jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
Jesse the K ([personal profile] jesse_the_k) wrote2017-02-23 04:09 pm

Cosmic Vibes: A Sting Medley on Bottles & Strings

The Bottle Boys make beautiful music using found instruments:

  • Melodies from blowing across beer bottles (in 10-packs, carefully tuned) and
  • Percussion from shaking pop bottles full of rocks and beating a large, empty carboy.

You can see the many instrumental pop songs they’ve covered at

Combine that with a quartet of three violin & a cello and you’ve got this video:

Stings Strings & Bottles )

[description: All players are white, blond, male Danes. Additional melodies come from

  • a glass harmonica of wine glasses, their rims excited by chopsticks, finger tips, and violin bows
  • an alto pan pipe of test-tubes
  • a tenor pan pipe of wine bottles
  • a bass pan pipe of growlers
  • inserting fingers in bottle neck and swiftly popping them

Percussion includes

  • hand slapping chest
  • hands & chopsticks on the cello
  • a wee plastic egg full of rice]
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-23 02:17 pm

Knitting tips I've picked up (some from Mom)

In no particular order:

If you have to rip back, rip back, carefully. Do it on a flat surface, gently, and the yarn might retain its shape enough to make it easier to pick up the stitches. If you pull at it too strongly, it'll deform and might loosen up further down than you want.

Pick up stitches with a smaller needle and transfer them after. I am working with a 40-inch metal #6 circular needle; I am picking up stitches with a #2 bamboo circular needle. The bamboo needle has very sharp points, good for picking up delicate thread. I pick up with that needle, knit them off onto the larger needle.

Crochet hooks are your friends! They're great at helping you pick up stitches, and reknit ones that laddered down a bit, or where the smaller needle split the yarn and you need the whole yarn for the stitch. Peruvian needles have hooks built into them, which makes them very sensible; those of us who don't have those need a few sizes of regular hooks. I have some in wood, some in metal, and they all work.

Big secret that will save you headaches: you do not have to pick up every stitch facing the right direction with the left side of the stitch hidden behind the needle.) It does not matter, as long as you didn't twist the stitch as you picked it up. As long as the needle you are knitting onto goes *into* the hole in the center of the stitch straight on, with the yarn in back, it's knitting. If you go into the stitch from behind the right-hand side, with the yarn in front, it's purling. Or you can certainly straighten out the stitches on the regular needle by picking them up off the smaller one and making sure they face the direction you want (right side forward, left side behind the needle.)

If you can't see the error, it makes no difference to the stitch count or pattern or final result, it doesn't matter.

Don't torture the yarn. Knitting is supposed to have some stretch in it, some ability to bend. If you feel as if you're knitting something that feels starched when it's not? You're holding the yarn too tightly. There are numerous ways to wrap it around your hand and get control of tension; play with them until you get something you like. I use my mother's method, which wraps around the last one or two fingers, pver the back of the hand and around the index finger. I modify this depending on what I"m working on -- but it doesn't cramp my hand and the yarn flows reasonably.

If you think you need stitch markers, you need stitch markers. Markers are a lot cheaper than ripping back and redoing your work. I have used regular markers, twist ties, earrings, rubber bands, anything that is handy, but the bits of plastic sold as markers work fine and don't catch on the yarn. The pattern I am doing calls for four markers, two at each end of the working area -- but I am adding about 20 more, to get better control of the repeating pattern in the middle. Who the hell makes a 14-stitch repeating lace pattern? This pattern's maker, apparently. Adding the markers made it bearable, and easier to track what went wrong when the count didn't work. Not adding markers because the pattern doesn't mention them and getting confused does not make you macha, but you can end up spending far too much time trying to figure out why that slipped stitch isn't where it's supposed to be or the interesting K2PS (slip a stitch, knit two together, put the slipped stitch over the top, a decrease of two stitches overall) is not working out.

My eyes are not what they used to be. I wear bifocals. If I knit for too long, without looking up, my eyes 'set' at that distance, which is not good. So I turn on whatever is on TV, generally movies, so I have something to look up at that is more than two feet from my eyes. It helps immensely.

Make sure you have enough light to see very well.

Work with yarn that feels good on your fingers and tools that suit you. I love circular needles - but I strongly dislike the expensive sets of them where you have 40 sizes of needle end and long cable to fasten together, because the yarn tends to get stuck at the join. So I have tons of different sizes of needles, a number of duplicates, plus my mother's collection of aluminum or plastic or bone straight needles from the past 60 years. Some I use, some I don't. I tend not to knit with the straight long needles because they put a lot of strain on my wrists, which isn't good. But they're good to hold long amounts of stitches if you're working around, say, a neckline. Do what works for you and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. I also use the best yarn I can afford that suits a project, because working with cheap nasty stuff is no fun and I won't like the result. But I also spin wool and knit with that sometimes, too. It's all about what works for you.

And if it's not fun, and you don't like the process, and you don't like the result, go do something you like instead. There is no law that says YOU MUST KNIT OR DO NEEDLEWORK TO BE A PROPER FEMALE. Actually, I learned a lot about turning sock heels from my large and macho male cousin, who grew up knitting socks to send to the troops in WWII. So don't make assumptions, either. :)
oracne: turtle (Default)
oracne ([personal profile] oracne) wrote2017-02-23 02:04 pm

Still Sick

I can't find my thermometer but I definitely have been running a fever. I just took another hot shower and popped some meds. I feel like crap. The end.
radiantfracture: (alan bates)
radiantfracture ([personal profile] radiantfracture) wrote2017-02-23 10:08 am

On Never Reading Your Own Reviews, So to Speak

I tend not to follow trans-related news, arts, and media as much as might be expected – not out of any disaffection with the identities or ideas, but more as a sort of not very useful self-defense practice against a number of painful and complex emotions. Anyone talking about trans issues, even talking about them really well, hurts at least a little, for the earth is made of knives. Still, a different habit would serve me better.

The (re-)restriction of trans people in American public space is frightening, yet it's almost background noise to me because of everything else that's happening.

And also of course, as a passing transmasculine person, I am least affected by this violence. It's the trans, agender, and cisgender people who don't fit into expectations of gender presentation that are most at risk, and especially transfeminine people. So a powerful if unstable privilege and the frail membrane between Canadian and US politics create a little space of denial in which I lately crouch. It's easier to worry about other people's problems, and the scale is so much greater.

It is maybe not strange, in some larger analysis of the rise and fall of empires, that this institutional violence intensifies as there is a surge of great thinking and creativity in and around gender and sexual identities -- but it feels strange, like boarding a rollercoaster and then finding yourself thrown through empty air.1

Yet I'm inspirited the recent agender, ace, aro, and fluid writing I've encountered. While my default habit is to worry about the way categories put hard borders on the mutable forms of experience, I feel like a lot of air has been let into the rooms of sex and gender lately via these identifications and discussions, and I'm grateful for that. In particular, it's made me reflect on what my own terms of intimacy might actually be.

So I hope -- I even believe -- there is enough power in these movements, these people, these ideas, to keep it all going until -- I guess until the rollercoaster can be rebuilt -- but right now I am ill in body and in spirit.

Um, so, I don't know -- any good fic recs?


1. And look, in the final analysis, I refuse to believe in some absolute or causal connection between increase in personal freedom and incipient societal collapse. (I don't buy that goofy story about the granaries either.)
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
oursin ([personal profile] oursin) wrote2017-02-23 04:38 pm

Do we, perhaps, have our own natural reading speed?

I was given to think, if not very much, by this article which floated past my attention lately: If you want to get smarter, speed-reading is worse than not reading at all.

I assume he's talking about people who follow some programme that is intended to increase their natural reading speed, rather than people whose natural speed of reading is fairly quick (Frankie Howerd voice going 'Don't Mock' at his boast of reading 100 books in a year).

It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500–750 words per minute) while still being able to understand the text as well as if they read at normal speed.”

If you’re reading fast, you’re not engaging in critical thinking. You’re not making connections between Infinite Jest and other post-modern texts; you’re not challenging a historian’s version of the American Revolution. You’re not having a conversation with the author. And if you’re not doing the work, you’re only walking away with surface knowledge.

Oh no? Begging to differ there. There is no 'normal' speed across the board: there is the speed that is normal for the individual reader.

Related, at least by a rather random process of association, In praise of readability, which is engaging with this rather problematic piece Against Readability (query: are not invocations of 'soap-opera' and 'middlebrow' gendered dog-whistles?), which is one of those 'god forbid readers should enjoy themselves' pieces.

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-23 09:23 am

we are the people. we are not the enemy. We the people of the United States.

Mexico will not take deportees dumped over the border. And it is their right to do this -- but what will happen to the thousands of people whose lives are in question? The deportation policy that ICE is enforcing is an assault on basic American values. It is about as unAmerican as it could be.

The Occupation has rescinded the access to appropriate bathrooms that Obama guaranteed for transgender people.


Standing Rock camp closes.


The five Trump administrations -- entertainment, cleanup, crazy, GOP, and essential -- and the perils of Potemkin democracy. And let's not forget poorly thought out economics.


The folly of abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts.

What Facebook owes to journalism -- and what it could do to support good reporting with 1% of its profits.


Protesters jeer at cowardly Congressmen who don't have the guts to face their constituents. And a woman whose husband is dying confronts her Congressman: “And you want to stand there with him at home, expect us to be calm, cool, and collected? Well what kind of insurance do you have?” And that was only the start.

Democratic Senators introduce legislation to stop the deportations.

The British Parliament votes no to a state visit from Trump. The vote is emphatic but nonbinding -- he can still visit, but it won't be the whole formal deal that other presidents received.

This is the page in for House Bill 610, which takes away free lunches from children who need them, and turns money for public schools into vouchers for private schools, as a way to destroy public education in America. Read it. Write your Congresspeople about it. Tell them to defeat it.

US libraries become sanctuary spaces, in resistance.
starlady: (bibliophile)
Electra ([personal profile] starlady) wrote2017-02-22 09:55 pm

Be the content you want to see in the world, or something

What I'm Reading 
I'm separately slogging through Queens' Play, the second Lymond book, and have just started the third Jaran book by Kate Elliott, An Earthly Crown. I am enjoying the Jaran books so far but they are quite…long…and I am less engrossed in them than in any other Kate Elliott book I have ever read. Otoh, I did, after finishing the first one, finally obtain a Kate Elliott backlist bingo. I am also engrossed in Lymond, but I don't know what is going to take the last 125 pages of this book and the plot seems to have temporarily becalmed, which is saying something for a book in which Lymond mostly drinks and fucks his way through the French court in disguise (the latter of which is, of course, offscreen). I have at least managed to internalize that whenever a character is doing something and I don't understand why, it's because they want to fuck Lymond. I hope, but doubt, that the upcoming TV series will make some of this rather unsubtle subtext visible onscreen.

What I've Just Read
Well, Jaran 1 and 2 and Lymond 1. Jaran 1 and 2: good, long, I have no idea how Gwyn Jones gets from Point A in book 2 to where he winds up at the beginning of the Highroad trilogy, which at least does not have the problem of not much happening for long stretches of time. Lymond 1: every man in Scotland is an idiot except Lymond, and Will Scott at the critical moment. I felt like I was being beaten over the head by Scottish history for most of it, but in an enjoyable way. I have been texting [personal profile] oliviacirce about the books, because she told me to, and at some point I will probably transcribe our conversations with her permission, because they are at least hilarious.

What I'll Read Next

You guessed it…Jaran 4. I would also say Lymond 3, but apparently it's best not to break between books 3-6 and my copy of 4 is the wrong edition, so I may hold off until I can solve that problem. Also I have a pile of comics that I need to read before ECCC.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
james_davis_nicoll ([personal profile] james_davis_nicoll) wrote2017-02-22 08:22 pm

Surely this has been used

A real estate developer who arranges for superhumans to scuffle in neighborhoods the developer wants leveled so they can buy the properties on the cheap and develop them.
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
Jesse the K ([personal profile] jesse_the_k) wrote2017-02-22 03:51 pm

Two Great Vids from the Festivids

Vidding defined )

Although the annual Festivids discussion and commenting happen on Dreamwidth (mirrored on Livejournal, Tumblr, IRC and so forth), the vids themselves are posted in many places. In my brief experience, the most lasting is Festivids' own site.

For now, all the 2016 Festivids are here

and for the future, visit

The two highlights for me: A Better Son/Daughter and Get Better )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-22 01:56 pm

what keeps me going in all of this

Is you. And my SU and the cats. And the blue jays spreading word of the crows outside my window. And the snowdrops in the lawn. And the slanting sunshine pouring in the window so I can knit and not strain my eyes. And movies and books and fanfic.

But a whole lot of it is you all. You, who read what I put here and pass it along and comment intelligently. (Do you have any clue how rare intelligent comments are?) And you write fanfic about characters I care about -- you tell the truth aslant by putting it in the mouths of characters and making it real -- and record it so I can listen to it in the truck, and come up with alternate universes and ways to show me new worlds at an angle.

If I could, I'd buy you all coffee, or good wine, or sing you all a song I wrote about friends. (No, it's not on YouTube, and it won't be; it'll be some time before my voice is back to singing well.) I do what I can, which is to hold this space, to put things in it that I hope are helpful and that I hope aren't going to drive you to despair, and I try to put in some cheerful or offbeat things also. (I purely love the woman who stood off an intruder with a broadsword, for instance. SCA and similar for the win!)

What I am saying is this: if you weren't there, I wouldn't be here doing this.

Thank you.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-22 12:29 pm

Because this is the only song in my head

Deportees. Written 66 years ago by Woody Guthrie. Sung by Arlo Guthrie and Hoyt Axton.

Lyrics here.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-22 12:03 pm

Just because I name some things as evil does not mean others may not be.

14 brands NOT to buy for olive oil -- it's fake. And a list of trustworthy brands.

The Second Amendment does not grant any right to own an assault weapon. So says the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. So say we all. A similar ruling was decided by a court in Maryland, also.


As if there was anything else needed to make this Occupation look sleazier: how Rump and Bannon (I keep wanting to type Bannock, but that would slander a perfectly good pastry) are connected to pedophilia-advocate Milo Yiannopoulos.

The most important thing to know about Trump's deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. Any way they can. Every way they can. More here.

This is evil. Trump signed the bill getting rid of protection for streams. Say goodbye to trout, turtles, frogs and toads, and hello to mosquitos, poor water quality, and devastation for anything relying on that water. This is an attack on rural and urban America, on water flowing through farmland and through suburbs.


Two Russians admit to colluding with the Trump Campaign.


Independent film theatres are screening '1984' to protest the incremental authoritarianism. And would it surprise you to find that the Orwell novel is free on Kindle?

In Virginia, the governor vetoes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Thank you for women's lives, Gov. McAuliffe.

Students at a high school in Carroll County, MD, one of the less diverse areas of the state, were forced to take down diversity posters as 'anti-Trump'. But there's a campaign on to put the poster images on t-shirts the kids can wear. The posters are beautiful works of art by Shepard Fairey.

What to do when a restaurant puts a 'minimum wage service charge' on your bill -- that is, asks for money that is not for tips or for the cost of the meal, but theoretically to offset the cost of paying an actual living minimum wage. Cheap-ass jerks would not get return business from me. I'd give a big cash tip to the server, give the owners a piece of my mind about their underpayment of hard-working employees, and leave. Permanently. I tend to be hot-headed about mistreatment of restaurant staff, since I worked hostess for the overnight shift in a pancake house for a while, dealing with drunks, cops, wedding parties, exchange student employees and a misbehaving dishwashing machine. As hostess, I got a nickel more an hour than the waitresses, but I didn't get any of the tips. I also had to go outside and wash the glass doors even in snowstorms. It was not worth the trouble after a couple of months.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
james_davis_nicoll ([personal profile] james_davis_nicoll) wrote2017-02-22 12:06 pm

This I believe

When an elderly tomcat snuggles up next to a much larger, younger cat and then growls at him, it sends a mixed message.
oracne: turtle (Default)
oracne ([personal profile] oracne) wrote2017-02-22 11:51 am

Wednesday Will Happen on Thursday

I will do Wednesday Reading on Thursday, because I have a sore throat and post-nasal drip and am at home today, which means no bench press tonight and my schedule thrown out of whack, which makes me mad.
twistedchick: cptr art-bricks around a heart (room 4 love)
twistedchick ([personal profile] twistedchick) wrote2017-02-22 10:57 am

(no subject)

When did compassion become partisan politics?

ETA: Another way to think of it: when did legislating for the good of the majority, with as little harm to the minority as possible, become a rare bird, all but extinct?
copperbadge: (Default)
copperbadge ([personal profile] copperbadge) wrote2017-02-22 03:45 pm

Do Lays A Flavor

Do Lays A Flavor:

GUYS IT’S BACK. Lays is once again soliciting for flavor suggestions at . I’ve already turned in my ode to the hot dog potato chip. Go ye and suggest a flavor! (Then reblog this or comment and share your flavor so we can cheer you on.)

from Tumblr