31 August 2008

Random Scan Sunday 15: Going back to Cali...

Apartment building sketch
I sketched this during my first stint of apartment hunting in Los Angeles. Didn't end up living there, but eleven years later, I still have the drawing. It's always a pleasant discovery when I flip through my folder of old apartment info looking for something else.

A year ago on TTaT: Heart-stopping KABOOM!

27 August 2008

Art + Nature

Right after this shot, I thought Damn, I didn't point my toe, but the mosquitoes had found us and my photographer was out of patience with my direction.

Claire and BalanceLichen logSplit tree and ClaireThistleWoodpecker feast
Woodpeckers, man, crazy.

Two years ago on TTaT: The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 3

26 August 2008

Free Rice is all new kinds of awesome

You know Free Rice, right? Multiple choice vocabulary builder, for each word you get right, the site donates 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger.

It's not just vocabulary anymore. They've added several other subjects: famous paintings, chemistry symbols, multiplication tables, world capitals, English grammar, and some foreign languages. So cool!

Also, you can even pick the level you want to play at now. Very cool. Had to see what the fuss was about at level 60 in the vocabulary since I've been stuck at 54; I just got 3 words right at 60. Sweet. Think I'll switch subjects before I break my streak.

A year ago on TTaT: Dream soundtrack

25 August 2008

Her hypocrisy triggered my stubbornness

Why I let myself get dragged into a heated argument with my Mom when I was already tired is not beyond me. It wasn't the sort of argument where either of us was actually upset; it was just the adrenaline-raising exhausting sort: voices raising to be heard over the other, incredulity over the other's unwillingness to give in over something so stupid.

It went on too long and too far precisely because I was wiped out to begin with. I'm calmer now but can still feel a vestige of excitability crackling underneath, sapping my strength.

Two years ago on TTaT: 32

24 August 2008

10 Meter Platform Diving is still my favorite

How adorable is Matthew Mitcham? Watching him dive and rip his entries made me exclaim Wow, while his happy excitement and friendly waves to the camera after getting his scores just made me grin.

If you don't know his name already, go watch some video (just type his last name into the athlete search box) or read up on him here.

Congratulations on your gold, Matt! Your dives were beautiful!

Random Scan Sunday 14: Olympic pins

Olympic pins

A year ago on TTaT: Roofers, you better be completely done!

23 August 2008


Seeing the crazy pace the men's marathoners started at inspired me to get back on the treadmill. About 12 minutes into the live coverage of their race.

While watching the marathon, I walked a fast (for me) mile plus some cool down for 25 minutes, stretched out some, watched more of the marathon, made myself a kick-ass celebratory blueberry/banana smoothie, and then watched the finish of the race.

Not sure the motivation will endure, but it felt good to show a little solidarity with the runners.


In the face of 95% Track and only 5% Field, I have mastered you.

A year ago on TTaT: Speaking of lawnmowers

21 August 2008

In motion

(run time 2:26)

This isn't the sculpture my dad and I finished a couple of weeks ago, but rather the earlier version we built. I'm stoked at how well it's held up being outside year-round for 6 years.

This video should give you an idea of what I mean when I describe the motion as "scoreboard" or "flapper dress."

(Sorry for the delay! I thought I had footage digitized of it already but ended up starting from scratch. Also, you know, the Olympics. ;)

(Other vlogs of TTaT)

NBC, as much as your online schedule drives me crazy...

I applaud your live uninterrupted coverage of the women's gold medal beach volleyball match.

That was awesome.

Two years ago on TTaT: Blogger backup tips

19 August 2008

Pole vaulting would be cool too

Although I can barely wrap my head around what you have to do with your body to do it. And I think the American woman's coach was an asshole for trying to make her feel bad about getting a silver medal. She was up against a woman who's broken the world record over 20 times! Scoring a silver medal at the Olympics with only 4 years pole vaulting experience is frakkin' awesome.

Regarding other silvers, I think the tie-breaking rule for gymnastics is rotten. The idea of multiple judging scores is fairness. The more scores you throw out, the more bias comes back into play. But what's wrong with having two gold medalists anyway? No sport with judging drives me more crazy than gymnastics. Every single time.

And one final pet peeve: NBC, your online tv schedule listings SUCK! I realize events can change, but I'm only looking as far as 18 hours ahead at most. When I look at the overnight schedule, you regularly give me a 7 hour window during which the sport I want to watch might occur. And three times so far, the events I wanted to watch didn't even fall in that window! Most of your coverage is taped anyway, so get your act together and give me a reasonably sized and accurate window!!! 2 hour windows should be totally doable. Also, I don't need the history of every competition within the schedule. Keep it simple, accurate, and let me look at more than 2 hours at a time.

A year ago on TTaT: Never thought I'd say it...

18 August 2008

A sport for every body type

Flexible and petite? Gymnastics
Tall? Volleyball, Basketball
Sturdy? Softball, Shot put
Slim? Diving (though Greg Louganis proves you can be really built and still rip your dives.)

No hard and fast rules, of course, but it was the huge bellies of the weightlifters that convinced me that there was a sport for every type of body. It would be ill-advised to consider them out of shape since they could toss me overhead with ease.

Over the past few days, I've been pondering what summer sport would suit me. I've never been flexible, so that rules out gymnastics and diving; besides I don't think my soul could take competing in a subjective sport. I wouldn't want to spend years in chlorinated water, so that eliminates swimming.

Team sports are probably a no-go, except maybe rowing. I always wanted a rowing machine when I was a kid. It would figure that my old high school some 15 years too late now has a crew team.

Never much cared for running. Skeet shooting would be tempting, though I'd rather not subject my hearing to that (even with protection) day after day. My knees and shoulders are too shot to take up tennis again, and I wouldn't want to compete in a sport where I felt like it needed to be totally quiet to play anyway.

Archery is what I keep coming up with as I'm better at being still than in frenzied motion. It comes down to shooting your best each time against your own target. I'd be comfortable in the wardrobe: shorts and a t-shirt, a hat if you desire. They play music between ends (rounds), and how seriously can you take yourself when you have to kiss the string and let it smash your face for each shot? A little absurdity would be good for me competitively, I think.

If I made the Olympic team, I would totally get the rings as a tattoo, making sure there were clean gaps where they overlap.

Ooh, if they had croquet, I'd totally be into that except I bet the uniforms would be on the formal side.

What sport would best suit you?

Two years ago on TTaT: The Road is my Favorite Place: Day 2

17 August 2008

Random Scan Sunday 13: Turkish Olympics

Claire in Olympic shirtOlympic shirt CU12 years ago, I took a weekend vacation to DW between semesters of grad school with a couple of classmates. One was from Turkey and had scored the awesome chance to volunteer at the Olympics in Atlanta that year. For fun, we each wore one of his Olympic t-shirts for a day.

Shoulda stolen that one... ;)

A year ago on TTaT: So now I should write something

16 August 2008

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health

That'd be what 4-H stands for. Also good, free fun. Saw a lovely selection of goats, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and rabbits (some very cool spotted ones). Also a few equestrian events which I liked just because the kids were competing in jeans and t-shirts instead of stuffy jodhpurs and jackets. And beautiful veggies and flowers (a spectacular red dahlia); baked, pickled, and preserved goods; and some cool artwork. There was also a band warming up for later and tasty smelling snacks. Good times.

On an unrelated note, swimming at the Olympics has not lacked for suspense this time around. Love watching this stuff live.

A year ago on TTaT: Beijing by way of catering, Making proverbs more appealing

15 August 2008

Cruise Night, round 2

More cars from Cruise Night...

If I had to pick a favorite from this show, this 1929 Rolls Royce might be it. That guy was acting like he owned the car when clearly, it should be mine.

1929 Rolls Royce1929 Rolls Royce CUCorvettesFordstriped goodnessskull and flamesRolls Royce1940 Cadillac Coupe=sex on wheels
The 2 bottom cars, the black and white Rolls from the '40s (I think) and the 1940 black Cadillac Coupe, would also be heavy contenders. If I was really going to own one, I think I'd have to have that Caddy. It's tough and smokin' sexy. Ya know, I do have a birthday coming up next month...

A year ago on TTaT: Either you get it, or you don't

14 August 2008

Contraception is NOT abortion

From MoveOn.org (italics mine):
Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won't cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women's reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. Access to basic health care for millions of women would be jeopardized. And it's being pushed as a "rule change"—meaning, it doesn't need congressional approval.

Can you sign an emergency message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change right now? Tell him: "Contraception is NOT abortion. The Bush Administration's proposal to change the definition of abortion and reduce women's access to birth control must be stopped."

Click here to sign the message.

The best way to beat back this proposal is to show Secretary Leavitt massive public outrage—that's why today we're launching this petition jointly with Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Together, we'll deliver every signature to Leavitt.
Please take a few seconds and add your name to the petition.

Cruise Night, round 1

If there's a "Cruise Night" happening anywhere near you, I highly recommend you attend. Excellent free fun. There was quite a turnout at the one I went to recently. Some great paint jobs and real beauts lining the street.
cruise night WShood ornament CUstriped carAvanti1940 Cadillaclooks amphibiousblue flames WSCheck out these awesome flames!DesotoI want some wispy blue flames on my car!

A year ago on TTaT: Clear sky at last; Inadvisable, certainly

13 August 2008

I need more sky

I'm surrounded by trees, so there's not a lot of open sky for meteor viewing, but I still managed to see 17 between 2 and 3 last night (this morning?). Possibly more, but I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me with short, dim, fast streaks.

The deck was soaked so I put a towel down on a chair, but the cold just seeped into me over the course of the hour. Was tempted to drive out to a field with more open sky, but heading to a dark, unpopulated area in the middle of the night alone didn't seem the best idea.

Rubber bands are evil

Innocent, flaccid loops waiting to show off their stretchy superpower: rubber bands are deceivers.

In storage, they dry out and break, and then melt onto anything nearby. From a non-porous surface, the pieces will probably come off, having dried and hardened. A porous surface, however, meshes with the rubber band to become a goo that won't peel off without leaving a lot of sticky residue, if it comes off at all. The porous items will inevitably be the ones you care more about salvaging.

Note to self: Never use rubber bands on items going into storage ever again.

Note to self 2: Maybe just go ahead and throw out all your rubber bands.

A year ago on TTaT: Threes?; 8, huit, ocho, viii, eight, otto


I'm always remembering them a bit past peak if I remember them at all. Just one day past peak this year, so I'm going to wash up for bed and then go out for a bit. Hopefully it won't rain on me.

Here is some viewing info.

12 August 2008

The other thing about the Olympics

The depth of my memory is reminding me how old I am this time around.

I remember my heart stopping when Greg Louganis hit his head during a dive. How skinny and young all the foreign divers were in comparison. How Louganis won the gold despite his injury, ripping through the water with a seemingly impossible lack of splash. That was 20 years ago, and I was already a teenager.

When the commentators reel off names of prominent athletes from past Olympics for comparisons, I find I know them all: accumulated knowledge. Playing Trivial Pursuit with adults when I was a kid, I never could understand how they knew so many unrelated facts and names. I get it now.

Then there's the athletes that are around my age, several competing in their 3rd Olympics, who make me ask myself what I've been doing all this time. The 33 year old female gymnast competing for Germany, in particular, blows me away. That anyone could still be that flexible, capable of sticking a landing after launching herself off a vault in a sport dominated by teenagers amazes me. Also Dara Torres at 41 swimming some of the fastest races of her life, fast enough to medal at her 5th Olympics. They're showing it can be done. I'm both inspired and dismayed.

What's my excuse after all? I'm not saying that I dreamed of being a pro athlete; I didn't. It's just one of the things in the realm of "you can do anything" that I'd dismissed some years ago for no better reason than my age. Gets me pondering what else I might have given up prematurely.

Two years ago on TTaT: One book

11 August 2008

Handball is not what I thought it was

Are you enjoying the Olympics as much as I am? If not, well, I just don't get you and let's leave it at that.

I'm not a sports buff at any other time really, but I love the summer games. Something about watching feats of individual achievement that's so satisfying. I have to remind myself that I do have other things to do besides watch the games on 4 channels. All the prelim gymnastics gives me a break at least. Wish my computer was compatible for the online footage; I'd watch some of the more obscure, less covered sports.

I need to check out the schedule for tonight. What are you looking forward to?

3 years ago on TTaT: Not my dream, Free to be... Worf and Me

06 August 2008

One project complete

kinetic sculpture
Earlier this summer, my brother re-expressed his fondness of a kinetic sculpture I designed and my Dad helped assemble years ago, so Dad suggested we build him one for his birthday. I completely redesigned the frame and changed the panels a bit while Dad made a jig for the hooks and a spacing gauge. Took us a good while to construct it. 75 panels cut to size, 150 handmade hooks, hanging them all evenly spaced... you get the idea.

I like how it turned out though, and my brother sounded like he really liked it when he got it. I hope it's as pleasing to watch as the first sculpture is.

A year ago on TTaT: Defining References

05 August 2008

Bed, above and below

empty shelves
On the one hand, there's been progress:

Shelves have been set up and shimmed level.

All the pictured books and much more have been shelved. They're all even in some semblance of order now, though reference still needs a bit of tweaking.

books on bed
On the other hand, when I was switching out an extension cord running underneath my bed, I saw a fairly large spider. I was going to catch and release it, but it ran under before I could get to it. Usually spiders don't bother me as long as their bodies and legs aren't particularly dense, but this one was kind of borderline.

Figures I'd just finalized the arrangement of stuff underneath my bed for storage. I confess that I'm bothered by having a spider living down there. Even mildly creeped out and paranoid. Not so much I'm going to pull everything out from underneath my bed to try and find the spider though. Just need to shake it off (hopefully not in a literal sense).

Two years ago on TTaT: The Screws of The Man (Part 3)

02 August 2008


Good grief. I really thought I'd have my computer moved out of the basement by now. It's a finished basement but still...

Did finally finish one time-devouring project yesterday, so that's something. (More on that once the coast is clear next week.) I just look at all the stuff covering my desk and other things yet to be put away, and I'm not sure where to start. Or rather, I keep envisioning the ripple effects of my choices. The shelf over my windows and above my desk is a little tough to reach, so I'd like to get it sorted before I bring my computer back upstairs. The shelf currently has an assortment of varied small trinkets, but I'm starting to think they might be better placed on edges of bookshelves. Sigh.

The answer will come to me.


A year ago on TTaT: Skylark