered to devise a plan to evacuate the city’s poorest or most infirm residents. The day before the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, New Orlean’s daily, the Times-Picayune, ran an alarming story about the “large group…mostly concentrated in poorer neighborhoods” who wanted to evacuate but couldn’t.

Published September 19 2004:
Ivan exposes flaws in N.O.’s disaster plans
Those who had the money to flee Hurricane Ivan ran into hours-long traffic jams. Those too poor to leave the city had to find their own shelter – a policy that was eventually reversed, but only a few hours before the deadly storm struck land.
New Orleans dodged the knockout punch many feared from the hurricane, but the storm exposed what some say are significant flaws in the Big Easy’s civil disaster plans.

Published June 2003, Civil Engineering Magazine:
The Creeping Storm
During the past 40 years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent hundreds of millions of dollars constructing a barrier around the low-lying city of New Orleans to protect it from hurricanes. But is the system of levees high enough? And can any defense ultimately protect a city that is perpetually sinking – in some areas at a rate of half an inch per year?

Aired May 2003, PBS:
Sinking City of Venice
70 percent of New Orleans is below sea level. In the event of a very severe hurricane—category 4 or 5—the city’s levee system would not be able to keep massive surges out. The possible result of this nightmare scenario: a city drowned under more than 20 feet of water in places.

Aired September 2002, PBS:
The City in the Bowl
New Orleans might disappear forever because if there’s a hurricane — find out why.

Aired September 2002, NPR:
Hurricane Risk to New Orleans
When emergency management officials think about the worst natural disasters that might befall America, San Francisco is always on the list. They say there’s a 70 percent chance that a major earthquake will hit that city in the next 30 years and potentially cause thousands of deaths. But they say there’s another disaster that could be far worse—and many people don’t know about it. The chances that this tragedy will happen are much lower, but the death toll would be staggering. Government officials are trying to figure out if there’s any way to prevent it.

Published June 2002:
Washing Away
It’s only a matter of time before South Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day. Five-Part Series published by The Times-Picayune. See SEEKING SHELTER to get an idea of what the evacuees will be facing long-term.

Online since 2002, LSU:
The Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes (CSPHIH)
Would New Orleans Really Flood in a Major Hurricane?
How is that possible?

Was it that Ivan didn’t hit it in 2004, and Georges didn’t hit it in 1998, people were tired of hearing “Wolf!” and the (unnamed) hurricane of 1915 was too long ago to remember?

When the numbers are finally counted, will Katrina top the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 in fatalities (8,000+)?

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 03 2005 at 10:39 pm
Very good!

Wish you could find the paleoclimatologist Henry was speaking about hearing who said all the coastal cities will disappear in a couple thousand years.

And it amazes and astounds me that the nation is intent on rebuilding NOLA right where it is now! Isaac thinks the city should be moved 15 miles upriver to be rebuilt. How come no adults with the authority to make the change have that much common sense?

Comment posted by Deborah, aka Doombah (ip: on 09 / 20 / 2005 at 11:35 AM

Deborah, aka Doombah’s E-mail:

Deborah, aka Doombah’s website:
According to Wikipedia, there are over 1300 documented fatalities, well below the number killed in the Galveston storm.

Comment posted by (ip: on 11 / 06 / 2005 at 6:04 PM

Sixteen Questions
Deb asked me to answer these. Sorry about 1-4; I don’t seem to remember much, back that far! 😮

1.) Where were you ten years ago?
August 1995
Working on my PhD in Storrs, CT.

2.) Five Years Ago?
August 2000
I’d lived and worked in Ithaca for about a year.

3.) One Year Ago?
August 24, 2003
I’d lived in Romulus for almost two months.

4.) Yesterday?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I worked in Geneva all day.

5.) Today?
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
I worked in Geneva all day.

6.) 5 Snacks I Enjoy
I’m enjoying some Rum Raisin ice cream, Right Now.
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
Beef or Venison Jerky
Did I mention cheese?

7.) 5 Bands I know most of the lyrics to their songs
The Beatles
Simon and Garfunkel
The Talking Heads
The Police
Early Billy Joel

8.) Things I would do with a million dollars
Pay large sums of Capital Gains taxes
Buy a different house, one right on the lake
Go back to school and embark on a career in cultural anthropology
Pay for my dad’s 24-hour caretakers
Trade in the Civic for a Prius
With anything left over, fund cancer and AIDS research

9.) 5 Bad Habits I Have
Biting my nails
Eating Cheese (did I mention I like cheese?)

10.) 5 Places I would Run Away To
New Zealand
A freighter cabin, anywhere
My house (I travel so much, I often wish I could run away home.)
Nova Scotia (but only in the summer)
The middle of Seneca Lake in a kayak (does that count as running, or is it paddling?)

11.) 5 Things I would NEVER WEAR
A string bikini
A Burkha
A body piercing anywhere that is usually covered by clothing
A lip disk or a series of neck rings

12.) 5 Things I like Doing
Patting the kitties
Snuggling with the kitties

13.) 5 Biggest Joys
Laughing while reading anything by David Sedaris
Laughing while swapping stories with friends
Purring kitties
Creating things out of paper, glass, or any other material
Seeing something ordinary in a new way

14.) 5 Famous People I would like to meet
MFK Fisher
Freydis Eiriksdøttir
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
Laurie Anderson

15.) 5 movies I like
My Life as a Dog
Benny and Joon

16.) 5 Favorite Toys
A furnace full of glass
A blowpipe
A gloryhole
A gaffer’s bench
A set of tools

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 25 2005 at 12:02 am
You’re home! Hurrah!

Have you any interest in learning lampworking? I think it is different from what you are learning.

I have this aquaintance who makes stupendous (award-winning, glorious, fragile) glass flowers for necklaces and perfume bottle tops. she will be teaching in Corning in the spring, I think. She specializes in orchids.

And whom would you like to study as a cultural anthropologist? Have you, like Maturin, concluded that the only proper study by man is of man?

Comment posted by Doombah Finkletush (ip: on 08 / 25 / 2005 at 9:49 AM

Doombah Finkletush’s E-mail:

Doombah Finkletush’s website:
I guess maybe I’d try lampworking if a furnace full of molten lava weren’t available…
Comment posted by (ip: on 08 / 25 / 2005 at 8:51 PM

I thought I was the only person who loves

” Benny and Joon”. What a hilarious movie!

Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 29 / 2005 at 12:23 AM

Suz’s website:

Sleep is Good.

Wow, I slept horizontally all last night, without waking up once! Sleep is Good. After 2 days of sitting up waiting for Tylenol to work I’d been reduced to a mostly deaf, aching, exhausted, tearful lump. Even the cats were starting to look concerned.

I contracted the worst case of swimmer’s ear I’ve ever had. It started on Friday in the left ear so I stayed home from work. By Saturday morning it had filled up BOTH ears with fluid, and I couldn’t lie down without unbearable pressure and fevers. The stabbing felt like someone jamming BBQ skewers into the sides of my head. It stayed that way through Sunday.

I went to the doctor yesterday morning and the PA gave me antibiotics (pills and drops), cortizone (pills), and something stronger than Tylenol (pills). They all started working (especially the cortizone) around 6pm, and this morning I feel so human again I’m practically bouncing off the walls. What a relief. I can see why sleep deprivation is considered “mental torture” under the Geneva convention.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 02 2005 at 10:21 am
Are you sure it is swimmers ear and not an alien implant? hehehehe

I don’t know if I sent you this or not, but John is keeping up with Sandy’s treatment and such on a website.

Hope you can fester those alien eggs and/or transmitters out quickly.


Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 08 / 02 / 2005 at 10:29 AM

Hope you continue to feel more and more human/e.

The cats will a-purr-ove.

Are you done travelling for awhile now?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2005 at 10:14 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Alien eggs? Sharon, have you switched from tobacco to something more potent???

Alas, Deb, I am not done travelling for the summer. I have an appointment to go do some filial arguing in CA. We fight the whole time I’m visiting, but as soon as I leave my dad says, “when are you coming back?” Maybe he’s just hoping for advance warning, so he can skip town… 😉

Comment posted by (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2005 at 11:26 PM


This website is brilliant. It wouldn’t be half as funny if these things weren’t actual patents:

Absurd Inventions

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 09 2005 at 11:15 pm
One comment:
I really liked the air-conditioned shoes, complete with farting sounds as you walk.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 05 / 2005 at 11:25 pm

The Well at the World’s End

Another of my favorite books has shown up at Project Gutenberg:

It’s been a while since I read it, but I can say it’s a very fresh, engaging, solid and satisfying fantasy. I’m surprised it’s not mentioned more often in popular culture.

This is the same William Morris from the Arts and Crafts movement who designed the beautiful textiles with the birds and plants on them.

It would appear I’m not alone in my appreciation of this book. I would love someday to see one produced according to Morris’ original specifications. They apparently looked something like this.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 15 2005 at 9:44 am
Alfred Art

Senior art shows open at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7
More than 100 students, candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art and Design and for the BA degree in fine arts from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Alfred University, will simultaneously open their senior shows at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7.

Exhibitions will remain open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The AU Senior Shows, which are a requirement of graduation from Alfred University’s acclaimed art programs, have become major attractions for art lovers from throughout Western New York, drawn to Alfred for the openings by the opportunity to see work by some of the country’s most promising young artists.

Visitors know that in a few years, the students they see exhibiting at our senior shows will be among the best known artists in their fields, whether it’s ceramics, glass, electronic arts, painting, drawing, photography or sculpture.

Exhibition spaces, while concentrated in Harder and Binns-Merrill halls and at The Brick, all on the AU campus, will also be found in other campus buildings and in restaurants and other buildings in the community.

Each of the students vies with others, not only in terms of how he or she presents the work, but also in the food, flowers and music for the reception.

Kathie and I went to see this on Saturday. If you like modern art (which I do), it was *amazing*. Tucked into hallways, studios, lecture rooms, lavatories, and a gym built in the 1920’s ringed with a wooden, canted indoor track, were incredibly diverse collections of sculpture (glass, ceramic, metal, paper), painting, photography, video art, interactive exhibits, neon, and combinations of all of the above.

2-3 hours whipped by, there was so much to look at and absorb. A person would have to spend days to see it all. Apparently it will all be disassembled soon after this weekend.

We met up with the woman who taught my glass classes in Corning, who’d helped put up some of the exhibits. This meant that we got to learn some of the stories behind the scenes, and hear about some of the cool technologies and personalities behind the work.

I’ll definitely go back again next year if I’m in town!

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 08 2005 at 10:49 pm

Because Sharon is tired of looking at eggs, here is something else to look at.

Progression of the weekend hot glass classes in Corning:

Learning how glass moves:

Making paperweights:

Blowing air into glass to make things that hold things:

Shaping the things that hold things:

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 07 2005 at 9:19 am
Is that all it took? In the future I will be vociferous about the

length of time one blurt remains before it is replaced by another. There is, however, a possiblity Sharon’s request would carry more import than mine, I suppose.

I like the clear glass container. Especially its flagellae-like opening.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 08 / 2005 at 2:23 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Vociferousness always helps! 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 08 / 2005 at 5:59 PM

Beautiful glass! We are partial to glass at our house. I wish I had the time to go with you to one of these Corning things.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 05 / 08 / 2005 at 8:40 PM

YAY!!!! I was in fear that you had made glass eggs! hehehe
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 05 / 10 / 2005 at 1:01 PM

Happy Easter!

My psyanky efforts this year – duck, duck, duck, goose, goose.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 27 2005 at 2:28 am
Oh, glorious! My best goose egg from last year froze and cracked out on the back porch.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 03 / 27 / 2005 at 9:18 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
And no new ones this year.

We did a (rather hasty) glue and microbeads on a few blown shells and then I let the kids ‘do-it’themselves’ dye 15 hard boiled ones.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 03 / 27 / 2005 at 9:20 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Do you blow out your eggs before you dye them? We have not had much luck with store- bought eggs as the shells are too thin. Leaving the insides intact has sometimes yielded smelly messes! Yucky.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 20 / 2005 at 5:27 PM

Suz’s website:

I am tired of looking at these eggs. Update your blog hussy!!! You have a responsibility to your friends from far away to keep up to date!
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 04 / 29 / 2005 at 8:44 AM

Cold Again
Got home around 6pm today. It was kinda chilly. Again. Gee, it reads 50F. Nudge up the thermostat. Nothing. Nudge down the thermostat to turn on the AC. Nothing.


Pad downstairs. Push “reset” button on furnace. Yep, the fan goes on. Smell oil. Does it stay on? Nope.

Call repair service and wonder how long this cold wait will be…

That’s it. I’m getting a new furnace this year, dammit.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 24 2005 at 7:21 pm
Deb typed in the same thought I was having as I read this. You may want to investigate the tank. On a somewhat humorous note, Mom is having a hard time with how “cold” it is in SC…she would have died at your house!
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 02 / 28 / 2005 at 8:30 AM

Got home yesterday about 11.30ish. It was kind of chilly.


Oh yeah, winter in Freeville. We’re not in Tucson any more.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2005 at 8:18 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Well, Mike from E&V just arrived. He says he’s going on only a few hours of sleep. Apparently they’re really short of furnace repair guys, and his work day yesterday was from 12:30am to 12:30pm (today).

He just got here from driving 1.5 hours from Auburn. Road report is that it’s ice all the way. He said he couldn’t even see 336.

It’s too cold to type. I’m going to go put some gloves on.

Comment posted by (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2005 at 9:22 PM

Mike just left.

It was the dang NOZZLE clogging again. >:-(

E&V had put 78.8 gallons of oil in the tank YESTERDAY.

Coincidence? I suspect not. I’m calling them tomorrow to ask what was *in* that oil? Their special, patented CLOGGING AGENT?!

Harumph. Next time I’m asking for a bunch of those things and a lesson in how to change them.

Comment posted by (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2005 at 10:08 PM

It is odd that an oil delivery would result in a clog. Hmm. How low is your tank when you get a refill?

How old is the tank? It must be a newer one–plastic? So the inside isn’t flaking off into the oil…..

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 02 / 25 / 2005 at 8:52 AM

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I thought about the possibility of sediment, too. They only topped it off with about 80 gallons and it holds 250 – would it really mix up that much?
Comment posted by (ip: on 02 / 28 / 2005 at 11:24 PM

Triumphant hardware site

This has got to be one of the WORST examples of Technology Gone Bad that I’ve ever seen:

I went hunting online for the hours of the hardware store in Geneva. It’s a nice, normal kind of hardware store with the birdfeeder brackets I need, and plumbing, electrical, paint, garden supplies, etc. etc.

And the above monstrosity is what I found. Honestly, I’d expect something like that from a really bad concert promoter, or something, not a place you’d buy twine!

And after all that, they don’t even LIST their real, live operating hours, only the phone hours for accepting internet orders. Sadly, a telephone answering machine seems not to be part of their technological arsenal, either.

Holy smokes, I almost pee every time I open the page and the stirring music starts.

Upstate NY just plain cracks me up, sometimes.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 11 2005 at 10:39 pm
I went there about 11:30am today, since that seemed safest. Their hours were posted on the door:

M-F 8-5

Sat 8-1

I also talked to the webmaster. He explained that 99.9% of their business is mail-order from out of state, so it hadn’t occurred to him to put the in-store hours on the website. He said he’d fix it.

He proudly showed me an email he’d printed out from a C++ programmer, gushing about how wonderful the site was, and told me he’s won awards for it.

Perhaps that is true, but it still cracks me up.

Comment posted by (ip: on 02 / 12 / 2005 at 5:58 PM

Maybe he plays too many online games?

Or sells too few rolls of twine?

Or maybe he never grew up?

Very funny.

Comment posted by Tucsonjpm14 (ip: on 02 / 12 / 2005 at 11:25 PM

Tucsonjpm14’s website:

OK, looks like they’ve fixed the website so the main page isn’t that hysterical Flash splash. I’m almost sorry to see it go, now that it has. I said *almost.*
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 09 / 2005 at 11:05 PM


I was testing out the poll feature at…


Silly Poll

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 04 2005 at 11:00 pm

My sister Rose crocheted matching hats for me and my father when I was about 11. Somehow Daddy ended up with both of them. We were discussing this over dinner while he was wearing the smaller (and less holier) of the two:

A: (pointing at D’s head) “That’s MY hat!”
D: “She made me two of them.”
A: “She made you ONE of them; the other one is MINE.”
D: “You ABANDONED it!”
A: “I should charge you RENT.”
(LL & Rose laughing…)
D: “I should charge you for STORAGE!”
(Everyone laughing)

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 25 2005 at 8:21 pm

Dylan Thomas, 1952

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Pest that I am, I printed that out for my dad and stuck it up over the kitchen table. It seems to be his anthem, or something. You can hear a recording of Thomas himself reading it, here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 14 2005 at 2:17 am
How are you? Do you really think that you should have suggested that he “rage” hehehe.

Mom went to the neurologist with Doug. Doug said he was surprised that they did a test similar to a sobriety check..i.e. touch finger to nose, etc. Mom did dismally. Dr. said there is definately an issue with her thought patterns. He prescribed 2 meds, one she starts now, the other in a cpl weeks. They are to patch the blank spots. I am anxious to see how that goes. MRI next week, meets doc again in approx. 3 wks. Mom’s eta to SC…Mid to late February. Lots more to tell, but I hate to type 🙂

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 01 / 14 / 2005 at 9:28 AM

I figger a little reverse psychology can’t hurt.

When I passed it to him today he read it and then asked all about the poet. “He died at 35 and had time to write this?” “How many books did he publish?” “All poetry?”


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 15 / 2005 at 1:35 AM

Maybe it is a good thing for this poem to suggest to him what is (perhaps) going on inside of himself since he seems so clueless.

Hope you are healthy again.

Get as much sunshine as ever you can out there in S. Cal. because there sure is not much of any here.

Miss you.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 01 / 16 / 2005 at 9:45 PM

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Actually, it did cross my mind that maybe it would help him to remember others have gone through this; he isn’t the only one.

I miss you guys, too. I miss my kitties, and I miss my HOUSE.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 17 / 2005 at 12:12 AM

An interesting poem, yet sad. Sounds as if he is unsure of what comes after “the dying of the light”. Your Dad’s brashness may come from a fear of the unknown.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 01 / 17 / 2005 at 6:51 PM

I thought the following was interesting, it came from a discussion board about the poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Night:

Again, you get the contrast between youth and old age, but here the narrator refers to someone he calls his father and implores him to fight against death with as much rage and strength as possible. This could relate to Thomas own life in that his father had been a strict disciplinarian when Thomas was a boy, but became ineffectual and unimpressive in Thomas’ eyes as he grew older.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 01 / 20 / 2005 at 4:47 PM

That sounds about right.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 25 / 2005 at 8:15 PM

Project Gutenberg

Google has gotten a lot of press lately about their new project to digitize millions of volumes from some university libraries.

I’ve been a fan of Project Gutenberg since the days when volunteers were typing in the books by hand. They now have well over 10,000 books available at the site in 25 languages, audio books, and sheet music.

They have an RSS feed now, listing the recent books that have been finished, and one of my recent favorites just showed up there – The Worst Journey in the World.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 16 2004 at 8:36 am
Toasty Warm

…or 67 degrees F, which is pretty much the same thing in my book.

Same technician came back and took the furnace apart, finally to realize that the nozzle he’d installed on Friday wasn’t atomizing the oil, so therefore it couldn’t burn. This meant there was a bunch of gloppy oil in the chamber that he had to burn off (cough, cough). Second nozzle did the same thing as the first, after we tested it.

So he put in a third nozzle; this one is a different part number than the other two, according to the service invoice. This third nozzle seems to be doing the trick. The only problem now is that the thermostat setting has to be lower than I actually want (62), because the heat turns on at a slightly higher degree than it should. This I can live with.

I called the service department this morning and verified that I would not be charged for the two additional nozzles and two hours of work. They said I would not be charged. This I can also live with.

I can handle cold temperatures; I just don’t *like* them! While I was shivering between 2pm and 5 on Monday waiting for the repair guy, the indoor temperature had dropped to 53. Compared to my dad’s house (which is often 44 in the winter and not much higher in the summer), that is a blazing heatwave!

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 30 2004 at 8:42 pm
One comment:
You know, I replaced my thermostat when mine was not being accurate to the temperature that I wanted it. I got one of those awesome little digital ones that you can time the temperatures. It was only like $30 and it is low voltage, so you can’t get killed working on it. It is also REALLY EASY. Call me if you want to know how 🙂
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 12 / 01 / 2004 at 9:31 am

24 hours cold

When we last left Our Heroine, she had just gotten the furnace cleaned/serviced and was eating Thanksgiving leftovers.

This morning it seemed sort-of chilly in the house. Come to think of it, it had been a bit chilly the evening before, too.

Our Heroine went to the thermostat in the hallway to up the thermostat. That’s odd. It’s set at 62, but the thermometer says “60.” Nudge thermostat up higher. Nothing. Turn on AC. Yep, that works. (Turn it off again, quickly.) Crank thermostat all the way to 85. Nothing. *sigh*

Call E&V. Get recording saying that you have to wait until Monday morning unless it’s an emergency. Decide that temperature is pretty stable (as of this writing, it’s only dropped to 57), and bundle up. Can’t wait to call the normal 9-5 people and ask, “WHAT DID YOUR TECHNICIAN *DO* TO MY FURNACE? It may have been burning dirty, but at least it PROVIDED HEAT!”

It may be a long, cold, week.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 28 2004 at 10:38 pm
One comment:
We all want the next installment of Our Heroine!

Did the E&V people get back to her?

Have they finally solved her heating problems?

Will she be toasty warm Wednesday morning?

Or will she have to go shopping to warm up?

We will tune in again next time to find out the answers to these and other, more interesting questions.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 30 / 2004 at 6:55 pm

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Movies and Turkey

Noel came over for Thanksgiving. I cooked a turkey and other stuff and cleaned and unpacked the kitchen in the cracks. He’d brought a bunch of movies with him for us to test my subwoofer on:

Matrix (I)
Conan (I)
Star Wars (IV, V, VI)

We watched the Matrix (which was fantastic with the sound up) and then the Balance of Terror episode of Star Trek (because I live in Romulus), and then Conan before calling it a night. Conan sounded pretty good with the sound up, too. I went to sleep with that dang theme song in my head.

The following morning we watched a bunch of Blackadder episodes and grazed on leftovers while the furnace cleaning guy made clanking noises in the basement. He recommends getting a new one before next winter. Why am I not surprised that, like everything else in the house, it’s apparently on its last legs? He had to completely replace the line going from the tank to the burner. Anyway, the holiday was very relaxed, just what hanging out with old friends should be like (Noel, not the furnace guy).

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 26 2004 at 9:43 pm
Home again

No matter how nice the accomodations, it’s always a relief to come home.

Poor Miaumoto and Latte (who were spoiled rotten by Laurie who came to visit them and clean up after them) stuck to me like glue for the 24 hours following my return. I obliged them by being jet-lagged and exhausted after the 20 or so hours of travelling, and spent most of it in bed.

One of the birdfeeders had fallen down again and this time broken pretty much beyond repair, so I bought a replacement and installed it today. The titmice, goldfinches, chickadees, blue jays, and mourning doves were already investigating it by the evening. (The goldfinches have their own personal thistle feeder, but with 10-11 them trying to use it simultaneously, there’s a fair amount of spillover to the sunflower feeder.)

It was a very productive trip, and I enjoyed the weekends with Lisa and Steve. I’m glad I’m not going anywhere again until January, though. Time to get some rest and finish unpacking all those moving boxes! 😮

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 17 2004 at 10:31 pm
One comment:
Glad you’re back! Come for Thanksgiving, we will be home.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 22 / 2004 at 2:49 pm

Painting with light

We bought sparklers for Guy Fawkes but didn’t get around to using them until tonight.

I’d never used the remote control or the long (30 sec) exposure with this camera before. Fortunately it is mostly like the film camera. The mechanics/electronics got a bit cranky in the night chill so I ended up setting the tripod behind a window pointing toward the garden and really doing everything remotely from outside.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 14 2004 at 9:55 pm
Oh, very nice!

More, more!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 16 / 2004 at 9:02 AM

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OK, here you go.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2004 at 9:57 PM

photos to watercolors
Lisa has been using Photoshop to turn digital pictures into watercolors. They look Very Cool, especially when printed on watercolor paper. So now I’m trying to figure out how to do it in GIMP (which is Open Source, and therefore free).

Here’s before…

Here’s after…

Here are the photoshop-ese directions I tried to emulate:

And here’s what I got, playing with the lovely Sepoina graf-ix filter:

Here’s another picture from summer, modified with Sepoina graf-ix filter:

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 06 2004 at 8:09 am
I don’t get it.

The three flower pictures look more or less washed out in tone. The row of buildings is more interesting–the straight lines look as if someone with a shaky hand drew them.


What is the point? Photos masking as paintings? I have seen Lisa’s paintings on line–they are great. And you draw fabulously. Why do it through or by a machine?

You guys should be having painting sessions with paper and gloppy paint!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 08 / 2004 at 7:43 AM

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For me the point is basically that it is Fun. When you don’t have the time or equipment for gloppy messes, a computer can entertain me for a while.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 10 / 2004 at 2:25 PM


I have yet to see the computer as a fun thing, except for being a non-human interactive source of playing spider solitaire.

And I like reading some blogs….

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 11 / 2004 at 12:18 PM

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Hmm. I think I’ve seen you play other things on your computer, like Hearts, and Zambonies (or whatever they’re called)… And I think you like reading the NYT, and browsing for informational things, and, well, I think I’ll stop there. 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 11 / 11 / 2004 at 1:35 PM

ESP has a new name?

I don’t have TV. So when I travel, I sometimes channel surf in the hotel at night. A few days ago I saw a show on the SciFi channel called “Proof Positive.” The idea was that scientists “investigated” three paranormal phenomena to determine if they were “real.” One was deemed false, one inconclusive, and one deemed true.

The phenomenon deemed “true” was called “remote viewing,” which appears to be a new name for ESP. This was in spite the lack of any really compelling evidence. They had a “beacon” drive a motorcycle through LA while “viewers” were supposed to sit in a room, drawing things from an undisclosed “beacon” doing an undisclosed activity. The proof of the method would be determined if at least 6 things the “viewers” drew matched stuff on the motorcycle ride.

Now I am perfectly willing to believe ESP exists. I have even had the rare unexplained occasion of “knowing” something ahead of time or far away (it feels like vaguely remembering something). However, the “test” on this show was just lame.

What are the chances of people accidentally drawing stuff that might turn out to match by chance? Pretty high, I’d imagine, since things like tall skinny triangles were determined to be remote “views” of building antennae, and there are many familiar cultural icons. Maybe if the images were ordered by occurrence, or they did a crossover experiment and counted the number of images that matched the wrong activity, it would have been a bit more convincing. It was sadly disappointing, and perhaps even a little frightening that such tripe is broadcast as “science.”

Fortunately I’m not the only one who thinks this.

Pretty much the only consistently interesting channel was HGTV.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 23 2004 at 9:35 am
One comment:
ooo, Angela. When we get together next we will have a great conversation. One of Jeni and Chris’ new friends in Austin was the head of the government’s top secret remote sensing unit in the 70’s (and 80’s?). Great stories.

He is a physicist who now heads his own privately run lab working on the physics of instantaneous (“time”) travel, among other things.


Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 10 / 24 / 2004 at 4:17 pm

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According to this quiz, I ought to vote for the following candidates in the following categories:

Economic: Nader (Reform Party), Cobb (Green)
Foreign Policy: Kerry (Democratic)
Cultural: Badnarik (Libertarian), Kerry (Democratic)

Guess I’ll go with Kerry, since the others are basically unelectable. (I voted for Nader last time, and look where it got us…)


This quiz only gives two candidate choices. It recommended me 90% toward Kerry and 6% toward the Shrub Jr. I guess that’s pretty accurate, too.


And finally, this site’s quiz (which was mentioned on NPR this morning) gave these results:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%) [Myself]
2. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT – Democrat (84%)
3. Sharpton, Reverend Al – Democrat (81%)
4. Cobb, David – Green Party (80%)
5. Nader, Ralph – Independent (80%)
6. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH – Democrat (79%)
7. Kerry, Senator John, MA – Democrat (71%)
8. Edwards, Senator John, NC – Democrat (70%)
9. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR – Democrat (68%)
10. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL – Democrat (67%)
11. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO – Democrat (65%)
12. Brown, Walt – Socialist Party (65%)

Here are my results from the same quiz, but only including candidates still in the race:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Cobb, David – Green Party (79%)
3. Nader, Ralph – Independent (79%)
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA – Democrat (70%)
5. Brown, Walt – Socialist Party (66%)
6. Badnarik, Michael – Libertarian (47%)
7. Peroutka, Michael – Constitution Party (10%)
8. Bush, President George W. – Republican (5%)

If your top candidate scores in the 90’s or above, you’ll be delighted; the 80’s, you’ll be very pleased; the 70’s, you’ll be satisfied; the 60’s, you’ll find many points of agreement but some differences too with this candidate’s positions. If your top score is in the 50’s, your top candidate is the “lesser of evils”. If your top candidate did not get at least 50%, then all we can say is that you have a unique combination of political views.


My comments:

1) They should have nominated Dean instead of Kerry.
2) I’m not falling for that Nader/Green Party thing again. Not now. Maybe another time, when choosing the Lesser of Two Weevils is not as critical.
3) Al SHARPTON?! I never saw THAT one coming… Hmm.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 12 2004 at 11:31 pm
One comment:
For the first quiz I got Badnarak, Bush, Bush.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 10 / 15 / 2004 at 2:13 pm

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You sank my battleship!

Having finally successfully installed a wireless router and adapters on two laptops, I now have a very expensive and high-tech way to play battleship with guests.

When sitting around a conference table at work with people behind their open notebook screens, I sometimes have the urge to call out, “A-3!” Honestly, now, don’t laptop computers look just like battleship consoles? 🙂

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 10 2004 at 12:27 am
Literati and Cribbage too.
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 10 / 10 / 2004 at 1:58 PM



Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 10 / 15 / 2004 at 2:05 PM

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Vervet Boogers

I tried GoogleWhacking this weekend. It’s harder than it looks. In the end, I managed to contribute two:

Pangolin Tetrad
Vervet Boogers

Not particularly inspiring or literate, but it felt pretty good to have managed it.

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 05 2004 at 10:05 pm
One comment:
There’s definitely a knack to this. I decided to wrestle down another before turning off the computer and going to bed:

Hairball Indigence

(= indigestible insolvency?)

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 06 / 2004 at 12:27 am

Vavilov’s Seed Bank

There’s a story floating around that says during World War II a group of germplasm scientists barricaded themselves inside a seed bank and starved to death protecting the material. Depending on which source you consult, between one and eleven people died in this effort. Read on, and decide for yourself:

During the winter of 1941-42, while Hitler’s troops were blockading Leningrad, nine Russian seed biologists gave their lives to protect the contents of the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry, the world’s first and oldest seed bank. As thousands starved during the terrible winter, the dedicated seed biologists prepared a sample collection of plant seeds that was later smuggled out of Leningrad to a safe storage facility in the Ural Mountains.

The remaining collection was prepared for long-term storage and placed in only the most secure rooms of the institute. Keys to those rooms were securely locked in a safe. As the winter went on, the seed biologists succumbed one by one to starvation, each refusing to eat from any of the secured seed collections. When the siege ended in January 1944, the bulk of the collection was preserved.

In the chaos of the first winter of the war no evacuation plan was available or executed and the city and its suburbs quite literally starved in complete isolation until November 20, 1941 when an ice road over Lake Ladoga, the so-called Road of Life was established. One of Nikolai I. Vavilov’s assistants starved to death surrounded by edible seeds so that the seed bank (that included more that 200 000 items) would be available to future generations.

Valivov’s original samples miraculously avoided being eaten by their starving curators during the Siege of Leningrad and became the start of the Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry in modern-day St. Petersburg.

In Russia, the Vavilov Institute is also under threat. “This is one of the oldest and most valuable national collections,” says Raymond. “About nine scientists starved to death in the genebank during the siege of Leningrad in the 1940s rather than eat the material in the collections.”,7843,816833,00.html

Under Stalin, the Institute suffered repression since genetics was seen as a science that supports “inborn class differences.” One of Stalin’s victims was Vavilov himself. After being denounced by a former student, Stalin’s protege Trofim Lysenko, Vavilov was arrested in August 1940 as he set out on a plant-collecting expedition in the Carpathian Mountains.

One year later, Hitler’s army blockaded Leningrad. Under German fire, scientists gathered unripened potato tubers from the institute’s experimental fields outside Leningrad. They burned everything they could find to keep the collection from freezing in the unheated, dark building. While guarding the collection, some scientists starved to death rather than eat the packets of rice, corn and other seeds in their desks.

Tending the earth’s edible future reached its most poignant moment–certainly its most courageous–during the Nazis’ World War II siege of Leningrad. The site of the world’s largest seed bank–at which Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov and his army of ethnobotanists had stockpiled an astonishing 200,000 species–Leningrad endured 900 days of attack during which over half a million people starved to death. Surrounded by harvested seed crops, the collectors martyred themselves rather than consume the botanical future. And when liberators finally entered the besieged facility, they found the emaciated bodies of the botanists lying next to full, untouched sacks of potatoes, corn and wheat–a priceless genetic legacy for which they paid with their lives.

during the World War II siege of Leningrad, 11 scientists at the Vavilov seed bank starved to death rather than eat the seeds in the collection.

During the 900day siege of Leningrad in World War II, Vavilov’s staff faced starvation rather than eat the precious stocks they had painstakingly gathered from the far corners of the earth. In a gesture of stubborn optimism, curators straggled out into the besieged city and planted specimens from their collections. They had to regenerate stocks for the future. During the siege many curators died in the laboratories, their stomachs empty. Surrounding the corpses were the boxes of seeds and sacks of potatoes they had been saving.

Vavilov did not live to witness the suffering of his colleagues. Packed off to prison in Saratov after a scientific dispute with Stalin’s pet agronomist, Vavilov died there, accused of spying and agricultural sabotage.

I’d already done some research on the topic for the magazine article, but I knew I had a lot more to learn. I interviewed a rice-breeding professor at Cornell, who loaned me some books and (most importantly) confirmed that the rather outlandish scientific project I’d concocted was actually feasible. One of the best tidbits I picked up in my research was the true story of Vavilov’s Seed Bank, in which a group of scientists barricaded them inside their institute during the siege of Leningrad-and felt so strongly about preserving the seed bank’s biodiversity, they let themselves starve to death rather than eat its contents.

…and in case you’re wondering, here’s the backstory of how Vavilov ended up dying in prison…

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 02 2004 at 8:40 pm
One comment:
I do not think I fit the Lysenkoist model even though I do believe in creation.

Which version of the Seed Bank story do you think most plausible? Fascinating.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 10 / 03 / 2004 at 9:37 pm

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Is YOUR computer hacked?

If the below banner is red, you might want to check your firewall and antivirus software…

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 21 2004 at 11:18 pm
What if just the little red rectangle in the middle is red?

I bought a cooking book of stuff in O’Brian novels at the presale. We might need to have a British naval dinner….

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 09 / 27 / 2004 at 11:35 AM

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Sounds good. I hope it’s not *completely* authentic, though (with weevils, etc.) Also, where will we get all the servants and marines that are supposed to stand behind our chairs? 😉
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 29 / 2004 at 7:47 PM

Bizarre Amazon Reviews
Someone has a quirky sense of humor, and way too much time on his hands…

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 13 2004 at 7:48 pm
Yet perhaps only second to people who actually find these bizarre but side-splitting reviews and hunt down the whole passle of them…..
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 09 / 14 / 2004 at 11:36 AM

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The back story is that I was discussing Amazon reviews with Kathie this weekend and suggested they ought to have a button where you can vote whether you found the review entertaining (regardless of how informative).

The very next day I was researching grilling tools and found a Very Strange yet Amusing Review. It took exactly no time to click on the author to see if this was a pattern (it was). I can’t claim to have spent any effort on hunting…

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 14 / 2004 at 6:53 PM

Too much time on their hands, or WAYYY too many beers in their bellies.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 09 / 16 / 2004 at 4:56 PM

More like Moo

It turns out this is a pretty big genre; maybe all those creative writing instructors take their own advice and “write what they know?”

Academic Satire
Academic Novels

And then there’s always the local (Ithaca) color of Beth Saulnier (as Deb has pointed out.

Or even Seneca Falls historical local color, as Laurie has mentioned…

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 07 2004 at 9:47 pm
Labor Day Weekend

We had a very fun Sunday afternoon beside the lake this weekend. The Millers, the Raupps (minus Gretchen, who had to work), Linda, John, Noel, and Kathie. Cindy and Rick and Joanne. That’s 15 including me. And 11 of them came from all the way from the other side of the Neutral Zone!

We played with kayaks and horseshoes, and sat around and yammered. Deb and Kathie and Deb and Jay had furious see-saw matches. We ate all kinds of roasted meaty things and side dishes and punch. We took pictures with Suzanne’s camera.

The only unhappy thing that happened that day was when Noel and I brought the inflatable and Hobie kayaks back to the house, and one of the wheels fell off. Thankfully no damage to the kayak(s), but it was inconvenient and frustrating. Also we could not figure out how to attach my second kayak cart securely to the boat, which was annoying. The guy at Dick’s who sold it to me clearly did not know what he was talking about. :-p

Other than that, a Very Fun Day.

Just finished reading Moo, which Joanne lent me, and it was quite amusing. I loved how each of the academics saw the world according to his/her own discipline. And Earl the Pig was the best character of all.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 07 2004 at 2:38 am
When I have time …?…. I will sit down and figure out how to post those pictures. What happened to you yesterday? We had food and entertainment. How else can we coerce you to come visit? We don’t have a lake, but we have a swamp!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 09 / 13 / 2004 at 9:40 AM

I told Gretchen I’d call if I was coming; she said she thought you guys were up to something, and she’d email about it so I’d have more information. (I didn’t receive an email, and I wasn’t feeling well – my lungs were full of stuff and I’m still coughing – and I didn’t know you were actually EXPECTING me!)
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 14 / 2004 at 6:57 PM

weird dreams

I just woke up from a weird dream which took place in an urban area with Mediterranean architecture, sort of like some places I’ve lived in CA. It was mid-day, yet fairly deserted, and there were walls and palm trees down on the pavement. The palm tree trunks had split open to reveal stacked slices of canned pineapple inside. What people there were, scurried around doing their business.

The explanation for the damage was the forest trees that had swept through in successive nights.

One woman was leading a group of children and teaching them this couplet:

Old ladies come out of the trees in the dark,
Old ladies whose bite is worse than their bark.

In a deserted moonlit square with endless diminishing arcades, a child rolls her hoop towards a shadow in the distance. The scene is imaginary but this one is strangely sinister. The unknown is lying in wait.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 23 2004 at 4:35 am
And you ate what before bed? Actually, this sounds like a great beginning for a children’s book.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 25 / 2004 at 9:26 PM

Suz’s website:

Well, I plan coming out of my tree to see you soon. Next week?
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 26 / 2004 at 9:31 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Lisa’s gorgeous photos

Lisa’s put more of her pics online here. I must say there’s a striking improvement in the train pictures after cleaning the window! Maybe the rest of you don’t notice, but I sure do…

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 17 2004 at 9:01 pm
Lisa’s Photos

Here are Lisa’s pics from the same trip. She’s much more selective about cropping and posting images than I am!

I believe the ones of heather are the shots she took when I caught her picture doing it.

Looks like Lisa and Steve have a webpage design service now, too… “The Perl’s Inside” hahaha! Very cute.

What would they have called it if he’d used Python? Hollow Tree Trunk Web Design? 😉

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 13 2004 at 3:23 am
Green and Wet

Hmm. Home doesn’t look that different from what I left. The money is easier to figure out, though, and the people easier to understand! There was also wireless in Newark, but I didn’t have a long enough layover to make it worth it…

I better scoot and pay attention to the Poor Neglected Felines (that’s what they’re intimating, anyway).

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 10 2004 at 9:40 pm
The pictures from the train are fabulous. More rolling

landscape than romulus. And greener too I think.

How can I make one into a wallpaper for the computer here?

Oh, Welcome home!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 12 / 2004 at 9:34 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
I think I’d need to send you a high-resolution version of the picture. Any of them in particular you want? Just email me the name of the photo and the folder it’s in, and it’ll arrive in your email box… 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 12 / 2004 at 1:42 PM

Sorry we missed your trip to Dryden. We got the message, but I’m not sure when you were referring to since the dates are all mixed up on our machine. We reeturned back from NC on Friday night late. I actually met someone in Pinehurst, NC that used to live in Romulus! Those aliens are everywhere.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 15 / 2004 at 11:28 PM

Gate 33

Well, there’s wireless everywhere, apparently. I sat down to recharge my ‘puter while waiting for the flight, and amazingly enough, there is a WiFi connection here, so for a mere 5 pounds (about 8-9 dollars) I have the privilege of catching up on my email and blogging, etc. while waiting for my flight.

If I hadn’t checked the cable that connects the camera to the ‘puter, I could even share a photo, right now. Ain’t technology wunnerful?

It’s raining a lot outside the window. Glasgow looks a lot like how Newark looked on July 27. And how Romulus looked the week before that. Good thing I have a kayak. With all this rain everywhere, I might need it! I recall reading somewhere about a second coming, but not a second flooding! Yikes. 😮

I spent yesterday shopping for cat-sitter prezzies and visiting the Glenlee, a sailing cargo ship docked in the former shipbuilding district on the banks of the river Clyde. I chatted with the shipwright. He’s 70 and retiring in December. He worked in the Glasgow dockyards all his life and is ready to take it easy. He showed me the windlass under the bow capstan and the release for dropping anchor. He also unlocked the doors so I could see where the heads used to be (they’ve blocked them up and use them for storage now).

As with most Glaswegians, I had a bit of difficulty communicating; it’s hard to figure out where to break the sounds into words. It’s a whole different language, me speaking Amurican, them speaking Glaswegian, and both of us only understanding English…

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 10 2004 at 7:35 am
back from Skye
It took 4 false starts, but I finally found a place to get internet access here in Glasgow. Lisa took the train back to Cambridge about 2 hours ago, and I’ve been cleaning up my inbox and uploading photos ever since.

The train ride from Glasgow to Mallaig was truly spectacular. We even bought cleaning supplies for the return trip so we could make the window nice and clean. It took bathroom cleaner to get the scale and oily patina off, with a scrubby sponge, and then Windex and paper napkins. We had the best window on the train. Lisa commented that we might even get sunburned through it…

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 08 2004 at 11:44 am
postcards from glasgow
The conference is going. You can see some of the hotel and conference venue, here. Gotta scoot…

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 30 2004 at 8:16 am
Glasgow is into economy in the European style?

Love the arty closet. Perhaps most guests do not stay longer than four days?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 30 / 2004 at 9:27 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Do not understand why the armadillo building is placed in a ‘blah’ sort of location without any landscaping or views.

Not many plants or greenery, except on the walk by the river. Are there parks?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 02 / 2004 at 8:57 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
I think they put the conference center down in the former shipbuilding region, and the area has yet to undergo urban renewal. I don’t find the river Clyde particularly aesthetic, but so much of the rest of Glasgow is so industrial that maybe to them it’s nice. The area around the Cathedral and Kate’s hotel is nice, though. Cool architectual details, and lots of planters with flowers in them.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 03 / 2004 at 8:00 AM

Just looked through the road warrior photos. Love the wild Things wall which indicates Ithaca. How true!

And great white deer snaps.

You now need to gather some Amish photos of your new area.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 08 / 04 / 2004 at 9:32 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Simple things that give lots of pleasure…

On Saturday morning I got my house re-inspected, in case there were any other surprises lurking around. The guy was great, suggested all kinds of things to fix, and even helped me troubleshoot the doorbell – the button was broken. He replaced the transformer anyway, just because he was nice. He also gave me some duct putty to stop up a big hole where the electrical wires come into the breaker box.

So I spent the next couple of days noticing people’s doorbells. Did you know that some of them LIGHT UP? That seems like a pretty friendly thing to do. So I stopped at the hardware store on the way home, and sure enough they had one like that, and I just installed it. My flathead screwdrivers were too big for the screws, but I had something else that did fit (three cheers for the Swiss Army).

So now I have my very own LIT doorbell, that goes “ding” inside the house when you push it. Pretty nifty, huh?

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 26 2004 at 6:27 pm
I thought all door bells lit up.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2004 at 7:53 PM

Nope. Some of them are just buttons.

I also did this to the sidelights next to the door. It looks OK, but after I get tired of it, I think I’ll just do the plain old frosted look.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2004 at 8:24 PM

I like the cut glass look for the doors.

Once upon a time we had a doorbell. It was not attached to anything and gave people a false sense of hope. We never heard a sound.

Sort of like the N’s version they described the other night.

We removed it.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2004 at 8:42 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
I have a light switch like that in the hall. There are three switches. Two of them are attached to something. I’m tempted to put a label on the third, “up;down,” or something like that, just to mess with people. 😉
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 26 / 2004 at 10:42 PM

We don’t have a doorbell. People just bang on the door and yell…or run away (UPS)
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 27 / 2004 at 11:00 AM

Ithaca UFO enthusiasts gather
There’s an interesting thread over at

Fortunately they’re only interested in “benevolent” off-world beings. Hopefully that will keep them on their side of the Neutral Zo– I mean County Line.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 18 2004 at 9:44 pm

I haven’t been here in a really long time! I didn’t think it had been *that* long but there were 3 whole pages of stuff for me to read.

I’m sorry the move has been so….. extreme in a Murphy’s Law sense. If you’d known all this was going to happen, you could have hired all the contractors to build a house to your specs rather than repairing this one!

I hope the cats are settling in. The kayak sounds really cool!

liz, laughing at the ithacans and only benevolent aliens. Are these the ones that engage in Free Trade, and are they going to endorse the Kyoto agreement? (thoughts from a fellow x-ithacan)

Comment posted by Liz H (ip: on 07 / 19 / 2004 at 1:56 PM

Are Romuluns benevolent aliens?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 11:32 AM

2: Are Romuluns benevolent aliens?

Posted by Suz at 10:32 am on 07.20.04

Depends. They are sometimes benevolent to other Romulans. They aren’t particularly benevolent to Earthlings, however.

Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 7:26 PM

Those myriads of lights in the night–

the rest of us call them fireflies.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 9:27 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
I was thinking their description sounded a lot like lightning, which isn’t uncommon around here…
Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 10:51 PM

noise and inadequacy
So I’m sitting in my living room, minding my own buisness, listening to Lance Armstrong win the 13th stage of the Tour de France, when I suddenly hear what sounds like a bunch of low-flying aircraft on the lake. I go on the balcony to see, and dozens of speed boats are zooming north to Geneva. It looked for all the world like a high-speed evacuation from Watkins Glen.

At first I was annoyed, but after thinking about it, I was just glad this is not a normal occurence, unlike the numerous jetskis people insist on riding around; the smell is even worse than the noise and waves.

Is it a coincidence that someone who enjoys paddled/pedaled/sailed vehicles who uses a reel mower and listens to bicycle races finds internal combustion devices annoying? Probably not.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 17 2004 at 12:53 pm
Looks like at least one of the boats didn’t make it.

Two jetskis collided earlier this summer.

Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 18 / 2004 at 10:46 PM

Maybe those things annoy the Lake Monster too.


Comment posted by (ip: on 07 / 18 / 2004 at 11:14 PM

Pray tell who took the snap of the monster??

Yowza. Don’t meet him when you are out yakking!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 9:23 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
If you read the Lake Monster story, and click on the picture, you’ll see I’m very unlikely to meet one. It’s a bit late for that to happen. 74-88 million years late, to be more exact.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 20 / 2004 at 11:00 PM

Although I must admit that Seneca Lake is roughly the same size, shape, age, depth and N/S orientation as Loch Ness.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2004 at 8:26 PM

I have to say that my favorite graphic from that same Clidastes website is this one:

clidastes skeleton chasing scuba diver for scale

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2004 at 11:43 PM

You are much too literal sometimes.

Wouldn’t it add just a touch of frisson to your life to imagine you just might actually possibly sight one, or be bumped by one, or see it catching a fish near you as you glided along, unsuspecting?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2004 at 8:02 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Um, I think I’ve had enough frisson lately to last me for a while…

Besides, I’m supposed to be a humorless, honor-bound Romulan now, aren’t I?


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 22 / 2004 at 8:23 PM

yakking + sun – sunscreen = ouch.
Doh. I remembered to put sunscreen on my face and arms. I forgot the little detail about my LEGS being in the sun! Latte isn’t helping. He decided to jump up on the bed, across my crispy fried leg. Ouch. Then he sulked when I complained. I don’t think indoor cats understand sunburns…

The yakking was fun, though. Tomorrow on my way to work I’ll keep track of the odometer to figure out how far we went.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 11 2004 at 11:43 pm
Romulan Wars?!

According to an article in SlashDot, the next Star Trek Movie will be about the wars between Earth and Romulus. Heh. I don’t recall the last one of those I actually paid to see. They’ve gone way downhill since The Wrath of Khan.

On the home front, Mark came and fixed the window, and the toilet, and independently confirmed that the dishwasher pump motor is kaput. Apparently the seller is now making noises about being willing to buy me a new dishwasher (of the kind they’d normally get). Since I already committed to one from Sears, I’m asking for the $$ they would have spent if they did replace it. We’ll see.

Mark says he’s going to look at the furnace vent on the roof and see if he can figure out why rain was coming in.

We like Mark.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 09 2004 at 9:26 pm
One comment:
Mark sounds like a cool guy. I think I will have to join the side of the Romuluns. Maybe we can dazzle them with our glow-in-the-dark glasses while we launch our attacks from kayaks.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 10 / 2004 at 11:53 pm

Surprise #6
We had rain for the first time today. There is water dripping in the basement down the furnace vent. There is a rust-colored stain on the concrete floor underneath it.

There is also what looks to be water coming from under the eaves. I guess it’s time to get a new layer of shingles put on, and someone to check the gutters. *sigh*

A guy came today and said I need a whole new toilet. Another guy came and said my dishwasher motor is shot. I have new deadbolts on all of the doors, now.

The former maintenance guy says he can fix the toilet and dishwasher (as well as the window) on Friday. He says he doesn’t want to charge me. We’ll see. It is all so very peculiar. I miss my Freeville house, where everything was snug, and worked, etc. etc. Not to mention my proximity to Deb and Suzanne! (snif!)

The old brown trash can is still out by the driveway. It was raining too hard when I got home to look and see if either had been emptied.

I’m still in love with my front-loader, though. I sat and watched it through a whole cycle tonight. It’s kind-of soothing and mesmerizing. Miaumoto came in to see what I was doing, and got bored and left before the wash stage had even finished.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 07 2004 at 8:59 pm
Maybe Miamoto wanted to try the new ride out?

We got the rain here, too and needed it badly. I had started watering plants in the garden.

What trial that your house is not (yet) as tight and functional as one would wish. Maybe Gene is done with his Arizona projects? Maybe Rose wants to paddle on Seneca Lake?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2004 at 10:24 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Bummer! I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. The house we are in now is our first house and we built it so we know its quirks.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 08 / 2004 at 11:31 AM

Suz’s website:

Surprise #s 4 and 5
Add a broken plug mechanism in the guest bathroom sink to the list. :-p

ALSO add the fact that the former maintenance guy apparently has a master key to all the houses. I found this out on Saturday when he happened to mention it. I was not notified of this when I closed. Mark seems fine, but who knows if someone else gets that key? A locksmith is coming tomorrow to install deadbolts. That will lower my insurance, anyway.

Mark said he’d come in this afternoon while I’m at work and fix the broken window sash. He refused to take any $$ for it.

Someone is coming after work to look at the garage door to make sure there’s enough headroom for an automatic opener (I know there is; the neighbors have one).

I’m supposed to call the plumber tonight to arrange to have him come tomorrow morning to fix the leaking toilet tank.

The dishwasher repair guy is coming tomorrow morning sometime between 8-12. I hope he comes when the locksmith is there, so I don’t have to run back and forth to/from work for this.

It should be a busy morning, tomorrow.

This morning was supposed to be the first Trash Day. The former residents left their trash can at the house, so now I have two, an old brown one, and a new blue one. I left a note on each: “Take this one away, thanks” ; “Please leave this one here, thanks.” We’ll see if they actually did this, when I get home today. If the old brown one is still there, it’s going to be walked down to the former rental management building and left there, since it’s THEIR problem (and removal was requested after the walk-through on Tuesday).

I finally found a lead on an Amish guy who can sharpen my reel mower. I’ll drop by there sometime this week after I get it back from Joanne.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 04 2004 at 4:26 pm
Have been relatively incommunicado–but got a good report from Suzanne. glad I did before I read your blog updates on the house. Jeez Louise! Under all their security clauses for the development is not the company responsible for ANYTHING? Like a house where all works and is in good repair? Just a thought.

Jay worked Saturday and we did nothing Sunday. It was the first time in a long time I can remember Jay really doing nothing. At all.

Isaac (who is up at the farm) and his cousin Zach crashed the Gator and four wheeler together Sat PM or Sunday morning, my Mom was a little hazy on when it occurred. They both are OK, but my Dad is making them write a report on “The Economic Costs of My Disobedience”.

Isaac told Jay that “he hadn’t heard” the injunction from Charlie and my parents that he and Zach were not to get closer than 25 yards to each other. Sounds like they were playing ‘chicken’.

Other than that, all OK. Cherry hoofed me a bit yesterday when I helped Jay trim her rear hooves, but the bruises are much better this AM. Having fun time alone with Isabelle when she is not a pill.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 07 / 06 / 2004 at 9:11 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
You know…one of the hardest things in the world to throw away is a trash can.
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 07 / 06 / 2004 at 4:54 PM

Yak Report
Well, I think the Yak is a success. It’s a bit far to be dragging down and up the hill, but once in the water it’s worth it. It’s like a floating armchair.

Five of us tried it out. I didn’t really get the hang of the flippers yet, and found it easier to use with the plug in the hole instead and rudder up. Once I’m more used to how it handles, I’ll add the flippers, and eventually the sail. That should take me most of the summer.

Petra was amazing. We sat on the shore and watched her figure out how to handle the craft over the course of about five minutes. By the time she was ready to quit, she looked very comfortable in there, and executed all kinds of fancy turns. Suzanne was worried she’d lost her!

The fireworks were very small and far away, and we had to sneak onto a nearby dock to see past the trees in the way. It’s a great place for a cookout, but maybe next time fireworks would be more effective closer…

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 04 2004 at 12:21 am
One comment:
Henry says kayaks are less expensive than horses. Although, given a choice between a Yak and a horse, I think the Yak would still lose.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 07 / 05 / 2004 at 11:54 am

Surprise #3
Add a broken window sash to the list. Only one side is actually holding the window up.

I’m getting pretty fed up. They might as well be #$%&^ Ferengi. (See rules # 19, 82, and 239.)

If there weren’t people coming, I’d just take the kayak and LEAVE for a couple of hours. That may just be on the agenda tomorrow.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 03 2004 at 1:47 pm
Caveat Emptor
Now I know why they refused me even 12 hours of prepossession.

Last night I opened the dishwasher to find it full of water. I tried running it through a cycle, and nothing happened. No spraying sounds, no draining, nothing except clunking sounds every time it passed a dot on the dial. I could also smell a faint motor burning out kind of smell. It would appear I may be getting a new dishwasher even sooner than I thought… Maybe I can get Sears to throw in a garage door opener too. 😮

Then I woke up this morning to find a pool of water in the upstairs bathroom. As it turns out, the toilet tank leaks. This would explain the red rust spot on the linoleum right under one of the tank screws. It would explain the mildew stains on the floor that just happen to coincide with the position of the pool. This would also explain the water stains on the ceiling downstairs, and the pool of water down there. I rescued items in the boxes down there – fortunately the water had only just started to seep up through the cardboard.

If only I had been able to get the home inspector I wanted. Thank goodness there are two other toilets! And this may be a weird time to say this, but I’m actually glad I own this place, rather than renting it – things will get fixed quickly, and they’ll be fixed PROPERLY.

I won’t be able to get anything done until probably Tuesday at the soonest. I wonder what other fun surprises I will discover in the meantime?

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 03 2004 at 8:33 am
Yak Arrival
Well, in the scheme of things, this was pretty much on schedule. The yak was supposed to come early this morning, but they got swamped, so it’s here now. (The guy just left.)

We got so caught up in checking out the pedals, anchor, tackle box, cooler, wheels and sail that he left without either of us noticing that he hadn’t handed over the PADDLE! I called the store and they called him and he came right back. I told them I was up the hill without a paddle.

Imagine a kayak so complicated you might actually forget to ask for a paddle (?!) Sigh. I’m not exactly firing on all cylinders at the moment, and I got the impression he wasn’t either. He had his 1-year-old black lab with him, which was just by herself enough to give someone ADD symptoms.

I wheeled it to the back under the deck, and took everything off it and put the stuff in the basement. Eventually I’ll need to get a cable lock so I can lock it to the deck just in case neighborhood kids get ideas…

Now I’m sitting upstairs with all the windows open, enjoying the nice prevailing westerly breeze, sipping blue powerade on ice out of my Montezuma Winery glass, which I got on Wednesday on my way back to the B&B, along with 6 tastings of things, and a bottle each of honey mead, blueberry wine, and raspberry mead. It was my liquid solace. I got the glass to remind me of what happened, for future times when I’m under the misapprehension that I’m actually in control of anything in life. :-p

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 02 2004 at 7:55 pm
Greetings from Romulus

After a very strange aborted closing on Wednesday afternoon, my lawyer and his real estate coordinator managed to convey the property to me Thursday morning. My real estate agent went and babysat the house so that the movers wouldn’t turn around and go back home, which they would do if noone was there.

So in the end, I DID end up moving in today as originally planned. I have almost everything:

* my stuff

* telephone

* Roadrunner (which is much faster here than it was in Freeville – must be that superior Romulan cloaking technology)

* A BEAUTIFUL front-loading washer and brand new dryer (my sheets and clothes really do seem fluffier, somehow)

* Miaumoto and Latte (of course – and boy do they look relieved not to be in limbo anymore)

* A brand-new trash can from Appleton, which will be emptied by them alternate Tuesdays, beginning next week

* Very Interesting new neighbors; one is the music teacher at Geneva High and his family, the other is an older gentleman, who is tongue-in-cheek curmudgeonly. We all have Italian last names, so we’ve decided this is the Italian Ghetto of the development, now. They filled me in on the sketchy Homeowner’s Association situation, and were thrilled to hear that I’m an agitator, and pointed out the house of the Chief Instigator (“in a good way” they said), a couple of doors down. I guess these guys band together to try and stop the development company from reducing beach access, charging fees and not using them for what they’re for, etc.

The only thing left is the KAYAK, which is supposed to be coming tomorrow.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 02 2004 at 2:05 am
Still not out…
The movers arrived around noon. They finally left around 9:30pm. I have more boxes and trash to bring to the landfill, now, after they went through and decided what they weren’t taking (any bottle that was open – shampoo, dish soap, vinegar, oil, etc. etc. etc.)

So instead of staying in the B&B room I’ve reserved and PAID FOR, I’m on the floor in Freeville in a sleeping bag, with the cats wandering around, perplexed. I’m having trouble sleeping, which is why I got up to check my email one last time, and I’m posting this now.

Just too dang much to do, and not enough time to do it in! 😮


Morning will come early, so I’m going to shut down now, and try to go back to bed.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 29 2004 at 12:09 am
One comment:

And where are you now? It is Wednesday morning.

In Freeville?

In Romulus? Geneva?

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 30 / 2004 at 9:42 am

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
The End of Freevilledom
Deb and her family hosted a sending-off party tonight, with Suzanne and Henry also attending.

On Monday the movers will come and get my stuff. I have been told to expect them “sometime between 9am and noon.” That sure narrows it down, huh? Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights the cats and I will stay at a B&B between the new house and work.

Then on Tuesday I’ll work in Geneva and in the afternoon walk through the new house while the cleaners are cleaning the old house and the buyers walk through it.

On Wednesday my immigration to Romulus will happen, with the sale in the morning, and the purchase in the afternoon.

Thursday my stuff will arrive, as will my washer and cable modem service.

Friday my kayak will arrive. Here’s a story from a guy who travelled 2050km (~1273mi) in one along a river in Oz.

Phew, it will be a busy week! Tomorrow I have to pack a suitcase and plan and organize everything. Wish me luck. And COME VISIT!

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 26 2004 at 11:00 pm
More Residue Results
**** Endurance by Lansing, Alfred.

– The photos are spectacular. The text is a bit distant from the material, in contrast to the book below. It is interesting to read them back-to-back, as several characters appear in both.

***** The worst journey in the world, Antarctic 1910-1913, by Cherry-Garrard, Apsley George Benet

– Fantastic. The illustrations are sparse, mostly watercolors and sketches by Wilson (one of those who died), with a very few photographs. What shines here is the text. Excerpts from Bowers’ journal and letters, and the author’s own observations are witty and display a wry sense of humor. The descriptions of the penguins are priceless. The explorers’ dread of pack-hunting killer whales and their genuine grief at losing expedition ponies are also very poignant. I have not gotten to where the expedition turns scarey yet. It’s a good one to read slowly and savor. The best of the Amazon lees, so far.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 26 2004 at 9:11 am
It finally happened; I had to reinstall Win98 on my home laptop. It wasn’t as much of a pain as I’d expected, and all my files in d: were still there, which is nice. I lost all of my email, though, which wasn’t so nice.

Here’s the list of things I had to reinstall immediately:

1) A whole heap of windows updates

2) ClamWin (Because McAffee wouldn’t update from such an old version.)

3) Mozilla Firefox

4) Mozilla Thunderbird

5) Zone Alarm

6) Visual Zone

7) AdAware

I’m really very tempted to just wipe the whole system and put Linux back on here. Maybe after the move.

By the way, I’ve also figured out how to get RSS feeds from Upsaid, which makes monitoring certain other people’s blogs a lot easier!

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 23 2004 at 10:57 pm
One comment:
Hmm. Who ever could you mean?

Read part of the article on the genetic bone diseasebefore being called away by life here. Imagine never meeting another person in your lifetime having the same suffering as you.

But I suppose we all feel that way, anyway.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 24 / 2004 at 10:20 pm

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Phenotype = G x E

Kathie and I were discussing genetic diseases last weekend. One particularly nasty one that came up was fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). This is a skeletal disorder that literally converts, over time, soft tissues into bone.

Given all the things that can go astray genetically and environmentally, it’s a wonder any of us are physically comfortable and have the usual number of appendages!

skeleton of Harry Eastlack

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 23 2004 at 12:38 am
Appliances and Scary Foods
There was a discussion about scary American foods today. It reminded me of an entry of mine from back in 2002 about cultural foods. A bit of googling turns up these lovely compilations of recipes. Those in the first collection are actually scarier than those in the second collection:

Family Indigestion

The Back of the Fridge: The Archive of Damned Recipes

Lileks Gallery of Regrettable Food

I think my vote just might have to go for Tuna Twinkie Soufflé, though, which is on a different site.

I ordered a new washer and dryer for the Romulan place. I ended up getting them from a store in Auburn featured in a hysterical 2000 blog by someone who lives in Skaneateles. The people at Riester’s said they didn’t know they were famous, and seemed truly amused to be presented with a prinout of the above story. They clearly have a good sense of humor. Decent prices, too!

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 17 2004 at 11:31 pm
One comment:
What a HOOT!

Welcome to real upstate New York.

Not only the electric chair, but Mormonism and Spiritism as well were “discovered” here.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 18 / 2004 at 10:57 am

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Residue Results (partial)
How good were Amazon’s predictions of what I would like? Here are the results, so far:

***** Arabian sands. by Thesiger, Wilfred

– About halfway through this one. I like it. Surprisingly, the photos are quite good. I did not expect this. It’s a shame the big fold-out map that is supposed to be in the back is gone (not surprising, after 45 years of library circulation – apparently TCPL used to be the “Cornell Public Library”).

**** Coraline by Gaiman, Neil.

– Definitely as creepy as promised. Not a bad book, yet dare I say, “a bit annoyingly self-conscious and precious”? Maybe I am reacting to all of the acclaim the author has gotten in the last few years? Maybe he’s just too postmodern for me.

***** Three Junes by Glass, Julia

– Really very good. I enjoyed this one a lot.

*** Unfinished tales of Numenor and Middle-earth by Tolkien, J. R. R.

– Interesting, but as the title says, “unfinished,” as in fragmented. I’m sure the makers of Jackson’s film interpretation found rich material in there, but it’s kind-of hard to read, since it’s pieces of manuscripts and notes, patched together with C. Tolkien’s comments. I think I’ll stick with the finished pieces. Sometimes it detracts from a work if you delve too far into its creation.

That’s on average 4.25 stars. Pretty good, but on the other hand, I think my friends do a better job of recommending books, and I get the added pleasure of gaining insights into their personalities! 🙂

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 14 2004 at 8:19 pm
Collaborative Residue
Thanks to‘s collaborative filtering engine, I now have a list of books to check out from the library. Here they are:

Arabian sands. by Thesiger, Wilfred

Endurance by Lansing, Alfred.

The secret life of bees by Kidd, Sue Monk.

Touching the void by Simpson, Joe.

We die alone. by Howarth, David Armine

The worst journey in the world, Antarctic 1910-1913, by Cherry-Garrard, Apsley George Benet

Coraline by Gaiman, Neil.

The eight : a novel by Neville, Katherine

An instance of the fingerpost by Pears, Iain.

Three Junes by Glass, Julia

Unfinished tales of Numenor and Middle-earth by Tolkien, J. R. R.

I’m just about done with The Surgeon’s Mate by Patrick O’Brian, and am about to launch into The Ionian Mission (next in the series), by the same author.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 08 2004 at 10:49 pm
You might also need a subscription to Adventure magazine.

I have read a couple books on the list and the one by Thesiger I want to read. Maybe I will order it from groton while waiting for the next O’Brian book…..

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 09 / 2004 at 12:12 PM

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Oh, and you might add Redmond O’Hanlon to your list of great adventure reads. I really like him and if people have returned them I have a couple of his books.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 06 / 09 / 2004 at 12:15 PM

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