Friday, April 18, 2008

If this is Friday, this must be ...

Palo Alto! Well, actually the hotel is in Menlo Park, but I quibble. (it comes from living with an engineer....)

The drive up was uneventful. The Cadillac purred like a kitten, and the miles flew. (any other cliches I could throw in?)

It's late, I'm tired but excited about the class tomorrow with Steph.

ahhhh. Life is good. Ercil will get here in 30-45 minutes, and we'll turn in.

Oh, and for some reason, when Cecilia's daughter, the defense lawyer, heard we were driving the Cadillac, she asked if it was hot. I don't think she was thinking hot as in sexy.

But like I told the Roketman, we won't get arrested. Being high on fiber is legal, if a bit giddy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gold star!!

I gotta share...

I just helped an undergrad student who was tearing her hair out on a statistics assignment. And by god, I saw that light bulb that goes on when someone *gets it*. And wow- I put it there. Do you know how good that feels??

The assignment was really vague, from a professor who routinely gives vague assignments and seems unable to give specific and detailed instructions on how to accomplish the requirements. So, I showed her the public opinion polls in the Roper Center database, how to download the raw data, interpret the coding, all that.

But she couldn't get a grasp on what to do with all those numbers.

So, I started to give her possibilities.

What if you parse out just the males, above a certain income level, who voted in favor of the education proposition? Then, do the females. Are they different? How about comparing and contrasting with lower-income voters?

She didn't think that was enough analysis for this project. So, I proposed that she look at a Presidential primary poll, then a Gubernatorial one. Go out and find what their speeches said about education (i.e., spend more, spend less?). Does that correlate with how people voted? I.e, can you predict whether the education proposition passed by whether the candidate supported the same position?

That's when the light bulb went off. The student was so excited, she took my scribbles with her. (I tend to make concept maps with arrows and such.)

She kept telling me "You say it in English!!"

I'm just sitting here doing a happy dance in my chair. (quietly, because I'm still at the desk waiting for the next appointment...)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Up to my underarms

Up to my underarms - on the RocketGanseyDottir, that is. I'm about to start the third skein, too! There was a bit of ripping back and tweaking for the upper section because I want to put cables on either side of the neck.

I'm dealing with a bit of deer-in-the-headlights anxiety again. Not sure where that's coming from. I'm hoping it's just butterflies over the ROAD TRIP!! up to Palo Alto to take a class from Stephenie Gaustad. Yup, the same Steph who visited Oaxaca when I did. I'm so humbled to say she's my friend. End of mushy stuff, before I have to pass the hip boots.

Sheep Thrillers Cecilia and Ercil are driving up with me, that's why it's going to be such a cool trip. And on Saturday night, we're going to dinner at Sylvia's, and get to meet up with Joy and her family, plus Alfred and a few others.

I strongly urge you to go read Joy's blog - she, Lena and Nyondo are doing amazing things in India. They live up in the Himalayas, and Lena is a Buddhist Lama. (yes, Lama Lena!) If you can, do donate to their humanitarian efforts - they are helping to take care of the flood of refugees fleeing the Chinese abuses in Tibet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

God Bless the IRS

God bless the IRS, in that ultra-polite Southern genteel way that masks the true intent, the exquisitely rapier-sharp opposite meaning...

I just stood in line for an hour at the only USPS in miles that's open past 6pm. The problem? The "Automated Postal Center" was too hard to use. Or maybe too slow. There were about 50 cops providing security and traffic control, 6 postal workers at the curb taking the envelopes that were already stamped, and nobody inside to help people figure out the computer-assisted scales and postage printer.

I ended up smacking a half-dozen stamps on the thick envelope and calling it good enough.

I'm not going to speculate on the average intelligence of the people in line, mainly because I was one of them. (as in, if I'm so smart, why was I there too?)

And I didn't take my knitting with me. How intelligent is that? So, not much fiber progress.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More charts for the RocketGanseyDottir

I have been dithering about what stitch design to put at the top of the RGD, with several options percolating through the brain cells. I decided that this is the one that was yelling the loudest... but I can't tell you whose gansey gave me the inspiration. It's not nearly as good as hers, I won't even pretend. And if she sics her lawyers on me, there is a LOT of difference between her version and mine.

RocketGanseyDottir- Chart
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster

Interestingly enough, this gansey isn't out of Scotland, but a more to the south, in England. I think I had the misconception that ganseys were unique to Scotland.

So, other than drafting this pattern, and doing a bit of fluffing wool to ready it for the carder, and spinning about an ounce of singles, I haven't gotten much done. hmmm. Laughing at myself here-- I'm doing that thing where my acccomplishments don't mean much, because the stuff I didn't get done is more noticeable.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How to make a Geek's heart flutter

Everyone knows about my day job, right? I'm a Reference Librarian at the Claremont Colleges Honnold/Mudd Library. As such, I get to research a lot of (to me!) really cool stuff.

I've used CalFlora a lot to determine whether I'm going to find certain dyeplants in my area. Today I went to look up black locust, and they've added a georeferencing function - it'll give location data! For Madrone, a tree whose bark gives a great brown, it even gives locations like "San Gabriel Mtns., East fork Santa Anita Canyon, Madrone Flat."

hmmm... no GPS coordinates. Ah, I see why- the incidence records pre-date GPS technology.

Looking up woad, I see one reference for Los Angeles County, for an unspecified herbariam. Which goes along with the conclusion Kathy L had, that it's so invasive, people who know what it is, and where it is, won't tell other people for fear of spreading the scourge.

I guess I'll have to settle for the Japanese indigo. (hand to brow in mock distress)