Monday, December 30, 2013

Back up 2013

This is the first of my 2013 year in review.  I kinda hate those that I see on TV but I feel I want to do this anyway.

I spent the afternoon making backup DVD's of my photos and sketches.  You are making backups aren't you?  It's not whether your hard disc will fail, it's when.  Anything that is important needs to have a backup.  My husband, the IT pro, also says that the backups should be in multiples, in at least 2 different media and one of them off site.

Thus, my method is to back up to an external hard disk all year long.  I also make 2 DVD copies, one of which is stored in our safety deposit box.

This year, the photos required 8 DVD's which each hold 4.7 gigs.  That's 37.6 gigs of photos.  My sketches took another DVD themselves.

I'm glad that's done!  Next will be my collection of sketchbooks and journals for 2013.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve

Early today, I watched the recorded PBS show, Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf ChoirThis particular pairing of songs was very evocative:  "How a Rose e’re Blooming" and "The Rose" sung alternating, each by a different choir.

 It can be seen here and that pairing of songs is at about 32:20.

 Info from the album:
 Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming / The Rose
Michael Praetorius / Amanda McBroom, arr. Craig Hella Johnson

I tried to find a place to buy just that one piece, but the album is not on the usual places that sell individual songs.

I've mostly just been listening to Christmas music and reading a book on location sketching.

Later, I sketched a Christmas bunny:

Friday, December 20, 2013


This is the first snow my area just south of Seattle has had since 18 December 2012.  And that was the only snow the winter of 2012-2013 had.    This bit of snow is more than there was on that previous date, but not by much.  Rain is predicted for noon and it will all go away.  It's been above freezing since I got up.  These were taken about 0830.

The backyard gnomes have snow beards this morning.

A few more photos are here

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and onward

Our Thanksgiving was very quietly thankful.  We had a relaxing day at home.  We did cook up a dinner more special than usual but not the whole turkey and fixings extravaganza. 

I fast-forwarded through the dog show on TV, only watching those breeds/sections in which I was most interested.  As in, I skipped the Toy division. 

On Black Friday I completely avoided shopping.   I only left the house to pick up Wolf's eye drops as he can't drive yet. 

We watched NOVA's re-examination of the evidence about the JFK assassination.  They showed the few seconds of shooting footage that was never shown at the time.  Yikes, it was graphic! 

Over the past few days we've talked to some close friends on the phone.  It was good to catch up.  And we should do it more often. 

I gathered up the leftovers from my Etsy shop and donated it all to one of the charity shops.  I then made a trip to Tinkertopia in Tacoma to donate a bunch of odd bits they can sell for upcycled crafts projects.  My arts blog has gotten more views than ever today as a result of Tinkertopia tweeting my sketch of their Little Free Library!

I drove Wolf to his cataract surgery f/u on Monday.  All is well.  He then went to the mall with another new glasses prescription.  He has nice, thin, lenses in his frames.  These are interim and not the best.  The MD said to wait until mid-January to see the optometrist again for a final prescription.  At least he is 20/20 again. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Geeking out on HAM

Just watched the most recent episode, from a couple nights ago, of Last Man Standing.  Tim Allen's character is a HAM and has the call sign KA0XTT.  The "XTT" is a bit of a private joke as Tim's character name on "Home Improvement" was Tim Taylor. So, ex T. T.  Yuk, yuk. 

Info on how the producer, who has a HAM license, incorporated HAM radio into the show and got the call sign.

The QSL card that is sent out:

We've not been using our radios much and I'd really have to do a review of the band plan, for one thing, if we did.  But we do have our call signs as our auto license plates. 

KF6xxx Clear.

Nexus 5

I ordered an unlocked Nexus 5 from Google on Monday night.  The site said it wouldn't ship until 3 December.  I paid for next day shipping as I was concerned to know exactly when it would be delivered. 

Then I got a notice that it had shipped at 0200 yesterday!  It arrived last night about 1930.  Wow. 

I didn't get a sim card and I'm not planning on actually using it as a phone.  I could, though. At this point I still don't feel the need for a smart phone.  But I did want a smaller PDA.  The Nexus 7 was a bit much to carry around.  It's not much thicker than the iPod Touch.  The camera is much better, especially in HDR mode.  

I spent some of last night and more time today setting it up.  Google installed all the apps I'd had on my Nexus 7.  I did have to organize the screens, though.  I also set it up to synch with local Outlook on my PC. 

Everything works great.  Such and easy set up.  Drag and drop all the files I need.  I really like it.

I needed a different podcast app as the one I was using wouldn't synch between devices.  I paid a little bit for Pocket Cast and it works so much better.  I then just dragged and dropped all my music....7 gigs worth.  None of this having to load them to iTunes.  Just select all and copy over.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Doctor!

We spent nearly all day yesterday watching Dr. Who.  There were the pre-special live broadcasts from LA.  Then we watched the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, live during the world-wide simulcast.  Next we logged into our UK BBC website in order to watch some videos from there.  Most notably was the very funny, Five(ish) Doctors Reboot made by #5, Peter Davison.  See it here,  even viewable from the US.  Lastly, we watched the repeat of the special over again on BBC America, fast forwarding to the added "special commentaries" by #10, #11 and others.

As with many of the best Dr. Who episodes, it was rather confusing.  All that timey-wimey stuff.

("People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect. But actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly... timey-wimey... stuff." said by #10)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Leaving Apple

Two months ago I started using Wolf's new 2013 Nexus 7 tablet.  He already had the original Nexus 7 and let my "try" his new one.  Well, it's mine now.  I've not used my iPod Touch in those 2 months.  I've successfully been able to synch it with Outlook on my PC using some additional software I did have to buy.  I've been carrying the 7 inch tablet in my purse/bag for these 2 months.  I like it a lot!  But it's a little big to carry all the time. 

I've been waiting for the Nexus 5, which is a phone.  I finally was able to see one today.  I'm likely going to buy it.  I'll get it from Google, unlocked,  and not activate a phone carrier.  I intend to just use it as a PDA, as I used the iPod Touch.  Yeah, I'm weird.  I don't really need a smart phone and I'm adverse to paying a data plan. 

Tonight I sold my 2 year old iPod Touch 4th gen to Gazelle.  I didn't get much for it but it's better than just letting is sit on the shelf.   It was unable to use the new iOS 7.  It has been my experience with Apple that 2 years is the lifetime of the software, if not the device.  That's another thing with which I'm dissatisfied. 

I still have an iPad 3rd gen but it can only use part of iOS 7, so I've not installed it.  I will continue to use it until it fails.  However, I've gradually migrated my RSS feeds to the Nexus 7. 

So, I'm nearly done with Apple.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cataract #2

We were up before 0430 this morning.  Wolf wanted to be able to have something to drink before the 0500 cut off for his 0700 surgery appointment.  Since we were up, we left the house at 0545.  The trip was a breeze compared to 2 weeks ago and the 2 hour traffic jam! 

Once we got there in plenty of time for his 0700 check in time, I realized his actual surgery wasn't until 0830.  But there was a fair bit of prep to do before he was rolled to the operating suite.  This was his second cataract surgery so we knew the drill. 

Before I knew it, he was in recover and they called me back in about 0915.  All seems to have gone fine.

We were home just after 1000.  He went back to bed for a nap!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

HP stamps released today!

I made my usual Monday morning stop at my PO box.  I asked the postal worker when they might get the new Medal of Honor stamp and she said she did not know.  But she handed me the philatelic catalog.  Once home, I browsed it and decided to order several attractive stamps on line, including the Medal of Honor ones.

That's when I found the Harry Potter stamps were to be released today.  Of course, I included them in my order!  I really wish I could order just the McGonagall stamp!  I did order 3 of the set of 20 stamps.  I'll be well supplied for awhile.  The TV news this am indicated these are "limited edition".  Since they are "forever" stamps, I may get a few more sets.

I have a set of the British ones released in 2007.  They showed the British book covers.

Friday, November 15, 2013

New eye

Wolf had cataract surgery on his left eye last Thursday (7 Nov).  Yesterday he had his one week f/u and all is well.  He obtained a prescription for interim glasses.  By January, both eyes will be completely healed and he'll need a new set.  But he needs to be able to see out of the left eye when the right eye is operated on next Thursday.

The new glasses lens is thin.  It is amazing when compared to the right lens and the old one (these are upside down and backwards, so right is left):

T he lens on the right is for the eye that's had cataract surgery and can now be corrected to 20/20.  Below it is the old lens.  On the left is the lens for the, as yet, untreated eye.  It's about 20/50 even with that thick lens.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Astronaut Chris Hadfield

Astronaut Chris Hadfield was on local TV today before his talk at Town Hall tonight.   I was available so wish I'd known he was going to appear today.  I've gone into Seattle to be in the audience of this show before.

The color of a cataract

Wolf had the first of two cataract surgeries last week.  After 5 days, the eye on which the operation was done can see well enough to use the computer, so he's back at work.

He has been in wonder at the change in colors.  The cataract caused a yellow shift.  He used one of the drawing apps to show me the color difference between his eyes now (with only one of them still having a cataract) and it's remarkable.  I remember when we disagreed about the color of something.... I said it was a shade of blue and he said it was green.  Now we know why!

This is what white looks like in each eye now.


In Memory

Wolf's Aunt Dorothy died last night.  We received the word from his cousins.

I remember her as delightful, kind and giving.  She loved to cook for family and friends.  She was very kind to Wolf and me.  In 1986 we returned to SoCal from Germany.  She let us stay in one of her spare rooms until we found a place to live.  It was a great help to our transition.  

As much as I hate it, I'm glad I re-joined Facebook.  It was through a private message there from one of the cousins that we heard she was very ill.  When we were last in SoCal 2 years ago, I gave all of them all of our contact info but the only one they had seemed to have was Wolf's work email.  Wolf hasn't been at work this past week.   

She was about 85 years old and quite frail.  I was sad we were unable to see her 2 years ago as I caught a cold from a friend and her family didn't want to take the chance of her catching it as she was so frail.  Even though Wolf might have gone alone to see her, they were still concerned he might have carried it from me.  :(

She had had open heart surgery 2 years ago and spent a long time in a skilled nursing facility.  Once home, she was cared for my her younger son.  Then about a week ago she suffered a massive stroke.  Her children (Wolf's cousins) made all the right decisions. They agreed to initial life support.  Once scans confirmed she was unlikely to ever wake up from the coma due to massive brain damage, they chose hospice. 

She passed peacefully and comfortably within a couple days, with family constantly at her side.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

SteamCon V

I spent the weekend of 25 - 27 October at SteamCon V.  With my friend, Regina, I've been to every one.  It makes it easy to do that since it is held nearby.  It is a fairly large Steampunk convention.  I go for the costuming and props. 

I did some sketches and took a lot of photos.  The sketches are on my Wordpress Arts blog.

This dapper gentleman had a very interestingly crafted badge holder.

One of the few items I bought in the Merchants' room was a new CD from Abney Park.  Captain Robert was there himself:

This lady had a fine costume and very clever accessory for her persona as a traveling Chemist:

At 4pm on Saturday, they assemble as many as will come for a big group photo.  This probably has barely half the people there in costume.

All the photos are here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the Fourth Be With You

Alpha Base & Garrison Titan were spread out all over Puget Sound in support of Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be With You") and Free Comic Book Day.  I went to the Puyallup library.  I thought I'd have an easy time parking at a big lot right next to the library.  But, noooo.  There was a huge Farmers' Market and Craft fair going on in the park right next to the library.  The few photos I took are here.

I trooped with a TK.

A delightful young man who is an R2 Builder brought his R2-M5.  He said he built it like a tank so the kids could mess with it to their hearts content and not do much damage.

He was assisted by library volunteer Alex, who is himself a roboteer (at left).  He's the chief engineer of his high school robotics team.  Yay!

The librarians recognized my costume right away as the "Jedi Librarian".  They asked for this pose specifically: