Sunday, February 27, 2005

Finished knitting project!

The second fingerless mitten is finally finished! I sat down in front of the television and knitted it from the thumb to the fingers, including weaving in the ends. Part of the motivation came from organizing all my knitting projects and wool. Most importantly, all my knitting notions are now conveniently stored in a large cutlery holder. The long straight needles are in the large knives section; two shorter vertical sections hold double points; the third vertical section has circulars; one horizontal section contains crochet hooks; and the other one stores darning/tapestry needles, scissors, stitch holders and markers, tape measures, and other items. It is so handy to know exactly where to find the tool I need at the moment I need it.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


A friend recently co-authored an op-ed piece on Darfur, Sudan, that was published in The News & Observer from Raleigh and in the Contra Costa Times. The piece is reproduced in full in a post , "'Hotel Rwanda' Morally Implicates Us All," at a website that keeps track of what's happening in Darfur, Sudan: Passion of the Present.

The op-ed piece encourages people to watch the movie "Hotel Rwanda" in light of the current situation in Darfur. The authors point out
what is most important about the film's depiction of recent history -- namely, that genocide is a moral issue that implicates us all.

Preventing and ending it is our task as moral agents, a task that cannot be outsourced to diplomats or saints.

To place genocide in the moral realm acknowledges that it results from the intents, decisions and choices of people. While a variety of choices culminated in the 1994 genocide, the Clinton administration, when confronted by the facts, chose not to stop the bloodletting. [...]

"Hotel Rwanda" also can inform our actions in the present. In fact, Rwanda has much to teach us with regard to the current massacre in the Darfur region of Sudan, where an estimated 70,000 Darfurians have died and another 1.8 million have been internally displaced by government-sponsored militia.
The authors, Tiffney Marley and Tammy Williams, both from Duke University, lay out how ordinary U.S. citizens can respond and then exhort churches to take action.
As active Christians in the church community, we especially urge churches to prioritize genocide as a "pro-life" issue. It is ironic that some congregations in our own black church tradition who observe Black History Month have neglected to address black-history-in-the-making in contemporary Africa.
Please read the full article and respond.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Lambing season

It's lambing time over at a Hillside Farm. Scroll down for a number of really sweet pictures.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Change is on the way....

I've been thinking a lot recently about the many things I say I want to do and the kind of life I say I want to live but always having this sense of not quite grasping it. So, tomorrow, the piano movers are scheduled to rearrange the furniture in my one-bedroom duplex. I had two new 72-inch bookcases made, which were delivered a couple weeks ago. So, the piano is coming out to the living room along with one bookcase. The desk, table, and filing cabinet are going into half of the bedroom that will become a study. The second bookcase will go into the bedroom, for a total of three.

Result: all the piles of books will have shelf space. I shall feel like I have a living room to which I might enjoy inviting guests (one of the many things on my list of things I'd like to do).

Additionally, I bought a small washing machine through someone at work—the kind you can hook up to a sink. Now maybe I'll do smaller loads of laundry more often. And I'll be able to try felting.

So I'm looking forward to a long weekend of homemaking, being almost fully recovered from last week's illness. It's supposed to rain, too, so all the more reason to stay at home and make it cozy.

Tonight's tasks: wash all the dishes; move the piles of books to the other side of the bedroom so that the movers can manoeuvre; and put away piles of clothing so that there is room for piles of books.

[Saturday noon update] The movers and the delivery people have come and gone. My computer is reconnected, now in the bedroom/study. There are also two bookcases waiting to be filled in here and one in the living room. The first load of wash is finishing up (although it's raining outside so this load will have to dry on the rack inside). The dishes are about half done. The clothes are all put away. The piano looks very nice in the living room. There is still a lot of cleaning and organizing to finish, but the heavy lifting is done!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Econ lessons

As I lay on my sick bed (well, hopefully, recovery bed), I read the Sunday paper for the first time in a long while.

I was struck by this LA Times book review by Steve Fraser of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, by Richard Parker.
Galbraith is the last original Keynesian standing, our best reminder that John Maynard Keynes felt economics had to be about something more than a mathematically elegant description of a free-market world that never was. To really be of use, economics had to deal with the question of power, with the weight of institutions, with the inertia of habits and customs, with all that messiness that lies teasingly just beyond the reach of the algebraic formula. [...]

Parker clearly shares Galbraith's commitment to a liberalism that sees a vital role for government in helping correct or prevent abuses of the free market and in regulating the behavior of corporations whose activities affect us all. He sympathizes with Galbraith's sacrilegious insistence that public goods — parks, museums, clean air, schools, scientific discovery — are as true a measure of a society's worth as is the level of private material consumption. Because he is a fair-minded and scrupulous scholar, Parker's partisanship is a help, not a hindrance, to understanding the trajectory of Galbraith's life. [...]

Galbraith's Keynesianism always pivoted around means for checking the power of the country's dominant business institutions. By warping the distribution of wealth and income, by manufacturing and manipulating consumer "needs" and desires, by exerting a preponderant influence over the channels of ostensible democratic decision-making, so Galbraith argued, the country's great corporations did more than generate inequality and injustice. They also undermined economic efficiency and stability, while writing off whole regions of the country — inner cities, industrial ghost towns, vast zones of rural impoverishment — as if they were nonperforming assets. Galbraith's prescriptive advice, both when he was close to the centers of power in the 1950s and '60s and in the years of exile afterward, never shied away from a confrontation with that "power elite."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Knitting content!

I finally got a disposable camera of pictures and a roll of film developed today. (The pictures on the camera were almost a year old....) So, I'm eager to post some knitting pictures. (Click pictures for a closer view.) Full details will be posted later.

[Update 1/2/06: Pictures removed and posted here.]

1) Lace Rib Watch Cap, from Hats On! by Charlene Schurch.

2) Self-striping sock, Wendy Johnson's Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern. (Yes, I still need to knit the second sock.)

3) A rather extravagent scarf, in Mountain Colors Wooly Feathers and Merino Ribbon using their Gypsy Scarf pattern in the Yellowstone colorway.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Knitted room

A site I used to enjoy, now long (in Internet time) defunct, was Dangerous Chunky, which posted interesting knitting links. This story from Tasmania, via Boing Boing, was the sort of link you would have found on Dangerous Chunky: a knitted recreation of a 1950s living room.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Just like vacation

I feel like I'm on vacation almost. An interim pastor just started at my church, so now I don't have to put together two services each week (English and Spanish) and oversee the preparation of the two bulletins.

And my first three Netflix movies to watch on my new laptop computer arrived in the mail today: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, because the guys on my high school quiz team quoted Monty Python lines for entire bus trips to tournaments, and I had no reference for what they were going on about; Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, because Joe Morgenstern specially recommended it in his year-end round up of the top movies; and the 1962 release of The Manchurian Candidate, because it's one of the (many) classic movies I've not seen.

After much clicking around, following troubleshooting scripts, and reloading my audio/sound device driver, I realized the reason no sound was coming from my laptop built-in speakers was because the external manual volume control on the side of the computer was turned all the way off. . . .

Next thing to figure out, the correct settings to be able to send e-mail messages. Then try and hook up the printer.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Debs Park

As I was leafing through a Sunset magazine today, I saw an article on Debs Park near Pasadena and Los Angeles. My friends at Path to Freedom had told me about this Audubon Center, and now I'm linking to it here to add it to my list of places to visit.