Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Books I Read in June

Total:11 Books

Slave to Fashion (Rebecca Campbell)
The Electric Michaelangelo (Sarah Hall)
The Accidental Virgin (Valerie Frankel)
Neurotica (Sue Margolis)
Four Blondes (Candace Bushnell)
The Adultery Club (Tess Stimson)
Making Minty Malone (Isabel Wolff)
The Trials of Tiffany Trott (Isabel Wolff)
Perfect Timing (Jill Mansell)
Good in Bed (Jennifer Weiner)
Something Blue (Emily Giffin)

Slave to Fashion (21/06) - short and sweet. Somewhat predictable and slightly rushed, this book seemed to be over before it had started. Mooched from Amy Watts (USA).

The Electric Michaelangelo was easily the best book I've read this month and is probably the best fiction book I've read in a long time. I'd brought this book over with me from the UK, originally bought through the university small ads I think. Very elegant, evocative prose - even about Morecambe :o). Read my teaser here.


The Accidental Virgin (17/06). Mooched from Jamie (USA).

Neurotica (17/06). Mooched from Jamie (USA).

Four Blondes (16/06) was incredibly dull. That's probably all I can say about it. I did read to the end but I don't really know why. Mooched from Lee Hwang (USA).

Racing through the chick-lit at the moment - I need a man here fill my romance quota, until then I shall read it. Despite it's title, The Adultery Club (11/06) wasn't half bad. Won't be racing to read her other books but if it all gets a bit desperate I'd certainly consider it. I feel the need to mooch a few more challenging reads though. Mooched from Elwood (USA).

Making Minty Malone (09/06) was rather better than The Trials of Tiffany Trott but still not that great. I hate it when authors put cameos in their books from other books - if it adds nothing to the plot that whoever it is is called that then don't put it in. Mooched from Lee Hwang (USA).

I think The Trials of Tiffany Trott (08/06) may have stretched my chick-lit reading as far as it will go. Dull, poorly written and I still have another by this author to go. Mooched from ehj (USA).

Not as good as Thinking of You - a bit too contrived for my liking. Perfect Timing (06/06) was mooched from Kate (USA).

Slightly more lengthly than most chick-lit (I really should start trying to find some slightly less trashy reads whilst I'm here), Good in Bed really isn't too bad. Mooched from Stacy (USA).

Following on from Something Borrowed, Something Blue (01/06) picks up towards the end of the previous book but from another person's point of view. Nice idea, plays with any opinions you'd drawn in the previous book. Again a nice light read. Mooched from Riti (USA).

Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday Fill-In

This week's Friday Fill In:

1. She had a great bum. (Don't ask me why that's the first and only thing I could think of to fill that gap. More sexy jeans required.)

2. The Lord is by my side, always. (Feel the cheese...)

3. I know this: I am not young enough to know everything. (J.M Barrie)

4. Be still.

5. These words apply to me: make time.

6. Yesterday, the sun was shining.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Hobnob!!, tomorrow my plans include seeing Hobnob!! and Sunday, I want to do something fun with Hobnob!!! (Just a bit excited then...)

Monday, 22 June 2009

carcarcar!

Hurrah! By some magic (and money) my car is legal for another year. Here's hoping it goes that long!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Walking Alone

Sometimes it's just good to get away from everyone:



Apparently the shaft of this sculpture on the CMU campus vibrates in a way that was never anticipated. As a result, men with a big crane came and took almost all the people away. The people will be cleaned whilst the shaft is replaced and then they will be reinstalled. Not sure why she's been left behind.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

In Pictures: Homestead/The Waterfront

Homestead seemed to have a curious array of buildings, particularly religious (or so I assume) ones:

And on the other side of the road - this is America after all:


Just after a quick downpour, switched back to lovely weather as I explored Homestead cemetery:


Headless memorial - I spotted one or two of these. I remember Hobnob telling me the memorials without heads in the yard of Lancaster Priory were the result of the reformation. Did similar things happen over here?


For Hobnob. This really is a good place for trains - as long as you like goods anyway. You can see the weather coming back around again too :):

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Best Bathroom Ever

Trader Joe's in the strip mall with Natural Stitches. Nipped in for some bread and some relief! How cool is this?

Teaser Tuesdays: The Electric Michelangelo (Sarah Hall)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

"The show brought Claudia sadness finer than any requiem or any gravestone or anything beautiful or sorrowful that she could think of. On afternoons when she wasn't working with her husband or rotating on the platform in the Human Picture Gallery at Luna, she would go off by herself and pay her dime and linger in the corridors of the exhibit."

Page 231 of The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

Monday, 15 June 2009

carcarsad :(

The carcarcar has failed its MOT. This is not entirely unsurprising but it has made more more unhappy than I expected. Maybe something to do with timing... I can't really afford a new car until we've got the wedding budget sussed - something that's unlikely to happen for a while (and even then I suspect the conclusion may be that I can't afford it as all the car money will suddenly have vanished).

*grrrr*

Saturday, 13 June 2009

That was Quick!

Wow, my gauntlets had been finished for all of about half an hour, and I'm playing around adding pictures. Before I can blink they have a little love heart next to them! Only my second faved item ever, and again it's not someone I know.

(the photo was the least stupid-looking of all the timer ones I did - I never can get my head straight :o))

Still, this is a neat little pattern, and I was very pleased with how they turned out. I can see my making a few more sets when the Christmas panic sets in! Maybe even with those matching hats.

--

Incidently, the person who faved these has a whole lot of really cute amigurumi projects - yet another reason to learn how to crochet... I can feel a class coming on.

Finished Object!

Been a while since I finished knitting in any way other than ripping it back and pretending I'd never started! Here, though are the summer gauntlets knitted up to keep my hands warm in the rather cool CMU office:


Uber quick knit, portable and memorable. I think they only used about half a skein, was considering adapting lace pattern to a hat for the remainder of the skein but I suspect I'd never wear it. I like bucket hats - I keep meaning to learn to crochet and it will mostly be so I can make myself a bucket hat - they're not cool enough to be in the shops any more and I always lose the ones I have (currently only one left).

Friday, 12 June 2009

Friday Fill-In

This week's Friday Fill In:

1. I grew up thinking in black and white, but there are many shades of grey and it's far too easy to be judgemental.

2.Django was the last website I was at before coming here (and before that it was Ravelry... you'd never know I was working).

3. Why don't you treat yourself this weekend? I'm not sure what to, but you'll find something - maybe I will too!

4. Knitting helps me relax (but only when it's not bringing stress of its own, in those cases reading is a better bet).

5. Thanks for the comments, they're always lovely.

6.People hovering around you as you are very off-putting. I always assume they're going to judge the way I'm doing whatever it is.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing up another glove and planning my tomorrow, tomorrow my plans include some sort of adventure, who knows where to and Sunday, I want to have made it to 50 geocaches... 6 more to go!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Smile!

Pidgin says so! I've been looking at this off and on all day and I'm constantly misinterpreting it. It's actually the smilies menu.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Somewhat more balanced

My second handspun. Only about 3 yards but I wanted to stop whilst I had about the same amount of the bubblegum as the blue. Swirly wirly!


This yarn twists something like four times clockwise which is much better than last time (the aim is for zero or one twists), it's also considerably more even in thickness.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Friday, 5 June 2009

Geocaching Goodies!

Arrived today in the post. Looks pretty cool, the nanos are even smaller than those I have done before I think. Shall send them home with Hobnob when he visits :)


I had hoped to get the cache in Natural Stitches car park today and yet somehow this one still foils me. I was convinced it would turn out to be a galvanised plate but somehow this didn't seem the case - the thing seemed pretty firmly attached. Perhaps next time...

First Handspun!

Did the 'Beginning Spinning: The Spindle' class at Natural Stitches this afternoon and so here's my first ever handspun yarn. Foreground is the one I did in the class: lumpy, bumpy and unbalanced :) Background is the little bit I did this evening sat on my spindle it looks a little bit cleaner so far.

Very cool. And I even managed a little bit of knitting afterwards! (I'd banned myself from knitting this week until I'd forgotten the annoyance of last Sunday - or at least until it hurt a bit less).

Friday Fill-In

It's been a while... still, here's this week's Friday Fill In:

1. 12 stops and home.

2. My favorite thing for dinner lately has been whatever takes the least amount of effort to cook - I hate cooking for one.

3. Walking a dog (preferably one you can give back) through the snow on a crisp winter's day... mmm.... bark! bark! bark!

4. A nice long walk soothes the soul.

5. Tell me some good news.

6. When all is said and done, I'm OK really.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chilling out, blogging some catchups and thinking up plans for tomorrow, tomorrow my plans include maybe a geocache or two, maybe the sound/art exhibition thing at CMU and Sunday, I want to make sure I'm ready for Monday - this may involve going in to the office and doing some work :s!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Accessing VirtualBox Shared Folders From Ubuntu Guest

Apologies for the glut of technical posts - normally I drop this kind of thing onto my PhD wiki but it's not available atm :(

So...

1) Setup the shared folder on the host by bringing up the settings dialogue for the appropriate VM within VirtualBox. Click 'Shared Folders' and set up as required with a particular name. Remember the name you've given the folder.

2) Start the VM. Make a new directory in /mnt, this will be the directory to contain your shared folder content. E.g.

mkdir /mnt/docs_host

3) Type the following command into your terminal:

sudo mount.vboxsf *name_created_in_1* /mnt/*folder_created_in_2 *

E.g.

sudo mount.vboxsf my_docs /mnt/docs_host/

All done! You should now be able to do an ls on the directory you created in 2) and see the content you linked to in 1).

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Apache VCL

I'm currently attempting to install Apache VCL on my local machine. I've no idea how this will work, if it will work, and have an overall suspicion that for our purposes, it will not. However...

Things to note so far:
* The installation instructions actually seem pretty thorough.
* Got stuck with a redirect problem but it turned out to be this - set the cookie domain to "" and the problem goes away.

Monday, 1 June 2009

VRDP/RDesktop-cli

Using VirtualBox v2.2.2, I've got a VM with a plain boring Ubuntu install. Standard setup with no extra magic except that I've turned on VRDP (Settings->Remote Display->Enable VRDP Server. So that's the server side.

On the client side I'm using a Nokia N810 device, rdesktop-cli v1.6.0 and (attempting to use) PyRDesktop 1.5.

Firstly PyRDesktop is slow to start. That aside, I enter the IP of my host, and hit 'connect' - it does. Seemingly satisfied I close the window. Coming back to it a while later to see how *well* it works I start to notice a significant problem - my touch screen interactions seem to be totally mismatched with the resulting output. Imagine a display that just really wasn't calibrated right: I touch the screen in the top left and drag down - a selection starts to be made in the centre of the screen, I touch in the centre and I can just see my selection falling off the bottom right corner... not so useful.

Curious.

So, I figure I'll leave PyRDesktop out of the equation for a moment at try RDesktop without the 'pretty' (it isn't) Python GUI. Starting out with the reasonably simple "rdp myip" (having aliased the rather stupidly named rdesktop-cli to rdp - surely it should either be rdesktop or rdesktop-client not some weird middle ground?) I find the same problem occurs. Fine, so what's next? Try forcing the thing to use RDP 4 "rdp -4 myip" but that just doesn't work at all, I can't connect that way. Try a bit of a fiddle with compression and caching, neither of which alter anything (did I expect them to?) and then reread the usage information.

Usage: rdp [options] server[:port]
-g: desktop geometry (WxH)

Ah-ha. That looks kind of useful. Try it first with some arbitrary values:

Nokia-N810-43-7:~# rdp -g 480x220 169.254.10.32
Autoselected keyboard map en-gb
WARNING: Remote desktop changed from 480x220 to 800x600.

This doesn't 'fix' the problem, but it does seem vastly improved. Quickly look up the resolution for the N810 on the magic Internets and try again:

Nokia-N810-43-7:~# rdp -g 800x480 169.254.10.32
Autoselected keyboard map en-gb
WARNING: Remote desktop changed from 800x480 to 800x600.

Much better. Curious about the warning though - if it hasn't actually used the resolution I've told it to then 1) why not? 2) why has this helped?

Books I Read in May

Total: 9 Books

Something Borrowed (Emily Giffin)
The Last Time They Met (Anita Shreve)
The Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan)
Knitting Rules (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)
The Gatecrasher (Madeline Wickham)
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey)
Nadia Knows Best (Jill Mansell)
Thinking of You (Jill Mansell)
This Present Darkness (Frank Peretti)

A light read after the two slightly more substantial reads (by which I mean meaningful content not length) - Something Borrowed was a one-day read as I meandered around Homestead and Squirrel Hill. Not fabulous, not awful either. Mooched from Stacy (USA).

Mooched The Last Time they Met (30/05) from Jeanette (USA). One of my slower reads this month, with both Knitting Rules and The Joy Luck Club started and finished as this one progressed. I loved the descriptive prose in this novel - wasn't crazy about the ending though.

Picked The Joy Luck Club (28/05) off one of the BookMooch Recommendation pages. A lovely little book. Mooched from Ellen (USA).

One of the girls at Natural Stitches recommended Knitting Rules (27/05) for socks. It's got loads of other stuff in it too. Started reading it on my home for the shop and finished on my way back to the shop the following evening. Cool book with lots of useful stuff in.

Read The Gatecrasher (22/05) as some light relief after One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Quick, easy read with little to say for it. Not appalling but not so good you overlook the chick-lit factor :) Mooched from Tiffani (USA).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of those classic books I really should have read before now, but I hadn't, so I did (21/05). Took a bit of time to read this one but it is a great novel. Mooched from Alex (USA).

Nadia Knows Best was one of those mooched after reading Thinking of You. I liked this book. Light, predictable and well-written. Mooched from mspeegle (USA).

Brought Thinking of You with me to the US as I was pretty certain I'd not feel the need to take it back home again - generally any chick-lit is a one-time-only read. Nice and light this really cheered me up. Glad I didn't read it on the plane as it was lovely to have something so easy and uplifting once I'd arrived and settled and was feeling a bit sad. Started on the 7th after a bit of a mope and finished on the 9th after forcing myself to drag it out :) Have mooched a few more by this author to help keep the blues away.

Read This Present Darkness on the plane over to the US (05/05). Wasn't desperately impressed. A nice idea for a spiritual book (if a little blatant) but not fantastically written. An OK read but I wouldn't read any more by this author.

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