I’ve got a project to work on for a friend; it’s a matching set of embroidery pieces, one a runner and the other a square tablecloth.  They’re both missing the same bit of embroidery; there’s an outer ring, then large elaborate leaves in the corners, then an inner ring, and on both the inner ring is missing, though printed on.

So if I’m going to complete this embroidery, I need to match the thread used.  Being a good little fiber geek, the first thing I did was burn test, from long ends that are knotted off on the back of one of the pieces.  The trouble is, the burn test is not giving me sensible results.

I got slow burning with an orange flame that self-extinguished after a few seconds, with a smell of burning paper, that left soft black ash and several seconds of ember; no melting.  The result that matches the most of that is wool or similar, but the smell is wrong and also this stuff is vastly too shiny to be wool.   The smell wants it to be rayon, but rayon is supposed to leave grey ash, not black; the ash wants it to be silk, but again it didn’t smell like burning hair.

I think I might just punt to matching looks and not caring about the actual fiber content, so there’s a trip to the needlepoint store in my future; JoAnn’s limited selection of DMC rayon floss has nothing of the right thickness or color.  Actually I fear matching all the colors may be impossible, as one is a very odd gold-olive kind of shade I’ve never encountered in embroidery floss.

If anyone has better Google skills than I do, the print on the thing is “Grayona Needlecraft Corp, No. 8186/11”.  I just need to know what kind of floss was in the original kit.

Rain, Rain

If this weather had held off till tomorrow, we could write it off to “in like a lion”; as it is, we’re gonna have to just call it a heck of a storm.  I dropped the car off to be inspected this morning, which meant that I got to wait for the bus in the horizontal rain, near the 62nd Street Bridge where there’s no shelter.

I did have an umbrella, which means that I’m only soaked downwards of a line running from just above my right hip to about the left knee.  My tights are filthy and covered in random bits of detritus, and my skirt, which is denim, is making my legs very, very chilly.

On the other hand, it’s in the 50s out there.  It won’t last, I know, but I’m taking my good news where I can get it.

Street Preaching

I wonder why Christians stand on street corners and preach.

I mean I wonder about Christians specifically.  I totally get the impulse to share something cool, for example, so the mere fact that someone might think their religion was cool enough to share does not puzzle me.  And if your religion is, say, Thelema, it makes a very small amount of sense to think that J Random Person has never heard of it (likely) and might be enlightened if se did (unlikely).  This is not the case for Christianity, and no it doesn’t matter what particular variety of it you may practice.

I mean, seriously, is there anyone in the US who speaks English who’s never heard of Jesus Christ?  And I’ll bet you serious money that 90% of those people could give a decent rundown of some important facet, like the Nativity story (heck, you can get that from Charlie Brown), or the idea of confession (many, many TV shows and movies), or the whole “died for our sins” thing.  I mean, yeah, people get confused on the finer points, like the fact that the Immaculate Conception does not in fact have anything much to do with Jesus, but the broad outlines?  We know.  We have heard.  We understand that you think we’re going to go to Hell when we die.  What exactly makes you think that you are the special, perfect snowflake who’s going to put it into words so eloquently that this time we’ll smack ourselves on the forehead and decide to come to church on Sunday?  Or are you just doing some sort of weird performance art for your own benefit?

All of this leaves out the specific Biblical prohibition on praying in public, by the way, because the street corner preacher types don’t tend to like it when someone they’re trying to “save” knows more about their own doctrine than they do.

New Yarnz

It’s no particular secret that I buy a fair amount of yarn from Knit Picks–they’re great for workhorse yarns at decent prices, whereas I go to the yarn shop if I want something special, in a very particular color, or that KP just doesn’t carry¹.

Anyway, I discovered today that the new Felici colors are out; Felici is one of their sock yarns that comes in limited-edition colors.  So I went and looked.  I have two words for the current selection of colors, in both sock and sport: ugly and boring.  The only color I vaugely like is Caprica, which I resent because I hated the way Battlestar Galactica ended² and it’s not fair to name a color after the project Ron Moore mutilated BSG for.

Seriously, what is with the horrid 60s colors of late?  Everything’s grey and olive and beige and teal and aqua, except for the occasional bit of tomato-orange, surely one of the world’s ugliest colors.  Even the Rainbow color has lavender and acid green instead of proper purple and grass green.

Felici used to have gorgeous colors.  I have three skeins of Alexandrite I have no idea what to do with, but I just love looking at them, and enough of the shades-of-red color that was available at the same time (I can’t remember the name) for a pair of socks.  These days, boring and ugly.  It’s depressing.

On the other hand, they have a new yarn line called Aloft which is clearly aimed at the Kidsilk Haze portion of the market (75% mohair, 25% silk) and comes in some really lovely colors.  So not an entire loss.

1: Actually a fair bit.  For example, they’ve got next to nothing in DK, and no faux-Fair-Isles sock yarn, which I like a lot.  So no, I am not starving the physical yarn stores of my business.

2: Yes, I am a geek, we have established this.

So Here’s the Thing

If you ever feel the need to say of your relationship, “I don’t fear [him/her] every day,” that is, to put it in the vernacular, a fucking bad sign.  That is the sign that you should have already started divorce proceedings, or perhaps simply packed and moved with no forwarding address.

I say this to the Internet in general because I can’t say it to the person who prompted me to think it; she’d be ever so insulted.

Oh, Cool

Going Away

Borders has declared bankruptcy, and is therefore closing a rather large number of their stores.

Of the six in the Pittsburgh area, four are going away, including all the ones with staff who aren’t jerks.  This makes me unhappy.


I’ve been levelling a druid in WoW as a pacifist–basically, I don’t kill anything.  (Well, except fish.) This involves a lot of sneaking, and a lot of corpse-running, and doing maybe 10% of the possible quests because there are really very few quests that don’t involve killing anything–and a bunch of those are part of chains that start with killing something, so no go there.

Pacifist levelling used to have a cap somewhere in the high 20s, because that was all the XP you could get from non-lethal questing and the token amount from exploration.  These days, you can in theory go all the way to 85 on XP from gathering and, if you have Cataclysm, archaeology.  Gathering from a level-appropriate node gives XP of about 1% of a level; digging up an artifact gives maybe half again as much.   And since extra herb and metal nodes were introduced, it’s rarely more than a minute or so between gathers.

It’s vastly slower, though.  Took me 3 and a half hours to get to level 5 as a pacifist; for a normal character it’s, what, 15 minutes?  I think the slowdown is getting less as I advance in level, but it’s never going to go away completely.   The upside is that two gathering professions means the character is really, really rich.

It’s kind of a neat experiment.  I don’t know if I’m going to remain interested all the way to 85–I haven’t gotten that far with any other character besides Altariel anyway–but for now it’s entertaining.

Becoming Clear

I think I’m realizing why the former occupant of this cube wanted to move out of it.  She claimed at the time that she could smell the restroom, which is patent nonsense as the cleaning schedule is perfectly adequate; we all thought she was just being snippy about wanting her own office.

But having been here six months or so, I’m thinking perhaps that wasn’t everything.  The problem is the cube’s neighbor.

I like the person who’s in the next cube over; she’s nice enough and worth talking to.  But the woman just will not stop bitching.  There’s the My Boss Is Mean bitch, and the My Husband Doesn’t Love Me bitch, and the I Have To Work Late Periodically bitch…those are the big three, with digressions into whatever’s bugging her today.

To be fair, she does make an effort to keep things quiet; it’s not like she’s having these discussions at full volume.  Of course that means I only get about 3 words out of 5, for that lovely half-a-conversation effect.

And the thing is, she never changes anything.  It’s always the same complaints about the same topics.  I don’t love this job, but if I hated it as much as she seems to hate hers I’d get a new one or at least work on making things more bearable…

In The Air

I walked out the door this morning and realized it’s spring.

It was in the 40s, the birds were making I can make my chest big and red noises, and the air smelled like things might conceivably manage to grow again someday.

I think Phil was right this year.