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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Going There From Here

Checking Osprey's blog, atomic-raygun, is always a pleasure for me; this evening I am visiting from Far, Far Away (Virginia, USA), on my trusty laptop.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Whale Power!

At the site Whale Power you can read all about one form of biomimicry technology which is revolutionizing wind turbines and other blades.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

World's Biggest Shredder

This machine is awe-inspiring. Amazingly, someone built this GIGUNDO machine to crush, sort and shred metals in order to recycle them. Sorry about the ad at the beginning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Laura Tahri Sings "Keep the Faith"

My daughter Laura appeared in her church's play "The Christmas Post". This is an iPhone recording of her solo in the play. Luckily, the audio is pretty good. Apparently the phone is not the best at recording strongly-lit subjects, but you get the idea.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Children of Heaven

This is a movie from 1999, Iranian, about a brother who loses his sister's only pair of shoes; they cannot tell their parents because there is no money to replace the shoes, so they share his sneakers, in a relay race between her school and his.

The pictured scene of blowing bubbles is delightful. They made huge bubbles using only their mouths and hands.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Jewelry of All Religions

Between my charm bracelet and necklace I have symbols of most religions of the world: cross, star of David, crescent and star, Buddha, Ganesha, AUM, pentacle, and a crystal for all the New Age spiritual paths.

The Nature Conservancy in China - Jack Ma

The Nature Conservancy in China - Jack Ma

Posted using ShareThis

Waste Conversion into Synthetic Gas

FYI: This video is from CNBC and includes an ad at the beginning and when I viewed it, it continued to the next story.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Meet the Natives USA

The Travel Channel has a new series, Meet the Natives USA, featuring Pacific Islanders from Tanna, Vanuatu, who decided to visit the United States. During World War II, they were defended by the Allies and were advised to stop warring amongst the tribes on their island.

They heard that the USA is warring, and they are bringing the same message of peace back with them.

In the first episode they visit a ranch in Montana, thence to New York City, on to Peoria, Illinois, and to Orange County, California. The next episode they visit Georgia and D.C. Their mission is to bring their message to President Obama and other leaders of the United States.

These men accept the sometimes frightening (airplanes, plastic cooking bags), sometimes enjoyable (drinking wine, elevators) aspects of American lives. They meet with very different families, staying with them in their homes. The contrast is clear but everyone is respectful and loving.

They previously visited the UK and spoke to Prince Philip in 2007.

David Friedman Kabbalah Art

David Friedman is an American-born artist living in Israel, who uses Kabbalistic symbols to create sumptuous art in various forms, posters, cards. His site has a bio along with images of his work, available for purchase.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Easy Time Travel

It was a dark and stormy night ...

Weary travelers stop at a roadside diner.

And I took home enough for tomorrow's lunch.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Visual Apothecary

Janette Schuster works with found objects to create intriguing pieces. Take a look for yourself at her site, Visual Apothecary, the Art of Janette Schuster.

Lucy Sits Up Nicely

Re-blog from Lucy Tornado's blog
Sits Up and Looks Around:
a friend and i have exchanged many gifts over the years.
a few years ago she said "how about if we give each other back gifts we didn't really like?"
she said "the person who got it for the other, REALLY liked it, thought it was special, and would probably appreciate it!"

this seemed quite sensible at the time.
i was fascinated by my reaction when she returned one of my gifts!
i thought "this? she didn't like THIS? this is so wonderful!" and i felt a little hurt.
then i thought "i REALLY like this! i'm glad she gave it back to me instead of giving it to the thrift shop."
and i treasure it still.

To add to this, my mother and one of her friends came up with a gag gift, a large fake pearl necklace which neither would really want to wear. From that point onward, they would wrap the necklace in ever-changing fancy giftwrap and give it to the other one. Back and forth it went until my mother's friend died. Each time the recipient would open the gift with squeals of pleasure and peals of laughter. What better gift could there be?

The Member of the Wedding

One of the reasons I watch movies more than once is that frequently, I have changed so much between the first viewing and the second that I see the film completely differently.

My memories of "The Member of the Wedding" were of sorrow, which is still there, and of identifying with the teenage girl, Frankie, played in the movie (and on Broadway) by Julie Harris. I must have seen the movie when I was a teenager, though it came out well before that time.

This time I identified with the Ethel Waters character, Bernice, who is the housekeeper for the widower and his children, and who really loses everything in the few months covered by the movie.

Ms. Waters gave, as she always did, an oustanding performance; she pulls us into her life without sentimentality, and advises Frankie wisely, though her wisdom is ignored.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Found Beads

These beautiful little glass beads have been sitting in my jewelry cabinet for a few years now. When they are strung on the black cord their designs are just striping. I wish I knew what to do with them, because I love them. Maybe they could be attached to a piece of clothing somehow, but I am at a loss as to how to do that. Anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wedding Pictures (Our Side of the Fam)

From the top:

My great-nephew Eric and his bride Paige being married (looking over my sister Anne's head)

My daughter Laura

My sister Anne

My niece Liz (Mother of the Groom)

Paige and Eric cutting cake

Laura Tahri Singing at the Allen Wedding

Caveats: I apologize for the poor quality of this video; I hope that you can experience some of the beautiful, smooth and moving quality of my daughter Laura's voice, as she sings a song chosen by the wedding couple, Eric and Paige Allen. I was ill prepared and only began shooting after the song had begun. It was shot on my iPhone from 50 feet away, in a large hall.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Young Geoffrion Showing at Mysterio Gallery

Today we had a very enjoyable and successful opening at Mysterio Gallery; the work of Young Geoffrion. All residents of Second Life are invited to visit the gallery and see her work. She would be happy to sell pieces to anyone who is interested. Just give her an IM inworld. The gallery is at Grignano 112,131,36. It is in the top floor of The Brownstone East. Entry is via teleport, fly up to the top floor or drop in through the roof (the empty elevator shaft --- hey, this is urban life!).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Egg in Bottle Trick

Looking for egg graphic ideas (for Human Age, a game in which I belong to the Eggheads Clan), I found this video of getting a hard-boiled egg into a bottle. Kinda messy but fun.

Thanksgiving Preparations

Nineteen years ago I chose this china pattern and the stainless steel flatware pattern (silver needs way too much care--this is Reed & Barton's 1800). It is much more traditional than what I would choose now, but it has its charms. It is Marlborough Sprays, by Spode. It is heavy china (thank goodness, I am not known for tender care of my things), with a greyish cast to the white background.

I use it a couple of times a year, along with the heavy tablecloth and napkins. While I am tempted to sell it and buy a simpler pattern, it would be easier just to continue on with this.

The Transition Movement

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Electric Astrolabe!

Holy Kaboley, I just found The Electric Astrolabe, at! This is software that can be downloaded absolutely free. *Goes wild, cheering and yet fearing she will be unable to use the thing*

Astrolabe Instruction Manual

I LOVE astrolabes and wish I had one, as this speaker wishes. When he told me it would in all likelihood cost more than my entire neighborhood, my hopes were dashed. Well, truthfully, I had no hopes to dash, but nevertheless, a wild part of me wants to build one of these (the wild part does not care one whit that I have none of the skills required to build such an instrument). My heart soars as I contemplate an astrolabe, even one that is simply a pixel image on a screen. Oh, and yes, I wish there were an iPhone app astrolabe, but I searched and there is none (so far). Something to wish for!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Pic with Two Brains

Osprey took almost the same shot of herself gazing out of the back of a steampunk boat in Steelhead today. I was using the camera to pan around and spotted her inside the boat. I got this poignant shot, then tonight saw the same view, cropped a bit differently, on her blog! Brains on a tandem Bike!

Bunnehs on a Bike

A bunnilla (bunneh / gorilla) aids a tiny jackalope, not knowing she is a magical creature.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bunnehs on a Bloon

Two bunnehs, one a tiny jackalope, one a grotesque bunnilla, take off on a balloon journey through The Forest of Kahruvel, only to meet a cigar-smoking wolf.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It's Raining Trees!

On the Discovery Channel they are showing an aerial reforestation project, in which helicopters carry buckets of canisters containing soil and prepared black mangrove seeds. See a video primer on aerial reforestation here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nebra Sky Disc

Unearthed in central Germany, this bronze and gold disc has changed archaeological ideas about Europe and its stage of development in the Bronze Age. A tv show about the disc (produced by BBC Scotland) is currently being aired on the National Geographic Channel.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Just Leap In iPhone Gallery. This is not accessible using Internet Explorer, so if you use Firefox you can romp in, but with IE, Just Leap Out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Stellaaaaah's Gawn

Although Stella is a very good dog, and would be great as a first dog, she and Bear did not take to one another, and were tolerant but not interested in one another.

We two humans felt pretty much the same about her, so today she went back to her foster family. Walking Bear by himself again was a wonderfully easy event.

Sleeping Betty!

My thanks to Allison Sommers, who posted this fab animated film on facebook!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Overcast, Windy, with a chance of BLUE ANGELS!

This weekend is the 25th Anniversary of Wings Over Houston. We live just a couple of miles from Ellington Air Force Base, and today THEY'RE BAAAAAACK! Two Blue Angels flew so close to my head I shivered just a little while ago. The sky is overcast, with a low ceiling, and moderate to high winds. It was excIIIIIting! *squeal!*

Family legend has it that our dad's cousin,
Admiral Jim Flatley, helped create the Blue Angels, but I have never found anything substantiating that. Nevertheless, he was an Ace in WWII and quite a guy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Stella Diaries

HWMNBMIMB took the two dogs for a 45-minute walk, then was leaving for work when Bear and Stella started having a rodeo in the living room. He yelled STOP and they were tearing around. This was my wake-up call.

At around 9AM, I took them for a long walk around the neighborhood, and regretted my choice of leashes for Miss Stella. It is a thicker, longer leash than we use for him, and it is hard to manage two very different leashes on a two-dog walk. Stella went into high alert -- tail up and rigid, head up, snorting and pulling--each time we encountered another dog.

We got home and had treats and heartworm medication chewables. Stella then went to our vet for her introductory visit. They clipped her nails, which terrified her, though she was docile. She looked at me with huge pupils. She has been through a lot at vets the past couple of months, so maybe this will help her associate them with less traumatic events. She drooled copiously in the car on the way there and on the way back. No vomiting!

Later on I had to go out for an errand, and took both dogs with me. This is one of the great things about seasons other than summer. The dogs can wait in the car without fear of roasting alive. On the way home, we stopped at a local dog park. Stella's hackles rose to full height all along her backbone, and though she was fine with the other dogs, she wanted to leave after we walked around the park one turn. There were dogs horsing around, and rather than take a chance on anything negative happening, we left.

Stella is still learning the basic commands, but she is very quick. She already understands "sit", and we are working on "down". She is less demanding of attention but still pushes Bear out of the way, body-blocking him from being petted. This gets corrected a lot; when she moves out of the way they both get petted at the same time.

Last night I was having doubts about owning two dogs, but we need to give it more time. It is more complex but more interesting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stella Update

We are trying to arrange Stella's five-night sleepover, and between our schedule and the foster person's, it has been very tricky. Now we are trying for Monday evening. Cross your fingers (or paws)!

Mixed Marriage

I have been watching Living with Ed on the Discovery Planet Green channel. I found out about it via the web, while searching for green countertop materials. HWMNBMIMB* refuses to watch it because he dislikes Ed Begley, jr. but I think it is really funny. They have a neighborhood competition going between Ed and Bill Nye the Science Guy, who lives just down the street, for one thing. Both guys aspire to be the Greenest Guy in the Neighborhood. Now some new dude is ahead of both of them.

I saw a couple of re-runs and the newest episode and I am not sure which one was which; on one of them, Ed gets this really complicated irrigation system controller that receives weather information and automatically sets the watering levels to reflect that information, along with all the various levels needed by different sorts of plants. It was fascinating to me.

They also visited Larry Hagman's house, which is (prepare to gasp) 25,000 square feet. He had an array of solar panels that cost over $700,000 to put in (although he got a rebate of $300,000 on it), and went from having a yearly electricity bill of $37,000 to having, last year, a bill FOR THE YEAR of $13.00.

I am not nearly as green as these people. I take two steps forward and one step back. I got rid of the home composter because it stunk and when I put out the compost the dog dug it up. I got rid of the rain barrel because it was impossible to use the water, as the faucet was so low in the barrel (good for water pressure, bad for gathering water into watering can). It was also a perfect place for mosquitoes to breed.

So, on to the "mixed marriage" portion of the post: Ed's wife Rachelle is not into all this stuff to anywhere near the degree he is. They are always bickering over that issue. It reminds me of home, because this morning, HWMNBMIMB complained about the toilet paper. He said it was made of "green bark", and that I would have to get him some mainstream toilet paper. The headline when we married was, "Environmental Nut Marries Chemical Engineer ... details at Eleven".
*He Who Must Not Be Mentioned In My Blog (thanks again for the acronym, Osprey)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Receding Adoption

We called about Stella on Tuesday, to have her come for a 5-night stay. The foster person said she could not set it up for Tuesday evening, so could we make it 6PM Wednesday. Today she got a migraine and cancelled. So we said maybe Thursday, but no, she has a meeting. Then they said Friday, but I am leaving on Saturday for the weekend out of town and that puts HWMNBMIMB* in a situation with two dogs, one of which is new to us, without me here. So they said Sunday, but I will be too tired to be able to deal with a new dog in the household.

So it recedes ... and I am discouraged. I wonder if it is meant to be.
*He Who Must Not Be Mentioned In My Blog

Recycled Fiber Makes Durable Countertops

EcoTop Countertops have created an eco-friendly, reasonably priced, durable countertop that is made from recycled paper, demolition wood fiber, and rapidly-regrowing bamboo fiber, laced with a water-based resin. They claim the surface is more durable than stone.

See more at Planet Green!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recycling Moves to the Next Level

Our plastic, metal and glass recycle bags ready for tomorrow's pickup.
An article in the New York Times discusses zero waste recycling, which we saw in action at Yellowstone National Park, and which is being practiced in more and more communities, as waste dumps max out. I applaud this trend!


Stella is coming to our house for a sleepover tomorrow evening. We met her on Saturday at a local pet supply store, where
Happily Ever After Pets had her on display looking for a home.

She is currently in a foster home. Her energy is medium, and she is very sweet and relaxed.
We will have her here for five nights, to decide if she is the right dog for our pack.

Now THIS is trompe l'oeil!

John Pugh does monumental murals with great trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) effects. This public mural is located in Los Gatos, California. If you go to his site, you can see it and more like it.
Amazing Facts has even more murals of different sorts.

Older but Wiser Consumers?

Hope for our relentlessly consuming society.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Today I could not log into my hotmail, and I got calls from lots of friends and family after an email was sent to them saying I was stranded in London having lost all my credit cards and cash, and please send me $2500. Sounds a lot like those "oh dear, I am pathetic in [Your Country Here]; send me money and I will be eternally grateful" sort of things. The only difference is it mashed up with a HUGE email hacking scheme. See it here, thanks to Osprey.
The most important point is, change your passwords NOW, and don't use the same one for everything you do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Freecycle! is a network of local groups that is organized to give away things that you are not using to people nearby who want them.

It bypasses the charity groups, rummage/garage/yard sales, and all that stuff that takes physical effort on the part of the giver-awayer. After joining the group, I posted my yogurt maker and it was picked up this morning from my front porch. This afternoon, I am putting out an adorable teapot/cup combo, which just does not fit into my tea drinking habit. Someone will be delighted to have it and I don't have to do anything but put it out for her to pick up. Ingenious!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inworld Video of Eskiil's LOVE

My video of Eskil Steenberg's virtual world LOVE, now in ALPHA. I have never been in a world when it was in ALPHA before! BETA yes. I am not much help, to Eskil or to my fellow players, because I keep wandering around in awe of the magnificent graphics. I am slowly learning to use the tools. In the middle of this video I get shot and die. As I lie dying I watch the firefight around me. The wonderful settlement in the beginning was destroyed. The second one was being built while I shot video.

In this world when you speak you cannot move and vice versa, which is a drag, but oh well. And the AI (Artificial Intelligences) are hard and constantly tearing things down and killing players. Overall it is complex but I will learn (there are forums and wiki here), and it will change and evolve. Interesting process!

Friday, October 09, 2009

OK Gimme That Car!

Hahah! Honda EV-N, a concept car, has a unicycle in the door! BWAHAHAH! And yes, IT CAME FROM THE TENTACLE.